Thursday, December 29, 2011

Perfect Dinner

A delicious dinner on a cold New Mexico winter night...Spanish rice, beans with green chile and green chile chicken tamales. Warmed us right up. Traditional Spanish rice takes a long time to cook but I use a fantastic cheater recipe...because truly, what else do I use except cheater recipes?

Pronto Spanish Rice

4 tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced or diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 cups Minute Rice (or instant rice)
2 cups hot water
2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz. each)
1 tsp salt
Dash of pepper

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper and uncooked Minute Rice. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients, and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 5 minutes.

(Note: you can use two 16 oz cans stewed tomatoes instead of the tomato sauce & water. Last night I used Rotel which added a nice little kick to it)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Those who know me well know I have a serious soft spot (ok,'s a big old crush) on a serial killer. I just finished the 5th season of Dexter and all I can say is WOW!! I was so hesitant of the Lumen (Julia Stiles) story line but she completely won me over. I cried more at the Season 5 finale than I did at the Season 4 finale (and that was a heck of a good one too) (I won't post any spoilers in case there are some of you out there that haven't watched Season 4 or Season 5 yet)....but I tell you this show in absolutely fantastic. Hands down it's in my top 5 tv shows of all time.

Monday, December 26, 2011


We had a great Christmas this year! Christmas Eve we drove down to Socorro to spend the day with my brother and his family and extended family. They had over a foot of snow still!!! The dads took all the kids sledding for a while and had a great time. The womenfolk stayed warm and snug in the house and had fun visiting and finishing up a fabulous turkey dinner. We played games, opened some presents, sang carols and had a grand old time.

Christmas morning we opened presents (Miss S is singing in the front room right now with her new karaoke machine:) and then we went to church for the Christmas program. Both Miss S and I sang with the ward choir this year - that was quite a treat for me because I normally play the piano for the choir. I think this is the first year in at least five or more years where I actually got to sing instead of play. Our friend, Becki, hung out with us Christmas Day - we had a delicious ham dinner and watched Captain America. A highlight of the day was being able to Skype with my Dad and Step mom in Fiji! They are half way around the world and it was amazing to see and talk to them for about 40 minutes with only about a 2 second delay. Technology is unbelievable.

Miss S and I planned on going shopping today but she snoozed the day away until 1:45 pm!!! Holy cow - that girl was making up for the 2 hours of sleep she got on Christmas Eve! I was up this morning for about an hour and then I went back to bed too for a nice little nap. We enjoyed left over Christmas dinner with the missionaries tonight and then made a quick run to Best Buy and Barnes & Noble for some fun stuff.

It was a wonderful long weekend. Now for a short work week this week and another three day weekend! WOOHOO!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday

This little beauty celebrated her 11th birthday yesterday. Both Hubby and I took the day off so we had a nice big breakfast, went out to lunch and had fun spending time together. I cannot believe my baby is eleven years old. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital in the middle of a snowy winter storm. She surprises me everyday with her wit, wisdom, kindness and empathy for others. Her spirit and determination are strong. I love you Miss S!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Hubby loves to take homemade treats for his coworkers for Christmas...this year I tried out a new recipe and absolutely LOVED it!! Though I don't know if you could quite call it a "recipe" as it just involved putting a couple things together:) I found the recipe on Pinterest.

Rolo Pretzel Bites (pictured in the bottom right corner of the container)

Big bag of Rolo candies

Bag of pretzels (little squares look great)

Bag of Pecan halves

All you do is lay the pretzels on a baking sheet Top each pretzel with an unwrapped Rolo candy.
Bake in the oven at 250*F for 4-5 minutes (no longer). When you remove them from the oven, the Rolo will still be in the same shape as when it went in the oven. Place a pecan half on top of the Rolo and press down a bit. Place the entire baking sheet in the freezer for about 5-7 minutes to allow the Rolo to cool. Remove from freezer and enjoy! Or place in a container to enjoy later.

I also made my tried and true fudge recipe. I've been making this fudge every Christmas for about 18 years. It is absolutely delicious and another one of those super easy cheater recipes.

Raesha's Double Decker Fudge (pictures in the cupcake liner in the top right corner)

1 cup Peanut Butter Chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk), divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
1 cup Chocolate Chips or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Line 8-inch square pan with foil. Place peanut butter chips and 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; spread evenly in prepared pan. Place remaining sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips in another small microwave-safe bowl; repeat above microwave procedure. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; spread evenly over peanut butter layer. Cover; refrigerate until firm. Remove from pan; place on cutting board. Peel off foil. Cut into squares. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. About 4 dozen pieces or 1-1/2 pounds. NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe.

