Wednesday, October 30

The Christmas List

Let's be honest--November and December are both like the fastest months of the year (that is, until about the week before Christmas) and somehow it is already the Adam of November (I guess tomorrow would be November Eve--if you don't get my stupid joke, just tell me haha ;). Anyway, if you haven't begun your Christmas list, now is the time to do so! Especially if you, like me, need plenty of time to think of gifts and find great deals (or make them if you're crafty!).

I don't want to spend a lot of money this year (haha because we don't have it) so I plan on doing my best to make most of my gifts. I wish I could share my ideas, but my family reads this thing more than anyone and I hate ruining surprises.

But for the same reason I can't share their gifts, I can share my wish-list which includes mostly home-made items:

1. A small hand-held drill (for drilling holes in wood and screwing in screws)
2. Wooden fridge alphabet magnets
3. A quarter ring (a ring made from a silver-edged quarter, instructions here)
4. One of these babies for New Hampshire and Idaho
5. Some simplicity wood nativity people
6. Pretty much anything on my Pinterest...particularly my *Create, Paint, Make* board
(located here)
7. A trip to Orlando to see my family and go to some theme parks. (Really, I just want this one more than anything ;)
This is me...forever ago. And this could be my baby girl in a few years! 
I feel like most of these things are do-able for my parents or brothers, so if you want to make me something (because I don't really just want "stuff"), here are some good ideas! Mom, make Dad, Payson, and Donny look at this please!

What is on your Christmas wish list? Anything immediately come to mind??

By the way, if you need a quick Halloween-related laugh, check out this video from the Ellen DeGeneres show. She's hilarious.

Things to do in Fall

Remember this post with our list of "Fall Assignments"?

Well I think Dalin and I have been pretty successful so far and we still have over a month to go until fall is over. Did you know that the first day of winter this year is December 21st? What the heck! In my book, as soon as Thanksgiving is over, it's basically winter and I don't leave my house except for food haha. Anyway, here's our success so far (and some photos to prove it!):

1. Bake an apple pie. Bonus: Do it with apples we picked ourselves. Done and done. 
Pre-crust. Loved these apples for this pie. See recipe below!
Finished product to be eaten with vanilla ice cream! Recipe found here!
2. Eat a candy apple. Not done yet...but we did eat an apple pie one from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory! It's too hard to find a candy apple place anywhere!

3. Find some fresh apple cider and also some hot apple cider.
No this isn't mine...I wish mine had looked this good. But it sure tasted good.
4. Watch some corny Halloween movies. I watched the Addams' Family and Hocus Pocus which are both corny Halloween classics. 
5. Go to a Halloween party. We went last weekend (not this past weekend, the one before) and even won the costume contest like we'd meant to. The theme was board games and video games. Were we surprised that our Call of Duty costumes won? A little. Especially because we spent very little on putting them together! Thank you, Savers and Dollar Store...
6. Decorate for Halloween and then for Thanksgiving. 
I painted these signs the first fall we were married
Pretty fall leaves my mom sent from New Hampshire
I painted this that same year!
This is actually from Halloween past but I haven't taken pics of this year's yet!
Homemade (double-sided!) "Give Thanks" banner. So glad I made this! (I'll have to take a pic of the "Trick or Treat" side!)
7. Find a place to serve people on Thanksgiving. Still need to see if this is a possibility! It is one of my favorite memories from spending Thanksgiving with my family.

8. Own at Fantasy Football. Check! No but seriously, thank goodness for Drew Brees and Calvin Johnson. My goal is to at least come in second. It is just really important that I beat Dalin's team this week and Layton's when we go against each other again. Then I'll have a chance!!!

9. Go through a corn maze or on a hay ride. I'm not sure why I gave myself two options here, but I did go on a hay ride to the pumpkin patch, so success! It was really fun with all my wonderful in-laws. 
This was after, but I like the picture better. I don't have any of me looking at the camera while on the hay ride which is kind of lame...
I love how serious all of their faces are--including Maddox!
10. See more of our family! We loved visiting Boise to celebrate Halloween (plus all the married couples played Kick the Can and Capture the Flag until late at night, which was tons of fun--and also happened to be my idea ;). Also, my mom is coming to visit for ten days this Friday! I'm so happy! Plus Dalin's family may come down again in a weekend or two and then we'll be heading back to Boise for Thanksgiving! Yes! 

