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Friday, December 30, 2011

happy new year!

1 day

37 hours

2243 minutes

134629 seconds

we are having a little get together at our house for new years. family and a few friends for games and yummy food and ringing in the new year! wooo!
it's the perfect time to make the appetizers and hors devours (weirdest word ever btw)
that i have been wanting to make but haven't had an excuse!
a glimpse into the menu:
warm artichoke shrimp dip
clam cheese ball
courtesy of brock's grandmothers recipe!

pita break crisps
for dipping of course

Antipasto Sausage Skewers

and we need something sweet, so....
no bake oreo truffles

im getting hungry

it's going to be a Paaaartay


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Obama Budget Cuts Visualization


this post will certainly not be the most popular, or well received, but i am interested in other peoples thoughts on this, and would like to share my own.
we all have our opinions and i hope that this does not offend anyone.

 kids and electronics.....

i think this is a controversial subject, but is probably becoming  less of one because it is becoming more common

i used to think it was so ridiculous to see 8 year olds with cell phones.
while i still think it is ridiculous, the issue is becoming worse!
constantly i am seeing kids under 5 using their parents iphones, ipads, computers.
i am baffled by this!
i don't feel like i am technically challenged in any way but these kids know how to use these items better than i do!
it is seriously sickening to me!

i don't want an iphone to stick in front of my kid to shut them up during sacrament.
i don't want an ipad to keep them occupied while i am getting things done around the house.
these things are addicting as is are for adults.
now we are sticking our kids on them?!
i can't imagine raising a child on a phone or computer and what they will need/expect in regards to electronics when they are older.

my views on electronics has changed dramatically in the last couple of years.
it started with cable tv.
then cell phone.
 i am to the point that i can live without it all
we don't have cable. we don't have internet. we have a cell phone for calls and texts only.
we use the internet at the library when we need it
we are surviving, and we have time to get things done!

again, as technology increases in availability and convenience, this opinion is wildly unpopular.
 i am ok with that.

don't get me wrong......i KNOW that theses can all be used for such great things with kids.
for example my sweet little nephew has some sensory 'delays' and these things are great for helping out with that. that is just one example so i know they are there.

i'm just baffled by the use of these electronics by small kids.
i have seen it become an expectation.
kids see their parents with the phone and they start screaming for it!

i'm sure these are good for learning and even coordination, stuff like that. there are definitely benefits. but sticking a phone in front of a kid to keep them quiet or occupied when they don't really know what they are doing to begin with, just pushing buttons or swiping the screen, that's where my frustration comes in.

what are your thoughts?
i'm open to them all
(and am prepared for most to be opposing to mine...which is just fine!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This year will go down in history...


every year, as the year comes to a close, i like to reflect on the things that happened and the things that i experienced.

each year there are big milestones, new friends, new travels, and this year was no different.
there is one thing that sums up the year and that is our wedding day!

all the things that i have experienced through the years have led me to this sacred milestone in 2011
2011 will certainly go down in history as the year that we started our eternal family.
it has been a great year and i can't wait to see what is in store for us in 2012!

bring it on!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Friday to Us!

today is the beginning our our lonnnnng weekend.
it's a full one but it will be alot of fun.

Tonight we are heading to the Wray family Christmas party. There will definitely be singing and story time by grandpa! Love it!

Tomorrow we are up bright and early to head for vegas. Wedding/Sealing at 2. Dinner at 5 then play time with Stacie and Matt! can't wait to see them!

Then its home for the annual christmas eve chinese dinner with the sibs. (siblings)
yep thats the tradition and we love it!

Christmas will be filled with wray's and nortons.

Then temple square date and hot choc on monday.

Now we just need to pray for clear roads to and from vegas.

Last weekend we were in cali, blog post to come.

I think we will be all wedding/road tripped out by this time next week.

I am so excited to spend my first Christmas with my husb and start our own holiday traditions in our own little family!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adventures in Brock's sleeping stories

as you may well know by now, brock is a crazy sleeper
proof here and here

well last night brock professed his love for me in his sleep.

at 1:49 a.m. i am laying in bed and here him say this:

"ashlee norton, i love you. you are the only one for me. always and forever"

how sweet is that! lol

i definitely fell back to sleep with a smile on my face!

i love my crazy little sleeper! and would much rather take that each night then being mistaken for a terrorist and being attacked in bed in the middle of the night!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More home projects

we have done so many projects since we bought our house that I haven't had time to blog them all.

