Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two Easy Recipes for NEW YEARS

So I am not a traditional Black Beans for New Years' eve Momza. I think I have made my last pot of beans last week when I made Split Pea soup and all of the people in this house (also known as my FAMILY) ate something else. We're not a bean-eating family evidently.
So this is what's cookin for tonight:

EASY Green Chili Beef Tortillas
You'll need a crockpot. Yeah, there's a reason Crockpot Lady is on my blog. I love my crockpot!

Put a little oil in the bottom of your crockpot.
Add your uncooked roast of choice. I've used beef and pork. Both are good. Both favorites.
Sprinkle some ground pepper on it, to your taste.
Add about 3 TB of minced garlic on the top.
Open a can of green chilis and pour it on the top.

Put the lid on it and COOK on Low overnight, into the next day or evening. Just let it cook until you're ready to eat. For the last couple of hours, let it cook with the lid off to get rid of some juice.
Then shred it all up in the pot.
Serve with flour tortillas, cheese, sour cream, salsa--whatever else you like on your burritos!
And I'll be serving it with spanish rice.

Bechamel Lasagna

This is what we had for Christmas dinner. My family jumped up and down when I offered it up instead of the traditional stuff for a change. The best part is that I didn't have to cook it. My husband loves making it, and Dani wanted to learn how, so she was his "assistant". Yea for me!
We got this recipe from our very kind friend, C. Valduga, who is in fact, from Northern Italy.
It's his Momma's Recipe, no kidding.

Bechamel Lasagna
YEILD: 2 large (bigger than 9x13) pans

2 Boxes of Lasagna Noodles (No-Cook or Regular)
Mozzarella & Parmesan Cheese (Shredded...amount depends on how much you love cheese! We use a large bag of each)

RAGU (red) sauce:
olive oil
Whole cloves of garlic
6 cans diced tomatoes
2 lbs. of Ground Pork

In big pot:
Saute garlic in olive oil. Crush tomatoes in a food processor or blender...just a little to make it more saucy, but not totally smoothe. Add tomatoes to garlic. Then add Pork. Cook until browned. Add salt to taste.

BECHAMEL (white)sauce:
Pint of Half n Half & 1/2 Gal of 2% milk or 1/2 Gallon of Whole Milk

In big Pot:
Add about 1/2 gal of whole milk or half n half with some 2% milk to make a 1/2 gallon.
Bring to low boil, then add flour to thicken. Use a handheld mixer as you slowly add the flour so it comes to a smoothe consistency. Add the nutmeg until you can just barely taste it. Add salt to taste.

Spray LARGE baking pan with Pam or similar (for easy serving and clean-up!).
Spread a small amount of Ragu sauce on bottom of pan.
Then Noodles.
Ragu. (red sauce)
Bechamel.(white sauce)
Start Over.
End with Cheese.

Cook in 350o oven for 30 minutes COVERED with aluminum foil. Then UNCOVERED for 10 minutes. Then, take it out and let it sit undisturbed for 15 minutes to set before serving.

*Notice there is no cottage or ricotta cheese in this recipe. It's not how they make it over there!

This makes an enourmous amount of food...don't eat it some family and/or friends over! Tell someone to bring a salad, and someone else to bring some great Italian bread over with them! Start the New Year off right, surrounded by people you love!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cutting Apron Strings

