Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Pretty Picnic

Marriage is hard. It gets even harder when children come into the picture. Once children come along, it is very easy to put our focus on the children, simply because they need us so much. But the best gift we can give our children is to love our spouse and make them our #1 priority. This takes a conscience commitment and effort to spend time alone with our spouse and remember that he is our first priority before the children.
Rebekah over at A Bit Of Sunshine (one of my favorite blogs) knows this truth and has made the commitment to have a special date night with her husband once a month – at home. “Dinner At 8” is her way of being intentional with her marriage and she threw out the challenge to her readers as well. Each month there is a theme to follow for your date and for July the theme was “A Pretty Picnic.” I was excited to accept the challenge and take my husband on a romantic picnic - in our backyard!  Here are some photos of the fun

After we put the littles to bed, I sent my husband away while I raced to prepare our picnic. 
I placed a card table under our plum tree.

What's a picnic without yummy food?  I tried to make some of our favorite snacks.
Our menu: Balsamic Watermelon Skewers (recipe on the right), prosciutto wrapped asparagus, prosciutto and melon (my husband loves prosciutto!!), herb toast, a cheese plate with French pickles, rosemary almonds, and herb goat cheese,
and some curry chicken salad with pretzel bread.
As it got dark, our little plum lanterns (DIY project) lit up so beautifully!
And so did our table.
We topped off the evening with ice cream bon bons and I have to say, it was the best date we've been on in a very long time!  Thanks Rebekah for the wonderful encouragement to date my husband!
I encourage you all to do the same.
I'm also linking up with The Simple Things because truly, a simple picnic at home with my husband was something that made me smile all weekend!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yummy Summer - End of Summer Splash

This is my last Yummy Summer post. I hope this little series has been fun and given you a few new ideas of things
to try with your families this summer!

My last idea for summertime fun is an “End of Summer Splash” – or an end of the summer party. We did this last year and had so much fun that we’re working on another big splash for next month.
We invited all of our little friends over for all sorts of water play to say good bye to summer (although the weather is fabulous until late October in California, we still have to go back to school!).
We swam, played in the water table, splashed in the kiddie pool, played in the sprinklers, but the most beloved activity was the water fight! Simple buckets of water at either end of the grass and cups for everyone! It was a blast.

Each mother brought lunch for her children and I made lunch for the mothers. This year I’m going to go pot-luck style for everyone. And this year I might theme it up – rainbow style!
Check out some fun ideas I’ve pinned on my pinterest board!
Start planning now for a fun backyard end of summer party to give the season it's proper farewell!
I hope that you enjoy every last weeks of summer and if you do anything fabulous, please share!
We love to try new things around here.
Yummy Summer is a weekly project to share our summertime ideas.
Join the fun:
• post your fabulous idea for a summertime craft, day trip, activity, tip, recipe… you name it! And either link up or share your ideas in a comment below.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Embrace THE Camera

Today I'm Embracing THE Camera
I got a fun pressy for my birthday....

a new camera

and I'm totally embracing it!
Thanks Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beyond My Imagination

On Monday we made a spontaneous trip to the aquarium. We had so much fun looking at the vast array of God’s creation and marveling at His creativity. From the jelly fish to the sea turtles – God has a wild imagination! I was a bit overwhelmed with just how many different kinds of fish there are – and the aquarium only holds a fraction. At one point my husband said, “Why? What’s the purpose of some of these strange creatures?” I don’t really know why God created seahorses (did you know that the males carry the babies until they are born?!!), or invertebrates or stingrays. But I’m glad He did. As my brain ached from learning about the octopus and the sheer size of the blue whale hanging from the ceiling overshadowed us I realized that I cannot wrap my head around God. He is beyond my imagination. I cannot fathom or grasp His ways and His purposes or plans and that felt good. There are so many things that I have no knowledge of, yet I love knowing that the creator of those mysterious, unknown things, has full knowledge of me. He does not make mistakes.
He does not make anything without purpose.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths; let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted.” Psalm 148:7,13

Friday, July 22, 2011

Yummy Summer - 3 Fun Ideas

My Yummy Summer posts are almost over, so I’m going to throw out a few ideas today of fun things to do with your littles this summer.
I’d love to know what you are doing with your children this summer – do share!

