Merry Christmas 2016!

14615635_1792811907656586_5277820693401175672_o-1Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!  The year 2016 has been an adventure for us.  It seems as though it all came and went in the blink of an eye!!  We are super excited for 2017 to begin.  (Perhaps this is why my blog is no longer updated regularly!  Life is just too busy!!)  A lot of apprehensions are combined with that excitement as well, as there are a lot of firsts for our family!

Our oldest, Dalton, is a Senior this year.  He turns 18 in February.  He has been keeping super busy!  He started the summer off with farm irrigating!  Oh what a joy it is to see your children have to do something hard and undesirable!  I think we had to chisel some of the mud off from him at times, and he had to learn to walk with toothpicks holding his eye lids opened!!  I think everyone should have the experience of working on a farm!!  I am grateful for neighbors and friends who can offer this type of work to our children.  I hope it gives them the drive to work harder for the better things in life that they desire.  He is in the peak of swim season and getting stronger!  His times are steady, but he is definitely a much stronger swimmer then what he used to be! He is taking lots of USU courses through the school and loving Jazz Band and socializing (dating).  He loves political science and has been told he would have a good career in that area.  He has an incredible gift of writing and is actually working on a novel!!   He is a music lover like me.   He will be doing the school’s Dancing with the Stars this April!  We are so excited to see him get this opportunity!  Graduation comes in May and then the plans are a mission and then college, of which he has already applied and waiting to hear back!  He wants to go to Ricks college (BYU-I) where he is near the mountains!   He is working hard and trying hard to prepare for these wonderful things in his life!  We wish him the best!
Alexis (Ali) has just turned 16!  She also just passed her driver’s test and we are waiting until January to go and get her license!  She needs a little bit more time driving before I turn her loose on the roads!  She is a Sophomore and is completely enjoying the social aspect of school!  She is swimming as well and continually keeps taking time off her races!  We don’t know how or why but she seems to be really good at it!!  She auditioned for Jazz band, ON A VIOLIN NO LESS, and made an alternate this year, but within a month, the bass player had to move and she got the spot!  So she has been transitioning from violin to bass and doing a great job at it!!  I look at all those strings and my mind gets confused!!  I will stick to the piano!  She has a gift for picking up music quickly… we just need to keep working on counting… it will be her downfall!    It has been fun to see both of these two cheer each other on in swimming and spend so much time together in school.  I know that she will surely miss her brother when he leaves this year!
Ethan took on Cross Country this past summer!  He is turning 14 in April.  His Dyslexia gets the best of his reading, but his mind is incredible at solving math and other puzzles.  He has figured out how to do the rubix cube and he now wants a “mega mynx” which is a weird shaped rubix cube!  I am amazed at his hard work ethic!  He wants to be a farmer and build a cabin in the mountains some day!  He is the one that will keep our house afloat if anything should happen to Ed.  He just goes and does the chores without being told!!  Now, cleaning his room is a whole different ball game!  I think he has put on about two inches just since school started!!  Hopefully he will not be short all of his life!!  He looks forward to 9th grade because then he will be old enough to tackle swimming!  Hopefully Ali will swim next year and then those two can swim together!!  He loves playing his trombone, although, many have laughed and mentioned that his trombone seems to be bigger than he is!!!
Garrett (Gary) has just turned 12 and is in the 6th grade.  He graduated from primary and is now a Deacon!  I get to send FOUR children to mutual now!  Wow!  Over here, 6th and 7th grade are in a  separate school.  He is the only one in our family in that school and I think it makes him feel pretty special!!  He has come a long ways!!  He is still a little hot-headed at times (he must have gotten that from the red-head in the family, ahem!)  but is learning how to keep things under control a lot better!!  He has a sense of outdoor adventure that compares to no one else!!  If there is a ball in his hand, look out!! He has to throw it!!  He LOVES any kind of sports.  He loves 4-wheelers, shooting shotguns with Ed, hunting, camping, hiking!!  He loves them all!!  He ran with Ethan this summer in Cross Country and wants to do it again this summer!!  It was great to give him an “out!”  With the exception of Cross Country, (which is for 6th to 8th grade) we have our kids wait until 9th grade before they can participate in school sports.  It is just far too much to be going every which way when they are younger!!
