Copyright © 2008 Happy Clean Living

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Our Miracle Baby Jordan

My niece Tracy and her husband Brian have been trying to have a baby for many, many years. Tracy hasn't been able to carry a baby to full term resulting in many miscarriages and heartache. They tried everything with many doctor visits over the years.

You can see the cute family below. The two boys are Christian and Conner from Brian's first marriage. Luckily Tracy has been a terrific Mom to these wonderful boys, but always wanted a baby too.

Tracy is such a beautiful woman -- look at how good she looks right after having a baby.
 On February 19, 2010 - A miracle baby boy weighing in at 6 pounds 13 ounces and 21inches long, named Jordan Kelly was born to their sweet eternal family.

Here is Jordan ... wide awake .... just after birth. Look at his hair - Yeah!
Aaaaahhh soooo precious. I love the blue blanket!! He is beautiful! I can't wait to visit and be able to hold him.

We are so happy for Tracy and Brian to have this sweet little spirit join their family. Thanks for sending a happy Aunt Sondra pictures of your bundle of joy. We love you!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Brady's School Days

I'm behind in my blogging since I took some time off from it. But in trying to catch up this post is from a couple of weeks ago... Valentines Day!

First I should confess that I was blah during Valentines Day... I didn't do anything. I know - that is so unlike me. I didn't make pink heart shaped pancakes, heart sugar cookies, no valentine cards for my boys, no boxes of chocolates. I can't believe I have been so bad this year.. I've never been this bad. I must have been in some kind of winter blah depression or something. But truly that is NO excuse for not showing love to my family during the love holiday. I feel like I have snapped out of it - but am sad I blew it!

Anyway... let's move on....

For Brady's Valentine's Day seminary devotional I made orange rolls for the treat. Kimmie from Pink Cookies with Sprinkles shared her recipes for cinnamon rolls and orange rolls. I thought it would be lots of fun to make the orange rolls for the class.
Last year I tried to make cinnamon rolls and it was a disaster. This year they were lots better. However, I have learned that I need to make 2 batches for 24 cinnamon rolls. This year I only did one batch and cut them really small. They were yummy but small. Step by step and I will get it right (maybe by his senior year).

However I did love making her recipe... I love her recipes.
I also made the book markers for the class. That is all we did this year. You can find the original post here from last year.

Now I wouldn't be a proud mama if I didn't post Brady's awesome report card.. Woo Hoo 4.0...
He is truly a smart cookie. So far during his high school years he has only had 1 "B" from a terrible teacher.. He is working hard everyday to be able to earn a college scholarship.
Way to go Brady!! I am very proud of you!

I WON A Give Away!! Woo Hoo!!

Yup, that is RIGHT!!! I WON!! I WON!! I WON!  Yippie!! I won a give away from Valerie's Attempt at Pondering. Woo HOO!
This is a terrible picture - oh well.... In her give away I won:

Valentine socks.

Kitchen utensils.

Cook book to use Rhodes Dough..
(But I think I can use homemade dough in lots of different ways.. Great ideas!!)

A cook book that Valerie put together.
(Very professional too - and I've found several recipes I would love to try)

And some goodies!!
Buckeyes and Chocolate Billionaires.
They were both soooooo yummy that they didn't stick around too long *snicker.

Thanks Valerie for everything. It is always fun to receive fun stuff in the mail. Plus, I really enjoy visiting her blog. She inspires me daily and is an AWESOME woman.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recipe: Twinkie Cake

I saw this recipe on "Want What You Have" blog awhile ago and wanted to try it. Here is the link to her Twinkie Cake.

Twinkie Cake:
1 Yellow Cake Mix
(1) 3-ounce package instant vanilla pudding
1 cup water
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 eggs

For filling:
1 cup water
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
Above ingredients are for the cake. I didn't have a 3 ounce pudding box in my food storage, but I had 1 ounce boxes - so I just used 3 of them. I didn't use the bottled water (for show only) I used tap water.
With electric mixer, mix cake mix, water, oil, and eggs at low speed for 30 seconds. Add dry instant pudding, and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Pour in to greased and floured 13x9 cake pan. Bake 30 - 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Make filling when the cake goes into the oven, so the filling has time to cool.
Ingredients for filling.