These are some that we did in the summer:

new curtains!

I bought curtains from ikea ( i can't remember if they were 20 per panel or 20 for both but either way they were cheap)
we hung them with 1" conduit. 
Have you looked at prices of curtain rods!? they are not cheap!
so we ghetto rigged ours. 
i thought about spray painting the conduit a rubbed bronze color but never did that. 
I think the conduit ran us a couple bucks.
And we had to borrow our brothers hack saw. (thanks Link!)

they turned out pretty good, but there are some spots that i should have been more careful with! If I ever do these again I will be more careful with the dark paint color around the white!
People are shocked when they find out that they are painted!
I didn't do this on these, but if you use regular wall paint (which I did) there is an additive you can buy that makes them washable and takes the stiffness our of the paint. 
I would probably do that next time too!
We have really high ceilings so I put the rod up above the window about a foot to show the height more.

We also ripped out the fence that was in the front of our house.
let me tell you, that was hard work!
thank goodness i have a hard working husband, we knocked this out at in a few hours



Now we just need to work on getting some landscaping in!

Cement Pad:

We have 2 random cement pads in our back yard. We decided to take one of them out and left the other for our shed someday.
This was another big project and Brock knocked it right out.
Seriously, he is such a hard worker and just gets stuff done!!
I unfortunately am the opposite, so he is perfect to have around! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things are slowly coming together.....

We have finished the headboard for our bedroom makeover and I am IN LOVE with it.
It turned out exactly how I wanted. 

I don't have any good pics of it, cause I don't have any bedding yet but here is a little sneak peak

and a pic of one of our side table lamps, which I am also in love with.
I scored it for $2 bucks at a yard sale this summer!

I still need to work on the curtains and the quilt.
Somewhere I will find the motivation to start those!

Homemade Christmas!

I've been making decorations this year, and thought i would share some simple CHEAP ideas!

reclaimed wood
Christmas sign:
paint or stencil and I added some gliter and twine 

Anthro copycat Christmas garland:
so easy, i used brown packaging paper, old book pages and spray painted some card stock to match the color scheme, cut out a bunch of circles (i did 3 sizes) then sewed them all together with the sewing machine.


Salt dough ornaments:
salt dough recipe:
 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, cold water. Mix until has consistency of play dough. bake at 250 for 2 hours, then cool and paint.
I used a star cookie cutter. i forgot to poke a hole in the tops for the string to hang them so after they were baked and painted my smart husband pulled out the drill and our smallest drill bit and we drilled the holes in. i used some silver glitter and modge podge after the paint dried.

Spray Painted Cardboard Christmas Trees:
cut out some Christmas trees from some leftover cardboard and spray painted them silver and added string

Paper ornaments:
template found here
used old book pages and twin for hanging

and of course a little glitter:
gold glitter, which can be found at dollar tree and sticks from your back yard!
spray painted the sticks then covered with modge podge and rolled in glitter!
these are so glittery and pretty!

and more glitter.
4" styrofoam balls from dollar tree (everywhere else they are $4 and up!)
roll in modge podge then in glitter. let dry and hang them from a branch with ribbon!
sorry this isn't a very good pic but you get the idea

when you are living on a budget saving for bigger, better things, homemade is the way to go.
thank you pinterest for cheap ideas that i can alter into my own!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recipe: Pizza Dough

Another Norton Household fav:

This is a delish recipe that we use alot for pizza dough.
I got this recipe from a website called Annies-Eats.com
I usually make a couple batches and freeze it all until we are ready to use it.
{I’ve made some of my own notes in red}

Basic Pizza Dough
½ cup warm water
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
4 cups (22oz) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup water, at room temp
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

                Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. (I don’t have a stand mixer just yet, so I use my hand mixer. Works out just fine). Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1 ½-2 hours.
Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough unto a smooth round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap each ball in tightly sealed plastic wrap then place in freezer bag and freeze at this point). Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes. (we don’t have a pizza oven or stone, darn it. But a pizza pan works just fine!) Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkle with corn meal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

