Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Revelations

This year, I'm really struggling with what to give my kids for Christmas. In prior years, I had no problem with getting them gifts. However, I've come to the realization that we don't need anything. My kids do not need the hottest toy that will eventually gather dust in their closets or the latest video game that will soon be sold back to GameStop. They are always appreciative of what they receive. But over time, the item that they just had to have will sooner than later find a home in the Goodwill pile. Do we really need more stuff?

Now before you write me off as being a Scrooge, hear me out. Because my primary love language is gift giving, I stress out over if they are getting enough presents. I try to stretch my dollars so that they feel like they had a full Christmas. Yet after much evaluation, the boys have Christmas at our house, then onto my side of the family, then round 3 at my in-law's house. That is 3 Christmas celebrations in one day! Do I need to wear the weight of providing a Christmas palooza when they are getting that at 2 other houses and then some?

Maybe instead of filling our tree with gifts, we should use that money toward taking them somewhere. I would rather give the kids a memorable experience than more stuff. Are the kids mature enough to process that as a gift or will they feel slighted? I'm not sure how to proceed. Someone please chime in.

On a side note, I'm learning to loosen the reins when it comes to Christmas decor. After 11 years of being a control freak and putting up the decor by myself, this is the first year that the whole family decorated the tree. This is also the first year that I've allowed the train set to be set up under the tree even if it doesn't go with the look of my tree. It still looks amazing. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I can honestly say it has been a full week. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I'll let the images below do the talking:

Last weekend, Ryan, Bryce, and I took a road trip to Las Vegas for a friend's surprise birthday party. We had a blast showing Bryce our old house and the park he used to play at, visiting with old friends, and gaining 10 pounds from all the food we ate. 

Food, marvelous food.

We took a tour of the Neon Museum. The history behind the neon signs was fascinating. I can now cross it off my bucket list. It was my Disneyland.

On Tuesday, I started classes at the bible college in my church. 

My family will be celebrating Thanksgiving tonight, so I need to bust out my pie skills one more time. Last week, I made a Dutch apple pie and a pumpkin pie that were to die for. Let's hope lightning strikes twice.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Long Time No See

Wow! It's been a while since I last posted. I guess I can blame it on being busy (because I am). But really, I haven't been blogging because I'm just tired. I haven't had any fresh inspiration or reason to blog. When I think to write, I talk myself out of it because I think that it's not very good or worth reading. I'm hoping the light will come on and I will write up a storm. But the reality is that it's nice to not look for things to write about. When inspiration hits me, you'll be the first to know :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Style Mommy: Sweet but Tough

Looking sweet is great. However, I don't want to get a cavity from an outfit that looks too sweet. This strikes the perfect note between girly and don't mess with me. If this outfit were a baked good, it would be a cupcake topped with a metal spike.

Sweet but Tough

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Story Time: Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

When we started using the library last year, we came across a great book called Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler. It quickly became favorite with Gavin. We always used the maximum amount of due date extensions allowed so that we could hang on to the book as long as possible. Chocked full of great illustrations and bright colors, I found myself reading it to a beat.

If you want to skip the library and purchase it, here's the link:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mommy Loves: Cookies

It's no secret that I love cookies. I could give the Cookie Monster some serious competition. I'm not sure how fair it would be considering he's just a puppet. Anyways, I know that I'm not the only cookie lover. Moms typically share a deep appreciation for this sweet, bite sized treat. Here's some inspiration for baking success on Mother's Day!

 Mom Tattoo Cookies-
Fashion Cookies-
Mom Hearts-
You Are Jar-
Flower Cookie-

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mint Green

Style Mommy: Evening Wedding

Just because you're a mom, doesn't mean that you spend every waking hour at the grocery store or park. Once in a great while, it is nice to be all dressed up with somewhere to go. When I watch my friends tie the knot, this is what I would like to be seen in.

