Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting & Holiday Sprinkles are made from Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix and Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. You can also add 3 tablespoons Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder to the cake batter for added chocolate flavor if you like. The cupcakes taste great, but also look great thanks to the beautiful cupcake liners.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."

— Alexander Graham Bell

Holiday Tip of The Day

Keep up regular workouts.

During the holidays people are even more pressed for time as they prepare for events, parties, gift giving, and more. Many regular exercisers temporarily throw in the towel, telling themselves they’ll start back up after the New Year. DON'T DO IT!!!

Now is not the time for towel throwing! Exercise can help you deal with stress and rev up your metabolism to help fight off those extra calories. Try using resistance exercises that work large muscle groups, elevate metabolism, and burn more calories giving you more bang for buck.

I have figured out that I can eat all the holiday crap I want......if I then exercise it off! So I make the commitment that If I'm going to indulge then I have also committed to exercise! And please.....I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.....Zion National Park.....so it is a little easier for me to get out every day and enjoy the beauty and a do a walk/run of at least 3 or 4 miles. If I have really gone overboard with pastas and rice (white food is my enemy) then I up it to 5 miles! Just sayin..................

Cranberry Ice-Cream Pie

This fanciful treat adds a refreshing finale to the standard holiday spread. Plus, it's an ideal dessert to make a day or two ahead.

9-inch chocolate crumb pie shell
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 cups whipped topping
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Chill the pie shell in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Place the softened ice cream, cranberry sauce, and orange juice in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well blended.
Spoon the filling into the chilled shell and freeze the pie until firm (4 hours or more). Next, spread the whipped topping over the ice cream layer and sprinkle on the almonds. Cover the pie and return it to the freezer. Allow the pie to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing it. Serves 8.

Easy Ice-cream Pie

For a holiday treat, make pie with your favorite green ice cream.


1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers or chocolate wafers
5 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 quart pistachio or mint chip ice cream
1/2 cup hot fudge sauce
red and green candies


Place 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers or chocolate wafers into a 9-inch pie pan.
Stir in 5 tablespoons of melted butter, then press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan.
Freeze for 30 minutes.
Fill with 1 quart pistachio or mint chocolate chip ice cream, layer on 1/2 cup hot fudge sauce, top with 2 cups whipped cream, and sprinkle with red and green candies.
Freeze before slicing and serving.


Christmas Tree Circles

A chip off the old block, these wooden ornaments preserve the piney memories of Christmases past.

I love the idea of putting a cute photo on each one of these and especially a cute photo of Nana and that special grandchild!


Pine disk
Copper wire
Ribbon trim or cord
Artificial greenery and berries optional
Marker or craft paint


Saw a cross section from the bottom of your Christmas tree trunk before putting it into its stand for decorating (a parent's job). Alternately, you can saw a smaller piece from the middle after the holidays are over. This is your pine disk.

Wrap a length of thin wire around the pine disk and twist it into a loop at the top for hanging. Tie on a ribbon, glue on some trim, or add greenery, berries, or other decorations.
Write the year across the front with a marker or craft paint. If the wood surface is too rough, sand it down a bit before writing.

For an extra remembrance, glue on a fun Christmas-morning snapshot before you store the ornaments away for next year.

Crunchy Sesame Candy

Brown sugar and honey make these Asian candies an irresistibly sweet gift, especially when they're tucked into small, colorful boxes (sold in most craft stores) or paper jewelry boxes.

1 cup sesame seeds (about 6 ounces)
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey


Generously coat two large sheets of waxed paper with cooking spray. In a medium skillet, toast the sesame seeds over medium-low heat, stirring often, until they're fragrant and golden, 5 to 7 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and honey. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes (because melted sugar can get quite hot, this is a step best left to parents). Add the sesame seeds to the sugar and stir well with a wooden spoon.

Place one sheet of the waxed paper on a work surface, greased-side up. Scrape the mixture onto the paper and top it with the remaining sheet of waxed paper, greased-side down. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture into a square about 1/4 inch thick (a great job for kids).

