Sep 28, 2008

Fall Favorites

Caramel apples, football games, pumpkin cookies, perfect weather, pumpkin patches...I love this time of year! Yesterday we drove down to Woodland Hills (south of Provo 20 minutes in the mountains up above Spanish Fork) to my parents to help with some landscaping and I was amazed at how beautiful the drive was. I love seeing all the leaves changing. I can't wait to see more of it. I also love that it's time to start busting out the sweaters (which I appreciate even more with all the extra poundage from this baby!), my favorite soup recipes and the Halloween decorations. I thought I'd just share a few of fall favorites.

Arizona Corn Chowder
In large pot, saute the following ingredients (it will be a paste):
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp ground cumin
1 medium onion--chopped

Stir in & bring to a boil:
1 can corn--drained
1 can chicken broth
1 16 oz. jar of salsa
1 large can chicken (or 2 shredded chicken breasts)

Add: 1 8 oz package of cream cheese
When cream cheese is melted, add:
1 cup of milk
Garnish with cilantro and sour cream. Enjoy!

Homemade Caramel

This is the best caramel recipe (thank you, Kelli McDonald!). I love to make caramel apples with this recipe, then used the extra for caramel popcorn. Both are delicious! (Warning: it is dangerously addicting!)

Mix together the following ingredients & bring to a boil:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cups corn syrup
When boiling, add:
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Boil on medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the caramel forms a soft ball when a little bit is dropped into cold water. Remove from heat, then add:1 tsp. vanilla
Let stand for 5 minutes before dipping apples.

Easiest Ever Pumpkin Cookies

This is a weight watchers recipe that I got from my friend Christy. So, basically it's "good" for you. You'll lose weight even thinking about making them! If you make it without the chocolate chips, I think you can have 4 cookies for 1 point. Anyway, I really like this recipe for 2 reasons--1. they taste great and 2. they have very few ingredients and are super easy to make! Here's the recipe

1 box of spice cake mix (which is on sale at Albertsons right now for $1/box)
1 15 oz can pumpkin
Optional: 1/2 bag of mini chocolate morsels

Mix ingredients together and spoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes, depending on how soft you like your cookies.

The sweetest thing...

Seeing your baby smile for the first time has got to be the sweetest thing in the world! About a week ago Sienna started smiling (for real, not just the gassy/sleepy smile). It's been so much fun. We haven't been able to capture her full grin yet with the camera, but I'll post some pictures as soon as we do. This picture isn't great, since it's from my cell phone. It's her half smile. I put this bow on Sienna and emailed it to Dan saying, "The bigger, the better!" This one really is too big for her right now (and the angle makes it look even bigger), but it's ridiculously cute, so I couldn't help try it on her! (Thanks, Natalie!)

Castle on a Cloud

Les Miserables...what an incredible show!! My in-laws took those of us who live in Utah to St. George to see Les Miserable on Sept 20th. It was Sienna's first road trip and her first show (at 5 weeks old), and she was quite the trooper. I got a little nervous at the beginning of the show because she was a little fussy (which is not the norm for her) so I was starting to think that it was going to be a long night for me, but after a few minutes she fell asleep for the rest of the show (which felt like hours, since I was so worried about ruining the night for the people sitting around us). The show really was amazing. I've seen it several times before (in New York, Utah and London), but it was so cool to see it at an outdoor amphitheater. I was amazed at the talent, especially since many of the performers were from Utah. I really loved Javier and Marias. It was such a beautiful night. We stayed over and went to breakfast the next morning (a birthday breakfast for my sister-in-law, Kate! Happy 21st, Kate!) at the Bear Paw Cafe, which was delicious! I had stuffed french toast. What was it stuffed with? Oh, just vanilla brulle. Are you kidding me?!! It was so tasty! It was a great weekend. Thank you, Roger & Deanne!

Just chillin' before the show
My beautiful baby
Dan's parents Roger & Deanne and his brother Jeff and wife Kate
The handsome couple :)
Dan's brother Eric & his wife Liz (and her adorable new red purse that I want to steal!)
The girls (we missed you, Jen & Debi!)

Just one of the amazing desserts, oh, I mean breakfasts!

