Saturday, December 28, 2013

14 Reasons Why Happy People Are Happy! By Andy Proctor

I read this article a few weeks ago and it was amazing! Here is the link to the full article but here are the 14 points it covers. A definite read for all. See if you are truly a happy person!

1. They are Purpose Driven

They know that they are here for a reason..

2. They are Truth Seekers

They know that there is more out there than what they see. They think outside the box. They seek to know for themselves and are not just carried by what others tell them. They are constantly learning and seeking truth.

3. They are Okay with Messing Up

They are not afraid to just get out and do something because they know that messing up is just a part of the process of life. They get back up after falling.

4. They are Teachable

5. They Like Themselves

Hug Yourself returned missionary
photo credit:
Social scientists who study positive psychology have found that 90% of our happiness has to do with our general outlook on life. 6 We are the ones who control this.
Happy people have a healthy self-love. They know they are not perfect, but they chuckle about their imperfections and see the best inside of themselves. 

6. They are Creative

The happiest people express themselves in a creative way. They leave their creative mark on the world. They feel that they are unique and have something to create that no one else can. 

7. They know their Maker

They have the glow. They stay connected to God. 
The happiest people know their Maker.

8. They are Jam-Packed with Gratitude

 The happiest people find things to be happy about every single day.

9. They Have Moral Courage

The happiest people stay happy because of their moral courage. They have the guts to stand up for what is right. They defend truth even when it is unpopular.

10. They Work Hard

They just do it. They get things done. It is a part of who they are. 

11. They Scatter Sunshine

The happiest people lift others up. 
Be of good cheer. It will be contagious and then you won’t be the only happy one.

12. They are Optimists

Optimism Quote - The Returned Missionary
They are filled with optimism. Their glass is half full. They celebrate what is right with the world and they don’t complain about what is wrong with it. 

13. They Take 100% Responsibility for EVERYTHING in their Life

They live a life of responsibility, not a life of excuses. They are the creators of their circumstances, not the creatures carried by circumstance. If they have taxes to do, they do them. . They know that they are responsible for their own happiness. They understand that they are agents unto themselves.
Take control of your own life. Remember ye are free to choose for yourself.
Start taking 100% responsibility of everything in your life and you’ll be happier.

14. They Know how to Live in the Present

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Christmas Orange

Oranges always remind me of Christmas because of this story. It always helps to remind me what giving, kindness and sharing is all about. Hope you enjoy it to!
               Jake lived in an orphanage with nine other young boys.  In the winter time any extra money there was went for coal to heat the old buildings.  At Christmas, the building always seemed a little warmer, and the food a little more plentiful, but more than this- Christmas meant that each of the boys received an orange.  On Christmas morning each child was given an orange, and it was coveted like no other thing that they ever possessed.
Each boy would save his orange for several days, admiring it, feeling it, smelling it, loving it, and contemplating the moment he would eat it.  Some would even save it until New Year's Day or later, much like many of us relish saving our Christmas trees decorated until New Year's just to remind us of the joy of Christmas.
This particular Christmas day, Jake had broken the orphanage rules by starting a fight.  The orphanage mother took Jake's orange away as punishment for breaking the rules.  Jake spent Christmas day empty and alone.  Nighttime came and Jake could not sleep; silently, he sobbed because this year he would not have his orange to savor with the other boys.
               A soft hand placed on Jake's shoulder startled him and an object was quickly shoved into his hands.  The child then disappeared into the dark to leave Jake alone to discover a strange looking orange. This orange that he was left with was an orange made from segments of nine other oranges- nine highly prized oranges that now had to be eaten that Christmas night, instead of saved, admired, and cherished until a later date as all the children usually did.
The boys in the orphanage shared true love and kindness by giving up a piece of each of their oranges to make one complete orange for Jake. He was able to experience the joy of Christmas that year because of the love the boys gave to him.
               This year, may the orange remind us all of the unselfish love we share for each other that was taught to us by our Savior Jesus Christ. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cafe Rio Black Beans!

Best recipe I have ever made! Great for your Mexican dish!

Black Beans

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 cup Tomato Juice
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice!

I made this last week and it tasted amazing!!! I would have to say exactly like the rice you get at Cafe Rio! I made the whole meal!! So stay tuned for other recipes to come and get your whole Cafe Rio dish!

