Monday, December 31, 2007

Holiday House

This is late, but what the heck. I didn't do too much decorating this year, but with our little house, a little goes a LONG way. I especially loved our tree this year. I used 3 different garlands and stuck with my red and white and silver theme.

I added letters I embellished to my ikea mirrors that are here year-round. Just used basic tape to keep them up - you can see them peeking around the tree.
I love these ornaments - the clear ball with the feathers. They're meant to be gift card holders that I picked up after Christmas last year and I thought they'd be better suited on my tree.

This is a find from this year's after Christmas sales. glittery ornaments I made this year. LOVE those. I wish I could have found more of the things but hopefully they'll come out with a newer design for next year.

My new nativity! I'm hoping to add more pieces throughout this next friend's mom can get them for me wholesale.

K, that's it. Now time for the take down and installing our new floor.

Recipe: Refrigerator Rolls (and cinnamon rolls!)

I found a recipe for these on someone else's blog but then didn't bookmark the link nor did I remember what kind of blog it was, so I ended up just using a recipe found through Google. I have to say, these are THE most delicious cinnamon rolls I've ever made and although I LOVE my mom's rolls, these are easier for me to make than her recipe (easy and, well, these seem fool-proof).

Refrigerator Rolls:

4 cups of milk, scalded and poured over

1 cup sugar and
1 cup butter

I set these in the bowl of my kitchen-aid and kept the setting on low.

Let cool and then add

2 packages (or for those who buy in bulk - 5 tsp.) yeast dissolved in
1/2 cup water


8 cups of flour(all-purpose), one cup at a time

Cover and let rise until doubled, then add

1 cup flour mixed with
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cover and let rise again.

I took the whole batch and rolled it out on a floured surface, rolled it out with a rolling pin and used a round cookie/biscuit cutter to cut out a dozen rolls. Bake at 425 for 12-15 min. So, after I cut out a dozen rolls I still had a substantial amount of dough left. I made these AWESOME cinnamon rolls. Seriously, if I could share one with everyone, I would, that's how awesome they are (I hate to admit this, but I've eaten 9 of them. OH gosh, that sounds worse when I type it and read it again. K, I'm banned from cinnamon rolls for a month.)

For Cinnamon Rolls:
Mix together

1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon

then spread over rolled out dough rectangle. I then melted another 2-3 tbsp butter (I eyeballed everything) and just kind of drizzled it over the top of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Then I rolled the dough up and cut them into pieces. I let them sit in the pans for 5 min to rise before I tossed them in th oven. Baked on 400 degrees for 20 min or so (may have been less, I just watched them until the tops were brown).

Cream cheese frosting:

Cream together

1 package cream cheese (8oz?)
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla

then add 4 cups powdered sugar, one at a time. If it gets too thick, add less sugar. If that's too late, add milk 1 tsp at a time.

MMM...Enjoy! (and call me if you make some cuz I want!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

A White Elephant

Yesterday was our 2nd Annual White Elephant at work. Probably the best. People definitely upped the ante.

I picked the 4th gift. It was from one of the owners, who did the same thing last year (stuck $10 in an envelope). This was only different in that it was 10 $1 coins. Of course it got stolen from me.

Next I picked up a nice pretty box from ann taylor. Inside contained a license plate. So I said, "oh wow! it has authentic dirt on it!" and then I hear from someone else, "hey! that's MY license plate! what the heck!?" to which i replied, well, unless you steal it from me, it looks like I'll be driving a bmw from now on, huh. One of the girls went and took it off of John's car a minute after he pulled up for the meeting. So funny.

(i'm just giving the highlights of the gifts)

So then I stole the money back. And then I stole this awesome bust and ended up with it.

Seriously, people were emotionally attached to Abe during the game. One of the guys wanted it so badly that he offered me $10 for it. Of course I took it. So I ended up with the $10 afterall.

