Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Gifts

Christmas was an overall not so very Christmas-y day for me.

It is unfortunate, to say the least, that I was a perfect Grinch or more perfectly accurate Scrooge.

There were many times throughout the day where I just wanted to say "humbug" and go back to sleep and wait until the Christmas Day was over.

I woke up Christmas morning with a huge headache and a very irritable mood. I partially blame my irritable mood based on the irritable mood I was in Christmas Eve. To save hurt feelings among family I will just simply say the way I viewed Christmas Day activities was different than others, and it bothered me deeply.

My hubby and I had a long conversation before bed and I concluded that since Christmas was about love and Family I would forget what bothered me and go to sleep.

Apparently I didn't have any messengers during the night to remind me of the good things I had going for me.

I started dinner in the crock-pot which as you may have guessed I got from Pintrest. It just may become one of Dax's and my first Christmas traditions!


See how this meal is Christmas colors?
2 lbs. boneless beef round steak, cut into 6 serving pieces
1.1-oz pkg.Lipton beefy onion soup mix
3 c. onion, sliced
28-oz. can diced tomatoes
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 c. water

Arrange steak in a crockpot. Sprinkle soup mix over steaks; arrange onion slices all around. Top with tomatoes. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours, or on high setting for 6 hours. Remove steak and vegetables from crock pot; set aside. Mix together flour and water; add to slow cooker and stir until thickened. Spoon gravy over steak to serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
The meal above is from Crokin' Moms: Crock Pot Blog
I used my moms recipe and just applied it to the crock pot method. :) My mom's recipe is below:
2 lbs. boneless beef round steak, cut into 6 serving pieces
 onion, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce

Tenderize steak with the back of a knife and then brown in a skillet on both sides. Season. In an electric skillet  arrange onion slices all around, Top with tomatoes. Cover and cook at 200 degrees for 2 and 1/2 hours.  Remove steak and vegetables from crock pot; set aside. . Spoon gravy over steak to serve. Makes 4 to 6 servin
My mom always served this meal with mashed potatoes and I think it's a perfect complement. To get the green color into this meal I did another recipe from Cassie's blog "Back to her Roots"
ooooo SOOO yummy! 
My husband and I loved these! The apple offsets the slight bitter taste to the Brussels sprouts and the bacon adds a contrast texture to the anything with bacon is it is an automatic "must try".  From Cassie's blog:
Sprouts are a member of the cabbage family, and like most cabbage, contain sulfur. The longer the Brussels cook, the stronger the sulfur smell and taste become. Not good eats for kids (or adults). Avoid the dreaded kid spit out by roasting these babies until they are just tender and brown.
Serves 4-6


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
  • 1 large tart apple, cored and diced
  • 4 slices, thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. In a large bowl, combine sprouts, apple and bacon and stir until evenly distributed.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Pour olive oil mixture over sprout mixture and toss to coat.
  5. Pour out the sprout mixture in one layer onto a greased cookie sheet. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking, or until sprouts are tender and brown.

 Anyway, back to my Scrooge Holiday...

