Thursday, June 26, 2008

Finding A Peaceful Happy Place

Warning: This post is really just a post for myself. It's a reminder of how I need to look for the good in my life. I've had some changes, misunderstandings, bad news, stresses, and more, happening to me lately. I need to be uplifted and I think the only way I can do that, is to make a choice to be happy. So, on that note, I've decided to dry up the tears and make a list of things that make my smile, make me happy, or that I find peaceful in my life. If you want to tag along and read some, go right ahead. You might even find that some of the things I've listed, are the very same things that make you feel happy or peaceful. If you don't feel like reading any further, then I'm ok with that since, like I said, this post is really for my own healing.

Not in any order, here are some things that I find peace in:
~Knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me just the way that I am.
~Knowing I have found the true gospel and am trying to follow the straight and narrow (can always improve and should always improve)
~Knowing I'm accepted in my large family. Knowing we all get along and there really isn't any animosity amongst my siblings and I.
~Thanks to Jillian, my Mom knew exactly how I felt about her before she died. I was able to tell her all that I needed her to know. Even with Alzheimer's, I think she understood all that I was telling her.
~I was able to bring several spirits into this world. One (two actually) left early, but now I'm at peace knowing he was perfect and didn't need to be here as long as I do.
~I'll see and raise my 2 children that I lost.

Boy, this list could go on and on. I think I'll list some things that I find peaceful in my every day life instead, because I'm getting a bit misty.

~I love to watch a beautiful sunset.
~For some reason I feel the most peaceful when I'm looking at the sky. Especially when it's filled with stars.
~I feel at peace when I look at the flowers and trees in my yard. I might not be a fan of summer, but it has it's perks!
~Feeling emotional about my YW when I did a "Birthday" party for them all as an activity. They didn't really know I was emotional about it, but I should have let them see it.
~Sitting on the beach and watching waves always brings me peace.
~Sitting at a lake (think Land of Destiny) watching the reflections and listening to nothing by quiet or the few sounds of nature is one of the most peaceful moments I've had.
~I'm at peace when I visit the cemetery.
~I feel peaceful when I'm ready to take a nap with a sleepy child by my side.
~I feel secure when I'm in my husbands arms.
~I feel peaceful when I'm taking a long relaxing bath or sitting in a hot tub :)
~I'm at peace when I bear my testimony.

Things that make me smile,laugh or just plain make me happy! (not in any order)
~My kids laughing with each other.
~Ava laughing when I smell her feet and say, "Poo 'tinky!"
~When I see Jillian reading her little heart out! Sometimes she doesn't even want to stop to eat or go to the bathroom!
~The attention I get from my hubby. He's always kissing me or hugging me.
~Watching a funny movie. The last one I saw was, "Fools Gold" and before that it was, "Death at a Funeral".
~Brycen's funny sayings and funny doings. Too many list. It needs it's own post!
~When my hubby and I have kissing wars. Who can get the most kisses in before bedtime.
~I smile when I pass the trailer park that is on the route I take to get to my own home in the evenings and see this one house where the people are ALWAYS at the table playing cards/games. Don't ask me why it makes me smile. I guess because I can count on them being there every night and it's nice to see families spending time together.
~Seeing the bunnies in my yard scatter when I pull in the driveway at night.
~Saying hello to the little old greeter man at Meijer grocery store. He was an actor who was an original monkey in the Wizard of Oz movie!
~Playing Guitar Hero with my kids!
~Reading the "Twilight" saga lately and actually finding the time to do it!
~Remembering my recent accomplishments such as finishing the Doctrine & Covenants, finally getting some flowers planted, finally organizing some of my home and sticking to my Walk Away The Pounds routine.
~Seeing my friends son peeing at the playground because he had to go. He didn't seem to mind that we were all watching and laughing!
~Being inspired by my friends talk in sacrament.
~ Being inspired by my hubby's last testimony in sacrament.
~Playing badminton with one of the boys at Cub Scout Camp this week.
~Watching my girls at their dance recital.
~I looove it when one of my favorite songs comes on the radio...plus I'm super excited that Jillian made me a mixed CD with tons of my fav songs!
~Being proud of 2 kids that are willing to give up some of their summer to go to reading programs at school.
~Having Tessa, one of my YW be more than happy to soak and scrub my feet & Ava's feet last night!
~My toenails are painted and have cute stickers on them, again from Tessa at YW last night.
~Getting almost caught up on all the laundry!
~Eating a Volcano last week and not feeling too guilty about it! It was yummers.
~Watching the little 4 yr. old girl on America's Got Talent sing, "Somewhere Out There".
~Hearing that Jaleigh named the doggy we gave her, "tighty whitey"!
~Just now seeing Ava on my bed reaching waaay over to my beside table where Daddy's stuff is with her diaper hanging off and her 'lil bum hanging out!

