Friday, April 7, 2017

Don’t stand back and watch, get creative and dive in.

This year for Spring Break, we took the kids to Southern Utah for a few days.  Then we have spent the rest of the time at home having an awesome STAYCATION!!!

I love Staycations.  I NEED more time with my kids just being at home.  I LOVE having all our activities and sports canceled for the week, and having time to just chill; and cross some things off our list.

Plus, I don’t love our kids thinking that we always have to big or go home!! It’s ok to just be together @ home. …or go small and travel via car to places closer to where we live.  I grew up that way, and I had a great childhood.

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This was the perfect week for us to dye Easter Eggs.  Since the kids are older now, it was finally time to break out the magazines and try some of the fun stuff we have seen other people try.  I thought it would be fun to show you what we did. I thought it would spark some ideas for you for this upcoming Easter Holiday.

I was ready to dive in and get creative too.

I thought I would give each project we tackled a level of difficulty.

Then you could assess if you want to attempt it with your age of children and decide if it would work with your family.

You don’t have to do all of these that we did.  You could just choose one to try if your looking for something fun and new.

Level 1 being Easy- 5 being Advanced. 

1) means it’s something that a 5 year old could manage

2) something that my 7 year old can do on her own

3) something that my 7 year old can do but might need help with in some areas

4) something that my 9 year old can manage on his own

5) something that my 12 year old can do, but she is super capable

(these all really need ADULT supervision)

OK.  Lets dye eggs

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We had such a great time together.  Usually I stand back and photograph, but mostly I participated this time. Oh! and I just realized that the girls and I decided that it was a bun day today.  It is going to storm today so why do your hair? Buns for the hair it is!

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  Jex didn’t join us, because it is the last day of ski season.  Skiing is everything to that boy, so we let him pass this time.

I found that these mini muffin trays, hold the eggs so well.

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I picked this one up at our local thrift store this last week.  I even spray painted it to make it look adorable, not even knowing I would use it for this purpose.  So go search out your thrift stores.  I’m going to use it for jewelry or little craft supplies when I’m done with this.

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We just used the normal dyes that you buy at the grocery store for egg dying.  I made a few fun colors out of vinegar and food coloring too. I always buy two egg dying kits because none of the kids are patient enough to wait on colors.  I also never like the process to take hours.  That was a trick I learned a long time ago.  It’s worth the extra $1.50.  

We made sure to leave a few eggs white, because we had some plans for those.

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The kids and I liked trying to make some of them hombre, and dipping in two colors and seeing what happens.  We tried all sorts of fun things when it comes to the dying part.

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Ok!  One of our favorite decorating tricks was actually with spray paint.  We took a white egg, and added a sticker.  Make sure to press it down hard.

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Then we took the egg outside and spray painted them gold.

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Once they were dry we took the sticker off

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Seriously so much fun!!  These would make great place cards at the dinner table on Easter.

Level: 5 because of Spray paint


We did another fun one with some Gold Paint.

We did some sponge painting on the eggs.  We used gold paint and some sponge brushes.  If you don’t have sponge brushes, you could use sponges cut in strips.

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They give the eggs such a fun feel. 

Level: 3 for sure.  Tess did this mostly on her own.  For sure needs a good hand washing after.


We have had a good stash of puff paint on hand for a while, so I thought why not?

The important thing to remember with this is that it takes a while to dry. 

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So you can only do about half of the egg at a time.

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We did polka dots mostly, and even wrote a few words like Stella’s IDK for I don’t know.(cause she ran out of things to say)

Notice how only half of the egg is polka dotted.  This is the kids tray.  They need to come back and finish the egg.

Level:I would say this is between a 3 and 4 for difficulty.  Tess needed some help with this, and Isaac just needed help getting started.


Can you say WASHI?

We use it for everything at our house.  We put washi tape on everything.  We decided to put it on the eggs to.  It made them look awesome.

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Some we just put around the middle of the egg as a stripe around the middle.  I cut teeny tiny triangles, and put them all over an egg.

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Depending on what you are doing with the washi depends on the level.

Level:1 for just a simple wrap around stripe.  Difficult shapes would be a 5.


Glitter is just too fun not to be added to the mix.

This was simple.  We just used a simple glue pen and added it to our egg where we wanted the glitter to be.  You can draw shapes, symbols, letters or words.

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Then with the help of a big person, the glitter was added.

Tessa wrote the number 8, because she is turning 8 this year.

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8 is a big year in our church.  It is the year you are baptized, and she is excited about that.