First Up – The Cook Out
Even though we have a BBQ, there is something so fun and special about having a little backyard cookout where the kids get to be involved. Our children are still little, so we opted to use charcoal instead of wood so that there were not big flames to worry about! We gathered around the “fire” and roasted hot dogs and for dessert – s’mores of course!
If you don’t have a little fire pit, you can get an inexpensive disposable hibachi grill at the market and use that. Put it in an unexpected location in your backyard and enjoy the cookout! Something so small can provide lots of fun and great memories for your family.
Second Up – Go Local
Even though I’ve lived in Southern California for almost 15 years, I’m still discovering new and fun things to do. I just discovered a little Mexican Ranch about 10 minutes from our home that does a kids’ program on Tuesdays in the summer. We headed out and for $4 we got to feed sheep, goats and see long horned steer, watch the blacksmith, learn to wash clothes the old fashioned way on a washboard and make homemade tortillas! It was a blast. If you are in So Cal, check out Leonis Adobe in Calabasas
It’s amazing what you can find in your own local community that is fun and new for your family this summer.
Lastly – The First Time
Every summer I try to allow my children to do something “for the first time.” I think it is fun to create a summer highlight that they will always remember. It can be something big like their first airplane ride. Or something small like their first time seeing a movie in the theater (which is what we did this summer!). But they’ll always remember the summer when they ____ for the first time!

Some ideas for Summertime Firsts:
First movie in the theater
First sleep over
First time waterskiing
First time swimming without floaties
First time to a water park
First popsicle
First camping trip
First time on an airplane
I hope you all are having a wonderful summer! What yummy things have you been doing with your littles?
Yummy Summer is a weekly project to share our summertime ideas.
Join the fun:
* post your fabulous idea for a summertime craft, day trip, activity, tip, recipe… you name it! And either link up or share your ideas in a comment below for everyone to enjoy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Embrace the 38th Birthday!

On Monday I turned 38!!!  Holy Cow!  40 is just around the corner!
Here are some highlights from the fun birthday weekend
It started with breakfast at the airport!  Yep, that's right!  Maybe my new favorite place to eat!
(we didn't fly anywhere, just a small local airport where the food is amazing and the view is even better!)
Crazy amazing jumbo hot cocoa for me!
Lots of airplane watching
Gigi brought her Bible for morning devotions!
Me and the little Jesus lover!
The Doodle wouldn't smile with Moma -  weasel
Next day, lunch at the harbor.
I love that he's playing with my ring - what's left of it...
I lost my engagement ring, only the wedding band remains
What could have been a super yummy photo at lunch, but the hubs cut off my head!  I still like it anyway
A nice stroll on the beach
Someone helped make me a cake...
I took making my wish very seriously
And now we'll wait and see if it comes true!
Happy Thursday - go embrace the camera and get yourself in a photo!

*Tomorrow is my second to last Yummy Summer Post!  Come back and share some great ideas of things to do with your littles this summer!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The hubs rescued this umbrella on the beach last weekend.  The lady was running fast after it, but my super hero was faster and grabbed it just in time!  This isn’t the only thing he’s rescued in the past month – 2 turtles, a baby bird and now a run-away umbrella.  He’s my hero!  Do you remember as a child, thinking that your dad was your hero?  I always felt safe if I knew Daddy was home.  I was confident waterskiing if my Dad was driving the boat.  I never hesitated getting on a motorcycle, jumping off the houseboat or riding the rapids of the Colorado River if my Dad was by my side.  There is something so comforting and reassuring about the presence of a father.  My Dad can fix anything, answer any question, trouble shoot any problem – I’m not sure if there is anything my Dad cannot do!  As I watched my husband running after this umbrella, I also watched our children watching him.  They cheered him on and were so thrilled that he beat the wind and captured the stray umbrella.  “Daddy is a hero."  I’m grateful that my children admire their Daddy. 
I’m grateful that their Daddy is a man who is worthy of admiration. 

