Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lowering my expectations

I expect way too much of myself and I know I have said before that I am my own worst critic. Well, that is for sure.

Let me give you an example. There is a mom I know. Our kids get a long great and she has had us to her house before for a playdate. Her house is beautiful. Immaculately decorated, big, beautiful yard and stunning views. She is a also a great person. She is so nice and so welcoming and I do not feel any jealousy at all toward her, honestly. I do however feel a bit intimidated and that I don't measure up.

She has never made me feel this way; I make myself feel that way. I have low self esteem and lack confidence and that prevents me from things all.the.time.....

For instance, I would love to have them over to our house for a playdate. However, I make myself feel inadequate. I know this. I know it is my own doing. Is she really going to care that my counters are so stained and that their are chips of paint peeling off the bathroom door or that  we have virtually no landscaping in the front yard? Nope. I don't think so. So, why do I care so much?! I know it isn't healthy and the people in our lives love us for who we are but I am constantly comparing myself to other moms and feeling like I don't measure up to some ridiculous standard that I have seemed to set for myself.

It's not just mothering either; it is everything. I think "oh, she's skinnier, she is prettier, she reads to her kids more, she cooks everything home made, her kids don't have processed foods". I know these thoughts are unhealthy and I am doing the best for me. Now, I don't begrudge these women anything.... it's just that I sometimes feel I am not good enough.

I don't want to pass this mindset along to my children, truly. I need to stop with the negative view of myself so I can teach my children confidence and self love.  I hate that it sometimes prevents me from doing things that I would enjoy. I let my lack of confidence stop me from things and then somehow convince myself that it is okay, even if it is not.

If any of my friends told me they were feeling this way I would tell them they were crazy. I need to learn to heed my own advice!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our Summer Bucket List

I have seen so many fun bucket lists floating around that it inspired me to do one for our family. The entries in red are the things that Jaxson suggested. :)


1.) Go to beach
2,) Go to park
3.) Roast marshmallows
4.) Jaxson helping make breakfast 
5.) A trip to the zoo
6.) A picnic at the park
7.) Getting ice cream from the ice cream truck
8.) Taking a train ride
9.) Buy lemonade from a stand
10.) Take a day trip to the Seattle Pacific Science Center
11.) Make raspberry jam using all of our raspberries
12.) Host a BBQ here for friends and family
13.) Watch the city fireworks
14.) Start reading a chapter book to the kids
15.) Finally get Jaxson completely potty trained! (this has been a nightmare)
16.) Go the local aquatic center
17.) Play mini golf
18.) Get updated family photos taken
19.) Go for a short hike
20.) Have a garage sale
21.) Take Jaxson to his very first movie!
22.) Walk to the farmer's market in town
23.) Go to a u-pick berry farm
24.) Do a nature scavenger hunt
25.) Go to the local speedway at least once
26.) Sleep in a tent in the backyard
27.) Take a ferry ride to the islands
28.) Fly our kites

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What We Have Been Up To

Mother nature up here in the Pacific Northwest can not make up her mind! One day it's sunny and gorgeous and even reaches 70 and then the next it's pouring down rain again. I can't stand it! Whenever the sun DOES make an appearance we try to take full advantage of it. We had such a fantastic day yesterday soaking up every last little ray of sunshine we could. I apologize to anyone who follows me on instagram because they are all the same photos. :( 

As much as I complain about the weather there is no where else I would like to call home! Look at these views!

We spent some time scouring the tide pools for crabs, fish and other creatures.

We played at the playground and had a picnic while watching the bald eagles in the trees and even a seal in the surf. :)

We found a fun little ice cream shop that had the best waffle cones. Jaxson enjoyed his bubblegum ice cream and so did I. ;)

The kids sacked out on the way home and we were hoping they would take a decent nap but as soon as we pulled in the drive they woke up.

We decided an impromptu trip to the local farmers market was a good idea so we loaded the kids in their wagon and walked the 2.5 miles there.

Kendra would not let go of the loaf of bread we purchased. She kept trying to open the package.
We also picked up two blueberry plants but we had no room to get them home so Brandon had to drive back to pick them up.

They are the perfect edition to our garden. I can't wait till they are ripe because there is nothing better than fresh blueberries. I keep having to tell the kids to not pick them and eat them yet. At the rate they are going we may not have any left.

This is what my kitchen counter looked like last Saturday! We didn't have anything planned and figured we would have a baking night. We made four dozen chocolate chip cookies (froze most) , three loaves of banana bread, two plates of cherry cheesecake dip, and home made banana ice cream.