So I had tenderized my round steak for browning and I coated them in a little flour with salt and pepper and then added them to the hot oil in my frying pan. As they were browning I reached to get my tongs and they weren't there! I looked for a little while and in panic asked my husband where he put it (bad move on my part- never start anything with an accusation!) He said he didn't remember even washing it. 
I didn't believe him because if they weren't  where they usually were he MUST have washed them and did what he usually does: puts items away but where they don't belong. 
I grabbed a spatula and flipped my steak over. 
A light bulb went on in my husbands head. He remembered (unlike me) that we had left our tongs in the salad bowl when we went over to a friends apartment for dinner. He took it out, washed it off, handed it to me, and then went back into out bedroom.
I felt awful. 
After I finished browning I added the steak into the crock pot and went to apologize to my sweet husband who only is ever trying to help and I tried to bite his head off with my accusations. 
Like always he forgave me instantly and I still felt awful since he is so good and I am so...spoiled rotten to have him. :)
I went back to slicing some onions, adding the tomato sauce and dices, rinsing out the cans into  the mixture as well to get every pennies worth of the sauce that clung to the sides of the can. After I set the crock pot on low for 8 hours I went to get ready. 
I was having a bad hair day. 
No matter what I did with it, it turned out horrible. Tried putting it in a pony tail, tried a twisted pony tail, tried curling half of it, and ended up washing out the hair spray angrily and putting on the hat my sister had made for me for Christmas. 
For sure at this moment my husband could tell there was something wrong. 
On the ride to his families house he asked me what was wrong and I said that despite it being Christmas I was just having a bad day. 
He told me not to have a bad day. 
Huffily I said "Well I'm trying not to but nothing seems to be going right today and I already started off in a bad mood because of last night,"
Then we forgot all the presents I made his family.
We turned back to get them and continued on. 
 For the most part, in silence the rest of the way. 
His family only lives a few minutes away from our apartment, so it wasn't much of a drive. 
They had already opened all their presents and most of them were having seconds sleeps. They had breakfast all ready to dive into when we got there and my sleepy mother-in-law on her way to give me a hug scratched my forehead. 
It was actually quite humorous since she was sleepy. She only had one eye open and was swaying like a drunk person. It was probably the first time I smiled that day. 
We ate and then I gave out Dax and my presents to those who were "present". For all the brothers I gave them shirts with animals I had bleached on with a Clorox bleach pen I I forgot to take pictures of them before I gave them!) Which I got the idea also from pintrest
(Go to Dora's blog for more details: click here
They were quick and easy and super fun! 
And then for all the sisters I made them bags! Just like the one I made for myself on a previous blog post
Ronnies Outside

Ronnies Inside

Jades outside 

Jade's Inside

Tess's Outside

Tess's strap! I loved how it turned out!

I loved how all of my bags turned out! I made one for my sister Ruby and my best friend Tylene but these are my favorites by far! By Ronnie's bag I became a pro bag maker ;)

I made my sister a large queen blanket. It's green and has a soft fuzzy lining! 

After giving gifts and receiving a few I had a much more calm attitude but I also gained a headache. 

The problem I saw Christmas Eve ended up working itself out, I got to lay around all Christmas at my second home and then I got to end Christmas with the most wonderful man eating awesome food and watching the "Miracle on 34th Street."

So overall fretting over the little prickly things don't really matter but being apart of the little sweet things do. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy almost 2013! 

Where did the year go?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Hard Lesson to learn

Hey all!
On the last post I said that I was going to be more grateful and spend more meaningful time with my family during the month of Thanks and Giving. I got to about day 5. Everyday I added something new to what I already wanted to do. Examples were:
Day One: Spend More Time with family. Day one didn't work out so well seeing as the instant I woke up I got on the computer and spent most of my day on it doing a super organized outline of Dax's classes for him. It ended up being longer than expected, but on the bright side I was grateful for the gift of creativity I have been given to use.
Day Two: To be more creative. Day two was a pass and fail. I had an amazing dream the night before and ended up typing out quite a few pages. I resisted the urge to check Facebook when I was bored. I tried to spend more time with Family but unforgettably in this day-in-age everything is being transferred to electric devices: work applications, shopping, and even family time with things such as movies or video games. While all of  these the aforementioned are useful and enjoyable I just wanted to spend pure time with my family in the month of November.
Day Three: Service. Dax and I had the opportunity to watch his 3 youngest siblings while his parents went to his moms high school reunion. I had so much fun with them! We went and saw "Wreck It Ralph" which was a really cute movie and I would recommend seeing it sometime in the future! I made them super tasty  BLTs with a quick way to make Bacon that I learned from Pintrest.

