Saturday, November 15, 2014


This is the perfect time of year for me to talk about movies.  As soon as Halloween is over I pull out my stash of Christmas movies.  One of the things I love about Christmas is watching the movies.  They are all part of the memories. We start watching Christmas movies on November 1st because I want to be able to watch every one of the Christmas movies I own at least twice by New Years. I try to acquire at least one new Christmas movie every year. I also have, over the past couple of years, come to love Netflix for Christmas shows ... there I can find Christmas movies that  have a message and some meaning just the way I like them.  These are movies that I can't usually find anywhere else.  I will pick one of the movies that has become a favorite from Netflix and purchase it at the end of the season to add to my personal home collection.  I also love Hallmark Channel Movies at Christmas time, but since I don't actually have the Hallmark Channel I have to search out older ones then add to my collection too.  This is just a very small sampling of the type of movies I have in my collection.

I love all the children's classic Christmas movies:  Rudolph, Frosty, Jack Frost, Santa Clause is Coming to Town, The Night Before Christmas (The Rankin/Bass Collection), The Grinch, Charlie Brown, Winnie the Pooh, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Newer Children's Christmas shows like Barney's Night Before Christmas and Barney's Christmas Star, Arthur's Perfect Christmas, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and Twice Upon a Christmas and Eloise at Christmas Time.   Newer classics and re-makes: All 3 of Disney's "The Santa Clause" movies, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, and  A Christmas Story.  Even Scooby Doo, Bob the Builder, and the Veggie Tales have their own Christmas shows...  And yes, I have been and will be watching them all. And last but not least It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol.

I know this isn't a complete list of everyone's all time favorite Christmas movies...  I could go on and on about Christmas movies old and new that add to the spirit of the Season for me..  But I think this more that gets across my main point which is..  Movies and Media affect, influence and can enhance our lives and help us make great family memories.

So with my preface about Christmas movies I want to share a little story and one more movie with my friends and family.   This is not a Christmas movie But it meets all my personal criteria for what makes a great movie.  It's family friendly, has a message that uplifts, gives hope, and is more than just entertainment (although it must be entertaining)  it enhances life and makes me better for having watched it.
This is a movie that has personal significance for me because the idea, the story, and the producing of this movie involved my brother.

About a year and a half ago he called me one night to tell me that he was making a movie and wanted to involve my older kids in the movie as "extras".  He had approached a Utah Based movie company Sunworld Pictures (Check out their website -- to see what other movies they have made) who have made a number of other great movies that I had enjoyed and was familiar with.   He worked with them in the role of  Executive Producer and has recently released an amazing movie with a timely message for all of us in our Social/Digital Media world.  The movie is called "Nowhere Safe"  IMBD link.  It's the story of a girl who has her life basically sabotaged when some other teen girls create a social media profile and pretend to be her... That's just the beginning.  It's a movie that everyone should see. It depicts the power of the internet and the power of friendship. It's wholesome family entertainment with a message that uplifts and strengthens.  It premiered back in October on the UP TV network.  This past week it was released on DVD and Blue-Ray.  It's available at Amazon and itunes among other places around the web and in some bookstores like Deseret Book

Here's the Trailer

youtube link

It was a great opportunity for my 3 oldest kids and a number of their friends to be involved in the movie.  It's amazing to me that my brother came up with an idea for a story that, with the help of others in the movie making industry, became such a great movie.  I'm really proud of him and the work, time, money and effort that went into this project.  His goal is to "Elevate Media" in the world and give our society more media that uplifts rather than tears down. "Nowhere Safe" has been endorsed by The Dove Foundation .  When it was Premiered in Salt Lake City last spring The Deseret News ran two really great articles and reviews about it.

Review by Aaron Christensen

Review by Richard and Linda Eyre

I invite you to locate and watch this wonderful movie.  You will be glad you did.  It's a movie with a message and everyone who ever was or ever will be a teenager or the parent of a teenager (ok everyone) should see this movie.  I'm glad to add my own endorsement to the many others who have given the movie "Nowhere Safe" wonderful reviews.   SEE IT!!  Then I would love to know what you thought.

Happy Movie Viewing.  I really do love great movies, so if anyone out there has some other suggestions for my collection. I would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Baptism... Homecoming ...An Engagement and Some Soccer ... Ok lots of Soccer

This is the post that almost wasn't.... I'm doing it for myself.  I never want to forget how I feel right now.   My life is busy... Complicated ... Fun... Crazy.. At times Chaotic... And everything I ever hoped it would be ... And so so much more!!!   The past six weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions  and I'm pretty sure it's impossible for me to put all my feelings into words... But here's just the smallest part of what I feel.

