Sunday, August 29, 2010

Surprise Trip to San Diego

Last week Chris surprised me with a trip to San Diego. It was a wonderful surprise and much needed. After 6 years of marriage and only one vacation (our honeymoon), we were beyond ready for a trip for two. He had already asked my mom to watch the boys so all we had to do was drop them off and hit the road! Our wonderful friend Carrie (who is super creative and probably the most thoughtful person I know... you can read her blog here) has a great family that offered us their beautiful boat to stay on! Yes, that's right. We got to spend our vacation on a boat in the bay in Coronado! It is docked at a gorgeous resort where we had pool and spa access! We had a great time relaxing, sleeping in, eating, sight seeing, walking, going to the beach, spending time with friends, and visiting with Chris' sister.

Some highlights include: watching the dolphins at Pacific Beach, seeing the seals in La Jolla, playing shuffle-board with Kelsey and Paul, drinking wine (yep I had two glasses! I'm learning!!!) and eating sushi with the Byards, going on a 5 mile beach walk, going to the Farmers Market in Little Italy, watching Chris get soaked by huge waves, picking out Jackson's surprise (a new ugly doll, Poe), gay karaoke night in the gas lamp district, and just spending 3 days with Chris.

Thanks Babe for a great vacation!

The boat "Temporary Sanity"

When Jackson saw this picture he asked, "Is Daddy going to eat him? Does he talk?"

Big Toe's Ugly Doll Family

My sunflowers from the Farmer's Market. 5 for $3.50!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our JOYous Stay-cation!

About two weeks ago just as Chris was finishing fixing our TV (it had been broken for about 4 months and we just got the part in!) we realized how hot it was in our house. The AC was set to 78 but it was about 84 in the house and every few minutes the temp was rising! Chris went out to the breaker box and saw that the switch was flipped. He then walked around the side of the house to look at the unit when, POOF it suddenly "explodes" spilling oil everywhere. Not good. Since the unit is only a few years old we knew most of it would be under warranty. For whatever reason the warranty company was ridiculous to work with leaving us sweating it out in our house for a few days before we gave up and moved out. We went on a"stay-cation". We spent one night with our wonderful friends, the Herrmanns before landing at the Wine's house for a full week!

You'd think with a toddler and infant living out of a suitcase at a friends place would be stressful, cramped, and irritating. NOPE! IT WAS GREAT! Good food, beautiful house, great friends, and a swimming pool! Of course we did not want to overstay our welcome and tried to be sensitive to giving Jeff, Joy and Hadley their family time, but we could not have stayed with a more gracious, welcoming, warm people. Not once did we feel un-welcomed or in the way. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

While there I got to spend time with my friend Joy and her beautiful little girl Hadley. I already had a lot of respect and admiration for Joy. I'm not sure I can describe her as wonderful as she is, but I will try... She is the kind of person that just makes you feel included, enjoyed, comfortable, special, and... better. She is warm, loving, fun, smart, approachable, and genuine. Hmm... I'm sure there are a ton of other words to describe her too, but I'll stop now because she is also super humble.

Since I was her "roomie" for a week I got to observe and learn some great things I thought I'd share with you!

Joy does the majority of her grocery shopping at Sprouts. A farmers market sort of store that sells mostly organic foods and has wonderful prices on produce. Yesterday I thought I'd try it out and was pleasantly surprised at how many fruit and vegetables I went home with. Everything was super fresh and super cheap. I will definitely be going back!

Joy is great at doing things the healthy way. She buys organic, uses reusable shopping bags, makes her own baby food, and uses Ecosense cleaning products. Ecosense products are eco-friendly, safe for your home, powered by nature and economical. You can find them here .

Joy's uncle wrote a book on studying the Proverbs. I really enjoyed talking with her about it and I am looking forward to starting it. It is called Foundations of Wisdom- The Book of Proverbs by Richard S Hockett. You can purchase it here.

Did you know you can get the pit out of an avocado by hitting it with a knife, twisting it, and pulling it out? I had no idea!

While there Joy went through my makeup and helped me figure out what was still usable and what should have been thrown out 6 years ago when I bought it! After giving me a makeover we went to the Laura Mercier counter at Nordstroms where her best friend Melissa was doing makeup. SO MUCH FUN. Melissa is amazing. And I loved it. Needless to say I bought a bunch and I am still working on my "technique". My favorite things are the tinted moisturizer and the eye primer.

By far one of my favorite things I've learned while at Joy's is Groupon! You HAVE GOT TO sign up for this. Groupon is a website that notifies you of "coupons" you can buy. For example, today I spent $25 and purchased a $50 GAP gift-card. Yep, that's right! Yesterday I spent $3 and purchased a $6 gift-card to Bergies Coffee in Old Town Gilbert. To sign up for Groupon or learn more click here.

Basically our "stay-cation" left me energized, refreshed, and ready to try new things. Thank you Joy for a fun week!
Saturday, August 7, 2010

Farm Animal Game

Discovery Toys makes wonderful learning toys for children of all ages. Growing up I remember my favorites, which happen to be some of Jackson's favorites now! One toy, or game actually, that keeps Jack's attention for a long time is the Busy Farm. It is a great little game that consists of 6 sets of colorful animals and about 20 activity cards. Each card has an activity that helps him learn sorting, matching, alphabet awareness and pattern concepts. For example: put the blue horse to the left of the barn, put the yellow sheep under the pasture, finish the pattern, what animal starts with the letter p. Besides playing the games the cards suggest we have made up quite a few of our own. We group them by color and then remove one from a couple of the groups and have Jack figure out who is missing. But, his most favorite thing to do with them is make his own patterns. He lines them up, either in a long line (animal train) or in rows. He is very particular making sure each one is facing the correct way. :) I love this game because it causes him to really think and understand different concepts AND because it keeps him busy for long periods of time!

