Friday, July 30, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Seven

This week's topic: What's in your summer bag?  Where are you going?

I love bags.  I could write a whole post on using bags.  And fortunately for you, I'm working on one for the future.  I'll spare you the details for now, but for the record, let me just say it again, I love bags.  I have so many of them around the house, all for different uses.

But my swim bag is the one that's getting the most use right now.  It's a heavy duty black mesh bag that we keep all our swim gear in.  Sunscreen, swim suits, 1-2 swim diapers, pool toys, goggles, aloe, detangler, hair brush, etc.  It's so nice to just be able to grab it and the towels and head out the door.  I try to keep them all together and replenish as I go.  Makes those trips to the pool so much easier.

So what's in your summer bag?

Let's start sharing. Journal or don't journal, but do share with us what's going on in your house.  And don't forget to invite others to join in on the fun as well.

Next week's challenge: Photograph that summer sky.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Seven


I'm leaving for a staff retreat and still haven't gotten this ready this week.


Consider this one a freebie!  Pick a date you've been wanting to do for awhile.  Check back in and let us know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yes, your children will eat fish.. and so will you! Part Seven

Warm Mango Salsa on Grilled Tilapia

4 Tilapia fillets
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt and Pepper
1 med red onion, diced
1 can green chilies (can sub jalapeno, diced)
2 med tomatoes, diced
1 large mango, peeled, seeded, diced
2 limes
Chopped cilantro

Heat saute pan and spray with cooking spray.  Cook tilapia through, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook about 4 min on each side.

Meanwhile saute red onion until translucent.  Add tomato, mango, peppers and season with salt and pepper.  Cook through until tender.

Add lime juice, and cilantro to taste.  Serve over fish.  Add avocado and mango sliced if desired.

We paired this beautiful fish with a green salad and some fresh peas.  It was a light and tasty dinner, perfect for this hot weather.

My two year old ate it up.  She loved it.  The four year old heard the word "fish" and refused to try it.  Finally after a little coaxing, he gave in and tasted it.  I could see the relief on his face as it actually tasted good.  However, being the child of strong will that he is, he took one bite, and a couple behind me back, before proclaiming that he had indeed tried it and didn't like it.  Oh, well.  Maybe some day he'll admit that it wasn't half bad.  I'm not holding my breath.

How have you been getting seafood into your family's diet lately?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Made by Me Monday

This has been a crazy week.  I feel like I say that every week.  But last week was bad.  I was so spacey.  I planned my menu out last Sunday, did the grocery shopping on Monday and completely forgot everything.  I felt like I went back to the store again several times.  It was a wreck.

I did manage to get one good meal out last week.  I found a yummy recipe for grilled chicken and mango salsa and adapted it to go with some tilapia we had in the freezer.   It was a yummy, light summer supper.  I'll share it with you tomorrow.


So what about you?  Do you have something fun to share with us... a recipe, a project, a creative tip?

Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the individual blog post itself.  You can post more than one project, just add more than one link.  And don't forget to invite your readers to join in as well.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We have a winner!

So I've run the numbers through for the WhimsyLove giveaway.  I love these rings; so cute!  I hope you all took advantage of the fantastic discount she gave my readers.  Wonderful!  Fifteen comments and the random winner is....




I'll send you a quick email tonight.  I hope you love them!

Lee's To Do List

This Overnight Coffee Cake (@ Skip to My Lou) would be perfect for overnight company.  Warm breakfast without getting up too early.

We made this Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze (@ Best Bites) a few weeks ago when we had company.  Sounds like a weird combination, but it's so good.  My new favorite!

Love this One Red Ripe Strawberry T-shirt (@ Little Page Turners).  Wouldn't this be a sweet gift for a little girl?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Six

This week's topic was: What's on your front door?

When we moved into the house, the old owners had to replace the front door with a fire door.  So in their preparations, we ended up with a basic front door and no character.  Over last summer, we sanded down the door and picked out a stain we liked.  Since we put so much work into the door, we've been really picky about what kind of hook we want to put on it.  A year later, I still haven't one I like.

Luckily on the wall near our door is a nice little spot for hanging things above the mail slot.  This is what it looks like.

