Monday, July 27, 2015

We LOVE Papa



Some of you who know me also know my wonderful Father-in-law. Some children think he is Santa due to his impressive beard and the twinkle in his eye. Others of you may know him as your trusted mechanic at Glenn’s Brake and Alignment. (And if you don’t know him but are near the Orange Country area you might want to get to know him)

But to my kids he is just Papa! And as much as Papa loves fishing and old cars, he loves his grandkids even more. They love spending time with him. And what you may not know is he has some pretty good dance moves. Okay, 1 really good dance move. And his dancing song is One Step Beyond. It’s his song and he just owns it. My husband had an idea for a fun video for his birthday.

And I wanted to take a picture so I remember that memory. He dressed the boys in Papa’s uniform: Hawaiian shirts, jean shorts, and flip flops. I think they look a lot like him. What do you think? 

papa picture

Happy Birthday Papa!!!

We are so thankful to have you in our lives! And these boys sure do love you! Thank you for all you do!




Draco, who seems pretty good at tinkering and

I am hoping will learn some tips from his papa someday.


And Yoda. I love watching these two together…

He says he loves papa because he lets him do anything. Which is pretty much true. Papa gives him pretty much whatever he wanted.


One year our Halloween Costumes allowed my hubby the chance to dress up like his dad. So pretty much I know what he is going to look like in the years to come….


We LOVE you Papa! Thanks for all you do!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mint Oreo Ice Cream Recipe

Our family bought an ice cream maker at this awesome Thrift Store in Mesa, Az. It was only $7! I LOVE ice cream. And homemade ice cream is perfect for our Summer Fun List. We decided to make Oreo Mint first. I love Oreo's! You could go really crazy and use Mint Oreo's as well! Our family loves buying Oreo's in bulk at Sam's Club. It's also where I buy our whipping cream. So much cheaper! 

Oreo Mint Ice Cream

1 1/4 c milk
1 1/2 c sugar
1 T vanilla extract
4 c heavy whipping cream
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 rows of Oreo's

Scald milk until it bubbles from around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat and add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Stir in whipping cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove and add peppermint extract. You could also add green food coloring, but I prefer to not have extra dyes in my food. (Unless it's Read Across America Day or St. Patrick's) Pour in ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions. I like to layer my ice and ice cream salt. After about 30 minutes add crushed Oreo's. Return your ice cream to the freezer. I like it to be in there for a couple of hours, but my hubby prefers it softer. Enjoy!

recipe adapted from Rival 

In case you need a good ice cream maker, seeing I bought the last one from 360 Thrift, you can check out the link above. 

Some of these items are affiliated links. You are welcomed to buy from anywhere. But I don't mind if you buy them from here. I only share items I really like or use. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Side Table Makeover


I wanted to share this little project I finished up quite awhile ago. I bought this piece from a virtual garage sale on Facebook. We now had a bed room big enough for two side tables. I like this piece’s shape and sturdiness. And even though the wood looks nice, I wasn’t crazy about it mixed with the wood I already had in that room. I am still looking for a table that is a little bit taller and matches the wood we already in that room. But it was a good price and we needed something for my husband’s side.

Side Table makeover

I painted it with Annie Sloan's Chalk paint in French Linen. I am happy with how it turned out. I am working on our bedroom right now and am excited to show you it all finished. I love how there is no prep with this style of chalk paint. I sealed it like my other projects with miniwax. I decided to keep the same pulls for right now.


I hope you enjoyed this quick project! Recreating things always makes my heart happy.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Our Sedona Trip


One of the things we miss most about moving from California is our cousins. I didn’t tell my kids that their cousins were coming to visit over spring break. They were SO excited! It was right around Gandalf’s birthday. I had been wanted to visit Sedona since we have moved here. It seemed like the perfect time to pull my kids out of school and have a family day. We left early in the morning and packed up some lunches.


It’s hard to find information on what to do in Sedona. At least what to do with a good size group and a small budget. I had heard about Bell Rock from a Blog Simple As That. We stopped by there first. It was gorgeous! (I still need to practice shooting in manual when it is really bright.) I would be happy to spend the whole day there. We pasted the dome and parked in lot on the right just after the dome. You are required to buy a day pass. We hiked up the trail together. They had a great display about not stepping on the “crust” and the damage it causes when you do. As my boys are all about Leave No Trace, they were more than happy to stick to the trails. We had fun exploring and finding bugs and beautiful flowers.


The view was gorgeous! And I have heard there are caves to explore. We just spent about 20 or 30 minutes here so we could check out other places as well. The boys loved climbing up big rocks and being in nature. We made sure we packed enough water and packed out our snack trash.