Bring water and flour to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Cook and stir until thick and smooth.

Beat butter and shortening.

Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Stir in flour mixture and vanilla.
Beat again until thoroughly combined.

When cake is finished baking, let cool completely on wire rack.
Slice through the center lengthwise, to make (2) 13x9 halves. (I really need to practise doing this and getting it straight *ha ha).
Put bottom half of cake back into pan, and spread with filling. Top with the other half of the cake.

Sprinkle lightly with powered sugar.
This cake is especially good chilled. YUM! (I just kept it in the fridge).

I really enjoyed eating this Twinkie Cake and will make it again. I think next time I may make cup cakes or 2 square pans and freeze one side or half of the cup cakes. I hardly ever make a whole cake - it is tooo much for our little family of 2.

Recipe: Taco Salad

This is a favorite recipe from when I was a little girl. It's a great way to eat chili. It's simple and delicious.

My mom used to make this in a cake pan for our whole family. Since there are only two in this family, I usually make it in individual portions. This is not good as a left over, you make only as much as you can eat at one sitting.

We always just made this in layers.

Start with a layer of lettuce.
Top with diced tomatoes.
Then add a layer of Frito's.
Spoon HOT chili over the Frito's.
Cover with cheese. Usually the cheese just melts on top of the hot chili, but you can put in oven until it melts or microwave for a minute until the cheese melts.

It's easy and yummy! One of my childhood favorites.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

48th Birthday

Holy Cow, I've turned 48 years old. (I mean 29 years old - *wink) Man that seems old!!! It isn't too many more years until I reach 50 years old - that is kind of scary.

Brady made me this cute picture on the white board that sits on the front of our refrigerator. He's such a cute kid!
Jason and Sharon show up around 5 PM to celebrate my birthday with me. They gave me a wonderful card and a zester. Brady told Jason I needed a zester because while I was making Kimmie's orange rolls, I used my cheese grater on the orange rind (which I always do). It's a fun present that I have already used - I'm loving it! Thanks Jason and Sharon!!!
The card was wonderful and tender. This is what it said:

On your birthday Mom
A mother's love always brings your heart back home.

Mom, just knowing you're there and that you love me makes a difference in my days and reminds me how lucky I am to have you.....

....and for all the times I forget to tell you, I want you to know how important you are to me and how much I'll always love you.

Happy Birthday
Love Jason

AAaaaaaahhh!!!! Jason is such a sweet loving son... I do feel loved!

Then we headed off to dinner at the Cracker Barrel.
I've never been to the Cracker Barrel to eat. I think the chef was having an "off" day - the food wasn't that great... Oh well... it was nice to be together with family celebrating my birthday. They (Cracker Barrel) even gave me a free piece of cherry cheese cake for my birthday.

After dinner we couldn't decide on what movie we wanted to watch, so we came home a played a game of Phase 10. I enjoy being with my children! We have such a great time together.

I also received an awesome gift in the mail from my dear blog friend, Ann Marie. It's it cool? I also loved the homemade card - I'm always amazed that people make such beautiful cards.
Thanks Ann Marie... I love it!!

One of my Primary children Annalee brought me a card and some nice smelling soap for my birthday.
It's always sweet when people call or stop by with a fun gift. More precious when it comes from your Primary children!! I received many, many phone calls from family and friends. It was great!

I thought this card was really cute that came from my little Brother Richard and his family. (They are the family who were just sealed in the temple.)
ha ha ha!! They always send the cutest card that crack me up!
But seriously - it is a huge number... I would look that way too - I mean I look like that when I look in the mirror... Who is that old woman in the mirror??? LOL!

The next day when I arrive at the first house I clean - there is a birthday gift... Really!!! I can't believe she even knew it was my birthday.
Mary Kay gave me a deluxe brownie mix and mint hot chocolate. Very kind!!

