Monday, August 13, 2012

Gone Gaga for Glitter

Posted by, Paulette

 I've always been a sucker for pretty paper and fabrics and this one with the aqua background and pink flowers has been a favorite for a long time. So, I knew that I had to make something with it. My friend over at A Little Stone House told me that she'd teach me how to make my very own banner, I knew what I wanted to use it on. It was pretty on it's own, but then when we added the glitter letters, it got it's WOW factor. These are so much fun to make!
The distressed aqua barn wood was calling my name too.
We have some Halloween ones in the works. Here's a sneak peek!
It's gonna be so cute! I can't wait to show you.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our Father's Love

Posted by, Paulette

As a parent of five children, I struggle with loving them all the same. I have children who love to give me hugs. I have children who love to help with the chores. I have children who are great at giving compliments. And then I have children who love to scream at me, and refuse to do anything I ask and argue with me. It's these moments that make me wonder at the perfect love that our Father in Heaven has for us.


He wants us to learn and grow and return to live with Him in heaven, yet He knows that we are imperfect. That on our own, this would have been an impossible  task. Because the law of justice requires that we pay the debt in full. And we are not capable of that. 

He had a plan. And that plan required a Savior. Our big brother Jesus stepped forward to fulfill that role. I can't imagine the pain and anguish He had to bear in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then later as he was reviled, whipped and spat upon, and ultimately nailed to the cross.

"Gethsemane" by Liz Lemon-Swindle

 But we frequently forget that His Father was also there. And turned away while His Son suffered all of this, so that we could live again. 
And Jesus persevered. He finished his task. And because of this, we can be with our Father again, through the miracle of repentance and the atonement. I am thankful for this, when I love imperfectly. 
That child that argues and screams needs me to remember our Father's perfect love. He needs me to hug and praise him more, and to love him better, because he is the one that's the hardest to love. 

"Jesus and the Children" by Liz Lemon-Swindle


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Take Some Time for the Important Things

Posted by, Paulette
"Friends" by Liz Lemon Swindle
 In the busy day to day I often put off my children's concerns and conversations with a , "I'll talk to you later." And often I don't get back around to that conversation. The moment is gone, never to be reclaimed. I am touched by portrayals of our Savior conversing and playing with children. At one time, his disciples were going to turn the children away because they perceived that Jesus was exhausted after the day's efforts, and he said, "suffer the children to come unto me." Mark 10:14
"Surely I am with you" by Greg Olson
 My mother recently visited from Florida, and I noticed that when the children asked her a question, or engaged her in conversation. She listened. Not with half of her attention, but looking into their eyes. And sometimes even encircling them in her arms as they spoke. 
detail of "The Angels Ministered" by Walter Rane
 As I go through out my week, I will remember these images, and try harder to be like Jesus.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A View of San Francisco From the Car

Posted by, Paulette

Last week I got to go to California for the first time. My sister, Rachel lives about forty-five minutes from San Francisco. On Sunday, her husband offered to take my mom and I on a sight seeing trip. I've always heard about Pier 39 and wanted to go, but was told that there was virtually no parking available in the city, and there would be a lot of walking to do. I was up for the challenge, but my tour guide was not. And when we got into the city, I realized why. 
Check out this NO PARKING sign.
By the time you decipher this sign, you already have a ticket. Thank goodness it doesn't say "no loitering," because I would have been in trouble for sure!

I didn't take any pictures of Lombard street, because I was too busy praying and having an anxiety attack! 
Here's a video taken on that street to show you why:

I did get a lot of shots of some beautiful architecture while there. 
 This pic shows the bumper to bumper traffic. This was on a Sunday! We didn't know it at this point in our adventure, but the traffic was going to get worse. There was a Giants game that day. And it let out just as we were beginning our tour. By the time we were headed home, it took us 30 minutes to go 1/4 of a mile.


It became obvious that this was the way to go. This is a bus that runs on an overhead cable.

One of these would have been fun too.

I didn't get any pictures of the beautiful murals that adorned the sides of the buildings, but there was so much beauty. All of these photos were taken from inside the car.

 Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was painted a kind of orange. And I was surprised that it was so short!

This photo was taken through the moon roof of the car.
I will go again. And next time I'm packing my walking shoes and a jacket. The temps we left in Phoenix were 114 degrees that day. In San Francisco, they were in the 60' the end of July.

A Book Party

Posted by, Paulette

Last weekend I traveled to San Francisco to attend a birthday party for my adorable nephew. He's a bit of a miracle baby, since my sister's doctor told her that she would have difficulty conceiving, and he came without any medical assistance at conception. After he was born he was air lifted to a children's hospital due to complications. His second birthday was truly a celebration of life!

