Sep 29, 2014

I Am Brave And Beautiful

I am Brave and Beautiful - a beauty movement that is sweeping the globe. Colbie Caillat started it with her recent song and video called TRY. My blogging friend Megan of Brassy Apple wanted to push this movement along and invited women from all over to share what they looked like without make up and I joined in!! Colbie's song says, "Take your make up off. Let your hair down... Look into the mirror at yourself, Do you like you? Cause I like you... "
Megan and her friend Cobi of Peacefrom6pieces have been the team behind this whole project. Their worldwide vision included creating their own video inspired by the song TRY. The talent of Robbins Creative made it possible for them to pull it off. You have to click play and see the beauty and bravery displayed and you might even recognize a few faces in there.
Me along with 101+ other blogging women from different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, ages, shapes and sizes have decided to be Brave and Beautiful! You can join in this movement too by sharing what you look like without makeup on. You don't need a blog either! Just tag your photo with #IamBraveAndBeautiful on Instagram and search the hashtag to see who else has joined in. ALSO, if you tag it with a second hashtag - #ColbieTRY we just might be able to get Colbie Caillat's attention since she was the inspiration behind it all!
Are you brave and beautiful? I am, here I go!

Sep 22, 2014

Girl's Red and Turquoise Cake Decorating Birthday Party

I love planning parties, but THIS one is my favorite so far!

My daughter Madison just turned 12
and since she's sort of obsessed with baking ANYWAY
what better way to incorporate her love of baking than to include her friends in a 
CAKE DECORATING THEMED BIRTHDAY PARTY?


In my head it started out as a cute idea on a small scale,
but in my true Cindy fashion, it escalated into so much more.
That always happens.
Usually it's ok.
Usually.
This time it was ok.
Even my husband thought it was cool, 
and he doesn't think very many things are cool.

Besides baking, we tied in a few other fun things too, 
like hipster mustaches, big lips, and bow ties,
polka dots (WHO DOESN'T LOVE POLKA DOTS?),
ruffled aprons,
and cupcake liners as decor!

Dollar Tree and Party City are so great for finding affordable place settings and decor.  
Everything you see is from either of those places, 
except the cupcake liners, which are from Michaels.
I made the gift bag name tags out of several layers of cupcake liners.  
Scrunch each layer a little smaller so that all the colors show, 
then staple them in the center to hold it all together.  
Hot glue a name sticker to the top to hide your staples.  
These are SUPER fun and easy to make!

More fun with cupcake liners!  
I made a big long banner of different sizes, 
plus I added coffee filters and small paper lace doilies.  
A lot of decor bang for your buck, super cute, super easy, and adorable!  
Great way to add some color to the party!

Here's a full view of the cupcake banner which is draped across the mirror.

The big surprises we had in store were personalized ruffled aprons and 
a freshly baked double layer cake boxed up for each girl.  
The cakes were plain and unfrosted, 
but the party is all about cake decorating, right?!

I almost can't even stand how cute these aprons are!
Maddie's has 3 ruffles and everyone elses has 2.
The cheapest place I've found to get plain white aprons is Sam's Club.
After collecting the most colorful random fabrics I could find, 
all 12 aprons were ruffled and names embroidered by my good friend Connie G.
Seriously, after sewing all of these, I owe her BIG TIME!!!  
She volunteered to make them as a favor, 
but I'm pretty sure halfway in she regretted it.  haha
THANK YOU, CONNIE!!!  I ADORE YOU!!!

Remember this hutch from Sweet Salvage? 
It made a great buffet for dinner!
Here's my first attempt at a chalkboard.
I didn't have time to fix it.  lol

Maddie whipped up these fabulous hipster lips, bow tie, and mustache cookies 
To get colors this bright and deep, 
you have to use edible gel dyes in the cake decorating section.  

Every girl who was invited showed up.  
Out of 12 girls, that's amazing! 
 I think Maddie must've been leaking top secret party details.  ;)
Speaking of 12, all of these girls are around 12 years old, 
so I wasn't sure how much they'd love the whole frilly apron thing.  
Me personally, the older I get, the more I love frilly.  
Turns out the girls LOVED their aprons!
My friend Suzi who was there to help out 
was also playing spy.
She told me later that the girls all seemed blown away 
that someone would make a personalized apron for each of them.
(again, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Connie!!!)

The next big surprise was these three gorgeous ladies!
I now love them.  
They were the rockstars of this gig!
One is actually a friend of mine, April, 
plus her two super talented sisters Airan and Amy.
They own and operate  SUNNY SKIES BAKERY out in Buckeye.  
Check 'em out!  
I'm tellin' ya, these girls know their stuff!!!!!!!
Plus they are affordable and fun!!
They were so excited to do Maddie's party
and I was so excited to have them and all their skills!

