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Making the World Cuter: January 2008

A blog where one woman is on a mission to make the world cuter, one kid, cupcake or crafty thing at a time.


Hewlett Family-What are you going to do next?

That's right we're going to DISNEYLAND!
We're leaving late tonight and will be going to the Magic Kingdom on Thursday and to
California Adventure on Friday.
I am so excited-mostly for my kids-they are still young enough to feel and believe in the magic-but I'm excited for me too-I haven't been there since I was 6! WooHoo! Just to warn you-there will probably be a BUNCH of pictures coming soon!!! Can't wait!


2 Weeks of Crockpot Meals

Well, because I have been MIA from blogging and well let's face it-everything else lately-I have 2 weeks that I haven't posted a crockpot meal on.

Here is what we are having tonight-courtesy of Toshya-sounds good!

Football Stew
1 lb. cooked Ground Beef of Browned Stew Meat
2 cups Cubed Potatoes
2 cups Baby Carrots
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 soup can full of water
1 pkg onion soup mix
Combine all ingredients together in crock pot and cook on low all day (like 6 to 8 hrs) or on high for 3-4.

Because that just sounds so super fatty with all the cream of soup in there-we opted for the reduced fat Healthy Choice Campbells soup-I'll let you know the verdict soon!
The verdict is in: We LOVED this stew-it is sooo stinkin cold right now-this totally hit the spot! The fat free soups didn't take away from the flavor at all-it was great!
And Amy-in response to your comment-"fat shmat", we all can't belong to a size 0-2 clothing swap and eat whatever we want even after having 3 kids like you-I sure love you and your skinny little behind too!

Last week was my choice, and ever since Jessica made this at a girls night-I have wanted a crock pot just so I could make this! (I took this straight from her blog-so thanks Jess!)

Sweet Pork

Pork loin (around 3 lbs)
1 can of coke
1 bottle of red taco sauce (mild or medium)
1 tbs of cumin
1 cup brown sugar

Cook pork in crockpot with some water on low for around 6 hours. Empty liquid and pull pork apart with fork. Add the ingredients above and cook for an additional 3 hours. Serve with tortillas and what ever else! Rice, beans, guac, salsa, etc.... YUM-O!

Since this makes quite a bit, I thought that later in the week you could make some delish taco salads with it-I love making taco salads with the actual taco salad bowls-shredded lettuce, some of this yummy pork and whatever other toppings you like and of course a spoonful of sour cream.
This was a big hit with the whole family-my sister and her husband don't like so much spice to it-so they only used a 1/2 tbs of cumin, and make sure you use the mild taco sauce-so if you don't like it spicy (which it isn't like burn your mouth hot-but it's got a kick) you can always do that.



...and one more birthday!

Too much excitement-has worn these kids out lately!

The final birthday this month for our little family was on the 14th and it was Chad's! He turned the big three-five this year-yikes! I hate to say that his actual birthday wasn't too exciting! We had family night at my moms-and ate our Monday night crock pot dinner and watched Ocean's 13 on their new huge tv. It was fun, but it didn't really feel like the fun birthday parties we've been having lately. Even his presents weren't a surprise-He wanted a fly fishing trip, new waders and kick fins. I didn't know how to pick out any of that stuff, (because why would I?) so he got gift cards.
The next night though we celebrated right-my Mom and Jim took us to Big Al's in Vancouver. we had a yummy dinner-sang happy birthday and went bowling.
That place is super fun times-so if you live in the area and you're looking for something that the whole family will like-that's it. It has a big arcade, tons of bowling and the food there is actually really good. It's not super cheap, but it's not super expensive either.
Happy Birthday old man! I love you!

Waking up to being 4 and a fun visit!

Bekah turned 4 on Saturday, and we were in a hotel in Eugene (Chad was doing a show out there). I still decorated with balloons and crepe paper-so she still got to wake up to a little birthday magic. She opened her present from her Dad and I-a new set of very real golf clubs and bag-all pink! She was so excited-she's been really wanting to play any kind of sport lately.It was a good thing then that while Chad was at the show-I took the kids on a short little road trip to Corvallis to visit the Youngs-and she got to go to soccer with Taylor! She loved it, and she was good at it too! I wish I could have gotten some cute pics-but I went to a younger class with Topher aka "no attention span boy". We then went to the Youngs house for some play time and then over to see the new clinic and "help" do some finishing touches (we were more trouble than help-and left not too long after we go there). I would have taken some cuter and better pics of them all, but we planned on going back on Saturday-but when we got to the exit-not only were the kids asleep but so was Chad-so I kept driving :(. For her birthday dinner we went to her choice-Red Robin ate some yum food and they came and sang to her. It was an unorthodox birthday-but she had fun-especially since she got to play with her friends again-she misses them lots (as do we all!).

