Monday, December 9, 2013

List of Three: Christmas Tradition

Hello, Readers!!

We hope you haven't forgotten about us, even though it may seem like we've forgotten about you.  As we mentioned several months ago, our real lives were keeping us increasingly busy.  Just what was keeping us busy, you ask?  Well, for starters, we both had babies!  Michelle added a new little guy to her family in August, and I welcomed a little girl in October.  As if that weren't enough, Michelle and her family recently moved several hundred miles.  On top of that, we had our regular family responsibilities, jobs, church stuff, and everything else that goes along with living.

Celebrating Christmas with new family members has given us both a chance to reflect a little bit on family traditions, which are part of what make the holiday season so magical.  We thought we'd take this chance to share with you some of our personal favorite traditions.

1 - Advent Calendar.  Mr. W and I both had Advent calendars like this growing up, and we decided to make our own a few years ago (long before our daughter made her appearance).  As children, we looked forward to adding a new piece to the nativity scene each day; as adults, we still enjoy it!  It took us close to two years to make this calendar — not because it's particularly hard, but because we were inconsistent in spending the time to do it — and we are so glad to have it completed now.  We have it hanging in a place of honor on the inside of our front door.

2 - Petal Roll for Christmas Breakfast.  This is a tradition from Mr. W's family.  A petal roll is a Danish pastry that is basically a gigantic cinnamon roll.  We put it together on Christmas Eve and then bake it up Christmas morning after opening our stockings.  It's simple, delicious, and a great way to spend time together on Christmas Eve — we have contests to see who can roll the longest "snake" of dough.  Food is such an integral part of Christmas, and I have been happy to adopt this tradition from my husband's family!

Image Source
3 - Andy Griffith Christmas Episode.  I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show, and my family always watches the Christmas episode at least once during the Christmas season; sometimes we'd put it on while decorating the tree, sometimes we'd watch it on Christmas Eve, and sometimes we'd just watch it on a random night.  Although our little girls is still too tiny to appreciate it, I look forward to sharing this holiday gem with her as she gets older.  If you haven't seen it, it's well worth the time to find and watch with your family!

1. Christmas stories. I remember fondly unpacking the Christmas decorations and finding the "Christmas Books" at my Mom's house. These books were so special because they were only brought out during Christmas time. I've started my own Christmas Book library for our kids and I just recently found the box {it was one of the two out of five Christmas boxes that we actually have with us - the rest of the boxes are in storage at Ryan's parents} The Christmas book library favorites, so far, "The Polar Express", "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" & "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".

2. Advent. I've done a few different Advents through my childhood and Mr. S & I are still trying different ones to see which one fits. One that my father has always done and keeps doing for the grandkids is the chocolate advent. You can't go wrong with a little bit of chocolate every night. One that Mr. S & I have been trying out this year is one that I found on Pinterest. Sadly the original pin is just the picture so I don't know where it originates from, but I LOVE it!!
Click here for the Pinterest link

As you read each scripture {that has a matching picture to go with it in the Gospel Art Kit} you color in an ornament on the tree. What I love the most about this advent is it's not just the nativity story it's the story of Christ. His birth, life, miracles, death & resurrection. It's wonderful. It is LDS based and uses Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon & Doctrine & Covenants.
  3. Holiday Baking. I'm not a big winter-season lover. Everyone who knows me well knows that I'm not too thrilled with the first snow fall, but I do love that I can turn my oven on without a second thought. I love the smell of homemade bread, sugar cookies, gingerbread, etc. Every year we make our neighbors edible gifts. We make something very similar to this. It's buttery, sugary and you can eat the entire table full that it makes! Besides the sweet smells that fill your house while you bake I also enjoy the time you can take with your loved ones while you do it. It's something that both my oldest baby S and I enjoy doing together.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

You've Had a Birthday...

...Shout HOORAY!!

Today is our dear Michelle's birthday!!!  Many, many people — including me — are all the better because she was born.  Please join me in wishing her the happiest, luckiest, funnest year yet!!

