Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Activity Idea - Play-doh Necklace.

While playing play-doh with Lydia I started making a snake.

Cause you always make a snake when you're playing play-doh. The colors were all getting mixed and it was time to get new play-doh. But instead of throwing it away...

I cut up the snake and put the pieces on a bamboo stick.

After a couple weeks, I took the pieces off carefully. Beads! Yay!

I have no idea how long it actually took to dry cause I kind of forgot about them.

Gave them to Lydia to string on a ribbon. (Twine would have been easier. More firm.)

Guess what Grandma got as a present when she came to visit. :)

Last day to enter the doTerra giveaway! Low entries!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Color Love

I do love colors other than yellow.

MUST do this for future playroom.
Lydia asks me almost everyday if we can do a lemonade stand. She just doesn't understand the concept of poor sales due to living on a cul-de-sac. Neighbors, I may be calling you to come buy a 25 cent cup one of these days.

Just bought this at the Gap for a sunset dinner cruise we are doing in Hawaii. Will be adding a tissue weight sweater. Can't go on a big vaca without new clothes. My mom taught me that nugget of wisdom. You can get it here, but just know, the top is HUGE. I had to have it taken in to stay up.

Think I could pull this off? Did purple ends once. But this is so much cooler.

Maybe I'm too old for that look. I turn 34 in a month. This is starting to get scary.

I may have to get myself this little wallet

With a matching necklace? I do always get something new to wear for my big day.

I could have a party and wear a cool hostess apron.

Or distract myself with other birthday plans. For Collin's b-day next year???

Of course...

Yellow is still my favorite.

Extending the doTerra Giveaway until Monday. Low Entries!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My latest Time Suck

So you know how I was bumming a bit? Watching this series snapped me right out of it. At least for 15 minutes. They got it SO right. Watch in order.

And by the way, thank you for your nice emails trying to cheer me up after my cryptic "terrible day".

Why so sad? Well...

The people who we were supposed to purchase a home from decided all the sudden they could make more money if they rented it out. Did I mention it was the home of my dreams. And we discovered, with the interest rate right now, was completely in our price range. Yup. That totally sucked. It still feels like I've been dumped for some reason.

And then I got a terrible sun burn.

Then to cheer myself up, I made a homemade peach pie. I discovered it engulfed in flames 20 minutes into the cooking process. Not even the pan could be salvaged.

Oh. And then I got in a car accident.

(No injuries except a bit of whiplash.)

But other than that, things are great!

Really. Things are good. Just, losing that house broke my heart.

And breaking my car was sad too.

And my back looks like I visited the sun instead of just the water park.


I'm going to watch these videos again. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome to the USA.

Embarrassing. So today I took the kids to the splash park and ran into a friend who had just picked up two Japanese exchange students from the airport. Who are the first new people they meet in America? Oh, just a mom carrying a huge sack of McDonald's food along with a 52 ounce of diet coke. My son is of course dressed in American flag swim trunks and Lydia is giggling like a valley girl with oversized sunglasses and a frilly swim-skirt. All I needed was a huge camera around my neck and we would have been the most stereotypical Americas ever.

More exciting news....

Today starts the first annual Nordstrom Sibling Weight loss Challenge! Whoever (whomever?) loses the biggest percentage of weight by the first of September wins the pot. If I was a betting gal, I would put my money on Wayne. Though I'm meeting with a personal trainer tomorrow to kick my butt into gear.

Now that I think of it, what's more stereotypical America than trying to lose weight? Trying to lose weight and still going to McDonalds. I didn't order myself anything. Though I didn't want to waste those leftover fries.

Enjoy your week!

Don't forget to enter the doTerra Giveaway! Low entries!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

doTerra Giveaway

It seems like everyone is trying to go a little more natural these days. I know I've been looking closer at the ingredients in my food, cleaners and medicines. Still, it feels overwhelming when I start to wonder about what exactly is in the products I use. 