11. Roast pumpkin seeds. Did this while in Boise after Shaina and Dalin carved their pumpkins. I tried a new technique for cooking them and I liked how they came out much better! Briefly, here's what we did: 
We set the oven at 400 degrees. After rinsing the seeds in a strainer, we boiled them, then let them simmer for ten minutes on the stove. (We put a Tbsp of salt in the water to boil but it didn't help much). After, we drained the seeds, then spread them out on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Once the seeds were spread in the oil, we sprinkled *well* with salt (we had to salt them four times for it to be enough). Then we stuck it in the oven for 20-25 minutes. We checked them a number of times--you want some of the seeds to be turning a light brown. You can take them out at twenty minutes, test one, then put them back if the texture isn't right. That's what we did. They were soooo dang good after. Everyone wanted some. I don't know if/why boiling makes a difference, but it sure seemed to!
12. Go to the Farmer's Market as much as possible. Got my favorite kettle corn from the Yodeling Moose people almost every week! Well worth it! 

13. Make more blackberry smoothies. I guess we need to hang out with Layton and Shaina more! 

14. Make squash. Real squash. Thanksgiving is a month away!

15. Read and watch Harry Potter. Watched the movies with Tenley and Dalin, and I've been reading book two with Tenley when I get the chance. She loves it of course ;)

16. Drink Butterbeer. ...Not yet :/

17. Visit Provo Canyon. We did go fishing there the last time the family was here but we missed the leaves changing. 

18. Paint pumpkins. Haven't done this year's yet...we just kept our little ones this time around. I hate how the big ones rot and ooze pumpkin slime.

19. Make fried dough or scones. I forgot about this, but it still sounds delicious!

20. Take lots of photos. Obviously, I have done so. I love recording Tenley's life!

Tuesday, October 29

If I Had Three Wishes...

If I had three wishes (and I wasn't allowed to wish for more of course) I think I'd wish for the following:

1. A free ticket to the Celestial Kingdom with my family, all-inclusive. Okay, we're going to assume that is against the rules, too, and at any rate, I wouldn't want to cheat my way in--I'd want to earn it of course. So my real number one is: 

1. A comfortable home on the lake or ocean with enough space for my six or seven children and for guests. And if it can be included in the same wish, a car and a boat that fit all of us. All I want is to be surrounded by family in a place I love. The very idea fills me with happiness!

2. The ability to apparate/disapparate. This would be really convenient so that I could live where I want but pop in on family members at their request. Obviously I'd also be able to side-along apparate so Dalin and Tenley can come with me. We could have breakfast with my family in New Hampshire then apparate to Idaho for dinner with my in-laws. Plus, plane tickets and long car-rides for vacations and visits would be a thing of the past. Darn, why can't this be real?

3. Money sufficient for our needs (and that of others). I know it is selfish of me to wish that we didn't have to work, but I would like nothing more than to spend all day with Dalin and our children. Sorry that going to work gets in the way of that...but the only other reason I would wish for money is because I would love to have the means to secretly help families and people in need. I would want to do it all in secret so people wouldn't specifically only be thankful to us but to God. Also, people wouldn't try to mooch off of us. Still, we would be very generous. Nobody has ever gotten poor from giving too much. 

As nice as some of these things would be, I'm incredibly grateful for what I have now and wouldn't give it up under any circumstances. 

What is something you would wish for? (I want to hear your personal wishes, not world peace and whatnot, though that of course would be wonderful.)

5 Things That Make Me Most Happy Now

A lot of things make me quite happy right now!

1. Dalin. I have a wonderful husband whom I love very, very much. I loved talking to him on the phone tonight (he has a grave shift) about all kinds of things (the Masterpiece Classic movies I've been watching, what I've been doing with Tenley, how much I miss him) just like we were dating again. I feel as much in love with him as ever and even more so now. Even though we have both grown (though not height-wise in my case) and changed in several ways, we did so together. We've been molded into adults and parents together and have forever to continue to do so.