Baked Bacon
 Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F if you're cooking thin, or regular-cut bacon. If you want to bake thick-cut bacon, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet or baking pan with sides with heavy-duty foil. Arrange the bacon on the pan, side-by side, being sure not to overlap the pieces.  to give the bacon that pretty 'ridged' look he wads and unfolds the foil first so it is wavy, then arranges the bacon on it. That gives the fat somewhere to go so the bacon isn't sitting in the fat as it cooks. This method also shapes the bacon while baking.
Bake the thin-cut bacon for 12-17 minutes for thin-cut, or until desired crispness. I myself like my bacon very crisp, so I bake it 16-18 minutes.
For thick bacon, bake for 10 minutes, then turn the bacon with tongs. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 12-17 minutes longer or until the bacon is browned.
And then you remove all the bacon from the oven and it's suggested to use paper towel to pat off any extra oil but since I baked it there wasn't a whole lot. I used extra sourdough bread, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. I made sure not to toast the bread as I like to do with most of my sandwiches since I was already going to have a nice crunch with the bacon. 
I loved making bacon this way especially for family dinner! I didn't have to cook bacon and make individual sandwiches for everybody so that there bacon wouldn't get too cold. I just cooked it all at once, already had the bread slices prepped, added the bacon, and we all got to sit together and eat!
Day Four: Stretching my Comfort Zone. Today just happened to be a Sunday. Quite a few Latter Day Saint families try to exclude electronic devices unless they are Christ centered or gospel related to keep the Sabbath day holy. Other family may not do this and that's alright as long as we are trying to keep the Sabbath a Holy Day. Dax and I have decided that this is a tradition we believe will help us stay closer to Christ on this special day of the week. Also as I have seen, by doing this, we get closer to one another and the spirit as well. Dax's family just happens to have the same tradition and so it was easier to spend quality time with them. Dax, Tess, Brent and I played the game "Scum" . I was having so much fun it was coming out my eyes. I haven't laughed that hard for a while it seemed. I was "President" at least 3 or 4 times in a row and I would make Tess and Brent laugh by the silly things I would say I would do as president. Later that evening I tried another recipe I found from Pintrest which didn't turn out as good as I would have liked. It was way too spicy. 

Crock Pot Sloppy Joes

Serves 4-6
Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 tsp minced garlic

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes ( I think with the chili powder I might just eliminate this, especially for those who don't like much or any spice. It was a little too spicy, and if you happen to taste it before letting it cook and it dosn't taste spicy enough don't add more. The flavors will all be brought out as it cooks for a few hours during the day!)
2 tsp yellow mustard