I feel really spoiled and loved.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Motivational Monday - "A Family is......"

A Family Is . . . .
a deeply rooted tree with branches of different strengths all receiving nourishment from an infinite source.
A Family Is . . . .
where character is formed, values are learned, ethics are created, and society is preserved.

A Family Is . . . .
where all members contribute and share, cooperate and work, and accept their responsibilities toward the good of the group.
A Family Is . . . .
where holidays are celebrated with feasting, birthdays acknowledged with gifts, and thoughts of days gone by kept alive with fond remembrances.
A Family Is . . . .
where each can find solace and comfort in grief, pleasure and laughter in joy, and kindness and encouragement in daily living.
A Family Is . . . .
a haven of rest, a sanctuary of peace, and most of all, a harbor of love.

PS -- I'm doing fine..... I just needed a little break.....I should be back to blogging and commenting again this week. Thanks for all of your love and concern in wondering if I'm OK - AND where I am..

Friday, February 12, 2010

Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee

Cherie and Ann Marie, you totally crack me up!! I forget that most people don't know me as Sondra Dee. Yup, that is me..
When my mom was pregnant with me she was watching a Sandra Dee movie. However during the introduction, they mispronounced her name to Sondra Dee and it stuck with my mom. I was named after this beautiful girl. It was a wonderful name to have while growing up. I'm a #1 fan of Sandra Dee.
I grew up watching all the Tammy movies. Here is Sandra Dee singing Tammy, one of my favorite songs. 
When I was in Junior High School, Grease came out and everyone sang the "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" song to me all the time in the halls of school.

It's great to be named after Sandra Dee.. I love my name. Thanks Mom!

Let's get to know each other better

My friend Kelli sent this to me via email. I decided it was the perfect thing to blog about. Feel free to blog about this too - if you'd like.

1. What time did you get up this morning? Internal clock is 5:30 / 6:30 depending on daylight savings. Right now I always get up at 5:30 and go to the bathroom and go back to bed until the alarm goes off at 6am.

2. Diamonds or pearls? Pearls - but really I don't do jewelry

3 What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Avatar

4. What is your favorite TV show? Vampire Diaries

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Corn Chex or Cheerios

6. What is your middle name? Dee

7. What food do you dislike? Raw onions

8. Who was your best friend when you were a child? Anena  Martin and Cindy Morrison

9. What kind of car do you drive? Pontiac Bonneville

10. Favorite Sandwich? Ham and Cheese

11.What characteristic do you despise? Rude or mean

12. Favorite item of clothing? Levis and T-shirt

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? London

14. Favorite brand of clothing? Not a "brand" type of girl

15. Where would you retire to? Here or near my children

17. Favorite sport to watch? I don't watch sports

18. Furthermost Place you are sending this? ?? Posting on my blog - around the world

19. Person you expect to send it back first? Or blog about.. Scrappy Girl

20. When is your birthday? February 17

21. Morning or night person? Both... I don't sleep in and tend to stay up too late on the computer :-D ha ha

22. What is your shoe size? 7 1/2

23. Pets? None

24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Nope

25. What did you want to be when you were little? A wife and mother

26. How are you today? Great

27. What is your favorite chocolate bar? Kit Kat - anything really I LOVE Chocolate!!

28. What is your favorite flower? I don't care - I like them all.

29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? ?????