Lately I've been integrating doTerra Essential Oils into my daily routine. DoTerra oils is a lineup of therapeutic grade essential oils, the premier grade given to essential oils. Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have been used throughout history in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. 

I had no idea how many uses there are for essential oils. DoTerra oils have a considerable number of different uses, from relaxation with aromatherapy to topical pain relief. I've mentioned that I suffer from insomnia. Sleeping pills aren't good for me because you need to have a full 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep after taking them. (I have young kids who love to wake up in the middle of the night.) Instead, I've been using lemon and lavender. I put a drop of each on my wrists. As I'm trying to fall asleep, I breath in the calming aroma and I am amazed how quickly I feel settled and ready to sleep. 

Check out this list of essential oils and what they can help with. Basil Oil? - Use for sore muscles! Frankincense? Relaxation, mood enhancement and immune support. Ginger for indigestion. Have a problem with headaches? I've been breathing in peppermint oil to help with mine. Works great to sooth a troubled tummy too. Lemon? Use to help cold sores, mix with honey for sore throats, removes gum from fabric. Lavender to help with morning sickness, sunburns, diaper rash, bee stings (and tons more. It's my favorite essential oil.)

The oil blends are what get me really excited. They make essential oils a no brainer. Past Tense for headaches, Balance for a sense of well being, Breathe for respiratory issues and to help ease into sleep. Clear Skin for almost any of your skin problems. Slim & Sassy to manage hunger. Deep Blue for pain relief and Aroma Touch for massaging into sore muscles. DigestZen for digestive problems. I've been using the Whisper, a blend for women, which has a subtle fragrance that combines with your own to create a signature scent. Or just get yourself the Family Physician Kit for all your family needs. 

(Sorry! The website will not let me direct link you to the products.)

One lucky reader will be receiving the 
Introduction to Essential Oils Kit 
which includes a introductory audio CD and booklet and a 5 ml bottle of dōTERRA's Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils. 

I've been adding Lavender to my kids humidifiers to help them sleep, using lemon for natural cleaning and to yum up my water and adding peppermint to my shampoo for a great scalp massage. If you've been thinking about trying essential oils, but don't know where to start, this will make it a snap. Thanks to my doTerra consultant Melinda for sponsoring this giveaway. If you have any questions about how essential oils could help you, make sure to email her directly. She would love to help you out!

To Enter:
Head over to doTerra and check out the different single oils and oil blends. Head back here and let me know what oil you would like to try.

For additional entries, let me know in a separate comment if:
I'll announce the winner on July 29th. Good luck!
US addresses only.

The winner of the $25 to Pear Tree Greetings is Lauren
Congrats! Email me and I will get you your prize.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dear Random.

(Almost verbatim conversation between myself and Shane at 6:30 pm yesterday)

Me: I have the most wonderful idea.

Shane: What's that?

Me. Why don't we take the kids out for frozen yogurt tonight. We can eat outside since it's so nice.

Shane: Sounds good.

Me: And THEN...since we will be feeling so good about our little family excursion, let's head to the gas station on the way back and get you and me each a 52 ouncer of diet coke. When we get home we can put on a show for the kids, head up to bed and drink our sodas and read our books like we did before we had kids and summer nights were just for us to enjoy together.

Shane: Well, I'm about as likely to pass on that genius idea as a big wad of cash.


It was a magical 90 minutes of childfree, caffeine induced bliss. I should have have the forethought to get chocolate. I still can't believe we lived like that for 5 years. {sigh}

Other pivotal thoughts:

I've busted through 3 books in the last 2 weeks. The kids go to bed so late now, I'm too tired to do anything but crash and read. Do you think the reason everyone reads so much during the summer is because there is just crap on TV? Thank heavens for Burn Notice on Hulu, or none of my laundry would ever get folded. Do you have a laundry show too? (If you tell me it's a Soap Opera, we won't be friends anymore. I watched 5 minutes of one yesterday and I think my brain died a little.)

