Winston Churchill

Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Year

It's crazy to think that another year has come and gone.  I can't believe that it's been 6 months since my last post.  It's true what they say about time flying - the older I get the faster it flies by.

Summer time was soooo busy, I just fell out of the habit of posting.  I do miss sharing my random thoughts though so at the start of this new year I'll begin by getting back into  the routine of blogging.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I Did It!

Yesterday was the Utah Valley Half Marathon.  I signed up to run this race with my friend Laurie Petersen back in January thinking I had plenty of time to train - I was sure I'd be more than ready to run.  I started training in February - stepping things up in March and April.  I was actually doing pretty good until May arrived. 

I pushed myself a little too hard on a long run, injured my lower back and had to pull back for a few weeks.  Then work got crazy busy and Brad got sick and ended up in the hospital for a few days.  Needless to say, I didn't get  much running in during May.  A week before race day, I was only able to run for about 7 miles before tiring out.

Feeling discouraged but still determined to do this race, I decided to just focus on finishing the race in under 3 hours.  Laurie was great about it - saying she hadn't enough time to really train either and we would plan to walk as much as we needed. 

Going in with lowered expectations took the pressure off and I was able to relax and run so I did much, much better than I expected!  With Laurie's encouragement I ran most of the way - stopping to walk only at the aid stations to grab a quick drink and one pit stop.  I ended up finishing in 2 hours and 33 minutes!! 

I'm pretty sore today since I wasn't in shape for that long of a run but it's worth it.  The run felt great and I'm so glad I stuck it out.  Now, on to the next race in August.  :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A friend posted this on Facebook and I really like the message - it's one I need to remember.  Sometimes I stop putting in the effort to accomplish something that takes a lot of work - at other times I can't seem to find or make the extra time needed to squeeze everything in.

When I've plowed through, made time and stuck with something, the sense of accomplishment has always made it worthwhile.  I just need to keep telling myself - "Don't give up, you'll be glad you kept going."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lemony Lemon Brownies

I've been neglecting my blog.  It's not that I meant to - in fact I really miss posting my random thoughts, but life has just been really busy so far this year.  I realized tonight that this month is all but over and I better hurry up and get a recipe posted. 

I saw this one on Pinterest and it intrigues me.  Lemony Brownies, doesn't that sound interesting?  You could call them Lemonies instead of Brownies.  I've got to try these out so I'll be making them this weekend.  :)

Source:  Becky Charms

Lemony Lemon Brownies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour {King Arthur All-Purpose Flour}
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt {Sea Salt}
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Tart Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoon lemon juice
8 teaspoons lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease/Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter/cooking spray and set aside. 

Zest and juice two small/large lemons; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. 

Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before glazing.  Do not overbake, or the bars will be dry. {even with the yummy glaze}

When brownies are cooled completely, make the glaze...sift the powdered sugar, add lemon zest and juice, and whisk together all three ingredients. Spread 1/2 the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula.  Let glaze harden.  Spread the remaining glaze over the bars, and let it harden.  Cut into bars, and serve!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

81st Birthday

Today would have been my Dad's 81st birthday and I've been thinking about him and missing him today.  Just a little bit of trivia about my Dad, he loved cashews.  I do too, in fact they're my favorite kind of nut.  My mom loves pistachios and my dad loved cashews. 

Sometimes when I eat these nuts, I think back to when I was young - watching a movie together or playing a family game and sharing these yummy nuts with my parents.  I love the fun memories and good times associated with these nuts.  Cashews always remind me of my Dad.  Happy Birthday Daddy!  Love and Miss You!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

25 Years Already!

Happy Anniversary to the wonderful and amazing man that I feel blessed to call my husband and my best friend.  I Love you Brad!  Here's to 25 more fantastic years!!  :) 

Monday, April 30, 2012

It's T-Ball Time

Winston is on the Cubs this year and Brad is his coach. In the pic above, he's with his best buddie Jackson.  They've grown up together and are really like brothers. 

It's going to be a super fun ball season this year.  Because they played last year, they both think they're pros.  It's so fun and entertaining to watch them.  :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Where Oh Where Did April Go?

