Oct 28, 2010

My Little Pumpkin

Every once in awhile I actually take a picture or two of myself and Dan. This was NOT one of those times. :)  Actually, I did take a couple, I just don't love them. Sienna's way cuter. Sorry, Dan.

Dan and I took Sienna over to Cornbelly's at Thanksgiving Point last week. She had so much fun.  She loved bouncing on the giant pillows, playing dress-up in Princessland, going down the huge slides, sitting around the campfire listening to Halloween stories and of course eating french fries and chocolate cake.  It was such a fun night with our little family. 

Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

I have a ton of vegetables, so I was wanting to make a soup for dinner tonight.  I finally found this recipe that sounded good, and made a few changes to add more veggies to it.  It turned out great! I even used canned chicken, so it was pretty easy. 

Have I mentioned that I LOVE soup weather??

Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
Adapted from http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chicken_spinach_pesto_soup.html

5 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes or 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), cut into quarters (or 1 can)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram (I didn't have any...I used rosemary and basil)
  • 6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup plain or herbed multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato, onion and chicken; cook, turning the chicken and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool. Add spinach, tomatoes and beans to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  3. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Parmesan and basil in a food processor (or use prepared pesto) . Process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water and scraping down the sides as necessary.
  4. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken and pesto into the pot. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with croutons, if desired.

Oct 19, 2010

Lake Powell October 2010

Here's my favorite picture from our Lake Powell trip.   My mom and I were talking about how October is Lake Powell's best kept secret.  Seriously, it is the best time of the year to go.  We had the most amazing weather--not too hot during the day, not too cool at night. It was perfect.  We went with my parents, their friends and our good friend's, the VanDyke's.  I have a million pictures to edit, so when I get a chance to edit them, I'll post some favorites.  For now, this one picture of my little cutie will have to do. Ok, fine, here's one more.

P.S. Sien started saying her last name and today kept saying "I'm Sienna Dixon".  It is THE cutest thing.

Oct 18, 2010

Happy Birfday Aunt Nally!

Happy Birthday, to my favorite (and only!) sister Janelle.  She turned 27 on Oct 7th, 2010.  We decided to take advantage of the great fall weather and head up the canyon with the fam for some dutch oven birthday fun.  We had yummy dutch-oven enchiladas, corn bread and chocolate cherry cake. Everything was soooo good. Why is it that anything you dutch oven or cook over the fire tastes so great?!  It was great weather and we had a fun time with the fam.  Sienna is so spoiled to have an aunt and 2 uncles who aren't married (and don't have kids of their own) so she just gets super spoiled and lots of TLC.
Janelle is 5 1/2 years younger than me, so when we were younger, she was the annoying little sister who followed me around and wanted to wear my clothes.  Let's just say I wasn't always the kindest older sister.  I love that now that we're older, we are super close.  She's not only a great sister, but a great friend and the best aunt in the world.  There's no one quite like Janelle--she's beautiful, driven and ambitious, spiritual, a little (lot) high-maintenance and has a whole lot of sass.  She keeps things lively in the Hanson household.  We love you, Nelly!

Oct 14, 2010

Betty Crocker....

Or is it Martha Stewart? I forget. Basically, I'm super domestic.  So, I did a little canning last night. I've only done it once, we did salsa with some friends last year(I think?).  (So I'm totally kidding when I say I'm super domestic, I'm a complete amateur).  It was a ton of work, but there were lots of helping hands and the salsa was great.  Somehow I forgot the work involved and slaved away (by myself...Dan chopped 1/2 an onion) all night long and ended up with 6 little pints of salsa and 4 little containers of strawberry-peach jam.  I'm just trying to remind myself that it's 4 jars of salsa that I don't have to buy! (Since most of the ingredients were free from family members). It better taste good! :)  I think it's a keeper, if so I'll post the recipe so I don't forget it!  It's definitely got lots of kick!

Oct 11, 2010


It's been fun to take the kids up American Fork Canyon to play.  Of course the kids are always drawn to the dirt hills, which is why they all look like homeless little rugrats.

I saw this print today on etsy and I love it.  This is a little phrase Sienna and I say to each other everyday.  Wouldn't this be cute framed in her room?!

Oct 10, 2010

Colorado River Trip

 In September we met up with a bunch of friends from Southern California for a little canoeing trip on the Colorado River.  We met up at the Hoover dam, stayed at the Hacienda Hotel (nothin' but classy) and went on a 2-day canoeing trip.  It was so much fun.  A few highlights--camping, cliff jumping, canoeing, hiking, campfires, "floating" the river, amazing food (Thank you, Jensen's!)...and our favorite part was just catching up with old friends.  It was a quick trip, but we had a blast!              P.S. Thanks to everyone who watched Sienna so we could go on this trip! (Kate, Mom, Nelly....).
 Me and Steph Jensen. LOVE (and miss!) this girl!
 On the River...
 Me and Dan hiking

A bunch of people from the group had waterproof cameras and took tons more pictures, so I need to steal some of the group shots! 

Oct 8, 2010

A Few More Family Pics....

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My good friend Emily VanDyke took our Hanson family photos this year.  She did a few of our little family, Sienna was totally melting down, so we didn't spend too much time on our family pictures.  This was taken up near my parents home in Woodland Hills.  The lighting was perfect....now if only I had lost those 20 lbs before the pictures!!!  Someday......

Oct 7, 2010

Eight weeks to a better you...