#6 kiddo Lance got baptized ... He is the self proclaimed "Super hero of Joy" and for sure continues to be that in our lives

What a great day with lots of family and food and an amazing 8 year old that smiled ear to ear all day long.

These 7 people and their amazing Daddy bring me so much joy.

Manti high school had homecoming week and my student body president son had an eventful week .. Even creating a county-wide scandal when he made a video for the "pep assembly" filmed at the rival school. The homecoming game was against the local rival school ( that his dad attended )  and it created quite a stir with the north end of the county.  (A story for another day ). But in the end it all turned out great. (except we had to give up Sandy and Pete.. a Sanpete County "Hillbilly" thing ).  Manti Won the game and Jace took a beautiful date to his final Manti High School Homecoming Dance.

The Aggies Beat BYU at BYU!!!!  For the first time in like 37 years....  and even though I can at times be a BYU fan..  Thanks to my Mom..  and That big "A" on old main in Logan, Utah ...My blood always has and always will run "Aggie Blue" !!

Then there's this "little Girl"...  I Blinked!!

And she grew up!!  Into the most beautiful and amazing young woman!!  And now I'm planning her wedding !!  And It's one of the most exciting things I've ever experienced, but so VERY SURREAL...  How did this happen?!?   I'm pretty sure she was 12 last week....  But not really, it just feels like it.  And this guy she is marrying...  He's amazing..  and I think he was 14 last week...  Okay, maybe not, but, I knew him back then too.  And I never imagined in a million years he would one day marry my daughter!!  But he is, and It makes me so happy and excited and grateful that they are together ... This guy lives with his family about 1 block from my front door and has for a few years now, actually even though his family and mine both moved across town a few years back...  from both of his front doors...  in both locations...  he has lived about a block from my front door.  So literally they are getting married to "the one next door" (almost).   Last May he returned from a 2 year LDS mission and I saw him, talked to him, waved to him .. he's my neighbor, and I always liked him.  Then one day last July my daughter casually says to me..  Teancum wants me to go to the fireworks with him.....  I look at her with a puzzled expression and say "who... really...  like with a group of friends ?"....  Never ever has she mentioned his name... and as far as I knew they had barely ever even talked to each other..  in-spite of being neighbors nearly their entire lives...  But then that night he came to pick her up for the fireworks... and I knew, right then and there ....I knew, this wasn't the only time this guy would be coming to my door....  I can't say I knew that very night that they would get married...  But I knew that it was the beginning of something...  Call it "mother's intuition"... or a "feeling" or whatever you want to call it...  I knew... it was the beginning of something...  And for sure it was!!!  They have an amazing future ahead of them. 

Last week they got engaged

And she opened her "Temple Time Capsule" that she made in Young Women when she was 12..  and he was there as we looked back..and laughed about what she wrote.  and realized... he knew her when she was 12 ....and all those same young women leaders who wrote letters to her ...were part of his life back then too.  And then all those years of wondering if our family is really where we are supposed to be and doing what we are supposed to be doing....  They disappeared....  Because...  obviously ... WE ARE!!

And finally
...  Soccer...  6 soccer games a week Since Mid-August... 3 boys on 3 different teams.. Last night was the final game of the season for us..   I don't have all the pictures I wish I did for soccer..  But this little team of 1st and 2nd graders played their hearts out all season and played in the Championship game last night..  Ending up 2nd place overall..  The best thing about soccer and coaching soccer is seeing how the kids learn and improve over the season, this team was the perfect example of this..  I guess I am a "Soccer Mom" of sorts. My boys love it and because of that.... so do I.

And just in case I start feeling like I'm getting old, with a daughter getting married.   I still have a little fireball at home with me everyday..  a constant reminder that I'm still young enough to chase a 2 year old around all day and stay up until mid-night or later to talk about the important things that go along with dating and being engaged.  The bags under my eyes are getting bigger and darker....  But my life is full & Joyful!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

#ivebeenschooled #shouldibeoffended #momtweets #tellmehowyoureallyfeel

This is my oldest boy, Jace... Long before social media was even "a thing"...  Really it kinda seems like a lifetime ago to him.  But to me it, it pretty much seems like last week.  Today's post totally called for the social media sharing of this picture.  A couple weeks ago he started his senior year in high school, and in a couple of months he's going to turn 18.  Time marches on and teenagers form strong opinions.  Today the blog is dedicated to Jace and an essay he wrote last night to be presented in his College English class today.  I have yet to decide if I will need to write a response to the "argumentative essay" he will be sharing with his "peeps" today #timewilltell.  So without further explanation here's how Jace views the world.

