28 April 2017

Friday Faves

It's Friday! Hope you had a nice week. We're looking forward to a fun weekend with family and friends.


Lately, in the afternoons, tetherball is serious business. #alittletooserious  


 Zach meets BB-8.


I'm working my way through all the salads at Aspen Mills. This Mandarin Chicken Salad last week was yummy!


YOU GUYS!! Help! Someone is going around shrinking ALL the letters! πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚
At home these days, you'll find me more and more reaching for my readers. Good thing these were only $1 (from the Dollar Tree). Now I can have a few of them scattered about the house. #upstairs #downstairs #kitchen #growingold #withgrace 


 Speaking of glasses, he's supposed to be wearing his WAY more than he does. #sigh #cutie


Huh? You want me to do what?


 Clean up my mess? Oh, mama, you're silly!


 A boy and his firetrucks.


My little sous chef.


This cutie enjoyed helping me with a couple of the Blue Apron meals this week. On this particular night, we made Ginger and Lemongrass Turkey Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potatoes.



Typical afternoon.


 It's finally pool weather, y'all! A dip before dinner. 


Morgan took him to his first Skate Park last week where he got to watch some of the bigger boys do their thing. Every day since then, he's been asking to go back!


He's been practicing his dot making skills.






He loves his preschool time.


 They did it! They learned 50 state capitals in 5 weeks! We used the free downloadable resources at
Ridgetop Farm & Garden.  


 All ready to head into his CBS class.


I love to see his sweet little face coming around the corner to bring me his breakfast plate every morning. #moreiscaughtthantaught


We had another fun afternoon of Presentations in the Park with friends. Faith answered the question, "What is a comet?" And Grace gave her presentation on Sally Ride. All the kids did great!  


Lastly, I really enjoyed Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup.

We're all inundated with STUFF, aren't we? From the stuff we buy and bring into our home to the emails, paper, and information we're fed daily. It doesn't stop and if we don't get a handle on it, it can weigh us down. Not just the physical clutter but the stress of an overbooked schedule and the weight of life that sometimes feels oppressive. This book gave practical lessons on how to purge, set limits, value quality over quantity, value real relationships, and to prioritize rest. This book not only encouraged me but it mentally prepared me to LET STUFF GO. #canigetanamen

In case you didn't know...CLUTTER DRIVES ME ABSOLUTELY BATTY! But hello? I have 3 kids (and a husband who doesn't mind clutter, as long as it's neatly stacked). We're all guilty of having too much stuff. #firstworldproblems
I still have a lot of decluttering to do but the book was just the encouragement I needed to do some major Spring cleaning around here. 😊

Happy Weekend!

25 April 2017

Hailey's Birthday Lunch!

 She chose Chinese food and the best place I know for Chinese in our desert is JOY.
(located inside the Fantasy Springs Resort).


Hailey & Karen.


 Janette, Melissa, and me.


 Jill and Janette.
You gotta love the lazy susan in authentic Chinese restaurants!


 Finally... 40!! πŸ˜„


 The lighting was awful in the restaurant but the ambiance and dΓ©cor were great!


 The birthday girl leaving with all her goodies.


Of course, our sweet Jill made us all cake jars again and this one was definitely a favorite! It was the fluffiest coconut crème cake with lemon curd. My whole family enjoyed it! A perfect spring treat!

We had so much fun celebrating this dear friend of ours over the weekend. I've known Hailey now for over 10 years and she is undoubtedly, one of the best and dearest friends I've ever been blessed with. We've shared some of the greatest moments of our lives together. To know Hailey is to love her. She is so many things to many people. She is funny, generous, loving, outgoing, and wise. She's learning to be more transparent with her life and that's what draws you to her even more. She's a force to be reckoned with and inspires many with her heart for her family and most importantly, for the Lord.

It's so EASY to celebrate Hailey!

Happy birthday, my dear friend! What JOY you bring to my life. I love you, girl! 



24 April 2017

Meal Plan Week #30

This week, I'm shaking things up and trying something new!



I love the fact that it cuts out the middle man (the grocery store) and essentially, it's like getting your food, farm to table--fresh seasonal produce and meat with no added hormones and antibiotics. Who doesn't love that? Not to mention, everything you need to make the meals is delivered right to your door in a refrigerated package! I've been curious about these popular delivery services for a while now but hesitant to give them a try. Recently, after my sweet friend, Jill shared her experience with me, I thought I'd give it a try. It always helps when you personally know someone who has tried it and enjoys it! She said the food has been fresh, delicious, and restaurant quality. 