Monday, July 18, 2011


It's my birthday today, so I'm taking the day to reflect on the past 37 years and embrace my new 38th year of life!!  Hopefully I'll discover something great to share on Wednesday!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yummy Summer - Summer Treats Part II

My grandmother used to can things in the summertime to enjoy throughout the fall and winter.  These are the jars that filled my Grandmother's basement.
I love the idea of preserving summer vegetables, especially ones that come from my own garden. There is something so enchanting about doing things that the generations before me did, so for the past few summers I’ve been trying my hand at canning and I’m loving every moment of it. I’m longing to purchase real canning equipment (any recommendations?)
But for now I’m limping along with my lobster pot and tongs!
So far, it’s working quite well.
If you’ve never tried canning, I highly recommend it! It’s not as scary as it seems!
Although this isn’t a fun summer activity that I can share with my children yet (they are too young to help with sharp blades or boiling pots!), I’m hoping that they’ll carry on the tradition when they get older.
Our pastor’s wife used to can zucchini relish and I always loved it. This summer my giant zucchini were threatening a garden take over, so I knew it was time to make relish!
Zucchini Relish by Nancy Worth
10 c. ground zucchini
2 c. ground onion
5 T. salt, non-iodized is best
2 c. ground sweet pepper, 4-5 peppers (I used a combination of red, yellow and orange)
4 c. sugar
2 ½ c. vinegar or apple cider
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. celery seed
1 T. cornstarch
Mix zucchini, onion and salt. Let stand overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse with cold water and drain again. Mix with remaining ingredients and boil 30 minutes. Put in hot jars and seal. A food processor makes this easy and quick. Makes 6 pints.
We love to pour some over cream cheese and serve with crackers. Or on a grilled hotdog!

Some great canning sites

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Embrace Their Direction

For today's ETC, I let the girls have the camera and told them to "direct" the shoot!  It's no secret that they are completely sick of me taking photos of them, so I thought I'd let them be on the other side!  It was fun, funny, and I had to pry the camera away!
 "Look at me and smile a little" - that was our direction!
 "Hug and pretend like you're sleeping"!!!!!!  (love the summer freckle attack I have going on)
 "You look at her and you smile." 
"Look at each other and be serious."

I wonder if they made that stuff up or if they heard that from me?  Hmmmmm

*PS - anyone else having lots of problems with Blogger?  I can't leave comments on most sites :(

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I’m not really sure how it happened.  I don’t really know when it started.  But I recently knew I had to stop.  They’d ask for one more cookie – “no, not right now.”  They’d ask to pull out all the paints to do art – “no, let’s do that tomorrow.”  They’d ask me to play school and be their teacher – “no, how about we build a puzzle.”  On and on, to nearly all their requests, I said, “no.”  It wasn’t an angry “no.”  It was more of a lazy, I don’t really feel like it, selfish “no.”  Yuck!  I didn’t even know I was doing it and I’m not sure what woke me up to stop, but enough was enough, it was time to say “yes.”  I became totally aware of my “no” obsession and tried new responses – “ok, sure, that sound’s great, I’d love to do that, do you want more milk with your cookies too?”  The whole mood has lightened.  Their faces smile more.  I feel alive and present instead of dragging and tired.  I’m having fun!  And best of all, I feel like I’m honoring God with the responsibility He’s given me to be a Mother.  I’ll bet it was Him who told me to stop.  He’s a loving Father like that and wants more for me and more for my kids.  He disciplines those He loves.  Do you need to stop?
*Come back Friday to share your favorite summer recipes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amazing Grace

After we sang this song yesterday in church, our pastor got up and asked those who know Jesus to take a moment and thank God for his amazing grace. I once was lost. I once was blind. But now I’m free. But now I see. As I bowed my head, “thank you” didn’t come to mind. “I’m sorry” did. I’m sorry that I don’t fully live into this amazing grace. I’m sorry that I’m not fully living into the woman God has ransomed. I’m sorry that I’m not ever mindful of his incredible sacrifice. I’m sorry that I don’t always live like I’m free. I’m sorry that I often walk around focused on the things of this world.

Not today.

Today I get it.

Unending love.

Amazing Grace.

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine


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