Tuesday, October 28, 2008


OK i know i'm a torture to myself and i know how to destroy a diet plan like no other. I can't help it though, it's not my fault people post yummy delicious recipes on their blog and i just so happen to come across them. I'm not saying i'm going to make these today but i definitely will be making them this weekend. I found them here, and i'm totally addicted to this blog now. She has some great ideas and i'll be totally using more of her recipes! I'll let you know how they turn out.

Caramel- Pecan Brownies

Soooo rich and heavenly...


12 Tbs (6 oz.)

unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces; more softened for the pan

4 ounces

unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

4 large


1¾ cups

granulated sugar

1½ tsp

pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp

table salt

¾ cup

unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup

natural cocoa powder

1½ cups

pecans, coarsely chopped


1 cup

granulated sugar

¼ tsp

fresh lemon juice

¼ cup

cold water

½ cup

heavy whipping cream

3 Tbs

unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

1 tsp

pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp

table salt


2 ounces

bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 Tbs

heavy whipping cream

½ cup

pecans, toasted and chopped


Make the brownies:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan.


Put butter and chocolate in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.


In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until well blended. Gradually whisk in sugar and then whisk vigorously until well blended. Whisk in melted chocolate mixture, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk in flour and cocoa powder until blended. Stir in pecans and then scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a spatula.


Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and, if necessary, gently press down any puffed areas with a spatula to make the top level. Let cool about 5 minutes.


Make the topping:
While the brownies are baking, make the caramel. Fill a cup measure halfway with water and put a pastry brush in it; this will be used for washing down the sides of the pan to prevent crystallization. In a heavy duty 2-quart saucepan, stir the sugar, lemon juice, and ¼ cup cold water. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to wash away any sugar crystals. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes. Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and prevent the sugar from burning in isolated spots. Continue to cook until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 seconds more. (Once the mixture begins to color, it will darken very quickly, so keep an eye on it!)


Remove the pan from heat and carefully add the cream- the mixture will bubble up furiously. Once the bubbling has subsided, add the butter and gently whisk until completely melted. Whisk in the vanilla extract and salt.


Pour the caramel topping over the brownies (it won't be thick). Roll the pan around (or use a spatula) to spread the caramel evenly over the entire top. Let the brownies cool on the rack for 45 minutes and then refrigerate until the caramel topping has set (at least an hour and longer, if possible). The caramel will most likely sink into the brownies quite a bit, leaving a thin layer on top of the brownies.


Garnish the brownies:
Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate into a small piping bag fitted with a 1/8-inch plain tip. (Or put in a small zip-top bag and seal the bag. Using scissors, snip off a corner of the bag to make a small hole.) Drizzle the chocolate over the brownies in a zigzag pattern. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.


Cut the brownies into 36 rectangles. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (Well- covered brownies will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator for up to 5 days). If your kitchen is warm, it's best to keep them chilled.

Yield: About 36 brownies

Cooking Tips

*You are certainly welcome to make this recipe easier by using store-bought caramel. Eliminate steps 5 & 6 and continue with step 7. Use enough caramel to cover the top of the brownies (probably about 1 cup or so will do).

**These brownies are decadent and rich. A small piece is sufficient as a serving size.

***They can also be a little messy with caramel dripping slightly off of the sides. We displayed each brownie on a small square of parchment paper and then placed it onto the platter. Then it was able to become a hand-held dessert without being so messy for the person holding it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Party

Well this weekend was filled with a lot of laughs and great costumes. Thanks to Jessica we had a great Halloween party to go to.

I thought it would only be appropriate for the dentist to dress like a tooth and have his side kick tooth fairy with him

Dustin and Nicole,
Dustin was from the village people but Brett thinks Mike Ditka was more appropriate. Nicole was the best Indian, i think i might need to borrow it next year.
Jessica and Dave, i love this idea and she made them her self.

Of course we couldn't go to a Halloween party without some dancing with the stars people. I especially loved Justin's leather pants.

Troy and Meagan were "Rocky" and "Adrian"

We won the balloon popping contest

80's anyone????

I think this was my favorite costume of the night, reno 911 cops.

Saturday, October 25, 2008



Super cute stuff check her out, she is amazing and has inspired me to try new things!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Our Mr. Potato Head pieces came to good use this Halloween. It was super FUN and EASY.

Use a pen to mark the holes and then use a screw driver to poke them out. It took us like 5 mins. and it wasn't messy.

The Usury...

We took the kids hiking to the Usury in Mesa and they loved it. These 2 little boys love to be outside and climbing things. Peyton was our little guide leading the pack, he is a true hiker. After our hike Peyton says "mom can we go to the real forest and go on a hike". He loved hiking in Montana this summer and talks about it all the time. My mom took him huckleberry picking so he thought we would be picking berries but he'll have to wait until summer.

I love these little guys!!!

When you hike with these 2 you've got to be ready to keep up!!!

We thought this would be a cool picture but i was the only one looking!

Brody catching a ride


Brett showing Peyton the mountain across from us that had the word "PHOENIX" on it.

At the Usury there are a ton of parks along the way, so we took a little break to have a snack and play.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I love SEE KAI RUN shoes, they are super cute and kids can wear them everywhere. Well Simple Finds is giving a pair away, i love when they do that. And since Brody has out grown almost all his shoes i really hope i win. And if you win he's a size 8 now so you can send them our way.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


This is to all visitors.... COME AT YOUR OWN RISK!