Both of these recipes are SO easy and SO delicious!! Enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Crafting

One of the things I love most about Christmas is all the crafting I get to, ornaments, scarves, decorations. I love it all. I made some of these last night while watching a UFO documentary with hubby. The crafting was fun but the documentary was pretty boring. I got the frames and paper from Hobby Lobby and I ordered the vinyl from GroopDealz. On my schedule this week is Christmas baking!!! I'll have some recipes to share in my next post. Happy Sunday everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don't Tell Santa!!!

I had a nice little surprise waiting for me this morning when I got to work :) I love it!!! Can you believe we only have 10 days until Christmas???? Holy cow. I mailed most of our Christmas cards yesterday and I'm making my annual trek to the post office at lunch today. I have a few more cards and a few more packages to finish up this weekend but I doing pretty good so far. How are your preparations coming?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

I love nothing more than coming home to dinner all ready in the crock pot - I love it even more so on cold blustery wintery days. This is a new recipe I found on pinterest (sorry - I can't remember who to give credit to!) and will be trying out soon....

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Stew

1 Medium Onion (Chopped)
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Red Kidney Beans (or Cannelini Beans)
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn

1 Can Tomato Sauce

2 Cans Rotel (Diced tomatoes with green chilies)

1 Package Taco Seasoning

1 Can Refried Beans

1 lb Chicken Breasts

1) Place all ingredients except the chicken in the slow cooker and stir well.
2) Place chicken breasts across top and cook 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
3) 30 minutes before serving, take out chicken breasts and shred. Then place back in slow cooker for last 30 minutes.

Serve as stew, for stuffing of burritos, as a dip, on a tostada or however you like! Add shredded cheese and sour cream and its very tasty!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


SURPRISE - everyone that commented on my advent calendar post will be getting a little pack of envelopes and other goodies to help create your own advent calendar. I will also be sending you all an email with a file attached of the insert cards that I made:)

Congratulations and thanks for playing ladies!!!

Amy Powell said...
Raesha, these are great!! My boys would definitely be all into doing something like this.

carrster said...
Great Job, Raesha! This looks amazing. We're doing an Advent Calendar this year too with Dahlia for the first time - but it's just a peek-a-boo window one. I love the idea of actually doing some great, thoughtful, charitable activities! I am inspired!

Savings and Sales said...
I love it!!! Are you going to let us know what you do on the other 23 days?

Sara said...
Cute! Much cuter than the plain envelopes I decided to use this year.

marsha said...
I want one!!!

PS I am swamped this week so it will be a little bit before I get these packages out - but that's okay cause you have a whole year to create your advent calendar for next year:)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Birthday Party!!!

Let's hear a hooray for Miss S's 11th birthday party! We celebrated this Saturday and the girls had a great time. The theme this year was Spa and Makeover party. The girls had their nails done, relaxed with a neck wrap and soothing eye pads, dolled up with eye shadow and lip gloss and played with my curling iron and straightener, ate tons of cupcakes and danced in the living room:) A great time was had by all, except Hubby and Maxwell who were stuck in the computer room while everyone was here.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

8 December 1980

Rest in peace, my dear sweet John.

At around 10:50 pm on 8 December 1980, as John Lennon and Yoko Ono returned to their New York apartment in The Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to the building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of the nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 pm. Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman.

Ono issued a statement the next day, saying "There is no funeral for John", ending it with the words, "John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him." His body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Ono scattered his ashes in New York's Central Park, where the Strawberry Fields memorial was later created.

Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life; as of 2011, he remains in prison, having been denied parole six times

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Birthday Princess

Hubby's brother was in town last night so we all went out to dinner. Miss S insisted on wearing her birthday crown even though her birthday is still 16 days away. She cracks me up!!

Monday, December 05, 2011

My Snow Angel

Big buckets of snow fell on Albuquerque last night. It was so beautiful to wake up to. Schools started out on a delay then cancelled altogether. School was even cancelled for Hubby!!! More snow is expected tonight and tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed :)

Saturday, December 03, 2011


We spent most of the day at home relaxing and getting the tree and all the Christmas decorations up. I love how the house looks full of Christmas cheer.

And I loved that we woke up to a light dusting of snow this morning. It's all melted now but rumor is more is on the way :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Christmas Quilting

My partner received her mug rug and loved it so I can post a photo for you all :) - here's the finished product. I tied it into HIMYM on the tag I made for the back - Barney's rule #15- if you are going to crash a high school prom go "ho" or go home.