Sep 24, 2008

Still cute

I took this picture with my mom the other day when my mom and I were out shopping. I'm not sure why it got messed up. I mostly took it to email to Dan since he thinks these flowers/bows are ridiculous, but I had to show him how cute she looked in this headband. Most of the time I put the little flowers on Sienna. She has so much hair that sometimes I just don't know how to do her hair with the headband. I'm sure it will take some learning! This was my first attempt with a flower this big. It is kinda ridiculous, but I still think it's adorable. Whenever I talk to my dad he asks, "Still cute?" I think so!

Sep 23, 2008

Traumatic Experience...

Sorry kids, this is going to be a little TMI. Feel free to just skip over this if you're not up for a disgusting story. So, the other day I went to the park with some friends and when I came home I knew I needed to change Miss Sienna's diaper. I got the new diaper ready and held Sienna's legs up by her ankles to wipe her bum, when all of the sudden Sienna started squirting nasty newborn diarrhea poo. Nasty projectile vomit poo all over me. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or scream. My phone was within reach, so I attempted to take a picture just so I could show Dan what his precious baby girl did to her mom (and that this was worse than anything he had experienced). The picture doesn't even show the half of it--it was all over my shirt, arm, neck, pants, the couch. I mean, this was some serious force. It was so bad that it soaked all the way through my clothes. It was disgusting. I was telling the story to some friends and I said, "It's a good thing Sienna is so cute" and Connie said that she and her husband always say that cuteness has saved more babies than carseats. I loved it. So true!!! All I have to say is that motherhood is definitely not for the faint of heart!

Nursery pics

I wish I had before/after pictures of the nursery, but didn't think of taking pictures of everything before. First we painted the room, which used to be a light green. We painted it a white that has a light pink undertone. The crib and the changing table were both a light, natural wood color, so my mom and I painted them both a chocolate brown. The dresser my parents had bought 6 years ago for $10 at a garage sale when I had just moved to Huntington Beach and didn't have any furniture. It used to be lime green and we painted it a chocolate brown, with pink drawers (that we antiqued with a stain). We also did the frame on the wall to match. We orderd extra fabric from the guy I bought my bedding from and made the curtains, the changing table pad cover and recovered the glider pads (which used to be red/blue plaid!) I use the term "we" loosely, since my mom did the vast majority of the sewing. We also made the lamp--well, picked out the base and a lampshade, then lined it with this cute beaded fringe for kind of that shabby chic look. My friend Shelly has a vinyl lettering company Say Anything Expressions ( and together we designed the vinyl lettering for the wall. The only thing left to do it to add the crystal knobs to the feels good to be mostly done. Yea! My mom is a saint for all the work she did! Thanks, mom! You are the best!

Sep 21, 2008

A shout out...

Chelsea's the one on the right

My friend Chelsea is a makeup artist and just started a great blog to share the love! If you're like me and are clueless about what moisturizer or foundation to use, how to take care of your skin or hair, how to do makeup, etc...then you should check it out and you'll get lots of great tips! She did my makeup for my wedding and did a fabulous job. Here's the link

Happy Birthday, Carter!

My sister-in-law Carolyn and her two adorable boys were in town from Wisconsin, so it was great to be able to spend some time with them. We went up to Logan for Carter's 3rd birthday party with Carolyn's family and had a lot of fun. Carter wanted a wererabbit cake (from Wallace & Grommit). He's such a funny kid. He's definitely an all-or-nothin' kind of kid, so either he wants nothing to do with you or he's your best friend. He loved the toys he got for his birthday and had a great time jumping on the tramp with his uncles Rob and Brad, playing pirates with his new swords and playing with his remote control car. Janelle and I got him Enchanted, since it's his new favorite movie. My nephew Tommy (Thomas Rex, aka "T-Rex") is so stinkin' cute. He's bald as can be and so smiley. He doesn't crawl, he just scoots around on his bum with his legs bent in front of him. It's the funniest thing to watch. I think he looks like an amputee. So cute!

We also got to go to the zoo this week with them, but I forgot my camera, so I'll have to get pics from my mom and post them later.

