Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blender Muffins

There's just something about fall that makes me want to bake! It must be the cooler weather. I love recipes that are simple and easy to throw together.
These Blender Muffins are so easy to make and taste delicious! They are perfect for a healthy snack on the go and my kids love them too. The clean up is a breeze since you mix everything in the blender and the ingredients are things you already have on hand!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Fox 13's The Place Fall Craft Segment

Thank you to Fox 13's The Place for asking me to be on the show again. I had such a great time sharing my craft idea for making fake pumpkins look more real. I always have such a fun time while on the show. Everyone is so nice and I've made so many wonderful friends! 
If you missed my segment you can watch it HERE. And for step by step instructions on making these pumpkins, you can find my blog post right HERE.

I love decorating for the Fall Season and this simple and inexpensive craft trick makes it so easy to make fake pumpkins look like the real deal!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Grow Through What You Go Through

"When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person that walked in. That's what this storm is all about. Grow through what you go through."

A sweet friend sent me this quote last weekend and I loved it. I had a very hard week and was really struggling emotionally. When I read this quote it made me stop and think about how I've grown so much since our infertility treatments, after my miscarriages and especially since losing my sweet baby Lucy. My husband took our kids out dove hunting and picked some beautiful sunflowers for our baby girl. It made my heart so happy and I took them up to her grave. I sat there admiring how beautiful it all looked. Fall will always hold a special place in my heart. This is the time of year when my husband proposed, it's the time of year that I've been pregnant with all of my babies, it's the time of year that my grandma passed away and it's the time of year when I had my first miscarriage, two years ago. While fall holds some hard memories, it holds more happy ones than sad ones. I feel like every fall I look back on the year before and realize how much I've grown. Grief has a crazy way of  making you into a completely different person. Whether that is grief from losing a child or from infertility, it changes who you are in so many ways. I'm definitely not the same person I was the day that my husband proposed to me, but I am kind of glad that I'm not. I feel like that care free girl back then took the little things for granted. I never stopped to admire a sunflower or to think about all the ways my testimony has grown. Lucy has helped me to realize life is so short and every little thing needs to be cherished. My testimony now is stronger than ever. I not only appreciate Our Savior's atonement more, but I have found so much comfort in knowing that He is the only one who truly knows the pain and sadness I feel. He is the only one who knows how much I love and miss my daughter Lucy. He is the only one who truly knows how much I cherish my other children and my husband. He is the only one that sees the broken pieces of my heart and the darkness that surrounds me on my bad days. And He is the only one that can bring the light back into view when the emotional pain is just too much. I know that He is always there and having faith helps us grow in ways that we can't see until we look back. This storm is changing me for the better. Even though my heart and spirit might be missing a few petals, it will still be for the better. While the crushing, time stopping, emotional pain of my baby passing away is beyond compare to anything else, so is the growth. Heavenly Father and Our Savior know what storm we need to achieve the growth that will make us become who we need to be.

The Keeper of the Crayons 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Pumpkin Makeover and Fox 13s The Place Segment

Fall is my favorite time of year! I love everything about it and get so excited to decorate for it! One of the things I love most are pumpkins! My kids love when we head to the pumpkin patch each year and pick out the best looking ones! Pumpkins add a special touch to any front porch, the only problem is, most real pumpkins don't last very long and have a hard time holding up for all the months of Fall. I love having pumpkins on the porch for the months of September, October and November.  
Fake pumpkins are the way to go if you want them to make it the entire three months of the season. I'm going to show you some easy ways to spruce up your fake pumpkins and help them look like they came straight from the pumpkin patch!

You are going to start with Fake, Plastic Pumpkins. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby. They have everything for Fall Crafts, and they always have coupon codes! I got my pumpkins for 40% off. The other items you will need are a glue gun, Modge Podge, black paint, brown paint, crafting rope, foam paint brushes and Cinnamon. I just used what I had on hand. The only things I purchased were the pumpkins.

To start, make a paint wash of one part water, one part brown paint (photo 1). Add a few drop of black paint. Brush onto your pumpkin in sections (photo 2) and wipe off with a paper towel. Keep doing this until your pumpkin looks a little dirty like they do when you first pick them from the pumpkin patch and the shine from the plastic is gone. Let dry for a few minutes. Now to doll up the stem so that it doesn't look plastic. Cut tiny pieces of craft rope and hot glue around the stem (photo 3), going all the way around the stem. You can glue the middle of the rope so that it will stick together and you can bend it to any shape you would like. The amount of rope you use will depend on the size of the pumpkin. Leave the ends frayed and unglued. It gives it a more natural look. Once you're done gluing the rope, cut it down to the size you would like, (photo 4).

 After your stem is all glued around, and it's the height you would like, you are going to brush it with Modge Podge. Cover the craft rope in a thin coat of the Modge Podge, then sprinkle with Cinnamon. That's right, Cinnamon! You can use brown chalk powder if you have that, but it's kind of expensive to order. Everyone has Cinnamon on hand and it's really inexpensive so I just used that. It worked great! Sprinkle the Cinnamon on the Modge Podge just like you would glitter. Shake off any excess Cinnamon and coat with another thin coat of Modge Podge. Let dry overnight or until hardened. Your stem will look like wood like the photo above.
That's it! Your pumpkins are now ready for the porch! I had mine sitting by my front door this past week when a friend stopped by. She asked which pumpkin patch we went to that had pumpkins already. She was shocked when I told her they were fake ones. These pumpkins took me about 30 minutes to make, not including the drying time. It's super easy and fun to make! Happy Fall!