Hot dog or hamburger buns

1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Drain off most of the fat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
2. In the crock pot, combine all remaining ingredients except buns and butter. Add the ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. When beef is ready to serve, butter buns. Broil until tops are golden brown, about 1 minute.
4. Spoon the ground beef onto the buns and serve. Enjoy!
Since this Sunday was the first of the month it is what is known as "Fast Sunday". Not because Church goes by faster or anything but because of the sacrifices we are willing to make to feel the spirit more and to gain more blessings. It is also a day to share your testimony, if you wish or are prompted to do so. (To learn more about Fast Sunday/ Testimony Meeting  click here). Today I bore my testimony. I stepped out of my comfort zone and shared what I believed in in front of the whole congregation. I felt that it was what I needed to do: to share my gratitude for the savior and what he has done for me. 
Little Did I know what was to happen next...
As life always seems to go when things seem almost right and perfect in the world a storm comes. 
What I am about to share is extremely personal and may make you feel uncomfortable. If it does please fill free to stop reading or to just skip the next couple of paragraphs. 
Satan, the Devil, the Adversary, whatever you may want to call him doesn't want us to have all the most beautiful and precious things of this world. And he'll do anything to stop you from getting them. He'll even drag that old sin that you put in your closest with a big "DO NOT TOUCH" sign. That sin that you packed away carefully and signed a contract never to look at again but it will always be there every time you open the door to remind you of how much it hurt and how much you don't want to go there again. 
When you begin to improve and get closer to God doing the things he wants you to do; when you are patterning your life after Him, alarms sound off. Satan becomes frightened because your dormant attitude about the Gospel and Jesus Christ is developing. So what does he do? He goes to your closest, dusts off that sin you've sworn never to touch, cleans it up, and wraps it in a very eye catching, thought provoking package and presents it to you. 
Satan knows just as well as God the things your heart desires most. The difference: Satan distorts what is your pure desires and makes them ugly and distasteful  so that you no longer want to go there. God will bless you with a high calling encouraging you to go forth and develop.
I want children more than anything. 
I've been trying the past couple of months to eat healthier  exercise, and spiritually grow so that when the time to have kids is right I am prepared. I will be able to give them every physical and spiritual thing they need. I can teach them of the atonement and what it means to me. I can teach them right from wrong and how much Jesus loves you even if you think you don't deserve it. 
One day Satan drug out my old sin from the closest. It wasn't on a computer but on my phone. It was photographs but literature. It was the same sin, but in a different package. I have no desire to seek these things out, but with idle searching they seek you out. I was simply researching how to refurbish a hard couch into a nice fluffy couch when a headline of a story stuck out to me. There was nothing about couches and two links down was this story. 
My fault: clicking on it to satisfy my curiosity. Could there really be a story like this? Is this true?
As I read I was horrified, shocked, and disgusted, and yet I still read. 
I read a few paragraphs before I ended up closing it all and feel the dread and hopelessness seep in. 
It was about a little girl. The thing I wanted most was twisted and distorted. I felt dirty, ugly, and as though I had committed this horrendous crime myself. 
I instantly grabbed my scriptures and began reading but every two words the words of the awful story popped into my head. I had to read 3 or 4 chapters before I began to even feel slighlty better. I still felt gross. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and then I turned on the tabernacle chior and prayed and listened and prayed again. The moment Dax came home from work I burst into tears and told him everything I could at the moment. 
How could I have done this to him?
I made special covenants not only with God but with him. I could I betray him like that? Why was I not showing him the love he shows me every day? And he still showed me more. 
The sweetest words a wretched soul could here is "I forgive you" with all their heart and soul. Of course that made me feel even worse and I kept apologizing over and over, and all he did was hold me and tell me he forgave me. 
My husband is one of the most Christ-like examples I have ever met. He teaches me so many things about love and Christ. His forgiveness made it possible for me to believe that Christ could forgive me also, but could I forgive myself? 
Throughout the day I would be happy and then sad when Satan kept shoving those words into my head. 
"You won't be a good mom." He'd smirk. 
"You can't be a good mom, now. Look at what you have done."
I then asked my husband to use his priesthood to give me a blessing and that helped out the most, I believe. 
By the end of the week I had told all of my family and even the bishop. I have put that sin carefully away with the others with a big sign that says "BEWARE OF COPIES". I cannot and will not allow myself to simply "browse" the internet. Not even to look up harmless things unless someone is near me. I will not even quickly look up something on my phone without extra support. I will be aware of those copies lurking around the corner and attempt to avoid those temptations of curiosity, because as we all know the saying "curiosity killed the cat." 
Two things that I found uplifting to me during this time was the song: "Redeemer of Israel". Especially the third verse which reads: 
How long we have wanderedAs strangers in sinAnd cried in the desert for thee!Our foes have rejoicedWhen our sorrows they've seen,But Israel will shortly be free. 
Also I found on Spotify a whole album I fell deeply in love with called Hymnalisms by Stephen J. Anderson.
Here is a sample of his genius art:
I just want to leave you all with a bright note to this "Hard Lesson To Learn". There is a up for every down and a light for every darkness. Sometimes we have to fall far enough to know what we really need to get out, to know what we really need to ask for. When we do what is right then the pieces of our puzzle just begin to fit and work out. We need an example to know what are puzzle is supposed to look like, otherwise we are just trying to fit odd pieces together while getting frustrated in the process. Christ is my example followed by my sweet husband and all the other beautiful people in my life.

Dax and I now live in our own apartment which we decided to get on a sporadic job and faith. The day we were moving in our neighbor asked if he could help and began talking to my dad about how he had an awesome job that he needed to give to a really good hardworking person. If my dad knew of anyone, he was to let our neighbor know. He said "as a matter of fact I do".
Dax now has a reliable job as a medical sample courier that works well with his schooling and pays pretty well.

Oh the blessings we are promised when only we are ready to receive!