***I'm determined to catch up on cataloging our family's events this year. Be ready for outdated posts galore!


My Girl

words can't describe how this picture makes me feel.
i became a mom
three years ago
and this little girl changed my life forever.




Cook-Blog-Share: Chicken Enchiladas

we tend to eat mexican food about 3 times a week at our house - quesadillas, chicken tacos, tostadas, white chili or taco soup... the list goes on and on.  i love mexican food. it's easy, its fast, and its basic. so i made these enchiladas on sunday and dan told me they rank higher than roast and mashed potatoes in his book.  the sauce comes from my mother in-law and i believe a fellow teacher at her school told her which cheese to use.  i came up with a chicken mixture we love and there you have it - "the best enchiladas i've ever had", according to kamber! i don't have a written recipe so i will try and be as accurate as possible with amounts but alter it how your family would like it.

Chicken Enchiladas

2 cans (10oz) tomato soup
1 can el pato sauce
12-16 oz muenster cheese, shredded
1 can diced green chilis
2-3 cups shredded chicken
about a dozen corn tortillas (I use white corn)

Whisk together tomato soup and about 3/4 of the el pato sauce. Set aside. Combine chicken and green chilies. Set aside.  Preheat oven and use nonstick spray on a 9x13 pan. Dip a tortilla into sauce mixture, coating both sides. Then place desired amount of chicken mixture (1/4 cup or less?) into the center and sprinkle with cheese. Roll firmly and place edge side down in the pan (after spreading a few spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom). Repeat until chicken and cheese are gone or pan is full. Spread any remaining sauce evenly over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly and edges and browning.  Garnish with shredded lettuce and sour cream.

Notes: These are SO good.You can find the El Pato by the authentic Mexican ingredients (or whatever that isle is called in the grocery store).  It adds flavor to the tomato sauce and is quite spicy.  Experiment with the taste - 1/2 can is probably safe with kids but I always add 3/4.  I buy blocks of muenster cheese when they are on sale.  It might seem like an unusual combination but it's very good! Muenster is a mild cheese that is the perfect texture for enchiladas when melted.  I use chicken that I cook in the crock pot all day, shred, and freeze in bags - it's cheap and easy to use.  After defrosting what I need, I dump the chilies in and stir. Putting together the enchiladas makes a mess but it's worth it.


Every Day Moments

 {december 2007}

today marks a year and a half since the plane crash.
grace and porter are now walking and running and learning to talk.
elder ellsworth will be home in just 3 months.
hannah is in her second semester of college.
kamber lives in az while she's raising porter.  {doing an awesome job, i might add!}
my mom is remarried and an empty nester.
we finished med school and are buying our first home.
a lot has happened.
has it only/already been 18 months?

time is a bizarre thing - how it seems to fly by and stand still all at once.

while i'm not at all grateful for the actual trial, i am very grateful for what it's taught me.
in both the gospel and in life.

that picture of madison and my dad {above} hangs in my room and on the frame it says,  
Everyday moments make the best memories.

so true.
i'm learning {slowly} to not take things/people for granted,
let the unimportant stuff go,
and enjoy the little things
 - like porter's smile.

{taken by kamber}


One Year Older and Wiser Too

dan turned 29 today!!

the girls 'hid' when they found out dan was on the way home from work.... until two minutes later when they got bored and kept playing with their toys.

loving on the birthday boy!

here's what dan's special day consisted of:
work in the a.m (post call)
social security office
car to the mechanic
filibertos for lunch - carne asada burrito
opened cards and a homemade gift
paperwork, loose ends, paperwork
picked up the car, $500 later plus another $300 going into this week - memorable birthday bill
dinner at cheesecake factory (via gift certificate - thank you kamber!)
lowes - looked at fencing for our new house
crashed on the floor, exhausted, by 11 p.m.

underwhelming? probably. 
but a day in the life of dan/dad/doctor.
luckily we'll celebrate again on sunday with his family and a homemade german chocolate cake.


Arizona Winters

make living through arizona summers worth it.
we enjoyed our picnic today.


What I Realized While Flying

- there are actually still people who fly 1st class.  or should i say airlines that still differentiate?  (can you tell i am a southwest airlines type of girl?).
- i get claustrophobic sitting by the window... no where to go.
- i could NEVER be a stewardess flight attendant.
- i miss diet coke. like really.
- its mildly awkward being cramped next to a middle aged man who's taking up all of your foot room.
- i feel like a peeping tom when trying to read my neighbor's newspaper over their shoulder. but secretly i hope they'll notice and hold it at a better angle so i can see without having to look over their shoulder.
- i don't care what the statistics are - i don't feel more safe flying than driving
- the best steward flight attendant ever was our overly flamboyant one on virgin airlines last year, to san fran. it made the trip... interesting. 
- i'm a people watcher. i could do it forever and not get bored. madison is the same way.
- i'm too afraid of tipping over onto the person next to me to ever fall asleep on a flight.
- i don't like the curtain separating coach and 1st class. can we say segregation? {jk, i just don't like walking to the back of the plane to use the restroom when the 1st class one is closer.}
- i would rather drive 24 hours in the car next summer, with two kids, than fly.
- it's funny to watch people racing through the airport, hanging onto their bags for dear life, as they sprint to catch their connecting flight.... until you are one of those people.

i won't laugh ever again.


