Thursday, August 18, 2011

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

I've been in the kitchen recently. I found this recipe for No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars a little while ago when Husband and i were on a diet. I wanted to cry when i saw it because i knew there was no loophole in our diet for me to be able to make this. Husband got upset at me for even looking at it let alone the fact that i showed it to him. But i'm in the process of trying to diagnose some health problems i have, doing blood work and doctor visits and all that not fun stuff, so we decided to have me on this specific diet right now with the medication involved wasn't the right choice. Since I wasn't going to be on the diet, Husband had no desire to diet either. We're still watching how we eat -- we're not eating out any more at all, and our weakness of ice cream is not allowed in the house. Earlier this year we cut out a lot of sugars and starches from our diets already (replacing starches like potatoes and pastas with vegetables), so we're sticking with that.....
Except for this splurge. I couldn't help it! I kept thinking about it and i just couldn't stop myself. I don't even remember the last time i was in the kitchen baking -- though there is no baking involved in this recipe. But we've been really good about everything, and i was about to die without chocolate -- a little TMI but it was my girl week so you may be able to understand -- so I made an exception. It was delicious. SO worth it. If you like chocolate and peanut butter and oatmeal, you'll love it too. I hope you will anyway.

Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and oats. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Press half of mixture in to the bottom of a buttered 8 x 8 dish.

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and blended.

Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the crust, reserving a couple of spoonfuls to drizzle over the top.

Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate and peanut butter, pressing gently to form a crust. Drizzle the remaining chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars.

Refrigerate for 3 hours before cutting and serving.

It really was as good as it looks.

{click to print}
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
adapted from

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and oats. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Press half of mixture in to the bottom of a buttered 8 x 8 dish.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and blended. Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the crust, reserving a couple of spoonfuls to drizzle over the top.
3. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate and peanut butter, pressing gently to form a crust. Drizzle the remaining chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars.
4. Refrigerate for 3 hours before cutting and serving.

And last off, i want to let you all know that i'm planning a move for our blog. I think. I feel like being a little more anonymous when it comes to things i'm making and sharing -- like this delicious post -- and i get enough traffic from my projects that i feel like making a move would be the best thing for us. I have no intention of being a professional blogger -- i'm not cool enough for that -- i just want to separate the friends and family stuff from the public stuff. I'll probably keep this one for the family and friends and go private but I haven't got the new one all set up and moved over yet, so i'll let you know when i'm all done.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's a {Sock} made into a {Monkey}

I'll tell you right now, this isn't a tutorial, its just me bragging about something cute i made. Sorry if you're disappointed :)
So, I love sock monkeys. I think they're adorable. I never had one growing up, but i always wanted one. The other week *ahem*, ok it was a few months ago and i'm just now getting to posting about friend Ashley had a beautiful baby girl in April. BEAUTIFUL. While she was pregnant, back in December or so while i was spending a lot of time making aprons for all my sisters-in-law and spending a lot of time looking at all the stuff i had in my craft room, i made the decision that i was going to make her, my friend Ashley, a sock monkey as a shower gift. And i'll tell you something, sock monkeys are one of those things i had been planning to make for a long time. I knew i was going to make one one day, and this was the time to do it. I got all the supplies for it a long time ago too, when i picked up this book.

I know there are tutorials all over the place on how to make these, but every now and then i like to pick up a fun craft book when it's inexpensive. I got this book Sock and Glove a while back and i was so excited that right away i went out searching for cute socks to start making some cute sock animals. And then i never did anything. Everything sat in a big bag in my craft room closet for over a year. I'm sure it had something to do with not having anyone to make one for, so there was no real motivation for me, but still. I should have made at least one since i was so excited about it in the first place.
And it was my loss too because this sock monkey was fun to make. I found some cute gray and pink socks at Target, turned a movie on, started cutting out all the parts, did the stuffing, and hand sewing, and that was it. I was done, just that fast. I forget which movie i picked for this particular evening of crafting, but i finished the monkey before it was over so it took less then 2 hours to make. And it turned out adorable!

He's pretty friendly

And there're are more then just monkey instructions in the book too. I found some zebra print socks and there are instructions on how to make a horse in the book. I'm looking forward to putting that one together next!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

{Just a Dream}

Why don't more stairs have this built in? I mean, yes, i do have a closet and storage that go all the way under my stairs, and it's great. But to have this type of storage would be heaven. If i ever have a house built, this is on my list of *must have*s
I love it.

This week i've been sewing. At the moment i'm taking a break from making the ruffles and flowers i'll be sewing onto my throw pillows.

And on a happy note, Husband is home as of 6 something today. I wasn't really paying attention to the time. I just know he's home now and I had my homemade dinner ready within 5 minutes of him walking through the door like a good wife that's missed her husband would ;) The last 2 weeks {minus the 2 days he was home last week} have gone by way too slow. I asked him what he wanted to do tonight and he said he wanted to take me to see Captain America at midnight. Go figure. I guess he had fun at the Harry Potter showing last week if he wants to go to another midnight showing. He's awesome though. I'm just glad to have him home safe and sound.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Padded Headboard!!