To watch my segment on Fox 13's The Place, follow the link below.

The Keeper of the Crayons

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake Recipe

Date Nights are so important to us. Whether it's staying in and watching a movie or going out as a couple or family for dinner, I look forward to them every weekend! Chili's is one of our favorite places to eat on Date Nights! Our favorite dessert to order from there is the Chocolate Molten Lava Cake! My daughter ordered it the last time we had a family date night at Chili's and we had to get a picture of it! It's so yummy, but sometimes we crave this delicious cake when we are at home. Lucky for us, Oh, Sweet Basil has us covered! They have an amazing, (and super easy!) copycat recipe to make this cake at home! I came across it on Pinterest and was so excited to share it with you all! You can find their recipe HERE. Everything is better with chocolate and I love recipes that are easy! My kids love this cake and I know your family will too!

The Keeper of the Crayons 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thanksgiving Point $2 Tuesdays

For the month of August, you can visit Thanksgiving Point for $2 dollars per person every Tuesday! This is a great deal and so much fun for the whole family! We love Thanksgiving Point! My kids love The Museum of Ancient Life and Farm Country the best! They have so many fun displays and interactive activities for kids, and $2 dollar Tuesdays are a great time to go visit the park if you are on a budget! Thanksgiving Point has activities all year long. It's the perfect place to visit in Utah no matter what the season is.
You can learn more about Thanksgiving Point by visiting their website HERE.

The Keeper of the Crayons

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Near and Dear to My Heart

The American Red Cross is in need of blood donations. This is something that is really important to my family and I. When our baby daughter was stillborn this past January after a placental abruption at 30 weeks, my body went into D.I.C and I received 40 units of blood products. While we are still grieving the loss of our baby girl, we've found that giving back and sponsoring blood drives is a great way to focus on our gratitude, as well as honor our angel baby.
I am so grateful to the strangers who donated the units I received. I feel so blessed to be here with my family. I'm grateful to be able to hug my kids and kiss my husband still. I'm grateful to be able to put flowers on my baby's grave, coach my kids in sports, laugh at their jokes, go on dates with my husband, hold his hand on walks, talk to my mom on the phone, go to church, have lunch with friends, do laundry, clean up dinner dishes, watch the sun set... all these things that I took for granted before. Things that are so simple yet mean more to me than anything else since I wasn't sure if I'd get to do them ever again. I'm grateful that I am still here to live my life and enjoy making memories with my family. I wouldn't be able to do all these things if those selfless people wouldn't have donated. It's still so hard to put into words how grateful I am. They helped save my life and gave us something so priceless. I wish I could hug them all personally. 
While I was in the Intensive Care Unit, my husband and I realized that our focus after my recovery would be helping other people have the same opportunity I have been given. We wanted the passing of our daughter to mean something. In March, we held a blood drive that had a record turnout. We are hoping that our next one will have the same turnout. It's a blessing to know that our baby girl helped us save so many lives. I've posted a link below where you can find a blood drive near you. If you can, please take the time to give a blood donation. You'll never know how much it will mean to the person you help save.

Find a Red Cross Blood Drive near you HERE.

***This is not a sponsored post. It's just something so near and dear to my heart.***

The Keeper of the Crayons

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Simple Mini Pizza Bar

Pizza is one of my family's favorite meals. My kids all like something different on their pizzas, so a Mini Pizza Bar is the perfect way to go. Plus it makes it so fun for everyone to make their own!

This Pizza Bar is super easy to put together. I love simple dinners! I cut up all our favorite toppings into tiny diced sized pieces for the mini pizzas. I made my sauce from scratch. It's just two small cans tomato sauce, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. parsley flakes, a pinch of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Now for the secret for the dough. I use Rhodes Roll Dough. I place the dough on a sprayed piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Let it sit to thaw for 5-6 hours before you want to make your pizzas. One roll is the perfect size for a mini pizza. I used parchment paper cut into squares and sprayed with non stick cooking spray to cook the pizzas on. Press the one ball of dough out with your finger tips. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake at 415 degrees for 15 minutes. You can make homemade pizza dough, but my family actually loves this dough better. And I love how much easier and faster it is! The pizza crust turns out perfect every time and you don't have to waste time kneading it or rolling it out. It's so easy!

My kids had so much fun making their own pizzas. Once a month we let them plan a dinner that they can help make so they can learn how to cook in the kitchen. This Pizza Bar was a huge hit! They loved feeling like little pizza chefs and they got to make the pizza just how they wanted it. No need to pick off toppings they didn't like. They were specialized for each kiddo.

This is the finished product. It was such a fun family dinner and I love how easy the Rhodes Rolls made it. It's the perfect dinner to add some fun to your summer nights.  

The Keeper of the Crayons