Happy Birthday, Michelle!  We love you!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nan in 30

Nan is 30 today. Yep we are both officially old ....just kidding {to those of you who are over thirty}. It's kind of odd so say you are thirty, who would have thought we would be 30 year olds?!? I still feel 15 really and when I was 15 I felt I should be 30 because being an adult is soooooooooooo much better than being a teenager *sigh* so naive.
Well although I feel that I've known Nan for all thirty years of her life I have actually only been in the picture for only a mere 17 years {yes I'm being sarcastic}. What I've learned this year that, to me, makes the 17 years I've known Nan even more meaningful is that through little events that we call life there was a chance there might not have been a Nan & Michelle - gasp - it's true. I learned that at the end of seventh grade {when we met} Nan was thinking of homeschooling with her cousin and it wasn't until I walked in that she changed her mind.....okay I'm giving myself waaaaay too much credit.....but we started our friendship and Nan and her parents decided not to home school. A decision that I am so grateful for.
My life without Nan is too scary to think about.....there is just a void, darkness, confusion, no one to watch the royal wedding with.......bah! I can't think about it!

So something I remember about Nan's parties are the games we would play. So for her virtual 30th birthday about playing a game?

It's called: Nan in 30
You have thirty seconds to describe Nan. You can use nouns, verbs, adjectives, locations, movies, books, songs, etc. But you cannot use the words: Nan, Nancy, Bug or "rhymes with Shmancy" in your list. It's pretty much like Taboo, but with the name of a person you know and a much shorter timer.

Press play to start the timer and write down as many things as you can think of to describe Nan and leave it in the comments. Wouldn't that be awesome if we had 30 comments for this game?!?

Alright! Here is your timer, press play and GO!

Alright I will go first with my list and then you share yours!

hates beans. American Duos.
good listener.Anne of Green Gables. Pride & prejudice.
blue eyes. NKOTB. Beatles. Beatles juke box bank. place mats. turn tables. sleep overs. Titanic.
Phew! There are sooooo many things I could add to that list, but not enough mats?!? It's random and true! That and trying to type out "Tan Thy White Self Parties" with seconds to's hard.  Make sure to share your list!!!


Friday, March 15, 2013

A Blast from the {Reading} Past

Michelle and I both love reading  and we have "to-read" lists a mile long on Goodreads.  There's nothing quite like the thrill of a new book: the feeling of the pages, the smell, the anticipation.  As wonderful as a new book is, though, it can be even better to revisit an old favorite.  A truly favorite book is like a best friend; you may be apart for years, but the familiarity and love is still there.  Both of us recently took the time to re-read the books which we have claimed as our favorites for years, wondering if our "old friends" would be as wonderful as we'd remember...

Image via Goodreads

Oh, this book.  How I love, love this book.  I first came to know Anne Shirley when I was little, watching the movies on TV.  I received the complete series — all EIGHT books — for Christmas one year and I think I read all of them in seventh grade.  Ever since then, I have always proclaimed Anne of Green Gables to be my favorite book.  Other books have been added to my favorites list, of course, but Anne has always stayed firm.  When I picked it up again a few months ago, I wondered if I would still love it or if I would have outgrown the antics of "Anne with an E".  To my delight, I loved it just as much as I did when I was twelve.  I told Mr. W that I should read it with a highlighter so that I could underline all of my favorite passages.  Anne has to be one of the most winning characters ever written.  I love her wit and wisdom, and I loved watching her evolve from an awkward little girl to a confident, capable woman.  The other characters — Matthew, Marilla, Diana, Gilbert, Rachel Lynde — are all as warm and wonderful as I'd remembered.  In many ways, the people in this book are as real to me as any I've known in person.  I truly believe that Anne Shirley and I are "kindred spirits".

Image  via Google
Michelle — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Growing up I always had a large book shelf in my room. First it was filled full of picture books, Berenstein Bears, Mother Goose, etc. As I got older the rotation changed to Nancy Drew Files, Little House on the Prarie and Anne of Green Gables. One day I found this book on my shelf and since my Dad was raised in Brooklyn, NY I decided to read it...yep the critical thinking of a 12 year old! I ate the whole book up. I remember loving it, laughing, sympathizing, etc and have said it was my "Favorite" from then on. I'm not a big re-reader of books mainly because the list of books I need to read for the first time is waaaay too long. Well I decided to break my habit and re-read this one again. I read it. I closed it. I wondered, "Why is this my favorite again?" Yep. I didn't find it as engaging, thrilling or thought provoking as I claimed it to be when I was 12. Here is my theory: I was 12 when I read it. The main character is 12. I think at the time I was on her same level of thinking/emotions/etc. Now reading it as a grown's still a good story, but I don't really identify with it anymore {plus I think the weightier subject matter went over my head as a 12 year old and this time around I got it}. *Sigh* Even though I didn't find my re-read as fulfilling as I wanted it to be, it was still nice to go back and re-read & revisit, in a way, my childhood. To make sure I still loved some of the books I grew up with I re-read Daddy Long Legs, it was great!