** If you froze it, just take it out of the freezer in the morning and place in refrigerator the day you plan to use it. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

craft hands

i have craft hands.
you know, warn blistered, rough, paint stained chipped nails...all of the above

I've been crafting away and loving every second of it.
last night Brock went over to his brothers and left me alone to my crafting madness.
It's kinda nice to have a night alone to my projects (although he is always missed)
I'm trying to get some of the bedroom projects done. All the big stuff is done...except the quilt
Painting...check, headboard...check, 
i need to post pics but am debating weather i wait till the whole room is done or just post along the way!
oh i also need to do my curtains. 
what I want cost more than my total room budget so I am of course making them.
dying fabric and all.
we'll see how they turn out, but I have high hopes!!

the weekends are going to be busy for us the rest of the year!

tonight we are having our single friends over! can't wait! I love them
tomorrow is bachelor party time for the norton boys and my sis in law is coming over for a beginner sewing lesson! not that i know very much but i do know some stuff!

next weekend our brother is getting married so we are off to cali for the weekend 

the weekend after that we are off to vegas for brock's childhood friends wedding

the weekend after that we are watching nephew cole.

busy busy busy.

somewhere in there i need to finish my Christmas shopping.
and try to finish all the projects around the house.
slowly they are gettin checked off, one by one.

it's a good thing i have Brock. He keeps me focused on projects and getting them done, rather than starting them and then slowly finishing & dragging them out or never finishing! that's one thing im really good at! he keeps me going!  

btw, people think im crazy for the things im doing, and don't see things like i do.
they use words like "interesting" or "it's definitely unique"
that's ok though cause thats what i want. things that are unique and things that i can be proud of cause i worked hard.
but maybe just a little sometimes i wish people just understood my visions and liked them like i do!
oh well.

happy friday!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Time is Here Again!

Goodbye Fall Decor.....


We plan on having a Happy, Homemade Christmas. 

Recipe: Zuppa Toscana

I have had some people ask me for recipes that I have tried, so I decided to just post them on here so I don't have to email them multiple times.

This is a favorite recipe at our house.
It warms your soul. Promise!
I got this recipe out if a cookbook I have had for a few years called America’s most wanted recipes. This is from Olive Garden (MY FAV!)
{I've made some of my own notes in red}
Yuuuum!! Tastes just like the real thing... if not better! For reals though. 

Zuppa Toscana Soup
1 Pound Italian Sausage ( I tried this recipe once with the spicy Italian sausage and it was just too hot. Stick with the regular Italian sausage)
8 Oz smoked bacon chopped ( I nix this in ours cause I don’t eat bacon)
4 cups water
Two 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
2 large russet potatoes (we do 3)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion
2 Cups chopped kale or swiss chard (I haven’t tried this with the chard but the kale is SO yum. Add the                       whole bunch even if it’s more than 2cups! It’s good stuff)
1 cup heavy cream
Salt & Pepper

1.  In a skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage (don’t forget to remove the casing!) into small pieces; drain and set aside
2.  In a separate skillet fry the bacon until brown, drain and set aside (again, I nix this step)
3.  Combine the water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are tender. About 10-15 minutes
4.  Add the sausage and bacon; simmer for 10 minutes
5.  Add the kale and cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer until the soup is heated through. Do not allow to boil

This makes about 4 servings. It’s perfect for brock and I cause we have lunch and dinner the next day and it’s just as good as leftovers!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

adventures in brock's sleeping stories

Here is another one for the books.

this one happened on our honeymoon.
i was somewhat aware that brock had sleeping issues before we got married, but i had no idea what i was getting into till the honeymoon.

one night we turned the tv on before going to bed.
there was a show called swamp wars on
they were hunting giant snakes in the swamps.

well we go to bed and im woken in the middle of the night to brock kicking. jumping. flailing his arms at the corner of the bottom of the bed.
he then JUMPS off the bed as i'm screaming "BROCK!" trying to wake him up.
he gets off the bed and says "man those snakes are dangerous!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The secret to having it all:

moroni 7:33 

And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do
whatsoever thing is expedient in me.