Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Surviving summer

Sorry I am late with my blog. Life has been crazy! Phillip (my husband) is gone on his deployment, and I have taken a cross country trip with the girls to be with our friends and family for the summer. You can read about my trip on momsmakememories.blogspot.com

So I have decided to write about my suggestions for surviving a military deployment.

Phillip has been in the military for 10 years now. For the last 3 years he has been away from the family anywhere from 4 months to 9 months at a time. It can be quite difficult at times, but we always make it through each deployment or TDY a little bit stronger than before. It requires love, patience, commitment and prayer.

I have only 3 suggestions currently to help military Mom's out there. This obviously applies to any Mom/wife that is trucking it alone. The suggestions seem very basic. But they have helped me manage my trials each time.

1. Surround yourself with friends and family. For me, common sense says... don't try to do it all alone. Every one needs someone to be by their side. That can be a good friend, a mom, sister, neighbor. Whom ever you can think of that helps aid comfort to your loneliness, stay by their side.

2. Exercise. It is medically proven that exercise increases endorphins and helps lift your spirits. Everyday I try to exercise for at least 30 minutes. Exercise also helps boost your self confidence. A very good thing for every woman out there!! Also it increases your energy levels. It does for me at least. You can get your daily dose of exercise in a variety of ways... i.e. a walk, swimming, weight training, hiking, taking your kids to the park, bike rides, the list goes on and on... you get the idea.

3. Keep yourself busy. The only way for me to keep sane and forget about how badly we are missing Daddy is by remaining occupied the majority of each day. Going to different friends and family members houses, swimming, going to the park, library, shopping, doing learning books with the girls, reading. I find anything I can to keep my kids and I entertained.

Time away from a spouse or loved one can be difficult and yet rewarding at times as well. Time apart really does remind you how much you love, and need that person in your life.

So I wish you all well and hope you have a great summer full of excitement and love!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jennifer's Girls . . . . . .The world that we live in. . . . . . .

The world that we live in, is not the same innocent world it seemed to be 20 years ago. Maybe it was me that was innocent and the world was not. I’m not sure. But my eyes are wide open now as a Mother, and to the environment that I raise my children in.

When I was in second grade the thought of sexual harassment was far from my mind. I didn’t even now what sex was.
So here’s the problem, or the eye opening experience that I have dealt with this month…

While making dinner, I was listening to my daughter babble on… for what seemed like forever. (In the mean time three other little girls run around my legs like crazy kitty cats waiting to be fed.) Usually this ends in my mind going numb and me hearing blah, blah, blah. Fortunately this particular night I was able to actually hear my daughter speak.

Some boys at school are making her feel uncomfortable. Constantly harassing her, trying to kiss her, drawing (what she says are) not good pictures of her. Talking about kissing her and getting naked in a hot tub, and she spells out quietly S-E-X….. WHAT THE????

Wait… HOLD UP!! I try to remain calm, not over react and speak as calmly as possible.

“What did they say exactly? When? Where? Where was the teacher? And so on…”

I ask if she knows what that word is that she spelled out?? Thank goodness, NO she doesn’t.

My immediate response is to kill these kids. But that’s not the problem! I want to kill their parents!! What kind of world do we live in? She's in second grade! I started thinking about taking her out of school and home schooling her. But will that help? Will I be over protecting her too much? Should I allow her to experience life as a young girl, teach her how to react to these situations and hope that the next time someone makes her feel uncomfortable that she will stand up for herself.

Bottom line is… She’s beautiful. She will have to deal with boys bugging her for the rest of her life. It’s a fact of life. HOWEVER, she should never feel like she can’t stand up for herself and that she deserves to be sexually belittled. She is a beautiful, smart, young lady and deserves the up most respect. It’s my job as mom to teach her to value herself as a woman, value her body and live virtuously.

I encourage you Mom’s out there with little boys to teach them to be respectful to women, never to sexually degrade them and always be respectful.

Turns out, the ring leader (the worst boy) has moved. I did speak to the Principal and had the boys reseated away from Ashlyn. The principal spoke with both boys involved and assured me that they will have nothing but polite things to say to Ashlyn from here on out. He also spoke to their parents.