Jace Cox
Moms Should Not Be Allowed on Social Media
            It should be against the law for Mothers to follow, Snapchat, or become internet “Friends” with their teenage children. Tweets, hashtags, and selfies are just a few of the offenses that Mothers just can’t seem to get right on social media. I understand that most Mothers aren’t quite into the swing of things with computers and especially the internet, but aren’t we all? So what makes mothers so susceptible to terrible blunders online, and what can be done?
            If any of your moms are anything like mine, you probably understand where I am coming from already. All mothers that stay home all day while their children are off at school or doing various activities, tend to develop some guilty pleasures and obsessions. This can include watching the food network, cooking, eating, cleaning the house so often you’d think you lived in a museum, drinking Diet Coke, joining a book club, gossiping, etc.
My mother doesn’t watch the food network, but she did find a TV show that she is brutally obsessed with. The show is called “Castle”. It is about an author who writes murder mystery and crime books. He is allowed to join the NYPD and go on investigations to help provide some insight into the dark minds of killers and to get some new ideas for his novels. At the same time he is a single dad with a teenage daughter and his crazy theatric mother lives with them. The major story of this show however is a budding romance between him and the leading female investigator at the police department. As you can tell I have never involved myself in watching the new episodes late on Monday nights or reruns on Sunday nights in my basement with my mother.
“Castle” has caused quite the stir in my Mother’s social media life as well as my own. About a year ago my Mother discovered this amazing new craze called Twitter. I will take full blame, because she probably never would have activated a Twitter account if she hadn’t found out that I already had one. Twitter opened her eyes to a whole new universe. She could follow celebrities, events, music, friends, political figures, and most importantly, me. She started tweeting Disney quotes, pictures she found funny, surveys that told her what comic book super hero she is and would try to guess her tender age of 29. These however were not enough. She soon discovered that she could follow every actor in “Castle”, plus every fan base, and every possible account that would post anything having to do with “Castle”. My Twitter feed was soon filled with Richard Castle and his actor counterpart, Nathan Fillion. My Mother’s obsession reached an all-time high when she took my whole family to Comic Con in Salt Lake just to get a glimpse of Nathan Fillion and snap a few unauthorized, blurry pictures of him. My biggest Mother Twitter woe happened over Spring Break while my older sister and I were in Disney World in Florida. “Castle” is made by ABC, which is owned by Disney. So while in MGM Studios at Disney World we saw a giant billboard in the park advertising “Castle”. We took a picture and quickly sent it to our Mother to let her know how much we missed her and her “Castle” obsession. A short time later, to our horror, we saw that our Mother had tweeted the picture of the “Castle” billboard with an interesting caption. The Tweet read, “Photo from my peeps @CoxJace @WaltDisneyWorld #wishing #castle #theyknowme”. We soon informed our Mother that it was not necessary to Tweet the picture, use a hashtag, or refer to her children as “peeps”.
Being friends with your parents on Facebook isn’t the greatest thing ever. As soon as you accept that friend request from your Mother you open the floodgates for whatever status, picture, or comment your Mother decides to post. Your third grade class picture is now public property. Your friend just tagged you in a picture from the crazy party last night, you can guarantee that your Mom is going to see it and is likely to like it and or comment on it. Yes, Facebook is a great way for Moms to keep in touch with old friends and to keep their noses in the neighborhood news and gossip. But, that should be the limitations of adults on social media. No matter how young, hip, and in the loop Mothers feel, they will never be able to keep up with the trends and fads of their teenager’s social media. So let’s make the connection between our Mothers not have to be through the internet. Talk to them, let them know what is going on in your life. They care, that’s why they try to stay up to date on the social media. They want to know who our friends are and what they are doing. So let’s get our Moms off of social media and keep them as our “Peeps” in the real world.

