Friday, August 31, 2012

Tiramisu Birthday Cake!

Someone is celebrating a Birthday this week - me! 

I had to share this picture of the gorgeous Tiramisu cake that my neighbor made for me, I'm so touched she would create such a work of art for me!  Tiramisu is one of my most favorite desserts, so a whole Tiramisu cake is just pure deliciousness to me!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cloud watching to get the morning off to a great start! ~ Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that get the day off to a great start... the other day it was this gorgeous view from my kitchen window.

What gets your day off to a great start?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Things that go bump in the night

Life has been crazy the last couple of weeks!  With the boys back at school, I've been able to get back in to my intense workout routine.  I'm exhausted by the end of the day!

Tonight as I was getting ready to close everything up for the night and head to bed, my dog started barking like crazy at the screen door.  Worried that we had some rouge wild animal on the prowl in my backyard, I flipped the light on and saw ... nothing.

A couple minutes later, he was barking again, this time looking intently at something on the ground just outside the screen door.  Afraid I'd see a snake or some other wildlife, I took my I'm ready for whatever this might be stance and flipped the light on.  I didn't see anything, but the motion sensor light came on immediately, so I opened the screen door and peeked out.  I didn't see anything until I peeked over to my right and there he was, the little bugger toad that has been digging causeway under passes between my neighbors house and mine!

I really don't mind frogs, they are one animal I'm ok with, but the swiss cheese he has made along the fence line one one side is pushing me to my limits.  Anyone have any ideas for how to get rid of this bugger?  He's about the size of a closed fist!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Memories and Back to School Traditions

Summer has come to an end and my boys started school yesterday :(

To celebrate a great Summer full of memories we will cherish forever, DayTrippingMom and I met up with all our kids to have some root beers at The Rootbeer Company in Old Town Temecula.

The kids held their drinks up!

What back to school traditions does your family have?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hummingbird in my garden ~ Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Love this little hummingbird!  We have a dozen or so that frequent our yard several times a day.  They have a super inquisitive personality and come right up to us to say hello as we are out in the garden.  Red, blue, green, purple, white - we have so many varieties that I never knew existed!

Happy Wednesday!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Perseid Meteor Shower - More Summer Bucket List!

Photo used with permission from LifeWithDylan.com
I'm so excited because I can cross one more thing off the Kids Summer Bucket List - viewing the Perseid Meteor Shower!  Last year we missed this one because the kids school started early, but this year you could find us laying on the driveway (I know, we are dorky like that!)  looking up at the stars oh'ing and ah'ing at the meteors as we saw them flash by. 

We went out on Saturday night and saw a good handful each and were looking at different parts of the sky.  The meteor shower will be visible through the 22nd, but is tapering out (but there should still be as many as 40 an hour for the next few nights).  You certainly don't need a telescope, it would actually make it more difficult because the meteors are all over the parts of the sky and are harder to catch when looking at a small area.

My recommendations?  Grab a blanket, lay on the ground after about 11 pm and look up at the sky, you should see some within a few minutes of looking.  (Note that if you are in an area where there is high light pollution, you might have to head to where you can see stars).

I unfortunately don't have a nice enough camera (or the patience) to catch the light show in the sky and a special thanks to Michelle from Life With Dylan for sharing this great photo from the blue moon last week!

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blogging is deeply personal for me...

There's a question I get asked over and over - "Why did you start blogging?"

Sometimes I really struggle to answer because it is still so deeply personal to me.  I started blogging over 5 years ago for two primary reasons.  The first being to inspire other moms to enjoy and cherish every single moment with their children, because I know all to well how those moments can be fleeting and one day all our children will be left with is the memories.   The second being to chronicle our family adventures.

Everyday I struggle to hold on to the cherished memories I made with my mother so many years ago before she passed away.  Those memories mean everything to me and if I can leave one thing to my children it is to have similar memories of their childhood with me.

My mother and I traveled the world before I even reached age 16.  I've sailed through the Panama Canal, I've walked the streets of Leningrad (yes during the Cold War), I've watched glaciers fall in Alaska, petted Lapland Reindeer in their native land, attempted to count the sheep in New Zealand and participated in a tribal ceremony in Fiji.  This is just a partial list!  In many ways I had a privilaged childhood, but also one with a dichotomy of sadness (but I choose not to focus on that).  I'm left with albums full of our travels and fading memories.

My hope in the creation of this blog is to inspire other moms to enjoy those little moments (and sometimes big) and to have a way to catalog the fun my children and I have had together so they will forever have my voice and take on the experiences of their childhood.