What??!? Is this a new blog post from me you're reading?
Why Yes! It is.
Amazing right?? I know. And i'm sure, all 3 of you readers have been glued to your seats waiting on me to get to it.

I'm so proud of him every time i look at this picture.

Husband is gone on his 2nd Deployment of the month. He got home earlier this last week from the first one, was home for 2 days and took me to the midnight showing of Harry Potter, and then was off again for this next deployment at 5 the next morning. He's working like crazy this summer and yet he still manages to take me out and help fulfill my dreams. Yes, seeing the last Harry Potter movie was one of my dreams (: He'll be gone at least a week again, and my house is clean for the most part, so it was a choice between either laying on the couch watching a movie i've seen at least 80 times -- Pride and Prejudice, the Keira Knightley version. I admit it -- or make that post i've been promising to make for months and listen to the movie in the background. I figured since I know all the words to the movie... the choice was pretty obvious.
So here we go.
I've been coveting a new headboard for my bed for years. My whole life growing up i never had a headboard, just my mattress set on the metal bed frame. Depriving right? Ok, not really depriving, but at the time i felt like that was the case. There's nothing wrong with not having a headboard on your bed. But i'll be honest, i was jealous of my friends that had nice pretty ones. It wasn't until college when i got a queen size bed that i went to Kmart and found one for $7 (i couldn't believe i hadn't done it sooner when i payed that at the checkout).

So i've had this metal headboard that looked perfectly acceptable, but.....i hated it. Looks wise, its fine, and any bedding i put on my bed worked great with it. But trying to sit up in bed was a pain. Literally. I would pile up all my pillows against it, but that would only work for a short time. I had to position my spine exactly between the bars and i would be all slumped over and i would only be able to last about 10 minutes before either laying down or leaving the room all together. So, my answer was a padded headboard.
If you've ever looked, to buy one is expensive for those of us with a budget. But i'm crafty, i'm not afraid to try making things, so i made the decision to make it myself. I've been wanting to do it for years now, especially since we got married. And i'm so honest when i say this; it is soo comfortable. Compared to what i had before, its like night and day. I shouldn't have put it off for so long.
I had planned to make this post into a tutorial on how to make you're very own, but silly me, i didn't take pictures throughout the process so that's not really going to work too well for a step-by-step thing. But I drew you some pictures in paint and I'll do my best to break it down for you.
Basically, i found my instructions to make this headboard here on Beck's Chic Life while looking for different ways other people have made their own. I read through it and i got to work. Once I knew the technique it was simple.

What I used:

Particle Board (i had it cut to size for me at Home Depot)
Carpet Padding (or Foam if you would like)
Box Cutter
Quilt Batting
Upholstery Fabric
Staple Gun w/ Staples
Husband (this is optional - to help hold things while using the Staple Gun)

Beck said that while purchasing and getting the particle board cut at Home Depot, she was recommended to use Carpet Padding in replacement of the Foam most of the other sites recommend. I did my price checking, and it ended up being about the same price, and since i had gift cards for both Home Depot and Jo-Ann's (thanks Mom!), and i knew i would want more things later from Jo-Ann's, i went with the carpet padding and used up the HD card. I'm pretty sure using foam padding would have been just as comfortable, it was just a decision of what i could do with what i had at the time. If you don't know what carpet padding looks like, this is what you're looking for:

They have pre-cut selections all rolled up for you, or you can have them cut it for you to the size you want. I decided to go with 2 layers of carpet pad for my headboard like Beck did in her instructions, so i went ahead and purchased the pre-cut. It worked out great and i didn't have very much left over as scraps i wouldn't know what to do with later.
The first thing you need to do when making your own headboard is to figure out the shape and measurements of how large you want it to be. I went with the basic rectangle, and since i liked how tall my original metal headboard was, i just measured it and went with those numbers. I thought about splitting it up into 3 tall sections, covering them individually and then bracing them together across the back, but i wasn't sure if i trusted my skills at something like that yet so i kept it simple.
It was an adventure buying all my supplies because Husband came along for the shopping -- men usually agree to go to Home Depot without too much complaint when you say you need help (: But be prepared, if you are taking a man along, they have opinions about what works best and that's not always going to coincide with what you want or need. Sometimes they're right, and sometimes you're going to have to argue your point. I didn't want a super heavy headboard, but Husband wanted me to get the thicker, heavier, particle board because he didn't think thinner would last as long. I think he said something about "warping" and "chipping" and stuff along that line. Honestly i don't remember, i just went with it because he was so adamant about it, and he worked for a cabinet builder in college so i figured he knew a little bit more about wood then i do. But when i said i wanted to get brace plates to make it taller, he fought me on it for 30 minutes until i could demonstrated what i was talking about and show him i was right. Taking him along really wasn't bad though. He was more help then hindrance for sure. I was even able to get him into Jo-Ann's to get the fabric in the same trip. But i had already picked out what material i was going to get ahead of time so we were only in the store long enough to get it cut. If it had been for more then that he probably would have gone home and made me come back on my own.
Anyway, particle board is in sheets of 46" x 96", and then has different thicknesses. The height of the particle board on its side is a convenient size (46"), so you may only need to make one cut off the length. Because I was using the measurements of my original headboard, i wanted it taller then that convenient size by about 6 inches i think, so i used what was cut off -- i had to cut it down to 6" -- and used brace plates to attach it to the bottom to make it higher.