Other gifts:

Foam Samurai Swords (I brought those in - they were from my DI pile)
some sort of perfumey soap thing that was regifted
a mexican masher/grinder (...molcajete?) thing with dip bowls
a first aid kit
a really really horrible picture of one of the owners that keeps getting floated around the office/packs of gum/jewelry
a post-it note with an I.O.U for Lunch
a TERRIBLE book of poetry called Love Will Come Again (example from book: love can be found anywhere: in front of a college dorm, in the back seat of a chevy...)
a food storage #10 can of powdered fruit drink
a HUGE poster of a picture from our summer party of two of the sales guys in the swimsuit with one guy grabbing the other's chest. (A kid who's only been here a month did that...ballsy)

There were more but I can't think of them. Good days.

Also! Ryan got an interview for the University of Nebraska! hooray! nice work, honey. He'll be flying out in January. Cross your fingers he gets in AND gets financial assistance.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pregnancy Tests

So let me just start off that no, I'm not pregnant. I wish I were, but I'm not.

But peeing on a stick wouldn't tell me that...because the last 3 tests I've used seem to be faulty or not work correctly or human error.

So I got a prescription refill of Medroxy, which I guess is progesterone and will help me start ovulating (which is currently the problem), but I didn't want to start taking it until I took one last prego test, just to be sure.

What does it mean when the last 3 tests you've used don't have the little line show up in the controlled section? Something is wrong with my pee. There's no way there are that many faulty tests, esp. since they're all 3 different brands (first was dollar store, second was walmart brand, then got FactPlus) and I just got a negative in the negative area and a very very faint line (if you could call it a line) in the controlled section. On the cheapo one I, um, kind of screwed that one up myself because it's not as easy as just peeing on a stick. I ended up with the line bleeding through the whole thing. Weird, I know, but leave it up to me!

So, I'm about 99% sure I'm not pregnant and now I get to start another cycle of prescriptions and hope that this one results in either a period or pregnancy...cuz this whole 'you're not getting either' business makes me unhappy. Merry-barren-Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Flurry of Christmas Activities

It all started Thursday night. Every year my office holds a Christmas dinner for the employees and their spouses. Very casual, just a great time. This year was no exception. Although our night started super late (8pm) we all joined up at Carrabbas in Orem (yay for not having to travel!) and I had THE most delicious sirloin marsala, mezzaluna (i don't know if this spelling is right at all), and chicken something or other that had a creamy lemon/butter/cheese sauce with herbs and sundried tomatoes. OH. MY. GOOD! It was awesome and even better as leftovers!

8PM- Thursday --- So dinner with spouses, usually on a Thursday, and then yesterday started at whole day of Christmas activities for all the employees.

8AM Friday --- It's tradition to sponsor a family for Sub-for-Santa. We had 4 kids this year so we headed to Old Navy to find the kids some clothes and then to Target to get them some toys and books.

10:15 am --- head back to the office. Some of the guys decided to get in a few minutes of work, some us of played foosball, and some geniuses hooked up Guitar Hero in the conference room and we got a few games in (fun game).

11:15am --- Headed to Orem for lunch at Jason's Deli and to meet up with one of the girls who couldn't make it until now.

1pm --- Laser Assault in Provo. I will admit I wasn't really too excited about this. I wasn't sure if I'd have fun or I'd be good at it, but holy crud, SO much fun. For anyone who hasn't been before, this place has vests you put on with these guns attached that look like mini dustbusters. You creep and crawl around and hide and sneak and look for people on the opposite team and try to get their lasers to go off via sensors on their shoulders and chest. We played two games, boys vs girls, then mixed it up for the second game. I did awesome the first game and came in 2nd overall (hooray for moi) but then the second game we used the buddy system and my partner Marisha came in second. I got completely sweaty and the fog machine made many of our throats a bit hoarse, but with 17 people, we were able to constantly be shooting and hiding. loved it. OH, so during the second game one of the guys turned the wrong way, smacked into a corner of a wall (which is just sheets of sharp corners) and had to run to urgent care for some stitches. good thing we signed waivers, right?