For my first week, I ordered the 4 meal plan with 4 servings.

So here we go! If nothing else, we get to try some new, creative, chef-inspired recipes.
I'll let you know next week, how it all went down. πŸ˜„ 

Meal Plan Week #30
  • Lemongrass & Ginger Turkey Burgers with Marinated Radishes & Sweet Potatoes
  • Spiced Cod Tacos with Mashed Avocado & Butter Lettuce Peanut Salad
  • Elicoidali Pasta & Crispy Oyster Mushrooms with Arugula & Marinated Mozzarella Salad
  • Pork Chops & Apricot Pan Sauce with Cheesy Potatoes & Broccoli
  • Pizza (the kids get pizza because Morgan and I get a date night!)

21 April 2017

Summer Goals (for Faith & Grace)

We're in the home stretch, friends! With less than 4 weeks left of the regular school year, we're looking forward to all that summer brings! It's no secret that summer is one of my favorite times of year. Since we do more of a year-round school schedule around here, we typically get a lot done during the summer months. Plus, it always seems more relaxed and fun, too! I'm telling you, it's that summer state of mind.
I wish I could just bottle it up and make it last all year long! To me, summer is a great mix of relaxation, fun, and learning something new.

Did you know that there are all kinds of statistics out there on the effects of summer learning loss, a.k.a. "The Summer Slide?"
     

Yup, it's a real thing. Makes perfect sense, right? Three months off from learning is just WAY too long.

In the summer, we try to keep it light. Maybe 2-3 hours tops/three days a week. The girls will also continue to go to Lyndi's for summer school (June & July) on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. They'll do some writing, math, and little bit of everything else.

This summer, I've begun making a list of goals for the girls. After all, you know what they say...
A goal without a plan is just a wish, right? 😊 Here's what I have so far:

Top 10 Summer Goals (in no particular order).

1. Know all 50 state capitals as well as the location and shape of each state. We actually got started with this a few weeks back and I'm happy to say, this goal should be accomplished by the end of next week! The girls have been learning 10 capitals a week by using fun and interactive worksheets as well as puzzles and games. This goal has been a LONG time coming so I'm glad to have it done next week!

2. Complete a state report. We'll do this after we learn all 50 state capitals. Presentations to follow. 

3. Complete 3 book reports (1 per month). The book report will be accompanied by some form of artwork that represents the story. This could be a drawing, painting, diorama, or other creative art project of their choice. Presentations to follow.

4. Poetry & Tea Time each week. I'm not sure yet what day of the week this is going to happen but I'm excited to get back into reading and reciting poetry with the girls, while enjoying a fun afternoon treat together.

5. Complete at least 10 read-alouds as a family (mom reads 5 + dad reads 5).

Here's what I've compiled for our real-aloud list so far:

Can't wait!

6. Listen to as many good audio books as we can get our hands on. The girls typically do this when Zach is napping for an hour in the afternoon. Over Spring break, they read about 10-12 books each and listened to 4 audio books. Our local library is our best resource and we like to make frequent visits.

7. Learn something new. Summer is the perfect time for this. So far, we know the girls will be attending my brother's basketball camp in July. Four days of hustle, fun, and hanging out with their cousin, Kylie. Also, starting in June, BOTH the girls will be taking piano lessons. This isn't anything new for Faith but Grace hasn't played in years so she'll be starting up with Faith's piano teacher for a 4 week summer session. The girls will also be taking some knitting/crocheting lessons from my friend's sweet daughter, Monique over the summer. 

8. Since we break for CBS over the summer, I thought it'd be fun to do a mother/daughter bible study together so I picked this one called, Becoming a Girl of Grace.

I don't want to waste a whole summer when it comes to keeping in God's word. These pre-teen years are critical and I want to make the most of them by pouring into the hearts of my precious girls. I don't know what the Lord has planned or their future but I may only have 7 more summers until they leave for college.
I want to be intentional about making each one of them count. I'm hoping this bible study will be a sweet mother/daughter bonding time for the 3 of us. We're all looking forward to it!