The day after my mom and I arrived, we were put to work making this book garland.

My sister Rachel had all kinds of inspirational pictures pinned in Pinterest, and had all of the supplies ready for us to assemble. The book covers are made of card stock and the insides are cut from catalogs and other scrap paper. The little star flags are leftovers from making the confetti that was scattered on the table.
While we were busy doing this, Rachel was making delicious gluten free double chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting.
They were so good, I couldn't leave them alone!
She found the recipe in Artisanal Gluten-Free cupcakes by,  Kelli and Peter Bronski

The Artisan Gluten Free Flour Blend

Makes about 3 cups

1 1/4 cups Brown rice flour

3/4 cup sorghum flour

2/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon potato flour

1 teaspoon xanthun gum

Combine all ingredients, whisk thoroughly by hand to mix well and store in an airtight container. If you don't plan on using the flour soon or regularly place the container in your fridge to preserve freshness.
NOTE: Recipe makes about 3 cups but you will only need 2 1/2 cups to make cupcakes.

You will need

1 cup salted butter

1 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups Artisan GF flour blend

2 teaspoons xanthun gum

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. line standard cupcake tins with paper liners

2. heat the butter, water, and cocoa over medium heat in saucepan until the butter is melted.

3. Meanwhile put the sugar in a mixing bowl. add the butter-cocoa mixture and mix at low speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture is cool.

4. add the eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition.

5. add the sour cream and vanilla. mix. scrape down sides.

6. in a separate bowl, combine the flour, xanthun gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix mix with a whisk. break up any clumps.

7. add the dry ingredients to the cocoa mixture and mix for about 10 seconds at medium low speed until well mixed.

8. scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix an additional 5 seconds at high speed until smooth.

9. divide the batter evenly among the paper lined cups. Make the top of the batter as smooth as you can. (this seemed impossible to do BTW)

10. bake for 25 minutes.

11. allow the cupcakes to cool in the tines for about 10 minutes then remove from tins and let cool.

12. FROST!! I used the classic buttercream recipe for frosting and used hersheys Dark cocoa.  If you don't have a recipe for frosting here is the recipe the book gives you to use.

1 cup salted butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used dark)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or pieces melted.

1. cream together butter, sugar cocoa, cream and vanilla until light and fluffy.
2. mix in the melted chocolate. if frosting is too thick add additional cream 1 teaspoon at a time. 

The next day was the day of the party. And we were moving at the speed of light to get every thing done!

There was a lot of cleaning to be done after all of that baking and crafting the day before, but there was still a ton of food to prepare too! 
Mom made beautiful vegetable and fruit plates and a delicious fruit dip.

There wasn't an exact recipe for this, but I heard that it contained sour cream, Greek yogurt, Madagascar vanilla paste, cinnamon and sugar. Many of the women in my family are dump cooks. We dump or sprinkle in the ingredients until it looks and tastes right.

We also served corn chips with your choice of salsa, ranch dip, or guacamole, all of which were purchased ready made, making at least some of this party easy!
 These bacon chicken bites were very easy to prepare and a big hit!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Nibs

What you need

chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
honey mustard or honey and ground mustard seeds
tooth picks

What you do

cut chicken breasts into small bite sized pieces.

cut bacon in half and wrap around chicken.

pin in place with a toothpick.

repeat until desired amount.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

put the bacon wrapped chicken onto a roasting dish with wire.

spread honey mustard sauce over chicken.

Place into oven for 30 minutes.

Take chicken out and check for doneness and flip each one and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so to let the bacon crisp up. You can reapply honey mustard at this time too.

Bacon should be crisp and chicken should be thoroughly cooked.  enjoy. 

For drinks, a fruit infused water made with limes and raspberries and Tang were served. All of the foods were displayed on top of stacks of books. A side note about the infused water. If I were to do this again, I'd cut off the lime skins. They made the water too bitter.

And finally no child's birthday party is complete without a big messy cake for them to dive into. The cake we had planned didn't get finished in time, and so Daddy was the hero of the day. He brought home a cake to replace it.
 And Baby "J" did his best to pose for those birthday pictures!

This blog was initially started to share the lives of the 3 sisters, Paulette, Jvona, and Rachel. And somehow I've become it's major contributor. I guess I'll just have to take regular trips to California and Florida to report for my sisters. I'm starting a traveling fund. Anyone want to contribute?