Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

What a great week we had last week.
We made a trip to see the Temple Lights.
Christmas Eve we had Scott's family over.
My cute nephew Ryan LOVES my rolls.
Sisters on Christmas Eve
Alec and Kenzie on the piano Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve we set the table for Christmas morning breakfast.
After checking out stockings and Santa gifts,
we have a break for cinnamon rolls and egg casserole.
In their Christmas PJ's

Santa brought Kenzie a GPS for her car

Santa brought Alec a guitar

and Santa brought Jensen her Kindle.




We have had a lot great bonding.
This is the last year with all of us under the same roof.
Scott is now commuting to Utah and
Kenzie leaves for BYU in April.
How time flies!
It wasn't that long ago that the kids were all little.
Now, one is getting ready to leave the nest,
another one is preparing to graduate High School
and one will be finishing elementary in a year and a half.
I don't know if I am ready for all of this change.
I love the holidays, traditions and all the great memories
that are made.
We are so blessed!

Friday, December 24, 2010

~Merry Christmas~

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Early Christmas Gift


Scott ordered this for the family. The ROKU streams
unlimited movies and TV shows via the internet to your TV.
The family is LOVING it!!
What a great present!
Thank you Scott!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

changes....

it seems that my motto for the year "I can DO hard things" was truly inspired. as i have overcome personal, physical and emotional challenges this year, there was one challenge left to conquer. in November as i was dealing with my sadness and grief with being released from yw's, my husband was busy looking for new employment opportunities. one day a recruiter called him with great interest. 2 weeks later there was a job offer...not just one, but there were 2 others as well. 3 in all!

unfortunately none of these opportunities were in arizona. we had some lengthy conversations, emotional moments, stressful times, anxiety, peaceful visits to the temple and HUGE decisions to make over the Thanksgiving holiday. as options were weighed, the answer was obvious. HERE WE COME UTAH!!

scott has taken a job with adobe in utah. now comes the crazy part...he will commute 3 days a week for a year and then for 6 months he will be in utah 4-5 days a week. this week was the start of our new crazy life. i will be adjusting to single parenting and scott will be adjusting to living at my parents. many have asked why we are doing this. this will allow jensen to graduate high school early as a junior and alec will be able to finish 6th grade. the company is willing to allow scott to do this and we felt our kids would transition easier at these stages.

i never thought i would be moving back to utah. this came as a complete shock and i am still adjusting to the idea. scott is thrilled and has a great job with adobe. i am excited for his career and so proud of him. it is with great sadness that our family prepares to tell arizona goodbye. we love it here and call it home. alec was born here and has never lived anywhere else. he has no idea what is in store for him. this kid is use to wearing flip flops and shorts in december. oh, boy!

once again i find myself saying..."i can DO hard things." this truly is a hard thing. this year has taken its toll on me. november was quite the roller coaster ride and there are still some moments when the tears flow. through it all i have learned so much about myself, become stronger, leaned on my heavenly father, gained an appreciation for regular temple attendance and realized that i can do hard things!

there is a reason we need to be back in utah. it will be a challenging year and a half for our family as scott commutes, we get closer to leaving az and the kids and i learn to be on our own. i now know that i needed to be released from my calling because my family needs me now.

what a year it has been! i never imagined that 2010 would end this way and our life would be taking us on this new journey. for now it is time to enjoy my little family, christmas and our time home together.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Project

These are wall hangings that I made for
friends and family for Christmas.
I LOVE how they turned out!
If you are interested in one...
contact me and we can make arrangements.
I can customize colors.
So fun!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Happenings

Random December Happenings
The Holidays are upon us....
all the kids are wired with excitment!
Kenzie took this great photo of an ornament
on our tree
Jensen finished out Nutcracker.
This is her Court Fairy Tutu

Jensen, Kenzie and Alec
Jensen in her Bon Bon Tutu
Jensen and all her ballet friends.
They did a beautiful job this year.
There were many new challenges.
We are so proud of all of them.
Yummy!
Kenzie and I made 200 of these for
family, friends and neighbors.
It was an all day event and took the
whole family to get them all delivered.
Scott had a birthday and we made homemade pizza
and chocolate cake.
The house is decorated,
presents under the tree and now
we are awaiting the
arrival of Santa.
A new tradition this year...
Hot Cocoa Station on the kitchen counter.
Although it has been in the 80's...
we still have to believe that
it is winter somewhere.

The kids and I will settle in this week with
our activities...seeing Christmas lights,
making cookies and treats, watching
Christmas movies and reflecting on the
TRUE meaning of Christmas.
Such a magical, fun and special time
of the year.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Scott

Happy Birthday Scott!!


I love this man for so many reasons....