It was a great way to spend some time with our cousins. They were pretty great about letting me take pictures.


My niece was nice enough to get a shot of me and baby girl. I carried here in my Baby Bjorn. She loved it. And she loved getting out and walking around when we got to the top. You could tell she felt proud. I try to get in a couple of pictures with my kids. They love seeing pictures of mom too! I love hiking with my family. We need to do it more often. It’s great to be outside and enjoy our beautiful earth. It’s wonderful to be active and teach my family that these adventures bless our lives.


Next we drove to Slide Rock Park. It’s an area with a hike to a fun water area. There is a natural rock slide. It was really beautiful there. The water was a bit cold for me in April. I wouldn’t mind trying it in the summer. We ate our lunch there and explored.


I would love to go back to Sedona next month. I think I would love to spend the whole day at Bell Rock. And get some great pictures as the sun was going down. And then head over to the little town and try out a cute restaurant. I would love to stay till dark so we could see the stars out there. Maybe we will have to get a book from the library. I did hear that slide rock is a lot less crowded early in the morning. Personally I would rather go there with the hubby since I have 4 kids and only half of them are good swimmers.


We loved having our cousins come visit! And we love visiting a fun new place as a family.


I am hoping to take the kids back to Sedona next week! Your your summer holiday is going well!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Our Visit to Independence Hall

While in California our family visited Independence Hall next to Knott’s Berry Farm. It has been on my “To go” list for awhile. And when my mom asked if we would like to go with her it was perfect. My mom used to take us there as children. It wasn’t till I was quite older that I realized it wasn’t the Independence Hall. It’s a great place to visit because it’s free, but it also is a great teaching adventure.

Consistent with Walter Knott’s wishes, Knott’s Independence Hall remains a free-admission resource. Independence Hall presents an audio retelling of the dramatic debate that led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the creation of the United States of America. The Hall also offers historical exhibits including a replica of the Liberty Bell and a 1790s horse drawn carriage. (For more information click the above link)
You receive a free hour of parking in the MarketPlace. And if you purchase a little something you can receive two additional hours. My mom did buy us a little copy of the Constitution, which is a great thing for every family to own.

Above is the room where you can listen to the audio for the discussion about whether they should declare themselves independent from England. They do a great job calling certain people by name to give you a better idea of who is speaking. And each desk has a quill that lights up when they are speaking. It was great to listen to. I had forgotten certain parts myself. And what a great thing to listen to so you can spark additional conversation with our children the importance of Independence. At the end they express their feelings that they hope future generations will recognize the sacrifices they have made. It was wonderful to share this important event in American History with my kids. And my kids really enjoyed it.
There is also a large room with replica’s of The Declaration. And they also have a little picture for each person who was a part of this moment in history. And a little bit of information about that man. They have statues showing General Washington and Betty Ross.
I love this picture of my children shooting at this red coat. I took it just for my dear friend Alex who is on summer holiday back home in England. I would love her to take her children here and see what she thinks of the place.
We were so glad to bring Gandalf’s dear friend Percy with us as well. They have been friends since they were babies and he is always a delight. And quite a ham when it comes to taking pictures. And Percy also loves history and all things America. We had a great time! Baby girl loved seeing American Flags. They make her happy. And I love how Draco will randomly start singing the Star Spangled Banner. He has learned so many songs at his school about our country. He loves singing songs about America.

"Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved…”  Richard Henry Lee
"We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must hang together."
John Hancock, July 4, 1776
"My hand trembles, but my heart does not."
Stephen Hopkins, Rhode Island delegate
"We hold these truths to be self-evident:
"That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” Declaration of Independence

"May the foundation of our new constitution, be justice, Truth and Righteousness. Like the wise Mans house may it be founded upon those Rocks and then neither storms or tempests will overthrow it."
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, July 13, 1776
Indenpendence Hall copy
It was a great day with my mom. I am so glad I could take my children to this important place, even if it is only a replica. I am really hoping we can save and go on tour next summer with MCO, the wonderful choir my husband and sons sing in, and see even more historic and important places. I am so thankful for this great nation and the brave men who risked their lives to stand up for what they believed was right. I don’t think we are the best country in the world. But I love this country. It belongs to me and my heart swells when I hear song’s about our country. I have a testimony that these men were inspired by God to create this nation. I am so thankful for the freedoms I enjoy. I am so thankful that this country was prepared for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A Gospel that can bless the whole earth. A Gospel that has established a church that has more members outside of the United States than in the United States.
I have yet the wonderful opportunity to travel outside the United States. But I hope that someday I will. And I hope that I can teach my children to love and respect this country. And to be like those brave men and stand up for what is right. I certainly don’t agree with everything our country has done. And as my children grow they will learn about that as well. I want my children to love this country and defend it. But also to love other countries because they too are our brothers and sisters. And my sons might just be a missionary in a distant country someday.