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 Cup uncooked Rice
1 tsp. Butter or Margarine
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 tsp. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 can 15 oz. Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
1 Tbsp. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
2 tsp. Sugar
3 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring this to a boil and cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender. Remove this from the heat. In a small bowl combine the lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over the hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Favorite and Easiest Zucchini Bread Recipe

3 Eggs
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Oil
2 cups Zucchini (Shredded)
1 tsp. Vanilla

3 cups Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

Mix both of these two separate bowls together. Pour in greased bread pans and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees! Enjoy!
Makes: 2 Large Loaves or 4 1/2 little loaves

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Everyone's Favorite Pasta Salad

You will love this and everyone will love it at the Summer BBQ you take it to!
So easy to make and so good to eat!

Pasta Italian Salad

1 Package Bow-tie Pasta
1 Can Olives sliced
1 Cucumber peeled and sliced
1 package Cherry Tomatoes sliced
1/4 cup Walnuts chopped
1/2 Bottle of Italian Dressing

Prepare your pasta the morning of by boiling in a saucepan of water. Boil it until it is just about tender but not all the way or over soft. Drain this very well and wash with water. Place it in a covered bowl and refrigerate for 3-5 hours to get cool. 

Prepare all of your other ingredients by slicing and dicing. About and hour before you need the salad combine all of your ingredients, pour your dressing over it all and refrigerate. 

When you need it remove the salad from the refrigerator and you are ready!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wishing you a Happy Freedom month of July from our family to yours!
Hope that your summer is going as great as it can get!

Friday, June 21, 2013

DIY: BUBBLES! Make Your Own Solution!

It's time for summer fun!!!
So why not make your own Bubble solution!

12 cups of water
1 cup of dish soap
1 cup of cornstarch
2 Tbsp baking powder

Now go mix and then let your kids make some bubbles!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

High Heeled Cupcakes

Fun treats to consider making for your 
Next Girls Party!

High Heeled Cupcakes!

Graham Crackers
Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Rolled Wafers 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

DIY: How to Make Pillow Covers! Cover the Outdated Pillows and Make them Brand new Again!

I love to create and I love to sew!
I am going to share my new creation that took about 
ten minutes to make -tops!
I've had my pillows on my couches for a couple years so they are looking a little aged - more like out of style. So I wanted to revamp.
Instead of buying new pillows I wanted to spend about 1/5 of the cost.

I made two of these for $6.00! 
Make sure you take a coupon and it is cheaper. 
JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby usually have great 40% off coupons online.

Also, on the pillows I didn't want to go 100% cotton because of the visual look. With these I used the canvas type material for home decor.

Here is the How To Make pillow covers for a NEW look! Hope you enjoy

For an 18 x 18 inch size Pillow
1 yd of fabric
Sewing Supplies and your machine

1. Cut out 2 18 1/2  x 18 1/2 inch squares. (These will be your fronts)

2. Cut out 2 rectangles that measure 18 1/2 inches x 22 1/2 inches. (These will be your backs)

3. On the 2 that have the longer sides cut them in half.

4. Now roll over one edge on each cut half and pin. Since you cut these in half you should now have 4 pieces. Pin all four of these each on one side. Sew down these edges and set them aside. (This will be where they overlap on back to get the pillow in)

5. Grab you 2 squares pieces that you cut out first and lay them so the wrong side is on the table. 

6. Now you should have 4 extra pieces that each have one side turned over and sewn. 2 of each go with one square. Lay 2 of them on the first square right side down so the right sides of the top and bottom are touching. The two back pieces should overlap just and inch or two.

7. Pin all around the sides of your now newly made 2 layered square.

8. Sew all the way around. Trim the corners off. Turn it inside out. Iron and you are finished!!

 Place them on your pillows and enjoy the newness!!

Before    and     After

Friday, June 7, 2013

Guest Friday with Emily

It is Friday! And today is my Invite a Guest Friday for the week! I would like to introduce you to Emily over at

On Monday she wrote this great article that she is sharing with us today. 5 great ways to think about for sure! Go check our her blog - it is awesome!

Monday: 5 Ways to be Happier as a Stay at Home Mom

Being able to stay home with you children is an incredible blessing. In the hectic world we live in, more than ever, it seems like every family needs a dual income to survive, so to be able to leave one potential earn
er at home while the other goes away to work is sometimes miraculous.


Let's be honest.

While every stay at home mom loves her children (I'm sure) and wants all good things for them and feels grateful for them and enjoys time off from work and, and, and..... well, it can be tough. Frustrating. Hard. And it can make you feel unappreciated, dumpy, and undervalued. While hard work in an office can result in promotions, raises, and other forms of appreciation, hard work as a stay at home mom will result in great things- but often not seen or appreciated for years.