No. I'm not on Pinterest. I'm trying to limit my addictions for the time being, and I know I would be addicted. Though I did find this cool Keep Calm image there.

After experiencing my bout of "the blues" after moving to Boise, I looked into talking to someone. Funny thing is, with my new insurance, retail therapy was still way cheaper. So tempted to get these shoes. You know.  For therapy.

Went shopping for Mini-Vans. I know they are the smart move.
I. Just. Could. Not. Do. It.
Maybe next year?

Lydia told me she wants to write a new story called, "Girl Pooch who likes to Smooch." You can probably guess the alternate title that immediately came to my mind.

Aren't you glad you read this super simulating blog? This is modern American literature at its finest.

Dare you to leave a comment more random that this post.

Don't forget to enter the Pear Tree Greetings giveaway ending tomorrow. 
I may just have another one coming up. Just because you are so darn special.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Cooking

Due to Collin's long naps and Lydia's rest time, I have been able to spend nice quiet afternoons in the kitchen preparing dinner. Sometime I just enjoy the quiet house. But this week I've been catching up on 16 and Pregnant. That show should be required for high schoolers. Scary.

You can get one of these cool signs at Dream Custom Artwork

Was pleasantly surprised to find figs in my Bountiful Basket last week. Went out and bought some prosciutto and goat cheese to make...

(I added walnuts, but candied pecans would have been even better.)

It was perfect paired with grilled salmon and asparagus. 

I found this wrap and roll fresh mozzarella on sale at Fred Meyer and thought I would give it a try since I finally got around to planting some basil. So easy! Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette and you have the perfect summer appetizer. Shane broiled a couple on french bread. Divine!

Made a "Summer's Bounty" cobbler. Basically I toss whatever good summer fruit I have together with lemon juice and sugar, then top with bisquick dumplings. This recipe is good, just add cinnamon.

During a road trip moment of desperation we stopped at Mcdonalds to eat dinner. The kids occasionally get a kids meal there but I hate Mcdonalds. In the last 10 years I've tried to eat a hamburger there three times and each time I spit the first (and only) bite into a napkin. I admit, the fries are pretty good. Anyway, the only thing that looked remotely appetizing was the Asian Chicken salad and it was delicious! I decided to make it a few days ago and the entire family liked it. Yay! Salad for dinner that the two year old eats! I changed it a bit to fit what I had.

Green leaf lettuce, spinach, edamame (we call them them miracle beans), carrots (didn't have snow peas, but I liked carrots more for color anyway), chow mein noodles, rotisserie chicken, mandarin oranges (which I don't really like, so mine had crasins), toasted almonds....and the most important ingredient....  Newman's Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing. This is a seriously good salad, great for company. Go easy on the dressing. It's potent. 

Just another reason to always have a package of puff pastry in the freezer. Fastest fruit tart ever. Even though the recipe is from the Pioneer Women, I have to admit, I don't read her blog. (It just fills up my reader so fast!) But I did read her book and it made me laugh. Great summer read.

I got a dozen limes in my Bountiful Basket so I made sugar cookies infused with lime juice and zest. Frosted them with buttercream frosting, using fresh lime juice and zest instead of milk. Just like the cookies we got in Key West years ago. Make me excited for another real vacation!

Oh, let's not forget Shane's contribution. I was running errands on Saturday and I got these little pics on my phone. Daddy was making our family in pancakes. My kids are cute, even when they're breakfast foods. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Lovelies (And a Giveaway!)

(Click link for a tutorial on these fabric pots!)

The other day Lydia and I were driving around with windows down and she yells 
"Mom! It smells like mint and pizza! No wait. It's Basil."

Did I mention I love summer? Let's celebrate with a little....


One lucky reader will receive a $25 credit to use at
Get baby shower invites, stationary, moving announcements...whatever you want. Or maybe you want to get a head start on the Holidays! Peartree Greetings is having a Christmas in July sale right now. So many darling designs, it might be hard to choose one :)

To enter, just leave a comment below letting me know what is lovely about your summer so far.