2. Tenley. Everything about her. It is impossible to imagine loving another human being so much as your own child until you have one. I know this from experience. I always knew I'd love my children, but there is no feeling like holding your own baby in your arms. Just knowing that Tenley is mine forever and that she is a part of Dalin and me fills me with joy. I cannot even comprehend how she came from me still--it's too miraculous. Life is a miracle.

3. The gospel of Jesus Christ. I love being a Latter-day Saint (aka Mormon). Just knowing that I can be with my sweet little family forever is such a comfort to me. Death is not the end! I can have joy in my family for eternity. I am so grateful to our loving Father in heaven for making this a possibility! If you want to know why Mormons are generally so happy, check this link out!

4. The Book of Mormon. I have been reading it a lot more lately (slowly but surely!), and my testimony that this book is truly the word of God is growing firm again. I have faith that reading it will strengthen my home and increase the happiness we feel daily. One purpose of this life is for us to have joy and I personally have been promised to feel that joy if I will continually try to do the right thing--including immersing myself in the scriptures. Sometimes I read them because it is a commandment, and sometimes (like now) I read them because it truly increases my happiness.

5. This blog. Sometimes I hate this stupid thing because it can be a big time waster, but more often than not, it brings me a lot of happiness because I enjoy writing, and I also like sharing my testimony and points of view with others. I hope that my writing does occasionally bring a little bit of additional happiness to your day. If not, let me know and I'll work on that...but if it has, I like to know that too. I love reading your comments, though all too often I just reply mentally rather than literally. But anyway, this blog is bringing me happiness in this exact moment and I guess that's what matters (at least for the sake of this post).

I'm sure I could add several others. But the requirement was 5 things, plus it's past midnight now and I have a baby girl to go and snuggle.

What are 5 things (or even just a few) that are making you happy right now? Maybe it's a major thing or something simple.

Sunday, October 27

10 Things I Would Tell My 16-Year Old Self

Watching lacrosse with my bff, Sarah (who is currently serving a mission in Ecuador)
My two best friends and myself at EFY
At the ocean with my bff, Megan (who is currently attending Gordon in Massachusetts) 
Girls' Camp YCLs (Sarah and I wanted to be the funnest ones ;)
I was a pretty average teenage girl. Minus the drama. I think I was surprisingly successful at avoiding drama. Mainly because I had very few close girl friends (there were only two I was really close to). I never had an exclusive boyfriend, but I had a lot of boy friends. They kept me out of the typical teenage girl drama. Still, if I could somehow go back and talk to my 16-year old self, there are definitely some things I would change.

First, I would tell myself: Don't be such a pushover. I still am in some ways, but since I've become a mom, standing up for myself hasn't really been an issue. When I was 16, I was even worse at saying no to people. Face to face, (key phrase here) I am very non-confrontational. I hate disappointing anyone. I like to be liked, and I don't like being the one to tell someone they're out of line. I wish I hadn't been such a coward though--I should have just told people straight up what I thought of them.

Second, I would tell myself to get better at taking criticism. I want to be a writer and an editor and criticism comes with the territory. Plus, being as outspoken as I am about my beliefs as a Latter-day Saint and as a conservative, it's just something I need to be good at. I would also tell myself that if I can't take criticism, not to write a blog because negative feedback and mean comments are a part of the domain. And really, who cares what other people think? (Even Jesus was criticized!)

Third, I would tell myself not to transfer from BYU-Idaho. I can't really say I regret the decision now because I did enjoy the classes I took through BYU (the ones I took on campus anyway), but I would be all done with my English major (plus I would have been able to do both a Professional Writing and a Spanish minor) if I had stayed with BYU-Idaho and just finished with online classes. But, I believe that everything happens for a reason and therefore know that everything will work out as it should. Even if things were a little harder for me than I think necessary.

Fourth, I would tell myself not have so many expectations for the "ideal" time to marry someone or have children. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and there's a good chance their opinion will vary from your own, particularly on this matter. You can't please everyone, so as long as you're making a prayerfully made decision--don't worry.