Oh! And I just looked. This game and many others are on sale right now!!! If you are interested in purchasing a toy or learning more about this great company click here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Favorite Necklace

My friend Jamie makes the most beautiful and creative accessories. Every time I see her I ask her where she got either her necklace, headband or hair accessory. And every time she always says the same thing, "oh, I made that" She is SO GOOD, and SO CUTE, and always makes everything look amazing! One of my very favorite items she makes is a necklace with my boy's names engraved on it. I saw one she had made for a friend and thought, what a great Mother's Day gift. So I bought one for my mom with her four grandchildren's names on it, one for my mother-in-law, one for my sister, my girlfriend and one for myself. I wear it all the time. I'm sure she'd be happy to make one for you too! If you are interested and want Jamie's information please let me know!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Almond Crusted Tilapia

I am reposting a recipe I got off of my friend Katelyn's blog, Domestic Charm. I made this last night and it was beyond easy and SO SO GOOD. Almonds and tilapia are both really good for you so I was excited to use a recipe that had both. I paired it with bow-tie and peas. Chris and Jackson both enjoyed it so I will definitely be making it again.


1 cup sliced almonds, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 (6-oz.) tilapia fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Process 1/2 cup almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, and combine with 1/4 cup flour in a shallow bowl.

2. Sprinkle fish evenly with salt; dredge in almond mixture.

3. Melt butter with olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat; add fish, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove fillets to a serving plate.

4. Add remaining 1/2 cup almonds to skillet, and cook, stirring often, 1 minute or until golden. Remove almonds with a slotted spoon, and sprinkle over fish.

From: Southern Living
Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yummy Fruit Pizza

Oh my goodness, I LOVE this dessert!!! I've never been much of a dessert person until I got pregnant with Kai. I thought it was just a craving that would go away once he was born, but it didn't. And, I can't say I'm to sad about that either. I mean, yes it would be nice to once again not like anything sweet. But I am so glad I do because I was REALLY missing out before :).

I've made this fruit pizza twice, most recently for my friend Kim's birthday. She liked it, and I liked it, and all the other girls liked it... so I thought I'd share it with you.

This recipe is from the Simple & Delicious Magazine May/June 2008

1 tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 cup sugar divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package (8oz) cream cheese softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
fruit of your choice- I like strawberries, bananas, peaches, blueberries

*Let dough stand at room temp for 10 min. Press onto ungreased 14in pizza pan. Bake at 350 for 15 min or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
*In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and juices. Bring to boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat: set aside to cool.
*In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk, orange peel and remaining sugar until blended. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form; fold into cream cheese mixture. Spread over crust. Arrange fruit over filling; spread reserved glaze. Refrigerate until chilled.

Our Sticker Chart

Lately we have been trying hard to positively reinforce good behavior through a sticker-chart-reward-system type thing. And it has been working wonderfully. Awhile back we really needed to work on Jackson going "poopoo" in the potty. He has been potty trained for quite awhile but for whatever reason he had saved the poop for the pull-up. So, when we decided no more pull-ups during nap and night time we needed some way to motivate him to use the potty. Well, the kid loves Jamba Juice, and he loves stickers. We decided that for every poop in the potty he would earn one sticker. After earning 10 stickers we would take a trip to Jamba Juice. The first few trips to the potty for number two went well. Jackson earned a sticker and we were both happy. But, Jack is a quick learner and suddenly realized that he could easily poop a turd, earn a sticker and then immediately get back on the potty and poop another turd for another sticker! We didn't want to discourage him but going to Jamba Juice every other day wasn't quite in our budget. So, we decided to bump the sticker total to 15.... that bought us a few more days between Jamba visits. However, since he was so motivated to poop in the potty for stickers and Jamba we thought we'd see what else he do for them!

Jackson and I made a simple chart with card stock and scrapbook stickers. The board hangs at the end of our hallway right next to his room and the bathroom so we never forget to add a sticker. Once the chart gets full and the reward given we'll just make another one. We chose scrapbook stickers he could identify with and labeled them:

Sweet Boy: given when caught doing something nice for his brother or friends, answering "yes mommy/daddy when asked to do something, being polite

Dress up: given when he gets dressed all by himself

Pick up Toys: given when he picks up his toys either when asked just once or without being asked

Poop in Potty: enough said (but for awhile 2 stickers were given if he got out of bed during nap or night and pooped in his little potty in his room, he would always be so excited when he woke up to show us

Make Bed: given when pillows, blankets and stuffed animals are straightened

These are all things Jackson either needed to work on or was ready to learn to do on his own. He has LOVED earning stickers and even tries to make up his own categories. At dinner he will say, "if I eat all of this can I have an I ate everything sticker?" He picks out each sticker, which can take awhile but I know he takes pride in each of them. Also on the chart we hung his recent certificate and pictures from swim lessons.

Today he enjoyed a trip to Jamba Juice for 25 Poop in Potty stickers. Way to go Jackson!


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