Monday, November 29, 2010

camping in the frigid cold...

We got a new camping trailer after we went to California this fall and really wanted to try it out before it got too cold. Well we got our neighbors on board and left the day after Thanksgiving! We just went to the sand dunes which is about an hour and a half from us. So much for it not being cold.. it was in the single digits the whole weekend!! It was still so fun though. We suprisingly stayed REALLY warm. Like warm enough that I was sweating at night!! We played lots of games, built plenty of forts, ate like pigs, and ate some more....

Our neighbor Pete building scrabble towers! We played a few games of Bananagrams with scrabble tiles.. that is a fun game!

The girls have their own room that they can play in all day long. It is AWESOME not to have their stuff all over the trailer! You can't see this in the picture but Anisten is asleep on the floor under that bunk and there is a bunk above but they are too scared to sleep on the top! Do you see Diesel and Ellie in there too?

Braun makes us gf-pancakes every morning.. oh I love camping!

We brought Kendall along for the weekend!

I beat Braun in PLENTY of Yahtzee games!!

I downloaded a sweet panoramic app on my phone.. these pictures were taken with it! :)

one of our many many forts during this weekend...

This is our cute neighbor, Gage. Him and Em are the same age! He is stinkin' cute. Even though Anisten is now 2, he never says her name without calling her baby Anisten.

Emery LOVES to cook. She is ALWAYS asking to help me with anything I am doing in the kitchen. It is so fun and I love my little helpers!

They kids play so hard all day long. My favorite thing about camping is that I can finally relax! Poor kids fall asleep so quick at the end of the day because they're wacko all day long.

We had some dance parties...

Okay.. I take that back, Anisten is a good snuggler sometimes..

I can't wait to take the trailer back out when it's warm!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

recipe...ruth's chris sweet potato casserole

yummy!!! Have you ever been to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse?? That is us Thueson's favorite place to eat! I wish we could eat there daily. Okay maybe not because then I would get sick of it. Anyway... a few weeks back, Braun and I went there with our friends the Nicole and Jordan Davis. I ordered one of these casseroles and didn't share it with a soul. Of course, we got another for the table to share so I didn't look quite as selfish! :) I immediately came home and knew I MUST find the recipe for their famous Sweet Potato Casserole. I found this one and tried it out last week.


So of course, I have to share it! Make it right now... or you could wait until Thanksgiving tomorrow.... it is delicious.

Ruth's Chris special sweet potato casserole
Makes 12 servings

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans preferred)
1/3 stick butter, melted
Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.

Sweet Potato Mixture

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a medium-size casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a large mixing bowl in the order listed. Beat thoroughly with a hand mixer to increase the fluffiness of the sweet potato mixture.

Pour mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. (At this point, dish can be covered and refrigerated.)

Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture and return to oven for 10 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.

The brown sugar and pecan crust should be slightly browned and crunchy.

and if you are a visual person, here is a link to the video of a Ruth's Chris chef himself making it! :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

disney princess barbie deal....

So I recently went to a coupon class (so I could keep stocking up on food storage for really cheap!) and learned sooo many tips on using coupons and how to get 5-10 times the amount of groceries you normally get for the same price you are spending now. So I am sure you will be hearing about all of my good deals that you can get if you'd like to!! Like this one... in Targets ad this week there is a 50% off coupon good for anything Disney. So for example... these princess dolls (that I already bought Emery for Christmas for $54.99!!) can be 50% off if you print off the online coupon.

Total cost after coupon is $27.49- instead of $54.99.

Upon Checkout you should get a $5.00 off $50 Target Coupon Catalina printed off too! Just in time for Black Friday shopping at Target!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Update on Jackie...Brain Surgery Part 1

Well on Wednesday the hospital called my parents house while they were at the temple (trying to figure out what to do about her surgery and a few other things) and told Jackie that if they wanted, Jackies surgery could be moved up from the middle of December to FRIDAY! As in 2 days away... Jackie couldn't get ahold of them and called me about four hundred times in a 3 hour time period. She was a little nervous to say the least! My parents came home and she filled them in and decided to go for it. No sense in waiting for the inevitable, right?! She went in on Friday morning at 6 AM and the surgery started at 8:45. The first surgery took about 5 hours. What they did was cut her scalp from ear to ear and then saw a large circle through the top of her skull. They then spread apart the right and left lobe of her brain and they placed about 100 sensors in between those lobes and then randomly all over her brain to monitor all activity going on. Then they stapled her head back up and now we wait... Jackie has to have at least 4 seizures and they all have to be at least 4 hours apart to get the readings that they need. They cut her medicine in half for the first 2 days hoping that would bring on seizures. And now as of tonight, she isn't on any seizure medicine at all. So far, she hasn't had any. The other hard part of it is they have to give her hardly any pain medicines because that could also stop her seizures from happening. So it is quite a painful, long process for her. As soon as she has had the 4 seizures and they get the results they need, they can go in and take out that part of the brain as soon as possible! So we never thought we would say this, but bring on the SEIZURES!!! The longer she has those sensor things on her brain, the more risks there are for infection and clotting among other things. Please, Please, pray for Jackie!! She really needs it. :) Oh and my mom is a big ball of stress too.. so if you could pray for her too, that would be much appreciated!