Fifth: Read more. And I don't mean just Harry Potter.

Sixth: Memorize more scriptures. I was always good at scripture mastery, but there were only a half a dozen that I've committed to long-term memory. I wish I could remember more as it would come in handy when giving talks and teaching my children.

Seventh: STOP comparing yourself to others. It is pointless. You will never be them and they are not better than you just because you think so. Remember that everyone is a child of God, whether they know it or not. Treat everyone with a little more kindness than necessary--you don't know how much it might mean to them.

Eighth, I would remind myself to be nicer to my mom. Someday, I will better appreciate why she did the things that she did.

Ninth: Make more girl friends. Yes, you're really awkward at making new friends, but remember when you invest time in others, they often return the favor. Someday you'll be married and your two closest friends won't be around and you'll wish you had made more girl friends to talk to (and it will be weird to talk to your old guy friends even when they get married so don't waste so much of your time).

And tenth, I would tell my 16-year old self: Believe in yourself. You are never going to be perfect in this life, but you know you are trying your hardest and that is all you can do. Don't forget this quote by our childhood friend, Winnie the Pooh (better known as A. A. Milne):

What things would you tell your 16-year old self, huh? I really want to know!

Friday, October 25

My Relationship With Your Dad

This post is for Tenley and for our future children who have not yet entered this world. But I can assure you (future children) that I'm already thinking of you daily and that I already know some of your names. For the rest of you, we'll have to wait to know your names until Dad and I come to an agreement.

Your dad and I met under weird circumstances. At least, that's what I think. It is not the type of romantic story I'd imagined for myself while growing up. I thought I would marry a boy from one of my college classes or maybe from my church ward. I thought we would meet at some activity like Stadium Singing or a group movie night with friends from my apartment complex. Thanks to Disney, I even thought I might meet him in the woods (which sounds kind of sketchy, but really--how many Disney princesses met their princes in the woods? Like all of them.). I never imagined that your dad and I would be set up by someone or that our first conversation would take place through Facebook. I mean, really...Facebook? I know it's modern day, but the internet is just not romantic to me--period.

But we did, and now I think it's cool that we met and immediately liked one another just by talking to each other. We just get each other--it's hard to explain. We talked for a week, met after that week, started dating at the end of the second week, and got engaged two months later. I guess it's true what they say, "When you know, you know." Your dad was my first and only real boyfriend. While we were dating during those two months I was praying hard every day to know if I should marry your dad. I liked him that much right away. Every Friday morning, my roommates and I would go to the Rexburg temple to do some baptisms. And every Friday morning, while we waited in the chapel, I would pray for confirmation that marrying your dad was right and would write about what I was feeling in my journal.
On Friday, April 22, 2011, I wrote the following in my journal:

Reasons I know: [that we're meant to be]
Dalin sincerely tells me he love me
We have quirky things in common
We share most interests and opinions
Dalin treats me like a royal daughter of God
He makes me want to be my best self
He is my best friend. Already
He is not superficial or shallow
The Spirit remains around the two of us when we are together
Dalin has a testimony and is an example to me and others
Dalin is understanding
He is patient with my imperfections
He is willing to wait as long as it takes [to get married]
He and I can talk of gospel topics and sacred things
We share many similar perspectives
He loves me for who I am now
He is willing to make changes/sacrifices for me
He is not worried about my family, though I sure as heck am [this was in response to our wanting to get married after knowing each other for so short a time]
He and I both feel we don't deserve each other
He does not hinder my future goals but encourages them and wants to be a part of them
He is an Eagle Scout
He served a faithful mission
He wants children (however many I want! :)
He is flexible about the future and where we will live
He believes in me, more than I do myself
He is temple worthy and wants a temple marriage
He is what I want and more from a spouse
He is willing to try new things
He is frugal and cautious about money--but not when it comes to me
Dalin is honest--even with me when I make mistakes
He is trusting and forgiving
He has goals of his own
He wants to serve a senior mission (with me)
He wants to travel (with me)
He is good at compromising
He always wears his seatbelt (and makes me wear mine)
He is concerned for my welfare and safety