The Wedding is Over, the last reception is through...and for the first time as I drove away from Dani's new home last night--a cute but typically small newlywed apartment, I felt the sting of cutting away another "apron string".
I went up to Denver to take David Scott & Tisha to the Airport and then took the rest of Dani's belongings to her. I hadn't expected to see her so soon after this weekend, but she needed her stuff. In fact, I thought she would be revelling in some alone time, as Mr. Idaho was at school. I was surprised when I showed up with her stuff and she said she was actually glad to see me; she said she hated being alone...and noted that,in fact, she's never been alone. Not in a huge family, not in Europe when she was a Nanny, and not on her mission...there's always been someone else around. I had always thought she was my child who would relish some peace and quiet.
So we took off shopping. And she was happy. And it was easy. We're not in the same roles anymore. She's making a new life for herself and her identity is changing rapidly...from a daughter to a wife and homemaker. That's alot of change. For both of us. I am not one who wants their kids to live at home forever--quite the contrary-- I have encouraged all of my kids to DREAM BIG, to travel, explore, in short-- to run away from home--but write and call to tell me all about it!
Anywho, we went grocery shopping! Shopping for TWO is so much different (and cheaper!) than shopping for 7...or 9 when they were all home. Or 12, as has been the case over the holidays.
I so enjoyed this experience with her ideas on what to cook this first full week of married life and then stepping back and letting her decide what SHE wants to make for her husband. Am I making too much of this? I don't know. I'm easily entertained, I know.
And sentimental too.
So when we're loading groceries in the car--Mr. Idaho's on the phone with his Mom-- so I hug this girl of mine once more and said "Enjoy this very sweet time in your life. Just you and him. Before you know it, there will be a mortgage, and babies, and you'll wonder where the time went, and this will all be a vague memory of when it was just the two of you. So enjoy this time. Be good to each other. Take care of him, make a wonderful dinner tonight, we love you both!"
Then I got in my car, turned on my GPS, got on the highway, and cried on the way home.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Sneak Peek

Unbeknownst to me, there are interested parties who keep checkin' my blog for pics of THE WEDDING....this is a sneak peek of what's to come soon....
It was a beautiful wedding of a cuter-than-is-legal-in-some-countries couple. And it was over before we knew it!
We left Wednesday, December 17th, for Salt Lake City Utah. It was a long 10 hour drive, but we got there without a hitch and spent the evening with Mr. Idaho's family on Temple Square, looking at lights and each's hard to keep up with 15 other individuals all the time. My favorite time came when we all sat around in the Hotel lobby, watching the little kids play with the Wii that Big Josh brought with him. He asked the conceirge if we could use one of the lobby rooms' TV's and with their approval, we all relaxed and had a good visit and a lot of laughs.
The next day, was THE DAY!!! YEA!!!! We got up early, got dressed...oh wait, I just wanna put in here a small detail...the Caboose had too many goodies the previous night and barfed her guts out until 2am. We had to strip the hotel bed, put her in the shower, and I slept at the foot of the bed, ready to carry her back to the bathroom just in case.
Okay, so that's more realistic. I didn't want you to think it was all Fun N Games!
So, we got to the Temple in plenty of time. I went with Dani to the beautiful Brides' Room...think lovely mirrors, dressing gowns, chandeliers and flowers with other brides and mothers tending to them all around. It was a sweet experience. Dani had been a little anxious before, but once she got in there and dressed, a calm came over her and all was well.
Then she went one way, to meet up with Mr. Idaho for a few minutes, and I went to a waiting room to greet other guests. We waited and waited for David Scott and Tenesha to arrive, but unbeknownst to us, he had misplaced his recommend ( a must to gain entry to the temple--he later found it in his sister-in-laws' dryer), and so he was with a temple worker making important phone calls to get approval to enter. They arrived about 3 minutes before the ceremony. So like David Scott. Only then could I relax. We were all there. Me, Mr. Wonderful, David Scott, Tenesha, Dani and Brad and his family...oh and the other 45 guests. We were set to go!
It was a beautiful ceremony and once I have more pics to share, I'll elaborate more! That's it for now!
Then Christmas came and went in a blur of activity....all of these kids...yeah they willingly showed up at my house on Christmas day.
From Left to Right: Deano, Dani, Mr. Idaho, Diana, Taylor, the Caboose, David Scott, Tenesha, Daisie, and the Boofus. At Garden of the Gods, Christmas day where it was a lovely but gusty 50o. It was great to get out, get some fresh air and sunshine.
At the Reception in Woods Cross, Utah.
Related by marriage...Daisie and Jen, Mr. Idaho's ever-inquisitive baby sister. She sorely misses her big brother, and if she could, I think she'd move in with he and Dani.
The Caboose and Taylor. When should we tell the Caboose she is 7 years old and too big to be picked up?
There's one more reception tomorrow night. Then there will be no more WEDDING CHANNEL. What ever will I do???

