Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Landscape Company Hired

I have a landscaper. Happy about that. I think we've selected some nice elements and plant material. I wish I had more money to do it the way I'd really like but I think this can grow and I'm doing phase one in a way that it won't have to be torn out to make room for the next phases.

I'm excited that in 8-12 weeks I will have a yard!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Here are some of the suggested trees for my yard:

Flowering Pear (we planted one of these in our front yard in 'bama)
Vanderwolf Pine

Canada Red Chokecherry
Bur Oak
White Fir

Canyon Maple

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Landscaping Ideas - Xeriscape

I am really interested in doing landscaping that makes sense for the desert, mountain area in which I live. For lack of a better place to catalog my collection of sites and pictures, I'm re-purposing this site.
I took this picture of a yard in my area that I just love. I wish it had more color but other than that, I love the use of rocks and mulch and evergreens and grasses. My front yard will be virtually flat so I'll have to figure out how to build it up in places and create the look I want.

I really like this one. It is mature and mine won't look this filled in for a few years, but this is definitely the look I'd like to shoot for.

I really like the use of color and texture in this no-turf option here.
I really like the idea of no water/no mow lawns/grasses as found here.

A little too much desert, but I like the use  of grasses here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Looking for something?

If you are looking for the continuing saga of the lives of the Bamafam, you can find it at Simply Better Together.

If you are looking for tutorials on making cool things or a great new recipe or some other homemaking-related thing, you can find it at "Simply Better" at Home.

If you are looking for old recipes or tutorials or stories of our lives, they will remain here at this site until I can get them appropriately moved to one of the other two sites. (That may be never)


Friday, June 26, 2009

Food Friday - Wrapped Garlic Chicken

Today is the last day of YW Camp - yippee!

In honor of the camping tradition, here is a recipe you can use next time you go camping:

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 large sheets aluminum foil
1/2 t salt
1 C sliced mushrooms
1 can Cream of Roasted Garlic Condensed Soup
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

  • Place 1 chicken breast in center of each sheet of foil.
  • Lightly season with salt.
  • Top each breast with equal portions of mushrooms, soup, and rosemary.
  • Fold foil in half over chicken; seal all edges with double fold seals.
  • Bake at 425 for 20 minutes (or until chicken is no longer pink in the center)
Although this recipe is for a conventional oven, It would work great on a grill or in a dutch oven or even right in the fire pit (think tin foil dinner!).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday - Picture Tile Wall Hangings

Do you want to make some adorable picture hangings like these?
Let's get started then!


  • Photos (or other pictures)
  • Straight Edge (metal ruler)
  • Utility Knife
  • First Aid kit (keep it on hand for when you slice your finger using the utility knife)
  • Vinyl Tile Scrap (you can usually purchase these at Lowe's or Home Depot)
  • Ribbon
  • D Rings (you can get these at any sewing or craft center - like Hobby Lobby or Michaels)
  • Adhesive (tape, glue gun, or whatever your adhesive of choice is)
  • Pencil
  • Sewing Machine, Thread, Scissors (or not, if you have another way to fuse two sides of ribbon together)
  • (optional) Hair Dryer
1. Choose what kind of pictures you want and then take some photos (or cut out pictures from a magazine or whatever)

2. Measure your tile slightly smaller than your picture (like 1cm smaller on each side) and then cut it.
2a. Using your pencil, mark the tile on the paper (the stuff that covers the adhesive).
2b. You should cut it on the paper side as well. Use the straight edge and utility knife and make several slices along the same line until you have made it through enough that you can bend/break the rest of it in a straight line. (I just looked online for a good tutorial and didn't find one but I did read several places that indicated it helpful to heat your tile using a hair dryer - I haven't done it but you can certainly try it.)

3. Peel the paper from the tile and place your picture(s) on the adhesive side.
3a. Smooth the pictures so there are no bubbles.
3b. Use the utility knife to trim the pictures so that they are flush with your tile.
4. Decide how long you want your ribbon to be and cut it. You will be folding it over entirely so take that into consideration.