Rhiley is in the 4th grade.  He has truly got to be the most sensitive child I have ever seen. While many laugh at this, I believe he has been blessed with an amazing ability to understand the needs of others and to be more caring.  I am sure it will be a help to him as he grows and matures in life!!  He is in Cub Scouts and working on his Bear.  This child will also do anything with art!  He has such a creative mind it blows mine away!  He is always making, glueing, or stapeling something together!!  He is definitely a creator!  He is getting taller by the day and I bet his height will rival Dalton’s some day!!
Brock (Brockers) is in the 1st grade and is six years old.  He is such a huge bundle of energy!!  He gives the best hugs ever!!  He loves his teacher at school and I think he will be one of those ones that school comes easy to… much to the chagrin of his siblings!!  Our goals with Brock include learning to sit “STILL” for longer lengths of time!   Those little legs and arms are just always on  the move!!  Hopefully warmer weather will come soon and he can go run and play outside to his little heart’s delight!  I have to laugh at how hard some in our family work for things and how easily things come to others!!  Our goal is to help all our children learn that we are all on the same team and that when one succeeds we all succeed and that we should all celebrate everyone’s successes!!
Mattie Lorrain (Raindrop or Rainy) is my ray of sunshine!  She is four, turning five in March! Yes, my baby will start school this Autumn!!  Where did those five years go?  Her picture on the wall is still when she was only a few months old!!  I guess I have to change that one soon!  I have told her how much I will miss having her go to town and to the grocery store with me and she has “pinky promised” that she will tell the bus driver to go faster.  With Mattie, when she pinky promises, she does not break her promise!!!  I am amazed at her ability to communicate so well and the reasoning that goes on in her little mind!  I can explain the dangers of something to her and that she should not do it, and she will absolutely NOT do it!!  I will truly miss having her here at home with me all day long!!
Ed continues to stay busy!!  He is serving on the High Council and his assignments include working with the teacher (14-15) aged boys and the single adults.  He spends a lot of time doing scouting things as well as monthly talks!  I try to go listen whenever I can!     He is my rock and my very best friend!!  It takes a very brave man to marry a hot-headed, red head; and, he did marry me, knowing full well what he was getting into and he loves me regardless!!
I am trying to stay on top of things as well!! I have felt as though I needed to put a Taxi sign on the mini van this year!!  We just also finished up the Messiah.  This is my third year of playing for it and I hope to be able to do it as long as I am able to.  Sometimes it is the only time I really get to sit down and play!  I am so grateful for opportunities to serve!  The Lord gives each one of us talents.  How will we use them to further his work?  Being older, I feel arthritis settling in and it does cause pain in my arms and wrists at times!!  I have to keep telling myself and I am not going to let my age get to me!!  It has been fun to watch our children grow and participate and to learn to do new things.  I am learning new things as well!  I am now working as a counselor in the primary and trying to learn what the Lord needs me to do help these children.  My thoughts always turn to the scriptures.  Teach them the scriptures.  Teach them that the answers to life and the examples on how to deal with things in life, can be found in the scriptures.  That is something that Ed and I focus on really hard here in our home with our own children!  It is something that EACH ONE OF US needs to know.
The Lord has unconditionally blessed us and we stand in awe at His love towards us.  He came to this earth and atoned for our sins…. for MY sins.  How could someone love me so much??  What can I do to repay him??  Nothing seems good enough!  All we can do is just ALWAYS remember Him!!  To NEVER forget Him.  To always HONOR Him.  We hope that each one of you will always remember Him…The Messiah…  Our Savior….  Our brother!!  May you all have the most joyous of holidays… A beautiful Christmas and an amazing New Year!
Love
Ed, Amy, and Family!