I love this country. And I am so thankful for Independence Day so our family can reflect on the courage of those brave men. We can remember and show our gratitude for what they have done. God Bless America.
Yoda being Silly
And who can resist a silly boy. Who loved photo bombing pictures of Independence Hall. I love him dearly.
For more quotes about our country click here.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Perfect Bathing Suit for 4th of July…

I am super excited to share today! I had this idea over 4 years ago. But the timing wasn’t right. You see, I was talking to my family about what we should do for Halloween. With so many boys it was only natural to suggest Super Heroes. My boys were like ‘'”You could be Wonder Woman.” And the thought of me, dressed up as Wonder Woman, at our church Trunk of Treat made me giggle.
I believe in being modest. And modesty to me means showing respect for my body that my Heavenly Father has given me. I’m pretty conservative. I don’t show my stomach. I aim for high necklines. I wear sleeves. And my shorts are pretty long. This is the way I have chosen to dress. And to dress my daughter. And I totally understand that there are lots of ways to be modest and show respect for our bodies. And others may even dress modestly in a different way than me. And that’s okay.
When it comes bathing suits I like a one piece. Or a tankini top that is really long so it still covers my midsection. One time a young girl made a comment that Wonder Woman wasn’t dressed very modest. But I told her, “What if she was on the way to the pool, and she heard a cry for help and that is why she is dressed that way.” I totally think it’s okay for young girls to notice when people outside their families live different ways. But I think it’s also great to teach them that they are still great people. And it’s okay to do things differently.
So years ago, when I was pregnant with Yoda, I had an idea for a Wonder Woman bathing suit. Wouldn’t that be cool? My boys love it! But as cool as a preggo Wonder Woman would be, I wouldn’t get a lot of use out of that. So I decided to wait.
And the timing was perfect! Because I found these bottoms at Old Navy! I have never made a bathing suit before. I would hate to mess up the bottoms.

I will be sharing a tutorial for the top soon! But I wanted to let you have a chance to snag the bottoms. I am super happy with how it turned out. And to be honest, I think I will leave the cuffs, crown, and heels at home when it is time to swim. Baby girl loves it and wants her own cuffs. Draco loved it! And gave me two thumbs up. Gandalf said he would still swim with me if I wore this out. And Yoda said my bottoms weren’t covering all off my butt. Darn you Lasso of truth. I had to break it to Yoda that those were my thighs, and it’s okay if they are bigger. And by the way, your welcome for bringing you into this world. I did some ruching on the side of my top because my super power is giving life to four amazing children. And I added some ties to tie around my neck because my kids love to pull down my top when we are in the pool. And as I mentioned I am trying to be modest.

Hope you have a SUPER day!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Some of My Favorite Things: Summer Edition

I love sharing my favorite things. (Also here and here) And speaking of a few of my favorite things, my children really need to watch The Sound of Music before school starts. They already love the music. Not sure if I should break it to them that there are Nazi's in it. I know that surprised me. I thought the movie was about running through mountains and singing. Perfect movie to spark a discussion on moral courage.

Back to my favorite things right now.
Summer Edition.

iPhone Waterproof Cover
My husband order this amazing waterproof cover. And I was like, why didn't you order two? And why didn't I borrow it when I went to California? Perfect for the beach, hiking, and other fun summer activities. My kids love it when dad gets underwater pictures or videos of them at the pool. And how many times do I try and capture a moment at the pool, but get concerned about someone splashing me. This is a perfect summer accessory.

Insulated Cooler Bag
Ice chests are great for keeping things cold. But it's not always convenient to carry around. I  love having a insulated bag that I can freeze the night before to keep things cool. It was perfect for the beach to keep some water and fruit nice and cool. Or for when we go on a hike. I don't take it on the hike, but I love having extra water in our car and I don't want it baking in the car when we get back. I always bring my bag on my drive to California and we use it when we get there. I got mine from my girlfriend as a Bunco prize. The link above is for one similar. I loved it at the beach because we usually park where it is free and walk a ways. And I can't carry baby girl and an ice chest.

Ice Cream Duplo Creative Play

Isn't this the cutest toy??? When we got back into town Grady had purchased toys for the kids. Lego's actually. Sets that he wouldn't mind playing with himself. And he got this for baby sister. I love encouraging her to play with blocks. And this cute set is perfect for summer. She loves pretending to eat ice cream and sharing it with me. It works great with her kitchen. You can combine flavors and toppings. Draco was playing with his sister and made her a Popsicle. He used an orange block and told me it was orange. Not mango. Thank goodness. Her mango allergy might extend to Lego toys as well. This set is great for encouraging brothers to play with her, which helps me get more done.