And a little funny - I'm posting about ho's while listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing Christmas carols :) how's that for a juxtaposition:)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Our Advent Calendar

So I made it though NaBloPoMo - only missed ONE day of posting due to a huge brain freeze on my part. I'm so excited that today is December 1!!! And yes, I've been listening to Christmas all day at work today...and in my car for the last two weeks:) I'm going to make my heart overflow with Christmas spirit this year no matter what:)

I put the finishing touches on this lAdvent calendar ast night and hung it up while Miss S was sleeping - she was so excited to see it this morning. She knew I had been working on it but not that it was done:) She opened #1 on our way out of the house this morning - today's activity is "Pick out 5 toys for charity".

A funny story - when I told her I was making an advent calendar she said "I think it's "Event" mom - you are not saying it right". I even wrote it out to her and told her it is a different word than event. No matter what she insists that advent sounds like something you would say in Australia and that it really is "event". Funny little girl! Too many Aussie shows lately on NetFlix.

So - here's a little how-to for this fantastic Advent calendar. Here's what I did:

1. Get 24 coin envelopes

2. Cut off the flap at the top

3. Use a circle punch to cut a half circle in the top

4. Decorate with bits and pieces of Christmas paper, vintage sheet music, old book pages - whatever you like

5. Use a variety of number stickers, thickers, chipboard to number each envelope. Vary the color of the numbers and placement of the numbers to add variety.

6. Type up inserts for the envelopes - I have a template I created - if you want a copy send me an email to raeshadrz at yahoo dot com. I printed mine on green cardstock. I had Miss S help me with coming up with ideas so that we could do some she really wanted to do.

7. Hang em up! I had originally wanted to permanently mount these on a canvas board but then I had an AHA moment - that would be way too big to store year to year, so instead I have them on the inside of our front door - held up with those little tiny powerfully strong magnets. Then each day when we open them I'll place the green card on the front of the envelope with the magnet so that we can see what activities we have already done.

Our Advent Calendar

And here's the fun part - I have a gazillion coin envleopes (well really only 500 but that is close to a gazillion) - I'm giving away little packets of 24 of them to THREE lucky readers so that you can make your own Advent calendar for next year - who knows, I might even throw in some other little goodies to get you started on this project. Please leave a comment to be entered in this giveaway and be sure to leave your email address in your comment. I will pick 3 winners on Monday, December 5. Good luck!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaBloPoMo #30

I cannot wait for this movie to come out!! The books were fantastic and I can't wait to see them interpreted in film. Oh and also because it stars my secret lover :) (Daniel, not Rooney - though she is pretty kick ass herself)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaBloPoMo #29

I've picked up my swapping lately. It really inspires me to actually get projects done and also try new things. I just finished up a Christmas mug rug swap and this is the amazing package I received....isn't it fantastic??? I sent my package off to my partner yesterday and I'll post pics as soon as it arrives. I don't want to spoil the surprise if she's lurking on my blog:) We both love HIMYM so the suit up quilt is an homage to Barney Stinson. She has a little HIMYM surprise in her package too :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaBloPoMo #28

My first picture of my Daddy as a missionary!!

My Dad and Step-Mom made it safe and sound to the area where they will be serving – Labasa, Fiji – after about three days of travel. It was a LONG plane ride, an overnight ferry trip and a long car ride to finally make it from Henderson, Nevada to Labasa, Fiji. OH yeah – my dad’s the white guy on the right J



Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaBloPoMo #27

Some more Christmas crafting. A crocheted washcloth and a knit hat. The hat is for my one year old niece, Ruby. She will be darling with the little teddy bear ears!!!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaBloPoMo #26

A little Christmas crafting... Vintage scrabble tiles, jingle bells and some ribbon. These are for an ornament swap I'm participating in however I made a few extras that might be arriving in mail boxes across the country. Just maybe - if you promise you've been good.

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaBloPoMo #25

Miss S and I are heading to the movies today to see Breaking Dawn. She is so excited and wore one of her vampire tshirts for the occasion. We love Jacob but we are both Team Edward:)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaBloPoMo #24

Happy happy thanksgiving to my dear friends and loved ones!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaBloPoMo #23

My Week of Gratitude:

I am thankful for my talents. To my Granny for teaching me to crochet, to my Mama for teaching me to sew, for Sister Eads and Sister Wright for teaching me to play the piano and especially for the love, support and encouragement from friends and family to strengthen and expand my talents.