I just love having baking and cooking nights. We don't do it often but when we do we figure make and freeze as much as we can. It's always nice to have bread or cookies when company comes over. :)

life rearranged

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Popcorn Snack Bars

Oh My Goodness! I am not a huge fan of popcorn but when I  came upon  this recipe the other day  for the popcorn snack bars I knew I wanted to try it. It looked simple and yummy, pretty much my only two requirements when it comes to cooking and baking. :) Plus, it helped that I had all the ingredients on hand. I improvised a little and omitted a few things from the original recipe and added some chocolate chips. In my opinion, most things are better with chocolate!

Popcorn Snack Bars

- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
- 8 cups of plain popped popcorn
- 2 cups of  old fashioned rolled oats (do not use the instant kind)
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 and spread your coconut on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until slightly toasted (about four minutes), stirring once. Transfer it to a bowl to cool.

Add your chopped almonds onto baking sheet and baked until golden brown (about 5-6 minutes).
Add to coconut to cool

In a large bowl combine your popcorn, oats, coconut, almonds, and chocolate chips.

In a small pan over LOW heat, combine the honey, brown sugar and salt. Cook about 5 minutes (while stirring) until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the honey mixture over the popcorn mixture, being sure to cover everything and that there are no dry spots.

Transfer to apx a 9x13 baking dish.
It is easiest to press the mixture down if your hands are slightly moistened. Press firmly to pack it down.

Refrigerate for about 30 mins- 1 hour before you cut into it!

 Hope you enjoy them as much as I did, which is probably a little too much!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Two Week Menu (and a recipe)

Alright, here goes again. Here is our menu for the next two weeks, plus I wanted to share a recipe with you that I threw together on Saturday and was really quite happy about.

Twice baked potatoes and leftover Greek Couscous salad (recipe below)

 dinner @ Mom's

White Chicken Enchiladas (double batch to freeze some)

Chicken spaghetti with feta and parmesan and pesto

Tortelinni vegetable soup

Black bean burgers and fries

porkchops and baked potaotes

Crescent roll hot dogs

tatertot casserole


Meatloaf and mashed potoatoes

turkey chili




Greek Couscous salad:

Let me preface this by saying that I had two recipes I was kind of following and then throwing in some of my own ingredients along the way. Overall, I am quite pleased with how it turned out, but next time there are a few things I would do a bit differently. 

one box of couscous (I like the Near East brand)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. Tabasco
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
One can chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp. olive oil 
diced tomatoes
kalamata olives and reserve juice to add some in
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
4-5 stalks of chopped green onions

Prepare your box of couscous and add everything together. As simple as that. I added a little juice from the olive can to give it a little bit of extra flavor.  Next time I plan on adding some diced red pepper and some cilantro. I had parsley on hand but my hubby doesn't care for it. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our Trip To The Pony Farm

A local pony farm opens up their grounds once in year in June to the community and offers all sorts of fun, free activities. Last year it was quite crowded but totally worth it. We went today anticipating it to be the same and were pleasantly surprised. Plenty of people were there but just the right amount that lines weren't long at all. That is great when you have two antsy toddlers to contend with.

All week we had been talking about going and Jaxson said he wouldn't be riding a pony because he was too little and too scared. He wouldn't last year, either. I figured if he saw his little sissy doing it then he would give it a go. Nope, not the case. He waited outside the fencing with daddy and waved Kendra on.

I knew from the get go that she would hop right on (all week she kept saying ," I ride pony") and that she did. She was entranced the whole time and she even yelled out "I 'm a cowboy!". hehe it was so cute. Everything was all great until it was time to get off of MoonBeam. Kendra had a meltdown. She kept clutching the reins and sobbing. She didn't want her turn to be over.

She kept screaming, "I ride!" over and over. We had to pacify her with another trip to the grooming station where they could learn how to groom a horse and even give it a try.

She was a little natural.

Jaxson actually got in there and gave it a try too. I was so proud of him. He is more like me and naturally more cautious of things, whereas Kendra is like her daddy and just goes for it!

Practicing on the saddle, before the ride.

They even had a campfire where we roasted marshmallows.  Kendra was clearly enjoying hers.