And now, a She Said announcement...
You have probably noticed that we haven't been posting very much lately.  We are both doing well and we're certainly still friends, but we are BUSY!  Real life is demanding more of our time and leaving us less freedom to contribute to our dear blog here.  We will continue to update content occasionally, but our posts will be less frequent than before.  We hope you will understand and will continue reading She Said, even if there's not as much new stuff. :)


Friday, February 8, 2013

For the Love of: Pinterest

February, the month of love! This month we are going to focus on those little things in life that we LOVE.
Like Pinterest. Ah, Pinterest. Mr. S will always make jokes that it's my "pinography". I love it. I can't deny it. Going on and finding that awesome pin for an amazing craft, fabulous household tip or the drool worthy picture of what you hope to be cooking one day, Pinterest offers a bevy of ideas for the crafter, cook, reader, art lover, etc.
In honor of our love for Pinterest Nan & I will share with you 3 out of the gazillion pins we love a lot:

Tidy Mom's Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal!
Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal pan
{photo by Tidy Mom}
I cannot tell you how many mornings this has been made for breakfast, but I can tell you that a full batch lasts about two...possibly three breakfasts. Baby S is a big oatmeal fan and this is most requested in the mornings. I don't blame him, it tastes like a cookie, but with only a 1/4c Sugar it makes it a guilt-free breakfast option. Thank you Tidy Mom, this has been a well used Pin.

My Kitchen Table Pin Board
Pinned Image
{Photo Credit: Google}
That is one of the things that I love about Pinterest is being able to plan. I wish it had been around for my wedding, when we bought our first house, etc. You can create boards for future ideas/hopes/plans and when the future becomes the present, all of your "I Want/Need/Wishes" are in one place where they can't be forgotten. I come from an Italian family and the kitchen table is a very important place. We are currently enjoying a Bi-Mart $100 table & chairs special that is starting to show that it won't be around very much longer. The next table we get I want to really invest in. Something that lasts a long time & everyone can fit around. I have a board dedicated to kitchen tables and I know that I'm not alone in this quest for the "perfect fit" because I have quite a few fellow kitchen table lovers that follow the board.

Handy Dandy Advice

{Photo Credit: Dan Pearce from Single Dad Laughing}
There is quite a bit of advice out there. The best way to clean your towels, 150 ways to use hydrogen peroxide, quick hair up-do's, etc. I've used quite a few of the tips I've pinned and some have worked out really well like, how to bring butter & eggs to room temperature quickly by My Baking Addiction and some not so well like spraying brown sugar in my hair and letting dry to straighten it with out heat {my hair felt sugary and it wasn't straight}. My latest handy dandy advice article that I read was this one from Single Dad Laughing it was really insightful and made me laugh.

Pinterest Love Honorary Mention: I feel like I've been dressing better. I wish I had all the outfits that I've pinned in my closet, but I think I'm getting some great ideas {staying away from mom jeans}. In fact, I was out and a friend told me, "You look so cute. You look like an outfit off of Pinterest" I loved it!!

Baking Tip!
Image from The Pink Peony of Le Jardin

This baking tip from The Pink Peony of Le Jardin changed my life!!  You may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.  It's so simple: when making bread, set your bowl or pan on top of an electric heating pad during the rising time.  Your dough will rise faster!!  I love baking, but I've often struggled with getting my dough to rise like it should.  Maybe my kitchens have always been too drafty or something.  I don't know why I never thought of this before, but I use my heating pad almost every time I make bread now.  I usually bake some freezer rolls to go with our Sunday dinner, and they can be ready for oven in jiff when I use my heating pad.  I don't want to sound melodramatic here, but seriously: grateful for Pinterest just because of this pin alone!

Perfect Pasta
Image from Skinny Taste

I think everybody and their dog pinned this recipe at some point -- Cajun Chicken Pasta from skinnytaste.  I finally made this a few months ago and it is divine!  I love, love, love this pasta.  It's packed with flavor and vegetables -- how can you go wrong?  There's some prep time involved -- lots of veggies to slice up -- but it doesn't take too long and is well worth the effort.

