Friday, December 12, 2008


Please note, if you are done Christmas shopping, and you would like to adhere to our church leaders and save your money for something should NOT follow this link. However, if you're an idiot like me, you should check this out:
I am particularly happy with my latest purchase: a wooden Melissa and Doug dollhouse that is currently $47.99 at Amazon (savings of $113.00). I'm currently tempted to buy Settlers of Catan with the expansion pack for around $30.00, but in order to get the dollhouse, I had to promise my sweet husband that I would not buy one more thing this year. Please learn from my mistake, and don't make such foolish promises! Ü Happy shopping, or saving...whatever you choose!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pumpkin cookies

Just wanted to make sure y'all noticed that I posted the Thanksgiving pumpkin cookie recipe down in the recipe section.
Love ya!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Moral Decisions

I "borrowed" this quote from my snow college friend. 'Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.''This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. . . . Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.'Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.... Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.' Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat.'--- Elder Neal A. Maxwell 1979

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I decided when I find deals I'm just going to post them, because it's hard to know when people update the other sections and some of these deals go pretty fast.

Free wallflower starter kit with any in-store purchase. Expires November 23rd.

Free full size secret sport deoderant. You have to cut and past this link for it to work for some reason.

Fisher-Price® Smart Cycle™ Physical Learning Arcade Systemoriginal $109.99 now $43.99 (b4 15 off code)
*I can get 15% off and free shipping with my Kohls card so if anyone wants to do this you can just pay me $39.00 and I'll get it for you. You may want to look at this entire thread from pinching your pennies to see what deals are at Kohls. The smart cycle keeps going in and out of stock, so if it says not in stock, you can keep checking back to see if it returns.

HOT! Will sell out fast! Refurb Dyson DC07 $149.99 / DC14 $179.99 plus free shipping
*I wish I had the money for one of these! I've heard they're amazing.

Items up to 90% off + additional $10 off $10 order @!

All Skechers or Aerosoles $24.99 or less at 6pm

Amazon Toy Promotions & Deals
For a limited time, spend $25 on Toys and get a 2-year subscription to Cookie Magazine. *NOTE: If you don't want the subscription can follow the instructions to get a $15 refund.~ Spend $50 in toys, get a free toy thru 10/17. *NOW states "Not combinable with other offers."~ Spend $75 in toys, get a free toy thru 10/17. *NOW states "Not combinable with other offers."~ Buy 2 select Hasbro board games, get 1 game FREE~ Buy 2 select Lego Bionicles, get 3rd one FREE~ Buy 1 Star Wars Light Saber, get 1 FREE~ Get 3 select Transformers for $50~ Buy BioniCam and get Free Bug Vacuum~ Get 3 select Ty Products for $10 - thru 10/17~ Get 3 select action figures for $10 - thru 10/17~ Get 3 select Transformers for $15 *Appears to be OVER*~ Free Mr Potato Head with $25 qualifying order -- see this thread for details~ Receive $10 off $50 qualifying order -- see this thread for details~ Bill Me Later Promotion ~ Save $10 when you spend $50 or more when you pay with Bill Me Later. Offer valid Oct 13, 2008 - Dec 30, 2008. Limited to items sold by Subject to credit approval. One per customer. Enter code BMLSAVES at checkout. Promo details
*I'm not sure if these are still working, and the promotion doesn't show up until you get into the checkout process.

Let me know if you have any questions, or if a link is not working! Also, it's hard for me to know which deals you guys would be interested in, so if you're looking for something specific just let me know and I'll keep my eye out for it. I'm looking for deals on Ninja Turtles. Shredder cut the arms off of Donatello and Raphael, so I'm looking to replace them for Carter.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monthly Updates

So I took the liberty of updating the blog for the month. I have added a new poll which you may have already seen. The results for the last poll were very close with Mccain just one vote ahead of Obama.
I figured we also needed a new book of the month and have added a series instead of just one book. I know, I have made a regular bit of that, but the whole series is really good, and I don't know if people have already started it or not. I have also updated the "Previous Book of the Month" section. There were a couple of books that were missing, but all should be on the list now.

