Friday, January 4, 2013


Don't anyone fall off their chairs or anything...but I have a recipe for you. I decided to post this because I've told a couple friends about it and I keep promising them I'll type it up and give it to them. Since I went to all the effort of typing, why not share with everyone...not that many people still check this blog. I know a few friends and family still do, so this is for you.

 My good friend Emily Nuttall gave this recipe to me several months ago and it quickly became a family favorite. I swear we eat this every other, if not every week. Reese even cheered when I told her we were having it tonight.


1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can chili beans
1 C. Catalina salad dressing

corn chips
sour cream
...what ever taco salad fixings you like


1. In a large skillet brown your ground beef.
2. Add the taco seasoning, and mix well.
3. Add the chili beans (with sauce, do not rinse or drain) and Catalina dressing.
4. Saute until flavors combine.
5. Assemble your taco salad, take one bite and bask in the yumminess!!

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's already been one year...

...since this little beauty came into my life.

and she deserved the best birthday cake. So I turned to pinterest for some inspiration. This is what I came up with...

I learned this awesome icing technique HERE. I used the technique and covered the cake in frosting roses.

I made the inside of the cake ombre; progressive colored layers. The cake pictured above was for Anni's 1 year photo shoot. The cake below was from her party. I wish I'd gotten a little cleaner picture of the layers, but you get the idea.

Anni's "Pinkalicious" party was a huge success. To see all the fun pictures you can check out my post on our family blog HERE.

Anni also had an awesome one year photo shoot, thanks to my good friend, neighbor, and photographer extraordinaire Lisa. I'm posting a couple of my favorites. If you want to see a lot more, you can check them out HERE. And if you like what you see and want the contact info for my good friend Lisa, send me a message and I'll get you in touch with her. She is amazing!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Giving Up...

No I'm not giving up on my blog, although it has been awhile. Life has been crazy and I'm sticking with my "family first" priority.

But I just read something last night that I absolutely wanted to share. It's soooo good! You don't hear the words "you should give up" very often, in a positive light. But you need to read the list below of 15 things you need to give up, in order to be happy. These are all things I've been thinking a lot about over the last few years and I've managed to be successful in "giving up" many of them. Still working on others, but I know first hand how much happier we all could be if we truly learned to just "give up".

Originally I just tried to link to the site where I first read this. But something was wrong with the site and it wouldn't let me link. Then I did a google search to see if I could find it posted somewhere else and I found it on over 20+ sites, none of which listed the original source. So I just decided to cut and paste it. If anyone knows the original source or writer, I would love to give them credit and link to their site so please leave a comment.

I had to throw in a cute picture of my little R. Kids really do know what it means to "give up" all these things and be truly happy. They are masters of happiness.

(Original Source Unknown)

Here is a list of 15 things, which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier, and much more happy. We are holding on to so many things that are causing us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering, and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy, we cling on to them, but not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. So here we go:

 1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us can’t stand the idea of being wrong, wanting to always be right, even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for them and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the “urgent” need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that even make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you, situations, events, people, etc., whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street, and just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel. “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.” Lao Tzu

3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or what you don’t have; for what you feel or what you don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. Give up your self defeating self talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their horrible, negative, polluted, repetitive and self defeating self talk? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you, especially if it’s negative and self defeating. “The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle

5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or can not do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you in place, to keep you stuck. Spread your wings and fly! “A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle

6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things, people, situations, events, that make you unhappy, sad, blues, depressed, and so on. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad, miserable, depressed, mad, angry, etc. , unless you allow it too. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it, you attitude. Doesn’t that make you feel a lot better now? More powerful and in control?

7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events, people that are different than you. We are all different but we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved, we all want to be understood… We all want something, and that something is wished by us all.

8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, just so you can make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements on your life and also of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change, don’t resist it. “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell

10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people, events that you don’t understand as being WEIRD and try opening your mind, little by little. You know, minds only work if open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer

11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exit, you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into places. “The only fear you should fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. Give up your excuses. Send them away. Tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use, and instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses, excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard, so hard, especially when the past looks so much better than the present moment and the futures looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all that you have, all that you had and all that you will ever have. The past you are now longing for, the past that you are now dreaming about, was ignored by you when it was present, so stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life.Life is a journey, not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, and it still is, but it’s not something that is impossible. You get better and better at it in time, by practicing… The moment you detach yourself from all things, and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them, because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another ( attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less. Where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things, without even trying too. Such a precious thing. A state beyond words.

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government, the media, etc. think is best for them, and they ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives, they forget what makes them happy, they forget what they want, what they need… and eventually, they forget about themselves, they forget who they are. You have one life, this life, the only life, live it, own it, and don’t let other people’s good opinion distract you from your path.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Growing Grass as a Center Piece

My Salt Lake friends will remember, with fondness, my love for growing grass. There was a time when I always had a grass center piece on my coffee table, especially in late winter. Just about this time of year, when I was more than ready for spring to come...but it just wasn't quite time. A little bright green grass, does wonders for the spirit.