I love changing the decor with the seasons.  I have a Christmas wreath and we put our pumpkins and scarecrow under the mail slot in the fall.  I'm working on some more, but with two little ones, it just all takes time.  I love those homes who have something on the front door.  It just says so much about the people that live there.  I'd actually really like to get one of those vinyl signs that "Welcome."

So what's on your front door?

Let's start sharing.  Journal or don't journal, but do share with us what's going on in your house.  And don't forget to invite others to join in on the fun as well.

Next Week's Assignment:  What's in your summer bag?  Where are you going?

Following along...

Hey ya'll,
Just wanted to pop in and tell you about some great follow alongs that I'm joining today.  Hope you like what you see as you look around and decide to journey with me.  Share your Summer Photos will be up later after I upload some photos and and I'm working on Monday's Made by Me.   Don't forget to check out this week's 52 First Dates idea and our WhimsyLove Giveaway too.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Limeade with Berries

I love it!

This is so ridiculously easy.
I almost hesitate posting it, but I'm anxious for you all to try it.

Limeade with Berries

1 can limeade concentrate
Seltzer water
Berries of choice

Mix limeade with seltzer water, using slightly less water than is called for.  Make the mix slightly strong.
Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to directions.
Find a pretty glass and top with berries.

This was so yummy.  The seltzer water made it a little fizzy even after it froze.

Hope you like it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Six

I couldn't help it.  I had to throw up a picture of me and my hubby.  Not from this last week, but recent nonetheless.  I'm not one for taking goofy pictures, but this was one of those nights when we were in a silly mood.

Speaking of having fun together, how was comedy night?  We went to Youtube to find some good comedy.  We came up with Bill Cosby and Brian Regan, and practically laughed till we cried.  It was a fun relaxing evening on the couch of just being together. Post a comment or join us on the Facebook Event Page to share how your dating experience is going.

This week's dating challenge is a little bit your choice, little bit assignment.  Location is up to you: dinner out, evening in, day at the park.  More so this week's date is a talking point.  It seems so often, we get into relationships and stop talking.  I know from my own experience that other things seem more pressing: dishes to be done, kids to be bathed, house to be cleaned, blogs to be written.  :-)  So the talking goes on the back burner and I expect my husband to read my mind.   This week's date involves getting you talking with your mate, a mini couples inventory of sorts.  Pick your location and activity, but make sure you talk though the following questions over the evening:

Mate's Birthday:
    dress size:
    pants size
    shirt size:
    shoe size:
    ring size:

Mate's favorite:
    vacation spot:

How does your Mate see love expressed: acts of service, gifts, time, affirmation, etc?

If you were forced to flee your home, what three items would your Mate want saved?

What's your Mate's favorite holiday?  What do they like most about it?

What are the best and worst aspects of your Mate's job?

What is is the best piece of advice a friend ever gave your Mate?

Have fun and let us know what you did!

And don't forget to check out this week's Giveaway from WhimsyLove!

*Linked to these Parties.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Beach Trip 2010

As many of you know, we took a beach trip the second weekend of the month.  This was the second year that we've taken a summer beach trip and the kids love it.  Truth be told... so do I!  Here's what we learned this year:

Beach Trip Lesson #1--Your two year old that has been doing awesome potty training will suddenly revert when you pack primarily big girl pants.

Beach Trip Lesson #2-- Sand WILL be EVERYWHERE!

Beach Trip Lesson #3-- Don't just put sunscreen on your nose.  There are other parts of your body that can, and will, BURN!

Beach Trip Lesson #4--  Some loads of laundry will have to go through the laundry twice.

Beach Trip Lesson #5--Watching your 4 year old play on the beach will be like a re-enactment of Lord of the Flies.

Beach Trip Lesson #6-- If you go on vacation with the right attitude, you can actually wear your kids out before they wear you out.

Beach Trip Lesson #7-- There's nothing so entertaining as throwing baby jellyfish back into the ocean.

Beach Trip Lesson #8-- Packing food from home is awesome!  Love beach foods like soup and chili and  juice boxes...

Beach Trip Lesson #9-- Flying kites is soooo much fun.

Beach Trip Lesson #10-- Beach, wave chasing, pool= relaxing and exhaustion.  Your drive home will be very peaceful.