 This kid of mine, Jace, really is one amazing guy and he is my "peep" in the real world.  He does share his life with me and I honestly don't need to "stalk" him on social media to feel like I know what he is up to... most of the time.  Hope you enjoyed his "take" on adults and social media as much as I did... One of these days I may share mine too... It's a little different than his...  But for now I'm just going to get this posted on Facebook and Twitter!! #heaskedforit #itsnotillegalyet

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Identity Crisis

It's been a month.. Ok more than... Since my last blog post.  The blog and I have been having a bit of an identity crisis.  I'm not sure I'm totally over it yet.  But I'm getting closer so I decided to do a quick post.    Six of the seven kiddos are now back to school (at 4 different schools ... Snow College, High School, Middle school,  elementary) It's pretty much a circus !!! Thanks to this Sanity saver and the fact that I had copied and filed a bunch of other recipes I'm enjoying life in the kitchen ... Where I spend a large part of my days... I am feeding 9 people.. Most of which are teens or Tweens and also most of which are boys!!!  Here's a few of the things that have been a hit this past couple of weeks with back to school, drill team, cross country, and soccer practice causing constant bouts of hunger ...
Cowboy dinner Baked Ziti Slow cooker peanut butter hot fudge pudding cake ... I could go on and on about the recipes at this blog how they save me time and money... Check it out!!   Part of the challenge for me with finding a blog identity is that I read so many things I love from other places that its hard to figure out if I have anything original to blog about.  The reason for blogging is to tell about who "Hillbilly Helen" is. What I do to find joy in my world every day is totally appropriate .. Finding joy and living in the moment every day !!!! That is my quest ... that's who i want to be... my identity ...  Find Joy in the journey ... Every day !!! it's all about  The Climb (When Miley/Hannah was a lovable teen).  So I guess I do have something of an identity ... And a blog identity ... It's a blog about what I do every day to enjoy The Climb (the Journey) ... It's about food ... Lots of food ... And family ... And little quirky things about my life that make me .... ME...  And make me glad I'm me ...  Grateful I'm where I am at this very moment in time ...  IT'S THE CLIMB !!
One last thing ... About Joy
Last spring my 2 oldest kids did something incredibly fun and it was an opportunity of a lifetime for them, recently a video was made about it and I got a great deal of joy watching it ... And seeing the pure joy they had in these days of adventure ...  Snow business trip

Enjoy the Journey ... Today !!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Brunches... what's a schedule?

It's already Mid-July..  How did this happen?  I feel like summer is slipping away...  4 weeks from tomorrow school starts for the kiddo's.  I have kids that are at 5 different levels of schooling.  1 College student, 2 high school, 1 middle school, 2 elementary school guys, and a little guy at home..  It makes having any kind of a scheduled routine somewhat laughable.  Doesn't matter if it's summer break or if school is in..  our schedule has to be pretty flexible..  Sometimes I long for the days.. really not that long ago..  when everyone got up at about the same time, went to bed at the same time....  and especially ATE at the same time!!!  With school sports, jobs, various church activities, and ... well just life,  I really struggle to find family meal time, but it doesn't stop me from trying.. or from basically spending my life in the kitchen to be certain that there is always something for everyone to eat... whether coming or going or even if I can get them to sit awhile.

I love doing "summer morning brunches" ..  I still rarely get everyone here..  The hubby usually misses it, and today my resident swimming teacher/lifeguard missed it..  But other than that I enjoyed one of those rare occasions today when we (well most of us) ate together.  When I make brunch in the summer I usually get a little carried away and make a lot of food... 2 reasons: 1-cooking is my therapy and 2-it leaves me lots of leftovers that are available for eating through-out the rest of the day and for a few days ...sometimes.  Besides that, mornings are also the best time to use the oven during July.  My "West side of the house" kitchen is almost unbearable by early afternoon and the roof-top swamp cooler just doesn't do the trick. I don't anticipate that this is really going to be a "cooking blog", but cooking is one of my passions and reading cooking blogs is what made me decide I wanted to enter the blogging world.. So you can expect I will often speak of food. And share some recipes too.  Here's the photos to tell today's brunch story:

I don't claim to be a photographer... please keep your expectations low..  but my stories are better with pictures. 

I woke up knowing it was a brunch day.... and that EGGS needed to be involved.  At least 50 % of my nearby neighbors raise chickens, and I am fortunate enough to benefit from this on a regular basis..  I have one very generous neighbor that brings me at least a dozen eggs every week..  yesterday she brought me 18!!  I love these fresh eggs and my neighbor for sharing them with me!!!  We also made a weekend visit to the local Norbest Turkey Sales office..  just 15 mins one way from my home.  I LOVE going there and filling my freezer with Turkey products..  2 of my favorites are the ground turkey and the small turkey hams (see photo).  I will probably "Talk Turkey" a lot too.  My husband wants me to blog about turkey. One of the first things I learned about my husband when we met was that at some point in his life he raised turkey's. Before meeting him I had actually never met anyone who raised turkey's (I grew up in "Dairy country" ).  Now I live in "turkey country".  I'll tell many more turkey stories... but, not today...  the point is we like turkey!!  The Turkey Ham is my favorite meat to put in my favorite breakfast casserole recipe.  That had to be on today's menu too.  A few years ago I found this recipe in the "town" cookbook (which by the way I am on my second copy of... because I totally wore out the first)..  gotta love small town cookbooks!!  I've "tweaked" the recipe to our tastes.. making it a favorite part of "brunch". There are many variations of the meat and cheese that can be used and I've tried and like all of them..  My favorite... and what I did today are the turkey ham -cubed and the colby/jack cheese.. and I ALWAYS use at least 2 full cups of cheese :-)