Ok, now that I'm laughing about the bare booty, I'm feeling pretty good, so I'll stop there. I might need to make more of these lists and refer to them whenever I feel a bit down and want to have myself a pity-party. Good therapy.

Leanne Sig.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Try it Tuesday.....Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Crackers

I saw these crackers on a commercial. My kids absolutely looooove Kraft Mac & Cheese, so I wondered if they were going to taste a bit like the actual stuff. I saw them at Wal-mart and picked up a box. I have to say I was quite skeptical, because I figured that there really hasn't been too many products out there that can mimic another enough to make it worth it. Can you say Oreo cereal?! Ew. They got that one way off.
Well...Kraft couldn't do it with these crackers either. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese crackers are a let down in my opinion.
On the website, Kraft says this:

We've taken that Kraft Macaroni & Cheese taste your kids love and baked it into a new crispy cracker they can crunch!
Why do they lie like that? They don't taste like mac & cheese to me, although they do have the shape right. Even some are stuck together like the noodles can get after you prepare them. They are baked, which appeals better to me than fried crackers. But, of course I feel they taste just like the run of the mill Cheese Nip or Cheez-Its. Heck, Cheese Nips are made by Nabisco and so are Kraft Macaroni & Cheese crackers. No wonder they taste so similar. My kids weren't so impressed, but they will eat them anyway, because they like most cheese flavored crackers.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese crackers come in 3 flavors: Cheddar, Mild Cheddar and White Cheddar. We tried the Mild Cheddar. Could this be my problem? Do I dare try another flavor and hope that I was just wrong about the Mild? Nah. I doubt it. I don't feel like wasting my money. All and all, it's a pick your nose boring review for a pick your nose boring product. Let's take bets on how long until these crackers leave the shelves and become a thing of the past.

Now on to bigger and better things. I have a recipe to share! It's not one that I've tried recently, but it's a tried and true recipe that I loooove.

This icing tastes a lot like hot fudge to me. I love to ice a Texas sheet cake with it. I simply make the icing while the cake is baking and then pour the icing on top of the hot cake. It sets up nicely after it cools. You can also put it on a 13x9 cake, but I usually don't put it on until the icing has cooled a bit. If I put it on while it's hot, it tends to drip down the sides of the cake and settle on the bottom. My kids did like it that way though. There was still plenty on the top and then they had a chocolatey surprise waiting on the bottom. Also, I omit the nuts because my hubby isn't a fan, but I bet it would be just as fabulous if you add pecans or walnuts. Mmm.

The recipe was simply called, "icing" in a recipe book, but I renamed it to, "Hot Fudge Icing". I don't have the WW points for it, but you could run it through a recipe builder such as the one at the Nutrition Data website to figure it out.

Hot Fudge Icing

6 TB butter or stick margarine
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

To prepare icing, combine 6 TB butter or margarine, milk and 1/4 c. cocoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and gradually stir in powdered sugar, nuts and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Spread over hot cake. Enjoy!!