Remove the top sheet of paper and cut the candy into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife. Let the candy cool completely. Break apart the pieces and store them in an airtight container at room temperature until you're ready to package them. Makes about twenty-four 1-inch squares.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my daddy who is in heaven.

How can it be that he would have been 83 today!

Where have the years gone?

I love you daddy ....I know we will be together again someday!

The Joy of Sewing

There isn't anything I love more than sewing special gifts for my grandchildren. I love making each and every item so personal for each child. This is our sweet new baby River.

This is River's Christmas blanket and I was so excited to find fabric with penguins.

Of course, I had to make a matching burp cloth.

This is the other cute birdie blanket and matching burp cloths.

Christmas Cupcakes

Be creative with your Holiday cupcakes this year!
Almost too cute to eat.

Please visit my most favorite cupcake site on the web here:

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's A Brooke Day!

When I went into town today to attend the Temple and do very little "black Friday" shopping I took the camera along and figured I could play tourist too. It is still late fall here in the heart of Dixie (that's what we call southern Utah) and the temperatures have been amazingly warm as it was close to 70 degrees today. This is probably my last opportunity to catch the beautiful fall foliage.

These photos are of the Brigham Young home all dressed up for the holiday.

This is the east lawn and you can see why there are always lots of engagement and family photos taken here.

So gorgeous and so festive!

The grounds are covered with many different varieties of trees.

This is the house next door and when my children were little this was one of the day cares that they attended. We all loved this home so much and I can still remember them playing out back and I would love going to have lunch with them here. Oh...so many years ago.

This is the history on this beautiful old home.

This home sits kitty cornered from the Brigham Young home and is now a bed and breakfast.

It is the Seven Wives Inn.

Yes........I know. Brigham Young had many many wives....that's no secret!

This is the St. George Tabernacle and is located just down the street from the previous homes. It is still used today for many concerts and programs.

This the very first High School in St. George and is now a Arts and Recreational Center.

The St. George Temple captured through some awe inspiring fall foliage.

There was alot going on here today as the traditional Temple Lighting ceremony is tonite!

The beautiful nativity polished and ready for everyone to ooh and awe at!

Lots of seating..........but it is never enough. People come from all over for this very traditional and spiritual event.

This is the church house across from the Temple that we attended for a really long time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I Am Most Thankful For

Tomorrow I will be attending the Temple and it is by far one of my most cherished blessings. Just look at this beautiful and majestic vision. It brings tears to my eyes because of it's very special meaning to me.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to partake of it's meaning and the many ways it gives me to serve the Lord and all those that surround me.

I love the beauty of the Temple and especially all the splendor of the holiday lighting and the "Nativity" that are on the Temple grounds this time of year. It gives me the opportunity to ponder on holidays past and especially those that involve the past Temple lighting ceremonies. I have wonderfully warm and fuzzy memories of when my girls were little and we would attend this event every year.

Often times the girls would sing in the choirs on the Temple lawn and then in the days to follow we would take in the Christmas movie in the old visitors center, "Mr. Krugers Christmas". If you have never seen this movie .....well.....it's a classic for sure, starring Jimmy Stewart and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Ahhhh........the sweet melancholy memories of the past! I hold them so very very dear and so close to my heart! Now it is time to make these sweet memories with my grandchildren.

I am so very thankful for all my many blessings especially my two wonderful daughters and their sweet husbands who are so good to me. I am CRAZY about my seven grandchildren! Each one of them are so very special in their own loving and unique way. I am so very thankful for my mother who is my very best friend in the world. She is my everything!

I am thankful for my job and how I love coming to work everyday! How many of us can really say that? I am thankful for my church family, my friends, my neighbors and my co-workers.

I am most thankful for my love of the gospel and how it makes me feel inside. I am so grateful that I continue to feel the love of my Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ every waking moment of my life.

There are some things that I have no answers to ...but I know that my Heavenly Father has a plan for me and I must accept that he knows best. So at times when I get confused or discouraged I hurry off to the Temple to find the peace and the answers that I know are waiting for me there.

Happy Turkey Time

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Whisk You A Merry Kissmas

The "We Whisk You A Merry Kissmas" craft is a sweet surprise for the chocolate lover in your life! A homemade Christmas gift, it's easy enough for children to make and give.