Things in my neck of the woods are pretty darn good. We enjoyed our trip to Vegas two weekends ago, but the trip wasn't quite long enough. Jess spent last weekend in St. George with the women of her family doing their biannual girls weekend, so I got to enjoy some time with "the midget". We had a lot of fun, and played around most of the weekend. We've had Rachel with us during the last week and a half, and have enjoyed that immensely. She is so much fun, and I'm not looking forward to her going home this next weekend. We have also really enjoyed having Jana with us. I have to say that I've not had that much time around these two girls to see their true personalities. I was on my mission when they "grew up", and I moved up to Salt Lake pretty much right after I got home. Both of them are wonderful and I've enjoyed all the times we've had together.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Poll question

Okay, so I have been racking my brain trying to think of something fun and worthwhile, but have not had any luck coming up with something. It may be the really hectic schedule I've had, or the fact that I'm just getting too old and am losing my creativity. Anyway, if there is a question you are dying to know everyone's opinion on, go ahead and throw it out there. If you are one of the few who check out this site that aren't an author, shoot me an email, and I will post it. Hope everyone is doing great!!! I can't wait for Friday!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Okay, so mom and I have been trying to find some different types of slightly healthier meals to make recently... Enter couscous! Mom had got some couscous a while back and we hadn't tried it yet so I fried up some onions, garlic, and a little spinach and added it to couscous that I cooked in chicken stock and it was really good! Stryder, Shelby and Soren even ate it! Before she ate any, Shelby said that couscous was her FAVORITE! I think at that point, it was just fun to say, but the several servings they had convinced me that it really might be true! ha ha. It's not particularly low in calories and is of course a carb, but it has zero fat and has a ton of protein and fiber! Just thought I'd share. Love ya'll!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Back to School?

I was going to post lyrics to a song on Billy Madison, but I'll spare you all... those who know what song I'm talking about are hearing it in your heads. One question: Where's all the back to school posts fam? I know ya'll have little kids starting kindergarten and older ones getting back to school... doesn't that warrant a post? I want to see ya'll's cliche 1st day of school pictures with the kid standing next to their school with their backpack on heading off to kindergarten! he he. You know you took them so post 'em!

Some of you may be thinking that I'm hypocritical in my request, but back to school in college is boring and I assume everyone's sick of hearing about my boring college career so I won't bore you all... If you REALLY wanna hear about it, read my very first post... it's a similar circumstance!

Love ya'll!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Twilight Movie

I decided that I should contribute something! So we need to celebrate that Twilight is being released on 11-21-2008!! Let's all have a party and go to the midnight release together!! Well, at least those in Utah and those in Nevada. There are multiples in both groups! Maybe Taryn and Cari will have to come up for a weekend! Is that Thanksgiving weekend? How fabulous that could be!! shopping in the morning and unable to sleep that night because of complete excitement! I think we should be getting a plan in the works! Love you all!! Laura

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Breaking Dawn

Ok, so they are being very secretive about what they release on this book, but Rachel did find that on the Stephenie Meyer website They have a quote of the day every day out of the book... And the last couple have made me feel a little suspense, so if you haven't been reading them. You DEFINATELY should!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blog Backgrounds

Hi guys,
I was just wondering if anyone knows what I can do to fix my blog background. It was SUCH a cute one, but I can only see the brown middle, and not the cute polka dots that are supposed to be at the sides. Any suggestions? Love ya! Tara

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Poll

So I kind of liked the whole "blog poll" thing, and so I decided I would put another one up. I think I'm going to try and have one a month, so I you've noticed it's outdated and have a cool question feel free to throw it in. For the four people that visit this site that aren't authors, you can shoot me an email, and I can get take care of it. This month is summer movies (and no, Twilight is not on the list due to the fact that it's not a SUMMER movie). We already know what movie is going to top the winter list, so that would be a pointless question. If I've left one out let me know. I put Dark Knight on the list because it is coming this month, it may have a bit of a handicap due to the late release time, but we'll see how it does. I also made it possible for you to vote for more than one. This is just in case your significant other has a different fave than you do. If you want, you can put a vote for each one. If you notice one of these movies is high on the votes, and you haven't seen it yet, you may want to find an excuse for date night and check it out!! Have fun and keep bloggin'!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just a dumb note for Candice

Hi candy, I was just reading your profile and wanted to inform you that the reese witherspoon movie is Just Like Heaven. My favorite too!

the cutest blog on the block

Hi guys, just wanted to include a little note about taryn's blog background site. If any of the rest of you have tried to get on it and gotten an error message don't worry. I found their blog and they said their server was too small and went down. They should be up and running again soon and with a bigger server, faster and better than ever!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Thank You!!

