Friday, February 29, 2008

A Key to Happiness

The other night on television,  I was watching a program where they were interviewing celebrities and asking them what advice they would give to Britney Spears.   For some reason this fascinated me and caused me to ponder somewhat on the topic of happiness.
Why is this poor girl so unhappy?  Why are so many celebrities unhappy for that matter?  The answer is something I discovered years ago, while searching for my own happiness.  There is a quote I read recently which I believe is the key.  It's by Henry B. Eyring who is a leader in my church.  He says, "Without service, there is no happiness".  Bingo!  .  

In Hollywood so much of that culture is "self service".  It puts such emphasis on "self"; appearance, furthering careers, money, fame, etc.  There are many different aspects of "self service".  At one point in my life, I found myself in a deep depression.  As I began to pull myself out of it, I made some profound observations.  Depression is a very selfish state of mind.  "I'm not good enough, nobody cares about me, I wish I were dead, why does this always happen to me?".  Have you noticed the recurring words - I and me.

"There is no happiness without service".  How do I find happiness?  In the service of my family, neighbors, and friends.  When I catch myself falling back into the bad habits of a depressed state of mind, I immediately put a stop to it. I remember that I really need to get over myself and stop focussing on ME.   True happiness for me has come when I lose myself in the service of others.

Why are Britney Spears and others in Hollywood so unhappy?  I believe that they are caught in the trap of "self service".  Be it depression, or a focus on self to achieve more fame, glamour, and money, it will never result in happiness.  

"You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give."
-Winston Churchill

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cute as a button

Allison =
  • Undying energy
  • Fun fun fun!
  • Dependable 
  • Competitive
  • Nurturer
  • Pleaser
  • Intelligent
  • Tender spirit
I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Simple Cake

It was my neighbors birthday today so I hurried and threw together this daisy cake.  It's pretty simple, but I thought it was cute.  I used pure butter cream frosting, so it was hard to get it really smooth.  The Crisco stuff works better, but I don't like Crisco.

Bark Avenue

I broke down and bought Rusty a new bed from Costco.  They didn't have the nice fluffy ones like before.  By looking at this picture, I am sure you can tell how Rusty feels about it.
(If you don't know why I bought Rusty a new bed, see previous post below)

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Cake for Connie

Here's a picture of the cake I made for my mother-in-law, Connie.   I was dying to try these cute sugar butterflies.  They turned out really cute and you can eat them too!
This cake definitely looks like a child's cake, but then again, Connie always was young at heart.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Presidents Day Story

Once upon a time there was a very attractive man named Jeff.
He decided to take his friends and family on a geocaching adventure.  He boldly led the way into a flooded wash where the treasure was hidden.
It was very sticky and muddy and moms were freaking out that children were ruining their new basketball shoes.
We crossed great rivers (or small streams) in hopes of finding the treasure.
The attractive mans wife thinks this is crazy, but it's so much fun she decides to continue on and support the handsome man.   Eventually they give up and decided the treasure must have washed away with the rain.
Back into the "Tom Car" they go to seek out yet another treasure.
Success at last!!   And they lived happily ever after.  (Actually, the moms were happy when they got all the muddy laundry done).  

Yeah for treasure hunting!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Suns

Did I tell you how much fun I had at the Suns game on Valentines?  We sat right by Mark Cuban (I think that's his name).  You know, the guy from dancing with the stars and owner of the Mavericks.  I felt pretty special.

Oh how I wish the Suns would have played as well against LA.  Darn that Kobe Bryant!!!!

It wasn't my fault!

I know this looks bad, and it is, but it really wasn't Rusty's fault.  Okay, it was, but let me explain.  
Rusty will only lay on his dog bed.  He is lost without it.  He's really picky when it comes to dog beds.  It has to be a soft material or he won't lay on it, and it has to be fluffed up just right or he won't settle down and go to sleep. Before he lays down he always fluffs his bedding.  He scratches at all the sides of the bed until all the fluff is in the middle, and then, and only then, will he lay down upon it.

The other day it was time to clean the cover because it was starting to stink, so off it went into the wash.  That night, Jeff and I were to lazy to get up and take it out of the dryer and put it back on.  Well, Rusty went to his bed and fluffed. But because the cover wasn't on it ripped open and went everywhere.   
To be honest, I think he was really annoyed and just wanted his old bed back.  Stupid dog and his soft bedding!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hillbilly Hootinany

Well, I can finally relax this week.  With Valentine bouquets and ward parties last week, I am feeling wiped out.  Here are some pictures of our ward party.  It actually turned out great, so I am passing on all my ideas for anyone else stuck with this calling.

