Monday, December 05, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

I love decorating the house for Christmas!!  Wait, back up a minute.  I love the final outcome of decorating the house for Christmas.  The actual decorating part isn't so fun.  I think it's time for new decorations, but that isn't in the budget this year so we'll make due with what we have.  Let's a take a little stroll through the house and see what we did, shall we?

Let's start with the entertainment center in the family room.  I have a love hate relationship with the built in shelves in this room.  I loved them when we first built the house, but now, not so much.  There isn't really anyway to do anything differently in this room because we can't move the shelves.  My favorite part here is the garland that goes all across the top.  The rest of the decorations are pretty much the "left overs" from the sitting room.


Ignore the dirty t.v.  It didn't look that dirty before I took the pictures.  I'm thinking the shelves are too busy.  I didn't take a lot of the every day decor down before I added the holiday stuff.  Maybe if I get time I can fix it...who am I kidding?! It'll look like that until I take down the holiday decorations.
The only decorations in the dining room/kitchen area is the table center piece. 

Festive, I know.  

Until Christmas Eve, the stockings hang above the fireplace.  I like the way it looks...except the stocking on the's way too high..I need to fix that too..

These two little fellows are the newest additions to our family this year. 
Meet Winston and Chippy.  They are our "Elves on a Shelf"  that have come to spend this holiday season with us.  
(Luckily we didn't get the original Elf on a Shelf.  I think he looks like a creeper.)

They have been getting into mischief every night since they have come. 
Little Stinkers!!

I don't dare put real Christmas presents under the tree until closer to Christmas.  If my little ones are anything like I was, they would be peeking all the time.  So for now we will use these cute boxes I got from Roberts a few years ago. 

I love cinnamon pine cones!! 

This is our Nativity set we have had since I think the year we got married.  It sits on top of our piano.  About half of the pieces have had to be super glued at least once.  But we like it.  The little ones like to play with it....hence the super glue.

Top of the piano in the sitting room.  Not really digging the candles.

I like the look of the sitting room around the holidays. 
It's just clean and cheery...when I can keep the kids out of the room anyway.

I found this cute Christmas subway art from Today's Creative Blog on Facebook as her free gift.  Love it!

Our black Santa has also become a family favorite. 
Then there is our tree...Oh, our poor tree.  I'm dying for the day where we can have two trees; one tree for the kids to help decorate with all the ornaments we get them each year and the cute ones they make and bring home, and one tree that I can decorate just for show that has some pattern and not so many "flavors" I guess is a nice way to describe it.  

I love the look of this room when everything is put up.  It seems so Christmasy and welcoming.

These last two pictures are of the table right inside the front door. 

I just made the sleigh this year and didn't really have anywhere to put it. 
For now, it'll stay where it is.

It feels good to have the house decorated and ready for the holidays.  One less thing to worry about.  I have our Christmas cards ready to be addressed and most of the shopping done.  My biggest stessor right now is trying to figure out what to do for neighbor gifts.  I've done the over the top goodie plate that everybody loves, but is way too much work.  I want it to be nice, but I also don't want to spend forever in the kitchen making it.  It also can't be too good...I have stopped eating sugar and if I make something yummy, I will eat too much of it before it goes out the door. 

I like that most of the stressful parts of the holidays are finished.  I can sit back and enjoy the holidays and spend time with my family.  Hope you can do the same as well. 

Junkie handmade projects

Sunday, November 06, 2011

In Loving Memory...

It's been almost two weeks since we lost Marcus' mom.  In a way, it seems like it was yesterday, but at the same time, it seems so long ago.  Jean was taken way too early.  My heart breaks for Christian and Emma who were robbed of memories and more time with Grandma Tipi.  There were 11 grandchildren and I know they will all miss her terribly.  But Christian and Emma are so young and I'm worried that the wonderful memories they do have of Grandma Tipi will soon start to fade.  We all defiantly feel her absence in our own ways.  I had a great relationship with my mother in law.  I know some daughter in laws and mother in laws have strained or not so great relationships, but I loved my mother in law.  She was such a great example to me and my children.  If my kids remember anything about Grandma, I hope they remember how giving and selfless she was.  And how nonjudgmental she was.  In the 11 years I knew Jean, I never heard her say one bad thing about anybody.  I can't go 11 minutes without talking bad about someone...I need to work on that.

Grandma Tipi was one of a kind.  We always described her as "crazy but harmless".  We meant it in the most loving way possible.  She marched to the beat of her own drum and wasn't ashamed of it. 

I will miss seeing Christian melt into her arms and lay there forever without moving.  For those of you who know my six year old, that is a miracle within its self.  That boy never sits still for anyone. 
I will miss watching the kids play band with her at her house. 
I will miss going to her house, having her play with kids and me being able to sit and just be.  There was just something about being at her house with her there that was so calming and reassuring. 
I will miss talking with her and having her make me feel like what I was saying or thinking was actually important  and that I mattered.  She had a way with people that made them feel important.