Princess of Cheese

We celebrated Bekah's birthday on Friday at Chuck E Cheese. She wanted a "girls only-princess party", she did let Dad, Topher, Papa and Jordan's daddy come-but that's it-no boys! It was just a small party since we are going to Disneyland in a week. She had her 3 friends come-Jordan, Jaycie and her bestest friend from school Alexi, (we invited the Young girls and another little friend, but they weren't able to make it). We had more adults there than kids! It was great! The kids actually got to play together, and there weren't so many to keep track of!
She had a super fun Princess cake that all the girls were so excited about. We had pizza and way too many tokens! It wasn't too crazy because we went at 3:30, after lunch and before dinner-so we actually enjoyed ourselves and so did the kids-here are the pics to prove it!
Having fun playing games and riding rides-(playing ski ball Topher style)Cute girls eating pizzaThe "beautiful princess cake"Kids enjoying the beautiful princess cake
Present time! Thanks for the horse Alexi! I love it!Thanks for the Princess Dress-ups Jordan-So much fun!Thanks Grandma for Horton and the book that "matches him", and also my "magic" markers!Getting sung to by Chuck E Cheese himself and dancing along-You're a Birthday Star!


Happy Birthday to ME!

I had such a fabulous birthday on the 4th! My mom and Jim took us out to Bugati's for a delicious Italian dinner and we had a fantastic chocolate peanut butter mousse cake from Jaciva's.
My mom gave me a super cute charm bracelet from Tiffany & co., (she gave me a necklace from there on Christmas-can I just tell you I'm a BIG sucker for anything that comes out of one of those little blue bags! Such an awesome surprise! Thanks mommy!)
Chad gave me my long awaited for iPod, (yes babe-you are the best, now if I can just find a second to get some music on it! Thanks sweetie!)
My kids gave me the book I've been wanting since I heard about it, Becky Higgins Sketches. (of course their dad picked it out and the ladies at the scrapbook store were just gushing over him telling him what a sweet hubby he was-I guess when he went up to the counter and asked for the book by name the lady said "Well look at you!" ha ha, and then the lady at the checkstand asked if he was the scrapbooker-when he said it was his wife she thought he was just a big sweetie for getting me such an awesome gift!)
I was SO spoiled and loved every minute of it. I have always been one of those who LOVE their birthdays, I count down the days, I love all the attention on me-well after a birthday like this one-can you blame me?!?!
Then last night at girls night-one of my new favorite girls in the world, (and this was even before this surprise that I loved her guts), Emali brought me ALL THIS!
Does anyone here LOVE 7gypsies? (i do, i do-me waving my hand enthusiastically in the air!), her mom works for them, and Emali raided her stash for me-how STINKING COOL is that!?!?! I LOVE YOU EM!!! Thank you Thank you again and again!

New challenge up...

Hurry one, hurry all over to {From the Journal Jar} the new challenge is up and it is a good one! We need to up our participation again now that the holidays are over! So BLOG, SCRAPBOOK or both and link us up on the comment section of this weeks prompt!


CrockPot Club

My mom is cute. Have I mentioned this? She bought all of us girls including herself a big ol' crockpot for Christmas-I was stoked, it was like the one thing that I REALLY wanted! Anywho-then she decided to start a crockpot club with all of us for family home evening. Since we all live all over and can't have a weekly family night what we will do instead is each take a turn providing a recipe to make in the crockpot, an idea for dessert, and give us a link to an Ensign article or conference talk for us all to read with our families. Then we are all kind of "together" every Monday, even though we are all spread out. I thought I would post the recipes we use each week, so if you are looking for something yummy to make for your families you can find it here once a week!

This is last nights meal and it was SUPER yummy!

This weeks recipe is Zuchinni Chicken

Put 1 can chicken broth in the crockpot first (can mix 1 tsp. chicken base with 1 cup water)

Next add 1 pound boneless chicken, either thighs, breasts or tenders.

Top with 2 sliced zuchinni

In a medium bowl mix, 1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder (or minced garlic)

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. oregano (we used italian seasoning, because Chad thought it smelled better-it was yummy)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

Pour over chicken and zuchinni.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

After cooking, stir and serve over rice.

We made chocolate chip cookies and read this talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin.