Crocheted Ear Warmer

I crocheted this darling little ear muff while watching Flying Wild Alaska with Hubby a few nights ago. It's going to be a Christmas present but I had to model it first:)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaBloPoMo #22

Week of Gratitude:

I am so thankful for music - hymns, country, rock and roll, folk, broadway, classical. But I'm especially thankful for my boys, The Beatles. Kind of odd to be grateful for them you think? All the good things in my life have an associated Beatles song, so whenever I listen to their music I have happy memories.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NoBloPoMo #21

Week of gratitude:

I am so thankful for my home. A warm cozy place to rest my head and to store all my crap. In March we will celebrate 12 years in our home and next month I celebrate 25 years of being in Albuquerque. I have grown to love the Land of Enchantment. It took several years of longing for my hometown in Washington before I finally fell in love with the desert. The clear blue skies. The subtle greens hidden in the brown. The laid back attitude. Being a minority in the ethnic soup here. I love it.

(Have you seen the new Starbucks city mugs?? LOVE them!!!! So far I have New Mexico and Las Vegas. I need a Seattle one - anyone want to send me one and I'll send money?)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaBloPoMo #20

Week of gratitude:

Today I am grateful for abundance. Always enough food, shelter, clothing. I have never wanted for anything in my life and I am so blessed for that. I know for so many just meeting their everyday needs is a struggle. Not only do I have an abundance but I always have choices. And whether that choice is to eat a big green leafy salad with low fat ranch or to eat red chile cheese fries and a chile relleno hot dog (like I did last night) I am grateful to have choices. With always having an abundance also comes the responsibility to share that abundance. This holiday season I will focus more on sharing my abundance and spreading my blessings to others. Will you join me?

(And yep - this is a pic of my supremely delicious dinner last night.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaBloPoMo #19 Take Two

My sista rightly pointed out that I'd already posted that pic of Miss S and Hubby:) so here's one of Miss S from when I joined her for thanksgiving lunch at school.

NaBloPoMo #19

My week of gratitude:

Absolutely tops on my list is my family. I am so grateful for the love and support these two give me. My sweet Miss S and my handsome Hubby.

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaBloPoMo #18

I heard on the radio today that only 27% of women are happy when they look in the mirror. I can completely understand that. Women are so hypercritical of themselves, me included. I look in the mirror and sometimes see a pretty woman. Other times I see a tired and worn out woman. Other times I see every flaw too clearly. But sometimes when I smile I see my inner and outer beauty aligning and that makes me happy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaBloPoMo #17

I joined Miss S at school today for Thanksgiving lunch. It's always a fun time and yummy food. And it's always nice to spend some time during the work day with my darling daughter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaBloPoMo #16

I can't believe I forgot to post yesterday! Grrrr that makes me angry! (not really but I was doing so well).

SO... Happy birthday to my darling Mr. Fu Manchu today. He's two years old today and is an absolute angel baby. We love you Mr. Fu!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaBloPoMo #13

Spent the morning on a spiritual high at Dad and Jan's ward for their missionary farewell and setting apart. Now chilling with the fam getting ready for an early Christmas gift exchange:)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaBloPoMo #12

Giddy up. Miss S got to saddle up recently for a little tethered horse ride. She loved it!!!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaBloPoMo #11

Oh yeah baby. Heading to Vegas today!!!!! Happy happy Veterans Day to those who serve our country!! We love you and a special shout out to Rick and Ian my two handsome brothers in the Navy and the Army.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaBloPoMo #10

Got in a little accident yesterday at Miss S's school. Another parent pulled out from the curb and smashed right in to me. Youch!!!! My poor beloved Subaru. No injuries other than adding an extra dose of stress to my already stressful week!!!!! Hopefully I'll have no problem getting her all fixed up and back to good as new.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NaBloPoMo #9

My day in a nutshell. Yep this day is utterly crappy and it's only 11:00 am!!!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NaBloPoMo #8 it or hate's taking over my house!!!! It's my number one resolution every year and I continue to fail miserably every year. This year I've been trying to take baby steps and get rid of some of the stuff that I know I will never use or is just taking up space. It's slow going and it's hard to see any progress yet but if I keep working on baby steps I will get there. I've been reading the blog 365 Less Things for the last little while and it is a great motivator. Colleen posts Mini Mission Mondays that contain little tiny goals for each day of the week with the ultimate goal of eliminating 365 things from your home every year.

This week's Mini Mission Mondays are:

Monday – Be realistic ~ Declutter an item of clothing today that no longer fits, is probably never coming back into fashion or really never suited you.

