Juicing.

Is juicing still all the rave?  I don’t know exactly where it started or if it is still a big deal, but for a while it felt like all my friends were trying “juicing.”  We have a Vitamix, so I much prefer the smoothie route and never really intended to try out juicing.  But, when my mom came with an old juicer she was getting rid of, we had to give it a try.

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For our first try, Daniel bought a large bag of organic carrots from Costco.  It worked great, and he went on to make a half gallon of carrot juice!  He also tried adding kale and pineapple.

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I honestly don’t like carrot juice a bit, but have added a bit of this to my smoothies and felt healthier!  Do you juice, and what should we try next?

T.V.

Normally I wouldn’t be thrilled to find my children “into tv.”  But, if it’s a cardboard box version…. and they’re working together… and having fun… and being creative and imaginative… without arguing… well, then.  That’s a whole different story!

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I’ll let you know what’s playing, soon!

Orzo Salad

Having company somewhat forces you to plan out your meals.  That is very good for me.  I love having my meals planned out — I just don’t like the task of doing it!  (I do believe I am not alone here!)

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Recipes are best when I can use ingredients from the garden.  I found a summer salad recipe that looked like it would be yummy, plus I got to use my fresh basil.  Indeed it was delicious!  You can find the original recipe here.

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Remember this post next time you need an easy dish for a summer potluck!

Scenes from G & G’s Visit

Tonight as we were sitting outside Handel’s with our ice cream, we were thinking that it couldn’t have been just a week ago that we were there with Grandma and Grandpa… but indeed it was!  Here are a few random pictures of our time with them:

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Allison opening her first birthday present.  Let me interpret for you what Sierra is communicating with that look.   “It’s not fair.  I want to open her presents!”

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Cuddles.

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Art.

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More presents.  (SUCH a cute book.  I wish we could do all the projects in there!)

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New hat.  (My friend is SO talented.  Some day I want to crochet like her!)

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Cards outside after swimming.  Grandma made me promise not to post pics while swimming.

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Summer snacks.

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And, the FAVORITE present; the spirograph.  Remember those?  I think I have played with it as much as the girls.

Allison’s 8th birthday

She did it… she went and turned eight on me.  Hard to believe my oldest baby is eight!

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Birthdays are so special.  They always start with a present under the bed, then move to the kitchen where the birthday chair is waiting.  For most birthdays, chocolate chip pancakes are in order, but not for Allison.  Because she happens to be born on National Donut day, after breakfast we head to the donut shop!  At any rate, I hope what she remembers is not so much the breakfast, but the feel of seeing the birthday chair and a few simple decorations all in honor of her!

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What is it with my family and holiday birthdays?  We have Sierra at Halloween time, Malachi at Thanksgiving, Natalie at Christmas, Me at Valentine’s Day, Daniel at Easter… and Allison on National Donut day!

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From the donut shop, we headed to the beach.  This has become our tradition every year on Allison’s birthday.  But, this year was a little different.  Allison had no idea, but at the pizza place right on the beach were guests waiting to yell “Surprise!” and bless her.  I was so excited to be throwing her first surprise party!

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Poor little grumps was antsy from a long car ride and ready to get to the beach; not go get lunch!  Thankfully, the surprise was sweet and she happily ate pizza and cake before heading to the beach with her friends.

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Once at the beach, the kids headed straight for the water.  The waves wet CRAZY, but they were cautious and just chased waves a bit.

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I didn’t plan too many activities, knowing the brach would offer plenty of fun on its own.  To be honest, it was hard to hold back; there were so many awesome ideas I came across, but I stuck with a few simple ones like build-your-own sand castle with washi tape flags.

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I also had decorate-your-own treasure box with sand, shells, and glue, as well as decorate-your-own flip-flops that they tied ribbon around.

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I love this little section of Newport with the park and bathrooms close-by. The only rough part of the day was getting home.  Traffic.  We stayed later than most of the guests and even had dinner before leaving, but we still hit traffic as well.  I feel so blessed to have such awesome friends willing to drive so far to bless Allison.  Happy birthday, baby girl!

Handels

It’s Thursday.  It’s beautiful outside!  It’s June.  That can only mean one thing:

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Yup.  Dollar cones at Handel’s.

It’s also this little girls’ 8th birthday, tomorrow.  EIGHT!

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So, we are blessed to have Grandma and Grandpa here with us.

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Eating outside — fabulous!  Then the kids like to play on the rocks!