As for now… problem solved. But I will forever and always try to listen when my kids talk! Because you never know how extremely important their babbling may be.

Best wishes to all!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Announcing My First Offical Guest Blogger . . .Life. . .

Oh friends....I am really excited for this announcement! My sister seeded an idea a couple of weeks ago to put some feelers out there and see if anyone was interested in writing a "Guest Blog" for Cook, Laugh, Create on a regular basis. I thought this was a GREAT idea. This blog is not just about me. It's about being a mom, and a wide, a cook, and a housekeeper, a chauffer, and a coach, a lover and a friend. It is about ALL of us. So the idea of someone other than me sharing their life experience seemed brilliant.

Without further ado I would like to announce the very first guest blogger of Cook, Laugh, Create:

Jennifer Bledsoe: Jennifer's Girls

To give you a touch of history, Jennifer is a friend of mine from high school. She married her high school sweetheart, and is now a mom to the most beautiful four little girls I have EVER seen. No kidding, check them out for yourself, I wouldn't lead you on :) Can you imagine life in a house with four munchkins? Let alone four GIRLS! Jenn you rock!

So in what is to be Cook, Laugh, Create tradition- I sent Jenn a little questionnairre so that our fabulous readers could get to know her a little better!

Getting to Know Jenn :)

What's one thing that everyone should know about you?
I love sunflower seeds - they help me relax

If they made a movie about your life what would it be titled and who would play you?
She's not JUST a Mom - Jennifer Garner

If you could own one exotic animal as a pet what would it be why and what would you name it?
A monkey, cause they're cute, and Poopski

Tell us the best advice that you have ever received.
Wake up, kiss your children every morning, and strive to be the best Mother and soul source of happiness for your kids

If you were given $500 today what would be the first thing you would do?
probably pay bills, but I'd want to get a pedicure

If you had an entire Saturday to do whatever you wanted...what would you do?
Take a walk, go on a picnic with the family. Bask in the sunlight, read a book. Enjoy time with my husband and children. Top it off with a trip to Dairy Queen!

If we surprised you at your house today what would be the first thing we would notice?
A dining room table full of diaper cake materials.

What moment in your life makes you smile every single time you think about it?
Being sealed with my family in the Temple

What is at the top of your wish list right now?
safe summer travels

What's the best meal you cook?
Ha! Dunno, kids love chicken fettucini. I like my homemade cookies.. not that that's a meal :)

What is your favorite word?

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on creatively spiritually or emotionally?
a quiet house

What turns you off creatively spiritually or emotionally?
a loud house

What sound or noise do you love?
my children's laughter

What sound or noise do you hate?
nail biting

What is your favorite thing to say when you get mad?
cripes or tartar sauce

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I'm actually going to school right now for Dental Assisting

What profession would you not like to do?

If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Finally! The boss is here!

Look for Jenn's blog tomorrow, and on the first of every month! I promise, you wont be disappointed. How could you be from a gorgoeus mom of four gorgeous daughters? Seems like a no brainer to me!

By the way Jenn, I think you might need to share that Chicken Fettucini recipe with us!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One-Pan Whiskey Pork Chops . . .Cook. . .

ALright, I've got to be honest. In my adult life I have made pork chops SOOO many times that I can count them on one hand. Yes that's right, ONE hand. I sat the last couple of days and tried to figure this out.

It's not because I dislike pork- in fact I am quite a fan of pork. Some of my favorite meals include pork: carnitas, pulled pork sammies, anything with  bacon (expect for maybe ice cream).

I have always been under the impression that there a limited options regarding the preparation of pork. I have ALWAYS seen pork chops with a big huge bone, and they are either pan fried or grilled. LACK of creativity. Plus- I do not know, nor will I ever, like meat on the bone. I just can't do it.

My kitchen creative juices seem to be stifled this week. Yesterday I asked Jeff to pick a protien that he wanted to dinner- in order to help get my brain ticking. He, of course, picked pork chops. When I ordered pork chops this week, I ordered center cut BONELESS! So one of the thorns in my side is instantly gone. However I have ZERO pork chop recipies on hand.

