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!!