Here is Jackie the day after surgery (which was last night)...

This was definitely a forced smile but still, a smile nonetheless!

Now this picture is of the top of Jackies head. That big telly-tubby thing coming out the top of her head are all of the wires that are telling us what is going on inside of her brain. When she has a seizure, she has to be held down really tight so that those don't get bumped.. because that is a whole other problem!!

Kids are not allowed in the NCCU and I didn't feel like getting a babysitter so the kids got to hang out in the waiting room and color for awhile!

This is the same place that my grandma died after our car accident.. it has brought back a lot of sad emotions being here. It is so sad to see all of the people in this unit. They are all really out of it and look like they are in a coma (which I am sure a lot of them actually are)... you leave this unit feeling VERY grateful for the good health you have!

All of these squiggly lines are what is going on in Jackies brain. How somebody reads this is beyond me!

My dad reminded me today that it was about 4 years ago that Jackie was about to get her first brain surgery! Time has sure flown! Jackie has also made AMAZING progress from where she was 4 years ago. She was having seizures every 2 or 3 minutes at some points. Talk about SCARY!!

and here is my telly-tubby sister all zonked out on pain meds!

My cute grandma! She is sure a trooper for being almost 90!

That yellow line is the problem spot in her brain.. The "cingulate gyrus" I think is what it is called.

and that is what they took out of her brain last time. About 2 inches across... quite the chunk!
They think that the problem spot now is only about the size of your pinky nail area.

They have scheduled Jackie's surgery for this Wednesday. If all goes as planned and she has her 4 seizures at least 4 hours apart then that will happen! :) The poor kid is missing her favorite Holiday...Thanksgiving... looks like our family will be celebrating late this year!

I got to spend the day up at the University of Utah with her today while my mom went home and got cleaned up. It was such a humbling experience. Jackie is seriously such a trooper. The only thing she complained about all day was her dang suppository she had to get! Sheesh-- if that were me, I would be complaining every second I could. This morning a cute couple came in the room and asked if they could tell us a spiritual thought and let us partake of the sacrament. It was one of the neatest experiences I have had in a long time. I wish I could remember the quote she told us.. the spirit was really strong in the room and I was such a bawl baby! Earlier tonight, Braun and my dad were able to give Jackie and my mom the sweetest blessings. I am so grateful for Jackie and the things that she has taught me in my life. I need to stop taking the little things for granted. I don't have a single thing to complain about in my life but yet, I still do occasionally. Again.. note to self.. be more like Jackie. :)

This little hiccup in her life isn't over yet, but she seems to be making some good progress! Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers! This week is going to be a really rough one on her!! :)

Update as of Monday Morning: Jackie had her first seizure at 5:30 this morning! One seizure down, 3 to go!! Who knew I would be so excited for her to have seizures???

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

come to a boutique and support my sister all at the same time!

Well hello there... I just wanted to tell you all about another boutique going on this weekend! It is the Jeni Gochnour Holiday Show up in Holladay! I think you all should go! :) There will be a lot of really cute things from a lot of vendors. Please read all the way to the bottom... it gets good! :)

Holiday Art Show
Wednesday, November 17th - 6 to 9pm
Thursday, November 18th - 9 to 9pm
Friday, November 19th - 9 am to 5pm
at The Holladay City Building
4580 south 2300 east(Holladay blvd.)

Now.. onto the real goods.

My little sister has struggled with a rare seizure disorder since she was about 14. She is now 22. I wrote up a little post on my sister a couple years ago on this little blog of mine to enter her into a makeover thing on TV. (and yes.. she won!! :) )

Jackies Story

Well.. where do I even start?? Jackie has had a really tough hard life. When Jackie was 14 she randomly started having seizures. The doctors couldn't figure it out. She didn't get in an accident, she didn't bump her head, nothing. They were apparently brought on by "growing up." She would have a few a week, nothing major. Well.. with every seizure Jackie had, it slowed her down. Pretty soon she started getting really behind in school. Kids started thinking she was "awkward or weird." People on the outside had no idea what she was going through physically and mentally. She was only at school about half the time. All of the friends that Jackie did have ended up going on with their lives while Jackie had to start living hers at home. Seizures started getting more and more frequent. After 2 or 3 years, Jackie was a puzzle to the doctors. She was seizing every 3 minutes and had to be in the hospital constantly. It was BEYOND hard on my family and parents, but especially my little sister... to this day I have never heard a single complaint from that girl. She is the strongest person that I know. Seeing her go through something so challenging was the toughest thing I have ever had to go through. She has made so many people stronger for facing those challenging things and always keeping a smile on her face. Jackie ended up staying in the hospital for awhile. She lost over 30 pounds in there... she was so exhausted, couldn't stay awake for the life of her. Normally having 1 seizure would completely wear her out, and she was having one every 2-3 minutes for days on end. She missed out on everything. Her whole high school life. That was such a fun time for me when I was her age. It was so hard to see her miss out on that. Not being able to go to Friday night games, Junior Prom, dates.. anything.