5. Loop the ribbon through the D ring and pin it like this:

6. Using your zipper foot, sew as close to the ring as you can get. If you don't like to sew, you can think of another way to enclose the D ring. Perhaps you could use fusing tape (Stitch Witchery) and iron the two pieces of ribbon together.
7. Adhere the ribbons to the backs of your tiles and hang. (I honestly used Scotch tape - several pieces - to do the job.)

8. Hang on a wall in whatever fashion you want.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Did I mention it is hot?

It has been in the high 90s with humidity to match.

For those who might not know, I'm a cool temperatures kind of girl, I don't like dirt, I love my own bed, I hate bugs, and I get really grumpy when I am hot, dirty, and haven't slept well.

So, knowing those facts, are you wondering why I'm going camping this week?

Well, let me tell you.

This week is our Young Women's camp. The YW (ages 12-18) from the Birmingham and Montgomery stakes are getting together to learn survival skills, sing silly songs, strengthen one another, and strengthen testimonies. I get to be one of their leaders (actually I am a "shadow leader" - they are really good about truly allowing the older girls be the actual leaders). I am so looking forward to this. I am dreading it too. Really, I'm so not a camping kind of girl (especially in extreme heat). We have ten girls going from our branch. There are six 12-year olds; two 13-yearl olds; and two YCLs (youth camp leaders). They are so cute and enthusiastic. I just need to remember their enthusiasm. One of my best buds (Corrie) is coming along too. How will this not be wonderful (oh yeah, the heat)? Really, (trying to convince myself) this is going to be GREAT!

I'll take lots of picture and post a great synopsis when I get home this weekend. Pray for cooler temperatures and that I won't be a grump.

I'm grateful that Phil will be home with Eden. I am really going to miss those two (they are going to come visit me for a day though).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Food Friday - Skillet Chicken with Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 C thinly sliced onions
1/2 C finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes*
1 C Cream of Roasted Garlic Condensed Soup
1 C chicken broth
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

  • In large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, cook chicken until brown on both sides.
  • Arrange onions and tomatoes over chicken.
  • In small bowl, combine soup, chicken broth, salt, and pepper; mix well.
  • Pour mixture over chicken.
  • Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
Calories: 230 (if you use fat free chicken broth) per serving.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tears and Kisses and Singing ... the Shoe Curse Continues

Remember this post?

Well, today Eden was wearing the brown sandals purchased at that time. I've decided there is a curse associated with those shoes.

We went outside and played (well, she played and I picked up branches downed in our latest round of storms). Then it was time to come in for a nap. Eden wasn't happy but I was firm so in we came. I looked down and noticed that Eden was missing one of her sandals.

"Where is your other sandal?"
"I took it off"
"Where did you put it?"
"In mine house."

She had just been playing in her playhouse/slide thing on the deck and so I thought that is what she meant. I walked onto the deck, looked, but no shoe. I turned the handle of the storm door and was met with great resistance. She had locked it.

After about five minutes of trying to get her to unlock it, I gave up on that approach. I left her crying and fearful and went to my neighbor's house to use the phone. I called Phil (who works 30 minutes away) and asked him to come right home. I spent the next half hour sitting on one side of the glass door with Eden on the other. We sang songs, she cried some, and we did lots of kissing through the glass. She was very brave (which, incidentally is one of her favorite new adjectives).

Then when Phil was about five minutes away, she reached up (without any prodding by me - I had long since given up on that) and unlocked the door.

We are grateful that is over.

Oh, and I found the shoe "in mine house." The real house.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday - Ruffled Skirt from Pants or Shorts

Eden has hit that stage when she just wants to wear skirts all the time. Forget dresses or even pants, she could live in a skirt. The problem? She only has one. So, I thought it would be fun to make her some skirts.