So yeah, that was a pretty extensive list and I am sure there would have been more but I ran out of time. Almost exactly a month later on Monday, May 23rd, Dalin called my dad and in an eleven-minute conversation, asked for my dad's permission to marry me, which was both brave and wonderful of him. I remember pacing the living room of my apartment, anxiously awaiting Dalin's phone call. I even called my mom and tried to get her to tell me what they were talking about but she wasn't very helpful at relaying that information. After, Dalin called and told me my dad said yes and in response, I jumped for joy (and thanked Heavenly Father because, quite frankly, it felt like a miracle that my dad had given his permission). A week later, I was down in Provo with Dalin when he proposed in the woods (bonus point for him ;) and I told him yes. It felt funny because we already had known we were going to get married. Asking me was more of just a formality than a confirmation.
Your dad and I were sealed--not just for our time on earth--but for time and all eternity in the Boston Temple on August 19, 2011. It was the happiest day of my life. I truly mean that. I loved my wedding day. My mother in particular made sure that it was so special for me. Yes, I wish I had been able to have more of our delicious wedding cake and more time dancing with Dalin and taking in the atmosphere of the reception, but the short and simple and perfect ceremony at the temple gave me the comfort of knowing that your dad and I were sealed together forever. And because of our choice to marry in the temple, you guys--our children--are sealed to us forever, too, automatically. It is a beautiful and amazing thing that the gospel of Jesus Christ makes this a possibility for us.

Your dad is my best friend for a lot of reasons. For one, he is a great listener. And I'm a great talker (as you already know by now), which makes our partnership perfect. When I'm worried or can't stop thinking about something, I can tell him and he'll offer his opinion or give me advice or, if I ask him to, tell me to quit worrying and help me see a new perspective. He doesn't make me feel silly for being a dreamer, and his realistic approach to life anchors me a little. He appreciates my creativity and tells me so, which makes me happy. We both love reading and especially during our first two years of marriage alone, we did a lot of reading together. We would swap books on the Kindle or tell the other if a book wasn't worth reading. I would tease him for liking some of the nerdy books that he does, and he would tease me for reading the same books and watching the same movies over and over again. He tolerates my incessant comments about how I miss New Hampshire and why I love New England so much. He has never complained about it. Besides those things, he also is a really, really good man. He works hard for our family and is doing his best to make sure that we are financially secure. When I was worried about the cost of things after Tenley was born, he reassured me that everything would work out and reminded me that it was worth it. He is very faithful. He is the leader of our home (though I still feel that I get a fair amount of say).

When we have an argument, we either resolve it or we save it for later. And usually we forget about it. We never yell at each other, and we consider the D-word (the D-word is divorce) to be a swear and never EVER use it because, quite simply, it isn't an option for us. We're not doing that because we chose to be sealed forever. Sometimes, we do go to bed angry with one another, but I think that it has been a good thing because by morning, the problem seems significantly smaller and much less important. We also both feel much more forgiving toward one another. And sometimes, the problem was only created because one or both of us was tired and not thinking clearly--or not behaving as nicely as we should have been. We always apologize to one another. Sometimes we both know one of us was more at fault than the other, but we say sorry anyway and promise to try harder. We are not perfect. Especially me. But we are trying our best at being great spouses to one another and the best parents to you. Every day, we try a little harder to be a little better.

Your dad is my best friend. We are family because we chose one another. And that choice was an eternal one.

Read more about our love story here.

Can you think of anything from our relationship that I should have added?
What would you want your children to know about you and your spouse's relationship?

Wednesday, October 23

DIY Plastic Bag Dispenser & Fridge Cups

Plastic Bag Dispenser
I'm always needing a trash bag while in the car--whether it's for wrappers, receipts, fast food, dirty diapers...etc.--and so I wondered how I could put all those billions of plastic grocery bags that we always have around to use. That is when I saw this awesome tutorial on Pinterest for folding plastic bags so that they come out like wipes from a dispenser.