I just want to say thanks for the great recipes. I can't wait to try them! And in answer to Tara's question, I found this great site for free blog backgrounds and it is so much easier than any other one I've found. It's called! They have a ton of different ones and it is so easy to do that you can put one on and see if you like it, then change it if you don't. Right now I am not using one of their's because I keep changing mine but I will most likely use one of theirs when I do add one. So, sorry if every time you come to my blog it's different. I find it relaxes me and takes my mind off other things as I play and tweek with my blog and look at others. So anyways thanks again and hope you all are having a great day!

New Book

Okay, it is a new month, and therefore, a new book. This month's pick is The Host by Stephanie Meyer. I know that there are already a bunch of you that have read this, but if you haven't it is worth picking up. What better way to get ready for Breaking Dawn. This is a book full of twists and turns, but in the end it is a great read. If you just can't get enough of Stephanie Meyer, this is a great book to wet your whistle until August 2nd anyway.

I also added a new section under the book of the month that has previous faves, so that if by chance you missed a month, you can see what is there. Hopefully that will keep us all full of ideas for future readings, and we won't ever be want of a good book. ;-D


Hey Taryn,
I was wondering where you got that awesome blue plaid background for your blog. I LOVE it!!


I just wanted all of you to know I posted 4 new recipes! One at Candice's request, and three at Taryn's. I color coded them, so you can tell when one stops and another starts. Love ya!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Recipe Request

So I was wondering if I could put in a request for the next few recipes. I would really like Laura's Taco soup and Tara's tortilla soup. It's kind of too hot for me to eat soup but I've been craving it, so if those could be added as the next ones that would be great! Thanks all and get to blogging :)!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've been playing again

Okay, so for those of you who aren't total nerds and don't read the updates on Blogger when they log in... They have a new page element called blog list, or something like that. It is like the link list, only it allows for RSS feeds from the blogs themselves. So if you noticed, I updated our family list so that it now shows the name, snippet from the most recent post, and when the blog was last updated. I did this because I hate having to go to everyones blogs just to find out that y'all are just like me, and haven't posted anything new. Now you can check here and see who has been doing good, as well as those who need a little nudge to get things moving. I hope y'all approve, and like the new addition!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Me Again!

I added a deal for free lunchmeat coupons and some more Wii games at Amazon. I also sent an e-mail with the first chapter of Breaking Dawn for all you Twilight readers. If anyone didn't get it, just let me know and I'll send it to you. Love you all!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Just letting everyone know that I updated the deals section. I highly recommend the ELF cosmetics one. I'm possibly going to make another order, it was that good of a sale.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Just a couple of quick notes...

So I thought I had better spread the word that the Logan Anniversary Inn is way cool, and anyone wanting to go to one of their rooms should definitely keep that in mind as they are looking. We went there last weekend and had a blast. The Costco here in Salt Lake has gift certificates that they sell, so we got the room for almost half price. The Inn itself is a bunch of homes that have been converted into the different themed rooms. They have really done a great job. We went to Joanie's Diner, a fifty's diner themed room, and it was so much fun. They had a juke box, hot dogs, banana splits, and a soda fountian right in the room. They really did a great job with the decorating, and even had a phone booth that really worked. For those who like the traditional cheesecake and sparkling cider, don't worry, they have those too. Jess and I were sick by the time we went to bed. It was a much needed break, and was very nice to have.