*He is the best father, husband and friend.
*He always puts others first.
*He has always done everything he can
to provide and care for each of us.
*Very caring and concerned about all of us.
*Such strong FAITH and testimony.
*I have never seen such a dedicated hardworker.
*Is willing to sacrifice for others.
*Never complains.
*Great sounding board.
*Doesn't get worried easily.
*Remains neutral.
and..
A HUGE Boise State Fan!
I was so looking forward to taking him to a BCS Bowl game
to watch his Broncos.
Scott, I love you!
Happy Birthday and I look forward
to celebrating many more with you.
I am lucky to be your wife and friend.
Love,
~Brandee~

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful for....

What a week!! Delicious food awaits, the start of Nutcracker
and family and friends.
But first I must list all I am thankful for...
* Family
*Supportive Husband
*The gospel
*Temples (and the one being constructed in Gilbert)
*Being a mother
*Serving in the church
*Baking
*Working out
*Good Health
*Incredible Friends
*Testimony
*Smart kids
*My House
*Living in Gilbert
*Mexican food
*Book of Mormon
*Cars
*Prayer
*Flowers
*Chocolate
*Being a stay at home mom
*Books
*Music
*the Holy Ghost
*LOVE
*doing hard things
I have so much to be thankful for!
It is great to take some time and reflect on all that I have been
blessed with. Our Thankful Tree has been so helpful in helping us
show our gratitude for all that we have been given.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

We were so very lucky to see Harry Potter at 6:00 tonight.
As we left the theatre we smiled at all the teenagers in line
for the midnight showing.
Great movie!!
Made us jump a few times and some of us
screamed a time or two.
I am so glad that we are not sitting in
line right now.
Oh, how we LOVE Harry Potter!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful Tree

The "Thankful Tree" is back.
This is exactly what I needed right now.
I love looking at this numerous times a day.
We have so much to be Thankful for!
I have enjoyed reading each family member's leaves.
I am full of immense gratitude and so proud
of my family.

Ballet Etudes Nutcracker

The Nutcracker Season is upon us.
Ballet Etudes will be perfoming the Nutcracker at
Chandler Center for the Arts and
Mesa Arts Center.
This year Jensen has a solo pointe role. Woo Hoo!!
All her dances are on pointe and boy,
you should see this girl turn!
She is amazing!!
Jensen as Bon Bon Fairy
Jensen as Court Fairy
Contact me for more info on
Jensen's performances

Sunday, November 7, 2010

missing....

as i left church today... i left something behind. it was a huge part of me. i have a broken heart, a gaping hole and an overall sadness. today i was released from my calling. this was something i was not prepared for or even expected. it was a complete shock! i have served for the last 4 1/2 years in our young women's program. i have LOVED every minute of it.

the association with the girls and leaders. fun activities, spiritual lessons, making friendships and new experiences are just a few of the highlights. every sunday and wednesday i would be with these girls and leaders. what to do now?

i loved and enjoyed serving them, being there for them, watching them grow and mature, learning from them and having each and every one of them in my life. i have shed so many tears...my eyes burn and my head aches.

i know i am not defined by my calling. at the same time it was such a big part of me and my life. i don't remember life before young women's. my family has been a great comfort to me. alec said he would bake me a cake and that is what he did. chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a "we love you" on top. fresh cinnamon rolls from my good friend and a date with my husband on my first wednesday without young women's.

and so begins a new chapter. i will spend time with kenzie getting her ready for byu in april, bond with alec while he still likes to spend time with me and be there for jensen in between all of her activities. i am so thankful for such supportive friends and family. although they may not understand the depth of my sadness, they are doing all they can to support.

one never knows what life has in store. my goal of "i can do hard things" has worn me out. little did i know that i would be challenged continually this year. i am grateful for the opportunity i had to serve and that i was able to be in there with my daughters. life moves forward and so must i.

i bid a fond farewell to all my young women and friends. cherished memories i will carry with me. here is to a new adventure and a healing heart.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Before and after...

The girls wanted a new look.
So off to the sylist they went.
Here are the results...
before

after
before

after


Sometimes a little change is good.
Girls, you look MARVELOUS!!


Monday, October 25, 2010

tender mercies

Last Thursday my friend lost her battle. I was paralyzed when I heard the news. Her battle was so short...this was her second battle. My thoughts turned to her family; husband, daughter and son. What can one do to help them at this horrible time?

Then I thought of my own daughter at school. She had not heard the news. I knew it was only a matter of time before she heard. With technology today word spreads so quickly. This was not the kind of thing you text her. This was her friend's mom and at 15 it is hard to grasp the reality of the situation.

