Sunday, December 30, 2012

*Thursday night I came down with a bug which stayed with me through Friday.  The kids were great and many times told me to "go rest".  Here they are watching a movie while I finished up Open, which was very good...especially if you were ever an Agassi fan.

*Yesterday I was feeling much better.  Chris let me relax a little more in the morning while he took the kids for a walk to the donut shop.  It was cold, but the kids didn't seem to mind. :)

*Since Kendall got a table/chair set for Christmas, we had to get rid of the recliner in her room.  I've never been a huge fan of the way it looks (despite it being extremely comfortable) and so have always been resistant to moving it downstairs, which is what Chris had suggested.  We have a beautiful leather chair that I think looks much classier.  Well, I finally relented and said we would give it a try.  I still don't like the look, but I have not seen something make my husband this happy in a long time.  I guess it's staying. :)

*The kids and I took down the Christmas decorations yesterday.  It was a little sad, but I'm ready to have my house back from the extra clutter. :)

*Chris' parents gave each of the kids a small box of Sees in their stockings.  So far I've had about 50% of them.  Oops.  It's just that two of my favorite kinds (milk chocolate bordeaux and dark chocolate butter) are it just can't be helped!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

christmas recap

We celebrated Christmas with my parents last Saturday.  We started out with a beautiful hike in Oak Glen.  We then had dinner/gifts later at their house.  It was the perfect day. :)

Cam helped act out the Christmas story with the Nativity scene pieces.

As soon as we arrived to my parents, Mr. TV expert got to work hooking up my parents' new TV. :)

One of my highlights (both with my parents and up north) was watching Cameron open the Lego sets he received, especially the two main ones he had been asking for for a few months.  His reactions were classic...sooo much excitement!

On Sunday we headed up north to my in-laws.  We had an awesome time .

Here we are on Christmas Eve at John's Incredible Pizza. To say the kids had a great time is an understatement. :)

Christmas morning was filled with opening presents and letting the kids play with their new toys.  One of the favorites for the kids and dads were these headband/headlights Chris' parents bought.  Here they are taking a night walk to test them out. :)

We had a great time, enjoyed super yummy food (like the best cake ever), and the end of our stay even included a pedicure thanks to Chris' mom (so relaxing to sit and talk with my SIL).  We had a long ride home due to traffic, but there was no question the trip was worth every minute on that freeway. :)

This morning was spent unpacking while Cam occupied himself with his Lego and Kendall did what Kendall does, farted around. :)  After being in the house for several hours, I decided to get us out so we took a cold but nice walk to the park for a picnic lunch.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

*Yesterday I realized Cam didn't have school on Friday so I scrambled to find something to bake for his teacher and speech teacher today.  I concocted a recipe that turned out GREAT!  I mixed chocolate graham cracker crumbs, sweetened condensed milk, butter, coconut, mini marshmallows and baked it.  Chris REALLY liked them.  My MIL had given me these cute Christmas gift boxes so I was able to put a few as well as some chocolate chip cookies and some of these in each box.

*Yesterday during special upstairs time, the kids were having tons of fun.  When their allotted time was over, I went up to their homemade "trampoline".  Wow. I think they must have had every pillow in the house over the entire floor. :)

*This morning my parents attended Cam's Christmas performance with us.  Cam was a narrator.  Except for being a tad squirmy on stage (okay...a lot squirmy!), he spoke clearly, slowly, and made us sooo proud!

Kendall seemed to enjoy the production, which was a nice 20 minutes long. :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

*I think people who drink soda fall into two categories, the cola and non-cola drinkers (non-cola meaning Sprite, 7-Up, Mt. Dew...anything not dark).  I'm cola ALL the way and would prefer not to have any soda if it's not a cola.  My drink of choice is Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi.  So when Chris came home the other day with a new Holiday flavor of a non-cola, I was skeptical...until I tried it.  This stuff is so yummy and refreshing!!  Too bad it's only around for Christmas :(
*This morning's Advent was a note telling the kids that they each had $5 to spend at a craft store (Michael's) we would go to this afternoon.  I was excited when they chose (slightly swayed by me!) to combine their money and get a gingerbread house kit.  :)

*If you have ABCFamily and can find the movie, "12 Dates of Christmas", record it!  It is by far my favorite Christmas movie this year. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I was in a rather foul mood yesterday morning.  I wasn't very patient with the kids. Then I got mad at myself for not having an abundance of patience with them considering what has been happening back East and how incredibly blessed I am in light of the heartbreak those parents are dealing with.  Then I got mad at myself because only a few minutes later I felt exasperated with the kids again even after making myself think about how fortunate I was to have my little ones still with me.