Secondly, I have updated the Book of the Month section, and have again just put Jess' current fave on there. I am still reading The Work and the Glory, so there isn't anything new from me. The Looking Glass Wars is really fun though. It is a twist on Alice in Wonderland, and is really intriguing. I do give a word of warning, the first part is kind of sad, and Jess says it is just a little bit disturbing. She still has really loved the series, and has read both book 1 and 2 during the last few weeks.

I hope everyone is doing great. I look at the blog and just smile. I have to admit that when I first started this project I was really worried at the time it would take to keep it up, but everyone has really stepped up, and I now have to admit that sometimes I think I haven't done enough in comparison to everyone else. Thanks again for making this site awesome for anyone who wants to see the latest on all of us. Love y'all!!

Scrunchy Face Resemblance

So, I just wanted to see a side-by-side picture of Candice and Meleah's scrunched-nose faces and thought you'd all like to see it too, so here it is! :) SO cute! What a fun mother-daughter resemblance to have!

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Surprise Everyone! I FINALLY decided to contribute to the family blog, and guess what!? I TOTALLY wrote a new post on my blog too! Aren't you proud!? Thanks for the birthday wishes on here Taryn... I hope all of you are doing well in Henderson, I LOVE you all, and miss you too!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Happy Birthday!!

I know it's late but I just wanted to give a shout out to Jana and say Happy Birthday! I feel like I have known you forever and I have to say that you are such an amazing person! You are beautiful inside and out! There are so many good qualities about you that I admire. So I hope you had a good birthday and I love ya girl!
Sorry to all the other birthday people, I'm not trying to leave anyone out I just wanted to let Jana know we are thinking about her. And anyone who reads this make sure Jana knows since she hasn't been the best about checking Ü!! But we love her still!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Our family is blessed with some fabulous mothers who care for and love the children
that God has blessed them with. To my sisters and sisters-in-laws, might I just say: You all are doing an amazing job! As the kids get older I can see your influence on them and can't wait to see them grow up and become the outstanding people that you are raising them to be. Most of them aren't old enough to appreciate you yet but you are such amazing women and mothers. You all forget yourselves completely out of love for your children. Your sacrifices have been many and your reward in heaven will be great.

All of us are lucky to have our loving mother's example in our lives to show us how to be mothers and how to love unconditionally. Mom has given us so much throughout the years and we see her strength and the sacrifices that she makes for us nearly every day. We've gotten so many great characteristics from her guidance and are always appreciative of the comforting assurances and advice that she gives us. I know I speak for everyone when I say thank you so much for all that you've done for me and taught me and I love you TONS, Mom!

I'm happy to be surrounded by such amazing mothers and hope that I can someday be half as good of a mother as you all are! Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Taryn your blonde is showing!

So I'm a bit of a blonde but I just wanted to show that I got it figured out! I had something clicked No instead of yes, and once I changed it the toolbar showed up. Cool Huh?

Quick Queston

Ok now almost all of you have done the cute colored words in you blogs. Not that I want to be a total copycat or anything, but HOW do you do that? I can't figure that out! So if any of you cute color users would comment and let me know that would be great. Love ya guys!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Just letting everyone know that I added another recipe and a couple of deals in case you're too lazy to scroll down and check. :)

Saturday, May 3, 2008


So I added some background music :) Hope you all approve. Let me know if you have any requests, or if you want to modify our playlist, let me know and I'll give you the sign-in info :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

How does he do that?

So I just wanted to post and share these pictures I took of the kids the weekend Laura and D were in town. The kids all ended up in Grandma and Grandpa's room, and needless to say, Grandpa managed to sleep through it all. They later knocked down the mini blinds, how I don't know, but when I took these pictures it looked like innocent fun to me. Boy those kids sure have fun!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Book Section Updated

Hello everyone!!! The Book of the Month is up again, and this one is another good one that Jess strongly recommends. The Fablehaven Series is good for the old and young alike. It is much like the Harry Potter series as far as the age group it is written for. Most of the books are light and fun, but there are a couple darker spots in each one. I also updated the trip area as much as I could, but there may still be some trips that are not listed. Mom and Dad, yours is one, as I am not sure what days you are planning on coming up for Mother's Day. For the record (though I may not speak for all the men) I like the new layout, and it is well worth having to adjust a few things again to have a template that isn't one of the standard boring ones that are defaulted with Blogger. Love y'all!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Deals Section

Just letting everyone know that I added a spot to tell about deals that anyone finds, such as hasbro sales, free samples, grocery sales, etc.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Family Pics

You may have noticed that I put my family pic next to my profile, and in order to not look weird, I think everyone else should put theirs on too! Jana and Rachel included! (Am I starting to sound bossy?) Also, I'm with Taryn on the everyone needs to blog more thing. Some of us don't even have a single post yet. Hmmmmm. This is a record for posterity people! Okay, I'll leave you alone. Love ya!