I had a game plan. Wait until lunch time and then I could tell her. I only had to wait until 10:30 that morning. Surely she wouldn't find out before then. At about 9:30ish I got a text. Oh, no!! How could this be? Yes, it had happened.

A loving, caring person text my daughter to see how she was coping with the news. Problem...she didn't know! Well, she soon did. Tears streaming down my daughters face, she walked into seminary. There was no better place for her at this moment.

As she sat in her seat coping with emotion and the devastating news, the class got ready to begin. The spirit promptly began whispering to my daughter that she needed to share this story. She sat there and at first resisted and ignored the promptings. It wasn't long before she could ignore those promptings any longer. She raised her hand and asked if she could share something. Of course, replied the teacher.

My daughter shared the beautiful story of a loving mom and family. Her brief second battle and how quickly she lost. Leaving her sweet family behind to grieve, mourn and trying to move on. This family is not of our faith. Our faith believes in eternal families and that we will be reunited again someday. This story brought the class to a discussion on the plan of salvation, some gospel principles and how fortunate we are to have the knowledge we have.

How grateful I am for a seminary teacher who let my daughter share and who helped her come to terms with a sad event. She couldn't have been in a better place. At the end of that class, the teacher told my daughter that he had prayed that day that someone would have something to share that could start a class discussion. The spirit is amazing! Prayers were answered on both sides!

There are tender mercies occurring around us each day. Are we aware? Do we listen to the promptings, so that those tender mercies can happen? I am thankful for the gospel in my life. As hard as this situation is...my faith, knowledge of eternal families and love of the gospel gives such great comfort. Not only for me, but also for my children.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

~friends~

Life is so delicate, fragile and precious. We never know when our path will take a twist and turn. Recently I found out that a friend and her family had received horrible news. News that changes your life. Today I found out that my friend is losing her battle. As I absorb this and think of her family...she has 2 teenage kids. My heart breaks for them and what they are enduring. Then, I reflect on when did I last see her? I should have done a better job at keeping in touch, I certainly didn't do my best at being a friend. I let life get in the way.

As I ponder the "I should have," "I could have," and the "why didn't I," I get ashamed at my lack of being a "TRUE" friend. It is so easy to let LIFE take over and push things to the side. Laundry will always be there, the dirty floor will still be there and most definitely the grimy bathrooms will still be waiting. But, friends are not always there. Boy, did I miss out on some great memories and times.

In January I picked "I Can do Hard Things" to focus on this year. And let me tell you, I have had plenty of "hard things" to tackle and overcome. Amazing how life works that way. I have had physical, emotional, spiritual and character building opportunities. I am grateful for each of them, as I have grown and learned through doing them.

Now as the year is quickly coming to an end, I have decided that I need to do a few more "hard things." I need to serve more, I need to put aside the "To Do" list and talk to a friend, I need to make more contact with family and friends near and far. The thing is, if I don't make an effort than who will? Someone has to take the first step and I missed opportunities with my friend. I don't want that to happen with anyone else.

When you look at the big picture what really matters and what can you take with you? The clean house is not a priority and it can't go with you. Family, friends and relationships are what matters. I need to set the example for my kids to follow. I hope to be more thoughtful, observant, caring and considerate. So that my family and friends will know that I am there for them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

First day of School

Kenzie
Sophomore year of college

Jensen
Sophomore year of High School

Alec
5th grade

The summer flew by!
Jensen and Alec started school on the same day.
Lucky Kenzie got to start 2 weeks later.
Boy have they grown up!
Everyone was excited for the big day!
So far it is a great school year.
They are liking their classes and
making new friends.
Yeah for school!!

Lawn Boy

Oh, boy is Scott excited!
We now have a Lawn Boy in the making.

Living in Arizona requires year long lawn care.
I know that some weeks Scott is not too excited to
spend a Saturday caring for our large yard.
Now he has a buddy to help him and they
get to bond at the same time.

You go boys!

Journal

A while ago I went into Alec's room after he had gone to school.
Propped up on his bed was his journal.
It contained a freshly written entry and was left open.

I did as any mother would do...read the entry.
This was not a loving entry.
Alec explained how he was a good kid, how he had waited
for a year and a half for a certain video game and how
we still were not allowing him to get it.
He was even willing to use his own money.
It is great that he can express himself and point out all the
reasons why he should be able to get the video game.
I love it when kids can reason and fight their own defense.
The hard part is being the parent and making the hard decisions
and sticking to them.

She Did It!!

Wednesday was a "BIG" day!
Jensen got her permit to drive!!
Congrats!!
It was a tough road for Jens.
On Tuesday she failed the test and was
completely heart-broken.
She studied real hard and went back
on Wednesday for a 2nd time.
This time it was complete success.

Here's to another driver in the house!