Tuesday – Be courageous ~ Declutter and item that someone else gave you that you are only keeping out of fear they may notice it gone.

Wednesday – Be generous ~ Donate something today that you are considering selling. It is quicker to donate anyway.

Thursday – Be impulsive ~ Declutter an item today that you have never really considered for decluttering before. Go on - there is bound to be something you haven’t noticed that really is excess to your needs.

Friday – Be decisive ~ Find an object you have been procrastinating over decluttering for some time and get it out of there.

Saturday – Be brave ~ Declutter and item that you are keeping because “you may need it some day”. Take a chance that someday will never come, lets face it, it hasn’t come for years already.

Sunday – Be inquisitive ~ Take a look in a place that you haven't paid any attention to for a while and declutter one of the items in there that you obviously care so little about.

And one more word of advice ~ Behave yourself in the future and be discerning about what you bring into your home because what doesn’t come in won’t become clutter later on.

This week I decluttered my Thanksgiving decorations. I ended up donating about 10 things to Goodwill. A small start but a good one nonetheless. One thing that has really helped me is keeping a bag or box in the master bedroom so that anytime any of us come across something to donate it goes right in that box. Then almost once a week I drop the box off at Goodwill - it's right on my way home and super easy to just drop stuff off constantly. I find that the longer the box sits in my house the likelier one of us is to take something OUT of the box:) So if you accept this Mini Mission Monday my addition is to then take that box or bag to the thrift store first thing the following Monday:) Let me know how you do.

Monday, November 07, 2011

NaBloPoMo #7

Daily Prompt: Making family time is important to me. How do you balance your children, relationship, and work life?

I struggle with this constantly. As a full time working mother there are many days when Hubby and Miss S take a back seat, or I have a stressful day at work and they have to listen to me gripe. With Hubby still in school full time AND working full time that just adds an additional dimension to stressful days. We spend most of our time catching up with each other on the weekends. For example, this weekend Hubby had a class group meeting ALL day on Saturday. But as soon as he got home we went out for date night. Then Sunday I stayed home from church just to spend the day with him. Miss S and I spend a lot of time together and I really try to make sure that some of that time is "fun" time for us. During each school year we try to develop a couple rituals that are just for the two of us. This semester it's McDonald's Thursdays. Hubby has class until 9:30 p.m. on Thursday night so after I pick her up from her after school program we drive through McDonald's for $1.49 Happy Meals and head home to watch a movie and eat together.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

NaBloPoMo #6

I made blackberry pancakes for breakfast this morning and was instantly transported back to my childhood in Silverdale, Washington. We spent every summer picking wild blackberries and making every sort of blackberry treat imaginable - pie, cobbler, muffins, pancakes. It's hard to find good blackberries in the desert but these cuties from California weren't bad.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

NaBloPoMo #5

Do you love Mickey Mouse? I do....on my bucket list is visiting Disneyland during Halloween and during Christmas. Seeing the park all done up for those holidays must be SO awesome:) For now I get my fill from occasional pics from my mom who is a season pass holder and from my bestie's husband's blog - DisFanReview. Check it out - he's got an awesome Song of the South event coming up. And tell him Raesha sent you :)

Friday, November 04, 2011

NaBloPoMo #4

Daily NaBloPoMo Writing Prompt: When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

I completely prefer to use a computer. I am so much faster at typing than writing - especially when my thoughts are coming really fast. I use a computer all day at work and typing has just become second nature to me. However, there are few things that I love more than getting a long handwritten letter in the mail. My BFF Tammy loves to send me long handwritten letters and I usually get a couple a year from her which I absolutely cherish. I should make it a goal to write one handwritten letter a month to someone I love - what do you think? Wanna join me in that challenge????

Thursday, November 03, 2011

NaBloPoMo #3

Airing my dirty laundry....actually this is my clean laundry - almost two weeks worth. Can you tell what my most despised chore is? Yep, folding laundry. I hate it. The only thing that makes it bearable is piling it all on my bed and treating myself to some Law & Order: Criminal Intent while I fold clothes. Who knows I may even be inspired and actually put them away. That's my second most despised chore.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

NaBloPoMo #2

One of my guilty pleasures.....manzana verde soda. For you gringos that's green apple soda. Tastes just like fizzy green apple jolly ranchers. Used to be I could only find this at the Mexican market about 45 minutes from my house. But a brand new Mexican market opened only 5 minutes from my house...and they have it!!! Woohoo!!!! Now I'll get this luscious treat all the time instead of only a couple times a year:)