2:45PM --- Headed to Jump On It in Lindon. This just opened probably 6 or 7 mos ago, maybe less, but it's a huge warehouse with bouncehouses and huge inflatable slides and over 2/3 of the floor is trampoline and they mounted basketball hoops way high up on the wall. They also have some on an angle up on the wall so you can run and jump up against the wall and you just FLY off. I think I sprained/bruised my foot during the course of our game of dodgeball.

4:05PM --- headed back to the office to see what our gifts from the company would be. They always have some awesome games/ways to choose gifts. This year they did it similar to how they did it last year. Survival rules (like the show). They also combined a game we often play for determining where we eat lunch called High Card. For lunch the person who draws the highest card from a deck gets to take off a vote from the options for lunch until there is only one place left and thats where we eat. For yesterday, the lowest card got to pick a wrapped present from one of the piles (more girly gifts, gender neutral, and more manly gifts) and that's what they got....
Well, that's what they got until someone stole it. So as the game goes on and people have gifts in front of them, people who get to choose a gift can either open one from the pile or steal an opened gift from someone. If your gift is stolen, you can either steal a gift from someone else or choose one from the pile.
Certain cards meant certain things. If a joker was pulled, you got to open two gifts from the wrapped pile and essentially choose one. Some gifts had another game called Penalties associated with it. For the ipod, you had to sing a verse of a christmas song to get it. For the 13ft trampoline, the last person to have it and didn't want it had to return it to the store (this was just because it was the largest box/gift and they didn't want to have to return it).
So I ended up opening the second gift and I chose from the girls pile. It was a beautiful white gold tennis bracelet and matching earrings from Nordstrom. I don't wear jewelry very often, so I was hoping someone else would LOVE it, too. Anyways, some of the gifts were definitely boys' gifts, some definitely girls (a pair of UGG boots and a Nordstrom gift card). So I ended up singing my way to this red iPod nano. Hooray! I wanted it for christmas but didn't want Ryan spending that much so we put it off until my birthday....I love my office! some of the other gifts were a Garmin GPS system, behind the seat DVD player car kit, Photo Printer, Digital video camera, digital camera, Portable DVD player (a WAY nice one), camping gear, an iZip Scooter, and a few other things I can't remember.

6PM --- head home. Sore. Sweaty, and probably smelly from all the running/jumping/ducking/dodging I did that day. Everyone ended up with something they wanted and was so grateful for working for some awesome guys.

I was soo tired and wanted to go to sleep, but hopped in the shower, got on some jammies and ran out to run a few errands with my husband.

Today I slept until 10:30am, then got up for only about an hour, then fell asleep again until 2:45, just as Ryan was heading to work.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Questions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? For Christmas it's wrapping paper. But i'm not fun with it. I just get brown kraft paper (like what's used for shipping) and put all the Christmas ribbon I bought from Costco to good use. Easiest to store, really. So all I need to have is lots of ribbon on hand (which I tend to have anyway) and a roll of brown paper...perfect for any occasion.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. It started when we were younger because of allergies in the family. I just like the convenience of not having to water or vacuum or put lights on my tree every year. With artificial, I can get somewhat heavy ornaments and they'll NEVER break the branch off the tree. I like the smell of real trees, but if I really care enough, I can get a tree air freshener thing...or just a real wreath.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually right after Thanksgiving, but this year it wasn't until the 9th. If it had gotten any later I would have rather just skipped it....although, my tree is Gee---ooorrrr-jus. I did three layers of beaded/jeweled/glass garland and then put the ornaments on.

4. When do you take the tree down? no standing date. Just whenever we get around to it.

5. Favorite gift received as a child? for Christmas? I don't know if I got this for christmas but one year I got a Fussy Doll - she cried until you put her binky or thumb in her mouth and moved her arms and legs. Well, she cried until I put her in the tub with me. Then the wiring gave out. I still have her. She's in my memory box with some other things. OH! I remember this WAS for christmas one year. My mom made us each our own cabbage patch dolls...except they weren't cabbage patch, they were bigger and softer. I'm not sure if they were supposed to be cabbage patch because they were cheaper to make than to buy actual cabbage patch ones, but I LOVED them! each had a different hair color and outfit that my mom spent hours upon hours on (i'm sure) to make. Dang it, I wonder what happened to those...I think we may have given them away. that makes me sad now.

