Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Five: That Time of Year

Happy Friday everyone!  Here is my recap from the week.

5 Thoughts

1. It's the most wonderful time of the year!  And also the busiest!  This December is going to be completely insanely busy.

2. The winds have been awful here this last week.  A whole week of 40 mph winds with gusts close to 80 mph.  Thankfully there aren't any fires near us, but so much of Southern California is on fire right now, it really is awful.  I saw a video of a fire near the Getty Center, and it truly looked like something from an end of the world movie.

3. We got our Christmas stuff set up finally this weekend.  We usually do it the day after Thanksgiving, but this year we were at the beach the day after Thanksgiving with our family that was in town.

4. I have some very big news that I will tell you all about next week on the blog... it has been something I have had to keep secret for a while but finally can talk about now.

5. What do you want for Christmas this year?  My husband has been asking me, and honestly I am not sure what to put on my list.

5 Pictures

Discovery Cube

field trip bus ride
not loving the bus ride
old school discman


Christmas lights on trees

Monday, December 4, 2017

Brush With Love: Book Review

It's almost Christmas, which means you may still be writing your Christmas lists!  If so, you should add Brush With Love by Lisa McKendrick to your list, loved this book!

The Book

Lana, a talented Ivy League artist, and Walt, a small-town farmer, couldn't be more different. She arrives in Bluegill, Idaho, ready to spend the summer painting, excited to study under Walt's grandpa, a brilliant but aging artist. The more she is thrown together with Walt though--and the more she spends time with him--the more she realizes her heart may be drawing up its own plans. As the weeks pass, Lana realizes she'll have to choose between following her dreams or following her heart.

My Review
  Sometimes life does not go as you plan, from a young age Lana was abandoned by her mother in a Siberian Orphanage.  Never really able to over come that abandonment she turns to art to express her feelings.  When Lana is awarded a prestigious opportunity to train as an artist overseas, it feels like her dreams are coming true; but when the program takes an unexpected turn and she ends up in a small town in Idaho, her life will never be the same. 
   This is a good clean romance that covers feelings of abandonment, Alzheimers Disease, a coming to understand oneself, and love.   
   This story felt unique yet real and I later read that the author based it loosely on some real life people.  The story is a quick easy read that will leave you happy at the end.
  This is a LDS-fiction, but the religious aspects are minimal and not preachy.  It is also a clean book free from graphic imagery and language.  I highly recommend it.

Giveaway The author is hosting a $30 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

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Buy The Book

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Light The World- Helping Kids Learn to Serve

As a parent I want my kids to have the world, but I never want them to expect to have it.  I want them to understand the importance of hard work, of showing appreciation and especially of giving back and contributing to the world.

One of the best ways I have found to do this is by finding opportunities for our family to serve.  When we work together to help others, not only are we spending time together as a family but we are leading by example for giving back and showing kindness.

It starts in the home with small simple things like helping your sibling with a chore, or taking the time to truly compliment or say something nice about someone.  For me, it all comes down to trying to live as the Savior Jesus Christ did.

Before Thanksgiving, my family put together a Thanksgiving Basket to donate to a local shelter.  We used the opportunity to talk with our kids about being grateful and that many would not be able to have a nice dinner without help.   I put together a video documenting our experience.

We loved the experience and are so excited to look for more ways to serve.

This December there is an amazing opportunity to get into the true spirit of Christmas by remembering how the Savior Jesus Christ lived and trying to live as He did as part of the Light The World initiative.

This December join me, in 25 Ways over 25 Days.   This is a month of ideas with ways to serve each day, helping you get in the true Christmas spirit.   By trying to live as Jesus Christ did, by serving, by giving, by living as He did, we will not only help others but can transform our own lives.

Download your own FREE copy of the calendar here

If you head to, not only will you see this calendar, but every day there will be a new video and ideas of how you can serve that day.  Even if you just choose one or two things to do, I truly believe it will help your holiday season be a little less stressful, a little more peaceful and will definitely help you remember the real meaning for this time of year.

As a gift to you, I would love to give you something that means everything to me, something that has brought me peace, hope, and a true understanding of who I am and what this life is all about.   It is the Book of Mormon.  If you would like one,  I would be happy to send you a free copy, just leave a comment saying you would like one and with an e-mail address that I can reach you at.  

I truly hope you join me in this wonderful way to help bring some peace and joy at this time of year and really make the world a better place.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ten Things to Smile About This Month

It is the last Tuesday of the month, which means it is time for 10 Things to Smile About this Month.  I started this monthly post many years ago after a really hard month where I just needed to find something to smile about.

Ten Things to Smile About in November

1. Ryder being student of the month!
mother and son

2.  Getting the new iPhone X - I am loving the big screen and face ID
iPhone X

3. Date nights!  We have almost made it through the alphabet!
date night

4. This picture as it is crazy how dirty Alex get's at soccer and makes me happy how good of a goal keeper she has become.
dirty after soccer

5. Helping out at the Thanksgiving Feast- I love being able to help in the school.
mother and daughter

6. Group Date nights to an escape room!   It was so much fun!!
group date to escape room

7. Having family in town

8. Thanksgiving Dinner!
Thanksgiving Dinner

9.  The perfect weather for a beach day in November!
Corona Del Mar

10. Playing tourist in our own town.
The Getty Center

What made you smile this month?

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Perfect Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break.  For some strange reason, to me it kept feeling like it wasn't Thanksgiving break but Christmas break.  Sadly it was over all too quickly.

This year Eric's parents and his older sister and her family came to sunny California for Thanksgiving, and sunny it was, with high's in the low 90's on Thanksgiving day.  It was a little hot for cooking, but made for perfect beach on Black Friday.

During the week, we went mini golfing.  We divided up the kids and the grownups, and the kids literally did two rounds of golf in the time we did one.
mini golf
scandia mini golf

sister in law

We just played and had fun.
playing gold with grandpa

We went shopping (notice they tried on the same pair)
trying on shoes

We rarely saw Alex and Kate as they were up playing in Alex's room every moment they could get.
cousins in matching dresses

On Thanksgiving we had an amazing meal with so much food!

Eric smoked the turkey again this year and it was outstanding.  It was nice having extra helpers cooking and making different dishes.  In fact that only food I ended up making was the deviled eggs.
Thanksgiving Dinner

Then Friday, instead of heading to the chaos of Black Friday shopping, we went to the beach.

The beach was so empty, yet the weather was perfect!

Corona Del Mar

The waves weren't as good as we would have liked, but otherwise it was a wonderful day.

Saturday morning, Eric's parents left- but we had his sister for the rest of the day.

We went to the Getty Center, somewhere we have actually never been in all the years we have lived here.

The grounds and buildings are beautiful with awesome views of the valley and LA (though the LA smog makes it not as easy to see).
The Getty Center

The kids were not fans of the 40 minute wait to go through security and take the tram up to the museum, but once up there, the place is so big it didn't feel crazy crowded.
At the Getty Center

The kids even enjoyed the art work more than I thought they would.

The week went all too quickly and now it is back to the regular routines, with the millions of things to do this time of year.

What was your favorite part of Thanksgiving?