While I am grieving in my own way...which consists of eating large amounts of frosting and keeping myself so busy there are times I don't stop going all heart breaks for my husband.  To see him trying to be strong, but knowing that he is broken and empty inside, and knowing there is nothing I can say or do to ease that pain is sometimes too much. 

The funeral was exactly the way Jean would have wanted it.  There was some closure when the day was over, but it still seems so unreal that Jean is gone.  We are all now trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces and move on.  Life will never be the same again.  Trying to get back to normal, whatever that is, is really hard.

Christian and Emma are dealing with their sadness in their own ways.  I don't think they fully understand what they has happened or how to deal with what they are feeling.  I have tried my hardest to keep things as normal possible for them, especially since things happened right around Halloween, but it has been hard.  They know things are different and they both seem to be acting out more than normal.  I think it's all pretty normal the way that have been dealing with things.  Everybody deals with sadness and heartbreak differently. 

I have included a copy of Jean's obituary.  It was written by my sister in law, Heather.  She is the oldest of the four children.  It is not your typical obituary.  When I first read it, I was taken back by the honesty and sincerity of it.  But I like it.  Jean was never one to hide her mistakes from the world.  It is her life story and she wasn't afraid to share it.

We love you Grandma Tipi!  We think about you and miss you everyday.  We know you are in up in heaven talking to rocks, giving amazing foot massages, building labyrinths, painting tipis, and making yummy peach pies all while wearing only 100% cotton.  We also know you are watching over us who were left behind and letting us all know individually that things will be okay.  We will keep moving forward and we will never forget the wonderful memories and wonderful times we had together.  We will continue to do good to those around us and love everyone we come in contact with because that is what Grandma Tipi taught us. 

Rest in Peace, Jean.

1948 ~ 2011
Jean Ruth Stokes Gilbert, born March 25, 1948, died of an accidental drowning at her home on October 25, 2011.
Jean was a giving, loving, beautiful person. And she had a hard, hard life. She was the 7th of 8 children of Clara and Glenn Stokes - a hardworking but overwhelmed mother and a paranoid schizophrenic father. Her childhood was one of hard work on the farm, with moments of freedom and joy, but with undercurrents of anxiety and fear as well.
Jean met and married Leonard Donald Gilbert when she was 20 years old, and quickly had 3 children in 3 years. And almost as quickly, she was divorced. A 23 year old single mother with 3 young children - a not quite 3 year old Heather, a 16 month old Tiffany, and an infant Marcus - she moved from California to Utah to start her life here. And soon, a 4th child, Amber, joined the family.
Jean put herself through nursing school, got a job and started working. It was hard, but somehow she found money for not only clothes and food, but for piano lessons, dance lessons, after-school ceramics classes - she was supporting her kids; she felt good about herself.
But addiction was building all this time. Alcoholism is a gradual, insidious disease. Over the next few years, the depths of alcoholism and the insanity it brought took her away from her family and from herself. She hit rock bottom in 1991, with several overdoses and hospital admissions - and then, something happened. She turned it around. She rediscovered herself - reinvented herself. And though, to be true, it was a slightly crazy self she discovered - it was a delightfully crazy, sober self that emerged from the other side of her battle with alcoholism.
And none of her grandchildren - her little doo-dahs - would ever see her struggles with addiction. They would only ever know their loving and slightly-insane grandma. She bought a house in Mantua and built a healing labyrinth crystal maze, firepit and tee pee in her back yard. She drummed in drum circles. And worked with Reiki energy. And had a Kundalini awakening. She wrote poetry. She wrote a children's book. She became a licensed massage therapist. She designed Shakti eggs. She went back to school and earned a bachelor's in social work. She became a hospice nurse and helped dying patients leave this world with grace and dignity.
She loved working in her garden, taking long walks around the lake, watching the birds in her back yard. She loved giving foot rubs, making homemade lasagna, doing healing work with crystals. She loved reaching out and helping others struggling with addiction, discovering life's astonishing richness in gratitude and compassion. But most of all, she loved her family. The connection between Jean and her grandchildren was deep and intimate.
But the years of abusing her body were catching up. She developed a chronic pain condition with widespread pain, disturbed sleep and exhaustion. She said sometimes it hurt in places she didn't even know could hurt. And for reasons that are both easy and difficult to understand, she started taking prescription narcotics to control this pain. Pain meds are tricky for people in recovery. And on that fateful night last week, narcotics combined with a hot-tub soak proved to be a deadly combination.
Life is an everyday occurrence. Until one day, it's not. Jean knew that every day, every moment spent with those we love is precious. Oh, we are going to miss her.
Jean is survived by her 4 dim-witted children, her 11 little doo-dahs, 3 sisters, 4 brothers, and countless friends and family whose lives she has touched. She is preceded in death by her mother and father, and by 4 nephews: Bryant Stokes, Kevin Stokes, Rodney Montierth and Wesley Montierth.
Jean did not want a solemn memorial or a grim tribute. Friends and family may gather to celebrate her life on Wednesday, November 2nd. She is going to be cremated, and a portion of her ashes will be interred at the Mantua Cemetery (50 S 400 W, Mantua). A graveside service will be held at 2 pm. A drum circle is planned, so bring something to pound on if you would like to participate. A luncheon will follow at the local chapel (237 S Willard Peak Rd, Mantua) at 3 pm, with a service starting at 4. We will set aside time for an open mic, so bring stories and memories to share.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Memories Suite...My First GIveaway!!!