While I acknowledge the blessing of staying home and the wonder that it is, here are a few tips to help you be happier as a stay at home mama.

Go on walk!
1. Go outside every day. I'm sure you've had those days when you go to bed at night and realize you never once turned the doorknob to go outside. Whatever your reason, whether it's a walk, to run to the post office,  to get an ice-cream from Mc Donald's, I do not care. Just make sure that you see daylight (or moonlight) once a day.

2. Get completely ready BEFORE your kids are up. Whatever stage of life your children are in, make sure that you are up, dressed, hair done, and make-up finished by the time they are up running around. If you don't do it first thing in the morning, it will often not get done at all, or else haphazardly done throughout the day. You will feel worlds different if you can face each day knowing you look your best. It is a real challenge sometimes, but fully worth it. (Need help? Here are a few easy tips on how to not be a frumpy mom)

3. Always pursue at LEAST one personal interest. You love your little ones and most of your day revolves around them: changing diapers, giving baths, cleaning your home, making meals, and other incredibly repetitive tasks. In the midst of all of this, find one thing for YOU that YOU enjoy. This is NOT a free pass to neglect your children and focus selfishly on yourself; rather, it is a way to find joy and accomplishments outside of your children so that you can always feel that you, as an individual, have worth. Options? Gardening. Reading. Running. Gourmet cooking. Blogging. Photographing. Swimming. Just pick something you love and budget some time at least  once a week for you to do something for you.

4. Get adequate rest.  I say adequate because I know that you will not get all the sleep you want until your kids are out of the home. (And maybe not even then) You'll certainly be up late working on projects that can't be done with your children running around and then up again in the morning before they get up- but find some kind of balance.

Have your husband work on that late-night project so you can sleep. Or find a time every day when you can get an hour nap. However you swing things, do not allow yourself to run off of too little sleep. If you do, you will lose your temper far too easily, which will cause you to say/do things with your children that you will regret. You are staying home with your children to give them the best upraising they can get. Make sure it IS the best by giving yourself rest so that you WILL be your best self.

Make him cookies!
5. Love your spouse/significant other. It is easy to become wrapped up in your children's wants and needs. Very easy- because they want and need so much! Do not, however, allow this to take away from your relationship with your significant other. If you do not show love and affection for this person who is an integral part in your life, regardless of how perfect of a mother you are, you will not be happy. So whatever may work well for you, make sure to show your love to your husband each day in a different way. Bake him cookies, kiss him when he comes home, or hold his hand when you watch TV together. It doesn't mater how you do it, just make sure that you get it done!

Do you have other tips for what has helped you find joy in the journey of being a stay at home mom? Share them below so we can all benefit!

Mothering Joy
I don't co-sleep. It makes my husband worry, so we just don't do it. But, the other day, at about five am, my little bundle of joy just would not sleep. I picked him up and put him in the crook of my arm, and laid back down in bed. Though he was wide awake, he quickly calmed himself and fell asleep. Once he was asleep, I laid him back down, only to have him wake up again. I repeated this several times until I realized that all he wanted was for me to hold him. Though it seemed like an uncomfortable position to me, my little boy clearly just wanted his mommy, which to me, was a great feeling of joy.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Guest Post by our one and only Mary Jo!

I want to Welcome Mary Jo here at Great Tastes Tuesdays! She was so awesome to be our guest this week for Invite A Guest Fridays! Her post is awesome and her project is so cute! I am loving it! For all of you out there that don't think you could every make something like this - you can. Take a chance and try to do something you have never done before! Find a pattern, material and give it a try! Thanks Mary Jo! Go check her out at 

Also, don't forget to come and link up with me tonight at 8:30! I would love to have you at my Share it With Us Saturday here at Great Tastes Tuesdays!

When I saw that Project Run & Play was doing a chevron challenge, I knew I had to give it a try. My friend gave me almost two yards of this deco weight chevron fabric from Christmas and I'd been saving it for something special. I thought a jacket for my daughter would be a perfect reason to cut into it and PR&P gave me a deadline!
 I used the Abbey Jacket pattern by Shwin&Shwin. First of all, let me just say that I absolutely love Shwin&Shwin designs! They always impress me when I hold up my very stylish garment when I'm through! 
For this Chevron Jacket, however, I made a few additions to the pattern to gussy it up a bit -- pockets, piping, full lining, and a name tag. The pattern calls for a fleece outer, but I wanted to use my chevron fabric and have a spring-looking jacket, so a lining was a must. And pockets...what kid doesn't love pockets?? 
I also decided to only use fabric from my stash for this project. So I've got this rich mustard-yellow Kona cotton for the collar, sleeve bands, and button placket, but I had to go with a butter-yellow flannel for the lining. (I like the flannel, thinking the jacket will be that much warmer on early-spring, and late-fall days). 