These chicas even color matched their delicious fondant to the party!
Plus, I never knew fondant was delicious.
Every fondant I've ever tasted before was kinda gross.
Not the Sunny Skies Sister's fondant!
They make stuff taste good.

They set up each girl with her own station of frosting, 
fondant, 2 cakes, rolling pins, plus all kinds of other goodies and tools. 
Then they gave the girls step-by-step instructions on how to proceed 
to cover the cakes in buttercream and decorate with fondant. 

I'm STILL wrapping my head around the fact 
that I had three professional bakers in my kitchen, 
plus 12 tweens, my great friend Suzi (for moral support), 
24 cakes, several lbs. of fondant and powdered sugar, 
WITH NO STRESS OR DRAMA!

There was a lot going on in there!
I've never been so thankful for so much counter space!

Buttercream.  Always yes.

Maddie heaven.
And Suzi.
(She's a rockstar too!!!  Such an amazing and helpful friend!!!)

April working on her cake to show the girls some tips and tricks.



Everyone having fun.
What was really surprising is that these girls never got bored, 
even though this went on for quite a while.
I'm here to tell you that twelve is a great age for this kind of party!

I loved all of Maddie's friends!
They were sweet and well-behaved.
That's a big part as to why this was my favorite party ever.
Usually kids are crazy!  lol


 I was blown away with how beautifully the girls decorated their cakes!
These were totally their own creations. 


 Sunny Skies Bakery's cake.  I'm so in love with those flowers!

There's not enough praise in the world to tell these ladies how much I appreciate their extreme hard work, sharing their talents, and making it affordable!!
PLUS they even cleaned up all the mess afterwards!
Are you kidding me?!
I am a loyal friend and customer to these gals forevermore!



So many people helped with making this one little girl's birthday something extra special.

It was worth it!

I love you forever, Madison!



This post is linkup up here.
















Aug 16, 2014

50 Interesting Things In My 50 Years

HOLY HANNAH!
I'M TURNING THE BIG FIVE-OH TODAY!

I'm not sure how I feel about turning 50.
I hate that I'm 50 years old now,
but making a list of cool things I've gotten to do over the past 50 years 
definitely makes it a little easier, 
not to mention that I'm on my grandest adventure yet 
at this very moment (I'm about to see some pretty amazing stuff!).
I've been extremely lucky to have a little adventure over the years, 
along with the triumphs, heartache, surprises, day-to-day routines, 
and best of all, great love.

Someone whom I highly esteem once told me that my life was so interesting 
that I should write a book and it would be a best seller.  
At the time I was only 20 years old.  
Add 30 more years of adventure 
(and crazy) 
on top of that, and it's been quite a ride.

My husband calls Fifty the new 'f' word.  haha.  Now I will too.

I've been working on this list for weeks.
I'm sure there will be things I'll think of later that I'll wish I had added, 
but as of today, here are the most interesting things I can think of that I've done/seen/accomplished over the past 50 years.

50 Interesting {to me} Things I've Seen/Done
In The Last 50 Years
(not in order of most interesting)

Awww
1.  Gave birth to five beautiful kids.

2.  Met my husband online.  I call him my mail-order husband.  He has five beautiful kids too.



     Adventurous
     4.  Zip lined on the Big Island, HA and in Ensenada, MX
     5.  Been on an Alaskan cruise (as of yesterday)
     6.  Flown closely over an active volcano
     7.  Helicoptered over Molokai and Maui, HA, saw the steepest coastal cliffs in the world.
     8.  Snorkeled many times in Hawaii
     9.  Kayaked to Captain Cook’s Monument
    10.  Climbed to the top of Mt Timpanogas (signed the book)
    11.  Scuba dived in the drifts in Cozumel
    12.  Snorkeled with sea lions in Mexico
    13.  Seen the Napali Coast in Kauai
    14.  Water skied Lake Powell
    15.  Snow skied CO and UT
    16.  Rappelled down a few cliffs
    17.  Drove coast to coast in a borrowed VW bug
    18.  Rode on an elephant
    19.  Boated with dolphins
    20.  Floated the Salt River (several times)
    21.  Eaten alligator


Other Travel 
    22.  Times Square in NYC
    23.  Disneyworld
    24.  Niagra Falls
    25.  Toured many church history sites in the east, including Nauvoo, The Sacred Grove, the Whitney store, Hill Cumorah, etc.