Dan's bday pics

For Dan's birthday we had our both of our families and some close friends over for a tasty Mexican dinner and cake & icecream. It was a low-key day, but we had a great time! I had emailed a bunch of our friends and family and had them email some things about Dan. I gave people the choice to do any of the following 1. Favorite memory of Dan 2. Three words that describe Dan 3. Favorite Dan saying 4. If Dan were running for President of The United States, what would his platform be and would you vote for him? We got some really great responses. Thanks to everyone who took the time to send something. Dan was a little embarrassed by all the attention when he walked in to find the walls covered with comments about him, but he really appreciated it. I thought I'd just share a few favorites.

My brother-in-law Jared wrote some really funny stuff.

If Dan was elected president of...of what, I am not sure. So here are a few scenarios.

If he ran for president of his neighborhood watch, his platform would stress constant vigilance, "as long as I don't have to get up." Vote: no.

If Dan ran for president of the PTA at Sienna's school his platform would include: "I am going to kill any boy who ever talks to her." Vote: yes

If Dan ran for president of the Highland 16th Ward Elders Quorum he would promise "5 minute lessons and biannual home teaching." Vote: yes. (but I have a bad feeling about this)

If Dan ran for president of the Settlers of Catan Aficionado Club (SCAC), his platform would promise: "You have to agree to any awful trade that I can concoct." Vote: no.

If Dan ran for president of the White Rappers Guild of America (WRGA), his platform would include affirmative action album assistance for ALL young rappers held back by comfortable suburban lifestyles, great schools, concerned parents, and supportive youth leaders. Vote: oh my goodness sakes, heck yes!

If Dan ran for president of the Mountain West Fantasy Sports Association (MWFSA) his platform would be: "Think about all the energy and effort we spend on our sports fantasies. If we just spent a fraction of that time with our wives I bet we would make love a lot more often." Vote: I'm too busy laughing.

If Dan ran for president of the Yo Mama Joke Society (YMJS) his signature joke would be "Yo Mama so lazy she thinks aspiration is butt sweat!" Vote: yes

If Dan ran for Vice-president of the United States, at a debate with Sarah Palin his platform would be: "Seriously...seriously, you're going to vote for her instead of me?" Point: Dan. Vote: yes.

Amber Sim: my favorite memory is for sure game night instructions. I remember sitting at the table thinking are these instructions every going to end..let's play the game already.

Ryan Berman: Three words that describe Dan. Goofy. Light-hearted. Genuine.


Jen Schafer: Motivated, Innovative, Funny

Boyd Plowman: Dan's slogan: "Government first." If you have two cows, give one to the Feds. President Dan will get Barbra Streisand to sing for you. I'm "undecided" about voting for him. Maybe, because Holly would be First Lady. Probably, if Paris Hilton is his running mate.

Steve Arnold: I loved seeing the look on his face when I told him that John Riggins, Joe Theisman, and Joe Gibbs were a bunch of pansies. I don't think that he had ever contemplated that any of these 3 could be anything less than diety.

Brian Schumann: Dan's Presidential platform would be the following:

1. Gay rights
2. Gay rights
3. Gay rights

I would definitely vote for him.

Anyway, there were tons more, but I'll spare you from reading them all! I just shared a few of the ones that I think describe Dan pretty well. Here's a few pics from his birthday. Unfortunately I didn't get any group shots. I did get a couple of Sienna and her cousin Ella. Pretty dang cute! We need to work on getting Sienna to pose and smile for the camera. ;)

Sep 18, 2008

Adorable Skirts from Downeast

How cute are these skirts?! Downeast Outfitters has some adorable stuff right now. These skirts are so cute and they are only $25.00-$27.00 each. You can get them at the Downeast store or online at
I think I need one of each.

Sep 17, 2008

Mango Chicken

Ok, this is the easiest, yummiest crock pot recipe. I promise you'll love it! My sister-in-law makes this delicious, super easy Crockpot Mango Chicken. I also make a similar recipe but instead of the mango salsa, you use regular salsa and a packet of taco seasoning, so it's got more kick. This recipe has alot of flavor, but it's not spicy. Enjoy!