Halloween 2016 — Disney Villains!

This Halloween was CRAZY!  I usually start back in July, since I hand make all the costumes…I am not joking when I say I started three weeks ago!  I was so grateful that I was able to go “shopping” in my Halloween costume closet!  It really helped save me a lot.  One thing for certain… sewing a double sided cape…. Is just too much!  I don’t ever want to do that again…. EVER!  I had TWO!  I can’t tell you how many times I had to reload a bobbin!!  I will be forever grateful for all the people who donated material to the DI!  I am amazed at how much I was able to find there!  Sheets from Walmart work great also!  All things considering, I think we made it!!  Not sure if this will be our last year or not!  I hope you will all enjoy!

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Trying to smile nicely!

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Doing our crazy pose!

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The wicked, evil Prince John!

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Hades…. straight from the underworld!

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Miss DeVil

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Malificent trying to look evil!

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She is just too sweet… evil does not become her!

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Captin Hook’s sidekick Mr. Smee from the movie “Hook!”

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Doc Terminus from the old 1960s Pete’s Dragon!

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“Hook!”

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The wicked queen from Snow White!

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Jack Sparrow! I know… it was stretching to call him a villain… but I ran out of time!

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Me and my best friend! He is such a good sport!

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Costumes all off and arms around Daddy’s neck! Best photo ever!

Golden Spike Historical Re-Inactment

This was so cool!  It happened on the 10th of May, 1869!  The place where the Union Pacific and the Eastern Pacific railways came together!  I have lived in Box Elder County for nearly 11 years and yesterday was the first time I have ever been to this place!  It is only 30 minutes from our home.  I took only one child with me while the others were in school.  Probably for the best.  I do not know how I could have kept my boys from being all over those trains!  My oldest son was in the high school band and they were invited to go play.  We went to go watch him.  So many people were dressed up!  If Mattie and I go next year… we are TOTALLY dressing up!!….because I am a costume freak!!  🙂  Styles of the 1860s….. Here we come!

 

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Posing with the actors who do the enactment!  Holding the “Golden” spike!

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The high school band a playin’ away!

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More interested in the rocks than the massive huge trains behind her!

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My son dressed up as the lone ranger.. but I just thought he was being a goof!  I had no idea we could do it.  They take a photo of all those in costume.  For sure next year!!

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One of the main guys… he let her hold the spike!

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Just because her costume was awesome!

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Many chinese people were there.  This lady was in full Chinese dress.  She wanted to pose with Mattie!  We didn’t have to think twice about that one!

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Family Vacation? What is this!?!?!

Last week, over Spring Break, our little family took a vacation of sorts!  We journeyed down to Ramah, New Mexico to put the death date plaque on my parents’ headstone for my dad.  Dad left this earthly life back on December 12, 2015.  I sure miss him, but I know that he is truly happy being with Mom!

We crammed NINE people into our suburban PLUS took tents and sleeping bags!  Yes, we camped out the entire trip!  We left Wednesday morning at 4 a.m. and made it into Ramah at about 4:30 p.m.  We had a great visit with my Mom’s cousin, Dean Bond.  He was generous enough to let us camp out in his yard, but his wife, Billie, insisted that we all sleep indoors because it was still getting quite cold at nights!  Found out that his Sister is living up close to us and in our own temple district, and in fact…. I believe she was the one that stopped Ed and I at the temple a couple weeks ago asking if we would do some family names for her!  I thought her name sounded familiar but I thought surely no one from Ramah would be this far north!  I sent her a letter yesterday to see if it was her and will be interested to see if it was in fact her!

We left Ramah early Thursday morning.  We spent a lot of time driving on that reservation.  I surely hope our kids took a LONG look at that place and will realize just how good they have things in life.  After returning home, I think there was one prayer that just completely full of gratitude for how good we have things.  Running water, electricity, green grass, a big yard, a house big enough for our family, air conditioning, healthy children, cars that run…. the list goes on.   We were going to take off and go see Mesa Verde National Park.  I never had the chance to go while I was younger.  We stopped off in Farmington for lunch and drove around to see where it was that I was born and saw my Uncle Al and Aunt Rosie’s home!  That was like a second home to me.  It was good to see it one last time, because I can almost guarantee I will never make that trip down there again!

By the time we got to Mesa Verde, it was late.  There were very few people there, luckily for us.  However, most of the tours were not open as it was still early in the year–apparently they don’t really get going until after Memorial day.  Judging by the landscape and elevation, I can tell why!  This had to be my most favorite park to see…EVER.    I want to go back there someday!  We got out late at about 7 p.m. and headed for Monticello.  We got in at about 9:30 at night and found us an RV park were we could set up a tent and camp for the night.  Aside from the noisy highway that was close by, it was really nice.  We got up early again and this time we headed for Arches National Park.  Again, I have never been there either!  There were so many people there.  It was like a highway…. I truly do not like big crowds, but we saw some amazing sites.  Our little ones made the hikes without much difficulty.  I thought about how we missed out on a lot of things while they were babies by not going very many places hardly ever.  I have often wondered if it was the best way to go or not; however, when I saw how many people were carrying little babies and they were crying and hot and tired, and I watched all seven of mind make the hikes on their own, I had no regrets.