April has flown by for me - it's been a crazy busy month at the Shafer household.  My mom had knee replacement surgery on both of her knees in the middle of March and I've been helping her in the evenings after work.  Brad has been out of town several times on work trips and Winston's T-ball games started up.  Plus, I've been getting up in the mornings to train for my upcoming half marathon on June 9 and to top it off, work has picked up dramatically so I've been working a lot more hours this month. 

My mom is doing well - she's actually ahead of schedule in her recovery.  I'm doing pretty good on my training too - not as far along as I hoped I'd be but I'll be ready in time for the race.  Unfortunately, my house is a mess right now and I'm way behind on getting much Spring cleaning done but there's only so many hours in a day, something has to give.

I'm hoping May will be a much less hectic month.  When life runs at such a crazy pace like April has done, it doesn't leave much time to relax and enjoy the journey.  One nice thing about this past April is that the weather has been great so I've been able to get outside for many runs and I've really enjoyed the spectacular Spring flowers.  The world is a beautiful place in the Spring. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Running Tips

Being registered to run in two half marathons this year, I have running on the brain.  I'm always keeping my eyes open for good running tips.  I saw this chart on good/proper form on Pinterest and thought I'd post it on my blog too.
It's a great reminder to run tall and relaxed with shorter strides and a quick cadence - always landing midfoot to avoid injuries.  With all this good weather we're having it's time to get out there and run!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Snickerdoodle Bread

I'm a sucker for snickerdoodle anything.  I love the cookies, I love the pie I posted last year, I love the blondies and I absloutley LOVE this snickredoodle Bread!

It turned out moist and with just the right amount of flavor.  The little bursts of cinnamon from the cinnamon chips really put this bread over the top - so delicious!  Now I need an excuse to make it again.  :)

Source:  Lil' Luna
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. sour cream
  •  2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 pkg. Hershey’s cinnamon chips
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 3 t. cinnamon
Cream butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon until fluffy.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well.   Mix flour, baking powder and cream of tartar in a separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients and mix until all combined. Add cinnamon chips and stir into batter. Set aside.   
Spoon batter into 4 mini loaf pans until about 2/3 full.  Mix 3 T. sugar and 3 t. cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the batter in each loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 35-38 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

I'm so happy that Spring is officially here!  It's been a mild winter this year - I'm not a big fan of snow and cold weather so to me, it's been a great winter.  I love having more daylight.  I love sunshine and I'm so looking forward to Summertime and all the outdoor activities that go with it.  Happy Spring!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time for a Change

My life is due for some change - I'm not sure how to start or what to do.  I just know that a change is needed.  It's time for some serious thinking and planning...
 I found these quotes on Pinterest.  Aren't they great?
 Change can be a really good thing - a great way to grow.
It's hard to know where to start but I know I need to.
 I'm anxious now but I need to get excited.
 And I need to believe in myself - things will work out.
Yes, it's time for some magic happen in my life.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy February 29th!

What do you do with an extra day every four years?  The idea of getting an extra day is great - if only it could be a free day.  A day to hang out with family, have fun or relax, you get the idea.  Unfortunately, on leap year day, life goes on as usual - today I still had to go to work, do housework and all the usual stuff I do each day. 

But wouldn't it be nice to get a day free of your usual responsibilities each leap year?  A day to completely relax and have fun.  I guess I'm just missing some down time right now.  Work has been beyond busy and I've started training to run in a half marathon in June so needless to say, I don't have much free time. 

I'd really love a day off to read or watch some movies - old favorites and some I haven't seen yet, maybe do some shopping and browse online uninterrupted for a little while.  Wouldn't that be nice? Sigh!  I need a vacation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

In honor of National Pancake Week, here's a recipe I found on Pinterest that I've been planning to make.  I think I'll have to make these this weekend.  The idea of Maple Butter Icing is just too tempting.  My mouth is watering. 