When looking through her clothes, I found a pair of shorts that someone gave us. She has TONS of shorts and I thought these would be a good beginning to a really cute skirt. I had bought some fabric on sale and realized it would actually match.


This is what I came up with (without buying anything new - I love that!)
Do you want to make one too? Come on, you KNOW you do!

Here is what you'll need:

  • A pair of shorts or pants that fit your child in the waist and bum
  • 1/4 to 1/2 yard of fabric
  • Thread
  • Measuring Tape
  • Scissors
  • Embellishments (ribbon, buttons, whatever)
  • Sewing Machine
Project Time: approximately 30-45 minutes (if you have done some sewing and know how to baste or gather, a bit longer for a beginner)

Start out by cutting the shorts or pants above the crotch (you can measure your child down from the waist and determine how long you want this part of the skirt to be).

Next, measure the fabric for the rest of the length of the skirt (however long you want your skirt to be minus however long the cut off shorts are plus a one-inch seam allowance).

Now, cut the full width of the fabric (45") at that length.
Now, finish the edge of both your shorts and the fabric (I used my serger but you can zig zag on your sewing machine if you don't have a serger).
Next, connect your fabric by sewing the two "short" edges together (right sides together - so the seam is on the "inside").

Now baste along the finished edge of the fabric. This is so that you can pull the thread to create a gathered ruffle. You'll want to set your stitch length to a high number (I did 4.5). A longer stitch length makes gathering easier.

Now, gather your fabric by pulling on one thread. If you want a more detailed tutorial on gathering, see here.
Once you have your fabric gathered to the right length (to fit your top piece), pin it (right sides facing) to the top piece and then sew into place (don't forget to move your stitch length to normal).
Now hem the bottom (hint: I used the finished edge of my fabric and so I didn't have to hem). You may embellish with ribbon or whatever and you are done!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Clap my hands and shout for joy

Phil was gone all of last week. He was in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho singing with Voice Male. It is so good to have him home. Eden really missed him. At one point she started crying and saying, "I sad, I sad, I sad." When I asked her why, she replied in a soft, thoughtful voice, "I miss my daddy." We talked to him several times every day and she loved that. She was such a good girl while he was gone.

So was I (mostly). I had three goals while he was gone:

1. Surprise him by painting our bedroom.
1a. Only paint while Eden slept - to not sacrifice being an attentive mom just to get my project done.
2. Keep the dishes done (he is the dish do-er and so when he is gone, I tend to let them build up).
3. Be a happy, supportive little warrior and not complain when we talked on the phone.

Here is how I did:

1. I got the bedroom painted but I ran into some questions about which paint went where and so I ended up telling him so I could make sure it was done to is aesthetic satisfaction. We had planned on doing it two-toned but I messed up and put the wrong color on top. That is when I told him and we decided to just do the whole thing in that color (kind of a dark sage/moss green). I really like it and think it is better than it would have been if I had done it correctly. Nikki (one of the YW in our branch) came over and helped one day, that was great.

1a. I did paint for about 20 minutes after she woke up from her nap on Friday. I was nearly done with the walls and so she watched Leap Frog's Alphabet Factory (she knows most of her alphabet by sound and sight these days!) while I finished up.

2. There was one night that I went to bed with dishes in the sink but other than that, I kept up on the dishes.

3. I was a total whiner on Wednesday but I did well the rest of the week. Glad I could repent of Wednesday. I didn't whine that he was gone, just about other stuff (mostly the paint color mix up).

Now he is home and we are very, very glad. Last night I suggested that the two wrapped gifts in the corner could be seen as "welcome home" gifts instead of father's day gifts. He didn't require much convincing (is that because he knows me so well and figured protesting would be fruitless or does he like opening presents early as much as I do?). He really liked his gifts (I'll do another post about those - probably on a Tutorial Tuesday post). We also made him a fun banner that said, "Welcome Home Dad" and served him one of his favorite meals.

