Thursday, May 29, 2014

San Diego Field Trip

A couple of weeks ago I was able to go on a field trip to San Diego with Max and the 5th and 6th graders at his school. It was a whirlwind 48 hours and we had a fantastic time together. We boarded a chartered bus at 10:00 p.m. and drove 6.5 hours overnight. It's pretty impossible to get much good sleep on an overnight bus ride, but the kids were quiet and at least got some rest.

Our first activity once we arrived was to go out on a boat for a "lab at sea." It was a three hour adventure where the kids got to cast out a net and pull in a bunch of sea life. They got to hold and learn about halibut, lobster, shrimp, crabs and stingrays. We also saw a grey whale up close and dolphins swam right by our boat.  Very cool. Then it was a stop for breakfast at a diner and then off to spend the rest of the day at Sea World.

After several hours at Sea World, we headed to a park near a beach for a grilled burger dinner. We then did a driving tour of downtown San Diego before heading to our hotel for the night. The kids all stayed in rooms with just kids, so it was an adventure for them. It felt so good the lay down in bed. 

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast burritos on the beach while we watched seals. One of the boys in my group had never left Arizona and this was his first time at the beach! I think I may have been more excited for him that he was for himself. I text his mom pictures all day since I knew she'd want to see his first experience at the beach.

We then stopped at Scripps Aquarium and then the beach again (this time we could put our feet in) and enjoyed a pizza lunch before getting back on the bus to head home.

This was seriously the best field trip ever. It was run by a company that the school contracted with to run the trip and they did a fabulous job. The only thing they need to improve on was the quality (or lack thereof) of the motel. It was pretty sketchy. We weren't at the motel for long, so it was all good.

I'm thankful I was able to go on this super cool trip with Max and share these memories with him.

Layout Supplies /// Scrapbook Circle June Hello There Kit  /// Take Note June Add-on

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Project Life >>> May 2014 Part One

Can you believe that May is almost over? Time truly is flying by. It's going to be Christmas before we know it. Since I can't stop time from speeding by, I'm happy to be documenting what we are up to around our house in my Project Life album.

Mother's Day ///Woman of the Year Banquet Mother's Day Tea /// One the Musical /// Bride's Dress Shipping with my Sister

Mother's Day /// Chandler Children's Choir Concert /// San Diego Field Trip

Insert page with more Mother's Day Photos

Back of the insert page with Paybill from Once

Summer is in full swing around here. School ended last week and we are now attempting to keep the kids busy. It's already too hot to play outside during most of the day, so we are hopeful that our pool will be finished sometime this summer so we can enjoy it!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What We Ate - April 24

What We Ate is a weekly feature on my blog where I share what we are eating for our family dinners each night. We all have to eat, right? I figure I may as well share what we are eating and will hopefully inspire some ned ideas for you.

Okay, this was another crazy schedule week, so we didn't get to have consistent dinners at home every night. But I still have a few things to share about our meal with you this week.

Monday - Lacrosse Awards Banquet

We went to an awards banquet where we enjoyed steak, salad and baked potatoes. My assignment was baked potatoes, so no recipe to share for that.

Tuesday - In-n-Out Burger

My friend Jennie and I took our kids to pack meals at Feed My Starving Children right after school and returned home about 6:00 p.m. and then we needed to go to the Apple Store for a phone repair. It was a full night and I hadn't planned a meal, so when In-n-Out Burger was nearby, so we stopped in for dinner. In my attempt to make it somewhat healthier, I ordered my burger protein style so that it can wrapped in lettuce instead of the bun.

Tuesday Breakfast - Sautéed Vegetables with an Over Easy Egg

This has been my breakfast for several days and I'm loving it! I love that the day is starting off packed with veggies and protein. I dice up 3 sweet potatoes and 2 zucchini along with half an onion and cook in a little coconut oil until softened and it lasts for at least three or four meals.

Wednesday - Skinny Orange Chicken and Spicy Cauliflower Stir Fry

Yay, I finally cooked this week! I made the same orange chicken that I made a couple of weeks ago plus a new recipes that I noticed that Pioneer Woman posted using cauliflower. Both were delicious. We just layered them together in a bowl.

Thursday - End of School Year BBQ Celebration with Friends

We went over to our friends' house for dinner where we grilled up a bunch of turkey and chicken sausage along with chips & hummus, watermelon and grilled bell peppers.