Source:  See Jane in the Kitchen

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
2 whole Eggs Beaten
1 cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
¼ cups Butter, Melted
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon with a whisk. Whisk well to make sure everything is combined. In separate large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, corn syurp, butter and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium/low heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Brown on both sides.
Maple Butter Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
dash salt
1 TBS maple syrup
1/4 cups milk, more if needed

(I recommend doubling the icing also, I added a lot more syrup than the recipe calls for)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Today I'm so very grateful for my fabulous husband and three wonderful sons.  My heart is brimming over with love and appreciation for my family.  Life with them is so very fulfilling and worthwhile.  I am blessed - truly blessed.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Missing Dad

Today is the three year anniversary of my father's death.  It's hard to believe that it's been three years since my dear Dad passed away and yet at the same time, it feels as if it's been more like 10 years since I last saw and spoke with him.  Despite his being gone, my Dad's influence is always with me - that little voice in my head guiding and helping me.  He is my Guardian Angel.  I Miss you and Love you Dad!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Travel Wish...

I can't believe January is over.  Every year the time goes by faster and faster.  I really want to slow things down - to sit and relax in a chair on a beach like the one pictured above.  To take life at a slower pace and not have every day be a rush from sunrise to sunset trying to get everything done.

Isn't this a gorgeous picture of a Hawaiian sunset?  Hawaii is on my list of places to go someday - in fact, it's near the top of my travel wish list.  I found Hawaii's Offical Tourism site to help with planning a trip when I finally make it there. 

I definitely want to go to Hawaii's Volcano National Park.  I've wanted to go here from the first time I saw pictures of this place - to see lava erupting in person.  Amazing!

Another thing I plan to do is walk on the beach with Brad - either at sunrise or sunset or maybe both.  Just the thought of this is so relaxing.  Looking at this picture I can almost smell the ocean and feel the wet sand on my feet.  One day I'll make it there. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookies, Mmmmm!  I've seen this recipe floating around on Pintrest for the last few months and decided to finally give it a try.  I must admit that I didn't think they could be as good as the regular cutout sugar cookies but figured you can't go too wrong with sugar cookies and frosting.

I'm so happy to report that these are delicious - super delicious - and so much easier than the traditional cut-out cookies.  They were thick and soft and yummy!  I did use my own frosting recipe - the original recipe used cream cheese frosting but I prefer buttercream frosting on sugar cookies.  Try these, you'll love them.  :)

Source:  The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined.
Spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan - I greased and then sprayed Pam Baking Spray with Flour on top of the shortening and the cookies didn't stick at all). Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean (they won't look done so do the toothpick test). Cool completely and frost.

2 sticks butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
6-7 cups powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons heavy cream

Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Add salt. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add heavy cream and beat until combined.  Add remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition, until you reach desired consistency.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In 2012 I will Achieve...

I'm a little slow getting my resolutions decided on this year - to be honest, I'm still trying to get all the Christmas decorations put away.  Yes, I'm a little behind so far this year.  The way I see it though, you can start a resolution any time of the year - not just the first of January.  Once you decide to make a change, you should start on it right away - don't wait.

Also, there are so many things to choose from.  I found the above picture on Google and loved all the things listed - they're all things I want to either try or do better at.  Anyway, for this year, I'm going to still work on some of the goals I set last year so here's what I've decided on:

1.  Continue trying to Make a positive impact on someone's life each day.  I started this last year and felt the good effects in my own life as I tried to make a positive impact on those around me.  I'm still going to work at making my little corner of the world a better place  - I've learned it not only benefits others but also me.
2.  Take a cooking class - I didn't get around to doing this last year so this year I'm going to do it!
3.  Improve my Running time and distance.  I set a goal to run a half marathon last year and I did it!  This year I've already registered to run in two more half marathons and I want to improve my endurance and time - lots and lots of training ahead of me.  : )
4.  Take time each week to write down the highlights.  This is another goal from last year and I was pretty hit and miss at doing it.  I started out alright but as the weeks went by, I let the busyness of life use up my time.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to manage my time better and write down life's highlights.  