So helpful

Thanks to Candice for all of the blogging tips. Now we can all be as cool as you! I think the family blog looks great and Ben approved too, so way to go. Everyone needs to blog more, I love reading about the kids and each other. Hope everyone had a great weekend. Hope to see you all soon. Love ya!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I just realized that I also deleted the upcoming trips! I am so sorry! Now I realize why I had to beg Steve to send me an invitation to be a part of this blog! He must have forseen the idiotic things I would do! Please fell free to fix anything else that I have messed up!

New Template?

Okay, I'm going to start out this post by apologizing. First, to the men in the family for making this blog a tad bit girlish. Second, to Rachel because when I switched templates it deleted the book of the month segment! Doh! You see, I saved all the other page elements, but I thought the recipe and book of the month were posts. My bad! Also, if you boys really hate the background I will change it, even though I think this one is so incredibly cute! Just let me know. I'll only cry for a few days. I also wanted to inform everyone that I finally found the website that I got my template off of. Yeah! I'm putting a link from my blog if anyone wants to check it out. I think they have a lot of cute ones, but if you don't find anything you like you can just google free blog templates and hundreds of sites come up. I think it's pretty much the same as My Space. Let me know if you have any more questions!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cari's Comment

I just want to tell Cari, since I can't find a way to comment on her blog, that her post is very sweet, funny, and oh so true! Also, that we're going to miss those of you that don't love us enough to come down this weekend with Mom and Dad! Love you guys!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Getting started

Well I figured I'd better make this blog official, and actually have a post on it. Today is April 13th and it has been 3 days since I finally got up the nerve to start a blog. I have thought about getting something going for a while, but just haven't followed through. For those of you who know me best, I think that is no surprise. I don't think the site looks too bad considering all the facts. Thanks to everyone who has been and will be contributing to the content. I am very excited to see what grows from this. I just thought I would post this to break the ice. I will post a better update on specifics going on in my family later.

Brown Family Slideshow


Guatamalan Tacos

Black beans
Corn Tortillas

Okay, I know, I don’t have amounts. That’s mainly due to the fact that the amounts will vary based on how much you want to make. I usually use a whole bag of beans, a head of cabbage 3 to 4 cucumbers, half an onion, 4 or 5 tomatoes, and 3 or 4 limes when I make this for the family. To start, cook the beans in a 2 to 1 ratio of beans to water just like rice. Don’t drain the beans when they are done. In a large skillet/frying pan put a small amount of oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion to the oil. This should be cut into strips, but left relatively large. When the onion has started to soften, but before it’s completely done, add the bean/water mixture. Be careful when adding the beans as the oil will be hot. Mash the beans and let them simmer down to a thicker consistency. Add salt to taste. In a separate bowl, combine shredded cabbage, sliced cucumber (I usually quarter the slices as well so that they fit in the tacos better), and diced tomato. Add the juice from the limes, and mix everything well. Prepare the tortillas by frying them in a small amount of oil. Take the tortillas, and put a small amount of beans in the bottom, then top with the salad mixture. If you like, you can top with pico de gallo, or you can also add chicken or beef, but these are great just vegetarian style as well.