We left Arches around 4 p.m. and then took off to go see Dead Horse Point, State Park.  Again, another park I had never seen.  In preparation for this, we had to watch Against a Crooked Sky the Monday before we left!  There were not too many people there….PERFECT!  However, it was cold and started to rain on us a bit; but the view was absolutely breathtaking!

We left that area around 5 p.m. and after a stop for dinner in Price, Utah, we made it home at about 11:30 p.m.  The only thing better than sleeping in your own bed, is having your own bathroom!  The entire trip was long and hard.  We felt like sardines.  We had to unbury people EVERY SINGLE TIME the door was opened.  We had little ones who could not wait very long for bathroom breaks, but it was wonderful!  If this is what a vacation does for people, then we are going to make a resolution to try to do something more frequently.  Up until now, all vacation was always spent with Ed going to some type of Scout Camp or Trek.  Our family needed this.  I needed this.  This is our last Summer with our son, Dalton, as he turns 18 next February and we will be starting his mission paper work in one year’s time.  The Lord was with us this entire trip.  We were amazingly enough able to stay awake the majority of driving time.  Only one close call, but at least I was awake enough to wake up Ed!  Otherwise, we would have been spread out all over a SLC freeway!  The only scary moment was when we stopped off in Shiprock, NM.  We stopped for gas and had a drunk man knocking on the window and beg for money.  Yes, we had TOURIST written all over our car with an extended carrier and a trunk clear full of stuff!  I warned the kids that this could happen and it really did!  Needless to say, we did not stay long in Shiprock!

Ramah has not changed much!  It was so fun trying to remember what it was like when I was young and spent so much time down there.  I will always be grateful that I got to take my family down there to see it this one time!

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Faux Brick Wallpaper!

If you’ve read much of my blog, you would know that a few months ago, I decided to try to paint brick on my kitchen back-splash.  While it turned out, OK, there was something that was just bugging me about it.  I guess it looked too “fake” to me.  I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t want to sound ungrateful, nor did I want to throw all the hours of my work away–believe me it took a long time to do that little paint job!  I debated about whether or not to make it look like board and batten or to put bead-board paneling up there, since I had some left over from some previous projects; but, I knew that it was going to require a super busy husband to get that up.  Not knowing what to do, I started looking around for some ideas.  Well, the other day I happened upon an Ebay store that was selling their faux wallpaper and this particular pattern happened to be nearly 50 percent off!  Wallpaper!!!  I can do that and by my self, too, might I add!  No husband required!!!  And 50% off is a pretty sweet deal!  It got here within three days!

So I put the the little ones to bed that night and went to work!  My kids all thought it was either real or that their mother was an incredible artist!  Wish that it could be the latter, but oh well!!  So without further delay, here is my before and after kitchen back-splash.  Perhaps someday when we have gotten our children into the mission fields, and there is a little extra to spare, we’ll go with real stone, but until then, I am going to enjoy my brick back-splash!

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This is what I painted on. It was just OK… I think I made the mortar too thick. Perhaps this is what was bugging me. Too much white!

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And the after:

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It gives it a much more “softer” look. I guess more of a Tuscan feel. Check out my black stove we found on the classifieds. We spent two weeks cleaning and scrubbing the living tar out of it. We held our breath when we went to go hook it up. We didn’t know if it would work but it did and I love it! We are slowing changing things over to black!  I even wrapped the inside of the windows where the brick was.  It gives it a three-dimension look!  This stuff is so cool!

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Another close-up of the brick.

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I even put some up in my laundry room. I have an area where I have a counter space and some hanging cupboards above it. It looks really cool! Sorry, no picture of that one yet!

UPDATE:

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I found a different style and did my fireplace wall as well!  Unfortunately, AFTER I had hung it all up, my daughter sat there looking at it and then asked me if I had hung it upside down…… Uuummmm…. Yep!  Sure did!  Good grief!

Kitchen New Look!

Leave it up to me to be wanting to do something different to my kitchen RIGHT BEFORE the holidays…. I should be baking… not painting!!!  However, I have been wanting something new for way too long.  I absolutely LOVED my caramel colored kitchen; but recently, I just wanted a change.  Last week, I walked into the paint store to discover they have a mistinted paint that would work just great for my kitchen!!  Woo Hoo!!  Couldn’t pass that one up. So, I painted my kitchen; however, being addicted to color like I am, it was still far too light.  It still needed something… a splash of color somewhere.  I thought about all my different options for a backsplash… seriously, I spent DAYS researching what I could do on my zero-budget limit.  I was becoming depressed… whatever I did was going to cost me… a lot!