30. What is your full name? Sondra _______ Beep (Private)

31. What are you listening to right now? Movie on Lifetime

32. What was the last thing you ate? Cheese string

33. Do you wish on stars? Not since I was a little girl

34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Blue

35. How is the weather right now? Mild and looking like spring

36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? Mary Kay

37. Favorite soft drink? Diet Coke

38. Favorite restaurant? Sizzler

39. Real hair color? Brown

40. What was your favorite toy as a child? Mia and Velvet - Hair growing dolls

41. Summer or winter? Summer

43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

44. Coffee or tea? Neither

45. Do you want your friends to email you back? Of Course or blog about this...

46. When was the last time you cried? January 31

47. What is under your bed? All kinds of stuff.......too much to say, Needs to be cleaned!!!

48. What did you do last night? I went to a Primary meeting, then watched Vampire Diaries.

49. What are you afraid of? Bad health where I can't work

50. Salty or sweet? Sweet

51. How many keys on your key ring? six

52. How many years at your current job? Self employed....7 years

53. Favorite day of the week? Saturday- Get to stay home!!

54. How many towns have you lived in? 5

55. Do you make friends easily? No

56. How many people will you send this to?  Zero - but I'd like to see my blog friends and relatives blog about this.

57. How many will respond? ???

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Review: The Mortal Instruments

I finished reading The Mortal Instrument series that Brady gave me for Christmas.
Book one: City of Bones
Book two: City of Ashes
Book three: City of Glass

I had to read half of the first book to really get into it. There are many twists and turns through out the series that keeps you guessing and intrigued. There are Vampires, Werewolves, Warlocks, Demons, Bad guys and good guys and good guys that turn into bad guys. It really keeps you guessing about what is going on.

I enjoyed the series, but it doesn't make the top of my list. First of course, Twilight, second, The Hunger Games, third, Harry Potter.... I love the Anita Stansfield LDS novels - but you have to start with her #1 book "First Love and Forever" and go through the series by number to understand them and enjoy them all.

Anyway, the downside to The Mortal Instruments for me was the twisted love stuff. I enjoy love stories between a girl and a boy... There were lots of twisted stuff in the love department (but not sexual images - if that makes since).

I also wanted more love story and it ended to quickly for me -- or I expected a bigger ending of love then it gave me... I'm just a hopeless romantic. There is lots of action and men would love this as well as women. 

All three books happen within a few months time of the characters life. It is quite wordy and lots of detail that I speed read over - because I wanted to focus on the story line and not all the little details (kind of like New Moon). I need to go back and read it again to pick up more of the history and details. 

I recommend it... but didn't care for the twisted love triangles in the novels.   

I need to find another book to read... I love reading! Any suggestions of what I should read next?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recipe: Chili

A while ago when I became really dedicated to food storage I decided I would only store food that I will eat and rotate. At that time I decided that I wouldn't purchase prepared chili anymore. I needed to learn how to make it. I tried, but my beans were old and I cooked and cooked them - but they never became nice like chili is suppose to be. These beans were not stored correctly and were old. I ended up throwing them out and getting new beans. What a difference that has made. I am really glad I tried it before a disaster and replaced them with new. Now that I am rotating my food storage, I hope to never have old "food" again - with no more waste.

The night before I make chili I rinse the beans and soak them in water over night. Just beans and water only.
3 cups of beans and water to cover them and I put the lid on the pan. Soak overnight.
In the morning I rinse and drain the beans and put them in a crock pot with 8 cups of new water and 1 teaspoons of salt.
Then I cook them all day until I get home from work on a low setting. When I get home I start the meat and sauce portion of the chili.

1 pounds ground beef
1 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons dried oregano
4 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes (I use 2 quart bottles I canned)
1 can tomato sauce
(Picture above is for double batch) Cook ground beef/hamburger with onions and garlic.
Then add the remaining ingredients, chili powder, salt, oregano to the meat mixture and let cook for a while before adding the tomatoes and tomato sauce to the ground beef. Break up tomatoes while stirring (I add to my blender and just break them up with a quick pulse and then add to the meat.) Heat to boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. 

Add in beans. I use a slotted spoon and take the beans out from the crock pot and add them to the meat sauce. I don't add the juice I cooked the beans in - I just add the beans. You can add the water if you want, but I like chili not too runny and thicker.

Simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes; stir occasionally.
It's a huge batch of chili and oh so yummy.
I put the remaining chili in quart size freezer bags and freeze. It's nice to be able to have homemade chili any time we want it. It's also nice to know I can make it and it's good.


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