But I didn't have enough yellow flannel for the sleeves and pockets, so I had to use a giraffe flannel print. Which, I actually quite like.

The Sharpie name-tag idea came from CailaMade. The piping I had in my stash (not sure why...I don't remember using it before, but thought I'd give it a try here. I love the look of it!). And the last detail, the idea for this pink heart on the inside of the jacket originally came from Max California. I embroidered the words using a backstitch during an episode of Elmo!

Because I'm a little weird about clothes (both bought and made), I like to make them bigger than the size my daughter currently wears (which is a 4) so that she can grow into them and therefore use them longer. I might have overdone it this time by cutting a size 6. My kid is swimming in the jacket! But you might notice that in some of my pictures, the jacket fits quite well...on my 5 1/2 year old volunteer (eh-hem).
Maybe I need to make another one?? (Update: I did! See my Embroidered Fox Jacket!) 

Anyway, my daughter will get use out of this jacket probably (hopefully?) next Fall or Spring 2014. Something to look forward to, right?

 hehehe, I love the look on her face in the last picture! She wanted to pose with that clementine, so I let her, but have no idea why she's looking so freaked out!

Anyway, I had a great time making this jacket! And I really love the look of the chevrons on an outer layer! I'm really proud of myself for getting it done in under a week and for adding some extras to the jacket to make it our own!

And I so love seeing my kids wear mommy-made garments. Makes me sooo happy! Please come visit me at All This For Them to see more of my creations!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rich and Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars

Great Taste Tuesday is here and here is one of my new favorite bar recipes!
This is so delicious and the caramel just tops it off!!
Try it for yourself!!! 
This is better then almost any other bars I have tried!
(p.s. I left my camera at my aunts house and my picture is on it so be watching for pictures to come!)

1 1/2 cups Flour
1 1/2 cups Oats
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Packed Brown Sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Butter or Margarine, melted
1 (14 oz.) bag caramels (48)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 (12 oz.) package milk chocolate chips


In a large bowl combine the first 6 ingredients to form a crumbly mixture. Unwrap the caramels. Melt the caramels and whipping cream in a saucepan over low heat. Sprinkle half of the crumbly mixture into a greased 9x13-inch pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the baked mixture and top with melted caramel mixture. Sprinkle remaining crumbly mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 

Make a day ahead or several hours to allow the caramel to to set. Makes 2 dozen bars.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Just wanted to share my little birthday girl!
Brenli is turning one today!
I can't believe how fast the time has gone - 1 years old already!
Happy 1st Birthday Brenli!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Welcome to the Link Party! Please link up all your fun recipes, ideas, crafts and more!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

6 Tips to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Have you ever thought about your eyes and keeping them healthy?
Well I have to wear glasses and contacts so I am thinking a lot. Especially everytime I have to remove my contacts or take off my glasses. 
For any of you that do or do not have glasses here is a fun article to read. I found it and thought it was very interesting in what we can do now to keep our eyes healthy. 
6 great tips to read now! 

1. Healthy foods for your eyes

Include foods with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins A, C and E in your diet to keep your vision clear and ward off age-related problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. 

The best sources of these nutrients are green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards, oily fishes like salmon and tuna, eggs nuts, beans, citrus fruits, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes. 

2. Take care while using computer

Many people suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome, which is a temporary condition caused by frequent and prolong use of computer. Some of the symptoms are eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, fatigue, dry eyes, difficulty focusing at a distance, neck, back, and shoulder pain, etc. So while using your computer, ensure proper lighting conditions to avoid glare on your computer or use an anti-glare screen if needed. Drink lots of water and blink often to prevent dry eyes. Take a short break after every two hours and look away from the computer for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Make sure that your eyes are level with the top of the monitor to allow you to look slightly down at the screen.

3. Wear sunglasses and safety goggles

To protect your peepers from UV rays wear sunglasses that block 99% of both UVA and UVB rays as these rays increase the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.

Make sure you don safety eyewear while working with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home. 

4. Quit smoking

Studies have shown that smoking can increase the risk for macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage. 

5. Throw away old make-up

Make sure that you don’t use eye make-up that’s more than six months old. Also don’t share make-up and make-up brushes; it will increase your susceptibility to eye infections. 

