Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

coconut banana bread with lime glaze

we made it over the summer, & ate it on our front patio when it was still nice to be outside.
it's really good, a nice change from traditional banana bread.
i highly recommend you make it the next time you feel like baking.

ella and i delivered mini loaves to relatives in the area at the beginning of the summer.
it was fun going house to house surprising uncles and grandparents with these little treats.
this is how i had mine for breakfast the next morning...
sure wish i had time to sit down for a breakfast like this these days.
it's rushing out the door with a crew of kids every morning.
yep, those lazy days of summer are long gone.
here is the recipe.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

weekend getaway

chris and i were lucky enough to go to southern cal for four days.
just. the. two. of. us.    it was wonderful.
we had a wedding to go to of a very good friend from high school.
we got to hang out quite a bit with chris' friends from high school and their wives.
all of us wives get along so well, we really had a blast being there together.
three came in from other states, the rest of us from our home town.
we celebrated scott's birthday, the most sarcastic one of the group.
and that's saying a lot, the guys are all's always lively when were all together.
chris and i had some delicious breakfasts together.
and got in lots of walking and quality couple time.  
it was sure nice. 
we were in laguna beach...this place holds a special place in my heart.
we used to vacation there as a family growing up, my dad loved it there.
he took chris and i and our young family there many times.
the last time was when ella was 2, the summer before he passed.
that was the last time any of us had been there until this trip.
it was great to be back and be in a place that brought him so much happiness.

and it was sure nice to be on vacation, breathing the ocean air, away from the busy life.
we're so thankful to the 'grandparents' who took care of the kids.
who took them to school, and ran them around to all their activities & birthday parties.

more on the amazing wedding to come...

Monday, September 26, 2011

finally using these

adorable little trays from ikea.
my mom gave me a whole stack of them for christmas.
i really hadn't used them until a recently when i realized i could use them for john's lunch.
they make a peanut butter and honey sandwich with milk and fruit look super cute.
it just made me happy to see his sweet little lunch on these fun mini trays.
and i just love it when i figure out a use for things i have stored out in my garage.
and i love it even more when i don't have to find room for them in my kitchen.
i just stacked them on their sides right next to the microwave.
nice and easy to just pull out whenever i want to make a simple lunch look extra special.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the fishing game

step 1:  use jump rope to tie up stuffed animal for other player to find 'fishing'.
step 2:  get other player who has been closing their eyes while you do step 1.
step 3:  switch places.
step 4:  run inside & pick another toy to surprise other player with when they go fishing.
these two absolutely love playing this game.
they run inside with such excitement of picking an item to surprise the other with.
then they run back out to tie it up so the 'fishing' can begin again.
and on an on for quite some time...and they always put all the toys away before dinner!

**game created by ella and john.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

he couldn't put it down..

this book, and all of them in the series.
andrew finished this book in 2 1/2 days.  all 597 pages, or something like that.
he's been a reading maniac lately, following in the footsteps of his older brother and father.
so, i told him we would take him to the movie, we always make them read the book first.
just the boys went, i took the two little ones to the smurfs movie right across from hp.
he was ecstatic...we are usually very strict on pg-13 movies.
so, this was a real treat.
he couldn't have been happier that day.
he kept thanking us over and over again.
and when we got home he gave us a big hug and told us it was one of the best days ever.
it felt so good, to see him so happy...and to see his genuine appreciation for taking him.
we had some friends over for a bbq that weekend.
there were 13 kids between the three of us couples.
9 boys - they had a great time playing football in the front yard.
mark & lori brought sushi ice cream rolls for dessert.
ice cream, with rice crispy treats rolled around it, oh and brownie pieces in the ice cream.
after mark sliced them all, he drizzled chocolate syrup on top.
they were delicious.

and andrew finished a 100+ book today after school...
now he is onto the percy jackson series.
he told me as i tucked him in how much he loves reading...
what more could i ask for?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

saturday morning hike

we were out the door by 7:30 am...every one was up early.
even though we all stayed up late, go figure.
so, we got everyone out the door to soak up the cool, fresh air.
it was a pretty steep hike and the kids all did great.
john is really independent and has a strong desire to do it all on his own.
he sure is a confident little guy and it makes me so happy to see him succeed.

we have been taking family hikes for years, many times with little ones on our backs.
it's such a great activity for all of us to do together, just like our family bike rides.

anything that involves being outside together,
getting some exercise together,
and enjoying each other in beautiful temperatures always equals quality family time.

we are lucky enough to have some great mountains super close by.
and nani has some wonderful ones right in her neighborhood.
on the way home the kids were reminiscing about a hike we took last year.
they remembered how cold it was, we were all super bundled up.
and how we came home and made hot chocolate and watched a movie.
....and how fun it was :)
then, john couldn't stop talking about having some hot chocolate when we got home.
we were home by 8:30 a.m.
i made a big breakfast, chris mowed the lawn, kids did chores...
and we still had the whole afternoon ahead of us.
(running errands, driving kids around, and all that fun stuff)

we are looking forward to more of those hikes now that the weather is cooler.
and more of those memories for our kids.
and for us.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

mini tortillas

chris found these adorable little tortilla's at food city a few weeks ago.
we were going to have soft tacos that night, i was so excited when he walked in with them.
they're seriously so cute, you may not really be able to tell how 'mini' they really are.
these little tortillas are the craze at all the restaurants now.
so, it was so fun to have them at home.
chris and i recently had mini tostadas at a bar in california.
those are next on the list.  i may be baking up these mini's next week for tostada shells.
have you ever tried sliced cucumbers drizzled with lime or lemon and sprinkled with salt?
it is delicious.  i've made them as a snack for the kids too, and they love them.
so fresh and crunchy!
isn't it great how happy these little things in life make us?
thanks to food city for the fun tortillas and to my hubby for buying them...
you both made my day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

happy birthday, grandma!

yesterday was my mother-in-laws birthday.
i must say she is the most thoughtful and generous person i know.
and we are so blessed to have her as a grandmother to our children.
she is so great with them...
she really listens to them, and really knows what is going on in their lives.

we appreciate so much her sunday brunches and sunday dinners.
she is an amazing cook and shares her culinary talents so much with all her family.
we have always been close and i am so lucky to have her as my mother-in-law.

happy birthday, suegra!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

salad for dinner

sometimes we have a big fresh salad for dinner, and it is so delicious and filling.
we put out toppings 'salad bar' style and let the kids choose what to put on their salad.
they get crazy excited about the mandarin oranges. every. single. time.
here are some of choices from the last time we had it (before we cut everything up).
chris grilled everything, which makes it a super easy meal for me. and hardly any clean-up.
i had him grill the tomatoes this time too, and they were delicious that way.
we only do this a couple times a year, but i think we should have it more often.

i seriously love this meal every time we have it.
there's something so scrumptious about the warm vegetables on top of the salad greens.
add some balsamic vinegar dressing and french bread and it is really awesome.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

happy friday

hope you have smiling faces around you this weekend.
i sure am lucky to have this little one by my side every day.
doesn't it just make your day when you see your kids smile?
i could just eat him up, and sometimes i do.