Monday, September 2, 2013

Breakfast Cookies

Call them cookies, call them breakfast, call them what you will; this is too easy!

2 bananas
1 cup oats
not quite a 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips or raisins

Mix the bananas and oats together with a fork in a bowl. Either leave them plain banana oatmeal cookies, or add in the chocolate chips or raisins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 18 cookies. 

These are great to have on hand for a quick and healthy breakfast, for a nice snack, or just for fun! That, and won't you be the best mom when your kids think they're eating cookies for breakfast!?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Here's the absolute most easiest dog treat and only one ingredient! Sweet potatoes are safe for dogs and a fresh, healthy, treat for them. Simply get a sweet potato and peel it. (It's so much easier than cooking it first; FYI for Thanksgiving)

After you peel, slice the sweet potato like chips. Lay out evenly on a cooking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes on one side then flip and 25 minutes on the other. If they still aren't dried out enough keep cooking it a bit more. Store and keep them like you would any normal cooked vegetables. Miles loves them! 

Monday, August 26, 2013


Last Saturday, Matt and I drove out to Castle Rock to go to the Buddy Center with the Dumb Friends League. We weren't sure what was going to happen and we weren't completely set on adopting a dog that day. Matt was leaving Tuesday for another 6 week rotation and that would mean me alone training a new dog. But still, we were excited!!

See how excited we are about to leave to meet some dogs!?

So we get to the Buddy Center and saw this super excited little cutie jumping up and down when we walked past. He was certainly the cutest and most happy dog there! So we asked to meet him in a visiting room. This little guy loved us from the start! As soon as he came in the room we got on the floor and played with him. 

He stole our hearts and when the DFL worker asked "is he the one?" we couldn't say no!

First family photo! Leaving the Buddy Center.

Miles has been an amazing dog! We love him very very much! Here's some fun things about Miles:

1. He knows sit, up, down, and lay down but mostly when I'm holding a treat! 
2. He is scared of my toothbrush, hair dryer, and especially the vacuum! 
3. He loves crawling under our bed. 
4. He's pretty much house trained and doesn't have to stay in his crate. 
5. Miles sleeps on my bed with me! Not sure how it's going to work out when Matt gets home! 
6. He loves grass! He'll roll around in it like crazy and it's super cute.
7. Miles will prance through the grass then pounce on all the bugs that go flying! 
8. When playing fetch he brings the ball back and will sit before I through it again. 
9. He's a slow eater and never snaps when we give him treats. 
10. Oh my goodness! Do we love him! 

Life is so much better and we're so happy that we have Miles in our lives! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Absence of Craft Blogs

Hello, Everyone!

I have two official followers so I'm using the word "everyone" very loosely here.

This summer you might have noticed a lack of craft blogs. If you have not noticed let me tell you: there have been a lack of craft blogs.

Let me tell you a secret: I was crafting my butt off this summer! Okay, that's not a secret. We all know I share everything on Facebook. I made a goal after seeing something on Pinterest. I didn't read the blog with it, because I'm lazy, but I read the Pinterest caption. The picture was a stack of presents and it said "wrapped and done by august one".  The caption mentioned that this woman finished all of her Christmas shopping and wrapping before August hit. I thought "this is a great idea!" I don't have kids, yet, to make the season even more busy. But looking back to last year I was in school and was working retail. I barely got anything done! It was crazy. So I decided that I would take advantage of the summer and make gifts. I planned a trip to Texas at the end of the summer as my deadline to have all the presents done.

Then I took it one step further...

My family does Secret Santa. We have my whole life. When there's 5 kids (eventually 6), no parent can afford to help each kid buy a present for each kid and then buy your own gifts on top of it. So we "drew names" (pick a number!) and shopped for that one sibling. Even now that we're all grown up, we still do Secret Santa! But I made a homemade gift for everyone in my family. All of them! (Then bought my Secret Santa an extra gift to make it fair :) )

Here's what the pile looked like the day I left for Texas:

That's 16 gifts! 16 crafts! 16 homemade projects! And soon to a blog near you: 16 blog posts! I can't post any of them until after Christmas to keep them surprises, but come January there will be a ton of craft posts. Since finishing all those crafts less than a month ago, I've been a little crafted out. Sad times. 