Anyway, Chris offered to take the kids to the desert and let me have a few hours to myself, but I also oddly didn't want to be away from my off we all four went.  We ended up having a fun time and it helped my mood and I was happy to have gone. :)

Here we are at Barnes and Noble.  I even got a few minutes to browse a cook book while the kids read/played.

Costco was on the agenda for lunch and I'm glad I didn't eat much because the store was filled with tons of samples which included more chocolate than I had ever seen.

Last night we watched another episode of The Pacific.  It was a nice day, however I'll be honest and say while our outing was fun, I just couldn't shake my mood.  Not sure the reason, but sometimes I guess you just have those days.  Hopefully today will be better. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

*Yesterday I invited a few girls from my table at Tmoms for a picnic and then to the Loma Linda University Hospital's lobby.  I had heard there was an awesome gingerbread house exhibit.  I'm not sure it was quite awesome enough to warrant a special trip, but it was A) Something to do on a Tuesday afternoon and B) Something we've never done :)

*Want to know the sign of a good teacher?  That her student still comes to visit her 3 years later.  Well, I guess mainly the student's mom wanted to visit since she made a lasting and HUGE changes with  Cameron and I will forever and ever be grateful.  :)  Here he is with two of the aides he also had.

*Advent has been a HUGE hit with the kids.  It's the first thing they want to do in the morning.  The two biggest hits have been opening "sugar cereal" one morning and a 99 cent store purchase of stained glass ornaments with paint.  Here is Kendall giving her's a go. :)

*This morning's Advent contained a note telling the kids that this afternoon we would do some Christmas baking.  We made Christmas shaped scones so I could just pop them in the freezer for Tmoms on Friday.  I made Chocolate Chip Scones.  They were good, but made so much better with the addition of some extra chocolate glaze. :)

*My mom ended up getting us the Jesus Storybook Bible which we have been reading daily with our Advent.  It is the best kids' Bible I've ever read.  Ever.

*At this very moment my friend Jen is in labor!!!  I'm so excited to hear not only the sex of their baby but the name!!  Here we are a few weeks ago.  We squeezed in a trip to Disneyland before baby arrived.  We had such a great time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

*I was trying to find an old picture and started reading some of my blog posts from a few years back.  I found a couple of interesting things.  What I said long ago is in blue.  My current comments follow. 

Back in 2008: One of my favorite shows is John and Kate + 8. Chris will often watch it with me, however he tends to get annoyed with the way Kate talks to her husband (she can get rather condescending). Obviously it's interesting what ended up happening to their marriage, I think in large part due to what annoyed both Chris and I about how she treated her husband.

Back in 2008:  (I was listing restaurants which had recently opened in our city) Weinersnitchel- do I even need to comment on this one?? Yucky!  Wow was I a snob or what?!  Funny how we LOVE the place now and there is actually a menu item I rate a 9!!!  It's just a plain hot dog but served on a pretzel bun.  SUPER yummy!!  :) 

*This afternoon was a very large grocery trip to both Winco and Costco.  Afterward we stopped at Portillos for Chris to get a chocolate cake shake (his brother introduced him to it a while ago).  I'm not a big milkshake fan but it is rather unique.  It literally tastes like they blended the whole slice of cake, frosting and all. 

*Chris and I borrowed The Pacific from my parents.  So far it's very good.  I really enjoy books and movies about WWII.

bringing meals

The other day I brought a meal to my friend, Ruth, who just had a baby.  I always try to come up with something new and fun to bring to people, but I always resort to my regular standby, Chicken Taco Bake.  I actually call it just Taco Bake because it's easier to make with ground beef.  It's a VERY yummy recipe that I got from my sister-in-law a long time ago.  It goes together super quick, freezes wonderfully, and is great as leftovers.  I usually bring a salad and a plate of cookies alongside.

Taco Bake
1 lb. ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup calsa
1 can chili
10 corn tortillas cut into squares
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown beef.  Mix with remaining ingredients except cheese.  Pour into 9x13" pan.  Sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 350 uncovered for approximately 45 min or until hot and bubbly.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Yesterday we went to Disneyland with my parents.  My dad is always trying to get Cam to go on roller coasters and scary rides.

Yesterday he and Chris were standing at the entrance of California Screaming for a while trying to convince Cam to go.  Finally my dad informed him that he would pay him two dollars to go.  That was all Cam needed to hear! His mind immediately went to getting some Legos with his money (poor kid doesn't realize $2 would buy about two pieces!!)  Cam came of the ride saying how "awesome" it was, but when asked if he wanted to do it again, his answer was "no". :)

On a sidenote, Chris took this picture because he thought it rather funny.  We got a sample at the bakery at CA Adventure and since I'm a doughy baked good fan, I ate the middle and then threw the rest away. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

the past several days...