NIOXIN Scalp Shield Sunscreen Spray SPF 20

Nioxin Scalp Sunscreen
I absolutely love this stuff. (I didn't include an amazon link because you should be careful about buying hair products online. They can be counterfeit, old, etc. As a stylist I know you should only buy from a professional.) In you are near Orange County this Salon carries it.

I have 4 beautiful blonde children. And sometimes when they are blonde and babies their scalp is a prime place for sun damage. I always worried about my babies especially when they won't always keep a hat on. I have been using this for years and I LOVE it! It's great for everyone. But especially my little blonde baby girl. Our scalps need protection from the sun. As parents we need to teach our children and help keep them safe. I know you will love this! I actually use this (for their scalps), a stick (for their face) and lotion (for their bodies) to help keep them safe. And hats and rash guards when possible.

iPhone Screenshot 2

PopKey GIF Keyboard 
Have you seen this? My husband found this and installed it on his phone. (He is so great about hearing new fun things) And it's free. You can type in an emotion or feeling and get tons of hilarious GIF's. Let me just tell you that his texts have gotten even funnier. Great way to have fun while texting. I need him to install it on my phone next.

I hope you have learned something new to try! Have a happy and safe summer!

Some of these items are affiliated links. You are welcomed to buy from anywhere. But I don't mind if you buy them from here. I only share items I really like or use. Thanks for your support!

Mom’s Sweet & Sour Chicken

This is probably one of my favorite recipes from my mom. It’s defiantly the hubby’s favorite! I love to take this to new moms right after they have their babies. The sauce isn’t too sweet or too spicy. I keep everything separate in case she doesn’t want sauce all over her rice. And I also bring a vegetable. Usually not Brussels sprouts, though I love them. I am the only one in my family. I made Yoda try them this week and he gave them two thumbs down.

The secret ingredient for this super easy dinner…
I haven’t been able to find it in Arizona so far. So when I travel to California I pick up a bunch of cans.
Mom’s Sweet & Sour Chicken
Heat Oven to 350*. Place a couple tablespoons of butter in a glass baking pan and place in your preheated oven. After a couple of minutes add a couple of chicken breasts. Bake for 30 minutes. Pull out and pour two cans of Contadina Sweet and Sour sauce over the chicken. Put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes and you are done.
Serve over rice and add some vegetables.
Easy. Quick. And yummy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tips for Making Star Wars Pancakes using Pancake Molds

As a Star Wars family these pancake molds were the perfect thing! They are perfect for Father’s Day, birthdays, May the 4th be with you… days, or anytime you want to add some fun to your day. Making them is pretty straight forward but I have found some tips when using pancakes mold that I wanted to share with you.
The Recipe.
It really helps to have a very liquidy recipe when using pancake molds. I have played around prefer the one listed below.

Padme’s Pancakes
(Isn’t it that a fun name for a recipe. I’m sure that if she didn’t {SPOILER} die of a broken heart she would have used this recipe of mine to make these for little Luke and Leia)
2 cups of sifted flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tblsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, mixed well
3 cups milk
6 Tbsp butter, melted
Preheat griddle. Sift dry ingredients together. Combined all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add your sifted ingredients.

Tools Needed

I love using the griddle my mom got for me. Sometimes I will use a regular frying pan, but the griddle is so flat and distributes the heat so nicely. I know, clearly I need better cook ware. I put my griddle on medium heat before I start collecting my tools. Make sure to spray your molds pretty well. Your pancake batter should be easy to pour into your squirt bottle because we are using a very liquefied recipe.

Once your mold is on your preheated griddle go ahead and squirt that batter in. I try and do the face first. It’s best to work quickly for an even looking face. And some molds are easier than others. Once it starts to look a little set I use my spatula to outline the mold. I will lift (carefully because it is hot) the mold a little as I do this so it will fall out nicely. Go ahead and flip your pancake over.
Continue re-spraying your molds as needed. And use your awesome spatula to remove any pancake fluff that can get stuck to your molds. It takes a little time, but when you see your little Jedi’s face light up with happiness it is all worth it. If you are running really late you can just make a regular pancake and punch out a face. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
May the Force we with you!

Feel free to check out our other Star Wars Posts (and here)

Some of these items are affiliated links. You are welcomed to buy from anywhere. But I don't mind if you buy them from here. I only share items I really like or use. Thanks for your support!