Don't be worried, though! I thought up a craft today and want to do it! So you'll see a craft post soon enough. If you wanted to, you two followers, you. :) 

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Few Things I'm Good At

This might get a little personal, but I want to get it off my chest.

First off, there's not many things I'm good at. I'm not being mean here, I'm being serious. I'm about to be 28 years old and I don't have a college degree of any kind. I can't dance, sing, and I'm not athletic. I'm not really involved in anything. There's nothing I can point to that I'm good at. My crafts are okay at best and I can only do a few things. No sewing or painting or anything.

There are a couple of things I can do well.

I'm very organized. I'm being serious when I say "very" organized. I can put order to anything. In fact, most times I have a hard time NOT putting order to something. Like in what order I'll take notes in my multi colored pens; red can't be next to orange or green for obvious reasons, but I'd pick green before orange. If you understand why you're as messed up as I am. I try to either make everything go in order or in forced randomness. At Hallmark we're organizing things before inventory. I am freakishly good at it and sadly I'm enjoying it, too. There's even been a few cases where someone else has "organized" something and I go back and find mistakes. Might make me a jerk but there's not very many things I'm good at and organizing is one of them. Just last week I cleaned and reorganized by bookcases. Each book was shifted just a bit and a few drastic changes were made. When I was done I was so proud of my work that I sat and looked at the cases for a while. On the other hand, Matt couldn't even tell the difference. It's because I'm the one who loves to organize and is really good at it.

The next thing I'm good at is hit and miss, but I enjoy baking and cooking. I'd say that at least over half the times I'm good at it, too. Not great. Not bakery great or restaurant great. But I can make enjoyable and fun looking things. When I'm stressed I want to bake. Most people just want to eat, but making cookies or decorating a cake really relaxes me. Until it doesn't turn out right and I yell a bit. At least it's something I can do and sometimes receive complements on. I can't do anything super fancy or impressive, but when it comes to making dinner out of whatever is in the house, or throwing together a last minute dessert, I can do that.

There's one more thing I'm good at: I'm good at cleaning. I do not enjoy to clean. Quite the opposite. But I'm really good at it. My first job was in a hotel and I would clean about a dozen rooms a day, as I remember. I liked that when I walked in each room looked messy and used but when I left they looked exactly like the rest. At work I clean and dust all the time. I have a job where I clean a family's house for them. They're kinda messy so I get that nice before and after difference that I want. It's nice because they compliment me on how much better they feel, or how much better it looks. Even their 8 year old son at one point told me he liked how I put away his LEGOs. Again, I in no way enjoy this. Scrubbing bathrooms, especially after boys who haven't learned to aim, isn't really worth it to me. But we need the money and I'm good at it so I clean. I feel better in my own house when everything is clean and put where it belongs. At least when I clean for other people I know I'm giving them the same feeling.

So, now I'm at this weird internal crossroads. The only things I'm good at are cleaning, organizing, and cooking. What am I supposed to do with that? Talk about having no ambitions in life. I will never have an awesome career that makes a difference. I will never do something really impressive. I will never make a big change. The closest I got to wanting a career I changed my mind when I started to take the classes for it. Long story and that's a whole other blog, if I ever even tell it. Retail certainly isn't where I want to be, but it fills the time and gives me the money I need. Even today, at pushing 30, I can't tell you what I want to be when I "grow up".

What does a woman do when all she can do is organize, cook, and clean? She makes a really good stay at home wife and mother. There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom. In fact, there's something amazing and amiable about it. But most stay at home moms I know also have a good degree or job, whether or not they still practice it now that they're home. It gives them something else; something to be proud of or a job they can fall back on if needed. I don't have that. I don't have a job I'm proud of or a degree that matters.... or a degree at all. Before I'm 30, barely before I'm 30, I'll get my Associates of Arts in English. That's barely a step about General Studies. Not much to brag about and certainly no jobs to get from it.