Leanne Sig.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Trash Ties

I found a cutie pie product! Trash Ties are awesome! What a cool concept! We all know what a trash tie is. Wire and plastic that seals the bag for us. Bread ties work the same. How about putting one or two in your hair?!

Ok, ok. You wouldn't really want to put a plastic trash tie in your hair. But these little cuties work on the same concept, but are made with fabric and bendable (wire?). They come in several colors and 2 lengths. How cool would it be to use it as a headband? To tie up your pony tail? Check out the website for a gallery of gorgeous hair-dos using the Trash Tie.

I can just see some of the YW in my Ward using these in their up-do's. Can't you picture it in your darling daughter's hair? So easy to twist it instead of a elastic band snapping you. Check it out! I'll be putting my order in soon!

I hope the lady who invented them doesn't mind me taking her pictures for my advertising plug. When I see a cute or unique product, I always feel like I have to share it...and these are awesome!

Leanne Sig.

The Garden Tour starts today!

Check out Notes From A Cottage Industry for the home garden tour today! I don't know about you, but I like to gawk at other people's yards because I admire the beauty of them. I also gawk in hopes of being inspired to atleast -try- to make my yard a tenth of what these yards are. Now that I have Ava, I haven't put in enough time to achieve that task. I still have pruning to do and tons of weeds to pull. I have several plants that still aren't in the ground and I can't afford bark right now. Ugh. Maybe touring these yards will get me movivated to do something to better beautify my yard.

Check out the Garden Tour and enjoy!

Leanne Sig.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Try it Tuesday.....LesserEvil Kettle Corn

Oooo...I found a new weakness. While strolling thru Target (I tend to find all the good stuff to try at Target lately!), I stumbled upon LesserEvil Kettle Corn. Specifically the Black & White Kettle Corn. Sweet yummy goodness I tell ya. The box says, " A chocolatey mix for your indulgence fix". It sure is. Half is the regular kettle corn and the other is a chocolate glaze. The kettle corn part actually has a glaze too. I love the fact that LesserEvil (I had heard of the brand before, but never seen it locally until now)is low in fat, calories etc. There is a cool logo on the box I love how it says, sinfully better. It does seem healthier than lets say Cracker Jack does. Or Crunch n' Munch. And tastier to boot!

A little info from the website about LesserEvil Kettle Corn:

The LesserEvil
All Natural
Low Fat
No Trans-Fats
No High Fructose
Corn Syrup
No Artificial
No Artificial
No Preservatives
Gluten Free
Whole Grain
And of course,

Those stats sound great to me! I wish it could say low sugar and still taste as awesome as it is, but there are 17 grams of sugar in 1 cup. Actually, that isn't bad compared to a glass of OJ huh?

The black and white reminds me of the Chocolate Caramel Chex Mix. But it's sooo much better. I like to buy the 100 calorie packs of Chocolate Caramel Chex Mix. But with the 100 calorie Chex Mix, you get this tiny amount and then have to eat them slow to savor it. With LesserEvil Kettle Corn, I can have a whole cup for about 20 calories more. The WW points for 1 cup of LesserEvil is 2 pts. Same as the Chex Mix, but there is way more to munch on per serving. At $2.99 a box, I will stick with the LesserEvil. Of course, I have to measure it out myself. It won't come in the convenient 100 calorie bags, but that's ok with me.

LesserEvil carries other flavors of their Kettle Corn such as Peanut Butter & Choco, Maple Pecan and Sin-namon. They also make Krinkle Sticks, but I'm not really sure what they are. I'm thinking they are made from potatoes and can replace greasy potato chips.

Bad news for those who stay away from milk or soy. LesserEvil Kettle Corn contains both. Sorry. Well, it could just be the Black & White. I'd have to look into that for you (Holly!)

I'm not sure what to try next week. Maybe a recipe???

That's it for this post. As my son says....peace out people!