Cool
    26.  Modeled swimsuits on the strip in Las Vegas 



    27.  Was the ring girl for boxing matches in Las Vegas (my sister saw me on ESPN 2,500 miles away)
    28.  One night I had my own personal body guard
    29.  Won Miss Congeniality in a beauty contest
    30.  Attended an International Winter Olympics event

Really??
    31.  Met Gordon B. Hinckley in a private meeting with my family
    32.  Kissed David Hasselhoff
    33.  Met Alec Baldwin (he even gave my baby a banana)
    34.  Michael Ballam sang Happy Birthday to me on my 40th birthday
    35.  Was life-flighted on my honeymoon from Mazatlan to SLC in a private Lear jet.
    36.  Been proposed to at least 7 times
    37.  Pretended to be blind for a whole day.  In public.
    38.  Almost caught the whole neighborhood on fire (don’t play with matches!)

Random
    39.  Been to MX about 50 times. 
    40.  Been to NASCAR in a cpl diff cities
    41.  Stung by a scorpion
    42.  Got comp’d great seats to Donna Summer in Las Vegas.
    43.  Comp’d the biggest hotel suite you've ever seen that had 2-story electric curtains opening up to the Vegas strip.
    44.  Been married 3 times, twice to the same man.
    45.  Lived in foster homes in high school (it was a really good thing, my parents were wayward, not me)
    46.  Sat front and center at Cirque du Soleil
    47.  Seen horse races at Del Mar
    48.  Been top salesperson for every sales job I've ever had.
    49.  I win a lot of great door prizes. Maybe I should be buying lottery tickets?? I've NEVER bought one....YET! (since writing that, a friend gave me a lottery ticket.  I didn’t win.  haha)
    50.  Horseback riding on the beach


                                                   
I guess I should also mention that I'm the youngest of seven children.
NEVER have I seen all six of my siblings at the same time, and never will
(a couple of them have already passed away).



A few of my kids have already reviewed this list
and believe me, THEY HAD QUESTIONS!
I had some 'splainin to do.



     I've come up with a Bucket List too.  
Wanted to put 50 things on it, but honestly, 
it's hard to come up with 50.  Wow.  
That's surprising.  I'll keep working on it.  :)




HAPPY ADVENTURES TO YOU!!!!
AND HAPPY FIFTY YEARS TO ME!!!!
       








Aug 11, 2014

Sea Side Reservations, Fish Tacos and Friends

It's that time of year again, when my two Utah BFF's, Janeal and Shelly come to town
 and we head down to Rocky Point for a few days.  

We have become creatures of routine.
First stop is always Combo Taco.
Just the thought of those tacos makes my husband drive faster to get there.
You seriously have not enjoyed Rocky Point to the fullest until you've eaten here.
(day 1 of tacos)

Jul 22, 2014

NOW SHOWING at Sweet Salvage

This month's theme was NOW SHOWING!
The movie vignettes were incredible!


a castle and a poison apple can only mean one thing...


SNOW WHITE


Master Packing List - never forget anything again!

We used to reinvent the wheel 
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we went on a trip. 
I'd fret and fret over trying to remember to pack everything, 
then we would almost always forgot something anyway!  
Argh!

I started saving all my little scraps and notes with lists 
and eventually we built one MASTER LIST 
that makes packing awesomely smooth. 
We never forget anything anymore!  
Friends, this list is based on years and years of packing experience. 

I have separate categories on my list, 
because various adventures call for different types of packing. 



AND TO MAKE IT EVEN EASIER...

Jul 14, 2014

Banana Pineapple Nut Bread

Cuz let's face it, sometimes you just don't have enough rotten bananas!


Super Yum!

Banana Pineapple Nut Bread
makes 2 large loaves

Ingredients:
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 whole can pineapple chunks, blended until smooth & frothy
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
6 Tbs oil
1+ tsp vanilla (cuz I like a lot)
6 eggs
5 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1+ cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional, but I like a lot of these too!)

Summer Lovin at Sweet Salvage!


I don't love Arizona summers, but I ALWAYS love Arizona's Sweet Salvage!
June was just as fun and adventurous as ever!

It's almost time for July's show, but I really wanted to share June's pickins with you first.
So many of the displays were Americana, and they are still so fun to see.
(I LOVE AMERICA!!!}

This cabinet really got my mind rolling. 
We have a similar cabinet, only it has a gazillion drawers!  
Wouldn't that be so pretty?!

May 10, 2014

Party In A Jar - A Fun Project Book For Everyone!

We've had a blast celebrating the release of my friend Vanessa's new book......


I have two words:

MASON

JARS

I adooooore me some jars!!!

It's all in the packaging, baby, 
and this book is full of fun projects 
IN the jars and 
special packaging on the OUTSIDE of jars!



Feb 22, 2014

Let's Talk About Food Storage

My smart and savvy friend, Ann, asked me if I'd help her do a presentation on food storage.
I just so happen to know a thing or two about food storage, and it's always good to learn more.
In the process of updating our knowledge, Ann suggested I share our info here.

"We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being." 
Julie B. Beck

Where to start??

There's SO much info out there, I'll just give you a summary of the best links we've found, and you can go right to the source and get just the info you want!