You know what the worst part is? The only thing I'm good at is the thing that's out of my control to be. I would be a great mom. I've had friends make comments about how good I am with their newborns. How I can put a baby to sleep. Keep a child entertained. One friend in particular was shocked I knew how to properly hold a baby when they had to take classes and read books on how to do it. It's because I'm always around kids and always helping out when I can.

It's bad enough to realize that I'm not made to do anything great: I'll never make a huge difference. I'll always "just" be a stay at home wife and mother. Nothing more than that. It makes matters worse that I don't have kids. If I'm really only made to be that, than why aren't I? I believe I'd be a good mom. I believe it would make me happy and I wouldn't miss not having a job or career. I think that whatever loss or void I'm feeling by not being good at anything that matters wouldn't matter anymore because I could use the few things I'm good at to be a great mother.

It's a catch 22. If I had dreams and aspirations to be a doctor or lawyer or anything else than I could take control and take matters into my own hands and do something about it. But all I want, and all I'm good at, is something that isn't in my hands. I don't have control over this. I can't have a baby just because I want one. I'm just waiting for an opportunity that I can actually start using the things I'm good at for something that matters. Instead of organizing work, baking treats for other's, or cleaning other people's house, I can use all those things at home to make my husband and children's lives better. I feel like I'm wasting my time just waiting until it will finally happen for me. Something I can be proud of and enjoy.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Egg Noodle Chicken Pasta

Tonight started with me wondering what on earth to make for dinner. I had chicken thawed out that I needed to cook, and I was kind of in the mood for pasta. I had egg noodles on hand, but have never really cooked with them. I started googling and looking up different recipes for chicken pastas. I looked at a lot of different recipes but I was always missing at least 1 ingredient or it didn't sound good. So I hit the kitchen and did whatever I wanted! Guess what? It was pretty easy, pretty fast, and pretty good.

2 chicken breasts
1 bag egg noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can full of milk
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 small onion
black pepper
8 butter crackers

While the noodles were boiling I cut up the chicken and started to cook it in a pan. I diced up the onion really small and cooked it with the chicken so it wouldn't be so strong a flavor. After you drain the noodles put it back on the hot eye and add cream of chicken, milk, and sour cream. It will be runny but just keep simmering as you add things, it will thicken up. Dump in the chicken and onions. I used minced garlic season and black pepper and just sprinkled a little on top. Then I crushed the crackers and mixed them in for texture and flavor. There you go! From start to finish about 20 minutes and not too many dirty dishes. It may look bland but it doesn't taste it. Great for a last minute dinner and I'm pretty sure no kid would hate it cause there's no crazy flavors! Enjoy and let me know how it turns out! 

Disclaimer: this does not make the best leftovers. So I'm going to say it's a great thing to make for a family or crowd when you know you'll eat a pan full of pasta! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Story About "You" and "Me"

Nearly nine years ago I met an amazing man. I was an 18 (BARELY) year old girl sitting in the back of an institute class in Amarillo, Texas. I know it's normally the guy who sees a girl across a room and remembers everything about that moment but I'm either masculine or just had the better vantage point. In walks Matt, he looks different than any guy I've ever seen. First off, he's freakishly attractive, but it was more than that; he had a personality and mannerism about him that I had never seen before and immediately noticed. He was wearing Dicky shorts, a T-shirt with a band on it, skate shoes, spiky hair, a thick leather banded watch, absolutely nothing Texan about him at all. He was, and still is, his own man; very unique. He was a little late so I just watched him than waited till after class to go up and meet him.

I walked up to him and said "I don't know you." and he said "I'm Matt."

Then someone walked past the door I needed to see so I walked away. Yes, it was a very magical beginning. Luckily for me the next week at institute Matt came in a little earlier and sat by me. I guess I still made a good enough impression, or I'm just really good looking, but we were able to talk. A dance was coming up in Lubbock and the whole area was invited. Everyone was going to meet at my house (that I had only lived in a week or so) then carpool to the dance in Lubbock. I asked Matt to drive me so not only did he get to see where I lived, we got to talk for the 90 minute drive.