Jaxson was a little hard to catch to take photos. He was all over the place. Between the ponies, the huge pond full of ducks and geese, and the covered wagons he was having a great time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Today:

You are full of exciting things! The sun is out and shining today (finally)! Today we have a play date and are planning on visiting a local pony farm for their open house. Once a year they open to the community and have free pony rides, carriage rides, a campfire for roasting hot dogs and smores and even an area to groom the horses. I can not wait! Tonight there is a fireworks show at dusk, but since the little ones will be sleeping by then we won't make it. :(

Dear Tomorrow:

Weather please hold out on us. It is our town's local Berry Dairy days and our day starts off with a parade at 11:00! We will finish off with lunch and fresh strawberry shortcakes at the park and then hopefully BBQ back at home!

Dear Sunday:
I can't wait to celebrate the wonderful man and father that my husband is. I have a few little surprises up my sleeve. We have lots of grandpas to celebrate as well. Should be a busy day.

Dear Stubborn Belly Fat:
Go away. Please. Like, right now! I have only two months till Vegas and as of now the score is:
Fat:2 Me: 0

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Things They Say

We all know how funny kids can be and mine are no exception.

I love to keep track of the new and funny things that they have said. I thought I would share with you.


While we were in the car a few weeks ago he kept asking questions and something came up about dirt. I said "What is your question, Jax?" He said, " Well, the question is what question should I be asking mom?" Huh?! I didn't know how to answer that so I distracted him by pointing out the cows in the field.

Have you all seen the Honda Pilot commercial where the family is in the car and they all start simultaneously humming and making the sounds to the song Crazy Train? Well, Jaxson and Kendra can do the intro perfectly! While I find it quite hilarious it also may mean we watch a bit too much TV. Shh.... don't tell!

According to Jaxson linoleum floors are comfy and carpet is too bumpy. Not sure how that logic fits in.

He was making a pretend school bus with blocks and his little chairs when he looked up to me in a very serious voice and said " Probably I have a good idea" I hesitantly said "what?"  He said, " Let's take all the wheels off your car and roll them inside so we can put them on my bus!". While it was creative I had to veto that idea right away. ;)

We made dirtcups the other day and while putting the gummy worms in he kept calling them snakes. Now, he likes to tell people he eats snakes.

He also has a bit of a speech issue and his st sounds like a D sound sometimes. Imagine being in a restaurant when he sees a big stick and shouts out "look at that big stick!" but instead it sounds like look at that big d**k! Ughh!!!

Tonight, while identifying all the green objects in the room he got a funny look on his face and said, "poopy is green". Why, yes it is Jax, and thanks for that observation.


This little lady has been talking up a storm lately. So much more than I remember Jax doing at this age. She can repeat almost anything and is identifying the colors pink, blue and purple. She is using complete sentences now and it is so adorable (most of the time).

She calls Chuck E. Cheese cottage cheese and I can not convince her otherwise.

She climbed into my bed the other day and covered up and then proceeded to say that her daddy needed to bring her coffee in bed! Umm... pretty sure she has maybe seen him once or twice bring me espresso in bed! We have a little high maintenance girl on our hands (her, not me ;) ).

Also, she came running in to wake me up one morning and jumped on me and said "It's Christmas time!". I still don't know where that came from.

In the midst of a tantrum the other evening she told me to go away. I was a bit shocked because she has never said anything like this at all to me. I told her it wasn't nice and she needed to speak to me using her manners. After thinking that through she said, "Go away momma..... please". I couldn't help but laugh.

Kendra's favorite thing to say to animals and people now is "aww..... you so cute!". It cracks me up because she scrunches up her face and uses baby talk.

She was playing with her baby and stopped and held the backside up to her nose and said "Oh, stinky butt". She then pretended to change it's diaper.

I could probably go on and on but I won't . I sure am never without some form of entertainment, between the two of them. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Let's Catch Up!

I have been a bit absent around here lately but it is for good reason.

We have had such a busy week. Three birthdays, two graduations, play dates, play group, our last MOPS meeting of the year , the 2012 Relay For Life and a few BBQ's are on the schedule for today.

Although, these are all such wonderful things that we enjoy doing I am feeling spread a bit thin. I am looking forward to next week and catching up on some much needed housework. :)

Here are some pictures from our last few days.

We had a bouncy house set up at playgroup and Surprise Surprise... Jax was very nervous and didn't want to go in and Kendra climbed right in and started bouncing! There were so few kids that us mommas got in too. Boy, that can be a work out!

Kona was feeling extra cuddly this weekend!