I'll announce the winner on Friday. US addresses only. Good luck!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer so far.

Thank you for enduring my last vent. I was having a really really, crappy day. I cheered myself up with some quality It's my new internet addiction. This video in particular made me almost wet my pants.

Let's focus on some of the actual nice things going on right now, shall we?

This summer has been lovely. I think I'd forgotten how enjoyable summer can be after 7 years in the South. I had forgotten what it was like to be able to lay on your lawn without the fear of chiggers or spiders. I had forgotten mosquito free evenings and sweat free days in the 80's. Summer has made me love Boise. I still wish it would snow more in the winter but summer needs no improvement. We've even gotten a couple thunderstorms.

A couple nights ago, Shane and I laid a blanket in the yard and watched the stars while the kids slumbered peacefully. We laughed at this crazy unplanned blessing that brought us to this place.

Except for one road trip, we haven't done much of anything since summer began, but it's the joy of doing nothing that can make summer so blissful.

A little photo diary of our first half of summer.

We are a family of cherry lovers and once they hit their peak (and drop below $3 a pound) we have them after almost every dinner. Outside of course.

Lydia is definitely my daughter and is always wanting to throw impromptu parties. I think our little tomboy neighbor thought our "tea party" talk was a little strange. All the "would you like some more tea darling?" and "oh! these muffins are scrumptious!" seemed to confuse her throughly.

Of course Collin doesn't wait for an invite.

That's okay. He prefers tea party time alone.

How sweet! Some of my new friends threw me a Luau to celebrate me going to Hawaii! 
Okay, not really. But I was excited to see our Mom's night out dinner was Hawaiian themed. I'm totally wearing my new yellow hair flower on the Island.

I can't believe I waited this long to do a chore chart. Lydia has really responded well to having something to work towards. Each chore chart has a different treat to earn once all the squares are full. Usually a place to go to dinner, just she and daddy. She thinks I need one too. I told her we don't have a big enough piece of paper. 

I have like 1000 photos from our Nordstrom Family reunion. I won't be getting around to them anytime soon. But it was awesome to see everyone for the first time in close to a decade. 
Over 100 of us!

My entire immediate family made it to the reunion and we took a road trip to visit the hometown and graves of my grandparents. 

My grandfather's childhood home. Isn't it darling?

It was a wonderful experience. Until Shane's private parts were attacked by a crazed bug. As you can see, we were all very sensitive to his plight. 

Thank heavens for TCBY. They have dairy free sorbet and soft serve that is not exposed to nuts. Finally a place we can go for family treats!

And then clean up the mess on our faces at the local splash park.

I helped hosted a brunch last week and when I found these peonies, I knew they would be just the right centerpiece.....for me to bring home afterwards for my own table. :)

Ah summer. The smell of flowers, sunscreen, peaches, cut grass and grilling hamburgers.
Stick around a while longer won't you?


The Merrell Family is getting themselves a pack of Seventh Generation Diapers


Carrie, you won the Anabelfuzz giveaway!

Congrats! Email me and I will get you your prizes.

Two more giveaways next week!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Terrible Terrible Terrible Day

11:00 PM Wednesday. Should be sleeping.

So much went wrong today I seriously almost started packing my bags to move home to Tennessee. There was some crying, some excess sugar and caffeine consumption and ignoring my daily chores so I could sulk on the couch. I could spend some quality vent time here on my blog, but I already called my sister and gave her an ear full.

Instead, here are some things making me HAPPY today. Well not happy. I'm in too pissy of a mood to be happy. But these are cheerful things that should cheer me up, and even though they aren't, maybe if I focus really hard on them, it will help. Yes?

Got my new Lands End swimsuit and it's really cute. This top and this bottom. (I won't mention that it went on sale a week after I placed my order, or that I still feel hideous in anything that doesn't come to my ankles.)