First photo ever of the two of us.

This is a picture we took at the dance. You COULD call it a first date, but it wasn't really. As much as Matt and I could try, we can't remember our actual first date. We just know we started dating. But that comes later.

At the dance Matt told me he was planning on staying at his brother's house and that I was going to get a ride home with someone else. I was not going to give up another 90 minute ride with this guy, not after dancing with him and having dinner with him in a barn. So I called my sister in the middle of the night and asked to crash on her couch. So I'm willing to have Matt see me in the same clothes, no shower, and messy hair and makeup just to talk for 90 minutes again. That's okay because when we stopped to get gas, in the rain, he parked the car on the wrong side and had to turn it around. Haha!

That same day I got home barely in time to rush to work. I changed my shirt to my work shirt and ran out the door, hoping for a shower after work. Before my shift ends guess who shows up? Matt! Just to see me! He'd showered... and brought me a CD as a gift. He offered to come over and help me build furniture that I had in boxes that he saw the night before. If we weren't both Mormons I would have thought this a creepy pick up line to get a little action! All he wanted to do was help build the furniture. Good for you, Matt! We built a crazy lopsided bookcase and nailed the back on backwards, but we talked the whole time and got to know each other. Without sneaking a kiss or anything he goes home.

Just a few encounters later like
-Meeting at another guys birthday party and me bringing Matt a gift instead, his turn to get a CD.
-Matt showing up at my house at 8:30 in the morning one day.
-A trip to get snow cones with the rest of the YSA group.
-A movie night at Matt's place where I purposefully made sure I was sitting by him to talk more.

Matt's at my place watching a ton of movies. All the things above happened within 1 week of each other from dance to movie night. We're up until 4 or so in the morning when his dad calls to see where he is. Talk about another good first impression. So we stay up and keep watching movies. I noticed that Matt is leaning against my arm so I did a trick where I sat up as straight as I could and didn't move until he leaned in again. That's the only window I needed so I put my hand on his arm and he held my hand. It was a big deal. I don't even remember the movie we were watching but I remember that.

This was conference weekend so we spent two days together, watching conference during the day. He left me at his parent's house to go to the Priesthood session where I took a well needed nap then he drove me home where we watched yet another movie. (What!?! He'd just gotten home from his mission, there's a lot of movies he hasn't seen.) Matt makes a move and kisses me. I was a punk about it and didn't follow the 90/10 rule and made Matt go the whole way. Now, I had a rule through high school, which wasn't far behind me, that I could date more than one guy but I wouldn't kiss more than one guy. So Matt kissing me changed the game and I said "So, is it okay to call you my boyfriend now?" and he replied with a very romantic "Sure" then kissed me again.

Our first week was over and I had a super cool boyfriend that really liked me.

Matt and I make each other sick.

This was a caption added my him much later in our photo album.

We're happy together.

We played a joke on Mike with a $10 ring pretending we were engaged when he came home from his mission. And a good way to talk to Matt about proposing! 

Matt wrote on my hand. We would say "I like you" to each other before we would say the other L word. 
It did not take long for us to fall crazy in love with each other. The night I knew Matt loved me, before he said it, was a night we were supposed to meet but my car broke down at work. A long story that wouldn't have happened with cell phones ends with Matt running from my place to where I worked to find me. I get home, see his car and not him so I start walking down the street to work to find him. He sees me and runs up and hugs me like crazy. This is a man with asthma running down a dark street worried to death something happened to me. I knew he loved me. It took him a few more days to say it. He knew I loved him, too. After FORCING me to say it first like a little punk he admitted he knew I loved him because the kisses were different. He's cute.

I told Matt that I would say "yes" to any man that bought me this ring. Lucky for both of us he got it for me. And that took a lot because he had to get it special made. 

Engagement photo: Now that we love each other of course we have to get married!

Bridal shower

Matt showed up in time for gifts. 

My "hat" to add all the bows to as I open gifts. 