Lydia loves having her feet buried in the sand.

Noah flying his Spiderman kite.

Lydia flying her Elmo kite.

There goes the Spiderman kite.

Noah trying to save Lydia from the waves.
What a great big brother!

Picture with Grandma

I love this photo.
Running from the waves.

I love the beach too.

Flying new kites

We love it!
Can't wait to go back.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Giveaway: WhimsyLove

I had such a great time during our giveaway back in April that I wanted to bring you something really spectacular and have some more fun.  You with me?

As I've been blog reading, I came across a really fun site called Whimsy Love.  Whimsy Love is the creative outlet of Nikki, a fantastic whimsical writer who has an endless fountain of inspiration.  She's got crafts galore, some of which I would never think of.  There's photo projects, recipes, party inspiration, ... you name it, she's got it.  It's a really great site, and I love checking in and seeing what she's got going on.   Her Summer Break series going on right now is so much fun.  Check out her site; you won't regret it.

Besides the blog, Nikki is also the creative genius behind WhimsyLove on Etsy.  These are just a few of my favorites:

Here's what Nikki has graciously offered one of my readers:

Mother/Daughter Vintage Button Ring Combo
(valued at $19.50)

The all pink ring is the adult ring while the yellow/ring is the daughter ring.  Both are adjustable and absolutely fantastic.  Can you just imagine how much fun these would be to wear with that special little girl in your life?

What to win this great little combo set?

Here's how to enter:
Required actions:
1. Become a public Creative2xmom follower or join the Facebook fan page.
2. Go to Whimsy Love's Etsy Shop and come back to comment on what you like.

Additional entries:
After completing the above actions, you can earn additional entries in the giveaway by doing any or all of the following:

1. Blog about this giveaway on your blog linking to this post and to Whimsy Love. Leave a link directly to your post in the comments.

2. Tweet or facebook this giveaway (may do once for each action).

3. Become a follower of Creative2xmom or facebook page, which ever you didn't do above.

4. Link up to Made by Me Monday.

You have until midnight July 24th to enter. Leave me a separate comment for each entry. One winner will be chosen at random and I'll announce the results on July 25th. How's that for a fun mid-summer surprise?

But wait... THERE'S MORE!

(I've always wanted to say that)

From now through Saturday, you can order your own two ring combo for $15.  Just let Nikki know that you found her store through Creative2xmom.  Oh, and don't forget to stop by and show me what you picked up as well.

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated by Whimsy Love for this giveaway.

Made by Me Monday

Our summer's been crazy, but we've had so much fun so far.  A couple of weekends ago, we took a beach trip and this last week we spent several days at Grandma's house.  It's been fun.

The kids had a great time at Grandma's.  Swings, sprinkler, butterfly nets, bubbles... and water balloons.  What more could a kid want?  Oh, yeah... projects.  That's what the kids know about Grandma's.  She always has a project to work on and if not, there's always the Cricut.  My kids actually know that thing by name.  

And I had my own project for Grandma.  I've had clearance material in my garage for seven months and have been promising myself I'd make the kids jammies.  But I'm not much of a seamstress.  It's a miracle that I ever get anything done on the sewing machine.  Nearly every Christmas has me in tears, but that's a topic for another post.

Anyways...  this is what I was working on:

Fun, huh?  My son is obsessed with flames and so excited about these.  While Lydia is ecstatic about the Care Bears.  Still wanted to pull my hair out at times, but so excited to have this project checked off my list.  Not too hard and so practical.  I love 'em.

So what about you?  Do you have something fun to share with us... a recipe, a project, a creative tip?

Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the individual blog post itself, not the blog as a whole.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  And don't forget to invite your readers to join in as well.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Five

I love this week's topic.  Although I haven't gotten a batch of ice cream made yet this summer, I have been experimenting with some new drinks.  This is my new favorite:

Frozen Limeade with Berries

It's tart, refreshing, cold, and oh, so yummy.
I had to fight the kids to get the end of it.

Come back next week and I'll have it posted for you!

Let's start sharing.  What's your favorite ice cream flavor or summer drink?  Journal or don't journal, but do share with us what's going on in your house.  And don't forget to invite others to link up as well.