About two years ago, (also Jackies Senior year of High School) all the specialists from around the country came together and had a conference on Jackie. A lot of them were completely shocked at her story. But they also said the surgery would hopefully help her to the point she would only have a few seizures a week again. The doctors finally decided to do it. She had gone through enough in the past 6 years. My family was terrified. We were told that she might lose a lot of her memory, have speech problems, among a lot of other problems. She decided that it was worth the risk and she wanted to go for that slight chance that she might be able to live a semi-normal life.

Well.. they cut her head from ear to ear. They went in and took out a 2 inch by 3 inch piece of Jackies brain. They thought they had gotten all of the problem area. The next day Jackie woke up. She remembered all of us. She could still read, write, and do everything BETTER than before. The girl suprised us all again :) She responded really well to the surgery.. for about a year her life was back to normal. Not a SINGLE seizure :) She was able to go out and get a job, try to meet some friends, and hopefully start living her life again. Well about 5 months ago, the seizures started again. We are hoping and praying it doesn't get back to where it was again.

Jackie is really shy now. Back before all of this started she had a cute group of friends, lots of self confidence, would dance around the house and just had a fun life. This situation has really taken a toll on her. I would love to be able to see her like that again and I think a makeover on my cute little sister would help to do the trick and help her be a little more confident. :) She is such a nice girl. Like I said before, I have never in my life heard her complain about her situation that she has been given. She makes the best out everything.. I wish we could all be a little more like her! :)

And why am I writing this post on here?? Well my family is stressed. Jackie is about to go in for that 2nd brain surgery in just a few short weeks. They have been doing testing on her for the past few months. Next week Jackie goes in for a test where they open up her skull, drill a few holes through it and place wires with little electrical pads all over her brain so they can pin point the exact place where her seizures are coming from. They keep her skull like that for 5-7 days and then they will close her back up, go over all of her test results and she goes back in where they will actually cut MORE of her brain out.

Brain surgery alone costs over $100,000 not to mention follow up visits with specialists, etc. My mom was recently laid off and her insurance runs out the end of December. So basically... I am trying to help in anyway that I can! :) 100% of all sales from my boutique this weekend will be donated to my sister and her upcoming brain surgery!! So I thought I would spread the word out into the big ole' blog land! :)

So come and get some Christmas shopping done and donate money to a great cause! Thank you for your support! Oh and any prayers you could send her way would also be MUCH appreciated!! :)

Thank you for reading! Spread the word!

Monday, November 15, 2010

did you all notice.....

my new blog design???

Isn't it fabulous?

Thank you Mary Plautz.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Whirlwind Weekend!

This past week was super busy with Oh Sweet Sadie and all. It was such a good show and just wanted to say THANK YOU if you went out there!! It was fun wasn't it?? Well on Friday afternoon I got a text from Braun saying he had boughten 25 tickets to go and see Unstoppable and had invited a bunch of friends from work... PAUSE... real quick, I just went to find a picture of the Unstoppable show. WELL... for some reason this site came up and look at how crazy these people are! YOWSA!!! If you want to see more, go here!

I am sorry, but seriously???? That would be SOOOO uncomfortable to have all of that stuff hanging off of you! Do any of you remember Mr. Feline from above?? I had totally forgot about when I ran into him in California!! Yikes!

Haha.. Okay, sorry for the randomness! Anyway... back to Unstoppable. It was a really good show!! I swear after the show finished, I needed to reapply deodorant AND get a massage to work out all of the knots in my back and neck for being so uptight the whole show!! WOW! It was intense!

Saturday was just as fun! We went up to... dum dum dum... Red Iguana 2 for lunch!! That place is so yummy! We hadn't been to the new one yet and so we packed up the kids, invited my sister and her husband and headed up!

Their chicken chimichanga is AMAZING!!
Of course, there always has to be a meltdown or 4 during any outing, right???

So yummy... Oh and so I decided to opt out of Gluten Free eating for lunch when I went! My tortilla messed that all up! I started using DoTerra oils and their vitamins (and I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOOOVE them and what they've helped with in my body!) But they have an enzyme called Terrazyme that supposedly will help aid in the digestion of foods. More specifically in my case, GLUTEN! I have only taken them a few times but they really seem to help! We'll see though... I am testing it again tonight at dinner at mi madre's house! My fingers are definitely crossed!) Holy smokes though... those oils are UNREAL. If you suffer from headaches, try rubbing their Past Tense blend on your temples and upper neck. It works so much quicker than any medicine you take and it is all natural! :) I can get it for you if any of you want to try it or any other oil for that matter... they're great!

Saturday night, we went to a surprise birthday party for my friends Brooke and Jesse! It was great seeing everyone from the Milwaukee summer 2010! :) I wish I would have gotten pictures from then, but I didn't. Woops!

We also celebrated my brother Justins 32nd birthday on Sunday! My mom made delicious chicken pot pies and then I owned everyone in a little Catch Phrase!!

Gotta love busy weekends!!

Okay.. I am off to can some chicken now! And yes, I am documenting the process to show you all how it is done! :) Have a great day!
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