Fighting at our dinner the night before the wedding.
I'm sure you're expecting me to say how Matt proposed. We knew we were going to get married, we'd been talking about it for a while. I wanted to get married during the summer because it just makes sense. I REALLY wanted to get married June 9th but he took too long to propose! One day I drove him to institute and I was in a crabby mood. When he asked if I wanted to come up to hang out I asked "are you going to propose to me?" and when he said no I said "what's the point?" I went up to hang out anyway but didn't stay long and left. When I got to my car I looked back at his house and he is literally running after me! Breathing heavy he hugs me and kisses me and helps me into my car, which put him in a nice kneeling position. He opened the ring case and put it in my face, just smiling. I was so happy! I said "Well, say it!" and before he could get out the whole "Will you marry me?" line I said "yes!" and pretty much threw myself out of the car at him.

He liked it so he put a ring on it. 

Eating at our reception. 

Cutting the cake.

Feeding each other the first pieces. 


A garter my mom made that I had on as a joke for him to keep. He looks like a man from the 20s! This is my all time favorite picture of the two of us.

So a story that started with me running away from him without giving him my name, hanging out with him without a shower, and being a little pushy and stalker-like turns into my favorite love story of all time! Matt is still as unique as the day I saw him. He's his own person and I LOVE that! He's my best friend, love of my life, and soul mate. If I had to do it all over again I would, and if I had any say I'd meet him earlier! I would say that we lived happily ever after, but the best part about our story is that it will never end. 

Mr. and Mrs. Groves for Time and All Eternity

Pros of being without Matt

As of today Matt has been gone for seven days. It's been hard and annoying and lonely and a lot of other negative things. Instead of writing a downer post about all the things I miss about Matt, I thought I would try to write pros of him being gone to make it a bit easier. So, here are some pros about Matt being away.

Pro List

1. Doing laundry takes one load and a few minutes to fold.

2. I've made a huge batch of pasta salad twice, which is two more than the last 8 years!

3. I'm watching Doctor Who at night without headphones.

4. I've already had a sleepover with Pancake and I planned another one with a friend. Human, not gerbil.

5. When I clean the house it stays that way. Not saying Matt is messy, I'm saying that no one is home when I'm gone so it stays clean.

6. I don't have to share my candy.

7. I get the whole bed to myself. According to Matt this has always been true.

8. Skyping is kinda fun.

9. Full reign of the TV (Matt would normally play video games).

10. I barely shave, fix my hair, or my makeup. Talk about giving up in a very comfortable way.

Con List

1. No Matt.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Crab Pasta Salad

This is my first time making a favorite of my mom's recipes. Growing up this was not only a favorite but I would be so excited when it happened! Just like a few other favorites, I realized how easy it was when I finally made it myself. I took it to a BBQ birthday party and everyone who tried it said it was great! If only they knew how easy it was... Mwahahahaha! Although I am sharing it now so all of you are going to know how easy it is, too. 

One box of pasta shells, cooked and cooled. I didn't cook them way in advance, I just ran cold water over them while I cut other things up. So don't think you have to plan really far in advance for this. Put the pasta in a large bowl and start adding all the fun stuff. Crab, cheese, and green onions. That's it! Add mayonnaise, you can see the consistency  in the photo above. Then sprinkle season salt to taste. 

Word of advice: I made this the day before and by the time I took it to the BBQ the mayo had been absorbed quite a bit. Still tasted good, just didn't stick together as well so it was hard to scoop up. If you make it a day before check on it and add more mayo if you need to. 

1 box pasta shells
2 pounds of imitation crab
1 pound of cubed cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of green onions
Season Salt 

Trust me, this is going to be amazing! Try lining the bowls with large pieces of lettuce from a head of lettuce for a really pretty presentation. That's what my mom used to do. Enjoy! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Baby Onesies with Fabric Markers

I have a friend who's an English teacher and is married to a rocket scientist, literally. They decided to wait and see the sex of the baby so I thought of what I could do as a gift. I decided to decorate a onesie to "represent" each parent. Here's what I came up with. I'm not an artist by any means of the word, but I had fun with it and at least you can get ideas from it if you want.