Pico de Gallo (see below)
Half a head of cabbage, shredded
4-6 limes
1-1½ lbs salad shrimp (the small kind)
2 cucumbers, sliced then quartered

This is the salad that I made for the pot luck birthday party in February. I don’t know if anyone really liked it or not, but thought that I would put this up anyway. This is simple, especially if you already have some of the pico de gallo made. I usually add the whole batch of pico, but if you think that it will be too much you can add less. This can be eaten with chips, or you can use romaine lettuce to make a “boat” and fill it with the ceviche as well. You can also substitute chicken instead of shrimp if you are against the slaughter of small sea creatures, or just don’t like the way they taste :)

Pico de Gallo

8-10 medium sized tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
About half a bunch of cilantro
1-2 limes
1-2 jalapenos

Chop everything a small as you can. If you prefer a milder salsa, use only one jalapeno, and clean out the seeds. Using both jalapenos with seeds and pods will make a VERY hot salsa in most cases. Add salt to taste.

Muscle Beach Lemonade
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
7 cups water
1 cup sugar
Mix lemon juice water and sugar till totally dissolved in 2 qt pitcher. Cut lemon rind halves in fourths and add to the pitcher. Add ice to the top of the pitcher and chill.

Banana Banana Bread
Original recipe yield:1 - 9x5 inch loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
We followed another readers advice and baked at 300 degrees for 1 hr and 15 minutes for less brown crust. We liked it! I left the other info, just to give you more options. Another tip that sounded good that we planned to try was sprinkling brown sugar over the top before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

As usual, I included the changes I made. These are the cookies I made for Cameron's blessing.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

I also added a few chocolate chips just under half a bag I think...

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. Put batter in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake.

Pumpkin Cookies from Thanksgiving

This is exactly how I made them :)
½ cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups pumpkin puree almost a whole large can
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
About ½ bag chocolate chips
About ½ cup butterscotch chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 degrees C).
Cream together the margarine, vegetable oil and sugar.
Beat together the egg, vanilla and pumpkin.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; combine with pumpkin mixture and stir in chips
Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. (I used my cookie scoop and flattened the top to make them uniform and small) Be careful not to overbake.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 oz) black beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, with liquid
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix

In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat. Drain, and set aside.
Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend, and cook on Low setting for 8 hours. Laura also sometimes adds a can of rotel tomatoes. (they are tomatoes mixed with chilies. This would make the soup a bit hotter) Also, Laura uses the frozen costco super sweet corn instead of canned.

Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 lbs of chicken breast fillets
½ cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup masa harina (it’s a corn flour)
3 cups water
1 cup enchilada sauce
16 oz velveeta
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
Garnish: Shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled corn tortilla chips, pico de gallo

1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken breasts to pot and brown 4-5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside.
2. Add onions and garlic to pot and saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent. Add chicken broth.
3. Combine masa harina with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl and whisk until blended. Add masa mixture to pot with onions, garlic and broth.
4. Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, cheese and spices to pot and bring mixture to a boil.
5. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer soulp for 30-40 minutes or until thick. (stir occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom)
6. Serve soup in cups or bowls, and garnish with cheese, chips and pico. The recipe for the pico is below, but I often just buy the fresh salsa from the produce department instead.
Pico de Gallo
2 medium tomatoes, diced
½ cup diced Spanish onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-ribbed
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh cilantro
Pinch of Salt

The Cheesecake Factory Chicken Madeira
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
8 asparagus spears
4 mozzarella cheese slices
Madeira Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced fresh white mushrooms
3 cups Madeira wine
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp butter
¼ tsp black pepper
1. Heat up 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover each chicken breast with plastic wrap then use a mallet to flatten the chicken to about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper.
2. Sauté the chicken fillets for 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until the chicken has browned just a bit. Remove chicken fillets from the pan and wrap them together in foil to keep them warm while you make the sauce. Don’t clean the pan. You want all that cooked-on goodness to stay in the skillet to help make the sauce.
3. With the heat still on medium, add two tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for about two minutes. Add the Madeira wine, beef broth, butter and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until sauce reduces to about one quarter of its original volume. When the sauce is done it will have thickened and turned a dark brown color.
4. As the sauce is simmering, bring a medium sauce pan filled about halfway with water to a boil. Add a little salt to the water. Toss the asparagus into the water and boil for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus spears. Drop the asparagus in a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking. The asparagus should be slightly tender when done, not mushy.
5. Set oven to broil. Prepare the dish by arranging the cooked chicken fillets on a baking pan. Cross two asparagus spears over each fillet, then cover each with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Broil the fillets for 3 to 4 minutes or until light brown spots begin to appear on the cheese.
6. To serve, arrange one or two chicken breasts on each plate, then spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons of sauce over the chicken.
Makes 2 cheesecake factory sized portions which he said is equivalent to 4 sensible sized portions. Also, in the description he said that they serve this with mashed potatoes on the side for those of you who haven’t had it before. So you will have work those in to the recipe too. J
P.S. I have substituted a combination of grape juice and chicken broth in another recipe like this because I was afraid the grape juice would overpower it. But maybe you could just use the juice straight across. Todd said it is a sweet sauce, I have never had it…