Why didn't I take a picture of the bell peppers? Perhaps because that were so good that they didn't last long. If you are looking for a delicious side next time you grill, you should give them a try.

Grilled Red Bell Peppers with Feta, Tomatoes and Basil

Slice bell peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the curved outside edge of the pepper on the grill and heat until the pepper starts to soften. Then flip the pepper over and sprinkle the inside with some feta, diced grape tomatoes and chopped basil and continue heating on the grill until the cheese softens. Enjoy!

There you have it, another week. We survived the last week of school. Now summer break begins!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Making Jam

One of my kids' favorite sweet treats for breakfast is homemade strawberry jam. We hadn't made any for at least a year, so when strawberries were on sale last month, I decided that it was time to make jam again. Max and Hannah were both really excited to help. They stuck with me through all of the slicing, mashing and stirring.

For some odd reason, I only have pictures of Max making the jam, but Hannah was there too. We tried out the lower sugar recipe found on the Sure-Jell Pectin that we used to make the jam.  It used half the sugar of the regular recipe and we couldn't even tell a difference because the jam was still perfectly sweet.

We are finishing up our last week of school around here. The kids are getting antsy and I'm not so sure about how they are going to keep busy all summer. We are just hoping our swimming pool will be finished sometime this summer so we can enjoy it!

Layout Supplies /// Scrapbook Circle High Five Kit

Friday, May 16, 2014

What We Ate - May 16

Hello! Happy Friday. This was a bit of a shorter week for making dinner because late Wednesday night I boarded a chartered bus with 3 classes of 5th and 6th graders for a field trip to San Diego. So, there were only three nights of making dinner at home.

Monday - Becky Higgin's Garlic Chicken Farfalle Pasta

We've been making this deliciously decadent recipe for years and it's one of our favorite special occasion meals. This is what we put together the day before on Mother's Day and we had leftovers on Monday.

Tuesday - Roast with Pan Seared Veggies

Picked up this roast at Trader Joe's and cooked it on high in the crockpot for 6 hours. It was so easy and good.

I've decided to work on increasing our veggie intake around here and started off with a mix of 3 diced sweet potatoes, 1/2 of a yellow onion and 2 zucchinis. I sautéed them in a bit of olive oil and let them cook until soft. I added a bit of water while they simmered to help the veggies soften up a bit.

Wednesday - Carnitas with Cauliflower Rice

I tried out two new recipes for this dinner and both were delicious and will be made again.

We used the carnitas and cauliflower rice to create a tasty Mexican style salad topped with lettuce, avocados, salsa verde and bell peppers.

This was a great dinner that packed in a great variety of vegetables.

There you have it! Another week of dinners around our house complete.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dream Big

A couple of months ago Audrey got to sing the National Anthem at a Cubs/Giants spring training game with three other girls from the Chandler Children's Choir. Even though spring training is big here in Phoenix, I'd never been to a game. I was happy to have a reason to go to one!

I took a few pictures of the girls, but I really liked the one that was posted on the Chandler Children's Choir Instagram account better than my pictures. So I thought it would be fun to take a screenshot of the Insta photo and print it out to use on this page. 

The Instagram photo is a fun way to document the event plus record what our social media screens currently look like.

The journaling card on this page is from the Scrapbook Circle High Five printable that comes with the kit. I think I'm going to need a few more of those. Love this simple way to journal on a page!

Layout Supplies /// Scrapbook Circle High Five Kit /// Sweet Treats Add-on

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Project Life >>> April 2014 Part 2

Hello! Hope your week is going well. It's already Wednesday. Tonight I'm heading off on a 48 hour field trip with Max and all of the 5th and 6th graders at his school. We are riding a bus overnight to San Diego and will spend time at Sea World, an Aquarium, a floating lab and a BBQ on the beach. Should be a lot of fun without a lot of sleep.

The last two weeks in April were really fun and it was great to get it documented in my Project Life album. Even though it all just happened a couple of weeks ago, it was still so much fun to go back through my photos and see what we were up doing in April. Looking through photos and remembering everything we are able to do makes me grateful for this project.

Easter Sunday /  My Cool Boys /// iPhone Girl /// Easter Egg Hunt /// Egg Dyeing

Welcoming Kristen Home from Her Mission /// Cousins /// Last LAX Game /// Gramp's Birthday /// Chillin' on the Patio

Hooray for another completed spread. Okay, I'm off to pack for the San Diego Field trip. WIsh me luck!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Love Love Love

Miraculously my kids were all cooperative on Easter Sunday after church and they all agreed to a few pictures before changing our of their church clothes.