2 lb bag shredded frozen hash browns
1 cube butter- melted
6-7 large eggs beaten
1 cup milk
1-2 cups cheese (colby jack, cheddar, mozzarella or a combination)
2-3 cups (cubed turkey ham, leftover ham, cooked bacon, cooked sausage or a combination)

place potatoes in a 9 x 13 pan.  Melt the butter and pour it over the potatoes.  Bake potatoes in a 425 oven for 20 mins.  While the potatoes bake, mix together the Eggs, milk and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.  When potatoes are done reset oven temp to 350.  sprinkle chosen meat over the potatoes then pour the egg mixture over evenly.  Top with additional 1/2 -3/4 cup cheese.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 mins. (it can take up to 45 depending on the oven).  Should be lightly browned on top. Let cool 5-10 mins before serving.

to find the recipes for the muffins banana chocolate chip muffins

and the other pan you see pictured is baked oatmeal

If you haven't tried baked oatmeal you definitely MUST!!!  It can be eaten many different ways.. Today I had mine with fresh peaches and freshly whipped/sweetened cream..   (see photo) DIVINE!!

So that's it "Summer Morning Brunch"...  Recipes included .. Lots of food to feed my hungry bunch.. and hopefully memories of summer days.. when there really wasn't much schedule..  we ate at 10 am in our pj's and had no cares except maybe overeating!!  I accomplished my purposes I think... and managed to use 13 Eggs!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Here I am... A Blogger

This has been a really long time in coming.. So here I go.  I love reading blogs, I spend way too much of my time reading blogs..  But it's my outlet.  I also love writing, sort of, I think?  Okay, maybe I'm still undecided about that "love writing" part.  Anyway, love it or not it's going to happen.  Part of the hesitation in starting is that I'm not sure what I want my angle to be..  Doesn't every blog need an "angle" ?  There are so many "Mommy bloggers" and I certainly fit into that category!  So maybe I'll just share some of what I love and learn from others and a little of what I love and learn on my own.  You may or may not be wondering how I decided on a name for this blog..  So, as a self proclaimed lover of movies and most things Disney and as the mother of a few little "Cars" loving boys all time favorite movie quote comes from the Disney/Pixar Movie "Cars"..  Probably because like it or not... sometimes I feel like Lightning McQueen when he first arrived in Radiator Springs and is trying to get out  "Help me I'm in Hillbilly Hell.....  " If you haven't seen the movie recently (I watch it at least 3 times a week..  thanks to my 2 year old) I highly recommend a re-watch or a watch if you haven't...  There you will find the rest of the quote, and also be reminded that Lightning comes to love his "Hillbilly Hell".. Kinda like me.  Life in a small town in the middle of nowhere was really never what I dreamed of...   However, after 17 years of it...  Most days I feel like I pretty much have everything I every dreamed of and then some..  Thanks to an amazing guy and 7 other "peeps" that I call my own (that's the & Co. part)  Here's a couple pics of what we've been doing recently..  I need to say right up front that I don't have an amazing camera ( ya it's an Iphone 4s.. sometimes an Ipad).  But that's ok "matches the rest of the "blog" "  (also a "Car's" thing).
Like I said... not a great pic, but this is a big part of our summer and we only had one good opportunity this year to grab a photo of the whole gang..  So that's it, my first blog post ever!!  I'm still working on my "angle" Pretty sure it's going to evolve as I get going, but one thing I want to share  with is one of my main sources of inspiration (apart from my Hubby & Kiddo's OF COURSE ) for finally doing this.. my "Cyber Friend" Mel who has an amazing blog that I use EVERY SINGLE DAY... not joking !!
White chipper chocolate chip cookies
 This was last night's family treat, enjoyed after a rousing game of Ticket to Ride.. a new favorite use of a summer afternoon.  So that's it my husband will probably do a happy dance.. or just smile.... because that's more his style.