I love this no-nonsense video that gets right to the point of why and how to have food storage, and where you can hide it in your house!
QUICK FOOD STORAGE VIDEO

BRILLIANT way to hide and rotate your cans!
YouTube Video...hide your food storage

Feb 21, 2014

12 Unusual Whole Wheat Recipes From The Vault

I have been collecting wheat recipes for a gazillion years!  I used to make these recipes on a regular basis and rotated my wheat storage like a boss!  I've gotten lazy and don't rotate my food storage like I used to.  I'm reviving these recipes from the vault in an effort to eat more healthy, rotate my food storage, and to save money!

Normally you would just buy a bag of wheat flour in the grocery store and maybe bake with it or make pancakes.  These recipes have nothing to do with store-bought flour.  Here I'm talkin' you own a wheat grinder and at least a 50 lb bag of wheat!  This is for the hardcore food storage girls!  ;)

Wheat in it's different forms:

Wheat flour
 Wheat Flour

Whole kernels
 Whole Wheat Kernels

Cracked kernels
 Cracked Wheat Kernels

To 'crack' a kernel you will need to process a whole kernel through your wheat grinder.  Not all wheat grinders can do this (check your settings).  All you want to do is barely scrape the edge of the kernel enough to break open the hard outer shell, thus allowing more water inside of the kernel when you cook it.  Hey, just found this video for you on how you can crack your kernels in a regular food processor.

To soften the whole wheat kernels or the cracked kernels, put in medium saucepan and cover 1" above with water.  Cook over medium heat for at least 20 minutes, making sure there is always plenty of water.  After the kernels are soft, rinse off in a strainer.  These softened kernels can be used in different ways.


CRACKED WHEAT SEAFOOD SALAD
(I made this one as a sample at a food storage presentation and it was a huge hit!)
 1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup catsup
1 diced tomato
2 cups cooked cracked wheat
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 can drained tuna
Mix.  Serve on tomatoes or with chips.  Also good as a side dish salad.

Jan 31, 2014

Hot Link and Chicken Gumbo

This has been one of our very favorite recipes for M.A.N.Y.  Y.E.A.R.S!

It's a hearty soup that will warm and fill your tummy!

It has been so warm and beautiful here in Arizona, it hasn't really felt like soup weather,
buuuuuuut, I'm always greeted with such big grins from my family when they see that this is what's cookin!



It's super flavorful plus a quick and easy dinner.


Prep Time:  10 minutes

RECIPE:
4 cups water
4 bouillon cubes
1/2 lb hot links or Polish sausage, cooked and sliced (the hot links from Costco are fantastic!)
1 1/2 cups cooked white rice (save time by throwing in a cup of uncooked rice and extra water, if needed)
1 bottle Classico spaghetti sauce (Costco)
2 cups cooked diced chicken (or 1 can cooked chicken from Costco to save even more time)
1 can drained corn
1 green bell pepper, diced

I just throw it all in together and let simmer for 10 minutes.  All the flavor comes from the hot links and it's got just a little bit of a kick to it (not too much though).  Seriously, you will LOVE this soup!

FYI:  I always double it!  It's great leftover too!!!








Jan 30, 2014

Blue and Gold Banquet Centerpiece - Tri-fold Photo Frame

It's that time of year again for planning Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquets!

Here's another fun centerpiece idea that we did a while back.  
I love the simplicity of it and how it's 
ALL ABOUT THE CUB SCOUT!  

We did one for each table and the boys got to take theirs home after the banquet!
(we lucked out on the number of our scouts vs the number of dining tables we needed)



They are 9" high and each of the three sides is 5 1/2" wide.
That translates to each piece of blue cardstock should be cut to 9" x 16 3/4".
You'll need that extra 1/4" to create a gluing strip.
I hope that makes sense.
3 sides, 5 1/2" each adds up to 16 1/2", plus that extra 1/4".


I used my Creative Memories circle cutter to cut out the ovals just smaller than the 4" x 6" photos.

I also used a gold stretchy string to tie around each 'corner' to shine it up a bit.
Any gold/yellow ribbon or string would add a nice touch.
I also added a lolly on each of the three sides
and centered it with a gold fleur-de-lis that I cut out with a Martha Stewart punch.

Here's looking down inside from the top.
You can see where we just scotch taped the pictures on the inside of the frame.


It just so happened that we had 3 photos already for each boy 
that we'd taken at activities throughout the year.
If you don't have three photos for each boy already, 
then I'm sure their parents would be happy to email you a few to use.


Here's an angled view.


Cub Scouts are the cutest!!!

Now that the banquet is over and done with,
I store this keepsake with some of my other favorite treasures in my craft room.


Click HERE if you'd like another one of my ideas for a Blue and Gold centerpiece.






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