Sunday, December 8, 2013

Electric Light Parade

Last night, we went to the Casa Grande Electric Light Parade. The girls were very excited all day for the parade, and frankly, so was I. After a bit of maneuvering through the neighborhood due to closed streets, we found a great place to park and set up our chairs. I ran into McDonalds to grab some food and we ate while we waited. It was a chilly evening by Arizona standards. The kids looked so cute bundled up. 

Don't mind the chicken nugget in Clara's mouth.

Right before the parade started, Sam ran back in to buy some hot chocolate, which finally cooled down enough to drink a little while before the parade was over.

We had a blast watching the floats and dancing around. The girls came home with quite the haul of candy too, which makes for extra happy kids.

Every time I would show Grant the glow stick he would open his mouth and put it in. He is such a little puppy.

Very soon, the pictures on my blog won't be so blurry. A very Merry Christmas for this mama!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turkey Cheese Ball

I was in charge of the Thanksgiving meal this year. I actually had a lot of fun preparing everything and it all went off without a hitch so it was pretty relaxing.. I think my favorite part of the meal was this Turkey Cheese Ball we had for an appetizer. I got the idea from this blog but that cheese ball didn't sound that good to me so I found a different one that sounded better.

Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix (I actually made my own because my dad bought the wrong stuff.)
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups bacon pieces

1. In a medium sized bowl, mash the cream cheese. Add the ranch dressing mix and cheddar cheese, and mix until well combined.

2. Form the mixture into a ball shape.

3. Roll the ball in the  bacon pieces.

4. Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least an hour.

I used pretzels for the feathers and body and peanut butter to attach M&M eyes and an almond beak.

Super cute and very delicious.


Sunday, December 1, 2013


We spent Thanksgiving at my parent's house. Philip and Merrick drove over for the weekend and we had a blast spending time together as a family. We had lots of fun eating, shopping, eating, playing, eating, talking and did I mention, eating?
I'm going to be honest, I didn't take any pictures of the main event and Merrick hardly took any either. I guess we were just too busy enjoying the moment to stop and take pictures. (Good excuse, right?)
On Saturday, the boys went to the driving range so Merrick and I decided we needed an outing too. We choose to do a lot shopping and get pedicures and we invited Abby along for the adventure.
We went to the perfect place for Abby to get her first Mani/Pedi. They had adorable little butterfly chairs that were just her size.

She loved it so much! Every time I looked over at her, she gave me the cutest smile.

It was so fun taking my little lady for our girls outing.

Thankful Tree

Every Monday night this November, during Family Home Evening, we added leaves to our Thankful Tree. We weren't allowed to do any repeats so it was fun to go beyond the traditional things that usually come to mind when you are thinking about gratitude.
We made our tree out of a brown paper grocery sack and then cut out our leaves using this template. 

Some of my favorite leaves included:
My Bed
Dad (I'm pretty sure I didn't make the cut)

This was such a fun activity to help us focus on the amazing things we have.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Day in the Desert

Sam's parents are in town and since Sam and his brother were both off work on Monday, we decided to go to an ostrich farm. Oh my goodness. It was a ton of fun!
They gave you big cups of feed to give to different animals. There were donkeys, deer, ostriches, baby donkeys, ducks, prairie dogs and lorakeets. I need to get some more pictures from my MIL and SIL of all of the different things.

Ostriches are such strange animals. One of the ostriches took grandpa's hat. I couldn't stop laughing because they were so weird.

We got to go on a monster truck tour around the ranch. It was fun. It got a little wild at the end and poor Grant wasn't a fan. He was really tired and the thrashing about was making him pretty sad. At the end of the ride, we went Ostrich fishing. You clip orange slices on the end of a fishing pole and they pull them. So funny.

Later that afternoon, we went shooting in the desert. It was my first time ever shooting a gun and it was pretty fun.

I felt pretty cool shooting this shot gun but I'd say shooting the AK47 made me feel the coolest.

By the end of the day, we were exhausted and covered in dirt. It was a fun day in the desert.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


When we walked out to get in the car to take Abby to preschool this morning, the automatic lock wouldn't work. So, I opened the car door with the key. Crazy, I know. Pretty sure I haven't done that since 1995. (I actually have no idea when opening your car door with a button became the norm.) Then, when I went to put the key in the ignition, the car wouldn't start. Awesome. I really wanted Abby to be at school today. There was fall break last week and we missed a day the week before that when we were in California. We had made birthday treats for her to bring and her tuition was due. I ran inside, grabbed the double stroller and the Bjorn and loaded up the troops. I was grumpy all the way there. I was frazzled. I hate when things don't go as planned and I really hate being late. After dropping her off, about 20 minutes late, I started to relax a bit and think about my blessings instead of my problems.

Last night, for Family Home Evening, we started a thankful tree. We each wrote a few things we were thankful for and put them on our tree. Later in the evening, I was thinking about other things I was grateful for and one of my first thoughts was our car. As I was walking home, I remembered that thought and laughed to myself. You become really grateful for you car when you can't use it. So, I decided to be grateful that we've never had problems with our car in the four years we've had it. And then, the ball really started rolling. I'm grateful that we have the means to send Abby to preschool. I'm thankful to be blessed with my wonderful children when there are so many who aren't. I'm grateful for good health, that I could walk to preschool. I'm grateful for patient children who didn't whine when things weren't going according to plan I'm grateful...I'm grateful...I'm grateful.