So I saved a disinfecting wipes container, got out my scrapbook paper and mod-podge, and after cutting the scrapbook paper to the right size and removing the container's label, I painted the mod-podge all over the container and then on the paper to stick it down. It was a little bit messy (mainly for my fingers), but I liked the final result a lot!

Shortly after this project, I brought the re-purposed container down to our car and inserted the rolled up plastic shopping bags (which I rolled ages ago--before I even had a container ready) and it was perfect! I was so happy with how it turned out! My one complaint is perhaps that I wish I had chosen a smaller (thinner) container so that it would fit in one of our eight cup holders, but it still works wonderfully! Now I always have trash bags ready for whatever stinky or sticky thing might be in our car.

What do you think of this idea? How could it be better?

Fridge Cups
I was sick and tired of wasting plastic cups for one sip of juice. Especially since I'm at home now, I feel like I should be finding the time to do dishes. So I loved the idea of a convenient (labeled) cup for the fridge that can be easily accessed and easily rinsed. We had some very cheap plastic cups from Wal-Mart around so I bought some strong magnets in the craft section (it came with like 50) and hot glued them to the cups and then used a black Sharpie to write our names in fun fonts on them. Here's how they turned out!

I have loved them so far but the one thing I wish I could improve is that the marker is gradually rubbing off. Any suggestions on how to keep it looking nice? I've thought of a few things, but none would be washing friendly.

Tell me what you think of these crafts ideas and let me know if you think of ways that they could be improved! 

Tuesday, October 22

DIY Stone Mat

I love the ocean. And I love ocean rocks. I love how smooth they feel and how they smell of sea salt. I especially love heart-shaped rocks and, like my mom, I have a pretty great collection started. 
With so many rocks in decorative buckets and jars that I didn't know what to do with them, I decided to seek out some ideas on Pinterest. And this was what I found! An ocean stone mat!!!! I immediately loved the idea because I love feeling them beneath my feet, so I hastily went and bought the materials. 
Translation: I went to the Dollar Store and found a Welcome mat for $1. They didn't have black which was the only bummer.
I already had the rocks and glue gun, but if you need smooth stones, craft stores and Wal-Mart have them and the Dollar Store even had smooth "river" stones which look different than the ones I used but would have worked fine. Note: You use a heck of a lot of hot glue sticks. Like twenty-five or so, if I were guessing. So stock up if you don't have many!

I chose to do a light to dark pattern for my mat but I could have done it randomly or perhaps made a heart pattern in the middle. I wasted kind of a lot of time placing the stones so they would fit well together, only to have the mat move and mess up my progress, so I would just start in a corner and move across, placing only six to eight at a time before beginning to glue them down. I used a permanent marker to darken the edges of the mat and also around the corners of the rocks as went so the green underneath wouldn't be so noticeable. (Unfortunately, I didn't think to do this until I was more than halfway through.) 
This was my mat when I had gone through all the rocks that I had already. Well, all the ones that worked for this project. Some were too big or too round.

Thankfully, my mom was able to send some at the bottom of her next package!
 Here is the finished product in front of our kitchen sink! I love how it turned out and I love how it feels under my feet!
As you can see! ;)

Let me know what you think of this project or if it's something you would make yourself!
Can you think of a way to improve it?
How many heart-shaped rocks can you spot? (There are more than a dozen in there!)

Friday, October 18

Grandpa French's Famous Apple Pie

I'm naming this after my Grandpa French because it was his recipe and it's amazing in all its simplicity.

Pie Filling
6-7 peeled apples (I prefer Jonathan apples)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg (I do mostly cinnamon and a few dashes of nutmeg)
3/4 cup sugar

Wash the apples, then peel them. Slice them into bite-size pieces (you can cut them into ice-cube shapes or, if you have a fancy spiral peeler like my mom, you can cut them into flat pieces. Mix well with sugar and cinnamon/nutmeg and let sit while making the pie crusts. (The flavor will soak into the apples the longer it sits).