(I don't know if you remember, Taryn, but I promised you this recipe FOREVER ago)
I usually make this in a 9x13 pan, but I will admit it overflows half of the time! It worked better in those deeper foil pans of moms. If you do use a 9x13 and don't want a lava filled oven, put a cookie sheet on the lower rack to catch drips.
Tara's recipe for Lasagna
1 jar/can of spaghetti sauce (26 oz) (I've used everything from Hunts to Prego)
1-2 lbs hamburger (I usually just use save money)
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/2 tsp of garlic salt (I just shake a little in, I don't measure)
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 cup of water
Brown beef and onion in large pan, add everything else and simmer for 30 minutes. If you don't want to simmer it that long, just add a little less water. If I don't have paste, I just add another can of tomato sauce and cut out a little of the water. In fact, you can chuck ALL of the ingredients beside the hamburger and onion and just use 2 bottles of premade sauce if you want to. I would add a little extra water (about 1/2 cup) for the noodles to absorb. The reason I add extra water is because I don't cook the noodles before I put them in the lasagna. If you do cook your noodles first, you don't need to add any extra water.

1 full package of Lasagna Noodles (16 noodles)
1-2 lbs grated mozzarella
1 (24 oz) pkg cottage cheese (the larger size)
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (overflowing)
1 tablespoon dried parsley

While the sauce is simmering, Mix cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and parsley. To layer lasagna, start by spreading some sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then lay 4 noodles on the bottom. (I usually have to break up the 4th noodle to make it fit.) On top of the noodles put 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, then I sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on that, then the sauce and again with the noodles, and so on. On the top layer you just put sauce directly over the noodles and then more mozzarella. I use all of the sauce by the end. Make sure the noodles are thoroughly covered with sauce, so that they will cook completely. Put foil over the pan, but dome it so it doesn't touch the cheese. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, then take off the foil and bake for another 20 till the cheese is starting to brown on top. Take it out of the oven and let it sit for 10-15 minutes (this just helps the noodles absorb more liquid) and then serve! If you do cook your noodles first, you can also cut baking time to 40 minutes. Just take off the foil 20 minutes earlier or don't use the foil at all.

Book of the Month

Inheritance Cycle: Christopher Paolini

This is another incomplete fantasy series, but I chose it for the book of the month because first of all, it is really good. Secondly, it is currently what both Jess and I have enjoyed reading as of late. Currently there are three books:

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesméra, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspiring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn’t know whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle–one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.
Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life.

OATHS SWORN . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide.
Following the colossal battle against the Empire's warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.
First is Eragon's oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran's beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix's clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength - as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices - choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.
Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?

I do warn any who read these, there is still at least one more book that will be coming out, and they are pretty adicting. I for one don't mind waiting too long for a book, but put off reading them until now because there was a decent amount of time that passed between books 2 and 3. I have only just started the series myself, but already feel like I'm going to really enjoy it. Jess has read books 1 and 2 and will start on the 3rd as soon as she finishes her current read.

Previous Book of the Month Selections

The Chronicles of Narnis: C.S. Louis
Breaking Dawn: Stephanie Meyer
The Host: Stephanie Meyer
The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy: Frank Beddor
The Fablehaven Series: Brandon Mull
The King Raven Trilogy: Stephen Lawhead

Upcoming Trips!

Moyle Jensen Family Reunion on June 18th