You'll need a drill if you want to go taller like i did. I used 4 brace plates, 2 on the front, 2 on the back. The brace plates are staggered on either side to keep it from getting bent. I centered the extension board along the bottom and butted it up flush with the main board, then i got Husband and we drilled the screws in to hold the boards together. They're extremely secure and i'm happy i won the argument to use them (: Husband even admits that i was right to use them.
I decided i wasn't going to pad and cover the entire board, just the part you'll see. The rest of it is below and behind the mattress line so there wasn't really much point in padding the whole thing. So, you're going to need to know those measurements as well if you decided to do the same thing.
Now, when picking out your fabric, make sure to pick out an upholstery weight fabric. Thinner fabrics can rip easily when trying to get it pulled tight across the board. Beck also recommends that if you use a light colored fabric that you may want something like quilt batting or a white piece of fabric between the upholstery fabric and carpet pad because otherwise it will show through. I chose a dark fabric, but i decided to go ahead and use the quilt batting in between because i could feel the texture of the carpet pad under the fabric. I know when i was little i was the type of kid to ruin my parents things. If i had felt the texture of the carpet pad underneath that fabric when i was little, i would have dug my fingers into it and tried to pull it apart through the material. I know i will have kids exactly like i was one day as punishment for what i did to my parents, so i decided to head that off and try to avoid it. The quilt batting softens it up even more so i think it was a good call no matter which color fabric i had used.
Now, on to the assembly. If making all the decisions on what materials to use, figuring out all the measurements and actually getting all of it weren't hard enough, now you have to put it together.

Make sure you have a large area to do all your work. Mark the board with a line across the front of the wood of where you want to start/stop covering with the materials. After that you will line up the padding with that line. You will want to have AT LEAST 3 inches of overhang, if not more, around the board on the sides and top so you have enough to pull around and staple down. You can start by laying the pad flat on the ground and laying the board on top of it. And then it's time to staple!! Staple to your hearts content. The first layer of padding doesn't really require talent....except when it comes to the corners. What I did was cut the corners off like you would if you were sewing a corner on a sewing machine to make it look sharp when you turn it inside out. And that makes absolutely no sense at all when i try to explain.... So i drew you another picture which is probably even more confusing (:

It all makes sense in my head, but I can only imagine how confusing i'm making this. Beck had a different method of doing the corners you may be more comfortable with, but this was my method and it seemed to work for me. To do it you cut off the corner (like the arrow says to do in the picture) and then fold the top of the padding over the top of the board (like the next 2 arrows show to do) and then staple it down across the back. This is where it's handy to have a Husband or friend around, especially when you get to the second layer. One of you can hold it down in place while the other of you can staple with all your weight behind the stapler. Make sure it is smooth -- if its laying flat on the floor you shouldn't have a problem -- and start stapling at the top in the middle and work your way out to the sides. Once the top is done, you'll do the same thing to the sides.
Then, you're going to repeat the whole process over again for the second layer of carpet padding.
And after that, again for the quilt batting. Line it up, fold and staple.
And then the upholstery fabric.

The upholstery fabric step is the one you need to make sure you pay attention to while you're doing it. Make sure it's SMOOTH and tight. You can lay it all flat and do this on the floor. I turned the board over and laid it on its back for this step first. This was the only time i used the staple gun on the front of the board. I lined the fabric up along the bottom, pulled it down below the line a couple inches and then stapled it. Make sure the staples go all the way into the board, even if you have to go over them with a hammer. You don't want your mattress or anything getting snagged on the staples later. After that I flipped the board over again onto its front (making sure it was smooth) and stapled along the top starting from the center and working my way out. I didn't do any cutting of the fabric when i got to the corners though. I folded the corners and used the fabric to cover the padding to keep it all tucked in and hide the messiness of it all.

I took a few pictures and then I got Husband to help me get it upstairs to take some more pictures of it all finished.

I even made my bed.
This headboard doesn't need mounting at all since i measured from the floor, it just leans against the wall. Because it's padded around the top and edges, there's no scratching on the wall. You could screw the bed frame onto the headboard if you would like, but i didn't feel the need because it was sturdy against the wall with the bed holding it up. It doesn't feel like it's going to fall over onto the bed at all.

I had a great debate with myself to decide which color upholstery fabric to use, and if i should use a patterned one or not. When it came down to it I ended up using a solid chocolate brown fabric. I had planned to use Taupe, which is a grayish tan/brown color, so it would go with more colors if i changed my bedding, but the samples looked different in the store light compared to when i brought them home to see which i liked best. They had a green tint in my room that i didn't like. I was against Chocolate Brown because i wasn't sure it would go with all my future linen choices, and also because i had the fear that i wouldn't notice if there was a spider on it. But, thankfully i haven't had the spider problem (yet). And when i changed my bedding from my winter bedding -- which is a blueish gray duvet and solid gray/blue sheets -- to my light summer bedding that's yellow and gray with matching solid colored sheets, it still looks good with the brown (:

Some time this summer -- probably while Husband is on deployment and i have free time -- i'll be making some big ruffled throw pillow to go with my pretty bedding.

