Thursday, October 17, 2019

Minestrone Soup Recipe.

It's that time of the year where I'm hopping from one Goodwill store to the next, all in an attempt to gather everything for our Halloween costumes.  I'm not a big dresser-upper but I WILL always dress up for the annual Halloween party that we throw at our house every year.  

We have some family friends that we've been friends with since before kids and it's always SO fun getting together with them each year at our party.

I've been coming up with games, ideas, favors, etc. and I can't wait to share everything with you all next week!!

I also can't wait to share with you our costumes!!
{Fingers crossed...they all turn out as I have them envisioned!}

This year for our party, I'm serving 2 different soups with a spread of other stuff.  One of the soups is a NEW recipe so I'll be sure to share it with you if it's a hit.

The other soup is one of our all time favorites....

It's super yummy and super easy because it's all thrown into the crockpot!


And every year when it comes time for me to post this recipe, I realize that I have yet to take a pic of this yummy soup, usually because we snarf it all down too fast.

Anyhoo - the soup Nazi pic will have to do for another year.

Sausage Minestrone Soup

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 cans diced tomatoes with garlic, onion and basil
{not mandatory to get this kind but it gives it extra flavor for sure.}

2 tsp. dried parsley

2 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

3/4 tsp dried and crushed rosemary

1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup diced onions

1 cup diced carrots

1 - 1 1/2 cup diced zuchinni
{I peeled most of mine}

1 can drained, dark red kidney beans

1 can drained, white navy beans 

Throw ALL of this in the crockpot together.  Mix it all up with a spoon so the seasonings go everywhere.

BROWN: 1 lb. sausage.  
Drain and add to the crockpot.

Cook on low for 4 - 6 hours.

ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE YOU PLAN TO EAT - - cook 1 cup of mini shell pasta {elbow pasta would work too!} per package instructions. Drain the pasta and add to the soup.  

ALSO ADD: 1 can of Italian green beans, drained

Boom shacka lacka - - it is SO good.  Serve with warm rolls and crackers to dip.

Monday, October 14, 2019

This {Birthday} Weekend:

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone for all of the sweet texts, messages, calls, drop-by's on Friday for my birthday.

I REALLY felt the love and it was a wonderful, relaxing day!!

I slept in until 10:00 AM! and then the kids and I hurried on over to Joe's Farm Grill  for my first freebie of the day!!

This place has really stepped up their breakfast game!

It was totally delish AND.....

...THANK GOODNESS they even added back not only
 Diet Coke but Diet Dr. Pepper as well!!

{Previously...they tried selling only the weird, organic sodas.  I was not happy.}

We hit up a couple of stores after....I told my kids all I wanted from them was no complaining and so to JoAnn's it was 😂

How is all of their Halloween stuff already 70% off?!?
Makes me feel like I'm going to blink my eyes and Christmas will already be over with!! I really have a love/hate relationship with just how quickly stores cycle through their holiday stuff.  Can't we just enjoy it for awhile?

We hit up some more freebies afterwards...

Free sub for Cars at Firehouse Subs
{You have to sign up on their app}

And a free Pollo Fundido for Grant at Someburro's.

Seriously...someone please tell me when the funny faces stop?

Back at home we watched half of Hocus Pocus, 1/4 of Halloweentown 2 {seriously the STRANGEST movie EVER, am I right?} and then discovered that James Corden had done a NEW Carpool Karaoke with the boys' favorite: Chance the Rapper.

Fun Fact: he's hosting SNL in 2 weeks! We're excited.

I left the kiddies Friday afternoon to go and meet Joe for dinner but first, stopped at some more shops to browse.

Michael's has THE CUTEST little vintage-y Halloween decor and I feel like I need alllll of it.

Dinner at Liberty Market {because another freebie, duh!}

Joe's had it with my picture taking at date night 😂

We finished the evening off with my very favorite sundaes EVER....

...and starting watching the new season of Schitt's Creek.
{Sooooooo hysterical.  We're obsessed!}

* Chores on Saturday.

Joe and the boys planted our winter grass 👏.
Now...if I could just keep the pesky birds off of the seed, 
we'll be good!

* Churchey-church on Sunday.

London gave a talk in Primary all about putting on the 
Armor of God and it was pretty dang sweet.

* Dinner at our friends' house on Sunday night.
So fun to get to know new families!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Today is the very last day of our kids' Fall Break!!
I'm sorta sad.
Not ready to get back to our busy schedules, bugging my kids about homework and grades and waking up early.

Funny how your feelings change as your kids get older.
I used to count down the MINUTES til when they went back to school when they were younger.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

California Day 3 - Disneyland!

I know some people can't stand Disneyland 
{seriously, how dare you!?😜} 
but our family LOVES it!  

It truly is magical for us.  Not sure if it's because we've been making memories with the kids there since they were babies or what...but {so far!} no matter how old they've gotten....they get just as excited about it all as they did when they were little kids. 

And Joe and I do, too!

Our day started off in Adventureland at the Indiana Jones ride followed up with the Jungle Cruise.
{Seriously...I never get sick of those corny jokes!}

Another thing I love about taking my kids?
They get equally as excited about the LITTLE kid rides as they do the BIG kid rides.  We're not biased.
We love em all!

{Seriously though...why is the Peter Pan line always so stinking long?}

We tried a {new to us} spot for lunch - 
The Golden Horseshoe.

