Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Basement Re-Do!

So, after 5 years of living in my basement, my youngest son moved out (We have literally had someone living in our basement for nearly 12 years now between all 3 of our boys).  This called for a bit of "retail therapy" as I sprang into action to "reclaim" my space.  Pics are not great, but they will have to do.  The space is bright and cheerful and I LOVE working down here.  I sit at this table when I am not out with clients and work - with birds chirping outside my french doors and the sound of water features daring me to stress out!  So loving the new changes.  I retained my book shelves, entertainment center, kitchen island, coffee table, and church pew, but started over with nearly everything else.  Bedrooms were re-arranged but no new furnishings there.  It is my favorite place in my house now.  I have ordered the plantation shutters for the basement and upstairs, so I will post pics when they go in 5-6 weeks from now.  Amazing how a fresh start is so reassuring....  
My new office space -also wonderful for family dinners

Coffee table in family room

Love this hand-carved man reading!  LOVE Etsy!

Perfect addition to the basement bathroom
View of the family room - only large TV in the house!

Family room and the white shelves I have had for years

Family room and entertainment center I brought from California

Basement kitchen

Another view of the family room

My old church pew - LOVE that thing!  Antique skis rest in the corner

The lockers are from Pottery Barn and are perfect for serving pieces and dishes

Another view of the lockers

Kitchen view

Family room looking toward the kitchen - pillow covers are from Etsy too

Accessories from Osmond Designs

Love this little elephant -thank again Etsy

Love this hand carved elephant too.  Etsy again.....



Funny little hand-carved windmill on a leather box - also Etsy

LOVE the turquoise coloring on this old tool box.

Witches ball from Park City - said to ward off witches.....  :)

Sign from Etsy - one of my favorite things

Love footed dishes and birds....

This chandelier is from Busy Biddy in Orem - used the flame-less candles with remote

Recovered this old bench.  Love the fun fabric!  

Shelves are from E-bay-accessories from Ebay and Etsy


Signs from Joss and Main

metal clock

Bedroom


Prints from Etsy hanging on bedroom wall

Another print on a dictionary page

Bedroom dresser

Grandkid toys just outside bedrooms

bathroom shelves

Having a little obsession with elephants - this one is from E-bay

The little clown is also from E-bay

Largest bathroom shelf - baskets from Hobby Lobby

LOVE this - it is true and sometimes hard to remember.  From Quilted Bear in AF

The "grandma wall"-frames from Ebay - all are vintage and painted

The "grandma wall" from the other angle-these kids are truly what lights us up!  Nothing better than grandkids.

Such a happy place for me now and, although I know it is psychological, I am so much more FOCUSED when I work down here.  Here's to a productive year!

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Professional Pic


It took me 8 years, but I finally got a new professional picture!  I truly would rather get a root canal than be in front of the camera - so grateful for a very patient photographer.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quick and Easy Turtle Brownie Bars


Tried these the other day for a closing and they got rave reviews from my clients. Fast and easy!


Ingredients

1 box of chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup each of white chips, semi-sweet chips, milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips or chunks
* Optional 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup butter
32 unwrapped caramels
1 (14oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch pan
  3. Combine cake mix, oil and eggs. Blend well and stir in all of the chips and chopped nuts. This mixture will be very thick.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into bottom of pan into a very thin layer. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from oven.
  5. While this is baking, in a medium saucepan, combine butter, caramels and condensed milk and stir constantly, while cooking over low to medium heat. Do this until it is all melted and smooth. Spread caramel over partially baked cake mixture.
  6. Top with remaining cake and chip mixture . It will not completely cover, but you can press the mixture flat with your fingers and lay it in small sections over the caramel.
  7. Bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes.
  8. Run knife around edges. Cool completely before cutting
NOTE:  When it says to stir constantly - you really do need to or it will burn (don't ask me how I know!)  :)  I used the Peter's caramel bar and just weighed the caramel to get the right amount-about 9 ounces.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Thing We Never Talk About-W.O.R.K. In Marriage