Good luck in all your adventures making your own headboards. If you do make one, i would LOVE to see some pictures please!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.


Don't you hate when someone makes all these promises of wonderful things to come and say they're going to blog, and then MONTHS later, they still haven't? Lame right? And guess what: I'm terrible about calling people back too.
I'm sorry though. I've been procrastinating the picture editing part of my blogging.... no excuses though. Yes, i've been busy, a lot more busy then usual, but i did have time to do the picture editing.... I just didn't want to.
And now i have Girls Camp coming up, and its non-stop preparation getting ready for it. At the moment i'm procrastinating that by blogging :) And cleaning my house.
I want you all to know though, I will be keeping my promise to blog about great and wonderful things. Soon. THIS MONTH. I know there aren't many of you sitting in anticipation, but to the few of you that are waiting patiently, thanks.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

So Many Things

So, i haven't been on here telling you all about life in over a month. I had time while i was in Idaho with my parents, but i wasn't really sure what to say. But I'm back now, and i've been non stop busy and i have all kinds of things to say. If only i can remember everything. This is everything you can look forward to hearing about SOON:

1. I finished my padded headboard! (pictures to come)
2. I went to Idaho to help my dad with him amnesia (as previously stated)
3. H a great date with husband when we both finally got home (6 weeks apart is too long!)
4. We deep cleaned the house top to bottom and i got to do some decorating (i have pictures for this too)
5. Husbands parents and sister came for their spring break (more pictures)
6. I made my own place mats (pictures again)
7. I'm making my own curtains. finally (there will be pictures when i finish)
8. I broke my kindle getting into bed
9. We started dieting (for real. not just "watching what we eat")
10. I've started teaching in Young Women at church and i'm getting ready for Girls Camp

How can you contain your excitement to hear all my stories?!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Vacation Time Again

At the beginning of the month Husband is leaving for sunny Florida to do 6 weeks of schooling for work. February in Florida, compliments of the US Coast Guard. Everything is paid for -- the plane ticket, hotel, car, food. Honestly, who wouldn't want to skip the winter cold and head off to 70-80° sunny weather? I know i would love it. And that has been the plan, for me to go with him :) We knew this training was coming up for him so we've been waiting for his official orders before we purchased the tickets for me to fly out with him -- we were waiting just in case they pushed back his schedule like they usually do. I've been dreaming about it for months to be honest. Palm trees and beaches, reading by the pool, maybe hit up Disney World one weekend and basically just enjoying a month long cheaper then normal vacation. I couldn't wait for February to get here. I've never been to Florida before either.
But our plans have changed. Instead of going to the warmer sun and tropics -- cuz lets face it, yes Sacramento doesn't worry about snow too much in the winter, just the mass amounts of rain -- I'm off to Idaho. Where they have snow. My goal this winter was to not have to see a single flake of snow. That would have been heaven to me if i could have pulled it off. But no. I get to go see this stuff instead. This snow. Snow has its pretty pictures. But to me it's all pretty much yucky. I like to dress up warm, sweatshirts and long sleeves and jeans and coats and scarves. I don't mind bundling up for some cold. My problem comes from the fact that I'm not a winter driver at all any more. I don't even like to be in the car when other people are driving in the snow. If we end up settling in a climate that has regular snow fall in the winter, i'm planning to become a shut-in during the winter. And i've looked at the weather forecast for next week.... there's snow and the lows will be in the teens. But I'm going to suck it up. We talked it over and we feel like the best thing right now for me to do is to go home to Idaho and see my dad. I haven't decided when i'll be coming back to California, but i know i'll be back by the time Husband gets home from Florida because about 2 days after he gets home, his parents and sister are coming to visit for their spring break (yea!).
If you haven't been following, my dad fell in his garage the other week and hit his head which has caused his having Amnesia now. I've been calling and talking to my step-mom Cindy a lot over the last two weeks to get updates on my Dad. She's doing everything she possible can to make sure he's taken care of and comfortable, but i think in the past ten years that she's been part of our family that this was the first time i've ever heard her cry. I know she has cried, but never to me. This is just one of those trials where getting all the family support that we can is so important. She's doing everything she can on her own and its hard. I would spend every day crying if i were in her shoes.
The Doctors are saying he should regain his memory, its just going to take some time. He seems to be the most comfortable when he's in Salt Lake -- where he grew up -- and when he was there last he was able to enjoy lunch with one of his uncles and aunt, and my step-mom said for that hour he was just like his normal self. The doctors are saying not to expect improvements each day, but we should be seeing progress trends on a weekly basis. He definitely still has his same sense of humor, which is really endearing to me, and he's still the same person despite the fact that he can't remember what and who all made him the person he is. My step-mom says he's kind of weak on his left side right now also, and it makes him unsteady on his feet. Thinking about my dad being weak is almost blasphemous to me. He has always been the Big Strong Man to me. But, he should get back his strength in time with his memory, so that's good too.
I'm just glad i'm able to go home right now. It'll give me a little peace of mind to see him. I'll be putting pictures into his book that he was working on so that he has references to go with his writing. Spending time talking with him will be good for him too. At least it has been on the phone, so i can only imagine it would be better face to face for him. And for me, seeing my mom, step-mom and little brother will be great too.
I want to tell everyone thank you for all the well wishes for my Dad and our family. All the offers for help have not fallen on deaf ears. We are so grateful for everyone in our families and from church. Its nice to have so much help and support :)

Low Carb Pizza Crust....w/ Cauliflower?