I bought a 5 pack of white onesies from target that were really affordable; all 5 of them were the price of 1 at a craft store. I went for the 3 month size and not newborn. If you look at the weight for a newborn size it ends at about 8 pounds and here's what I've learned: if a baby is born under 8 pounds they don't stay that small for long, and having a new mom struggle to get a tight onesie on a squirmy baby is a tricky thing, so go for the 1 size bigger to be nice and let the gift last a little longer. 

I got a pack of fabric markers at Hobby Lobby and cut my own little cardboard cutout to make it sturdier. It was a little small so I used masking tape to hold them on a little tighter. The markers were super easy to use, but as you can see on the rocket picture the lines stay when you're coloring in. I think outlines or just writing would be best. 

After 24 hours I washed the onesies and folded them all up for my gift! I have a few ideas for my other blank onesies for gifts for friends. Keep your eyes out for some other baby gifts on here! 

Leave of Absence?

I'm sure some of you are wondering where I've been, right? Or you just haven't noticed. Or maybe you're happy that I stopped for a while. HaHa!

I normally try to rotate "evenly" between food, crafts, and random reviews and posts. But here's what's been happening: every craft I've made lately has been a Christmas gift! So I CAN'T post because it will ruin the gifts! :)

So I promise I'm still crafting, you'll just have to wait at least 6 months to see the posts! I guess I'm just saying sorry that all you'll see this summer are mostly food postings, it's all I can share!

I have plans for a craft I want to make myself that I can post on here, you'll just have to wait a bit longer.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Very Easy BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken is a favorite at our house. We eat chicken more than anything else and this way is the easiest way to cook it! 

I like to cut the chicken up into pieces and have a bit of BBQ in the baking dish. The pieces is mainly because over half the time Matt and I have dinner apart and because of this dinner normally goes straight into tupperware. So food is normally cut into bite-sized pieces. 

Before cooking, add more BBQ and stir it all up so all the chicken is covered. Covering it all will keep it from drying out and burning. Cooking times will vary due to how much chicken, how big/small the pieces are, and how spread out it is. I set the oven to 350 degrees then start checking on it after 30 minutes. The good news about this is you can ignore it for up to an hour and it will still turn out tasting great! So don't worry about a timer, I normally just throw it in then go about whatever I was doing. 

Here's the finished product! I left it in for about 45 minutes because I was watching TV. See? It's nearly impossible to mess up! 

Some variations is to add more seasoning before cooking with the BBQ. I sometimes put garlic on it or other spice mixes. 

Enjoy your easy dinner! 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

This past weekend something amazing and terrible and sad and great happened: Matt made cookies! I wanted to make cookies to take to church and after making one flavor, the blueberry chocolate chip, I went to bed with a migraine with plans to wake up early to make another flavor. When I woke up there was a container FULL of white chocolate cranberry cookies! Isn't he a sweetheart?! Here's the terrible part: not only was this his first time to ever make cookies from scratch, he won't give me the recipe, and they are WAY better than mine! Seriously. I took them to church and we brought home only two of his that we fought over and there are over two dozen of mine left over! So, I apologize in advance. There is no recipe here for the magical, wonderful cookies that Matt made. No picture. None left.

I, however, think that blueberry chocolate chip cookies were a unique blend and very good. The flavors were smooth and I enjoy them. Matt, though, still has not even tasted them! I asked him to teach me how to bake cookies and all he did was laugh! Hopefully, maybe, one day in the future, there will be a blog post of Matt teaching me how to make cookies like him. Until then, all I can do is tell you how to make the blueberry chocolate chip cookies:

For these cookies I used my classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Instead of adding in 2 cups of chips I added in 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips and 3/4 cup of dried blueberries. Even with "losing" the half a cup there was still plenty of extras in each bite; mini chips spread that way. And blueberries have such a strong taste, I think, that you don't want too many or else you want really taste anything else.

Even though Matt's cookies were better, there is no longer any cookie, recipe, photo, or any other proof left of his cookies to compare. So unless he's willing to repeat the occasion, that makes these cookies special! Enjoy your blueberry chocolate chip cookies and let me know what you think!