Next week's assignment: What's on your Front Door?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

ABC's of Me

 Saw this fun ABC's of Me at Keeping up with the Schultz Family.  Go over and say hi to Amy and play along.  She's super fun to get to know and would love to hear from you too.

A- My AIR CONDITIONER is set on: 76 degrees.  And since I live in Redding, it has days were it's running at 5 am.

B- My BEDROOM theme is: nothing.  I'd love to be able to do country B&B some day, but not now.

C- The CAR in the driveway is: a Honda CRV and a Toyota Corolla.  Buy used, save the difference!
D- My DESK looks: like a tornado hit it. 

E- The EXACT time I wake up daily is: 7am.  Noah is up like clockwork.  But Mommy says he can't come wake her till the first number on the clock is a 7.

F- The FIRST thing I wash in the shower is: my hair. 

G- My GARAGE is filled with: It's a built in garage that doesn't open with the addition of the new A/C.  So there's tons of built in cabinets filled with craft stuff, camping gear, too small baby clothes, and sporting equipment.

H- My HOUSE is: the only one on the street with a tree in front.  Pain in the bum for raking in the fall, but great shade in the spring and summer.

I- If you peeked INSIDE my bedroom you'd see: the dumping spot of the house.  Craft stuff, maternity clothes that haven't made it to the garage, books, and magazines.
J- My favorite JUICE is: Cranberry juice..

K- The best part of my KITCHEN is: the window overlooking the backyard.  Love it!

L- The LAST person who visited my home was: out of town guests?  My mom, grandma, and in-laws were in town for Mother's Day.  That was fun.

M- The last piece of MAIL for me was: ??? No idea.

N- My NEIGHBORS think I'm: who knows.  The little lady across the street knows me as the mom who's teaching her son to ride his bike in the street.  The college boys next door know we can bake.  Who knows about the ones on the other side.

O- If you OPENED my fridge you'd see: Lots of fruits and veggies... and an occasional container of blue cheese.

P- My last house PARTY was: my husband's pastoral licensing in April.  Twenty people in my little house and my 4 year old provided the entertainment.  I'll post a video soon.

Q- A QUICK meal I like to fix is: grilled veggie sandwiches

R- My favorite ROOM of the house is: I love being in the kitchen.
S- The SHAMPOO brand I use is: Garnier Fructis.
T- My largest TELEVISION is: 27 in?
U- UNDER my bed you will find: souveneir boxes of overseas travel, shoes, a box of homemade banners, and probably the cat.
V- The last time I VACUUMED was: last week.

W- Looking out my WINDOW I see: Living room and dinning room-- front street.  Kitchen. My Room, and One of Noah's--beautiful backyard. Noah's other window--side yard

X- I wish I had X-TRA: time.  Could always use time to get everything done.
Y- My YARD is: stunning.  it was so well maintained before we moved in and fully landscaped.  I love it!  It's a good 10 degrees cooler in the backyard.
Z- ZZZZZZZ My bedtime is: between 11 and midnight.  Gotta get stuff done after the munchkins go to bed.
Now it is your turn to join in if you would like to play along..  Let me know so I can learn more about you too!  :-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Five

Hey there ladies and gents, how's your dating life?  Did your board games sizzle this week?  What did you play: Scattergories, Sequence, or Poker?  What creative twist did you come up with to this challenge?  Post a comment or join us on the Facebook Event Page to share.

Hubby and I started a game of Sequence while at the beach this weekend.  The kids were distracted at the beach and we had some time to ourselves.  Unfortunately, it was cut short when a 4 yr old and 2 yr old came back and discovered what we were up to.  I want a redo on this week.  We've had a couple of rough weeks of date night and I want this one back. 

I've gotta get back on the wagon.  This week's date night has to happen for us.  I'm missing it. 

So our challenge this week is pretty open ended.  My husband and I were talking lately about how comedy really hasn't been our thing, until recently.  We're not into the nasty jokes that tend to pop up so for the most part, I've shyed away from it all together.  But while we were talking, we started coming up with some great names and really got excited about the idea of going to some kind of comedy night.

This week's date night is to enjoy some comedy together.  Find a comedy night in your town, drop in on open mic night, look up a comedian on Youtube, rent a video from the library, etc.  Whatever your budget and time constraints allow.  Need some ideas: Bill Cosby, Jeff Foxworthy, Last Comic Standing, Brian Regan. 

If you're going on, make a complete effort.  Get dressed up, put on some makeup, and do up your hair.  Order drinks.  Laugh out loud.

If you're staying in, same rules apply.  Make an effort to look nice, even if just lounging around.  Pick up a bottle of your favorite wine and break out the nice crystal.

As always, let us know how it works out for you.  What creative twist did you put on this week?  How's the 52 First Date Challenge going in your house?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Roasted Corn Salad

We had a great getaway at the beach this weekend.  It was a wonderful relaxing three day weekend of beach, swimming, and sun.  We loved it.

One of the things that made our trip more economical was packing our meals.  Now, I love to cook so packing food isn't a challenge for me.  But grilling... I'm not much of a griller.  I just don't know what to do with it.  So when I found this recipe from Pioneer Woman, I had to try it.

Roasted Corn Salad

8 ears of corn
1 red onion, quartered
2 yellow squash, halved lengthwise (I used zucchini)
1 red bell pepper (I used green)
2 med tomatoes
olive oil for grilling

Drizzle all veggies with oil and grill corn for 5-8 min.  Grill onion, squash, and pepper until tender (I put mine in foil packets to hold on grate).  Dice and mix together.

1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar 
12 basil leaves, chiffonade  (I used dried to taste)
1 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, crushed

Whisk all together and pour over diced veggies.  Combine and chill.  

Pioneer Women's suggestion is to serve with tortilla chips or over chicken.  We ate ours with carnitas tacos.  It was fantastic.  The flavor is mild.  I would add more garlic next time and possibly some green chilies.  The perfect addition to a summer meal.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Made by Me Monday

Another week has come and gone.  Our summer is flying by and I'm already getting nervous about it being over.  It's already the middle of July and I only have about five weeks left till school starts.  It sounds like a long time as I write it, but I know that it will go by so quickly.  Look at how quickly the first half has gone?

We've been swimming, visiting family, and just got back last night from our annual beach trip.  July is proving to be extremely busy as we're heading out for Grandma's house tomorrow.  I love the freedom to see family more in the summer.  And my kids love it.  So we're off to make memories.

While we were at the beach we did a lot of our own cooking to save on cost.  As I was preparing, I discovered this yummy Corn Salad.  It was full of flavor and so portable.  Come back tomorrow and I'll give you the recipe.

So let's start sharing.  Do you have something fun to share with us?  A recipe, project or creative tip?

Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the individual blog post itself, not the blog as a whole.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  And don't forget to invite your readers to join in as well.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lee's To Do List

I love this Wedding Bouquet (@ Craftzine).  So beautifully done and would be perfect for a summer or fall wedding.

Again, love this Shabby Chic Ruffle Necklace (@Poppy Chic Designs).  So simple, so easy, and would make a great gift.

I'm going to be looking for these Best Books to Read with Your Children (@  Hoping my library has several we can read together.

This Layered Mediterranean Dip (@ My Blessed Life) looks incredible.  Would love to take this one to a potluck soon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Four

OH, all those strawberries from my fruit basket have been fantastic this week.  We figured last week that we could run through a flat of strawberries a week if I'd let the kids.  This challenge has been fun, but I was super stumped this week.  We've been doing some traveling, and lots of time at the pool.  I have lots of swimming pictures, but I was looking for something else.

Here's what I came up with:

Boys playing on the trampoline... need I say more?

So let's start sharing.  What outdoor activities have you been engaging in?  Journal or don't journal, but share with us what's going on in your house.  And don't forget to invite other's to link up as well.

Next Week's Assignment: What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Or summer drink?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Play it again, Mama: 10 Inexpensive Things to do with Your Kids Today

1. Break out the sidewalk chalk.  Practice letters or write a welcome home message for Daddy.  Trace shapes and identify colors.

2. Blow bubbles with the baby.  Babies love bubbles.  Talk about colors, texture, and vocab such as drifting, floating, and clear.

3. Explore a new neighborhood park.  Take advantage of the swings, slides, and monkey bars.  Not only will your child work on new skills, but you may also find a new group of mommies that you connect with.

4. Plant something.  Check out your $ store and plant some flowers.  Talk about taking care of plants and the science of how things grow.  Encourage observation skills, observing how things grow.

5. Take that stale loaf of bread and feed the birds.  Your toddler will have hours of stories to tell after that.

6. Start a kitchen band.  Break out the pots and pans, wooden spoons and spatulas.  Afterwards, take some Tylenol and settle down for a nap.

7. Create a masterpiece.  Sure you can spend a lot of money on art supplies and eventually you choose to do so.  But for now, just invest in a $.97 set of watercolors and use the back of your printer paper.  Discuss colors and motion.

8. Drop in to the library.  Pick up movies, books, and utilize some computer time.

9. Go for a bike ride.  What a great way to get outdoors and spend some time bonding with your child.

10. Wash the car.  Roll up your sleeves, break out the dishsoap and hose, and enjoy this spring weather.

Frugal ways to spend time with my kids work for me.

Walking in Rhythms of Grace

I don't know that I truly have a "favorite" Bible verse.  Different verses speak to me during different seasons of my life.  Some are joyful.  Some are encouraging.  Some are mournful and put words to how I feel.

Lately I've been meditating on the words of Matthew 11:28, particularly in the Message translation:

 28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I love having rhythms in my life.  There's a scheduled laundry day in our house, days that we go to the pool, routines for going to bed, rhythms for how our house flows.  I love it.  This verse definitely speaks my language.

Walk WITH me...

Work WITH me...


I've been thinking about doing a series of posts from women in my life who have walked through difficulties and learned the "Rhythms of Grace."  Hubby and I were brainstorming names and scenarios this weekend and I've gotten very excited about it.  I'm putting together details, still praying about it, and emailing gals over the next couple of weeks.  Hope to have it up after school starts.

What verse speaks to you?

*Linked to Kelly's Korner.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Four

How there, tourist?  Did you hit the streets of your own town?  What did you find?  What kind of conversation did it stir up between you and your spouse?

Can I make a horrible confession? Our week was short with visiting family out of town on the weekend and ... well, we didn't get a date night this week.  Unfortunately, it also showed in our attitude with each other.  We've never been ones to have a regular date night, but after just a few weeks, it's become an important part of our relationship.  I missed out on this one and will have to revisit it with my hubby in the future.

This week it's time to whip out the board games.  Or deck of cards, if you'd like.  Invite another couple over and split the babysitter.  Or wait until the kids go to bed and make it a date just for the two of you.

My hubby and I love playing board games and cards, but it's all kind of gone by the wayside since we had kids.  Game night now looks like a half finished game of Hi-Ho Cherry-O and interupted conversation.  But when it's just me and him... watch out!  We can get super competitive ... and we have a great time doing it.

So make it interesting.  Beat with M&M's, ... beat with other things.  Keep your comments family friendly, but feel free to let your imagination run with this one.

Have a great date night!

*Linked to Works for Me Wednesday

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Shout Out for a Motivated Mama...

I have an awesome friend, Rachel from Rachel's Random Ramblings, who is a great inspiration in the healthy eating/ workout department.  This woman is a machine.  Three boys, four years and under, and she runs.  RUNS!!!  That's what I only dream of.  She's a normal woman, a wonderful mom, and I'm lucky to call her friend.

Right now, Rachel is campaigning to be the next Mamavation Mom.  What's a Mamavation Mom?  Well, here, let me have her tell you about it herself:

So how can you help?  All you have to do is click on this link and vote for @rachelsteffan on the right sidebar.  You can vote once every 24 hrs through July 12th.

Good luck, Rachel!  We love you so much and really hope you make it through.

Family Photography Book

With our family living so far away, our kids don't get to see them as much as we'd like.  So when Noah was young, I came up with the idea of making a Family Book for him.  I just finished Lydia's and wanted to share it with you.

I started with one of these board books from Oriental Trading Company.  I wanted mine to be extra durable in small hands so I ran the scrapbook paper through my Zyron.  It's a little more pricey, but that paper won't ever move.  It's there for good. 

Then I just trimmed each page up with my X-Acto knife and sanded up the edges to give it a more polished look.  The letters were cut using my Cricut and the pages were embellished with what I had on hand.

Each page is someone special in the kids' lives:
Mommy, Daddy, Brother/Sister, special Cousin, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Nana and Papa, Aunties, and Auntie and Uncle.  
Each photo is the child with that person, matted in the same color as the lettering and then outlined in a coordinating pen color.  
I then sealed each page with Mod Podge to keep anything from falling apart.  The biggest challenge I had was laying the pages open as I sealed each one.  I could seal two pages at a time and then had to leave it open to dry.  Not a big deal, just took time.  

My kids love looking through these.  They could sit down for hours and recite who is in each of the pictures.  The memories they share with that person.  

These books have been a lot of fun, both to create and to enjoy with my kids.  Hope you enjoy!

How do you keep your kids connected to family far away?

Made by Me Monday

Wow!  What a weekend!  We were home Friday and Saturday, then headed down to Sacramento on Sunday afternoon for a BBQ at my sister-in-law's.  In fact, because my hubby has today off, we're still in Sacramento.   We'll be traveling home tonight.

Since I'm still technically "vacationing," I'm going to keep this post short for today.  Here's a little something I've been working on lately:

A Family Book for Lydia

Stop by tomorrow and I'll walk you through it.

Sorry I'm cutting this one short.  July is proving to be a crazy month.  I'm just holding on to survive.  I'll have more up this week, but for now, let's start sharing.  Do you have something fun to share with us?  A recipe, project or creative tip?

Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the individual blog post itself, not the blog as a whole.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  And don't forget to invite your readers to join in as well.

*Linked to these Parties.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

We're going to skip Lee's To-Do List today and instead celebrate!  
Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend.

Don't forget to join us tomorrow for Made by Me Monday.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Three

I am loving my garden right now and I am absolutely loving this challenge.  It's so much fun to be taking pictures of things I don't normally take pictures of.  And challenge myself in what I see around me.

The quality of the pictures is so secondary to me.  It's fun to play with angles and lighting, but I'm really enjoying capturing the every day moments of our lives.

Our challenge this week was What's in your Fruit Basket:


That's what's in our fruit basket these days.  Lots and lots of strawberries.  Strawberries morning noon and night.  I just bought a flat on Monday and it's nearly gone.  We are practically living off them.

Other things in our house are nectarines (oh, I love that they are on sale), cantaloupe, and watermelon.  I just love the summer season.

So let's start sharing.  What's in your fruit basket?  Journal or don't journal, but share with us what's going on in your house.  And don't forget to invite other's to link up as well.

Next week's assignment: Capture some Outdoor Play.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables

How were June's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables?  We made some yummy 4th of July Sparklers as well as a delicious roasted corn salad.  Both were fantastic.  Plus Noah requested a cantaloupe that was super yummy with vanilla ice cream.  That's one of my favorite summer treats.  Plus taco salad has become a mainstay on our menu each week.  At least once a week.  Biggest bonus: my 4 and 2 year olds both LOVE taco salad.

July's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables:
summer squash
green beans

I still want to try out the shaved ice that I didn't get to last month.  Mostly I look at this list and just think about all the yummy FRESH fruit we can be eating: pink lemonade served with berries, fresh fruit and ice cream, cheesecake pudding and fruit.

We've also found this Tomato Basil Chicken Salad to be a mainstay in our menus and it's perfect for this time of year.  Cucumbers and tomatoes are both in season making it even better timing.

Hope this gives you some ideas of how to incorporate more fruits and veggies in your diet this month.  What are you looking forward to eating?

For more in this series, check out:
June's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
May's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
April's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
March's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
February's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
January's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables

*Linked to Frugal Friday

4th of July Sparklers

I have to apologize 'cause I'm not sure where I saw these recently.  But whoever came up with these little sparklers had a great idea.

We made them last night for desert and my kids loved them.  They're just bamboo skewers with sliced strawberries, marshmallows and blueberries.

Red, white and blue... get it?

Fresh blueberries work best as do mini marshmallows.

The kids loved them and so did my husband.  What a great way to serve a pretty healthy dessert!

For more 4th of July ideas, check out:

*Linked to these Parties
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