So, a while back i was watching TV in the afternoon at a time of day i don't ever watch tv. I couldn't find anything on -- which is probably why i don't watch tv in the afternoon -- and ended up watching Dr. Oz. Don't get me wrong, i have nothing against Dr. Oz, but there's just something about him that weirds me out so i don't watch him that often. But the episode was on weight loss secrets, and since that's a topic you can't go wrong learning more about, i decided to watch it. He had these 3 women sharing 3 of the things that helped them all lose a tone of weight, and one of the women said she cut out carbs (like we've never been told that one before!) and replaced

them with veggies. If you're like me, cutting carbs is H-A-R-D. I love white rice, pasta, sugars,

and any carb you can think of way too much. Yes, when we got married i switched us from

White to Wheat for our breads and pastas, and last year i mastered making a brown/white rice hybrid in my rice maker (the brown needs 2 cycles through the cooker so i do that on its own first then throw in the white with its water and mix it all up and turn it on again). But what about Pizza? I don't make my own bread dough like my step-mom Cindy. All the yummy pizza places use white dough. I've got nothing against thin crust pizza, but i never think to order it.

I make personal pizzas for myself with those wonderful sandwich thins.

I'll put some pesto on them, sprinkle on some fetta cheese, slice up a tomato to top it off and throw it all under the broiler. L-O-V-E it! I usually make it for myself on the nights when Husband has to stay overnight at work. It's one of those quick meals i didn't feel too guilty eating. But, this women on the show was saying one of the recipes she cut carbs with was with a Cauliflower Pizza Crust. What?? Who would have thought up such a thing? After hearing of it, i knew i had to try it. And guess what, its actually good. I kept telling Husband that i was going to make this pizza crust, and he would get this scared look in his eyes and i could see that he was hoping i would forget that i wanted to make it. But i didn't, and he ate it. I made 2 pizzas and got 2 slices of it before he ate the whole other pizza plus the other half of the one i had started eating. So, this is the recipe i found that turned out really good for us, and i figured i would share it with everyone on here.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (<--linked)

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower*
1 egg
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp fennel
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp parsley

pizza or alfredo sauce (Any jar of pizza or marinara sauce works great, or Alfredo if you want to do a "white" pizza)

toppings (make sure meats are cooked)
mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Farenheit.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray (i line all my pans with aluminum foil and then spray it so i can avoid scrubbing when i have to wash up).

In a medium bowl, combine cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Press evenly on the pan. Sprinkle evenly with fennel, oregano and parsley.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes (15-20 minutes if you double the recipe).

Remove the pan from the oven. To the crust, add sauce, then toppings and cheese.

Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted **.


*I use frozen cauliflower prepared according to package directions in the microwave
without water. After cooked and slightly cooled, shred cauliflower with a cheese grater (i used my chopper, but if you have a food processor that would work too), and then measure for the recipe. (Don't pack down the cup with cauliflower. Just fill it with a spoon or the cup itself.)

** You can try re-baking the pizza at 450 once you add toppings if desired, but the crust is not quite as crusty. There is a minimal difference, so see what works best for you.

This is really good if you're going Gluten Free. It's delicious and you get vegetables and pizza for dinner. I mentioned this in home making (or what ever it is they call it now) and they've asked me to make it for them in March.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Retrograde Amnesia -- a person's pre-existing memories are lost to conscious recollection, beyond an ordinary degree of forgetfulness. The person may be able to memorize new things that occurs after the onset of amnesia, but is unable to recall some or all of their life or identity prior to the onset.
I've been struggling with weather or not i should blog about this, but this is something that right now is really most definitely affecting me. Chances are i won't publish this post because more then anything i'm venting, but i kind of need to throw this out into the void so maybe not, so humor me today.