6. Have regular eye check-up

Visit your eye doctor regularly to retain healthy eyesight and detection of eye problems.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Honey, Pecans, and Chicken

Great Tastes Tuesday is here and I have a recipe for you! This is my favorite of the week; a different and tasty way to cook your chicken!
Hope you enjoy!


1 cup Bread Crumbs
1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
1 cup Crushed French's French Fried Onions (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1/3 cup Honey Mustard
1/3 cup Melted Butter
3-4 lbs. Chicken Pieces, skinned


1. Mix your bread crumbs, nuts, crushed fried onions and seasoned salt in a bowl and set aside.
2. Combine the mustard with melted butter in  a small bowl. Brush the mixture on the chicken pieces.
3. Dip the chicken pieces into the nut mixture; press firmly to coat. Place the chicken in a well greased pan.
4. Bake chicken at 250 degrees for 1 hours or until the chicken isn't pink. Enjoy! Serve with honey mustard for dipping.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mexican Minestrone

Here is a great tasting soup that I made the other day! It has a great Mexican taste to it and I serve it up with cheese quesidilla's. Great for dinner!

Mexican Minestrone Soup


2 15 oz. can of Black Beans, Rinsed and drained
2 14 1/2 oz. Can Mexican style Stewed Tomatoes
2 14 oz. Can of Vegetable Broth
1 15 oz. can Whole Kernel Corn, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups diced skinned potatoes
2 cups frozen cute green beans
1 cup Salsa
Sour Cream


In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker combine drained black beans, undrained tomatoes, broth, corn, garbanzo beans, potatoes, frozen green beans, and salsa.

Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 11 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours. Serve with sour cream. Makes 12 servings. (You can cut this recipe in half)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Link Party #2

Invite A Guest Friday 4/26/2013

Here is our Guest for Invite A Guest Friday!
I love this post! It is so fun and so great to see other peoples ideas out there! This is a tutorial on making a Quiet Book! Go check more out at

I made these last, and I must admit - they are mostly for myself.  I was inspired by THIS quilt a long time ago and have been dying to try out the technique for awhile now.  I figured the extra texture would be perfect for my cover.  Next time I will use higher quality flannel, though.  I think it will fray better.

Name Pages:
Those Ns and Xs were especially hard to sew by machine.  Too bad each of my kids has one in their names!  :)  I also added ribbon to the zippers to make them easier to grab.

I added a tiny bit of batting to the shapes to make them a little puffier. 

I used Pellon extra firm non-fusible interfacing for my pages (copying "Serving Pink Lemonade"). 

I was mostly inspired by THIS barn.  Pattern for this page can be found HERE.  Those are little finger puppets hiding inside. 

I was going to make up my own house, but then I ended up copying THIS one because I liked it the best.  The windows and doors open up to reveal a member of our family.

This one was the simplest page to make.  Just slide the beads on the ribbon.  Inspiration HERE.

I came up with this one all on my own!  I didn't want to buy special vinyl just for this project, especially since I only needed a tiny amount, so I made my own using packing tape!  It didn't hold up to the sewing machine on round one, so I tried again using liberal amounts of hot glue.
It's filled with rice, 3D stickers of woodland creatures and cars (with tape on the back to keep them from sticking to things), beads, and some buttons.
p.s. What does that shape look like to you?  It's supposed to by a magnifying glass, but I suppose a backwards Q (for "question") would work too...

Inspiration/Pattern found HERE.  Luckily, I didn't have to sew that tree down, thanks to my Heat N Bond.  :)

There are pieces in the pocket for...



and Winter (The snow clumps were my own addition.  Around here our trees aren't just bare in the winter, they are heavy laden with snow.)

Inspired by THIS post (pattern included).  I considered making THIS one, but decided against it.  The rocket slides along the ribbon.

Tiffany at Fish:
I think my original inspiration for the fish was THIS post, and then THIS one.
I originally made the fish with felt, but the magnet wasn't strong enough to work through the thick layers.  The fish were much harder to sew with regular cotton fabric, but they work!

Original inspiration HERE.  Although I really wish I could have made something like THIS.
The arms/legs are elastic, and the gears turn.  The hubby says this looks more like a monster.  What do you think?

And finally, the backs.  I just sewed two pieces of flannel onto the back of my last page.
Peak Hour Cars

and some of my last bits of Letters

I attached the pages by sewing them together back to back and then punching holes in them (HARD to do through three layers of flannel!) for a ribbon tie.

We've tried these out a few times and so far they are working nicely!  The boys seem to like the name pages and the house pages the best.  Thanks for visiting!