Pie Crust Recipe (made twice--first for the bottom crust, then for the top crust. Doubling doesn't seem to work as well for me)
1 stick salted butter (softened--not melted--maybe stick in the microwave for 10 or 15 seconds if it's really solid)
3 Tbsp shortening (I use Crisco)
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
3-5 Tbsp cold water (start with 3, add more as needed)

Mix the first three ingredients together--well--before gradually adding in the flour. Mix well until the pieces are blended. Start with 3 Tbsps of cold water and mix (you will want to remove your rings and knead by hand eventually) until blended. You may need a little more water, but try blending everything before you add any.
Once the dough is blended into a ball, remove from the bowl and place on a floured, flexible cutting board (my mom uses saran wrap laid onto the counter). Note: Know that you need to roll it out onto something that bends so that it's easier to flip the first rolled out crust into the pie dish for the bottom of the pie, and the second crust onto the filling for the top. Flatten the dough with your hands the best you can before using a rolling pin. Make sure you flour the rolling pin so the dough doesn't stick.
Note: this is not my picture and the pie crust should NOT have visible chunks of butter. Blend more if that is the case.
This is my picture, excuse the blurriness.
When you have rolled out the dough to a circumference greater than that of the pie dish, carefully (lifting the flexible cutting board or saran wrap) flip the bottom crust into the dish. You'll want to be careful to aim well the first time so that the dough covers the entire inside of the dish or you'll have to start over. My cutting board is very flat and bends like paper so it is really easy for me to maneuver the crust over the dish. If the dough doesn't look perfect, just remember it's the bottom of the pie so no one will see it anyway.
You do not need to grease the dish because the dough already has plenty of butter and shortening in it. Gently smooth the bottom crust out, then, using a knife, cut around the pie dish so that the extra dough hanging over falls off. You don't need that dough.

Add your filling to the pie dish and smooth the top with a spatula so the top pie crust won't be so lumpy.
Make the second pie crust and take your time because the appearance of this one matters a little more than the bottom one did.

Take extra care when you place the rolled out pie crust on the filling this time because it's not as easy to re-do once it has touched the filling. Once in place, cut off the excess dough and pinch around the edge of the dish, sealing the pie shut. There are a number of ways you can do this. I just pinch it all the way around.
Cut some slits in the crust (otherwise your pie crust just might explode while baking ;). Then you bake the pie at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes (check after 30--in my oven, it's done by then). When you're done, it should look something like this!

Let cool for at least five minutes before eating! Enjoy hot (or warm) with vanilla ice cream! Yum!

Let me know if you try this recipe and how it turns out for you!

Monday, October 14

Scrabble Square Pillows

I saw this cute idea for Scrabble square pillows on Pinterest and decided to make some for our apartment. The problem was, my sewing machine is back home in New Hampshire. Thankfully, my mom helped me out. I asked her to find a light-colored canvas fabric and sew four square pillow cases for me with just a three or four-inch opening. She found the exact fabric I'd described and sewed them--perfectly--and mailed the cases to me in Utah. 

When I received them, I used a ruler and drew the letters and numbers on the pillows in pencil. I mixed black acrylic paint with fabric paint then I carefully (and slowly) brushed it between the outlines of my letters and numbers. It took a long time. I put a thick piece of paper on the inside of the pillowcase so that the paint wouldn't bleed through to the other side. I probably could have put painter's tape or something similar down on the pillows to keep the lines nice, but I have a pretty steady hand so I just winged it. I couldn't decide between the letters for "home" or "love" so I decided to do both. Luckily, both words share the same vowels, so I just needed to paint an L on the back of the H pillow and a V on the M one. I looked up the point values for each letter online so I could paint the correct number. I let them dry, stuffed them with white stuffing from Michael's, and then had Dalin sew (with a needle and white thread) each one shut by hand for me so we could say he helped make them. (He claimed his hand and arm cramped up, but the openings in each pillow were only a few inches so it's safe to assume he's fine :P). And voilá! Here are some pics of the finished product! 
We've had the pillows now for almost two years (I made them when we first got married) and they are still in great condition. My main piece of advice would be not to over-stuff the pillows. Leave a little space for the stuffing to fill in. 

Let me know if you try this project or if you need any advice! 