David and I just celebrated 33 years of marriage.  Over the years we have had lots of people comment about how we are the "perfect couple" and "so lucky".  While I will admit A.) we are not perfect and B.) we have been very "lucky" and incredibly blessed, the one thing we never seem to talk about is how making a marriage last can be summed up in one word - W.O.R.K.  We all grew up on Disney movies where you get married and drive off into the sunset where you live happily ever after.  When we first got married, we both came into the marriage with lots of preconceived ideas of how things should work - from traditions, to how to run a household, to how to effectively communicate, to who should be responsible for what, etc, etc, etc.  It was WORK to figure out how to get on the same page!  

My husband likes to tell the story of a time when we were talking with other newly marrieds and one of them commented that they always heard the first year of marriage was the hardest.  I replied, "Our first year has been a piece of cake!" (and I meant it).  My husband later commented that that was because HE had done all the changing!  :)  I always say that is because he NEEDED to change, but the truth is at that point in our relationship HE was the one WILLING to change to make things work for both of us!  I have come a long way and like to think that I compromise now as much as he does, but then things are rarely ever 50/50, right?!  Let's just say I am WILLING to compromise to keep him happy - something I am quite sure I did NOT understand when we got married.  

It is rather alarming to me to watch our kids and their friends and the frequency with which so many are jumping ship!  When I was younger and a marriage fell apart it was usually due to a husband cheating on his wife.  Today, in EVERY case, except one, it has been the wife who has walked out the door.  Marriage wasn't all it was cracked up to be and they want out!  They want to pursue their own dreams.  NO ONE is telling them what to do!

Marriage is about putting someone else's needs above your own.  Doing so does NOT mean I cannot pursue my own dreams and live the life I want to - it just means I remember my commitment to my partner and make him a part of my dream!  It is amazing to me how much happiness comes from being unselfish.

My mother was remarking to my husband the other day that she wanted to know my "secret" for getting so much done.  I mean, how does Shelly keep a clean house, work full-time, bake, garden, do "crafty things" and still find time to sleep?  She claimed he would not tell her.  I said, "That is because HE is my secret!"  David is literally the wind beneath my wings.  He helps me in every aspect of my life - personal and business.  I simply could NOT do it without him.  If I want to accomplish something I only need to tell him what I want to do and he helps me figure out a way to make it happen.  NEVER ONCE has he told me he did not think I could do something!  He is my SECRET!  

Marriage has always been, and always will be, about compromise and sacrifice.  Sometimes I have sacrificed to allow David to accomplish his goals, more often, he has sacrificed for me.  It is never about what I want, but rather what WE want.  We work together.  

For example, any time I suggest that I would like to do something for someone, he is immediately on-board.  The other day, I was concerned about a co-worker who son was in the hospital.  I called and inquired about how he was doing and asked if I could do anything to help out.  He returned my call the next day and told me his son was coming home that evening and that the biggest help would be dinner.  He was busy cleaning house and prepping for their (his wife and sons) return and had not been grocery shopping since before his son had been hospitalized (over a week ago).  I told my husband we would be fixing a meal to take in and he was immediately getting meat out to thaw and worked side-by-side with me in the kitchen and then drove me to their home to deliver dinner.  There was not a moment's hesitation.  He is ALWAYS like that - always on my team - always helping in any way he can.

I know that many people feel that making that kind of commitment is restrictive.  That it does not allow them to do the things that they want to - I just want to go on record in stating that two people working together for the same cause will ALWAYS accomplish more than an individual working alone.  

I also love so much that I can be myself.  I am never putting on a front to my husband.  After 33 years there are no secrets - he knows the good, the bad, and the downright ugly and loves me anyway.  We can ride for hours in the car and say nothing at all - and it is perfectly comfortable.  We can also drive to Arizona and never stop talking!  I love that when I get heavy (and I have struggled our entire marriage with my weight), that he just tells me not to worry - there is just more of me to love.  He really means that.  It never helps me to be comfortable with my over-weight-state, but he never judges me - and THAT my friends is awesome!