Today marks 14 years since I lost my mother.  14 years since my life was torn apart and I was left to figure out how to put the pieces of my shattered life together.  It has been a long, hard road, but one full of beautiful moments.  I've consciously refocused the sadness of her passing to being the best mom that I can be.

(The above photo is of a piece I found in a store one day shortly after my mother passed away.  It seemed to sum up how I felt.  It has been up on the wall somewhere in my house ever since...)


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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Avoiding dehydration for kids with a few simple tips

Summer has officially hit here in Southern California this week.  With extreme temperature warnings all over the map, it's crucial that we as parents take the time to be sure our kids aren't getting dehydrated!  After day 2 of a heat wave is when people (kids and elderly in particular) become most susceptible to dehydration.

My boys are great about drinking water, but on these crazy hot days it can be hard to get them to drink enough water.  A couple of tips I have learned over the years is to always have fresh fruit and citrus on hand.  Several times a day hand them a bowl of freshly washed grapes, a mandarin orange, apples or other favorites in your house.  Grapes in particular are loaded with fluid which helps keep the dehydration away.  It's easy to get the kids to snack on them throughout the day!

To encourage the kids to guzzle down the water, add a few tablespoons of juice to give the water some flavor, but cuts way down on the sugar content.

Make jell-o!  Yes, it has sugar, but the water in the jell-o is a great way to sneak it in.

What other tips do you have for beating the extreme heat?

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Disney Magic at Night ~ Semi-Wordless Wednesday


With all of the excitement of the new Cars Land being opened at California Adventure, it's easy to let some of the classic favorites get overlooked.  So we decided we were going to focus on some of our favorites over the next few trips.  I snapped the above picture at the Dumbo ride and the below picture at the Mad Tea Party.  There is just a magic in the air in Fantasy Land at night...

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Ice Cream Sundae Party - Classic Summer Fun!

Summer is in full swing around our house.  The theme of this Summer for our family has been to celebrate the little things and take the time to just have fun!

Fresh&easy sent us an ice cream sundae fun pack to kick start a party.  My boys invited a few friends over for pizza, water fun in the back yard (oh yes, we got out the water balloons and bubbles!) then capped off the afternoon of fun with custom ice cream sundaes while playing video games! 

The prices of the fresh&easy brand ice creams are amazing, so we were able to pick up a number of ice cream flavor options to satisfy the pickiest of orders!

With great prices it doesn't cost a fortune to throw a great ice cream party and as always the fresh&easy brand products don't have artificial flavors, preservatives or colors. And all the dairy ice cream is made from milk not treated with rBST hormone.  That makes this Mom happy!

My oldest son got out his iPhone and went around taking everyones custom sundae options.  The kids were creative and loved being able to customize the toppings and orders.  Crumbled creme cookie, maraschino cherries, whip cream, magic shell chocolate to top vanilla, mint chip, and chocolate ice cream - the boys were in heaven. 

As you can see, it was a rager of a party.  This was one tired Mom at the end of the day, but by the excitement and copious thanks you's from my sons, it was apparent I was Super Mom in their eyes.  And that is all that matters.


Note:  This post was not compensated but a number of the products mentioned above were supplied by fresh&easy to facilitate the review.  But fresh&easy is a store I already LOVE and do a ridiculous amount of shopping at and have for years!  :)



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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Party all night like a 9 year old... Kids Summer Bucket List

The plan was hatched... to stay up ALL night long. 

The boys got my approval to stay up after I went to bed for the night. 

Was I worried?  Nope, not one bit.  I know my boys just that well.  I set my alarm for 1:30 am in the morning and found the boys snuggled under covers on the floor in one of their rooms.  They hadn't made it through the night, but at least they tried, right?

One more check off the Kids Summer Bucket List!

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Greedo the Frog at the San Diego Zoo ~ Semi-Wordless Wednesday!

The boys and I headed down to the San Diego Zoo today and I snapped this amazing pic of a blue frog at the newly remodeled Reptile Walk. 

We have unofficially named him Greedo for his uncanny resemblance to the character from Star Wars!

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Like a good neighbor ... Darrell is there!

It's on days like this one when I'm VERY appreciative for my neighbors.  I found this coiled up in the backyard one afternoon.  Both my husband and I were little chickens and didn't want to go near the thing.  Very appreciative for an awesome neighbor who came to our rescue and wrangled this snake out of our yard.

Can't wait till they finish building out the field behind us and we have less wildlife venturing in to our yard!!!

(And no, this one isn't a rattle snake this time, apparently it eats other snakes.  Great, but not great enough to keep it!).

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