I turned to the one website that NEVER lets me down: Group Recipes. This website actual learns what you like, and then suggests recipes that it thinks you will enjoy! That is brilliant if you ask me. I browse the prok chop results for a good 20 minutes I settled on a recipe that turned our to be a Gold Medal KEEPER, and of course felt the need to share it with the world that is currently uneasy at the mention of, "Honey, can we have pork chops for dinner?"

•2/3 cup light sour cream

•1/2 cup water
•2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
•1/4 teaspoon black pepper
•4 6 ounce center cut boneless pork chops, trim
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/8 teaspoon black pepper
•1 teaspoon olive oil
•13/4 cup chopped onion
•1 8 ounce package presliced baby bella mushrooms
•1/2 cup whiskey (Jameson)

Preheat oven to 300. Combine the sour cream, water, flour, salt,pepper and poulty seasoning in a small bowl.

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides

Heat oil over medium high heat in an OVEN SAFE pan (no plastic)

Add pork and saute 5 mins on each side or until golden.

Remove pork from pan. Add onions and mushrooms and saute for 3 mins.

 Add whiskey, cook 5 min, or until most of liquid evaporates.

Add sour cream mixture into pan. Return pork to pan and spoon sauce over the pork.

Wrap the frying pan handle with foil. Cover frying pan and put in oven for 1 hr at 300 degrees.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As you can see int he picture- I served this with mashed potatoes (garlic mash, YUM) and green beans. To be perfectly honest I also uped the ingedients for the gravy as well. There were a TON of potatoes, and I wanted gravy left over. I used 8 oz Sour Cream (the small container), 3/4 cup water, 3 T flour, 3/4 t salt, 3/4 t poulty seasoning, just over 1/4 t pepper, 3/4 c whiskey. With these measurements I had plenty of gravy left over, and let me tell you this stuff is GOOD!


Monday, March 29, 2010

FootPrint Beanies on Etsy . . .Create. . .

I did it! Horray for me, aren't you so proud??? Wait, hold on- you have no idea what I am talking about do you?

I finally took the plunge and set up and Etsy shop for the SUPER cute hats that I have been "gifting" to friends and family. They are now officially available to the general public. Tell your friends and family- my idel hands are ready to go! Custom orders are welcome and encouraged!

FootPrint Beanies!

Recipe Swap No. 2 - Cookies

I love cookies, and I know that I shouldn't make them, becuase then I want to eat them all....but I CAN'T help it. It's a weakness, I'm dealing with it.

This week's Friday Recipe Swap theme is Cookies! Pull out the baking bowls and beaters and get to work!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Grizzly Golf (Ladder Golf) . . .Life. . .

The weather here in Vegas has been nothing less than SPECTACULAR lately. If you are from Vegas, or have spend any time here during this short period of season switch, you know that you need to spend as much time as possible outside os you can soaking up the fresh air and sunshine before the scorching months take over. This transitions usually only lasts a few weeks.

We like to BBQ. We bought a really nice infared BBQ grill last summer, and it has become a seasoned member of our family. We also did a bit of an overhaul of the backyard last spring. It's now one of our family's favorite places to spend time. The problem that we have run into is this: when we have friends over for a BBQ- we don't have much to occupy our time other than hovering around the BBQ torturing ourselves with the smell.

Oh boy did we find a solution for that! Ladies and Gentlemen- I would like to introduce to you a little game that we like to call Grizzly Golf. This is not the typical name for the game. It's more commonly known as Ladder Golf, or Bolo Golf. That just seemed a little too boring for us. Jeff and I learned how to play Grizzly Golf in Montana last summer. For just about $20 a a trip to Home Depot and Wal-mart you can have your own Grizzly Golf game!

Ladder Golf (Grizzly Golf.... grrr)

Ladder Golf is played with 2 or more players or teams. Each player has 3 golf ball bolas. A bola is 2 golf balls attached by a nylon rope. The object of the game is to wrap your bolas around the steps of the ladder. The ladder consists of 3 steps, a top, middle and a bottom step.

Playing the Game:

Prior to game play a line must be set 5 paces from the ladder. This is the called the toss line. The official toss line is 15 feet away but most players measure 5 paces from the game ladder to set the toss line. This allows for a closer toss line for children’s games.

Ladder Golf is played in rounds, each round consists of all players tossing 3 bolas. A coin toss is used to decide which player or team will toss first.