Way to go Jensen!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Here!!

It is finally here.....
FALL in AZ!!!
Oh, how I wished it looked like this.



But, I will settle for this.


At last the temperatures have cooled.
Driving with the windows down, sunroof open, music blasting
and kids singing along.
This is what we have longed for and how
lovely it is.
I love having the doors open and the fresh air coming in,
being able to go running outside without dieing of heat
and the beautiful thought that the AC will be done running
in a short time.
Arizona is glorious this time of year!
So Worth the Wait!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

WOO HOO!!

CONGRATULATIONS JENSEN!!!
Jensen is the newest Principal dancer
for Ballet Etudes.
This is a dream come true for her.
She has worked so hard and put in so many
hours to be able to accomplish this.
We are so proud of you Jensen!
Way to go!!
If you are unsure what a Principal dancer is...
it is the highest level at Ballet Etudes.
Truly an honor and a privilege.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a little change...

Before

After

Sometimes you just need a little change.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

These Cinnamon Rolls do not disappoint. They are fabulous. Two years ago I came across this recipe from Sisters Cafe. I make these for all sorts of gatherings and functions, I take them to family and friends at the Holidays and at least once a month we make and eat them.

2 c. milk

2 cubes butter

2 pkg yeast (4 1/2 tsp.)

1/3 c. warm water

1 1/3 c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

4 beaten eggs

8 c. flour

Filling: 1 cube softened butter and cinnamon and sugar

Heat milk and 2 squares of butter together until butter is melted. Cool and set aside. Mix yeast and warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Add cooled milk, 1 1/3 c. sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 4 beaten eggs. Add 4 c. flour and mix and gradually add 4 additional cups flour. Dough should be firm, but sticky. Cover with a cloth and put in a warm place and raise 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Dough should nearly be doubled in size. Divide dough in half and empty onto floured surface and knead a little. Roll dough into rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. To this half of dough, spread on 1/2 square of softened butter, completely covering dough. Then sprinkle a coating of sugar over entire piece of dough. Then a layer of cinnamon. Be generous with the cinnamon; this is what makes it tasty. Roll into a long roll. Pinch edges together and slice with dental floss. Place on a cookie sheet covered with a silpt or parchment paper. Do the same thing to the second half of dough. Cover with a clean dishtowel and put in a warm place, free of drafts for 2 to 5 hours to raise - they should double in size. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until barely browned. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes. Drizzle with glaze while still warm. Makes 3 - 4 dozen.


Butter Cream Glaze:

1 cube softened butter

1 tsp. vanilla

dash of salt

dash of cream of tarter

1 1/2 lbs of powdered sugar

scalded milk or cream

Add all together...adding milk a little at a time, alternately with the powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. For cinnamon rolls, it needs to be a little thinner than regular icing.

ENJOY!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Let the fight begin.....

It has finally arrived!
Now the battle begins on who gets to read it first.
Looks like I will be the last one to get my hands on this book.
Hurry up girls!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Salsa




This is by far the best and easiest salsa around.

I have my good friend Stephanie to thank for this fabulous recipe.
It is delicious!

Ingredients:
1 Serrano Pepper
4 Vine Tomatoes (more if using Roma)
1 Bunch Cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime
2 Clove of Garlic (whole-just toss it in)
4 Green onions (more of the white than the green)
1 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes
2 TBL Kosher Salt


Add all of the above ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend.Add 1/2 to 1 more Serrano Pepper if needed after tasting. Add more salt if necessary too. Refrigerate before serving.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

~California~

With our busy schedules this summer our only time to get away as a family was the fourth of July weekend. So, we loaded the car, grabbed Jenna and hit the road for California.

The kids and I had never been to Santa Barbara and Scott wanted us to see how beautiful it is. Scott found a hotel between Malibu and Santa Barbara. We stayed in Agoura Hills right at the start of the Malibu Canyon. The weather was 60-70. Santa Barbara was a little chilly and windy.

They were not sure they wanted to get wet.
Santa Barbara


Yeah!!! We are at the beach!


Father and son


Dancing on the beach

What trip isn't complete without....Coldstone Ice Cream


On the fourth we went into LA.
Showing a little American pride...only in LA


I am not sure how this happened, but our Alec is a LAKERS fan.
Oh, boy did this make his trip.
Staples Center

He LOVES the Lakers!

Best Friends in Beverly Hills

Malibu
We drove through Malibu canyon, past Pepperdine University
and this is what was waiting for us.


There were warnings on this day about the waves.
We had over 4 foot waves. They were huge and
brought the tide clear up on the beach.
Beach beauties

It was a great get away. There is just something about being on a beach....so relaxing. We saw a lot, ate a lot and had so much fun!