Level: 1 for using a glue pen and drawing the design, 5 for adding the glitter

NOTE: I like the Heidi Swapp glitter it can be found at Hobby Lobby or Michaels.


The last one the kids loved was the marble eggs.  It seemed to work best with white eggs; not dyed. I tried it on a colored egg, and it worked but not as well.

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It involves fingernail polish and a bowl that you don’t care to keep.

Fill the bowl with warm water, and add a few drops of finger nail polish.  Then stir with a small straw.

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Drag egg through the polish until it is completely covered.  Then just allow the polish to dry. 

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The pink one in the center is mine with mint nail polish on it.  It didn’t work as well.  You can see though, how we have done a few of these different techniques together on one egg.  This pink egg is dyed, it’s got mint polish, and gold glitter on it.  So try doing a few together and see what happens.

These polish ones look really cool and have a great marble effect.  If you want to use another color when using the polish, just rinse out the bowl, and then pick a new polish color. Start the process over.  When you are finish, throw the bowl away.  You may want to use rubber gloves for this technique.

Level: 5 for sure!! Stella did these all by herself.  She even did mine. I just supervised.

So… here is a little taste of how mine came together:

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I do have a couple words written on mine with puff paint, but I am saving those for a later date. You will have to stay tuned to see what those say. It was fun writing on them in cursive with cursive handwriting and puff paint.  That is something to try also.

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The kids did awesome too!!

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…and I had so much fun hanging out with them.

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I love spending time with my kids being creative.

I hope this sparks a few ideas, and makes you want to dive into the egg dying process with your kids this year.  It really was so much fun. 

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I am so glad I joined in this year!!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Delicious Chicken Curry.

It’s time to share one of my favorite recipes.

Chicken Curry

I’m sharing this because It’s cold outside, and I’ve caught a cold that has made me feel awful.  I’m at that point in the winter where I am ready for it to be over. 

This nice little recipe totally warms me up on a cold yucky day. It is full of those yummy good for you veggies, and it’s one that my kids beg for.

This is a recipe that I put together when we lived in the Caribbean.  I put it together because that’s when I discovered how much I loved curry, and I wanted to learn how to make it.

Every recipe that I read was different, so I took several recipes and took what I loved from each and put them all together.

What I love about this recipe is that it is a one pot recipe.  You can make everything except for the rice in one pot.  I hate when I have to dirty lots of pots and pans for one meal, so this one is awesome.

I love making this recipes in this pot.  It is my Pioneer Woman enameled Dutch oven.

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Here is are the steps to this deliciousness:

What you will need:

2 T. olive oil

1 Large onion

2 cloves garlic

4 t. ginger

8 t. coriander

8 t. curry powder

2 t. cumin

1/4 t. turmeric

1/4 t. cayenne pepper

1/4 t. black pepper

3 t. salt

1 can petite diced tomatoes

3 cups water

3 t. chicken bouillon powder

8-12 chicken tenders or 4 chicken breasts

4 potatoes

1 yellow squash

A handful or two of baby carrots sliced in half

1 zucchini

1 sweet potato

3 cans coconut milk

Basmati Rice(must use basmati; this is what makes the curry taste so wonderful)

Chop onion into fine pieces, and heat oil.  Cook chopped onion until brown.  Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.  Add all the spices and cook for one minute more.  It will get really fragrant.  This will look like a lot of spices.

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This is what makes it sooooo good.

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I like to gather all the spices before I begin so that I’m not running around looking for them when it’s time to dump them in.

Add water, and thinly sliced potatoes, with chicken bouillon.  We like to slice the potatoes with a mandolin so they slice really thin, and cook faster. 

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If you don’t have one, just chop them into smaller pieces.  Add the squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, baby carrots, all the same way, and at the same time; and then add 2 cans of coconut milk to it. 

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Cover it for about fifteen minutes and let it cook down and simmer over medium heat until the vegetables soften. 

After 15 minutes, add the chicken.  The chicken needs to be added in small pieces as well.  You can slice it, or I like to use kitchen shears and cut it in to small chunks.

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Cover it again, and let it stand for 15 more minutes.

Once you add the chicken, you should start preparing your rice in your rice cooker.  If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can just prepare this in a normal pot.

Add your last can of coconut milk to the pan, and add  2 more cans of water to the rice cooker or your pot.  Then add 2 cups of rice to the rice cooker, or the pan.  Hit cook on the rice cooker or follow the cooking instructions for the stovetop on the rice bag for the stovetop.