One of my favorite things about holidays is getting to document what our kids look like. It's such a fun way to really appreciate how much they are growing and changing each year. They are growing at lightening speed and taking photos helps me slow down and enjoy the moment.

Layout Supplies /// Scrapbook Circle High Five Kit /// Gold Cardstock

Friday, May 9, 2014

What We Ate - May 9

It's already Friday again! Time is flying by. In only two more weeks our kids will be out of school and it will be great to have them around more. Just need to get myself organized so they are busy with a good balance of work and play everyday.

We had a great dinner week and I improved on our eating at home this week. I made dinner 3/4 nights! I'm aiming for 4/4 next week.

Monday - Taco Night

Since it was Cinco de Mayo, I figured we'd have a Mexican meal with our favorite inside out tacos. I have changed things up a bit from how we used to make the tacos and now once the cheese is crispy, I add the toppings right on top of the cheese.

I cooked up some chicken and also used some leftover roast from Sunday and taco fillings. Then made some salsa and added sour cream, guacamole, rice and beans to our plates.

Tuesday - Pita Jungle

My sister Kristen is engaged and we were out wedding dress shopping most of today. We ran in from dress shopping to get Hannah ready for a school concert and then we were out the door again for the concert. By the time we were heading home at 7, I knew making dinner wasn't going to happen. So we stopped at Pita Jungle for one of my favorite meals. My favs @ Pita Jungle: Hummus Trio 2/chicken, Chipotle Chicken Lavosh Pizza and the roaster cauliflower w/tahini sauce.

Wednesday - Chicken Enchiladas

This was originally going to be Tuesday's dinner, but it rolled over to Wednesday. I don't know that this really needs a recipe since it's so easy, but here's how it came together.

2 cups cooked chicken (I thawed some cooked chicken from the freezer)
1 can of pinto beans
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder

Mix everything above in a pan and cook until heated through. I just sprinkled in spices until it tasted flavored.

Taco sized Flour Tortillas (I almost always use corn tortillas in enchiladas but we had leftover flour from Monday, so we used those.)
Shredded Cheese
Enchilada Sauce - I used a bottle of red sauce from Trader Joe's

Pour a bit of sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan. Then fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture, roll and place seam side down in the pan. Optional: you can add cheese inside the tortilla too. Continue filling the pan until it's full with the filled tortillas. Pour the remaining sauce on top of the tortillas and then top with cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Thursday - Turkey & Beef Burgers

This recipe is inspired from the Pork & Beef Slider recipe from one of my favorite cookbook, What Katie Ate.

This meal can together is 35 minutes from start to finish.

Turkey and Beef Burgers

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 lb extra lean organic ground beef
2 Tbls. olive oil
4 Tbls. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbls. lavender pepper (regular pepper would work too, but decrease the amount)
2 Tbls. mustard
4 chopped garlic cloves (I used dehydrated garlic shown in the picture that I bought at Sprouts)

Put everything in a bowl and mix together with your hands. Form patties into smaller slider sized patties. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Top with sliced cheese during the last couple minutes of baking.

Note: we don't have a grill right now or I'd probably grill the burgers if that was an option. But the baked burgers are super simple and don't require any flipping.

I bought slider buns that we topped with sliced tomatoes and avocado. Served these with frozen fries from Trader Joe's and some watermelon.

Luckily we had a couple of burgers leftover, so now I know what I'm having for lunch today.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Project Life >>> April 1

Still loving my simplified approach to my Project Life album. Seriously, it only took a couple of hours and I was able to put the entire of month of April into the album. Two spreads for one month and it's done. Perfect.

Most of these pictures will never end up on a layout, but I love that they are showcased here. Nice way to showcases the bits and pieces of our family life. I love looking at all of these photos in one place.

Note from Ward /// National Siblings Day /// Watching General Conference /// School Report /// Pool Permit & Pool Progress!

New Deck /// Making Jam /// Aunt Carla's Birthday /// LAX Girls /// Suns Game /// Hannah & Friends

There you have it, another week complete. Love that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Super Fab Egg Dyeing

One of my favorite Easter traditions is coloring eggs with my kids. This year Max and Hannah each had a friend over on one of their days off from school during an April/Easter break and I decided it would be a great time to color eggs. (Audrey had school and didn't color with us.)