9. Have FUN!! What's summer if it isn't fun, right? For us, this means a lot of family time (we have a couple of trips planned) and spending time with our friends and extended family. Whether we are in the pool, at the beach, or just hanging out at home, we want to make the most of our time together. Summer means saying YES more often! πŸ˜ƒ 

10. Be still. This may seem like a weird goal to have (and opposite of goal no. 9) but honestly, learning to be still is a valuable gift. We all need peace and quiet and lazy days once in a while. Having our days packed full of activities or driving my kids from here to there has never been my idea of fun. Allowing time to be still (i.e. reading, creating, praying, or listening) allows us to reflect, rest, and recharge. For me and my family, being still is essential to keeping everything else in balance.
   
So, that's what I have so far. Believe me, I hold all of these goals loosely and ask God to bless, intervene, and direct our days as He sees fit. Most of all, I hope to be intentional and choose joy every single day, no matter our circumstances. After all, each day is such a gift! 

The saying is true, "The days can seem long but the years are short." Time is moving quickly and these girls are growing up so fast, right before our eyes. There's no time like the present to embrace and enjoy.

These are the days!

You know what? All this goal setting has got me thinking about my own summer goals! I think I'll create my own list, too and see how far I get. πŸ˜Š

Happy weekend, friends!

18 April 2017

Meal Plan Week #29


Hello, Tuesday!
I'm a day late posting my meal plan this week but as they say, better late than never!

Last week's stand out was this classic brunch dish.


I originally got this recipe after trying it at my friend, Heather's. She made it to serve about 40 women. Since then, I've made this for Easter the last two years in a row. There's a reason for that. It NEVER disappoints.

Funny story: I planned on popping this in the oven when we got home from church but I still needed to assemble it (which is super easy but it takes about 10 minutes). Then I still had to bake it for 30 minutes. Well, my family ended up being famished after church so instead of going home to fix brunch, we stopped by Goody's and picked up a gigantic breakfast burrito. Apparently, I did not plan very well and also, apparently, HANGRINESS won out!

So instead of brunch, my menu got pushed back to Easter supper. We enjoyed this with a mixed green salad and some fresh fruit. It was delish! I can't thank my friend, Heather enough for sharing this recipe with me. It is seriously SO EASY to make but the puff pastry makes it elegant and a special treat. Make it to feed your family or to feed a large crowd. Make it for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or supper. Either way, just make it any time of year! You won't be disappointed!

Meal Plan Week #29
  • Pork Chili Verde Tacos
  • Teriyaki Salmon & Broccoli Bowls
  • Black Bean Burgers
  • Sausage & Penne Bake
  • Pork Chili Verde Quesadillas
 

17 April 2017

Easter 2017

 He is RISEN!!


The girls made Resurrection Rolls in the morning.


Believe it or not, I've never made an Easter basket for my kids. Grandma always brought a little something over for each of them but since she's not here, I decided to do something simple. The girls' baskets were filled with candy, a new flower hair clip, and nail polish.

 
 Zach's basket had candy, 2 new Easter books, and toy cars.





 We snapped a few pictures before church.


 My little and no so little chickadees!


The ladies were all pretty in pink.


 The men were handsome in blue and being blinded by the sun.


 Our church's Easter service was moved to a local high school again this year and we had over 1700 people in attendance that morning.


 Later, we relaxed back at home and the girls had fun dyeing some eggs.


 Daddy was trying to coax Zach into eating his chocolate bunny.


 Zach wasn't so sure about it so he wanted daddy to try it first.


 He liked it but only took a couple of bites and he was done (this is typical of Zach).


Next, it was time for the backyard egg hunt.


 He found one!


 And another one...


 This was a HUGE improvement from last year when he kept throwing the eggs in the pool!


Grace looks for her eggs.


 This year, I bought three different kinds of plastic eggs so each kid had their own eggs to look for. In other words, if it wasn't their egg, they would just leave it, say nothing, and move on. Each of them had a dozen to find. Grace's were sparkly, Faith's had words written on them, and Zach's were plain (and a lot easier to find). It worked out great and the kids liked it better this way.


 Daddy hides them well.


 Hilarious. Posing with his bike. πŸ˜„


 Relaxing in the shade with dad (and a mouth full of jellybeans).


We ended the day with a splash in the pool!

Celebrating our Risen Savior with the people I love most. It doesn't get much better.

Hope you had a very special Easter!

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