Basmati rice can be found in the grocery store by all the other rice.  It is a little bit more money, but it is so worth it. I promise!!

After fifteen minutes and your chicken is cooked, stir in the can of tomatoes; and serve over the hot rice.

Chicken Curry 

You guys will die this is so good.

It is even better the next day.  It makes great leftovers, and I really don’t even like leftovers.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

One of the prettiest girls I know…

I had sooo much fun a few weekends ago.  My darling sister asked me to shake the dust off my camera, and do a photoshoot.

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I was so excited to take her maternity pictures.

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Right after she asked me, she ended up in the hospital because of her Placenta Previa.

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I rushed down there as fast as I could, and hoped she would be better and feel up to photos.  I prayed that all would be well.

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Luckily they got everything calmed down, put her on a mild bedrest and…

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told that baby to stay put for a while longer.

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He needs to bake a little longer.

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We also did some photos of the whole fam showing their love to the babe in the belly.

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Hank was not showing his love.  He was kinda mad, but that’s a 3 year old

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He was mostly mad about his sweater.

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We finally got him to perk up at the end, after we found a dog for him to pet.

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I am so amazed at the strength and beauty of this women.

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She has been thru many hard things, and always comes through smiling and teaching me how to be better.  I learn to be a better wife and mother from her.

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I am so excited to meet this new little guy.

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I know he is a special little spirit.  He is so lucky to have Kristin as his Mom, and Jared as his Dad.

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I am ready to hold him, but not yet!! He needs to stay put a little longer.

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This was a fun day.  I loved capturing this moment in time.

Thanks for letting me a part of this, I love you sis.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Tour of Valley View Abode(that’s what we call our new house): Our Great Room

I think it’s time to start sharing some photos of our new house.  It’s taken me some time to be ready to share.  This house is our dream home.  We put all our thoughts and energy into building this. 

When we started this process, we started an Instagram account and named this house Valley View Abode.  We named it that because of the great views of the valley that we have.  If you want to follow along with what we did, you can follow us @valleyviewabode on Instagram.  I am still posting fun design ideas, and things that make me happy there.

How did this process start?  I sketched it out on a piece of paper exactly how we wanted our floor plan to be, and then we took that to a drafter.

She drafted it for us, and did an amazing job.  It’s exactly how I sketched it, except with a few of her suggestions that made things better.

Once your house is drafted, then it has to be engineered.  Then you pick or bid builders, and start the process.  That whole process, start to finish, drafting to finish build; took us about 20 months.


All along the way, we made every decision.  We decided where every light switch would be, and which direction our doors would swing.  It was an exciting process.

I am excited to show you some of the decisions we made.  I will just throw little tours of the house in here and there.  Today, I am going to share a tour of our great room:

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The feeling we are going for in our house is coastal.  We are trying let little pieces of our life in the Caribbean leave a mark on this house.  We chose colors for this house that reflect the colors of the ocean, and we did beams to represent driftwood.  We did tongue and groove ceilings because that's what they have in homes in the Caribbean.  I also chose champagne bronze/brass fixtures because they have a very nautical feel to them. You will see some stripes in a few of the patterns because I also feel a sense of being at the beach when I see stripes.  I don’t know why, but stripes also feel very nautical and coastal to me. 

This room is on the main floor, and at the back of the house to the left, once you walk through the entry way. 

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As you can see, we have this beautiful transomed entry way that you walk through to get to the great room.

…and you are welcomed by and adorable Yorkie!

A lot of people have asked me what transoms are.  In architecture, transoms are a horizontal crossbar separating a door from a window.  Most of the time you see transoms above doors.  Sometimes you have transoms in cased openings, or doorways, which is how mine are.  I have four here.  I will do a post that shows more of the entry soon.

You can also see the kitchen, as they are connected.

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We were so lucky to score some old wood beams from an old barn here in the valley that was being torn down.  My builder new I wanted beams in my house.  He didn’t disappoint when he brought me the real deal. 

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Between the wood beams, we did a tongue and groove ceiling out of pine.  I love how it looks, and gives the ceiling another texture. As I said before, the homes in the Caribbean have tongue and groove on their ceilings.  It also defines the great room from the kitchen.  I painted my walls a nice light blue/green color.  The color is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt 6204, but I had the color diluted by 75%.  I hope that makes sense, so it is only at 25% strength.  I wanted it to be very subtle.