Date Night

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is an interesting holiday. It's a major one because honoring mom is a big deal. However, I don't plan for it the same way I do for other holidays like Christmas, Valentines Day, and Easter. I always scramble at the last minute to get a gift and brunch plan together. This year, I'm going to be proactive and plan earlier for my Mom. She deserves it. Here's some ideas:
  • Mother Daughter Tea at Capital Christian Center- I've been going to this event for the past couple years and I love it. It's an opportunity to dress like a lady, eat yummy food, and enjoy listen to some great music. There is also an encouraging word given, so you always feel refreshed. Set your calendar for May 12th at 11am. Cost is $17.
  • Who doesn't love a personalized gift? They will put a picture on anything from an iPhone case to a deck of cards to a blanket (yeah, a blanket). I've used several times and have zero complaints.
  • Brunch at the High-Hand Conservatory. Located in Loomis, Ca, this place is an absolute treasure. It is a plant nursery and restaurant combined, offering great dishes and beautiful views of the nursery. We had a phenomenal time taking my mom there for Mother's Day two years ago. Get a reservation quick; they go fast!
  • Memory Box- If your mom saves everything, give her a keepsake box for her photos and others cherished memories. You can spend an evening going through them with her.
  • Time. Sometimes it's not about the gift itself, it's more about the time spent together. As we kids get older and busier, giving mom an experience rather than stuff becomes more valuable. Maybe you can get pedicures together or be intentional about giving your mom your undivided attention and leave the phone in the car.
I hope these ideas inspire you to give Mom your best. If you're curious about the worst gifts for Mom, check out my blog entry, "Thanks for my Mother's Day gift...Now where's the gift receipt?"

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's a New Season

Last week marked the beginning of a new chapter in our family's life. My 3 year old, Gavin began his academic career. Yes, it was the first day of preschool. He had been ready to go to school. Armed with a new Thomas the Tank Engine backpack and school gear, he marched fearlessly into his classroom. He was a little apprehensive about us leaving, but adjusted quite nicely.  I'm the one having a hard time with this transition. My big boy is growing up!

As Gavin began school, I started a new part time job. I'm working with my husband as we launch a new ministry at our church. ONE is a ministry geared towards single adults. Our desire is to connect, grow, and love- both with God and each other. Check us out at and spread the word!

Style Mommy: Lunch with friends

I'm starting a new entry called, "Style Mommy", where I create an inspiration board of what a mom can wear based on the occasion.

Below is a great outfit for lunch with friends.  Look bright and cheery in a pair of coral jeans topped off with some colorful accessories. If you're color-phobic, balance out your look with some neutrals like tan, cream, and gold.

Lunch with friends

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Want Candy!

Easter is over and you are left with a mountain of candy. What now? Below are a few ideas for what to do with all of that Easter bounty.

  • Throw a milkshake party. Buy a couple gallons of milk and ice cream and invite some friends over (they could bring their candy, too). Create a buffet bursting with different candy combinations for your milk shake. The possibilities are endless. 
  • Chop and freeze leftover candy. Throw it in your brownie or cake batters as you bake throughout the year.
  • Cut up your chocolate eggs into chunks and add them into your cookie batter. Chocolate "chunk" cookies always sound more appealing than chocolate "chip" cookies.
  • Make small goody bags of candy and give them to your kids as a reward for doing something good. If you're short of money, this is a free way to pay your kids when they complete their chores.
  • Make smores with Peeps. Your little sandwich will be so colorful and springy. 
  • Melt them down  your chocolate bunnies and make chocolate dipped strawberries or a fondue station. Check out, "Thank You Mr. Easter Bunny" for more details.
  • Warm your kids' belly with a mint hot chocolate. Warm some milk over the stove and add Andes Mints for a twist on a wonderful classic.
  • Place your jelly beans in a bowl and bring it to the office. If you can't eat it all, tempt someone else to do so.

Here's a glimpse of the boys' haul from Easter. Wow.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

My birthday is on a leap year, which means my actual day (February 29th) comes once every 4 years. I'm not one for getting excited for my birthday on the off years. However, on a leap year, I'm giddy like a little kid. I'm turning 8 this year (32 in human years) so I've compiled a list of 32 things I'd like to accomplish by the next actual birthday:
  1. Make a batch of french macarons.
  2. Go on an overseas missions trip.
  3. Have Baby #3.
  4. Potty train Baby #3.
  5. Run more half marathons.
  6. Grow my hair out long. Not Crystal Gayle long, but long.
  7. Start selling my artwork.
  8. Make Thanksgiving dinner.
  9. Keep both the inside and outside of my car clean for at least a week.
  10. Memorize more of the Bible.
  11. In my car, keep a couple of ziploc bags packed with essentials that I can hand out to homeless people I see on the street. It would have stuff like a bottled water, travel shampoo, and a toothbrush in it.
  12. Take a tour of the Las Vegas Neon Museum.
  13. Properly flip an omelette.
  14. Learn to read music.
  15. Start using eye cream at night. (sorry Mom, I'm still not doing it.)
  16. Eat at French Laundry in Yountville, Ca.
  17. Catch a ride on a Caribbean cruise.
  18. Go to a Second Saturday in Sacramento.
  19. Ride a hot air balloon. 
  20. Jump on a giant trampoline.
  21. Grow an herb garden.
  22. Eat more deep fried whatever at the State Fair.
  23. Get Michelle Obama arms. Dang girl!
  24. Grow my blog following (hint hint)
  25. Calendar times to call my friends who I don't see a lot. (and actually call them)
  26. Yell in a library. 
  27. Dance for no reason in a very public place.
  28. Try every flavor of cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. I'm so close to accomplishing this one.
  29. Not cringe when I tell people my age.
  30. Go to a county fair.
  31. Watch a sunrise and sunset in the same day.
  32. Become famous, multi-platinum rapper. It could happen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Little Mister, Will You Be My Valentine?