Bed Head

she achieved this look all on her own - 10 hours of rolling around in her sleep.


Strawberry Milkshakes

 like grandfather... like granddaughter

today was our dad's birthday's. 
what are the chances of that?
husband and wife and both of our dad's have the same birthday.
we've always thought it's pretty fun plus it lowers the chance we'll ever forget it.

we gathered for dinner with the skinners {enchiladas - yum!), sang happy birthday, opened presents, and had cake.
in that order.
madison was the master of ceremonies so indeed, it HAD to be in that order. :)
dan {sr} got mario cart plus steering wheels for the wii.  awesome.

in memory of my dad, kamber and i made a quick trip over to applebee's.
for strawberry milkshakes.
runny - just how my dad liked them.
madison wouldn't take a single sip but grace... she couldn't get enough.

one year ago today, i wondered if every feb 16 to come would be such a hard day.
this year i am grateful our dad's birthday's.
while my dad may not be here, i still get to celebrate.

Cook-Share-Blog: Bran Muffins

this  recipe is tried and true  - i am the 3rd generation of farnsworths baking these muffins.  they are sweet and filling but contain lots of fiber and are my favorite way to start out the day. they taste even better served warm with strawberry freezer jam.  the recipe makes a HUGE batch but it keeps for weeks in the fridge. sometimes i cook a whole batch and freeze the muffins when they are finished. and my girls eat them like they're cupcakes.  let me know what you think!

30-Day Bran Muffins

4 c bran flakes
2 c All Bran
1 qt buttermilk
2 c boiling water
1 c shortening, butter, or oil
2 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
5 c flour
5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix all together- batter should be lumpy.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Batter can be kept in covered containers in refrigerator for 30 days.

Notes: I microwave water till its steaming hot.  Combine with bran and let sit for a few minutes. Then add everything else.  I have always used oil but I'm sure shortening or butter would work well also.  Any combination of flour works as well - I like to use whole wheat.  Cook closer to 15 minutes if a fresh batch, and increase baking time if batter is cold. But don't over cook - they should be moist and dense.  Enjoy!



madison found these shoes at old navy.  she tried them on for fun {mistake #1} and loved them too. i explained that we needed to put them back and that maybe we'd get them for something special {thinking about Easter down the road}. she proceeded to hug them to her chest and said, "but mom, i really, really love them!"  i laughed {mistake #2}.  madi continued to ask SO nicely, insisting she needed the shoes, that i finally gave in {mistake #3}. i guess you could call me a pushover.

V-Day 2010

i came home from a quick trip to missouri- more on that later- to find this sweet surprise. chocolates, flowers, and balloons {not pictured}. but honestly, what i was MOST excited about was this:

a spotless kitchen

mopped floors

and vacuum lines.

not only did dan take care of the girls every minute he wasn't at work, for three whole days, but he cleaned up EVERYTHING before i got home. he knows me so well.  i am grateful for a husband who very often goes the extra mile and does way more than his share around here.  

sunday was great - we spent lazy time together and had a yummy dinner. i made sugar cookies and we headed to the skinners where madison was helped by aunt lindsay and uncle scott with frosting the cookies but had full creative reign to herself when it came to the decorating. they turned out wonderfully and i am sure her three sets of great-grandparents will be very excited to get them today. :)



Cook-Share-Blog: Shoyu Chicken

this recipe is a real winner - simple, easy, fast, and delicious. {i have fallen in love with my crock pot all over again in recent months. the whole fix-it and forget-it concept is wonderful.} it comes from the bearnson's in my parents ward. without further adieu:

Shoyu Chicken*

For 6 to 9 servings:

1 1/8 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. vinegar
1 1/8 c. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. ginger {use fresh}
1 1/2 tsp. garlic
2 1/4 c. water
12-18 pieces skinless chicken thighs 
{breasts/tenders work also but thighs will be much more tender}

Put all ingredients, except chicken, in a bowl and mix.  Place chicken in a crock pot and pour sauce on top.  Cook on low heat for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with white rice {Botan is a personal favorite}.  It really is as simple as that.

