Friday, August 28, 2015

Reading List

Here is my latest reading list.

The Cousins War series by Philippa Gregory
This historical fiction series is set in England's War of the Roses, which I didn't know much about before picking up these books and am intrigued by now. Each book is narrated by a different player in the War of the Roses. They are full of mystery, romance, murder, war, scandal.

I just finished the 4th book in the series and can't wait to read more!  Seriously, go read them now.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

I know most people loved this book, I am not one of those people. I thought the writing was lacking and don't believe the comparisons to Gone Girl.  At best this book is average. 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.
A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.

I enjoyed reading Big Little Lies. I always like how Moriarty develops her characters. I have read most of her other books and this is one of my favorites. 

What have you been reading?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Top 5 Reasons I Love Dream Dinners

Ready to hear the top 5 reasons I love Utah Dream Dinners?

1. I don't have to think about dinner.
With Dream Dinners I just pull one of the previously prepped dinners out of my fridge and cook it. The cooking time is usually very short and very simple. I don't even have to think about dinner!

2. My family isn't spending money on fast food.
Because dinner is so easy with Dream Dinner we aren't running to the closest fast food restaurant every other day any more. Yes, there have been times that we get take out that often. That adds up fast!

3. We are trying new things to eat.
My kids are quite picky and really so are Travis and I but we are trying new recipes that we normally wouldn't have taken the time to try. And guess what? We are all liking the new meals we try!

4. My grocery shopping has cut back a lot.
With only having to shop for breakfast, lunch and snacks grocery shopping has become a breeze.

5. My kids enjoy cooking and so do I!
Before Dream Dinners I was getting sick of cooking. Trying to decide what to cook, shopping for the ingredients and then actually cooking was no fun! But the simple cooking has been fun with my kids helping, even Sadie and Sammy.

Have you tried Dream Dinners yet? If not I really suggest you do! It has made a big difference for my family and gives us more time together and less stress!

Don't forget you can try Utah Dream Dinners Introductory offer for only $25 and learn how to take away dinner time stress.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Grade

I can't believe my Brody is old enough for first grade! I wasn't sad when he went to preschool or kindergarten but first grade is a big deal. He leaves me all day long! It is exciting to watch him grow and learn but I am not gonna lie, it is a little bitter sweet.

Walking in to school this morning he grabbed my hand to hold it. Probably out of habit because after a few seconds he didn't want to hold my hand anymore. I guess I am starting to embarrass him already. Ha!

Brody is most excited for three recesses and of course seeing all of his friends. Oh and taking a lunch to school.

He wanted to make sure to include Sadie and Sammy in his first day of school pictures. Such a good big brother! Just overlook their messy hair and Brody's part that is way too far over ok?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Homemade Butter Mints, The Old Fashioned Way

A few weeks ago at my cabin I came across a family recipe for homemade butter mints and decided to try making them. They were fairly easy to make and tasted amazing so I figured I would share them here. I didn't really take pictures of the process because it was my first time making them and I wasn't thinking about blogging at all.

3 cups sugar
 1/2 cup butter
1 cup hot water
2 tsp white corn syrup

1)Place ingredients in a large pan on high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
2)Cover pan with lid and boil for 3 minutes.
3)Remove the lid and cook with out stirring until mixture reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit or until syrup threads.
4)Poor mixture on to buttered marble slab or tray. Cool slightly.
5)Add 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract.
This could possibly be done while it is cooking but I didn't try that. I just stuck to the recipe.
6)Pull until color is dull and holds it shape.  Add desired amount of food coloring while candy is being pulled.
7)Stretch into 1/2 inch rope and cut into 1/2 inch. I rolled mine into small balls and pressed down with the back side of a fork.
8) Cool completely and store in a air tight container overnight to ripen before eating.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Did I Tell You We Moved?

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that we moved. We bought a house in early March and have been slowly remodeling it ourselves. Talk about a lot of work!
We finally moved in at the beginning of June but still have a lot of work to do.

This picture was taken before we moved in. I have lots of plans for the exterior but that will have to wait.

Brody has even enjoyed helping us with some of the renovations.

Before moving in we removed more wall paper than I even want to think about, painted pretty much everything in the upstairs, opened up some walls, built closet organizers, built a wall, gutted a bathroom, ripped up old flooring, sanded and stained old hardwood, new trim and baseboards, a bunch of electrical work, ripped out cupboard, patched lots of holes and so on.

I will show some before and after pictures soon, but I want to finish decorating first.

The kids transitioned to the new house really fast. Sammy and Sadie loved finding fun places to eat before we had our kitchen table set up.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Caramel Dessert Recipes

Caramel is one of my favorite things, it is just so delicious that I had to share some yummy caramel dessert recipes from around the web. Check them out below. The Salted Caramel Butter Bars I have made a few times and let me tell you, they are addicting!

Salt Caramel Butter Bars by Is This Really My Life

Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Squares by Butter with a Side of Bread

Salted Caramel Bundt Cake by Tracey's Culinary Adventures

Caramel Cream Pie by Sugary Sweets

Salted Caramel Shortbread by Erica's Sweet Tooth 

Real Deal Southern Caramel Cake by Grandbaby Cakes

 Salted Caramel Pudding by Portuguese Girl Cooks

What are your favorite ways to eat caramel?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Independence Day

We celebrated our Independence Day with a parade and our family slip n slide party. What did you do?