It was a fun night, luckily for me, I do live by my momma, so we went over there-we decided we would take turns each week making the meal for both families and then whoever doesn't make the meal, can make it and freeze it or make it another night that week.

Super fun idea by my super cute mom!
(by the way if any of you like to crockpot cook too, I found a super fun blog of a lady who is trying to make something in her crockpot everyday for a year-she posts recipes, pictures and everything-not to mention she's funny! Check it out here, or I put a link on the side of my blog!)



Trying to Settle in...

Well, we are in our temporary, temporary place. For those of you who haven't heard-we moved over to the new complex that we are going to manage for the next 6 months or so. The problem is, is that the old manager was not leaving-she fought for 2 months to stay, so we had to move into a vacant apartment and wait it out for a bit. So we moved into a town home here and have been here for a week and a half. The manager moved out yesterday-and left the unit in a complete disaster and stripped everything out of it. It will take at least a week to make it liveable. Then we move again! Bekah and Topher are sharing a room and a bed-because Topher decided he was too big for a crib, and Bekah's toddler bed was too small to share-so they are in a twin and have loved it so far!

It Finally Came!

After what seemed like forever-Christmas finally did come. We are not a patient family when it comes to Christmas-we are all like little kids and just can't wait for Christmas morning. No one was disappointed either-we all got spoiled rotten from Santa, each other and of course Grandma Julie! With all the craziness of opening gifts we didn't get many pictures-but lots of memories! Bekah got an easel from Santa and a WHOLE box full of art supplies and paper, she got lots of Princess and Disney stuff too, we're going to Disneyland in a couple weeks, Santa must have known...

Christopher got cars, and stuff that goes with cars-like a garage for his little people, and an airport with more cars, helicopters and planes for his little people. He was so excited and cute about it all, I thought it might overwhelm him, but he was having a blast right up until the last gift was opened at Grandma's and couldn't stop saying "WOW!"

I got spoiled with scrapbooking stuff, cute shoes, an external hard drive for my computer to keep all my pics on and so much more and that's just from our house. My mom went a little nuts-sound familiar? From her, I got a new crockpot, shoes, a necklace from Tiffany & co, a dress and who knows what else-I had a huge stack by the time the morning was over. Jim even got me something super fun-a new cartridge for my Cricut machine! Yippee! :).

Now Chad got pretty spoiled too-lots of fun games, treats oh and a new Tom Tom GPS unit from my mom and Jim! Super excited about that!

One thing, I am still trying to get excited about was what Santa brought for Bekah and Topher to my moms house...A new fish tank complete with fish! The kids are thrilled, we have already had one die though-and surprisingly Bekah was okay with it. I think it will be a fun thing for them-as long as Topher stays out of the tank, and as long as I don't have to clean it-or pull dead fishies out and flush em...yech!

Christmas Eve Traditions

After weeks of seeing presents sitting under the tree, and not bothering them all that much-I was beginning to wonder if Topher knew what to do with them! Well no worries-Christmas Eve came and he knew exactly what to do.
We have the tradition of opening Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve, but we also have started a little tradition since Bekah was born of a Christmas Eve ornament too. Bekah's first ornament was a little snowman that I painted for her, we decided to keep up with the theme and every year she gets a new snowman ornament to hang on the tree. With Christopher we got him Santa Claus's-which was a good choice since he is obsessed with "Ho Ho Ho" as he calls him. We also started getting some for Zach (nutcrackers) and Ryeliegh (winter activities; like ice skates and sleds) too. The ornaments each have their name and year painted on them and when they leave the house, these are the ornaments that they can take with them.
Chad and I also do an ornament exchange each year on Christmas Eve-but ours don't have a theme exactly. What we do is try to find an ornament that represents something that happened that year, like this year Chad got me a car ornament, since this is the year we bought a new car (actually 2 new cars). I got Chad a lantern ornament because this is the year that Chad got his associates-so we can see that there is a light at the end of this school thing and it's also the year that the lights kind of came on for us as far as financial stuff and goals setting and reaching.
It's been a fun tradition and it's fun to pull out the ornaments from the years previous and remember why we picked those out for eachother.

Since we have moved to Oregon, I have also started the tradition of making each of the kids a little photo book of the summer activities. I send Zach and Ryeleigh's to them with their Christmas presents and that way they have some photo's to show their mom and family in Utah what they did while they were here. I do the one's for Bekah and Topher too, so that if I don't ever get around to scrapping all those photo's they can at least have these little books to look at, not to mention they make great church books!

(In case anyone is wondering...I make them on and they only cost like $5 each.)