*This is one of my dad's favorite recipes


V-Day Projects

i think this is SUCH a cute idea. {instructions found here.}

and here is another one i'd love to try.

but to be realistic, i probably won't get around to making it. me, crafty? nope. but at least i'll bookmark it in case one day i'm feeling ambitious. there's always next year.

and in case you want even MORE ideas, go here. i find it overwhelming - too much creativity and i struggle processing it. :)  but cute nonetheless.

It's Time

to break out the bubbly!!!

we received the good news a little before 9 PM that our offer on the house was accepted.
i just booked my ticket to st louis and am psyched to go out there later this week.
though i'd be a little more excited if dan could come.
needless to say, we are SO EXCITED.
{more info and pictures coming soon}

*cheers to being a first time home buyer!



you could say we've had a change of plans.

you know that house i posted a picture of last week?
we found a better one.
like, so much better.  
enough better that we had to jump on it 
and make an offer.
have we seen it in person?
more craziness.
we'll find out tomorrow if its accepted
and we're so excited. 
check back in to find out the news on monday!

ps. we're not as crazy as it might seem right now 
and i know i have a lot of explaining to do.


Orange You Glad

"mom, can i have an orange for lunch?"
"sure. go pick one outside and tell me if you need help."

~ a minute or two goes by ~

"MOM! can you come help me please?"
"ok, here i come."

just as i get close, madison mutters, to the orange...

"why can't you just let go of that tree!"


I Love

madison's fondness for her ya-ya's.

seeing grace enjoy her refried beans.

the loose pig that startled me as i got in the car - because i'll never be able to erase the image of dan skedaddling through the mud, in his nice works clothes, holding the pig by its hind legs {like in a wheelbarrow race}, trying to guide it through the gate. that was pre-shovel/extra help.

finally figuring out how to curl my hair -  though the chances of it happening again are slim.

how madison rode her big wheel the whole way to the park. and the fact that she picked out a rock to bring home to give to "her rocks" in our front yard.

grace's crazy cow licks and how her ponytail makes her look like pebbles flinstone.

that dan and i both want a big dog. {nash, my in-laws golden doodle}

my book worm.

and that she tries to be sneaky {by peaking around the orange tree}

how the girls ate breakfast in my bathroom this morning because i was running late and trying to multitask.

my view when madison is too tired to ride her bike.

i love this randomly eventful life of mine.



i was a sophomore in college when macy joined the family.  did you know the mall in flagstaff has a pet shop? now you do! we were driving home from rocky point and stopped at the food court for a meal. much later we left with a puppy. the cutest ever. somehow we magically convinced our parents that was the time and place to get a dog.  i remember playing the 'i-won't-ever-get-to-live-at-home-with-the puppy-which-means-i-get-to-hold-her-on-the-way-home' card. very mature, i know. and so macy's life began, an arizonan at heart, transplanted to utah like the rest of us.  it's been 7 1/2 years.

today she was hit by a car. she should be ok {fingers crossed} after surgery to fix the broken bones in one leg and a splint for the other. we'll find out more in the next day or so.  i've felt silly all day long, being so sentimental about a dog but she means a lot to my family. and she adored my dad.

several times today, madison turned to me and said, in the saddest voice ever, "macy got run over by a car..." its sad but kind of cute that she's so concerned.

i mean, if something happened to macy, who would madison feed her pretzels to?

here's to a successful surgery and speedy recovery!


Yummy In My Tummy

i'm loving these lately.
basically little pieces of fruit leather - or fruit snacks for grown ups. 
i picked them up at our local costco.

but my mom's costco carries this version.
fruit and veggie servings included. 
mmm, mmm, good.

speaking of food, i am participating in a Cook-Blog-Share event during the month of february that a friend is putting on. we post our recipes on tues and on wed go to her blog to collect recipes from everyone else. fun, huh? i can always use new ones. so here is my input this week:

Taco Soup
from LeeAnn Freeman

8 oz cooked, shredded chicken (i double this to make it nice and hearty
3 cans chicken broth
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can hominy (opt, but i think it adds color and texture)
1 c. diced onions
1 large or 2 small cans chopped green chilies
1 quart (lg can) diced tomatoes with juice
1 pkg taco mix

Heat everything together in a large pot. May add or decrease chicken broth for desired thickness. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, and tortilla chips. 

{My notes: I lightly saute the onions and then throw everything else in. Both canned and home cooked chicken work great. If I don't have one of the kinds of beans I just add an extra of something else.}

i love this recipe. it's fail proof, fast, easy, makes a TON of soup and freezes well. the one bummer is the crazy amount of sodium from all the canned food. i try to offset that with low sodium broth and home cooked chicken.  but a little salt never hurt anyone, right?


Dear House In Missouri,

we love you.
but there's a problem.
we can't get to missouri for another 8 weeks
and you're up for sale right now.
please wait for us.

sincerely pleading,
the skinners

ps- if we find something we like better
than you're off the hook.