Shane and I have a date this weekend. (I won't mention that I'm bugged at him for being sick yet again and I never get sick days and he spends the whole freaking day in bed.)

There are so many fun things to do in Boise during the summer! (Oh wait. I don't have a car because it is at the mechanics for the billionth time and we already wrote him a check for $2000 to fix it and somehow, inexplicably, two more things went wrong with it the day we drove the car away from his garage.)

My friend just got engaged! (I'm ignoring the fact she is 19 years old it makes me want to kidnap her and make her listen to reason that she needs to wait for a few more years until she isn't talking about high school as her only personal life experience.)

I had a great workout today. (And then found half of a chocolate Easter bunny in the freezer when I was searching for something, anything, to fix for dinner. I consumed it in one sitting. With tears running down my cheeks. I am so incredibly awesomely lame.)

So glad I get to be a mom. (And get to bang my head against the refrigerator in utter frustration at the complete monotony of it all. And Collin, if you dump your cereal on the floor one more time so help me I am going to lose it completely. Lydia if you back talk me again I am going to send you to your room for 2 days and feed you under the door.

Wow. I actually do feel better. Thanks! (This day still totally sucks though.)

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I wanted to make these tasty looking muffins when I first saw them on my friend Melanie's blog. Then again when I saw a healthier "tweaked" version on Kristi's blog. Then Jessica mentioned she had made them and they were delicious.

So I busted out the baking ware and made some for my little family. (No chocolate chips for Mr. Milk Allergy's muffins) They were scrumptious.

And, bonus, they looked so pretty again my vintage napkins. Yum Yum. Double the recipe and freeze so you always have healthy snacks for the park.


Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
(from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick or 4 ounces)
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 Cups chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350. Line or grease a 12 cup muffin pan. 
Beat together the butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the banana, honey and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Divide batter into the muffin cups, they’ll be nearly full. Bake the muffins until a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out clean, 23-28 minutes. Remove from oven and after a couple of minutes transfer the muffins to a rack to cool.


I am soooo owning this stay at home mom thing. 
(We won't talk about fourth of July weekend when one day the kids had french fries for two meals and a late night snack. All from different fast food establishments. Oh, the shame.)

Don't forget to enter to win free diapers (LOW entries, great baby shower gift!) 
and the AnabelFuzz Giveaway. Ends Thursday at midnight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Anabelfuzz Giveaway

Another giveaway for Etsy Feature Friday! This time I'm talking about one of my favorite summertime Etsy shops, Anabelfuzz. What a nice way to end the week :)

My last post showcased my new kids "reading room" and my favorite element is my Anabelfuzz Volie flag bunting. I love how versatile this decoration is! Before I hung it in the closet, I used it for a birthday party and then again at our Father's Day dinner. I accidently left it outside in a rainstorm and after it dried, it was good as new.

I love this green and blue one for a boy's nursery. 

Or just for summer celebrating.

Anabelfuzz is mostly known for their darling reversible bonnets. What a fantastic way to keep the sun off! You can even pick your fabrics. (Think 24th of July for you Mormons out there.....)

I want one for Lydia to match this peasant dress!

You can also pick your own fabric for the dresses.

Got a little drooler? These bibs are sweet enough to wear all day.

And the napkins are screaming for a late evening summer dinner. 
Hum. I do have a birthday coming up... 

Anabelfuzz is just about the happiest little shop I've seen.  Pick something up to make your summer a little brighter.

One lucky winner will be receiving their pick of either a flag bunting or a reversible bonnet

To enter:

Head over to Anabelfuzz and let me know what catches your eye. For additional entries, let me know in a separate comment if:
  • Are a public follower 
  • Like natalie's sentiments on Facebook.
  • You have my button on your blog 
  • Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway.
  • Blog about this giveaway for three extra entries.
I'll announce the winner on July 15th. Good luck!
US and Canada addresses only.

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