Well that's it for this year.  Wish me luck!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I saw this quote on Pinterest today - a great truth!  I love President Uchtdorf's perspective on life.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken

It's been so cold this weekend, I thought I'd post a good slow cooker recipe.  This chicken dish is so tangy/yummy - it really hits the spot on a cold winter day.  You can dish up the cooked chicken as is or shred it for sandwiches or spoon over rice.  Any way you serve it, this chicken is delicious.  It's a family favorite of ours and I've made it many times for family gatherings too - it's that good and so easy to make.

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken.  Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Tips:  For best results, use a good quality barbeque sauce - not a cheap one.  I like to use Sweet Baby Rays or Famous Daves barbeque sauce. If you shred the chicken for sandwiches, either shred it in the slow cooker or put it back in the slow cooker after shredding to mix in the sauce.  You can add more barbeque sauce if needed.  Also, if you use low or no fat dressing, add 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil so the chicken won't dry out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Family Scripture

"Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.”  (D&C 88:124)

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Resolutions Recap

I thought it would be good to review and analyze how I did with last year's resolutions.  Some of my goals were easy to remember and work on, some were not.  Here's a recap of my 2011 resolutions:

1.  Make a positive impact on someone's life each day.
2.  Take a cooking class
3.  Learn to better control my reactions and not allow the actions of others to dictate how I react and how I feel
4.  Be a more patient and considerate driver.
5.  Run in a 10K and then a Half Marathon.
6.  Take time each week to write down the highlights.

 For #1 - making a positive impact each day - I had a good start, beginning each day with a prayer and conscious decision to do this but as the days passed, the demands of life gradually took the front seat and pushed this farther back in my thoughts.  I definitely made progress in making a conscious choice to stay positive so I feel this goal was met (I wouldn't say finished because this goal will be a continual work in progress throughout my life.

For #2 - taking a cooking class - I completely missed this one.  I'm going to do it this year though, really!  I failed to make the time to find a local class to register for.  Cooking/Baking is something I really enjoy (not a surprise to anyone who's browsed my blog) so this year I'll find a class and make the time to go.

For #3 - better control of my reactions - again this one will be a continual work in progress but having made the decision to not let the actions of others dictate how I react and feel made a BIG difference.  Deciding ahead of time that I'm in control of how I feel and how I'll react helped me to pause in those difficult moments, think things through and decide how I wanted to respond.  Definitely a success.

For #4 - being a more patient and considerate driver - I've made big gains in this area.  All I have to do is imagine that a driver who makes me frustrated is a friend or family member or that they're in the middle of their own crisis and I instantly feel more patient with them.  This works most of the time and has helped me be a more patient and considerate driver - success for this goal.

For #5 - run in a 10K and then a Half Marathon - well, I kind of skipped the 10K and went straight for the Half Marathon.  Not only did I finish it, but I didn't do half bad and have already registered to run in two Half Marathons this year.  I'm going to have a lot of fun runs this year.

For #6 - writing down the highlights of each week - I started out okay with this and then completely dropped the ball.  This is one I wish I hadn't failed on and I'm recommitting to do better this year.  I don't want to forget all the special moments that happen throughout the year and obviously the best way to remember them is to write them down.  I think I'll post a reminder note on my mirror.

I'll be thinking about this years goals and posting them during the next week.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year Begins

Wow, we're at the end of yet another year - my how they pass so quickly.  Time really does fly by faster each year.  I hear Winston complain about how long it's taking for him to grow up - he can hardly wait until he's old enough to have his own pocket knife and bb gun. I remember feeling this way as a child - that time was crawling by.

As a grownup, I'm so surprised by how quickly the weeks and months fly by.  It seems that Winston was born just last year and not more than 5 years ago already.  I worry about missing his growing up, which despite his complaints is happening at a rapid rate.  There's a lot to be said for seizing the moment and stopping to smell the flowers - don't wait until you're less busy - time doesn't wait for you and you'll miss all those special moments.

I welcome this new year and look forward to all it will bring.  I hope there will be more good kind of experiences than difficult ones, but will take all that is to come.  I'll try my best to learn and grow and cherish each day.  Happy New Year!