Makes a great teacher gift, stocking stuffer or office Secret Santa present.

To make your "Kissmas Whisk", place a handful of foil-wrapped chocolate kiss candies between the tines of a new kitchen whisk.

Wrap whisk bottom with plastic food storage wrap and tape wrap to handle.

Add a pretty bow or ribbon, and attach a copy of our free printable Kissmas Whisk gift tag for a simple stocking stuffer or 12 Days of Christmas gift.

Get the cute gift tag here: http://christmas.organizedhome.com/printable/gift-tags/whisk-you-merry-kissmas

You've Been Elf-ed


Have you been Elf-ed? Join the fun with this Christmas version of the Halloween BOO game.

Sometimes called "You've Been Jingled", "You've Been Elf-ed!" is easy to play.

Sometime before Christmas, one neighbor starts the game, secretly leaving a basket of treats together with an Elf sign and Elf poem explaining how to play the game.

Ring the doorbell and run! It's the best part of You've Been Elf-ed!

In turn, each recipient is asked to post the sign to alert would-be Elves that they've been Elf-ed, and to pass the game along to two more friends or neighbors.

As the days pass, Elf signs pop up all over. Who's been Elf-ed? It's all part of the fun to see holiday cheer spread from door to door.

Will you join the Christmas fun? Look out ... You've Been Elf-ed!

To get the cute printable poems and signs visit here:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homemade Necklace Holder

Seriously! How cute are these? Everyone has been talking about this new website called pinterest so today when my friend Cassy came to work she showed me these.

We both LOVE necklaces and between the two of us....we have a ton! So, she has been looking for a more functional way to display her necklaces and found this on the www.pinterest.com website.

I am loving this one.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Old Fashion Turkey Pot Pie

Very soon we will all have leftover turkey and will be needing some "leftover" ideas.

Who doesn't love a freshly baked pot pie?

Two 9-inch pie crusts

2 T. onion, chopped

1 to 2 t. oil

2 c. cooked turkey, cubed

2 c. frozen mixed vegetables,thawed

10 and 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup (one can)

1/2 c. milk

Line a 9" pie plate with one pie crust; set aside. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in oil until slightly soft. Stir in turkey,vegetables, soup and milk; pour into pie crust. Cover with remaining crust; crimp edges and cut vents in top crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Serves 6.

For more fun and easy recipes please visit the gooseberry website here

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

One of my all time favorite cookies and oh so easy to make

36 HERSHEY®'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 pouch Betty Crocker® Peanut Butter Cookie Mix
Granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
Stir cookie mix, oil, water and egg in a medium bowl until soft dough forms.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into the center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3 dozen cookies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cranberry Salsa

I’m going to share a secret with you that I rarely share.

It is one of Culinary Crafts’ most popular items for the holidays and is requested year after year by our clients. It is my Cranberry Salsa which we serve with our fabulous Roast Turkey. The reason I don’t share the recipe is because it is simply too easy and guests will not believe this unique and delicious twist on traditional cranberry sauce could be only 2 ingredients which you can pick up at any store. ... Mary Crafts-Homer

Take 1 jar of your favorite salsa and 1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce (not the cranberry jelly). Mix them together in a bowl and voila! “Cranberry Salsa”!!! It keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks so it’s a quick thing to make ahead for your Thanksgiving celebration.

Mary is a local Utah "Gem" please visit her here and sign up for her recipe of the month!

Visions Of Sugarplums

I love searching the Bronner's website this time of year or any time of year for that fact. This little gem has been in business since 1945 and they are located in Frankemuth, Michigan. I would just love to be able to be here in person and just spend all day cruising up and down the aisles.


Bronner's was founded in 1945 by Wally Bronner. When Wally painted his first sign over 50 years ago, little did he dream that his small business would one day become the world's largest Christmas store visited by millions of people. This store spans one and a half football fields.

The joy of Christ's birth is celebrated all year at Bronner's - whose motto is:"Enjoy CHRISTmas, It's HIS birthday; Enjoy Life, It's HIS way."

I have never actually ordered anything........I know........shocker, but please visit their website here: http://www.bronners.com/store.cfm