We're creatures of habit and I felt the need to change it up with the food this visit.

Their chicken fingers were delish!
Reminded me of what Arctic Circle's chicken fingers used to taste like back in the day. 

The kids got wings and Joe got fish 'n chips which he said were just ok.  

{Side note: This place has a funky smell.  I'm not sure why}.

Ummmm...their churro sundae?!

We probs should've gotten two!
If you're going MUST try it because I'm almost positive it's just a seasonal thing.

After lunch it was time for the highly anticipated 
Star Wars Land.

I'll admit.
I've never seen one single Star Wars movie in my entire life - just not a fan BUT....I was definitely a fan of this land. 

It's GINORMOUS and we really could've spent hours in it.

There's only ONE ride open in the land with another set to open up in January.  

We hope to try some blue milk the next time we go back!!

My kids could ride Splash Mountain at least 10 times in a row and not get sick of it.  I give it a go once per trip and that's it.  
I hate getting wet on rides!!

I will say that riding ALL of the rides with ALL of your kids is pretty golden. {And not having to lug any strollers around now either, is equally as awesome.}

My family humored me and we rode "It's A Small World".
{It's seriously one of my favorites!}

The dude sitting in front of us however, 
apparently did not agree. 😂😂😂

The only pic we managed to get of our entire family this trip!
{London, Joe and I's shirts from the cutest

Dinner was at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe and it was a big, fat WINNER! {Seriously, how have we never tried this place?}

One of their seasonal items is a toasted salsa roja chicken sandwich on the yummiest bread ever with a side of tortilla soup for dipping!!!!!

We ALL loved it so much!!

The castle had gotten a make-over since we were there last.
Isn't it pretty??
It really sparkles in real life.

We left the park at closing time exhausted, barely able to walk back to our hotel but it was all so worth it!! 
We had such a blast!!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

California Day 2 - Newport Beach

Our Day 2 in California was spent at the beach.
Newport beach. 
 It's one of my favorites.

The boys boogie boarded in the ocean.
{You couldn't have paid me to get in! It was SO cold!}
London played in the sand.
And I sat in my beach chair soaking in the salty air.

It was perfectly perfect.

There was barely anybody there with us, the air was a tad bit cool and the sun was shining bright.

I always forget how much I LOVE the beach until we go.

There's something SO soothing about it plus it brings back such good memories of growing up in northern Virginia 
and going to the east coast beaches.
 {For the record...the Atlantic ocean is WAY warmer than the Pacific!}

* Once we started feeling sunburnt {yup, I'm that mom who forgot the sun block} we packed up our gear and headed over to visit the Newport Beach Temple.

I've never seen it before in person and it was oh so pretty!!

And yes, that is an actual spiderweb in one of the trees on the property and it was bigger than an extra large pizza. 
 The kids were totally freaked.

* We finished the night off with dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and by watching The Masked Singer
 in our beds at the hotel room.  
{And I totally guessed Laila Ali! Anyone else??  We serioulsy LOVE this show!!}

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

California Day 1 - California Adventure.

* Last week we packed up the kiddies and headed to California for their first week of Fall Break.  Joe had a business trip scheduled there and so we tagged along and played for a few days.

Our first day took us to Downtown Disney and California Adventure. 

Disney sure knows how to decorate for the holidays!

Because we bought tickets to the Oogie Boogie Halloween Party, we weren't allowed to enter into the park until 3:00 pm.  

We killed time in Downtown Disney (oh my gosh they've totally re-done that place since I was last there!).  

The kids traded pins...

I might love this little activity more than they do 😉

And we ate corndogs to help kill the time.

I have to say....I was SO excited when I saw that Downtown Disney sold giant corndogs.  

BUT....I was hugely disappointed.  

They were NOTHING like the kind sold in Disneyland at the Corndog Cart. 
 It was a big, fat, disappointment and left the grossest taste in my mouth.  Don't be fooled by these imitations, 
Disney go-ers!

* Once we made it into California Adventure, our first ride was the Grizzly River Run, per the kids request.

Big mistake.  

From there, it was the Incredicoaster (which we proceeded to ride FIVE times throughout the day)...

Mickey's giant Fun Wheel (swinging carts, of course!)...

The NEW Inside Out ride (super cute!)...

And dinner at our FAVORITE place in the park - 
Flo's V8 Cafe.

Their pumpkin shake was a HUGE hit!!

We LOVE Cars Land so, so much!

We laughed so hard over this pic.

#1.  Apparently I don't know how to 'dab' correctly.
#2. The random strangers who had to ride with us.

I have to say...this Halloween party might've been our best one yet! We've gone to these parties since the kids were teeny.  They've LOVED dressing up in their costumes in the past for it and LOVED seeing all of the characters dressed in their own Halloween costumes as well.

This year however....was different.
A VERY good different.

Nobody wanted to dress up (fine by me!), nobody wanted to meet any characters (score!) and nobody wanted to trick or treat at the stations around the park.

(I did have to beg them once or twice to at least go to a few stations just so I could get my fill of peanut butter M&Ms.)

This was all GREAT for us because.....

Once the party started, we rode RIDE after RIDE after RIDE!!!

The Halloween party at Disney is worth every penny if you ask me.  The park becomes WAY less crowded and for older kids who just wanna ride rides, we really did hit the jackpot!!