We were given "advice" when we got married - like many of you probably were - and the one thing that really stuck with us was "It is not WHO is right, but WHAT is right that matters."  That means, that sometimes I am N.O.T. right - shocking, I know, but true.  Sometimes David says things to me that I do not want to hear.  The truth is that when I take a step back and think about the those things - he is always right.  Don't tell him that though!  :)  His insight into ME is the most constructive criticism I can get and helps me know where to improve.  He doesn't criticize often, but IF he does, it is because I need a "course correction".  It is always done gently and with love.

I realize not everyone has found themselves in a relationship worth working on - sometimes we make lousy choices, sometimes our partner exercises their agency in a way that is detrimental to the relationship - and thus it cannot be saved.  Please don't take offense at this post - it is simply meant to be a gentle reminder that marriage CAN be wonderful.  That it is worth the sacrifice/compromise on your part when you are in a committed relationship.  Look, there have been days I have not liked my husband at all!  I always love him, but sometimes I just plain don't like him.  Usually a good night's rest and some time to reflect change that perspective rather quickly.  The trick is to remind yourself what made you fall in love in the first place.  

Don't forget to tell your kids how much work it is to create a happy, successful relationship.  It is worth every effort!  But it is W.O.R.K. and anyone that tells you otherwise is lying.  When I look back over the past 33 years it is pretty amazing how difficult some of those years have been.  It is the hardest years that created the best foundation for our happiness.  I have learned that even when life is chaos around you - you can feel peace and be sure of your love for each other.  Hard times are the defining times and I am hopeful that this generation coming up will come to understand that is it worth fighting for each other.  I feel like our "kids" think they should get married and have what we have - immediately!  We started out with nothing but each other and a puke green velvet sofa missing the front legs and supported by bricks.  I know this - ALL of my kids have started out with more than that!  It is the struggle and working hard together to accomplish your dreams that really matters.  Things are not important, but people are.  Your parents have what they have after years of sacrificing to get there.  Their relationship has come through sacrifice and struggle.  I can't "gift" the strength of my relationship any more than I can "gift" my testimony of Jesus Christ to someone else.  You have to get your own - and that my friend, is W.O.R.K.  

A huge shout out to my partner in crime for all the years of love and support - here's to the next 33 - may we live that long - and to all the happiness that will come with it!  It really does just get better and better and better.  Love you babe!



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chocolate Layered Dessert

Another great recipe I have been making for over 30 years.  Sorry I forgot to post this sooner.  Super easy and so, so good!

Crust:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Blend and press into a 9X13" pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool at least 10 minutes.

Cream Cheese Layer:

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 large Cool Whip
Beat all together and spread on cooled crust.

Pudding layer:

1 large box instant chocolate pudding
Mix with 2 3/4 cup milk.  Beat for 5 minutes and spread over cream cheese layer. 

Top with remaining Cool Whip and spread with chopped pecans or grated chocolate.

Best if made the day before.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Incredibly Blessed.....



I am feeling so incredibly blessed right now.  Last night I had an experience I will never forget.  One of my clients was recently diagnosed with cancer and has been undergoing chemo treatments, soon to begin radiation.  I was devastated by when I heard the news as I was touched by how humble and Christ-like he is.  I truly learned to love their family while we worked together (about a year).  I was desirous to do something to make Christmas a little brighter for him and his family.  I worked with his parents to assess needs and did a little sub-for-Santa.  I delivered the presents to his dad so I would not be discovered (after all, that is half the fun!).  I did, however, want them to know that I care deeply for them and was praying for a full recovery - and so, I prepared a Christmas dinner for their family.  What surprised me was how I felt after making that delivery.  I feel so humbled - so completely overwhelmed by God's goodness in my life.  My client is in a wheelchair, having (hopefully only temporarily) lost use of his foot - making him unable to walk.  He has lost his hair, but not his gentleness nor his Christ-like attitude.  They are living in humble circumstances, and while I am not "rich", I am SO blessed.  I cannot stop thinking about how hard life is for so many.  The last nearly 3 years have been emotionally hard for me and certainly years of humbling growth, but nothing prepared me for how I am feeling right now.  I cannot even find the words to express it.  