Crockpot Mango Chicken
Frozen Chicken Breasts ( I do anywhere between 2-4)
Can of sweet corn-drained
Can of black beans-drained
Mango salsa (I like Costco)
*Optional--chicken broth

Directions: Place frozen chicken breasts in crock pot. Cover with salsa. Add black beans (and a little chicken broth for more tender chicken). Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken and put back in the crock pot to soak up the juices and add the can of corn for last half hour. You can serve it as tacos, burritos, tostada, over rice, taco salad, etc...

Grandma Tink's 91st Birthday!

Last week we celebrated my Grandma "Tink" Hanson's 91st birthday! My grandma has always been so spunky and full of life. As a child I always loved visiting her in New Mexico. Then when I was in Jr. High/High School they lived in St. George, which was a very convenient place to visit and my friends and I would take full advantage of a place to stay in St. George. We loved it. She is a great cook and was always a wonderful hostess. Now she lives in an assisted living community in Orem and it's so nice to have her close by and to be able to see her so often. From my grandma I inherited my love of shopping, jewelry and Mexican food! She always has great words of wisdom and encouragement for me. Before I had the baby her greatest advice for me was, "Now, during those early morning feedings, don't forget to remind Dan that it's his baby too!" Happy birthday, grandma! Love you! Cousin Kristen and Grandma blowing out their joint bday cake
I love that Rob & Brad gave my grandma a Simpson's DVD. So classic!
Rob put the fuzzy socks we gave her on her head (Doesn't she look like a flapper!? So funny!)
Sienna all tuckered out from partying with the fam
4 generations

Sep 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dan!!!

Happy Birthday, Dan!!!

I woke up this morning and when I walked into the living room, Dan must have heard me coming and quietly started singing "happy birthday to me..." and started moping about not getting breakfast in bed for his birthday. (I was thinking that if he wanted to trade and get up and feed Sienna during the night, I'd make him breakfast in bed every day!) Anyway, I made him some orange juice and let him lick the beaters for the cake I was making him. Doesn't that make up for not making him breakfast in bed? I think so...

Anyway, I wanted to just post some pictures and some of the things I love about Dan. First of all, I love that he puts family first. He is really close to all of his family and he has always been a great brother and the best uncle to all his nieces and nephews. He is a great husband, and now, he's the best dad ever to our little Sienna. I love seeing him with her. She already has her daddy wrapped around that tiny little finger! He is so great with kids and has been a fabulous "surrogate" uncle to lots of our friends kids as well.
I love that Dan is a "gamer," since I love games. He is super competitive, so most of the time my strategy involves simply not letting him win!
He loves the outdoors. I love that he loves Lake Powell as much as I do. He has always made a special effort for us to be able to go on my family vacations to Lake Powell--even if it meant driving 13+ hours for a weekend trip to Lake Powell.
Dan is adventurous and he loves to travel. Since we've been married, we've been able to go on some really fun trips. One of my favorite experiences was backpacking in Europe for a month. I love to travel, so I really appreciate the fact that he does too. I love traveling with him (even though he's a bit more "spontaneous" than I am when it comes to planning!) I think we make a pretty good team!
Gimmelwald, Switzerland

Rome, Italy


Florence, Italy

San Francisco


Dan spoils me. He always says that it's my world and he's just passing through it. He is very sweet and thoughtful. I love that when I'm needing an opinion about which earrings to wear or which shirt looks better , he pretends like he really cares. And he's always great about coming up with thoughtful birthday gifts, tickets to my favorite show or concert and he's great about buying my favorite flowers. He's a trooper!

Dan's a great athlete and avid sports fan. Basically, he's good at most everything he does. Although I don't always love the amount of time that he spends on sports (real and fantasy), I have to admit that I love the passion that he has for them. Uncle Rico
Dan loves to read. I admire the passion he has for learning and education.
Dan is an amazing friend. He is a non judgemental and committed friend. I really respect his ability to love unconditionally. I love that if you're a friend of Dan's you can be assured that he will always have your back.

Now, don't get me wrong. There are times when I ask myself, "Did I really marry this guy?!!" (See below...)

Having said that, usually these moments are fleeting and I find myself extremely grateful to have him in my life. I am so blessed to have a husband who lives the gospel and honors his priesthood, has integrity, is ambitious, works hard, who loves to have fun, has a great sense of humor and is an amazing friend.
I love you, Dan!
Happy birthday!!!