So in case you're wondering why I've been so much better at blogging for the past 1 1/2 weeks, it's because of a kind of wellness challenge I'm doing.  It's an 8 week challenge. All the participants paid $15 to the pot and the winner gets 75%.  The other 25% is a random drawing.  So, even if you don't have the most points, you have a chance of winning something.  Anyway, there ended up being somethings crazy like 117 people doing it. So, the pot is big, though I'm sure there will be some ties, which means the money will be split.  They also do weekly drawings for other little prizes. My friend Jeannie emailed me about the challenge.  I LOVED the idea. I love that it's not about weight loss, it's about developing healthy habits, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  I really needed motivation, on so many different levels.  And this seems to be exactly what I have needed.  I just cut/pasted below the blurb they had posted on the blog which describes the challenge. It's definitely a little intense, but I like that you have some flexibility to define things best for you, like the no junk-food and no sugar. I'm sure there are people who are interpreting that as nothing processed, while others feel like sugar-free jello is their saving grace.   It hasn't been as hard as I thought, and I love that it just makes me prioritize my time better, and think twice before I do something or eat something.  I've never thought about reading my scriptures while on the bike at the gym, but it's been a good time for me to get some scripture reading in.  I think the hardest things are not eating after 8 p.m. since we often eat late dinners since Dan works late, and the getting 7 hours of sleep.  As far as the nutrition piece, I'm doing surprisingly well.  I've always eaten fairly healthy, and don't drink soda, but I've never had a ton of will power when it comes to sweets, so it feels so good to be at work and not eat any of the donuts someone passes around.  I'm just so much more aware of what I'm eating, and making my calories count.   I've realized it just takes planning ahead and having healthy, nutritious food and snacks on hand.  I've been working out consistently and reading my scriptures more diligently than I have in so long, which just feels great.  It ends right before Thanksgiving, so I think we'll take a little break over the holidays (because that would just be cruel to do something like this over Christmas) and then start up something similar in January (on a much smaller level...).  I figure if I win a few bucks, great, but there are plenty of rewards you get along the way--spiritually and physically--to make it well worth my $15 investment!


As a participant, you will have the opportunity to earn points every day by following a list of requirements.  At the end of every week, you will total your points then record them to the "8 Weeks to a Better You Points Bracket".  All the participants will receive access to this online spreadsheet, and we trust will be truthful when recording their points.  On you honor people!

Here's how you earn points...

Physically Better Yourself

1. Exercise at least 45 minutes a day!

2. Get AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep a night (if you are short a little just squeeze a nap in to make up for it).

3. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day

4. No Sugar-there are different ways to do this.  We prefer eliminating sugars and white flours (which turn into sugars) to get the most bang for your buck.  But if you would like to just do without sugars then you can make that call. 

5. No Soda or Junk Food Yes that means no Diet Coke ladies or fast food! Ya we know that will not be an easy point to earn...but you will love yourself and how you feel if you do it.

6. Eat at least 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables

7. No eating after 8 p.m.

Emotionally/Spiritually Better Yourself

8. Write in your journal EVERY DAY.

9. Complete at least 15 minutes of uplifting reading or scripture study.

10. Complete an act of service or random act of kindness.  Whether it be a small one or a big one, do something kind for someone else that is out of your normal routine.

You receive 1 point per item per day, so that's 10 points a day you can earn.  There will also be 1 bonus challenge every week worth extra points.  It could be anything from cleaning out your fridge to donating your time or money to a charity or worthy cause.

Now we know this is not easy so to help out you get a FREE DAY where you get the full 10 points whether or not you complete all the requirements!  You can choose which day of each week is your free day each week, but you cannot choose different days for different points.  The only exception to this rule is exercise.  Your free day from exercise can be different if you choose.  For example - you may choose Saturday as your free day but choose to workout that day and take Sunday off from exercise.

Oct 5, 2010

Like this quote....

We got a puppy!

She is adorable, a little, yappy, hyper thing.  Her name is Sienna.  Seriously, this child is obsessed with puppies right now.  She crawls around all day, barking and panting, begging for food, wanting me to pet her.  When she is with friends they take long necklaces and put them around each others necks as a leash.  I love this stage.  One minute she is a princess, a puppy the next.  Definitely a phase I don't want to forget. :)

Oct 2, 2010

General Conference

I love this time of year for many reasons--I love all things pumpkin, the weather, eating soup, wearing sweaters, the list could go on and on.  Being LDS, I also really love having General Conference, which is a time where I just feel spiritually rejuvinated.  I know I've mentioned this before, but my mission mom (Sister Bonnie Parkin) always gave us an "equation" for General Conference.  1.  Listen with an open, prayerful heart 2.  Search for your personal message  3.  Apply it in your life, an watch Miracles happen!  I love it and have followed this formula many times and know that it works. Give is a try.

Oct 1, 2010

Baby Heaven....

We were lucky enough to be able to have a visit from Dan's sister Debi, her husband Jared and their adorable 7-month old twins.  Could they get any cuter!? Seriously!!!  Debi is a rock star, she gave birth to these little chunkers--Bethany was almost 9 lbs and Isaac was 8.6 lbs...I think? Give or take a few ounces... Insane. Deb and Jared waited a long time for these kiddos, so we are just so thrilled that they have such cute, happy, healthy babies.  It was super fun to have them here and get to know them.  Sienna really was in baby heaven.  She has such a crush on Isaac.  She likes Bethany, but she LOVES Isaac. She could not get enough of him, and she still talks about him every couple of days. LOVE these babies. Deb and Jared are ok, too, I guess....Funny, how before kids, I actually had a few pictures of my friends and family, and I was actually in a few pictures....

Then we got to spend time with my brother Jeff, his wife Carolyn and their cute little kids.  I (finally!) got to meet my new niece Kate. I think she is the smiliest baby I've ever seen.  What kid smile like this for every picture!?  Oh, Kate does.  Isn't she beautiful!??  Sienna just couldn't get enough of Baby Cakes.