I'm so glad when daddy comes home glad as I can be. Clap my hands and shout for joy place Eden on his knee. Put my arms around his neck hug him tight like this. Pat his cheek and give him what? A GREAT BIG KISS!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What do you think?

I'd love your input.

I've been thinking lately that maybe I should separate this into two blogs.

1. A personal/family blog that would be by permission only. This is where I'd post the cute stories about our lives and the pictures and stuff like that. It would be by permission only but permission would be granted liberally.

2. A blog for Tutorial Tuesday and Food Friday and other ideas, questions, and tips about being a mother and homemaker. This would be a public blog.

What do you think? Is it better to just keep it all together or does it make sense to make a private blog? I'd love to hear whether you've had similar thoughts and whether you've got more than one blog.

Does anyone know an easy way to copy blog posts so that I can move all the Food Friday and Tutorial Tuesdays to the public blog before making this one private? If not, I'll probably make this one public and start using A Life in Words as the private blog (and not move stuff around).

I'm anxious to hear what people think.


Friday, June 12, 2009

New Shoes

When Eden was born she had extremely LONG toes. It was like she had fingers for her toes - seriously! I don't think they've grown in length in the past two years though. They have grown otherwise. So now, instead of long skinny toes, she has short stubby ones. This makes shoe-fitting difficult. Her sandals (size 5.5) were beginning to rub on her chubby toes and she actually had a couple of sores. Definitely time to buy some new sandals.

So yesterday I put her white sandals on (I had bought them at Kid to Kid a few months ago and this was the first day she actually wore them) and we headed to the Exchange (our local sprawl-center with Target, Old Navy, Kohls, TJ Maxx, Ross, etc.). After looking at a few stores we ended up at Target. We were also looking for a pair of water shoes and so I took her white sandals off and tried on a pair of water shoes (size 7 - she needed size 6). Then she took off. I rounded her up again and then we found a cute pair of brown sandals in the right size. I tried them on her and she LOVED them. I took the tags off so she could just wear them out of the store (and I could still pay for them).

Then I looked and only saw one white sandal. I looked and looked but couldn't find which shoe box contained three shoes instead of two. I asked Eden where she had put the other one but she was either really belligerent or just couldn't understand me (I think it was the former - she was on one!). I was about ready to cut my losses and just leave because Eden was not being cooperative and I was just incredibly frustrated. Finally a woman came around the corner and I explained to her what had happened. I don't think she really wanted to know but she was kind and offered to help. I showed her the shoe I had and then she said, isn't that it right there. Yup, in the box right in front of me. Grateful for help, embarrassed by my blindness, I thanked her and left the shoe department.

Glad that ordeal is over.

Food Friday - Chicken with Red Pepper Sauce

2 slices of bacon
4 skinned, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 C chopped red onion
1/2 t ground coriander
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 C Salsa
1 Red Pepper, chopped
Fresh Cilantro, chopped

  • Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.
  • Remove bacon from skillet; crumble and set aside.
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper.
  • Add chicken to bacon drippings; saute 2 minutes on each side.
  • Remove chicken from pan.
  • Add onion, coriander, and garlic to pan; saute 3 minutes.
  • Stir in salsa and bell pepper.
  • Return chicken to the pan.
  • Cover and cook over medium heat 12 minutes or until chicken is done.
  • Sprinkle with crumbled bacon; garnish with cilantro.
Calories: approximately 190.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Picture Time

Eden drew this. She said, "it's Eden" but at that point it didn't have the red lines on it and so she said, "I need lips" then she got out her red pen and drew the "lips." I must say that I'm very impressed and I'm interested to see if she recreates it any time soon.
(most of her drawings don't resemble anything)
Eden and Phil outside the Atlanta Temple

Eden, showing us what "reverent" looks like

Her first ever full (front and back) pigtails

Trying to make Mr. Potato Head's glasses fit