Christmas Eve Fun!

Things are never boring at Momza's house. This video proves it...while I was upstairs wrapping presents, I left the older kids to "hold down the fort". So being the awesome Big Brothers they are, David Scott and Mr. Idaho conned Daisie into ingesting "just one teaspoon" of cinnamon. The video says the rest. David Scott is big blonde and Mr. Idaho is the one rolling on the floor. The "surprise guest" is Deano, our special-needs brother.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jack Frost is nippin', NO make that CHOMPIN'!

Jack Frost is camping out in the Rocky Mountains!
It was -25o here this morning! It's like -9 right now in the Springs...and I am lovin' it! Thank goodness for central heat--otherwise it'd be awful. But I am toasty warm inside as we get things together for the final days before the Wedding.
The weekend was busier than usual. Friday night was our Wards' Christmas Party. I baked a turkey that they didn't need and got to bring it right back home--so I didn't have to cook dinner all weekend! Then the Missionaries came over Saturday morning for breakfast. Dani made crepes and that was yummy. One of our new elders' is from Quebec, Canada. My eldest son served in his area of Laval when he was there 2 years ago--so that was a treat to have him in our home --paying it forward! I love the do my kids. They are genuinely good young men.
Then, Dani had her final dress fitting is so pretty.
We'll pick up the dress today. Then Saturday night, I went with Mr. Wonderful to his work Christmas party in Denver. It was really nice to get dressed up and spend an evening with him, eat food I did not have to cook or clean up after! And it was Yummy! Then the Company had random drawings for special gifts like cameras, tv's, ipods, and gps's. There were over 600 people there and only 10 giveaways. Mr. Wonderful and I are not "lucky" in things like giveaways, generally. But get this! When I saw the gift table with the GPS on it, I said, "I need that, I'm always lost!" (Just ask my kids or Nannette-- I always seem to take the "scenic route" when I drive--no kidding!) So we sat at the table, had dinner, watched a ridiculous employee "talent show" (my 7 year old is more entertaining, really)...then came the Drawings...the CEO read the names off of a "previously name drawn list", then that person would come and pick a number out of a hat...the number corresponding with a gift.
I was pretty surprised when they called out Mr. Wonderful's name. Then the number he picked was for a TomTom GPS!!! YEA!!! Now I will never be lost again. At least not on the road!
How cool is that?! So that was my Saturday.
Yesterday we had interveiws with the Stake for Temple Recs. I met with our former Bishop who is now a Counsellor. I love that he is familiar with me and my family. Of course, he was aware that I am a big bawl-baby when we talk of sacred things...he had the tissue out and ready for me. I can't help it and I'm too old to care if I shed a few tears in public. {Shrug} That's just who I am.
Then yesterday afternoon, I drove up to Loveland, Colorado to see Dean perform with the Special Community Orchestra. He played the violin. And it was the most awful sounding beautiful experience! He has ALWAYS wanted to play the violin--how grateful I am that someone finally let him! He even had a solo that was terrible and perfect all at once. The smile on his face brought tears to my eyes. (I make no apologies for tears, I told you). I loved it.
It was a 2 hour drive for a 20 minute performance, and I would do it again. The other performers were delightful, gracious & their smiles said it all. We are blessed by their goodness.

So after that, Dani & I took Mr. Idaho around to some friends' homes we know from when we lived in Fort Collins 2005-2006. Only a year, but we sure made some great friends there--they fed us dinner and sent us on our way. (Love to you Ray & Barb and Linda! We'll see you at the reception!)
So while Jack Frost is "nippin' on your nose" make sure you enjoy these days leading up to Christmas! It'll be over before we know it!
If I don't blog the next few days, just know I am busy with the wedding. We leave Wednesday morning for Utah and return on Friday. Can't wait!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Last Friday before the Wedding!