My mother in law did this fabulous art work for me at the "hitchin post" where couples could have their pictures taken and sign a marriage certificate.  Here's Monique and I trying it out.
Hillbilly hoops was a hit.  Thanks to Bern for the use of his very CLEAN toilets.
We decorated the tables with newspaper and duct tape, ate out of pie tins, and used mason jars for the drinks.  We served "mormon moonshine" and water.
This picture doesn't do it justice, but the clothesline was a nice touch.  We served dutch oven stew ("varmint" stew) with biscuits, and dutch oven cobbler with ice cream.  Delish!
I don't have a picture, but I made garlands out of pop cans and trash and hung them over each doorway.  We added accents of raffia, garbage, old shoes, and old hats all over.  I made a playlist of hillbilly music on my new ipod and it plugged right in to the system.  How cool is that!

We had pie eating contest, pig calling, barber shop quartets and lot's of joke telling.  I was pleased that it all worked out, and now I am excited to have a week to clean up my house and catch up on laundry.  Yeah!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Best Clam Chowder

Hands down, this is the best Clam Chowder I have ever had.  Seriously delish!  You need to try this before the weather turns warm.
The Best Clam Chowder
  • 3 (6.5 oz) cans minced clams
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 quart half and half cream
  • 2 Tbl red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. Drain juice from clams into a large skillet over the onions, celery, potatoes, and carrots.  Add water to cover, and cook over medium heat until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Whisk in cream and stir constantly until thick and smooth (this takes a little while, but be patient).  Stir in vegetables.  Heat through, but do not boil.
  3. Stir in clams just before serving.  If they cook too much they get tough.  When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.
As far as clams go, I bought the big 51 oz chopped sea clams at Costco.  I added half of 1 can to my soup.  Then you can freeze the rest until you make it again.  This way you get the best bang for your buck.
I use an electric chopper to chop up all the vegetables because I don't like them big and chunky in my soup.  It's best to have all ingredients prepped and ready before you begin.  

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Into The Belly of The Beast!

So on Wednesday I had my cake class and we were working with fondant.  I put together my first fondant cake.  It turned out pretty cute right?
I was so proud of it, so I left it on my kitchen counter for all to see.  BIG MISTAKE!
This is what Rusty was doing when I ran out the door for just a second.   He's a sly devil, and knew that eventually I would be out of sight and he could make his move.  Well he did.
He ate 99% of that pretty cake in a matter of 5 seconds flat.  Apparently he doesn't like fondant and left that alone.  That night he had the worst belly ache and he moaned and moaned.  I refused to feel sorry for him and even made him skip his dinner.  Bad doggy!!!!!  Very very BAD DOGGY!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

Here's how the cookie bouquets turned out.   Thanks to everyone who bought one from me!  Hope you have a great Valentines Day.  My hubby is taking me to the Suns game 4th row back!!!!  I am so excited and I might even get to see Shaq play as a Sun for the first time!  Ya Hoo!  (PS. I have another dog story for you tomorrow).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New Soul

This is a great sing-along-song. It's so catchy!

Monday, February 11, 2008


I have been decorating cookies for 12 hours straight, and I have a cold and my head feels like a big zit ready to POP!

But... life is still good.  Just venting!  

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nano, Nano, Shazbot!

My hubby did good.  See what I got for my birthday.  It even came with a gooey inscription on the back.  I LOVE it!!!!

So I am playing with my new ipod and I discovered something.... the "podcast".   I am not very "with it", so bear with me if you are already savvy to the "podcast".  Hello, where have I been?  

If you don't know what a podcast is go to itunes and check it out.  They are free episodic programs that you can download to your ipod or mp3 player.  I subscribed to BYU talks, weekly music for my long runs, the word of the day, and the Fox news channel.  Every time I plug it in to the computer it automatically updates the episode.

Come on .... how cool is that!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I am giving myself a timeout.  I could sit here and blog all day long, but the next few days are so busy, that I have to take a short break.    

I will be back when I can behave myself and get my chores done without spending to much time on the computer.  I need to be productive this week.  (cookie bouquets, ward parties, kids, laundry, etc.)

Plus it's my birthday on Saturday, and if I am a really good girl, I have a feeling I will get a new "pink" nano and lot's of itunes gift cards.  (Hint to my hubby)    

So here's to a really productive week!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday!

Don't forget to vote today!
(Go Mitt!)

Winter In The Desert

This only happens once a year at best, and it happened last night.
This is what I saw when I looked at the mountains this morning.  It will only be here for a day or two,  so I have to take it all in quick.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Valentine Cookie Bouquets

Don't know what to do for Valentines day?  How about a cookie bouquet.  I am selling them for $20.  That includes everything all wrapped up and pretty.  For an additional $5,  I will personalize it for you with whatever message you want.    Just thought I would throw that out there!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Super Bowl Sugar Cookies

My friend hired me to make cookies for her Super Bowl party. 
And here they are...

Go Patriots!