Three Fears and How They Came to Be

I'm (gradually) doing this list from another woman's blog, so that explains the topic.

When I think of my top fears, the first thing that comes to mind is the dark. That can't really be your top fear, you're thinking, but considering it more, I suppose it is more a fear of the unknown that makes this a legitimate concern. I hate dark parking lots. The Wymount parking lot is so dark. At least, in the corner where our parking space is. Sometimes when I would go out at 11pm to pick Dalin up from work, the lights wouldn't even be on yet. (Not that it matters--even when they are on it's still pitch black along the sidewalk to our car). On my way to the car, I get my car keys out and hold them like little knives, ready to jab someone in the eye if they should pop out behind a bush or tree and attack me. I know that sounds super paranoid (especially to any men who might read this) but when you're a small, defenseless woman you have to worry about these things unfortunately because the world is full of messed-up people who would take advantage of a woman because they can. Anyway, I try not to run because I swear running to the car makes it ten times scarier. Because then all of a sudden you're being chased (in your mind) by a creep like on those zillions of crime shows you've seen and the only thing you can do is jump in your car and hit the locks as fast as you can. Having Tenley has helped slightly with this fear--only because I know that I am not going to let ANYTHING happen to my baby girl, so if someone were to attack us, they'd better watch out. I think most women are hard-wired to be scared--or at least wary--of threats to their safety which is why the dark can be so scary. You just don't know who or what could be out there. As a child, I always ran from the bathroom back to my room in the middle of the night and dove onto my bed so nothing could get me. And going down into our basement to get something was always an awful task. While I was downstairs, I would make someone in my family listen to me talk (from upstairs) and reply back so they would know if something happened to me. Yeah. Now I think I've made my little brother paranoid because he hates going down into the basement, too. These pins from Pinterest describe me pretty well.

Yeah, so that is kind of two fears--the dark and bad people, so I'll just give you my third.

It's so clichĂ© but I'm afraid of spiders. Maybe I should make this broader--I'm scared of being bitten by poisonous things (so poisonous snakes, insects, and scorpions, too). I never thought of myself as afraid of these things until I left New Hampshire. I used to hold daddy long-leg spiders in my hands when I was a kid growing up there (though the idea grosses me out now). New Hampshire has no poisonous spiders or snakes that I have ever seen. I did do some research though and learned that we have one poisonous spider (the Northern Black Widow) which has reportedly "never been seen in the wild," and the only reason we have it is because of produce transported from other states (mainly California grapes). We also have one venomous snake in the mountains (called a Timber Rattlesnake) but it is very rare and protected by the state because there are so few of them. No one I know has ever seen a black widow or a rattlesnake in all their time living in New Hampshire. We have no scorpions--it's too cold in the winter. What we do have are ticks, some of which carry Lyme Disease. Those are pretty gross little parasites and I can't say they aren't disgusting, but they have to be attached to a host for at least 36 hours for the disease to be transmitted, and my mom, her sister, and a few of my cousins have gotten Lyme Disease from ticks and live normal lives because they've been treated. Anyway, the point is, when I moved west, I became extremely afraid of poisonous spiders and snakes in particular. It was probably those stinking documentaries I watched on Discovery Channel about the desert with its rattlers and scorpions that made me so wary. If I hadn't seen any, I might not be so freaked out. While hiking with Dalin in Provo Canyon the day he proposed to me, we saw three huge snakes and while in Arizona we saw little poisonous scorpions and my fear unfortunately has not lessened since. Our apartment here in Provo has some disgustingly huge spiders living around it. The other day I say the freakiest, hugest spider I've seen since living here on the outside of Tenley's window. All I could do was make sure the window was shut tight and hope it doesn't get in somehow. This baby was over our bed one morning.

So there you have it. Those are my fears. I wish I could say that I didn't have any more, but I do--these are just my top three. I'm also afraid of drowning (I'm not a confident swimmer), my family dying from something other than old age, and of dying in a drawn out, painful way. Phew, I'm glad this post is over. Hopefully none of these will ever happen to me or you. Or anyone.

What are your greatest fears and why? 

Do you have any irrational fears?