Leanne Sig.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Try it Tuesday.....Fiber One Muffin Mix

I finally got around to trying the Fiber One Muffin Mix.
I made a batch of the Apple Cinnamon flavored this morning. The mix has chunks of little apple and smells heavenly while it's baking. Mmm. It's made by adding milk, oil and 2 eggs. Sorry to give that bit of news to the people who can't tolerate milk. The mix makes 12 regular sized muffins. They bake up fast at about 17 minutes (in my oven). I'm not usually a big fan of apple cinnamon anything, but these were really tasty! It kind of reminds me of Friendship Bread, but with apple chunks. I ate mine warm and my hubby ate his slathered in margarine. Ick. Not me. Anyway, they contain 130 calories, 3 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber. The fiber brings the WW points down to 2 per muffin. What a great buy for only 2 pts! And filling too in my opinion. Now, if they would just make a chocolate muffin with chunks of the yummy stuff for the same stats! I'll keep dreaming I guess.

Speaking of flavors for these muffins. I didn't see any other flavor on the shelf. The box says it's a "limited edition". Hmm. I looked at the website and there seems to be only ONE flavor of the muffin mix! What a bummer! I guess I've never seen a company that only makes one flavor of muffin mix. Am I wrong? Am I just not seeing the other flavors at the website? Go ahead and correct me if I'm wrong. I hope I am.

I might try the Fiber One Yogurt sometime soon. I like the Fiber One cereal, when some people find it to be a bit, "twiggy". I think it's just sweet enough to not have too much of a, "twiggy" taste. Plus I like to use it to make Haystacks and to crunch it up for a coating on baked chicken. I learned that trick from Hungry Girl. Click here for a Parmesan Chicken recipe made with Fiber One.\

EDIT: Today, September 8, 2008, I noticed in the Meijer ad that Fiber One Muffin Mix now comes in Banana Nut too. YUM! I can't wait to try it!

Besides the Fiber One muffins, I tried some Mentos Gum this week.

Eh. It was ok. They come in a cute flip-top container. They are sugar free which is always a plus for me. I tried the cherry lime and it was like I said...just ok. Nothing special. They are round like Mentos candies. The center is a liquid lime flavor. Not much more I can say about it. It's just gum that is ordinary. My favorite gum by far is Stride. They make several flavors of sugar free gum. I tried them a long time ago when they first came out. They were offering free packs. You know I like free. What I like about Stride, besides the flavor, is that it lasts and lasts. Normally, I'm done with gum after about 10 minutes. Stride still has flavor for over an hour. Can't beat that.

Leanne Sig.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Testing...1, 2, 3

This is a test. It is only a test. In the event of a real emergency....Haha. I'm just testing my new signature. I'm not sure if I like it purple though. Maybe I'll keep it for awhile to see how it grows on me. If you want to make your own signature, just follow the link on the Tip Junkie blog in my blogroll.

Leanne Sig.

Ava turned ~ONE~

I wasn't going to post about Ava's birthday until I digiscrapped some photos, but if I wait for that to happen, you'll never see a birthday post. My scrapbook software is super duper slowwww. I need something nicer, but the funds won't allow right now. So anyway, here are some random photos from the party we had for Ava. We invited several family members and we ate some grilled hamburgers and hot dogs etc. My camera has a mysterious error message on it (note to self: don't lend out the camera to any of hubby's friends again!), so most of the pictures were taken by Jillian with her Canon. Jillian loves to snap photos of everything. My low disc space is a testament to that.

The cake I made for Ava looks eerily similar to one that I had made in March for Jillian! My girls really liked the polka dot cake, so I made one for Ava.

I made a separate cake for Ava to eat all by herself. I have done that for each of my kids. Of course I made a yellow one with white frosting. No chocolate here. I'm not stooopid. The one I had for Brycen when he turned one was sooo messy. It had blue frosting which he got up his nose. I had to make holes in each nostril so he could breathe. Too funny. Ava is a much "cleaner" cake eater.

Here is the birthday princess waiting for her cake.

I don't usually do video and this one isn't really much to look at, but it's still cute that at first Ava wasn't sure what to do. She sure didn't want or need the spoon that Molly was trying to give her!