6. Do you have a nativity scene? I just bought one. I don't have it yet, though. A friend's mom was able to get this wholesale for me and I'm so excited!

7. Hardest person to buy for? My husband! oh my gosh, it's almost made Christmas not fun. No wonder he doesn't care for the holidays. I still don't have anything for him, really. It's so frustrating. I told him I might just end up having to get him giftcards or give him money. gah!

8. Easiest to buy for? Girls, really. I know what girls like more than what boys like. My family usually has some sort of wish list. It's easy to work from that.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. Since we don't have kids, I don't see it as being very important and really, no one really cares yet.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? hmmm...

11. Favorite Christmas Movie? I'm not going to be cliche and say Elf, because everyone loves that movie. I love the old school Miracle on 34th street. The one with Maureen O'Hara.

12. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, just wedding presents.

13. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? HAM! I love ham. and goodies from friends. mmm...nothing like homemade treats! and ham.

14. Clear lights or colored on the tree? White for sure. I never really liked the colored lights. I think they look awesome outside on trees (like, one color per tree) but on the house and in the house, white lights, please. I don't even like the LED lights. they have a bluish tint to them.

15. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night and Carol of the Bells. Oh, and The Christmas song. (chestnuts roasting on an open fire....) Although, Evonne mentioned Jack Johnson's rudolph and now I'm curious. I haven't heard it before. Oh! and a more contemporary song by the Waitresses called Christmas Wrapping (or rapping - i don't know how it's spelled). Ryan hates hates HATES that song.

16. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel to family's homes. We're rotating with the in-laws. First year was with my fam, then by ourselves, this year his fam, next year mine (i think - we might stay at home, depending where we live). Or we might have everyone come to our house. We'll see. Ryan's brother is getting married so we'll try to coordinate with he and his fiance (by next christmas it'll be wife) so we can all be home for Christmas on the same years.

17. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? there anyone who can't?

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning. I never understood friend's growing up whose families opened all their gifts on Christmas Eve. I can see a traditional gift of pajamas, but I don't think I'd wrap those, just say, oh, let's get our new christmas pajamas on.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People have seemed to forget the reason we celebrate Christmas. I think that's why my husband doesn't like it too much, either. It's all commercialism. It should be about Christ and the celebration of his birth. I love that it's turned into family traditions as well, but why not put more thoughts of the reason back into your day?

20. Favorite ornament theme or color? Last year I used leftover wedding decorations, so, pink and brown. This year it's red, white and silver. I think we'll have this tradition for awhile. It's seriously so pretty. I made a lot of my ornaments and repurposed things that weren't necessarily ornaments and made them into ornaments. i love the more playful christmas colors of red, lime green and pink/fuschia, so next year I might try to incorporate that.

21. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Ham, my mom's homemade rolls...oh those are awesome...cranberry sauce. Love it. and leftovers. and my fam makes THE best mashed potatoes - don't even need gravy...but if it's ham gravy - gimme some!

22. What do you want for Christmas this year? I buy myself way too many things to reallllly want peace.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pretty as a picture

My final product, packaged and ready for giving. I've eaten so much English Toffee in the last few days. There are different varieties: pecan, plain, and almond. The almond is the prettiest to look at (curse me for not getting a picture...) but I love how all of them taste. I've found the key to toffee is keeping the temperature on medium heat instead of medium-high (which means on my stove i use a 5 out of the 1-9 offered) after slowly melting the butter and sugar together. I think my first and my last batch turned out to be the best, both in texture, color and taste, but it's all pretty darn good.

Think happy thoughts!