Ack! The time has flown by...the wedding is Less than a Week! Can you believe it? I have resigned myself to the fact that I will FO SHO forget something...I will either leave that "something" at home, or forget to do that "something" before we leave...either way, there will be a moment of "Dang it! I forgot!" And you know what? I hope it's something that I can go "meh--no big deal" about, and not panic or let it get me down.
Lists--I've made to-do lists, to-pack lists, to-take-with lists...'cept right now, I don't see those lists. Hmmmm.
Well, we had another dress-fitting last night. And for the record, those are not fun--not for Dani and not for me. The beautiful bride stands there, with huge floor-to-ceiling mirrors all around here, scrutinizing every seem, every puff of fabric, every line of the dress on her body. It's about as awful as trying on swimsuits! But the seamstress, Dianne, is amazing. Last night she measured some tulle for the viel she is custom-making for Dani...once she placed the veil on--my throat clamped up, tears welled, and yes, I was a mess. My girl is getting married.
That veil was magical. Sure the dress is gorgeous...but until the veil went on, it was just a "dress"...the veil made it a "wedding dress"...the whole mood lifted. Dani smiled. Awww. that's what we were hoping for...a smile from the Bride.
Okay, so I have to go find some lists, and a hairbrush!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scenes from a Temple Wedding

This is where our family is going a week from today, as Danielle & Brad make sacred promises to one another. As Latter-Day Saints, we believe in Eternal Marriage. And the Temple is where that begins. To learn more, visit
Families Can Be Together Forever.

My Favorite Christmas Song

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Faith Hill's "A Baby Changes Everything"


The kids' wish for a Snow Day has been Granted! No School Today! That means snowshoes & gloves & snowbibs and puddles by the door when they come back in for the 10th time because "Mom! It's cold out there! Can we have hot cocoa?"

Monday, December 8, 2008

10 Days To Go...

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled program: THE WEDDING. I know, I know. Countdown is TEN days. Ten. Nine actually, before we leave for Utah, where these two will make promises to one another and the Lord in the LDS Salt Lake Temple there.
Things are falling into place and stuff is getting done. And before I know it, my oldest daughter will be married. And have a different last name. That's kind of a weird thought. But hey, she is over the moon about Mr. Idaho. And he is as smitten as possible with her. couldn't have put together a better couple to begin a marriage together.
I love her choice. Mr. Idaho is Good with a capital "G". He puts up with alot of guff from the other girls in the house--Nana, Daisie and Bee give him a run for his money. Boofus makes him look over his shoulder most of the time too. Which says alot about Mr. Idaho. If he weren't so good, we'd probably just keep our distance or act weird. But we don't have to--he is a very sincere young man who has opened his heart and given it to our girl. His folks could write a book on how to raise good kids, as Mr. Idaho and all of his siblings are truly good kids. (Kudos to Ted & Tracy!)
This is where life gets more depth and interest. When you see your kids fall in love with people you could not have chosen better for them, it makes it so much sweeter.

Snow Day's a-comin'!

The Weatherman says we're about to get up to 10" of snow today thru tomorrow morning. I feel a snow day comin'!

The Catharsis of a Gym to a Reception Hall

So this past Saturday, and I do mean the ENTIRE day, was spent setting up and serving for a Wedding Reception for some friends we know from Church. Of course, I wasn't alone! That's Kelly, my staging business partner, and the backside of Dani helping too. Plus about 4 or 5 other gals from the ward.
We transformed a gym or "cultural hall" in to a beauitful ( I think) reception hall. I thought, that when I got the call at 9am on Saturday morning, I might be there for an hour, well, that's what I told Mr. Wonderful, I kinda knew it would be longer, based on past experience working with Creative LDS Women, we are sincere over-acheivers, so we create as we go and that takes awhile!!
Nope, it was 10:30am when I got there--had to feed the missionaries breakfast first--and aside from a 3 hour exemption ( I did have an errand I had to run for our own wedding in 10 days and needed to come home and have dinner and change for the actual reception)--I left the Chapel at 11pm that night.