I used to love to scrapbook. I used to love to go to the craft stores and buy all the latest embellishments, paper, markers, die-cuts, stickers....all the latest and greatest goodies. I used to love to sit for hours and create wonderful scrapbook pages. I used to have the time. Notice all the I used to's??? I don't have the time, money or space to scrapbook that way. I have gotten out of the habit of scrapbooking, but lately, I've really wanted to start making pages again.

I have found the perfect solution!!

My Memories is an awesome digital scrapbooking software that is so easy to use, that I can even figure things out. I sat down on a night when I actually didn't have anything to do for a few minutes and played with and was able to make a few pages and learn a few things.

My Memories Suite is rated #1 by Amazon and TopTen Reviews.

Using this software, anyone can create digital scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calendars and gifts without having to buy expensive and complicated software programs. (Can we say presents for the grandparents??)

My Memories has all ready made templates and then ones you can design yourself as well. I'm loving both. When I want to make some pages quickly, I use the all ready made designs. But, if I am feeling creative and daring, I can design my own.

I designed the above page in about five minutes. It's a really simple page, but it helped me learn exactly how to navigate things and what different tools do. All you have to do to add pictures is click and drag. Click and drag, baby!! Love it. (Now if only my pictures were organized...that's a whole other story for a whole other day.)

This was an all ready designed template that I just had to add my own pictures.

Fun. Cute. Simple.

Love it!

My Memories
has been nice enough to provide me a copy of their software My Memories Suite to give away. (My first giveaway!! Squeal!!) This is a $40 value and oh so awesome!! All you have to do is:

*Visit and choose your favorite digital paper pack, layout or any product and leave me a comment on my blog telling me which you one chose.

For additional entries you can also:

*Like their Facebook Page

*Follow their blog at

*or for two additional entries, follow me here at 9 inch cankles

*or blog, tweet, or Facebook about this giveaway.

**Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each thing you do**

The giveaway will close on Friday, October 14th. I will notify the winner by email.

As a special for all of you, I have my very own Share the Memories code that provides a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the store - $20 value! The code to use is:


So go on over and check out all their goodies and report back. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sitting Room Redo

I'm slowly redoing different rooms in our home. Our sitting room has been the exact same since we built the house in 2003. It was definitely time to do something different.

All the frames were gold! Yikes! We put this room together before I got comfortable with what I know I like.

I always hated that couch. Marcus brought that with him when we got married. It was ugly and nasty and now it's finally gone!!

I love what the room looks like now!!

Marcus was nice enough to paint the wall while I had the kids at my family reunion one weekend. After the wall was painted, it was just a matter of finishing all the little odds and ends needed.

Sorry for the awful pictures; I took them at night with a flash...

I moved the piano and got different decorations to go on top to match the new colors of the room.
(Oops...left the lamp on.)

I have a new love for spray paint. It can make something look completely different and it is oh so cheap. I spray painted the lamp and added a corny piece of ribbon to add color to it. I also used red spray paint on the family sign to add more color as well.

Entry way:

Marcus calls this my moldy G. (excuse the vinyl saying reflection in the mirror.)
I also spray painted the mirror black. I think the G looks good there. I made it and instead of spending around $80 like Anthropology, I spent like $6.

I used more red spray paint to redo the container on the wall, and then I added new flowers that look much better.

And my favorite part:

All I did was paint canvases I got on sale at Hobby Lobby.

I love the colors and how it all came together. I also love that Marcus hung all the canvases so I didn't have to.

(Picture taken at night...sorry.)

Closer shot of the table.

The colors go with the new colors in the family room area. I'll post pictures of that someday too. (If it can stay clean longer than five seconds!)

My only problem with the room is this:

I can't find the type of curtains OR chairs I am looking for. I want two accent chairs that match my wall that aren't 200 bucks a pop. I never realized that accent chairs are so much money. I am hesitant to get curtains until I can find a chair that I like so the material will match.

I love that I did this room as affordable as I did. Most of the stuff was re-used from what I all ready had in that room and I got out of the doing the hardest part! (the painting of the wall.)