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…And the Windows!! This house has a lot of windows. 74 windows to be exact!! I’m so nervous to call a window cleaner. Ugh!!  Natural light is super important to me, like I’m mean without it.  I am also not a huge fan of covering them up so I’m not one to do blinds.  I love these windows, and huge doors.  The big floor to ceiling windows in the great room are sliding glass doors that open up to a massive deck.

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When we were wiring the electrical in the house, I made sure to do three things in this space:

1. put an outlet in the floor here, because I knew I would want a lamp.  The outlet is hidden right under this table. Right behind the cute sleeping dog.

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(Lamp and Pillows TJ Maxx, Couch a local store called 8th & main, Lamp similar, Couch Similar)

2.  put outlets on the side of the fireplace for lamps, and Christmas lights. I also had them switched so I just have to turn them on with a light switch.

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(Lamps from TJ Maxx, something similar)

3.  wire for sconces.  I knew that this space needed some other lighting element.

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(sconces, ottoman-TJ Maxx one similar, Chair- 8th & main, one similar)

This great room light here came from one of my favorite lighting places.  It’s actually a local place here where I live.  It’s called The Valley Home Store.  Follow them on Instagram for some great inspiration. @thevalleyhomestore  I seriously got so many lights from them.  Every time I went in, I got so much design help.

I’m a very symmetrical girl, so having built-in book shelves on either side of the fireplace was a must.  I’m still filling them, and messing around with them, but they are here; and I love them.

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OK!! I know you are dying to talk about my shiplap fireplace.  I am too.  Yes! I do swoon and melt every day that I see it.  I love the design of it!! I love how it is different and unique!!

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(Mirror Hobby Lobby out of this one but this one is fun, Candlesticks World Market, Plants Homemade by me)

 I gave a picture of what I wanted to my builder and he was awesome about it.  I told my builder I wanted lots of shiplap in this house and he was so good to deliver.  In fact, he didn’t know what I meant by shiplap.  He has only heard tongue and groove so he went to a lumber source, and found out about it; and got me the real deal.  I love Shiplap!!

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  I also wanted a very deep mantle so I could put bigger things on it. 

He made it happen, and I am so happy with that decision.  For example: look how fun and awesome it is to put my putz houses on it at Christmas:

Christmas decor at our House at night-0195

I am just now figuring out what to put on my mantle, because for months, it has been seasonal stuff.

….and anyone swooning over the sea green glass tile surround in my fireplace too?  Yes me too.  This was the very first choice I made for my house.  I knew it had to go in my house.

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So the fireplace shape is repeated in the kitchen to keep it flowing.  The fireplace shape is repeated in the hood in the kitchen, and the glass tile is repeated in my back splash.

The piano managed to stay in this space.  The kids practice in here.  I’m grateful I painted it all those years ago, cuz it looks great in here.  I painted it by making my own chalk paint.

Chalk paint:

8oz paint color of choice(buy a sample), mixed with 4 T. Hot water and 4 T. Plaster of Paris

Yep!! That’s it!

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I love this print above the piano.  This scripture means a lot to me. Especially right now, I am teaching Gospel Doctrine in our church.  I’m grateful for this scripture, as I learn as study more about our Savior.

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I picked this print up at Swiss Days in Midway.  If you live in Utah, this is a must; it’s so much fun.

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Let’s talk carpet and hardwood flooring.  This carpet you are seeing in my great room is inlayed like a big rug.  We had it set in and the hardwood picture frames and wraps around it, and then hardwood throughout the rest of the main floor(mostly).  I chose a really fun diamond shape pattern carpet for this inlay.  It is the same color as the rest of my carpet, it’s just a different pattern.


For Hardwood, we did the real deal.  I wanted sand and finish hardwood.  So we picked 6 inch planks, and we picked a maple.  Maple is a really hard hard wood, and has a really fun character to it.  Our intent was to stain it a light gray and then finish it with a matte finish.  Every day when I would come to check the on the floors, I would get sick to my stomach at the thought of staining these beautiful floors.  Jonathan would come and feel the same way, but we were both nervous to tell each other.  When the stain guy came, he said the same thing. 

Just to make me feel better he showed me what it would look like with the gray stain.  I couldn’t do it.  I am so happy with our floors.  I love the look of the natural wood.  I might change my mind someday, but for now we have nice beautiful unstained maple floors.

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I think that’s it for now.  I hope you enjoyed your tour of the great room.  If you have any question about anything you have seen please feel free to email me, or better yet; follow my instagram that is all about our design process and what’s going on now, and leave your question there.

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Follow me @valleyviewabode

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Thanks for stopping by today!!

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