After she caught on, she did a pretty good job demolishing the cake!

Getting tired of the excitement.

And now she was done with it all. Done. Done. Done.

Later, she opened her presents and the excitement was back on!

I'd say her favorite present was the Monkey book given by Uncle Lee and Aunt Linda. Her 2nd favorite was simple plastic barnyard animals from her cousin Christi and family.

Men don't really get into baby birthday parties, so they play Guitar Hero instead. Haha. Here is my nephew Michael, who was visiting from Mississippi, playing for the first time. He rocked the house.

Here is my great-niece Alayna wearing Ava's princess crown. She is so shy most the time, but quite the princess herself :)

And last, but not least, we used some birthday money to finally buy Ava a big girl car seat. She grew so fast that I had to get one asap. We both love it. Ava can see me in the mirror now and also see what's ahead. I like it because it can recline, has an EZ off cover for washing, and has a no-thread tightening harness. All I have to do is roll the knob to tighten and also loosen when needed. I love convenience. Not to mention the fact that I've heard is a nice safe seat.

All in all, Ava had a great birthday that we all enjoyed. I'm a bit misty about it though since they only turn 1 once and this is the last of my babies to enjoy that moment. I'm not too sad though. At least I get to look forward to the fun and exciting things that all 5 of them will be doing in the future such as graduating and getting married. There will be plenty of memories to be made right?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I saw Red

It was a close game. The Penguins gave it all they had. But a few minutes ago, the.......

WON the...........


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Try it Tuesday.....Annie's Homegrown Organic Honey Bunny Grahams

These little sweethearts are soooo yummy! Not only are they cute as a button, but they taste fabulous. I found them at Target for $2.09 a box. The website says they also make chocolate bunnies, cinnamon bunnies, chocolate chip bunnies and a box with a mixture of plain graham and chocolate. Mmm. I only saw the plain version at Target though. Ava loves them. They are small enough for her to enjoy yet not too big for her to make too much of a mess with.

Quote from the box:
"No icky additives or pesky preservatives!"

It also says it's an excellent source of calcium. 20% per serving to be exact. It has no vitamin A or others to speak of though. :(

The website gives this information about the bunnies:

Made with Organic Wheat Flour (No GMOs)
Made with Organic Cane Juice
Excellent Source of Calcium (20% of Daily Value)
NO Refined Sugars
NO Hydrogenated Oils
0 grams Trans Fat
0 grams Saturated Fat

The bunnies do contain sugar (6 gr) and fat (4 gr of non trans, non sat) per serving. A serving is 30 little bunnies with 130 calories. WW= 3pts. Sadly, there is less than one gram of fiber.

I've seen Annie's brand before (Mac & Cheese etc), but never tried any. So far so good. I'd buy these again.

**Edit: For those who can't have milk or soy...Annie's Honey Bunnies have only wheat, but they are made with machines that could possibly have touched milk or soy and even eggs. So eat them at your risk. :)
***Edit (again)***: I have now tried the chocolate bunnies and the chocolate chip! Wally World sells them all. They are just as delish as the plain honey bunnies. Mmmmm.

I also tried the Archer Farms 100 calorie pack of Organic Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mmm. I can't find an actual picture of them, but trust me, if you saw them on the shelf, you would want to start eating the box right then and there. Archer Farms (Target's exclusive brand) never fails me. I haven't found anything that I don't like yet. I wouldn't say these are chocolate cookies though. They are more like plain chocolate chip. But they rock! I know some of you don't like 100 calorie packs, but for those who do, try these babies. They are way better than the Chips Ahoy Thin Crisps and cost about the same ($2.99 for a box of 5 packages).

Try heading on over to Archer Farms. This link will only take you to the Archer Farms portion of the Target website, but while you're there, you can click on the coupons tab to get a coupon for Archer Farms Cereal. There is also a tab for recipes like chocolate mousse. Sounds yummalicious.