Tomorrow, Bryce and I will a making his valentine box for his upcoming class party.

As a kid, Valentine's Day parties were my favorite. Nothing was better than passing out valentines to all of my friends, then opening my box to see what was in store. I would quickly rummage through my valentines to see if the boy I had a crush on would sign his name, "From, Ryan" or "Love, Ryan". That was the ultimate question. Top it off with some white conversation hearts and red hots, and you've got quite the partaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Happy Valentines Day and I hope you receive a valentine signed, "Love".

Robot valentine craft-
Captain America T-shirt- Old Navy
Bouncy ball valentine-
Super Suckers-

Check out, "Little Miss, Will You Be My Valentine?" . It is packed gift giving ideas for the little girls in your life!

Little Miss, Will You Be My Valentine?

Valentine's Day is almost here! It's the one day of the year that I can wear red and pink together and no one cares. If you're needing some inspiration for what to give a little girl for Valentines Day, look no further. Don't worry moms of boys, I didn't forget about you. (Check out "Little Mister, Will You Be My Valentine?

Happy Valentines Day. Go on, wear that red and pink together with pride!

La La Loopsy- Target
Crayon hearts craft-
Dress- Old Navy
Leggings- Jcrew
Spiral cookies-

Friday, January 27, 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons...

As of late, I'm obsessed with lemons. My mom and a family friend own lemon trees, so I am reaping the benefits. With a couple bags full of lemons, what's a girl to do? I made a meal revolving around the lemon. I could be on "Iron Chef"!

For dinner, I marinated chicken breasts in a delicious marinade that I found from Simply Recipes. It included some of my favorite herbs like thyme and rosemary. Don't get me started on rosemary. I could write a separate blog entry just about that. (Hmmm, that's actually a good idea.)

For dessert, I made a batch of lime meltaway cookies (I adapted them for lemons). They are sublime. It has the crumble of a Mexican wedding cookie, the perfect tartness, and a coating of powdered sugar. What could be better?

All of that eating makes you thirsty, right? I finished the meal with a tall glass of lemonade. I found the best recipe from This is not that powdered Country Time stuff. It was seriously the best lemonade I've ever had. It was super sweet and yet my mouth puckered at the same time. Yum!

I still have a lot of lemons leftover so here are a couple ideas of other uses for lemons (thanks to Rob Sapp and Granny):
  • If the lemons are starting to get old and you can't use them immediately, squeeze them and freeze the juice in teaspoon or tablespoon increments. Remember to remove the seeds or it will taste bitter.
  • You can freeze the rinds and zest them at a later time. 
  • Put the rinds down the sink and run your garbage disposal. It acts as a freshener and deodorizer.
  • Lemons can be dried and turned into potpourri. Simply put them in a bowl, in a dry place, and they will dehydrate over time without molding.
So whenever life hands you lemons, now you know what to do!

After making all of those recipes, I still have this many lemons left!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pack It Up!

It's a new year so that means a new look for my blog. I hope you like it as much as I do. Okay, down to business. 

How long is too long to keep your Christmas decorations up? Some take them down the day after Christmas or New Years. I love Christmas lights and wish I could look at them all year round (my HOA says otherwise). Growing up, my family was forced to take down the tree around my birthday when I had a party at my house. Did I mention that my birthday is February 29th? Yeah, we were that family.

I loathe the idea of bringing all those dusty containers back in the house and trying to re-package everything to fit back in the boxes. Doesn't it feel sad to look around the house after everything has been put away? The house feels so cold and sterile. That, my friend, is the absence of Christmas cheer. 

Maybe I should load the house with red Valentines hearts and white doilies to fill the Christmas void. When in doubt, just move on to the next major holiday.