Monday, July 21, 2014

We Love Oceanside

The beach. Our family loves the beach. We wish we lived closer, but at least it's only a half day drive away. We have Wyndham timeshare points and decided it was time to used them to book a room for a few nights in Oceanside, CA.

Side note: we've had Wyndham time share points for 8 or 9 years and we love having them. We bought them on ebay for a tiny fraction of retail price. We do pay annual maintenance fees, but it is much less that the cost of the hotel would be out of pocket. Plus Wyndham rooms have a family room, kitchen and bedroom(s) which gives us room to spread out and saves us money because we make breakfast and lunch in the hotel and only go out for dinner.  Okay enough about that, just thought I'd share something that has worked well for vacations for our family. :)

We spent a weekend in Oceanside in June and loved every minute of it. We traveled with another family which worked out great because everyone was always occupied with a friend. We spent time digging and building in the sand, boogie boarding (the kids, not me because I don't like cold water!), eating fish tacos, a morning run along the beach (just me!) plus lots of relaxing. Perfect!

Now I want to start planning a return trip.

Layout supplies /// Our Adventure Kit /// Away We Go Add-on /// Happy Day Add-on

Friday, July 18, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

My Friday "What We Ate" Posts have not quite happened this summer. Partly because we've been too busy to cook many blogworthy meals and and also, I've given myself a break from a lot of cooking this summer. I'm planning to return to the weekly meal post once school starts up again next month.

But, I did make some delicious banana chocolate chip muffins this week and want to share the recipe with you. The recipe is based on a banana bread recipe from this Cook Illustrated Magazine. As you can see from the date, this issue of the magazine is from 1999. The banana bread recipe was worth saving the magazine all of these years! Yes, I could scan and save the recipe digitally, but I just like pulling the paper version down from my shelf when a banana bread craving strikes.

I didn't have the nuts or yogurt called for in the recipe and wanted to add some chocolate, so I changed up the recipe to make it fit the ingredients we already had. Plus I added brown sugar in place of some of the white sugar. The taste of brown sugar is hard to beat.

Here's a look at my recipe altered from the Cooks Illustrated version:

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with a splash of vinegar)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons of melted and cooled butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour, sugars, baking soda and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together the mashed bananas, buttermilk and eggs. Then slowly mix in the melted butter and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, then mix in chocolate chips.

Line muffin pans with wrappers and fill them 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 12 - 16 minutes. Remove for the oven once the muffin tops are slightly golden and an inserted tooth

This will make about 18 regular sized muffins or 48 mini muffins.

These were gone within 24 hours of baking them. Hope your family loves them as much as we do!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Fun!

Sometimes this summer I feel like a very un-fun mom. Does anyone else feel this way? There are lists of chores for the kids and lists of things I have to do each day. Between packing, shipping and ordering for Scrapbook Circle, working on the books for my husband's business, paying bills, grocery shopping, laundry and so much more, somedays I feel like I'm ignoring my kids and I went to do more with them. But looking back through the pictures from the past few weeks helped me realized that even though there has been a lot of work completed this summer, we've also had a lot of fun together.

4th of July Fun /// Free Sluprees @ 7-11 /// Bowling /// Dress Like a Cow and Get Free Food @ Chick-Fil-A /// Kristen and Doug's Wedding /// City Water Park with Cousins /// 4th of July Parade /// Wedding BBQ at our House /// Filling our Swimming Pool!!! /// Our Family at the Wedding

So far, summer has been a success. My goal is to keep the kids off of screens as much as possible and keep them moving and busy to productive and fun activities. Only two and a half weeks of summer break left until school starts. Time is going to fly by.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bridal Shower

The past month has been full of wedding planning and activities for my sister Kristen's wedding. Her engagement was only a couple of months, so we crammed a lot into the past couple of months. She and my mom definitely did most of the planning, but I helped where I could. Cake testing is a hard job. 

One of the highlights of the wedding preparations was hosting a bridal shower at my house. I kept the decor simple and enlisted help with food from my mom, my cousins, sister Michelle and Costco. Plus I tortured my kids by giving them long lists of cleaning assignments. I love hosing parties because my house is cleaned up and free from most clutter.

The Food

Fruit Salad

Sautéed Green Veggie Salad with Feta and Almonds

Costo Croissant Sandwiches

Berry Punch (Sprite, Lemonade, Crushed Raspberries and Pebble Ice

Dessert: Homemade Peanut Butter Brownies and Cupcakes

The Decor

Photos + Balloons made the decorating simple and fun. Over one of the dining tables, we hung balloons with strings and photos attached. Tip: We used double sided tape to stick the balloon to the ceiling. No helium required.

 One of the dining tables had frame pictures of the happy couple.

I had a few extra invites (I ordered these from Minted) and decided to use them as a base for a banner. The invites made perfect flags and I alternated them with some die cut hearts and then sewed everything to a teal ribbon.

The party was a success! Kristen received a lot of nice gifts and we all got to spend enjoyable time with friends and family.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Together

A couple of months ago, our girls sang in the spring Chandler Children's Choir concert at the Chandler Center for the Arts. After concerts, I always attempt to get a few pictures of the girls with their friends. This year Hannah and her friends were extra silly for me and I took a bunch of photos while capturing their giggles and silliness.

I thought it would be fun to print them out in strips like photo booth pictures since the series reminded me of something they would do in a photo booth. 

It seems like it's been quite a while since I've used a banner on a layout, but it felt like just the right girly and playful touch to add to this page. After a few splatters of mist and little heart stickers sprinkled onto the page, it had just the right girly, playful feel to it.

Looking at this page makes me happy! I love that Hannah had such great friends. 

Layout Supplies /// Hello There Scrapbook Circle Kit /// Take Note Add-on

Monday, June 30, 2014

@ the Chop Shop

Is summer speeding past you like it is around here? I though we'd have nice relaxing days at home, but that has yet to happen. My sister is getting married this weekend, so I'm sure time will continue to fly by at record speeds for now. By next week, hopefully our pool will be finished and I'll spend a lazy day by the pool eating popsicles.  It's good to have a dream, right?

Between summer camps, summer school, wedding plans, pool building supervision and much more this month, there has been very little time for scrapbooking. I was able to put a couple of pages together a couple of weeks ago and I just now had time to edit pictures of them.

This layout has a selfie (is it a selfie it it has more than one person in it?!) taken while our family was trying out a new restaurant in downtown Chandler. The restaurant had great sandwiches and salads and Ward says great lemonade too.

This was a quick page to put together and it felt really good to be playing with paper. I love using a few label stickers together for a quick journaling spot!

Layout Supplies /// Hello There Scrapbook Circle Kit

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Scrapbook Circle Creative Team

We've had so many things going on around here this summer and I hope to do an update soon. One thing has been pouring through creative team applications for the new 2014 - 2105 team at Scrapbook Circle. 

I'm excited to announce our new team today!

It's always exciting to add new members to our team and I'm excited to see what the new term brings!


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