My desire was to hopefully allow my client a few moments of forgetting - a little taste of joy.  A day to forget about the cancer and share the love of the Savior with his sweet family.  I hope that I have done that, but I was not prepared for the overwhelming gratitude I am feeling right now for all of my blessings.  I have an amazing family, both immediate and extended.  I have a comfortable home and a nice car.  I am warm, I have good food on my table, I do not really lack for anything.  I have a knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan for me and understand to a small degree the gift of the atonement.  I have a job that allows me to provide good income for myself and my family. Money is power - not in a greedy sense, but in that it allows us to bless others - and I am grateful to be on that side of things for now (I also know that can change in an instant).  

I also recently learned that my mother's kidneys are failing and the doctors are giving her 2-3 years.  That was initially devastating news, but I have come to realize what a blessing that is too.  I will no longer think I can say that or do that tomorrow - as we may not have tomorrow.  We all know that, but it creates a real shift when you it gets spelled out like that.  My mother is the glue that holds our family together.  She has touched countless numbers of lives and will continue to do so - she just can't help herself - it is who she is.  I am grateful and privileged to have her as my mother.  AND, sad as I am, grateful for the paradigm shift that this grants me.

I was given a "gratitude" journal from the Relief Society (our women's organization at church) for my birthday and am excited to list 3 things each day that I am thankful for - I have "intended" for years to do that.  

The one thing I know for sure is that I have been far more blessed by my visit last night than my clients' family was. I feel immensely grateful for every little thing.  To my friends and family who are reading this - thank you for touching my life - each one of you influence who I am - some in a small way, others in a very big, life-changing way.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and hoping we will all pause for a moment in the hustle and bustle of the holidays to count our many blessings and have a desire to bless those around us - it may change your life forever..... 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Norwegian Bread

2 cups milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar     
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cardamom

Scald milk, add other ingredients and cool.  When lukewarm add 1 pkg dry yeast.  Add 4 cups sifted flour. Beat until smooth; put in large buttered bowl.; cover; let rise to double in bulk (about 2 1/2 hours).  Then stir in 5 cups sifted flour.  Turn out on a floured board and knead until elastic.  Knead in 1 cup raisins and 1 cup chopped nuts.  Knead these in a little at a time.  Replace in buttered bowl; cover and let double.  Knead down; divide in 3 portions, shape and put in greased bread pans.  Cover; let double and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Yield: 3 loaves.

NOTE:  My grandmother used to make this every Christmas.  It is divine when toasted and buttered.  Brings back lost of memories for me.  My dad makes it every year now.  Since I have lots of Norwegian blood in me—this is a fun tradition for us!  Hope you will enjoy it yourself!

*************************
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

*************************



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Is My Favorite!

It has taken me FOREVER to get pics up of my Christmas decorating.  First I had to get a new camera, then I couldn't figure out how to get the pics to my computer (thanks honey!), and then just the normal December chaos!  Christmas is my very favorite time of year and I love everything about it.  The decorating, the baking, the gift giving, the Sub-For-Santa, the family gatherings.....  Hoping you are all getting into the spirit of things and loving the wonderful awe of it all.  May God's blessings be with you and your families.  



My new Willow Tree nativity piece

Funky funnel tree








Part of my "paper nativitiy" - new this year





My "Charlie Brown tree"






My new-this-year Wisemen pic





The full "paper nativity"




































































advent calendar I made this year


















May your 2014 be filled with joy and happiness!