This handsome man is my father.
I'm absolutely a daddy's girl. I love my dad. Not that i'm putting him on a pedestal, but my dad is one of my favorite people i know. He's a good man, and a great example. He has his faults, some more then others, but he admits them, and one of the good things about him is that he's humble enough to make the efforts to right his wrongs. And that great example part about him, the part where he loves his family and appreciates everything that he has and everyone around him, and would give the shirt off his back if you asked... that's the part that i love about him. He can seem like a bear sometimes, but he's really a gentle giant. All the good things about him are the good things i was looking for when i found Husband.
This past week, while my dad was rotating the tires on my step-mom's car, he fell in the garage and hit his head. My step-mom heard him cry out and found him on the ground with a huge welt on the side of his head which she thinks he got from hitting his head on a propane tank. He was taken to the hospital, scanned, tested and monitored while he was in and out of consciousness, and initially was diagnosed with a concussion. There was nothing bleeding or broken and his scans were all normal. But after he woke up, when anyone tried to talk to him, he kept pointing to his ears saying he couldn't hear anything. The kicker was when he got to focus on his wife Cindy and asked who she was. It was the same thing through the afternoon whenever he woke up: "I can't hear you. My head hurts. Who are you?", so amnesia was added on to his diagnoses. Once he started getting his hearing back a little he said he was hungry. He was sent home and told to do nothing but rest for the next 3 days and was scheduled to see a neurologist in Salt Lake on day 4.
When he got home, he didn't recognize it. He asked his wife to show him where he could lay down. Nothing is familiar to him right now. He doesn't know his home or his family, and doesn't recognize anyone that stops by to see him. So far, its embarrassing, confusing and frustrating for him when he knows he can't remember something. He's still has his basic living skills though; walking and talking and reading and all that. But he's not able to express himself as articulately as he usually does. He takes his time thinking for the right words. For him, usually when he's frustrated and tired, he's a grouch, but i've been talking with my step-mom and she says he's actually being very pleasant and patient. He just excuses himself and asks for a little space. I got to talk to him today for his birthday, and he sounds like himself for the most part, he still thinks the same way. He was saying me a lot of the little jokes he says when we talk about his weight or something, and he was proud to hear all the good things that are going on for everyone, so he's still the same person. When my step-mom gave him a driving tour of their town the other day, he knew he loved Arctic Circle and wanted to stop there for lunch, which is something very typical for him to want to do. When they went to Salt Lake for his neurology appointment, Salt Lake being where he grew up, he recognized parts of it. The house where his mother lived, and those kids of places. He kind of knew his way around, and while he was talking to a Air Force vet at the VA hospital that served in Korea, he remembered, on his own, his favorite uncle who also served in Korea. Also on his own he has been able to remember that he has 3 sisters and a brother, and Cindy fills him in when he asks for it. But usually he only wants little doses of information before its too much to comprehend. He's been shown pictures, and he recognizes himself in them, and he thought he knew who his uncle was in the same picture, but my brother and i were new to him. People and places are still knew to him, and its going to take some time. He's very positive about all of it though, so i think that's really good. When i was telling him tonight about places we've lived, he was very excited to hear of all the things he's done (like living on Guam, and Scuba diving), and he thinks its very interesting that he has so many guns ans SO much stuff for reloading bullets. I think he was kind of laughing at himself the way he was talking about it. He's positive about everything, and that's the part that matters.
When i found out what had happened, I cried. I admit it. There wasn't anything else i could do. The last few days, just thinking about him makes me tear up. I cry for him, and the thought of how hard it is for him through all of this. And, selfish person that i am, i cry for me knowing my father, the man i deeply love and am constantly turning to for advice and comfort, the man that helped raise me with my mother...that mad doesn't know or remember me at all. So this moment --

the one where we dance at my wedding, is lost to him right now. All my special memories with him are lost to him. He doesn't know me, his first born. And there isn't anything i can do to help him right now. Nothing is going to help him but time and faith right now.
About 2 years ago he started writing his personal history down, made a whole book about his life and things he could remember. This December he got all the way up to the part where he started dating my step-mom Cindy, which is something she remembers very well and can definitely fill him in on, so he has that to go to if this takes a while to get over. And if i can't be there for him, the person i trust more then anyone to help him through all this is Cindy. She's a blessing to our family, and most absolutely to him, and she has been for 10 years now. I know how hard it is for me, all the way in California, so i can only imagine what this is doing to her, having the man she loves not know who she is or how much they really love each other. But she's being strong, and positive, and he is too, and she's there for him all the time to help him. He wants to remember, he just knows its going to take some time. He's looking through pictures, and he's reading the books he keeps by his bed (about his guns and reloading), and he's retaining everything about all of it really easily, which is very typical for his type of amnesia. He was spouting out all kinds of information he read today like its second nature to him, which it is to him really, so these are all good things. More then anything its hard knowing he doesn't know us right now, but after talking to him today finally, i have a lot of hope that things will come back to him in time.
So family and friends, i'm asking for everyone to remember my dad Mario in your prayers for the next little while. We all feel like things are going to be ok in the end, that this is just a temporary trial and that he'll get his memories back. But until that happens, we're asking for some Divine comfort and help from Heavenly Father, and a little extra happy positive loving thoughts sent our way.
And thanks, for letting me vent today ;]

Monday, January 10, 2011

English Toffee

So I've been reading A LOT since i got my Kindle for Christmas. I've always enjoyed reading, and when i find a good book, i will re-read it more times then i can count. I used to got books from the Library and borrow from friends, but since we moved here to CA i've been seriously lacking in new books because i found our local library seriously lacking in any books, and anything that they do have that's any good has a waiting list a year long....So i started buying books online to get in the mail. I found used and new books cheap on and Amazon (you can find books for a penny + S&H) and the books i already did have were read multiple times.
But since getting the Kindle, i've discovered all kinds of new authors because of the free reads and books under $3. An author i found was Joanne Fluke, she writes murder mystery books (that are clean!), and in all of her books she includes tons of delicious recipes.
Tonight, i decided to give one of the recipes a try. Since i love to share good stuff, i figured this was worth telling you about. Husband didn't think he would like it because he thinks crackers sound weird to be in candy, but he did like it. He wants to take it with him to work tonight. And sorry about the picture being so crap, my camera needed to be charged so i used my phone.