*The kids LOVE going for walks at night with Zoe.  There are lots of Christmas lights to see.  I have yet to accompany them but I know I will soon.  Chris said it can get interesting. :) A son who likes to run + a dog who likes to run + Christmas decorations in lawns = a small amount of chaos.

*I can't believe I have never made gingerbread men cookies.  We made them the other day and they are quite fun. :)

*I finally got my act together and am doing Advent with the kids this year.  I spent a long time searching for scripture verses to read each day and never found ones I thought were good plus short enough for their attention spans (I finally read somewhere about a kid's Bible that has the exact sections I needed, but it was too late).  Anyway, next year I'll have those included.  For this year, each day contains a fun little surprise.  I've seen VERY creative ways to display your Advent, but I opted for clear bags hung on our mantel (courtesy 99 Cent store).

This morning's Advent surprise was a box of "sugar cereal".  They were ELATED!!

Cameron is very into the human body and how it works.  I cracked up when I was cleaning out the car and realized he had lugged our Medical Encyclopedia all the way downstairs for some reading on our car rides. :)

*It's quite possible that if you stumble into our kitchen throughout the day you might find me digging in the Cheez-it bag for the burnt ones.  I like them REALLY dark. :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

still felt like summer

Chris' friend scored a free round of golf for them so Chris was gone most of the morning.  I decided it had been a while since we had been to Palm Springs (we usually go to Palm Desert) so the kids and I packed a picnic lunch and headed to the park...also to 13 degree warmer weather. :)

Afterward we went to a frozen yogurt shop to get the kids some "yogurt candy" for the ride home. This place is so cute because it has a small area with toys where the kids can play (so they aren't sticking their hands in every bin instructing me which kinds to get!).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

*We have some new renters on our block.  I was a little turned off at first because of the blaring rap music coming from their house one afternoon.  But it's amazing how my opinion has softened after seeing the HUGE amounts of Christmas decorations they have put up.  I like them now. :)

*I'm VERY particular about my hot drinks being hot, hot, hot.  A while back I ordered a mocha at a McDonald's drive-thru.  There was a line and by the time I got up to the window, my drink was tepid (they had obviously made it right when I ordered it and it just sat there).  I didn't even finish it. :(  So a few nights ago I formulated a plan.  I ordered the kids' cookies initially.  Then when I got up to the window I acted as if I had forgotten part of my order and asked for my drink.  It was made right then, handed to me right then, and was super hot.  :)  Yes, kind of a hassle just to get a McDonald's drink, but it was worth it.  :)

*Did anyone ever watch Out of This World as a kid??  Remember she could pause time? :)

*I'm not very far on my Christmas shopping.

*I've realized that part of the reason I like hot weather better than cold is because shorts are more comfortable than pants.  I'm not a fan of pants.

*Would you rather give up hot showers (substituting super cold) or dessert?  That is tough one for me but I think I would give up the showers.  Brrrrr....



Monday, November 26, 2012

outback potato

My "rather have the sides over the meat" not only applies to Holiday meals, but also to my visits to Outback.  I don't remember the last time we actually ate there, but all I know is that their baked potatoes were/are absolutely the best (my order there has always been simply a dinner salad and a baked potato).  They are actually out of this world.

A couple of visits back to my in-laws Chris' mom made baked potatoes for dinner and I was in awe at how identical they were to Outback's.  I've made them twice since because Chris is a huge fan as well.  They are SOOO easy.  Here is the super simple recipe. You seriously need to make your potatoes this way the next time you have them!!  The only problem is that neither of my kids like baked potatoes.  Grrr....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

turkey day

The last of our visitors left a few hours ago.  We had a wonderful week with both sides of our family.  

Chris' grandma stayed with us all week and will be VERY missed by Cam and Kendall.  Earlier in the week we put up a few Christmas decorations:

 Here are the cousins with their Aunt Rebekah, who made fun cake pops for the "kids" dessert (although I think all four kids partook of the "adult" desserts as well!) :)

Here is Uncle Craig going over Spanish words with Cam.  Cam is quite into his Spanish lessons at school. :)

The boys and their dad:

It was fun having my parents join us.  The new salad recipe I mentioned my mom was going to try was delicious.  I think one of the stars of the meal was the stuffing recipe I said I was going to attempt...thanks for the recipe Noonie and Deb!!!! :)

After the meal, we each read the slip of paper we had written things were thankful for on.  The kids then stuck them to the turkey's feathers.

This morning we put up our tree:

 Here is Grandma teaching the kids how to make paper candy canes for the tree:

p.s. It's ironic that I entitled this "turkey day" seeing as I have yet to taste one bite of the turkey.  I never really eat any of the main meat dishes on Holidays.  It's not that I don't like meat, it's that I like the side dishes SOO much better and would rather fill up on them.  But I'm sure a few turkey sandwiches are in my future as we have tons of leftovers. :)