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Happy Thursday!

Sewing Lessons

At times, (far too often, in fact), I find myself saying, “We will get to that when we have time.”  But, I’ve discovered something… want to know what it is?  There’s never really a “good time.”  Sometimes you just have to jump right into it!

The girls have been asking to learn to sew on the machine for about a month now.  I realized my “maybe tomorrow” may never come.  When Allison asked just a few days ago, I told her we would do it right then.  It wasn’t ideal, but at least Malachi was asleep.  I also bribed, (yes, bribed!) Natalie to occupy Sierra for a while so Allison and I could have some uninterrupted time.  (Brilliant, really!  I’ll be doing that again!)

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We really did have a fun time.  The next day it was Natalie’s turn, and Allison was in charge of Sierra.  I think it’s so ironic that I’m teaching my girls to sew, when I had never even touched a sewing machine just a few years back.  I am such an amateur, and yet it is helping me so much by teaching them!  I want them to feel comfortable, and not scared of this big machine as I always had been.  I am making them do most everything by themselves.  We did several practice pillows and practice stitches so that they would know how it feels to go fast and slow.  I even made them poke the pins. Although I didn’t have them thread the machine, I did make them look for the little numbers to show me where to go next.

I so wish I could have more time teaching my big girls the “fun stuff.”  But, after a day of school with the big girls, (which can be fun, too), I feel I need to pour my attention out on the little ones.  That is why I am so excited summer is here.  It’s a great opportunity for fun learning.

 

Backyard Campout

I just love looking at people’s summer bucket lists.  They look so fun and inspiring.  When it comes to keeping one for myself, however… I always hesitate.  Fun or not, a list is a list and sometimes feels like a “to-do” or worse yet, a “must-do.”  For me, summer is all about spontaneous and lack of schedule.  We do indeed have a bucket list, but I try to keep it short and intentional so it remains fun and not stressful.

All that to say, summer is here and our list includes lots of swimming!  Today I actually jumped in the pool, and it felt more refreshing and less like torture; that’s a good sign!  Triscuit was at my feet, which is a bit unusual.  I can’t decide if he is sad that Stray is gone or happy that Stray is gone… but he definitely knows Stray is gone.  Poor Triscuit!

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And, something the kids have been begging to do again since we did it 3 years ago; set-up the tent for a backyard sleepover.  Daniel promised this would be the day, and he kept true to his word, despite being exhausted.

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I have an awesome story about this tent.  It was several years ago, and I was just turning on the radio when I heard, “Be caller 7 now.”  I quickly dialed the number and was in shock to hear, “You’re caller 7.  Congratulations!”  There was just one problem.  I had no idea what I had won!  When they asked, “So, what band are you most excited to see?”  I just said, “Ummm… all of them?”  Turns out, I won tickets to Spirit West Coast, as well as free camping and this awesome tent.  We got to go to the concert for one day, but couldn’t use the campsite.  We never even opened the tent — until now!  (And, it is awesome!)

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We really do have a great backyard for camping.  I am especially in love with our pine trees.  They helped sell me on this house; seriously!

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Little guy didn’t know what was going on:

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In honor of our first official summer campout, Allison requested we eat dinner outside.  (I liked it when she was 3 and into “Fancy Nancy,” and made requests to eat “al fresco.”)  How could I say no — I told her to set the table outside.

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You may notice something -er- rather, someone missing.  Turns out Daniel wasn’t just exhausted.  Poor guy got the stomach flu.  When he wouldn’t come for dinner, I finally hunted him down.  Imagine how bad I felt when inside I was thinking, “What is wrong with him — we are all waiting to eat dinner and he won’t even come!” And then I find him puking in the bathroom.  Yeah, I repented.  On a lighter note, we got to enjoy our own garden green beans!  And the kids ate them all up!   I also tried this Pinterest recipe, which we now refer to as “yummy drummies.”  I only marinated them for an hour, (the recipe calls for 8 hours), but they were still very flavorful.  They’d make a great summer potluck dish!

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I decided to do s’mores inside since I didn’t have Daniel to help with a fire outdoors.  (What — you didn’t think we could camp without s’mores, did you?)  It actually worked out great, since this was the first time the kids did the roasting completely on their own.  They felt very proud!

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It is now 9:30pm and all is quiet.  I am kind of in shock that they actually went to sleep out there.  I guess swimming helps.  Hopefully Daniel remembered to turn off the sprinklers!

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Do you keep a bucket list?