(from Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, rack in the middle position.

16-ounce box Club Crackers* (Mine were Keebler. You'll use only one packet)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
2 cups milk chocolate chips (12-ounce bag)
2 cups chopped pecans (salted or unsalted, it really doesn't matter)

Line a 10-inch by 15-inch cookie sheet with foil. If you have a jellyroll pan, that's perfect. If you don't, turn up the edges of the foil to form sides.
Spray the foil with Pam or other nonstick cooking spray. (You want to be able to peel it off later, after the candy hardens.)
Line the pan completely with Club Crackers, salt side up. Cover the whole bottom. (You can break the crackers in pieces to make them fit if you have to.) Set the cracker-lined jellyroll pan or cookie sheet aside while you cook the toffee mixture.

You don't need a candy thermometer to make this candy :]]

Combine the butter with the brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly. Boil it for exactly five minutes, stirring it constantly. If it sputters too much, you can reduce the heat and if it starts to lose the boil, you can increase the heat. Just don't stop stirring.
Pour the mixture over the crackers as evenly as you can.
*I started by pouring the mixture in lines from top to bottom over the length of the pan. Then I turn it and pour more lines over the width of the pan. Once the whole pan is crosshatched
with the hot toffee mixture, pour any that's left where it's needed. If it doesn't cover the crackers completely, don't worry - it'll spread out a bit in the oven.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake the toffee at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the milk chocolate chips over the top. Give the chips a minute or two to melt and then spread them out as evenly as you can with a heat-resistant spatula, a wooden paddle, or a frosting knife.
*when i pulled it out of the oven i didn't think it looked done because it was still bubbly and looked about the same consistency as it did when i put it in, but it really was fine. It hardens while the chocolate is melting on top of it.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top of the chocolate and refrigerate the pan.
When the toffee has thoroughly chilled, peel it from the foil and break it into random-sized pieces.

i can't stop eating it even though i have to because my stomach is rebelling against me.

A Little Late Is Better Then Nothing At All

Happy New Year! ....ten days after the fact. Sorry.
I'm hanging my head in shame right now. I know it's been a while since i've really done a whole update (over a month), and since Husband and i are a bad married couple and didn't send out a cute Christmas card of us to all of our family and friends -- even though i wanted to but Husband shoot down that idea cuz he thought it was silly until we got a bunch from all his siblings proving my point -- i get to fill you in here. But i wanted to give an update on how life is going.
....It's going :) Nothing too great, and nothing terrible.
This past year included a bit of traveling, cooking, lots of cleaning, crafts, and lots of happy days together and with our friends and family. Husband got certified in September so he's flying with the crews on the C1-30's now. He keeps the planes running right, does safety checks, and currently he's working on getting qualified to work on the radio in flight. He'll say things like "Niner" and "Charlie" and radio talk stuff like that :) This is just in time for him to attend C school this coming February in sunny Florida for the month. He also started going back to college this fall semester. It was only 3 credits in English, but he's gearing up to get ready to go back to college full time when his time is up with the Coast Guard so we're getting ready for that when the time comes. He's still working with the 11 year old scouts at church. There aren't many of them in his group, but he's still having fun with it every week.
And me? Well, you've been reading about my life on here for the most part. i don't think i've left a lot out. I'm still working in Nursery at church, which really is a highlight of my week, and things are going good. I tell Husband every week how i wish i could kidnap some of my little nursery kids and take them home with me, but he says that i'm not allowed to and he's pretty firm on that. I've decided i may be going back to school myself this spring. I've talked with a counselor, and if i can get the schedule worked out, then i think i'm going to do it. I'm having a little trouble with the idea of having to get up before 7 a.m. -- yes, i've been spoiled as a house wife by sleeping in till 8:30 at least, and i admit it -- but as much as i hate to give that up, school isn't for forever. If i get into the program, 18 months will fly by. I could take evening classes, but then i would never see Husband. He's working nights now, so he's sleeping when he gets home in the mornings and i won't be missing much by being at school during that time.
So to fill you in on the last few months since i haven't been blogging.... for Thanksgiving we did not have a big thing at our house again. Last year we had a party less then a week after moving into our house with a bunch of new friends from church, but we didn't want to go to all that hassle again this year. Maybe next year though ;) We were debating weather to make a small version at home for just the two of us or to go out to dinner, but then we got a call from our friends from Utah, the Vallens, that were coming to see their Grandma in Napa Valley for Thanksgiving and they invited us to join them. Since the Vallens are like Husband's extra family, if we had had plans before, we would have had to cancel cuz there's no way we could have missed it. Thanksgiving dinner was amazing, Sister Vallen is a fantastic cook and i especially loved it because they wouldn't let me bring anything. I don't remember the last time i was fed that well with such delicious food. The day after Thanksgiving we didn't get up at any crazy hour for Black Friday shopping, not that i ever have. Instead we went with the Vallen's to San Francisco. We took the ferry and spent the day walking around Pier 41 and Ghirardelli Square being tourists. It was great, especially since that was one of the things on my list to do in SF that we didn't do for my birthday.