It's been a few years since I brought out the grass seed, but I thought it might be a fun project and little biology lesson for Reese. There as so many things one can learn from planting a few seeds. Besides, I really do love me some pretty green grass.

This is especially fun for Easter. You can grow grass in just about any container. Then you can hide fun eggs, candy, flowers etc... in the grass. Super cute for a Spring center piece.

Here's what you need...

Container - I choose a glass bowl because I wanted Reese to be able to watch the roots grow. This particular project was meant to be educational as well as fun. (Yes that's a trifle bowl. Don't worry, this isn't the one I make dessert in. I have three.) You can use just about any container. I used to have a long wooden box that was rustic and very cool. I don't know what happened to it.

Potting Soil - any brand will do.

Grass Seed - again, any kind will work. Just buy something cheap. This large bag I got at Home Depot for $5. It will last forever.

Rocks - these are optional. I used them because I thought they'd look prettier with the glass container. If you can't see through your container, don't bother with the rocks.

Squirt Bottle - this is a must for the daily watering process.

Cute three year old helper - optional...but definitely a plus!

If you're using a glass container, fill it about half way with rocks.

Then add the dirt...

Now fill with as much water as possible. Make sure your dirt is nice and soaking wet.

Next sprinkle the grass seed on top of your soil. Use a lot. You really can't use too much. Get a nice thick layer of seed.

Using your squirt bottle, on the mist setting, get the seeds nice and soaking wet.

Then place your planted seeds in a nice sunny place. If your house is really cold, you may want to tent your planted seeds with some plastic a little green house. Just to keep those seeds nice and warm. You want to squirt the seeds with water as much as possible. This was a fun job for Reese. Squirt them down at least twice a day, if not three.

It's going to take about 3-5 days, depending on how much sun and water they get, for your seeds to sprout. But once they do, they shoot up pretty fast. This is what our planter looked like on day 7.

Now doesn't that pretty green grass make you smile?

As your grass grows you can let it get long and wild, or you can trim it with some sizzors and it will just keep growing. After several weeks your soil will probably become root bound and the grass will start to die, but that's the best can just grow some more!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You may be hurting your child and not even know it.

At one point in my life I dreamed of being a child psychologist. That is why I spent many wasted valuable semesters in college taking psychology courses. I also dreamed of being a chef and took a lot of those classes too. How I ended up in Marketing/Public Relations is beyond me.

Dreams aside, I'm still very interested in the topic of psychology, therapy, child development etc... If you know me well, you've probably heard me state on more than one occasion my belief that anyone and everyone could benefit from professional therapy. It's a very true statement.

So, when I happen to see this little segment on Studio 5 the other day, I knew I had to share it. I found it very interesting, educational and enlightening. It was actually a subject I had been thinking about recently. As a young mom, I believe my most important job is to prepare my children spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally for "the world". It's funny to think that what we really do as moms, is spend everyday preparing our children to grow up and leave lead a healthy happy life as an adult. That being said, I'm conscious every day of the things I'm doing or not doing that could have a lasting effect on their overall well being.

I would love for everyone to watch the video and let me know your thoughts! The video give much more detail and insight than the notes below.

You may be hurting your child and not even know it.

Therapist, Julie Hanks, says parents, especially moms, un-intentionally use their kids to meet their emotional needs. We have the warning signs.

 5 Signs That You Are Too Close To Your Child 
· All of these apply to all ages of children as well as adult children
· In my practice, this is the most common unintentional way that parents hurt their children.
· Children generally don't even realize that this dynamic has contributed to their current distress.
· In my clinical practice this is more common with mothers & children than with fathers, but does happen with fathers.

1) Your child knows your secrets.  
Tip: Leave child out of details of your personal problems. Examples: Child/teen knows what you can't stand about husband. Adult child knows that you're hiding money from spouse.

2) Your child is your emotional sounding board.  
Solution: Share problems with peers or professionals.  Example: Complain to child or adult child about chronic health problems. Venting feelings of anger toward ex-spouse to child.

3) Your child is your best or only friend.
Solution: Develop and diversify peer relationships. Examples: Young adult female client feels guilty for leaving mom, going off to college, moving out. Teen feels guilty for going out on weekends "leaving" single mom at home.

4) You rely on your child for adult responsibilities.
Solution: You manage the household, or ask other adults for help. Examples: Your child acts as primary caregiver for younger siblings. Adult child manages parent's finances.

5) Your child is your primary source of comfort.  
Solution: Focus on comforting your child and seek comfort from adult peers or professionals. Examples: Call and vent to adult child about depression but refuses counseling. When distressed they call child and exclude your spouses.

Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW is a therapist, self & relationship expert, media contributor and director of Wasatch Family Therapy. Visit for individual, couple, family, & group counseling services designed to strengthen you and your family. We treat mental health and relationship problems in children, adolescents, and adults. Now open in Provo! For additional emotional health & relationship resources connect with Julie at

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