The kids spent about an hour each coloring a dozen eggs. It was great to see them all really get into it and try out cool things with the dye. They are at a great age where dyes aren't spilling all over and we don't have tears over super silly things. Enjoying this stage in life.

No one in our family is a very big fan of hard boiled eggs, so when the kids wanted to do egg/spoon races and egg tosses with their eggs after color, I was all for it. They had a great time racing and tossing for quiet a while. Loved this creative activity follow up by more creative play.

Layout Supplies /// High Five Kit /// Sweet Treats Add-on /// My Fave Add-on

Saturday, May 3, 2014

What We Ate - May 3

It's been a bit of a crazy eating week. I considered not even posting about our meals this week because it was a cooking at home fail. On the other hand, we had a great time connecting with family and friends at several fun events this week. So, I figured, why not share what we were up to this week. Plus we had one of my all time family favorite comfort foods, Chaulpa, and knew I wanted to share the recipe.

Monday - Leftover Pasta + Salad

My sister had made a huge pan on pasta on Sunday and she kindly shared a bunch of the leftovers with us. So I heated up with pasta, made a salad and dinner was ready.

Tuesday - Chalupa

My sister Kristen returned home from an 18 month church mission to Virginia on Tuesday. It was fantastic to see her and get to actually talk to her. She was allowed a phone call on Christmas and Mother's Day plus a weekly letter, so communication was pretty limited with those of us at home. Here's our group at the airport welcoming her home.

My mom fixed Chalupa for dinner which is a combination of pork roast and pinto beans that cook together for hours. Then you layer chips, chalupa and all of your favorite taco toppings on your plate. Delicious!

Chalupa Recipe:

3 - 4 lb. pork roast
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp. organo
1 tsp. salt
water to cover the roast
2 cups of dry pinto beans
2 Tbls. Chili Powder
1 Tbls. Cumin
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies

Cook everything on low in a crockpot for 8 hours until beans are tender. During the last hour, shred the meat and allow it to continue cooking in the sauce.

Our favorite toppings: lettuce, diced tomatoes, green onions, olives, guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

Here's the recipes for my favorite salsa that I made for dinner on Tuesday: Homemade Salsa

Wednesday - Liberty Market

After going to Audrey's last lacrosse game which ended near 7 pm, we decided to head to one of our nearby favorite places for dinner, Liberty Market.

If you are ever in GIlbert, AZ, I highly recommend a stop here. My favorites are the white pizza, picnic salad and capresse salad. If you have room for dessert (we didn't), you should give the Salt River Bar a try.

Thursday - KEZ Woman of the Year Dinner

One of my close friends was nominated at one of a Phoenix radio station's Woman of the Year and she invited Ward and I as her guests at a banquet honoring all of the nominees. It was such a cool experience to get to learn about women making a big difference in our community. Plus, they served us an amazing dinner that stated off with this salad.

Dinner was a mini filet mignon, fish, potatoes and veggies. The evening was topped off with an amazing chocolate tart. We felt pretty spoiled and indulgent. 

Friday Night - Chelsea's Kitchen

Our boys were away on a church Father's and Son's campout, so it was girls night out with my girls and some friends. We were up in Phoenix for a choir festival and after looking at Yelp to see what was nearby, we noticed that we could walk to Chelsea's Kitchen. I ate one of the most delicious burgers ever. If you are even in Phoenix - go here! They also have a restaurant in the Phoenix Airport (terminal 4) so if you are ever flying through, grab some food here.

Well, you can see it was quite the week for delicious food with no cooking on my part. It was almost like a vacation! I'm sure it will be back to reality next week.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

High Five!

Have you seen the new May Scrapbook Circle Kit, High Five? I'm in love with the bright and cheerful colors in the kit! It's always interesting to have a final kit come together. The planning starts months ahead of time, but it seems that there are always final touches and changes right up until we pack the kits. This kit really came together just how I'd hoped!

So far, I've created to finished layouts and have another one in the works. This layout I want to share today is the first 8.5 X 11 pages I've put together in years. I must say that the smaller page size felt more relaxed with less space to consider and it was a fun process to put it together.

It's a pretty simple page, but the white space balanced with the bright pops of color just felt right.

This was a random picture I took while we were driving to a choir concert for both of our girls. I love that this picture helped me tell the story of the concert in the journaling without even including an actual picture of the concert.


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