The beginning of Dec was Husbands work Christmas party. I've been asked to post a picture of how my dress turned out for that, but silly me, i didn't take any. Lame right? When the thought struck me that i should take one it was the end of the night when we got home, and since it had been raining my hair had lost all its curl/body and looked terrible so i decided it wasn't a great idea. Sorry girls :( But at least i have a cute dress and hot husband left over from the night, right? I'll admit it right now though, if he wants to go again next year i'm re-wearing the dress cuz shopping for that was not fun.
We had to do it a day early because of Husband's work schedule, but we had our first Christmas at home together without going to see either of our families. Our first year being married we went to see my family, and last year was with Husband's family. But this season I got to decorate my house and get a tree and everything. I got all the Christmas present shopping done 2 weeks before the big day even :) I'm a terrible wife though. Over a month before Christmas Husband's xbox had the dreaded Red Ring of Death. There are some guys out there that know how to fix that, but Husband isn't one of those. As soon as it appeared Husband declared it dead and asked if he could go buy a new one as he was disconnecting his old one and putting on his shoes to go out. Seriously. That red light started flashing and it went from zero to $300 in under 10 seconds. We had just taken the first trip to SF for my birthday, and Christmas was only a month away, so i was surprised that he was so willing to spend that kind of money. It made me feel like i was kicking a puppy when i first told him no, that he had to wait. But i gave in the next day.... I just couldn't tell him no. The new xbox came with the Kinect though, so it has given us some fun evenings playing together...except for the night Husband slapped my arm so hard while we were playing Ping Pong and i balled like a baby. I had a bruise for a few days from that one and now he's afraid to play with me. He'll be standing on the wall side of the room when we play for now though. But after that, he was impossible to shop for for gifts since i let him get it. He says he's a simple guy and he just doesn't want anything, so it makes me feel selfish that i do want things...until i remember that we spent $300 on the new xbox for him. I'm sorry for being a girl, but i want chair covers and curtains. I've done the pricing for both of them, and they didn't add up to $300. And a KitchenAid! I've been dreaming about getting one for years. But who's the one that has to wait for what they want? I'm ok with this though, only because i would have had to be the one to entertain him all the time if he didn't have it.
For my gift giving i decided to make gifts for all of my sisters-in-law. I'm in love with all the cute aprons you can find online, and i found so many on Etsy it was impossible to pick one for myself, but if i wanted to give them as gifts, at about $30 an apron, i wouldn't even get one for myself. But then i found a pattern on Etsy to make my own and decided to take on the project :) I went to JoAnn's Fabric and picked out enough cute fabric for all 5 of my sisters-in-law and hunkered down in my craft room with the sewing machine and ironing board, and the laptop with Netflix so i would have something to listen to/watch while i was in there. Four days later, and just in time to get them all in the mail, i was done.
Husband didn't want me to post these pictures, but after days of just showering but not doing my hair or putting on makeup or even getting dressed in more then pj's because i was holed up in the craft room, I wasn't going to be the one to pose for the pictures. Of course he doesn't fill out the aprons like a girl so they don't look as cute as they would if i had sucked it up and did it myself, but you get the idea.

For Coty





He didn't want to smile for the camera even though i told him that the only people that actually read our blog are family or close friends, but i think he has some left over traumatic memories of some certain pictures that were taken when we were younger. One where he's dressed up in a dress.....

He's such a good sport for me :]

The aprons all turned out great though. I slowly got better and better with my sewing skills on each one and i'm happy with what i accomplished. From what i heard from everyone, they loved them :] I originally purchased the pattern to make one for me, but it quickly morphed into a much bigger project once i got the idea into my head and i still haven't made one for myself. I haven't decided which colors i want to use for mine and i'm not looking forward to standing in JoAnn's for hours on end again to decide what i like the most for me.

Since Christmas, i've been spending my time reading. A lot. Husband got me a Kindle for Christmas and i can't seem to put it down. It's so easy to just press a button and have a new book to read. It can only lead to trouble... I've read about 15 books already, and there are about that many more that i've wanting to read. But i've put myself on a budget and right now i'm reading on the free books that i can find that seem interesting.

I've taken breaks from reading to do a little crafting though. I've drawn up my plans and dimensions for the padded headboard i'm going to make for our bed, and this week is going to be the week i start making it. I have the money for the materials, i've borrowed a drill from a friend, and i'm ready to get it done. I'm excited to be getting this done finally cuz i've been talking about doing it for forever.

We're looking forward to this next year and seeing how it unfolds. This last year was great, but I'm thinking this year is going to be even better for us.

I hope everyone had a great holiday!