We were going about our daily Saturday activities when i SAW this NASTY thing in the sink. That's right it was in my kitchen sink, we don't know how it got in there but he was stuck and couldn't get out. But now he's DEAD!
So you will hear me in the back ground talking on the phone to our friends Darren and Shari (who own frontline pest control). We were trying to figure out how it got in the sink.

I think i had a minor heart attack today when i saw this thing, seriously.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another Give Away...

You all know how i feel about these..I LOVE GIVE AWAYS. Even though i never win, this one is amazing. Check out her quilt, she did the best job!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Well i just finished my very first 1/2 MARATHON (2hrs.10mins.) with my friend Shari.
We had so much fun training together, picking out our matching outfits and going to Long Beach, California to do the run.
We put in so many hours and months training for this day and it was totally worth it. We both want to do another soon.

I have to thank Brett for getting up with the kids every Saturday morning while i was out on my long runs, and for driving to Long Beach and back with me. Your the best babe!

And thanks to Dustin and Nicole for watching our kiddos for us so we didn't have to take them. They had a BLAST at your house and cried when we had to take them, they love you guys.

On our way to California

Getting ready to leave the hotel for the BIG race

ALL the runners, there was around 18,000 people running in the different races that day!

Shari and I at the end of the run...we did it and survived!

Brett and Darin were at the end waiting for us... it was so fun to have them there.

Darin and Shari

After the race, look closely at my shirt!

Brett finally got to watch some football this weekend, we went out for lunch and they just happened to have a sports part with the game on!!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Baby Taylor....

Congratulations Scott and Jodi!
We are so excited for you guys to become new parents.
Taylor Autumn
October 5th
7 lbs. 14 oz.

I was telling my boys that Uncle Scott and Auntie Jodi had a baby girl and they were so excited, i was so surprised by their reaction i caught a little bit of our conversation on video.
We can't wait to meet her...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I hate Diets...

OK if you know me you probably know i SUCK at diets or eating healthy, whatever it's all the same to me. But this time i'm really trying, Brett and i are going hard core. I even promised him that i wouldn't eat any sweets this week, and i meant from Monday-Thursday. So that means...
NO BAKING, until tomorrow!

I'm dying. I want to make chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and cinnamon buns SO BAD.
I found this recipe that i'm gonna try tomorrow because tomorrow is FRIDAY. So if your looking for me i'll be in my kitchen BAKING up a storm.

The Ultimate Reeces Peanut Butter Banana Bread

3 Sticks softened butter
2 Cups sugar
5 eggs
½ Cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small box vanilla pudding mix (4 serving size)
2 Cups flour
5-6 ripe bananas

20-30 recees peanut butter minis

½ Cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
2-3 Tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs until smooth. Add peanut butter, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, pudding mix and flour until combined. Stir in bananas and Reeces.

2. Pour batter into 3 greased bread pans. Bake 45-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center of each loaf. Let cool.

4. Place powdered sugar, milk and peanut butter in a bowl. Whisk until smooth and drizzling consistency.

5. Drizzle over each loaf.



Outside our house in the back yard. I was beginning to think that scorpions were rare in Arizona because in the 14 months we have been here we have NEVER found one. (except when we went scorpion hunting at the Lowrys house, but that was different because it was there house far away from us!)
It is creeping me out, i know we don't have them inside because we would have seen one by now and we have the best pest control company ever, thanks frontine pest control for doing an AWESOME job!
I'm just being SUPER careful and making my kids wear SHOES outside every time they head out. They were getting in the habit of playing in the dirt and water with no shoes BUT now shoes are on our feet no matter!!!
Call me paranoid but i hate these things. And when we buy a house i WILL not move into anything before black lighting it and if they have ever seen one it would probably be a deal breaker. GROSS!!!!

Anyways thanks to this little guy above i have a great idea for Brody's birthday next month!
Check out the upper right hand photo, do you see the orange scorpion? I think these bug cupcakes are so cute. So BUG party here we come!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Do you want to win something really cute and fun???
I do.
Go to this link and you can win a free handbag




Do you ever feel like you can never keep up?
Or that everyone around you is doing a better job and has everything you want in life.
I am constantly feeling this way!
And i'm constantly reminding myself that it's not true.
Do you ever say "we'll be a real family after we have our first baby?" or "Our lives we'll really start after we're done school?" or my personal favorite "We'll be truly happy and feel complete when we can afford the house we want"
BUT every time one these things is finished i still have the feeling like something isn't complete.

And it finally clicked today when Pres. Monson said
we need to realize what is most important in life.
Why do we care so much what other people think or have? It seems like an never ending roller coaster to disaster when we try to out do each other.

I decided today that the Karrens our going to live "SIMPLE"!
Brett is going to LOVE this, because he already lives this way and has been trying to get me on board for many years!

I also liked when the prophet reminds us that our children only have one childhood and that the never ending laundry can wait. I enjoyed the little story about his dad not going into work when there was an emergency because he had promised his sons he would take them to the circus. I love this reminder. Our children grow up so FAST i think i often forget to enjoy the moments i have with them. So if you come over to my house this week and it's a disaster it's because I've been playing with my kids.
He also talked about expressing our GRATITUDE and to give THANKS. I try to do this often but i think i forget to thank the ones i love most.
Brett and i have been talking about this alot lately and it seems we often forget to acknowledge what the other one has been doing. I get so caught up in the stuff thats NOT getting done i forget to notice the things that are.
So i hope i can become the person i want to be.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings....