Friday, August 31, 2012

Places Id' Rather Be this weekend.



Labor Day weekend always stinks here in AZ.
It's always the time of year that I yearn to be somewhere else.
{Just for the weekend}.
All around the country, temperatures are starting to cool...
leaves are starting to slightly change..
And fall is in the air.

'Fall' is technically still like a month and half away for us Arizonans.
{And even though that's the case...I'm STILL starting to post fall and Halloween ideas on Monday. Because in my book...no matter where you are...Fall starts on Sept. 1st}.

Here are some places I'd rather be on this long weekend:


Cedar City, UT
My parents are here this weekend.
They called this morning to tell me that it was 62 degrees and lightly raining.
My heart ached a little.  If it weren't so darn far away {8 hours to be exact} our family would be there in a heartbeat....watching the Shakespeare festival, playing football on the college campus, eating corn dogs at the Top Spot and having ice-cream at Bulloch Drug. 


DISNEYLAND, CA
We are going in exactly one month...
And I wish it were sooner.
Hands down probably my very most favorite place of all.
You just can't beat Disneyland in the fall.
I say I'm starting a countdown on our chalkboard for my kids...
but secretly...it's for me.
Cannot. Wait.



Fairfax, VA
My good 'ole hometown.
I was born and raised there, ya know.
Fall in Fairfax is the absolute BEST.
And I miss it.
Joe and I were there 6 years ago for my highschool reunion and I think it's time we return for a visit.
Nothing beats Virginia's leaves...the smell in the air...and the crisp autumn breeze.

Nevertheless.....we will sweat it out this weekend and we will survive BECAUSE....
I  DO have this to look forward to:



Greer, AZ
In just 3 short weeks we'll take a long weekend trip with Joe's family up to the Eastern AZ mountains.
It is BEAUTIFUL there and I am giddy with excitement.
Maybe I'll start a countdown for THAT too.
For the kids of course.
{Smile}.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sleep Deprived.


 This image kept coming to my  mind last night in the middle of the night.
It was TOTALLY my family. 
Not the grandparents of course....but me...Joe...and all three kids.

Let me explain....

Do you ever feel like your bedroom becomes Grand Central Station in the middle of the night?
Like no one gives a flying fart if MOM gets woken up at least 20 times??

Here's a run down of how it all went down last night:

7:30pm - go to bed with kids.
I was EXTRA tired all day yesterday so I thought...hey..I'm gonna throw in the towel for the night and get rested up. 
{I'd have been better staying up til midnight like I usually do!} 
I should also mention, that since I was going to bed so early, I let London 'snuggle' next to me while we both fell asleep. This usually ALSO never happens.


10:00pm - Joe comes in to go to sleep and London has peed in the middle of the bed.
Joe's so tired that he places a towel on the pee spot and sleeps upside down so he doesn't have to face or smell the pee all night.  London goes back into her bed.

11:00pm - wake up because Joe has stolen my favorite pillow and the fan is on too high. 

2:05am - London comes into our room and insists that the hall light be turned on. And stay on.

2:20am - Grant comes in for a drink of water.

3:00am - I turn off the hall light because I can't sleep with it on. 
3:01am - London throws a raging fit for the light to be turned BACK on. How is she still up??

3:30am - Grant comes BACK in to tell me that at night, he has Spiderman vision and can see big black spiders crawling up his bed. 

3:31am - Grant crawls in bed with me.

4:00am - check on Carson..the only one still in his bed...to make sure he's not freezing and to turn off his fan.

4:15am - Grant needs me to turn on my cell phone light because he's bleeding. Bleeding?? Yup. He scratched his excema so hard that he's bleeding a tiny bit.  Being the good mom that I am I tell him to wipe it off with his hand and go to sleep. 

4:20am - I realize that Joe has managed to snore logs through all of this and I get kinda ticked.

5:00am - still ticked that I've been up all night and Joe has not...everyone finally falls back asleep. With the light on. 

7:00am - alarm goes off. Carson has now managed to creep into our bed as well.  Everyone is so tired that no one wants to get up for school. 

7:05am - I wake up Joe and inform him that he better get up after the night I've had!

Is there any wonder why I crave my first Diet Coke of the day by 8am???

Seriously....what the??? 

Alas... at 4:59am last night, right before falling asleep, I remember thinking.....

I am grateful for my bed.
I am grateful for my warm home.
And I am grateful...that... even though we looked like Charlie Buckets' grandparents last night....I always have THESE 4 constantly by my side...





Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Appetizers you should know about.

The other night we had fun friends over for a GAME NIGHT.
I asked everyone to bring an APPETIZER....and boy was I glad.
There were so many yummy one's it was like a FEAST!

Here are three APPETIZER RECIPES you are gonna want to try:



This one is so super simple.  My mom shared it with me and it honestly took me less than 10 minutes to prepare. {My kids LOVE meatballs right now so I was super excited to try it!}

1 bag of frozen meatballs {I like the Italian kind of pretty much any brand.}
2 packages of Pillsbury crescent rolls
Mozzarella cheese

Thaw out your meatballs. {I just put mine in the refrigerator that morning to thaw}.

Separate your crescent rolls into triangles.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese onto the rolls.

Add a meatball {or two!}

Wrap the crescent roll around the meatball and pinch to seal shut.

Bake according to directions on the crescent roll package.
{May need to add a couple of minutes onto the cooking time}.

Serve with either Heinz Chili Dipping sauce OR spaghetti sauce.


Buffalo Chicken Dip


1 pound chicken breast

¾ cup buffalo chicken wing sause

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup ranch dressing

 1 ½ cups shredded Colby/Jack cheese

1 bag corn chips

 Boil chicken breasts in water until done; shred chicken and mix with buffalo sauce.  In a mixing bowl, mix together softened cream cheese and ranch dressing and spread evenly on the bottom of an 8x11 baking dish.  Top evenly with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until dip is heated through and cheese is melted.  Serve with corn chips. 


Jalapeno Cream Cheese Crescent Poppers

Tasty Kitchen








Monday, August 27, 2012

This weekend:

*I started the weekend off right by getting a pedicure with my mom.


It was her BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!!

* Joe and I hosted a GAME NIGHT at our house on Fri. night with fun friends.
We laughed and laughed.
And ate and ate.
Everyone brought an appetizer and I must share some of the yummy recipes soon.
We had SO. MuCh. FuN!!

*Mall time on Saturday.
Browsed through Bath and Body Works...their new fall scents are out!!
Not to mention their cute Halloween soaps.
I'm a sucker for those ya know.

* Speaking of fall...even though it's nowhere near here in AZ...I lit my first Gold Canyon candle of the season this weekend.  It made me giddy with anticipation for the weather change. My FAVORITE scent is Mulled Harvest.  This one was a Pumpkin Pie.  My kids came downstairs and told me that the house smelled like Halloween.  I was pleased!
  
*All of the adults in my family went out to dinner HERE on Saturday night to celebrate my mom's birthday. It's always so nice when we all get babysitters and go out together. So fun to relax and visit without chasing kids and cleaning up spilled soda.

*Afterwards we headed back to mom and dad's for birthday cake!


Totally typical.  My mom serving HER birthday cake.
Where were the rest of us??
She is the supreme definition of SERVICE I tell you.
{I'll also be sharing the recipe of this cake that I made soon.  It was YuMmY and super easy!}

* Great time at church.
Talks given on family and the importance thereof.

*Meetings.

*Orange Julius' at our neighbor's house.

*Made THIS for dinner.
Yes...another crockpot recipe.
My kids had seconds and thirds....they LOVED it!
We all loved it although I think I would double the amount of seasonings.
It seemed to be lacking for me {just a tad} in the flavor dept.

*Fun friends over for Sunday night dessert and chatting.
We are SO blessed with such good people around us.

*********

Looking forward this week to: MORE birthday celebrations.  
Joe's sister, my sister and my dad's.
Bring on the festivities!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Things I'm diggin....

Yes, I admit....I'm addicted to Pinterest.
I'll never deny that fact.
Instead...I choose to CELEBRATE the idea that I can't go a day without browsing it's pages.
Lucky for you...I'm sharing some of my latest and greatest finds.

{You're welcome!}


Super cute year round wreath
Pinterest
I'm such a sucker for cute wreaths.  I wish I'd have been able to find the actual link to this one...maybe there would've been a step by step tutorial on how to make it?  Nonetheless...it looks somewhat simple. Wreath is covered in burlap.  Moss covered Monogram.  Numbers and some floral detail. Wa-lah! Totally need to make one of these stat!!!


burlap clip frames for a YW activity?
Lolly Jane

Another 'find' involving BURLAP. {Love!} How cute to hang pictures or notes!

Right along with burlap....I can't seem to get enough of CHEVRON printed ANYTHING lately.
{Swoon!}
LOVING the idea of incorporating it into my Halloween decor.

GREAT FOR HALLOWEEN toddler-girls long sleeve black chevron dress with orange jack-o-lantern applique sizes 6-12mo,12mo,18mo,2,3,4,5,6,7/8. $40.00, via Etsy.
Etsy
Yes....this dress is a MUST for London's new pre-school fall wardrobe, no?

chevron pumpkin
Feeling Love Some

I will most definitely be doing these to my pumpkins.

Yummy Fun
LOVE this idea of using candle holders as dip containers for parties! 

thanksgiving_bookturkey
Fiskars
I know...Thanksgiving is like forever away BUT....how cute is this place setting???

*****************************************
And...just because I LOVE a good laugh....here's some of my favorite FUNNY pins as of late.
Just so we're clear.
Pinterest

Right?
Pinterest
Totally me.
Happy Mothers Day!! I can totally relate!
Pinterest

I hope my kids realize this!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

My favorite GO-TO chili recipes.

Image via Google.

Yesterday it rained. Poured, actually.
Us AZ peeps get super excited when this happens. 
{Because it doesn't seem to happen TOO often.}

When it DOES happen...it {slightly} cools things down for us in this sweltering heat.
Like from 105 degrees to like low 90s.
And that slight cool down meant....
yesterday, there was a tinge and I mean TINGE of fall in the air. 
{Yes..when you're from AZ...low 90s means fall is near!}

I've been wanting to make soup lately but who really wants to make soup when your air conditioning is cranked down to 78 degrees? 

I jumped on the chance and made chili.
I made so much we invited my parents over.
My kids licked their bowls dry.

So for those of you who are A LOT closer to feeling 'fall' than me...enjoy my TWO very favorite GO-TO chili recipes.  They're both SUPER simple and SUPER tasty.

{But they both have beans. And you know what that means...
Don't say you haven't been warned!}

Taco Soup -- Chili
{from my cute friend Rebecca}

Brown together:
1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1/2 onion

Drain then add:

1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
2 cans diced tomatoes {with juices}
1 can Rotel tomatoes {with juices}
1  package taco seasoning 

Let simmer and heat.
Garnish with cheese and sour cream.

We serve this with warm rolls. 
My kids LOVE dipping tortilla chips in this!

Mom's Chili
{this one is a Lamoreaux staple}

1 pkg. onion soup mix {dry Lipton}
2 cans tomato soup
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 pkg. Chili-o-Mix
1-2 lbs. Hamburger
2 cans kidney beans

Brown hamburger and drain.  Add all other ingredients.  Simmer for 30 minutes.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Darling New FIND!

London in one of her new 'Wittlebee' outfits.

Last week I was contacted by a member of the Wittlebee team through my blog.
The employee that contacted me said she was a faithful reader, and wanted to ship me a complimentary box of their clothing.

Are you kidding me?
I was thrilled!  

I love getting mail as it is...and I was SO super excited to receive a package full of DARLING outfits compliments of Wittlebee.

So what is Wittlebee?  It's a new kids clothing company that hand selects and then ships clothes for your children, based on your styles and preferences, right to your front door!  For only $39.99 a month,  they send you a box with over $100 worth of cute outfits!

AND...you have the opportunity to talk to your very own stylist, to make sure you get items that MATCH what you like!

I don't know who was more excited.  London?  Or myself?

The clothing sent is BRAND NEW - NAME BRANDS.

{I love that they sent me a PURPLE dress for London with PINK and ORANGE flowers.  Right up my alley!! The brand of her dress is: Jenny & Me.

They also sent us 2 other outfits which we LOVED.  

Another being THIS one:

Brand - Greggy Girl

As if receiving all of this isn't fun enough...they package it all up super cute!


And if ya know me...you know I LOVE good packaging and presentation.

{You can check out more info HERE.}

Photography Sessions.

Can you believe that it's already time to start thinking about Christmas family pictures?
{Gasp!}
It always takes me a good couple of months JUST to gear up for them.
{It takes Joe ALL year to gear up! Smile.}

Lucky for me...my sister is a fabulous photographer and we get to take full advantage of her!

Check out these darling pics she took of my cute nieces for Back to School.

Chloe 6.


Kate 5.

She's got four open spots left for picture taking this fall.
You can check out more of her fabulous work + details and pricing HERE.
***********************
I'm currently in the process of getting this family pic of ours blown up for a photo frame collage I'm doing up my staircase....

Coombs Family 2011.
It's one of my all time favorites.

Monday, August 20, 2012

This weekend:

* Joe took the kiddos on a campout with our ward.  
{London and I opted to sit that adventure out.}

Dirt + shooting air soft guns + campfires = Right up their alley. 

As soon as they left...London and I got to work....taking a 3 hour nap.
We just couldn't resist!

*Dinner with my sister Tori at the OG.
Darn those breadsticks...1 or 2 always quickly becomes 9 or 10.
And their soup? TDF.

After dinner we headed across the street to Target and found ourselves DYING LAUGHING at THESE.  That's right...did you know they now have a whole section of greeting cards devoted to these hilarious photos??  We seriously laughed so hard we had to cross our legs!

*Breakfast burritos at Basha's for our Saturday morning breakfast.


Yeah, that's right. ..jammies out in public.  It's just how we roll sometimes.

*Cleaned out my:
Refrigerator, Freezer and Pantry.
Man it felt rewarding! Now I actually know what ingredients I have to cook with again! And how do things get so expired in my pantry so fast??

* Boys came home and were dirtier than all get out.  Still trying to clean the dirt out of Carson's fingernails.

* Made homemade pizzas for dinner.


* Uplifting-ness at Church.

*Lounged around the rest of Sunday in our jammies.

*Made our traditional Sunday chocolate chip cookies but spiced it up this time and added Reese's Pieces instead of choc chips.  {Warning:  you may be tempted to try at least 5 if you try this at home}.

*Sunday night visit from fun friends who shared diet beverages with us and some definite good laughs.

*Side Note: I realized after re-reading this post that our weekend was pretty much based around food.
It's a good thing that CALORIES don't count on the weekends, huh?
{Smile}!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Service handout.


Today's church lesson was #30 on Service.

My mom {who is the QUEEN BEE example of all things SERVICE} taught us growing up that:
"Service never comes at a convenient time".

Pres. Monson {the prophet of our church}, told newscasters on one of his birthdays that the thing he wanted MOST was for people to "Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for him or her".

He was overwhelmed with the hundreds of letters that he received, all, telling him how others had been fulfilling that birthday wish.  One particular group of primary children sent him a large jar of fuzzy, colorful, cotton balls...also know to them now as...'warm fuzzies'. Each 'warm fuzzy' represented an act of service performed during the year by one of their primary children.  

{You can read more about this inspirational talk HERE. It's one of my favorites.}

So...because of that talk... I decided to go with a WARM and FUZZY FEET theme for my lesson handout today. I had hoped to find SUPER fuzzy socks at the store for cheap BUT...apparently those aren't in season just yet.  What I DID score however...were these cute knee high socks from Target for .75 cents!!!  Fuzzy enough, right!!




If you'd like a copy of this handout click HERE to print!

{That's right.  It's as easy as THAT! Thank you Jenny for showing me how to use dropbox!}

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Missionary package ideas.

Elder Rupa right before entering the MTC.

My nephew entered into the MTC {Missionary Training Center} two weeks ago.
{This is the place where all young men who have received 'Mission Calls' go to learn about teaching the Gospel to others... all across the world. } 

My nephew was called to Barcelona, Spain.
Yeah, he scored with that 'call'.  

Ryan and I have always been close. 
Since I grew up the youngest in my family {and might I add...the favorite!},
I kind of always treated him like my little bro.
Which is why...it was no surprise, I got all teary eyed the week that he left AZ for UT.

We could not be more proud of him.
Since he is only in the MTC for a short while, we like spoiling him with letters and packages, as much as we can.
{Postage is MUCH cheaper to Provo, UT than it is to Barcelona}.

Now I'm no PRO on missionary stuff...but here's some ideas that I've recently learned:

Whoever thought of this is a genius.
This is a website that you can go onto, write your missionary a letter, and then THEY print it out and deliver it to the MTC mailbox THAT day...so long as it's in by noon.  SO, technically, the Elders can get mail EVERY day from you if you'd like.  {Ryan says it comes just after dinnertime}. 

{I should mention...the Elders can't write you back on this....they can JUST receive mail through this}.

Just yesterday, we surprised Ryan by ordering him a dozen assorted Krispy Kreme donuts, sent directly to his room.
This website has ALL sorts of treats and goodies that you can send to your missionaries.
It's also BY FAR the least expensive place to order Krispy Kremes.
$14.99 with FREE delivery.
You'd spend that much on sending just a regular pacakge!



I have yet to order from these two websites but they have some FUN and YUMMY options and are reasonably priced as well!

And then...the other day, I found this cute idea for a 'GREENIE' missionary.

GREENIE = an Elder who is fresh out to the mission field.  New, if you will.


via Sometimes Creative

How fun would it be to send your newbie missionary a package full O' green??
I love the theme!!

I look at how emotional I got with just having MY NEPHEW leave on his mission.
I can't imagine what it will be like when MY OWN boys leave!!
Good thing I have awhile to prepare for that. 
{Smile}.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Best. Ever. Hot Fudge Sauce.

Image via Martha Stewart

Last night we were invited over to some of our favorite friends' house for dessert.
They were making homemade ice-cream.
Another family was bringing brownies.
And I volunteered to make homemade hot fudge

I've had a recipe from my friend Molly for quite some time now, that I've been wanting to try out.
Ladies and Gentlemen...this one does NOT disappoint.
I could literally eat it by the spoonful.
{Which is why I left the remaining portion with my friend.  Waaay to tempting!}

Enjoy!

Homemade Hot Fudge

1 - 12 oz. bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips
2 sticks butter
2 cans of evaporated milk
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter and chocolate chips on low heat.  Add sugar and milk.  Blend well.  Boil then cook 8 minutes, continually stirring.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla after removing from heat.

It thickens as it sits.


Monday, August 13, 2012

This weekend:

* We got this sassy diva's first ever haircut...


And when I say 'haircut' I really mean 'trim'. 
She wasn't thrilled with the idea but a little mall time afterwards made it all worth it!

* Date night for Joe and I.
Dinner HERE.
I'm not usually a HUGE fan of this place but every once in awhile it hits the spot.
Dessert HERE.
Ya just can't go wrong with a Reese's blizzard.

*Relief Society breakfast on Saturday.
So uplifting.
We have the BEST ward ever.  We really do.

*Took the kiddos to see


The boys laughed their heads off.
I'm not gonna lie....I did too.
Those movies are just so darn cute.
London EVEN liked it.
{Although she may have liked the non-stop flow of popcorn and Mike and Ikes headed her way a tad better}.

* Saturday afternoon nap.
{I think I was only interrupted close to 5 times}.

* Dinner HERE with one of my long lost besties. 
{Hands down one of my very favorite places to eat mexican food in all of AZ},
So fun to catch up....laugh....cry...and eat together.
Thanks Linds! 

* Church + Meetings.

* Made THIS for dinner.
It's quickly become one of our favorites.
I {heart} my crockpot....especially on Sundays.

* AFV funniness.

*Kids tucked in bed and sound asleep by 7:30pm.

{I LOVE weekends}.