The first player must toss all 3 bolas before the next player is able to toss his or her bolas. Bolas can be tossed in anyway the player chooses, as long as they are tossed individually and can be bounced off the ground.

The winner of the round earns the first toss in the next round. Games are played to an exact point total of 21.
In order to win, a player must be the only one to score exactly 21 points after the completion of a round.

If a player goes over the exact point total, that players points for that round do not count.

For example: A player with 18 points needs 3 points to get the exact score of 21 in order to win. If that player has 5 points hanging on the ladder after all the players have tossed all strands, none of those points count and the player will enter the next round with 18 points again needing 3 points to win.
In the case of a tie, the players that tie will play as many overtime rounds as needed until one player ends a complete round 2 points ahead of the other player. The 2 point rule only applies in overtime rounds. During regular play any player can win as long as that player is the only one to score an exact total of 21 points at the end of that round no matter how many points the other players have.

Etiquette of the Game:

Basic etiquette of Ladder Golf states that contestants should make as many remarks, sounds or movements as possible during play in order to distract the opponent’s during play. Touching the player during tossing is never allowed.

In the course of play no contestant is to walk to the ladder prior to completion of the current round of play.

After all teams have tossed all their bolas, scoring is determined by the bolas that are still hanging from the steps. Players can knock-off bolas during the course of the game, in fact knocking-off other players bolas is encouraged and a good way to play defensively. Bolas that are knocked off during play do not count as points. Only bolas that are left hanging after all bolas are tossed are counted as points.

     HOUSE RULE: Bolas hanging on the same step cancel each other out!


Points are determined by which step your bola wraps around. The top step is worth 3 points the middle step is worth 2 points and the bottom step is only worth 1 point. Players can score an optional bonus of 1 point by hanging all 3 bolas from the same step or by hanging a bola on all 3 (1-2-3) steps in one round. The highest amount of points available per player is 10. This is accomplished by hanging all 3 bolas on the top (3 point) step.

Team Play:

Four players can play Ladder Golf by alternating play each round. Players simply alternate turns with teammates. Extra bolas can also be purchased so up to 4 players can play individually on the same ladder or a second ladder can be purchased for team play. With multiple ladders 2 players on opposite teams would be on one side and the other 2 opposing players would be at the other game ladder. One side would toss all bolas and the other team would toss them back. Same rules apply.

Plans and Construction

2 Ladders
1" PVC pipe 24'
¾" PVC pipe 24'
1" PVC elbows 8
¾" PVC elbows 4
¾" PVC T connectors 8
1" to ¾" PVC T connectors 4

2 Bolo Sets (6 Bolo/Set)
24 Golf Balls
¼" nylon rope 16'
Optional: 2 pkgs RIT fabric Dye (this will by the rope AND the golf balls)

Distance Rope
golf balls, white 2
¼" nylon rope 16'

For the ladders, simply get all the necessary PVC pipe and connectors, cut them to size, and glue them together as shown in the diagrams below. If you don't already have PVC cement, then of course you'll need to add that to the list.

For ease of storage, we keep our ladders in two sections, as shown in the diagrams. This allows you to lean the ladders against a wall in your shed or garage, or hang them from a hook. We've also made them so that no parts are glued, and they are completely disassembled and stored in one of those canvas bags that soccer chairs come in. This worked great to save space on a trip, but it's probably too much work to put it all together and take it apart on a regular basis.

A bolo is just two golf balls on a rope. The rope is 16" long. Each golf ball is about 1½" thick, so there is approximately 13" between the golf balls. Use nylon rope. This will allow you to burn the ends (instead of tying a knot) so the golf balls stay on.

We recommend that you not cut up the rope at first. Drill ¼" holes in all the balls first. Then string all the balls onto the rope. Then, one at a time, cut a 16" length of rope with two balls on it, and burn both ends. This is much easier than cutting all the ropes first and stringing the balls on all those small lengths.

Distance Rope:
The distance rope was a last minute add-on, but we have found it to be very valuable. This is simply a 16' length of rope with a golf ball on each end. We use this when setting up the game, to make sure that the ladders are the right distance apart. Without the distance rope, we never set up the ladders the same distance apart, and the game was more difficult to play as a result.