This was the entrance guest sign-in table. Yep, I forgot to sign it. lol Oh well, Peggy knows I was there. Why does that last sentence sound like I'm a Beverly Hillbilly? "knows I was" "knew I was" "knowd I wuz der"...hmm. Daggumit.

There were tons of pics of this sweet couple. The one I didn't get, but wish I had: the bride was barefoot under her wedding gown. THAT was cute.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Soaking "Good-ness" In

This morning I am in a place where I am keenly aware of the "goodness" in my life.
I have met some amazing people know those kind of people that, when you meet them, you think "I wanna get to know her/him better!" --kinda people. Yeah, them.
Just genuinely GOOD people that make you feel better about yourself, about your life, about the bright blue skies after a stormstorm and make you take notice of the true blessings that are yours alone, and the blessings that are your childrens and your friends.

I met one of those just this week--Dani's seamstress for the wedding gown. We've spent a little time with her at fittings and she has shared her "story" with us as she rips seams, pins hems, sews seams and smiles all the while she does it.

Dianne just freely shares her life, for good or bad and with a wonderful hindsight, gives God the credit for all that she has done, and is, and wants to be.
I met another gal at the Bank, Judy. She emanates warmth.
Her heart is open and receiving. Going to the Bank used to be a non-event...just an "errand" for whatever. I used to work for Bank One years ago, so maybe it's just my attitude, but I just generally get in there and get out asap! But sweet Southern Belle, Judy changed that. I get out of the car, and I hope I see her. She's not even a teller. Her goodness resonates and I leave my bank feeling happier than when I went in. How crazy is that? I know, right?!
So I googled "images of goodness"---all kinds of images popped up...including those on this post. There were religious figures, books, food, destination places, even Minnie Mouse. But neither Dianne nor Judy nor Nannette's faces were on there. In fact, none of the people, my GOOD friends' faces were to be seen....Laurel, Lorna, Wendy, Joey, Lori, Dodee, Karen--noone I know to be so good were pictured. So I will take that as a sign that the good people and the good-ness that is in my Life are there for me, alone. Their goodness reminds me of St. Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Maybe this is the Season to Become Better...I have so many awesome examples to learn from--it'd be a shame to not follow and pay it forward.
Are there people in your Path that brighten it for you? I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Charity and Children

In my effort to share a little Christmas cheer I offer this: A few years ago a good friend, Linda A. gave this little wooden manger to our family, along with the carefully cut pieces of "hay" for it with a story about Charity and how it relates to Jesus Christs' birth. It is a lovely story, and if you want a copy, let me know. (Maybe I should print it here?) Anyway, besides the story is the family activity challenge: with each act of kindness you perform, you may put a peice of hay in the manger, with the goal of having it filled before Christmas eve. It's a very sweet sentiment and a good reminder of what Christmas is really all about: Love.

So I got out the manger this past weekend and reveiwed the story with my kiddos. All went well.
Then, on Monday night, as is customary at our dinner table, we all take turns sharing two things:
1) what was the best part of your day?
and 2) What did you do for someone else?

We've been doing this for many many years--it helps keep the teenagers' angst in check, and sometimes provides a good laugh for us all.

Examples of #1: "sleeping in." "Not killing him/her/it/them for..." "Right now."
Examples of #2 are sometimes thoughtful, but often funny.
For example, last week it was the Caboose's turn and she's pondering her #2...after a fews hmms and haaas..she says,"well this kid got hurt at school...."
"oh yeah?" I say. "So did you comfort him? Did you help him out?" Her face got a little twisted, then a grin pops up on her lips, "No, that didn't really happen. I just made it up."
My little non-do-gooder had us rolling on the floor.

So Monday night we are at it's the Caboose's turn. Again. Just as it came around to her, she was getting up from the table to get another drink of juice--the Boofus sees her getting up and asks if she will get him some more too. She responds with something along the lines of "get it yourself, you can walk." Then I pipe up, "Hey, Bee (her other given nickname) THIS can be your good deed for the day!" "OH YEAH!" she lights up!..."I can put some hay in baby Jesus' bed!" And quickly takes Boofus' cup and fills it.