Holiday Movies

On Sunday I enjoyed an evening in at home while Ryan was at work. I was invited to his parents (as I am every week) and also to a friend's for dinner, but wanted to get our Christmas tree up and decorated. I ended up making 3 batches of English Toffee (I've made 5 now...well, 7 if you count the ones that didn't turn out) that night and watching Little Women. This version:

While there are many parts in the movie I tear up at, this one in particular made me bawl. I was so glad Ryan wasn't home. I feel silly crying at movies in front of anyone.

I wish they hadn't cut this clip so short. When Hannah spreads the rose petals all over Beth's bed, piano, and dolls, I lose it. I'm such a baby...but you know what? I don't care. I always watch this movie around the holidays. So much of it happens in snow and in the winter and around Christmas that it for some reason screams Christmas Movie to me. and Pride and Prejudice is a Thanksgiving tradition for me. The 5 hour long one. OOH! I want to watch that tonight.

Anyone else have any holiday movies that aren't necessarily holiday movies?

I have a crush on Justin Timberlake

I'm not all crazy about celebrity-hype and whatnot, cuz really, they're just people who make a lot more money than I do...but, I have a baby crush on Justin. Watch how funny he is. Oh, it's not as great without sound.

and I love the Ellen show.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I've finally finished some projects and gotten them added to my Etsy shop. I've been so busy it seems the last couple of weeks and at the end of the day doesn't look like I've gotten anything done. Finally finished sewing the last couple of puppet bags that have been ordered and will ship them out tomorrow.

I got some awesome ornaments in the mail from my ornament swap and will ship out these tomorrow. I'm only going to add one to CheaperbytheDozen because I want to keep at least 3 for my tree this year.

Speaking of my's still not up!!! This weekend I told Ryan it has to get up, otherwise I'm thinking it's not worth it...I'm too lazy to take it down if it's up for less than 3 weeks. freak-ity freak.

OH - do need to mention I found an awesome link for 50-70% off toys at Amazon. Click here for it. I'm not sure how long it's going on. I ordered some Dora dolls for my niece's b-day for next year. I got 4 for a little more than the price of 1. I'm a bargain maven. I was called that at work last Friday. They called me the coupon maven. what a compliment.

Also, a little plug for a favorite sweet shop I've ordered from SEVERAL times: Avenues Sweets. Their caramels and nougat are sooososososoosooo delicious. I believe in them so much that I ordered some for my bosses to give them an idea of something different than the fudge they've ordered for Christmas for the last few years. No offense to the person who makes it, but it's not that good.... oh! for AvenueSweets, if you go to you can usually find a 50% off coupon...It's totally worth it.

I'm trying to start a gym routine, so Casey (neighbor who is 8 mos pregnant) and I are going to the gym after I get off from work. So far we've just gone once (yesterday) but we'll go again on Saturday morning. Probably not a bad thing to exercise as I start baking for the holidays. mmm...candy...wait, bad candy.

K, bedtime!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Flour Girls and Dough Boys Bakery

There's a bakery down the street from my office that has changed owners/names/styles 3 times in the last couple of years. Most recently it was Naborhood Bakery, a second edition of Naborhood Bakery in Gardner Village. Well, they're not there anymore. Instead it's Flour Girls and Dough Boys. And let me tell you. I'm in HEAVEN. This is probably not a good thing I work 2 blocks from a bakery, but this is more of a bistro of sorts. They'll have ready-made sandwiches for lunch, in addition to a beautiful seating area finished with oh so fun chandeliers and eating tables, fresh baked artisan breads, muffin tops, doughnuts. Oh, and steamed milk! I tried it for the first time today and mmm..mmm...good. Today was their opening day. On Saturday, Dec. 8th they're having a cookie day for kids. Sugar cookies to decorate there and even cookies for the adults. For what I'm typing you'd think they paid me, but, no...I just got some foccacia bread and it is SO fabulous. Probably THE best I've ever had. The outer crust is light and flaky and inside is warm and spongy. It's topped with delicious herbs (tastes/looks like Thyme). It was $5 for the loaf. I'm going back tomorrow for their Asiago Cheese Bread. MMMMMM