Jaxson has been extra sleepy...... I am thinking he is going through another growth spurt. He really needs new shoes and pants because he is getting too big for his.

Saturday marked the annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life. Brandon's family has volunteered the last ten or so years filling the luminary bags, lining the tracks and then lighting them at night. It is such a wonderful experience to be part of such an extraordinary event. This year Brandon even walked on a team too.

The kids were big helpers too!

I hope your week has been as full and blessed as ours. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our Weekend Recap

We had another fun, full weekend around here.

Friday the kids and I laid low and rented a movie from the Redbox and enjoyed some popcorn with melted sprinkles! Yummy...

Jaxson sacked out early which gave me a chance to put little miss down and enjoy some quite time. I sipped some red wine and had some chocolate all while laying in bed catching up on some t.v. shows. Perfection!

Saturday morning the kids and I hung around home while the hubby helped someone reroof his house while it poured! Poor guys!

I met up with my friend Laura for a much needed pedicure and a late lunch! We enjoyed some delicious Mexican food and since it was happy hour we got smokin good deals.

Afterward we headed out to do some shopping. We browsed through some antique shops and local boutiques. The kinds of places I can never go in when I have four little hands always reaching for something!

Saturday evening we had a family birthday party for a cousin and it was great to catch up.

Sunday we had yet another birthday party and this time it was to celebrate my Grandpa and his 80th birthday!

My grandpa absolutely loves ding dongs and it has become a running joke that on anyone's birthday they get a box of ding dongs for their cake. My mom took it one step further and had a special ding dong cake made for him. It was so good!

The kids got a chance to play with their cousins which they only see once or twice a year. Kendra is the only girl and there were 6 boys.  She knows how to hold her own, though!

The pic is a bit blurry but this was too cute not to share. Jaxson informed me that he had a baby in his belly. I wasn't quite sure how to explain this to him so I ignored it instead. That is some stellar parenting right there. ;)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Menu planning

I have been doing fairly well sticking to my menu plans the past few weeks and I am even trying to double one or two of our meals and sock some away in the freezer for nights I don't feel like cooking or when we have unexpected dinner guests. :)

I tried a few new recipes last week and shared two of them here.

Here is what's on the menu the next two weeks:

Omelets, hashbrowns and turkey bacon

BLT s made with leftover bacon and a side of pasta salad (leftover from Sunday's BBQ)

Mini olive and tomato pizzas on whole wheat English muffins

Dinner @ moms

Paninis (how do you spell this?!) and spinach salad

We will be volunteering at the Relay For Life all day and night so likely we will be eating pizza.

Crockpot Orange Chicken and brown rice (first time making this so I will let you know how it goes)

Baked ground beef burritos (will double to make a batch to freeze) with Spanish rice

Taco salad using leftover ground beef

@ mom's

Grilled cilantro lime chicken with Greek couscous salad (both new recipes)

Chicken, feta, spinach salad (using leftover chicken)

Steak kabobs

Turkey meatball subs

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Baked Taquitos Recipe

Friday evening I was at a loss for what to make because our dinner plans fell through, last minute.

I searched through some of my pinned recipes and settled on White Sauce Chicken Enchiladas. I mostly chose this because I had all the ingredients on hand! These puppies turned out delicious. You can find the recipe here.

We had so much leftover shredded chicken and tortillas, but not enough sauce mixture. I didn't want it to go waste so I though I would try my own version of taquitos.  I had seen a few recipes floating around, but didn't have all of the ingredients so I just improvised. I figured even if they turned out horrible that at least I gave it a shot. They turned out so good!! I can't wait to make this meal again!

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos:


1/3 cup light cream cheese (more or less depending on your "creaminess" preference. :)
shredded chicken
diced white onion
half packet of taco seasoning (low sodium)
a few heaping spoonfuls of salsa verde
flour tortillas
cooking spray or vegetable oil
Juice of one lime
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

All I basically did was mix in the cream cheese, shredded cheese,  taco seasoing, diced onion and  salsa verde into the chicken and squeezed some lime juice on top.

I rolled the taquitos up (not closing the end) and because I had no cooking spray I rolled them in vegetable oil and placed them in a foil lined glass baking pan. I sprinkled a little cheese on top for good measure although I might not do that next time because it got quite crisp.

I cooked them on 325 for about 15-20 mins to heat up the inside and then bumped the temp up to 425 and just kept a good watch on them to make sure they were crispy and not burned. Make sure to flip them over and get both sides.