Isn't that just the best example of familial charity you've ever heard of? Unhunh. Baby steps here, that's all. Someday, my hope is that she will serve her brother because she loves him...for now, bribery is okay.

Now this is just good plain fun. Can you see the similarities? Mr. Wonderful made the salt dough set when he was about 4 years old and his Momma saved it. He's not sure where baby Jesus went, so we like to say Mary (you do know which one is Mary, don't you?), well we like to say Mary is holding Baby Jesus. Ahh! you say, Now you see her, right? Right? Yeah, I knew that would give it away.

This one is an oldie of mine. I didn't have the talent to make it myself, tho I do enjoy it. And look, Mary is holding baby Jesus.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Games We Play

We love to play games here in Momza's house. We play the classics like Monopoly, Clue, and Twister...and try not to cheat --much.
We also have new favorites like Apples to Apples and Curses!--which is right now THE GAME to play in the house with a bunch of teenagers! If you haven't played it yet, go onto and buy it--call half a dozen fun friends over and PLAY!!! You will have a blast!
(or your money back)
We also play games I am sure noone else in the sane world plays. We play Tag and Hide-n-go Seek at Grocery stores and in the Mall. I'm not kidding. We all go into Albertsons, Fry's, King Soopers, Walmart --wherever--and last night it was Kohl's--and we play hide-n-go- seek. Sometimes, You don't know if you're IT until you notice YOU are the one standing alone! Last night Dani, Nana and the Caboose and I went to Kohl's to look at some wedding shoes for Dani. When that was thru, a wild hair took hold of us and before we knew it, we were all scattering about, hiding from the Caboose! She LOVES this game...we can hear her coming because she is giggling so loudly.
So we weave in and out of the clothing racks, trying to keep a step ahead of her and laughing quietly so as to not disturb other shoppers....hey, we have never been asked to leave a store before, so that tells you we are good at this game and preserving some public tact.
Anyway, as we were leaving the store for the parking lot, the Caboose says, "Will you hide from me at home?"
A favorite Family Home Evening game is the "Fruit Toss" game where everyone is given a fruit "name" from 3 choices: Bananas, Apples, and Oranges. One person (It) stands in the middle of the room, the others are seated around them. (Our family room is where we play) The person who is IT calls out a fruit name, for example "BANANA!" whereupon all "Bananas" jump up and trade seats before the IT person can find an empty seat. The person left standing is IT. And on and on it goes. '
What kind of fun family games does your family play??

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elder Joseph Wirthlin

As many LDS members know, one of our beloved Apostles passed away last night at the age of 91.

I loved his positive outlook and sweet disposition, down-to-earth counsel, and love of the Saviour.

I have a bit of his counsel on my fridge...

"The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thought, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support and service to each other...We are here with the same purpose: to learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves."

I will miss him. There is one less great man on the earth today, and I bet it won't even be on the nightly news....oh no, we need to know what Angelina Jolie wore today. {Sigh}.

Jeepers, Creepers, Where'd ya Get those Peepers?

The Caboose and Boofus got new eyeglasses this morning.

The Caboose's final inspection.

This is George AKA Stuart (long story) from Lenscrafters. If you go in, make sure you tell him I sent you.

Oh and call him "George" despite his nametag that says Stuart. He'll answer, I promise.

Smile Boof, act like you're thrilled to be here, g'head, I'll wait. Fake it till you make it.

He was drunk.

May I just point out her adorable angel kisses aka freckles? I have to, it's my motherly duty.

Boofus was more pensive...which is typical. Is it just me or do his ears looked crooked? Don't tell him I said that.

Say "cheese"! Love her toothless-grin!

She looks miserable doesn't she?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Girls/ Makeovers

While Kent & I were gone on Friday night, Nana (not our granma, but my 18 yo dd), invited The Caboose's friends over for a Girls Night....they did makeovers, baked cookies and watched movies. The girls loved it.

The Caboose

BFF neighbor #1

BFF neighbor #2

look at that make-up! They wanted to look like movie stars.

Little Heartbreakers.

Don't they know we don't want them to grow up??