Recipe runner-up: Skinny Texas Cheese Fries, also from  Make them.  Love them.  Again and again.

Image from
(And the story of my life...seriously)

I have an entire board of things that I like or things that make me laugh, like this little gem.  If I'm having a tough day or I'm in a bad mood, I look through the pins on this board and I feel so much better.

What are your favorite pins?


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy 2013!

Hello, blog readers!  We haven't dropped off the planet; we've just been busy with families, holidays, traveling, and working.  We hope to be back to our regular posting schedule soon, but in the meantime, here's a great how-to post about New Year's resolutions, straight from our archives!!

It's about that time of year that we start to make new resolutions for the new year!I found this while reading a magazine & immediately tore the page out so I could keep it. I've held on to it for four years now and use it whenever I want to set new goals, make new resolutions, set priorities or just figure out what the heck I want!

You Need: A pencil, a paper, a watch/timer and your personal calendar.
You are only allowed three minutes per answer because you don't want to overthink your answers. Write down whatever pops into your mind first. You are looking for bullets, not paragraphs
You should go through this process often. Today's answers might not be next months.
Again, there are no limits or boundaries. Write down whatever comes to your mind, personal or professional as large or small as you imagine.

1. Spend three minutes listing items to answer this question: " By the end of my life, what do I want to have done?"
2. Spend three minutes listing items to answer this question: "By one year from today, what do I want to have done?"
3. Spend three minutes listing items to answer this question: " I just found out I have 30 days to live. What do I want to have experienced in this last month of my life?"
4. Circle the three most important items to you from each of the first three steps. Combine repeated item answers into a single goal.
5. List your top three goals for Steps 1, 2 & 3. You may have fewer than nine goals after combining duplicates into one goal. Now, look at your schedule for the coming week. For each goal you listed, make time on next week's calendar to take a specific action toward accomplishing that coal. Write down the action you will take and specific day & time when you will spend at least an hour working on it.
Goal: ___________________
Action: ___________________
Day/Time: _____________________
6. Be realistic. If you can't easily think of an action to take or don't want to spend an hour to move forward on it, then cross that goal off your list.
7. Now you have your final list of your most important goals, an action to propel you toward each goal and a specific time to take that action. If you crossed a goal off the final list, don't be concerned. It probably wasn't that important to you. (or isn't the biggest priority for right now)
Take a look at the list of all the goals still left. Study it. Search for broader themes about what you want to do next. What do these goals say about who you really are and what you want? Take a wide view of your goals so you can complete the following sentence:
What I want next is........

Sadly I don't have the author's name to this process, but it's taken from the book What I Want Next: 30 Minutes to Reveal Your Future (

Update, January 2013: The author is Cathy Bonner.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Like Christmas In a Cup

Steamers! Hot Chocolate's overlooked cousin. I love steamers. Also called "Hot Cows", a steamer is a hot drink of steamed milk with a flavoring of your choosing. Last winter the local coffee hut made bank on me and my adoration for this creamy, warm, seasonal drink. I thought that making my own steamer was impossible without an espresso machine and it's steaming wand. After a few google searches and articles on foam for cappuccino....the possibility of making steamers at home without an expensive Italian machine was made possible. Enjoy!

Put a cup of milk in a jar that has a lid, like a mason jar. You want the milk cold and you don't want to fill the jar up to the top. You need room in there to shake it.

Shake the jar for 30-45 seconds to get some nice foamy bubbles. Look at the picture, do you see the foam layer & the milk layer....that is what you want! Take off the lid & microwave the milk for 2 minutes or less {if you don't like it as hot as I do}

Pour the milk into the mug holding back the foam with a spoon {I like foam so I just pour it all in}.
 Dispense the flavored syrup of your choice. I really like Toranio syrups. They come in a gazillion flavors. They can be a bit spendy. I would suggest Cash & Carry and World Market for a good selection at a good price.
You don't want to over do the syrup. A little goes a long way. I would put in a teaspoon at first and add a little more to taste. If you have one of those blue toppers {what is the technical term for that anyways?} "draw" two circles in your cup.

I added a bit of pumpkin pie spice to the top or cinnamon would be yummy too. I was going for a pumpkin pie cupcake flavor - delish!!

Hint: Wash out the milk jar immediately. It's alot easier to clean!!!

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