Hopefully I will have a new area to show off shortly...

Linking up to:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Todays Creative Blog

Made By You Monday

Between Naps on the Porch

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tilipia with Pineapple Mango Salsa...

I like to pretend I can cook. (Pretend being the key word there). When I find easy recipes, I refer to them a lot. I have a handful of recipes that seem more complicated, but are really easy, like embarrassingly easy.

One of those recipes is Tilapia with Pineapple Mango Salsa.

and oh so easy

All the ingredients you need for the salsa:

Red Onion
Pineapple (fresh or canned)

Chop up your cilantro.
I don't measure anything in this recipe. Normally I have to have the exact measurements for everything. Not this time..trial and error and make to your liking...

Chop up your red onion. I'm not a huge fan of onions so I don't use a whole onion most of the time. I also like to make the pieces smaller so they aren't completely over powering.

Chop up your pineapple. You can use canned or fresh pineapple. In my opinion, canned is better. It's easier than cutting up a whole pineapple. If you have the time and patience, fresh is good too.

I make my husband peel and cut up the mango. For some reason, the mango and I don't get along. I usually use two mango since they don't have a very powerful taste.

Slice up your tomatoes...for some reason, I didn't take a picture of that step, but I'm sure you get it..

Mix everything together and squeeze a lime over all over it. If you are wimp like me, you have to use two hands to squeeze half a lime. (time to hit the gym)

I think it's fine without salt, but my husband has to put salt on everything...

Put the salsa in the fridge for awhile to let it sit.

When you are ready to finish making the meal, cook your fish in a bit of Olive Oil.
I usually just use salt and pepper to season the fish.
You don't want a lot of seasoning because of the salsa.

And Wham!!

Finished Product...
I usually serve this dish with rice.

There is always salsa left over and it is delish with chips. I usually add a jalapeno to the salsa when we eat it that way. Oh so yummy!!


Linking up with:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Todays Creative Blog

Tutorials & Tips Tuesday

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday Confessional...

I haven't done this in a long time...but I have something I have to get off my chest...


I Confess:

I recently ended an unhealthy relationship. It was pretty much one sided...almost emotionally abusive.

I Confess:

I felt good about it at first. I was strong and never looked back. I knew I had done the right thing for myself.

I Confess:

The other day, I was weak. I went back. And now I regret it. Just like last time, I was left feeling empty and everything that went bad in our relationship was my fault.

I Confess:

I plan on keeping up the affair. Not letting anyone else know I am still involved. Knowing the outcome isn't going to be good, but hoping the outcome is different; better, more loving...

I Confess:

I want to be strong. I want to be brave. But a girl has needs...and those needs can only be met by certain things....even if it is an abusive relationship.

Say hello to my abusive partner:
My bathroom scale.

I put it away months ago because I got tired of stepping on it every morning and letting three numbers affect my day the way they did. Then I got it out last week, and I've been going back for more and more..

I confess:

Maybe someday I will be strong enough to live without it. But for now, I will continue to pretend I don't care what it says. It can't hurt me more than it all ready has...

Go on and link up your know you want to....

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Busy! Busy! Busy!

Life has taken over and we have been running around like crazy!!!

Jet skiing, trips to Manti, Birthday parties, Princess Festival, trips to the ER, working full time, being a mom...can I have a pause button please?! (oh!! and my dishwasher has been broken for way too long and for some reason, I seem to be the only one who knows how to wash dishes...)

I have lots of updates and awesome pictures. Even a story of my four year old giving herself a partial tonsillectomy. But not now...I have two kids yelling "MOM!" "MOM!"

PS....typing up the title to the post, I hit a few too many keys and it originally said Busty! Busty! Busty! That's a whole different post for a different time!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What I Wore Wedndesday: Number 4

Wow! I was really bad this week! I only took pics of three days outfits. Things have been a little crazy on the home front.

Oh well.

We start this week off with my newest favorite accessory:

My mustache necklace from Little Miss Momma

I wore it for the first time with this outfit:

T-shirt: Impel Clothing
White tank top: Target
Brown Capris: Kohls
Levi Jacket: Old Navy

Then this little outfit:
I think it is the most comfortable outfit I own, next to my jammies of course.
But actually seeing a picture of me in it; not so comfortable.
I think it adds 10 pounds.

Brown Shirt:(I actually think it's suppose to be a dress,
but I don't want my goods hanging out): Macy's
Leggings: Rue 21
Boots: Kohls

This next outfit I am a little annoyed that no one told me I look like I am like 14 months pregnant. I don't know how I feel about this dress. Good thing it was only 12 dollars...

Dress:Forever 21
T-Shirt: Vanity
Jacket: Old Navy
Shoes: Kohls

Fun times can be found at:

the pleated poppy blog


Momma Go Round


No Model Lady