One of my favorite quotes says, "Gratitude turns what we have into enough." When I choose to focus on all that I have, I realize how unbelievably blessed I am.

So today, I choose to be thankful!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

We decided we'd better carve pumpkins again, since daddy missed out on carving while we were in California. Clara's  Jack-o-Lantern face was a bit abstract.

I am kind of in love with the girl's costumes this year. They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Honestly, I couldn't find very good tutorials for either of the costumes so I was mostly winging it.

Abby chose to be Merida this year. She picked it for the bow and arrow, which I was able to find at the Dollar Tree--score!  I used this blog post, mostly just for ideas. I thought her instructions were kind of confusing. My magnum opus was that wig. It took quite a bit of time but it definitely made the look. I used this method, though I didn't used quite as much yarn and I didn't crochet my own hat.

Clara's Rapunzel costume came almost completely out of my brain because I couldn't find any I liked very much. However, this guided how I made her wig. Again, less yarn. She only weighs 25 pounds after all.

I'm not sure what she was doing in the picture but she looks so angelic.

It's hard to get a good smile out of her these days. Her cheese looks like she's in pain.

Sam made her this Pascal, which was super cute. She didn't want to wear it though.

Here they are with their spoils. They actually got more at the church party in about 20 minutes then they did in an hour plus on Halloween.

They had a blast trick-or-treating with their cousins!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Abby Turns 5

I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow, my firstborn child has turned five! We absolutely adore our Abby Drue. She is a sweetheart, always ready with cuddles and hugs. She is an amazing big sister and the best helper I could ever ask for. She is smart and funny and so fun to be around. We really scored big when she was sent to our family!
She is one of the best people to buy presents for because she is so excited about everything. Throughout the morning, she would say, can I open another present? She'd open one, play with it for a while and then get too excited and ask for another one. She wore that crown all day--the birthday princess.
We set up this balloon drop (Pinterest,  of course. Is there any creativity left in the world?) for her to have in the morning. Her reaction was so cute. They crawled under the streamers rather than walking through them.

She asked for donuts for breakfast. She choose a sprinkle one, of course.

My parents came to spend the day. They told her she could pick anywhere for lunch and she choose Filbertos, which is a 24-hour Mexican restaurant. They have these little drinks she likes and she couldn't get her mind off them. I guess she's a cheap date.

We went over to have dinner and go trick-or-treating with her cousins. We got Jack-o-Lantern pizzas from Papa Murphy's and Alisa decorated really cute.

Abby picked out some princess cupcakes I found on Pinterest. Unfortunately, there weren't any printables. I found pictures and cropped them to be the same size and then printed them on card stock. I asked Sam to cut them out, since my cutting still are kind of abysmal.

My frosting skills aren't the best, but I think they turned out pretty cute and they tasted delicious!

She had a wonderful day and it was so fun celebrating with her!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Weekend in CA

My parents were heading to California for my nephew's first birthday, so the kids and I decided to tag along for the adventure. We had a blast! It would have been the perfect trip if only daddy could have joined us (and if my kids would have slept later!)
We went to a "pumpkin patch" one day. It was really just a carnival which also sold over-priced pumpkins, but it did provide some good photo ops.


We bought a few tickets for the kids and they decided to ride the tractors and the train.

The tractors were hilarious. They were like the ride-on Barbie jeeps. They all kept crashing into things/each other. We were laughing so hard watching them.


We ended up going to buy pumpkins at Home Depot instead. They each picked the perfect pumpkin.

After scooping out the guts (which Abby and grammy did for all of them), we let them draw faces on their pumpkins. Merrick carved what they drew and they turned out so cute!

The next day, we went to Knott's Berry Farm. It was the perfect day. The weather was gorgeous and there was hardly anyone there. We never had to wait more than like two minutes to go on a ride.
These little pump cars were so cute. They had to pump back and forth to make them go. Poor Clara was pretty slow. She finished, though, and didn't seem to notice she was running behind.

This little boy was good as gold.

That night, we had a birthday party for my nephew.
Abby loved wearing the party hat and eating a cupcake. The countdown is on for her birthday. (Excuse me while I go cry in a corner.)

We went to the park the next morning and the kids had a lot of fun. It was a cool park and another gorgeous day. Abby liked climbing the rock wall--like father, like daughter.

These two are the best of friends. They are always hugging each other and playing together. They helped Merrick bake some cookies and got to sample the dough, as all good helpers get to do.

Then, we went to the Halloween party at the church. Right before we left, Clara fell and split her lip. However, she was more upset that she broke her pumpkin bucket in the fall. Luckily, Merrick had an extra so a crisis was averted.

They had so much fun trunk-or-treating. They came home with quite the haul. Atfirst Clara kept scowling at everyone who gave her candy. She seemed a little overwhelmed with it all.

I was very proud of how the girls costumes turned out. I'll write more about them another day.

Grant was the cutest little shark. However, I think he looked more like he was eaten by a shark.


Inside, the kids played games and won prizes and sugared up good.

It was a wonderful weekend which ended with Grant puking his guts out in my parent's driveway. Hey, at least he didn't do it in the car.

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