I happened to be putting some things up yesterday, when I opened up my craft paint drawer.  All of a sudden, a light-bulb went off.  I could at least try a spot, and if it didn’t work, I could always just paint back over it, right?  So, I had painted my backsplash area my trim color that is in my home.  Luckily I still had TONS of it left over!  I then taped off a brick pattern.  This took FOREVER!!  I had my boys help me with a chalk-line this morning before they went to school just to try to speed things up a bit.  I roughly cut around the edges of the tape so that it would be a jagged edge of both sides.

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My three paint colors… burgundy, brown, and white!

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First wall down!

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This is how I do my paint. Next to each other, then pick up both colors with your brush or sponge. That way you are getting both colors on at the same time… do NOT mix them.

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It gives it a splash of color, which I love!

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I know it’s not perfect, but I like it!  I just took those white boards in the corner of my window out and painted the brick pattern in that space.  It looks 100 times better!

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My pantry door that I painted black with two cans of spray paint!

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There’s our crazy office area…. messy fridge… you know, the kind you don’t see in the home magazines! Oh well… They must not have people actually LIVE in those homes!  Oh man!  I just realized I didn’t paint under my desk!!!  That was my caramel color I had all over!

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Enjoying seeing it clean… it won’t be for much longer… kids will be coming home from school in an hour or so!

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A little too much white paint in some areas, but they are easy to cover up. Just use some of your colored paint and sponge back over it lightly!

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I was about to give up, when I remember the sign I have on my counter… Finishers Wanted… Yep! I needed to finish what I started!!

I took my burgandy paint and my brown paint and put them both together on a plate.  I did not mix them, but left them side-by-side.  I took an old sponge and dabbed into both colors and just started sponging it onto the walls, making sure to get both burgandy and brown colors showing through.  When it was dry, I did the same with white paint and a sponge!  I then put a top coat of polycrylic (which I had on-hand) over it, AFTER I had removed all the tape.  Some of these walls will get a fair amount of scrubbing and cleaning and it needs to be able to hold up to regular cleaning.  This project took a lot of time, but quite honestly, could not have been more simple.  Yes, I know, it is not the fancy real stone, but we do what we can afford to do, and I’m just fine with that!!

I still have just a few more trim pieces to paint and put up–don’t tell Ed I used hot glue.  I didn’t have liquid nails and I couldn’t make any more trips into the store.  It’s sticking really well, and will easily pop off should I ever change my mind again without damaging the wall too much!  I also am going to have Ed help me make some curtain rods for the kitchen and the dining room; however, THAT project will have to wait until after Christmas!!

Ta-Da!!  My new kitchen!!!  What do ya think!!

Tasty Homemade Granola Cereal!

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I’ve decided it’s not too easy to take a good picture of cereal!  Luckily this recipe tastes so good, a good photo is not required!  Cereal, at our house, is a RARE treat!  It’s just too expensive to purchase.  We usually eat oatmeal, pancakes, cracked wheat, or grits for breakfast.  However, on occasion, WHEN I’M FEELING PARTICULARLY KIND, I like to make this cereal in a BIG batch!  I try to make it mostly for my husband…. He leaves for church on Sunday mornings around 6 in the morning, and usually doesn’t get home until well after lunch time.  He needs a little something to fill him up.  This cereal is the perfect Sunday solution… and yes… I do have to hide it or else it would disappear in no time!

It’s really easy to make, and it’s really customizable to what you like!  My kids only like chocolate chips, nuts, and dried and sweetened banana chips in it, but you could put anything you like into it!

In a small sauce pan, combine the following ingredients:

4 TB oil

3/4 C butter

8 T honey

1 1/3 C brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt (roughly)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 to 2 tsp vanilla

Cook and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

Pour into a large bowl with 8 CUPS of oatmeal and a large handful or two of nuts.  I like to use walnuts, or almonds, whichever I have on hand.  Mix the sauce into the oatmeal until everything is coated completely.

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Stirring the sauce into the oatmeal

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Oatmeal mixture spread out on jelly-roll pans just before cooking.

Spray a large jelly-pan sheet with cooking spray.  (This recipe will do two pans worth)  Spread your oatmeal mixture out on the pans and cook them in a preheated  375 oven for 10 minutes.  Let it cool completely, and then break it up and store it into a container.  At this time you can add chocolate chips, or other tasty things, such as craisins, etc., if you would like to!  Let me know if you like it!