Monday, August 7, 2017

First Day of School 2017

It happened again... another first day of school.  I really am still in denial, even as I sit here in a really quiet house.   My kids are in 7th, 5th and 2nd grade this year.  That is just crazy to me.  Next year I will have two in middle school and only one in grade school.  But let's think of that yet!  This year has just begun.  We did our traditional first day of school pictures.

Lucas is in 7th grade, he is officially taller than me.  He has been taller than me for a little while now and continues to grow so quickly. He is excited not to have the last lunch of the day, which will help ensure there are more choices.
First day 7th grade

This year Alex had me straighten her hair for the first day.  She also picked out her own outfit and has for a while now.  She was so excited about school and especially excited that her best friend is in her class again this year.
First day 5th grade

Ryder, my baby, is starting 2nd grade.  It really astounds me how quickly time is going.  He is excited for school, though a little nervous too.  I know he will have a great year.  He still always makes me laugh and is my funny one.
Fist Day 2nd grade
first day of school
first day of school pictures
And for my Class of 2028-- some day this shirt will fit him!
Back to school tradition
Class of 2028
Has school started where you live yet?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Ten Things to Smile About

I usually do this post the last Tuesday of the month, but since I was out of town last week on a wonderful and crazy vacation, today I am sharing 10 things that made me smile in July.

Ten Things to Smile About in July

1. Spending time with all of my family in Portland
family on Oregon beach

2. Fireworks!

3. Spending a few days at my SIL's house way up north in Washington
family in tunnel

4. Lots of Beach Trips

5. Exploring new local places
kids by foutain
6. The Mountains! 
Utah mountains

7. Cousins that my kids adore

8. Especially how amazingly these three cousins get along
cousin photo shoot

9. Pretty Sunsets!

10. The Beverage game and fun family traditions

What made you smile this month?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Five: Beach, Angry and Soccer

Happy Friday everyone!  Sharing 5 thoughts and 5 pictures to recap the week.

5 Thoughts

1. I want to cry.  I have been writing this blog for a very long time.  Several years ago I used to upload my pictures to Photobucket to share here, four years worth of pictures. Since 2011, my pictures have been hosted there.  Well they recently decided to charge for hosting pictures on a 3rd party show, or to show up on my blog.  No warning, just started doing this.  And what will it cost, $500 a year for my pictures to show up here!  So I will be slowly be downloading those pictures one post at a time and re-uploading to old posts.  It makes me sick all that is missing.  So please excuse the missing pictures on old posts, it will take me a while to fix it.

2. Soccer started up again this week.  It was a bitter sweet thing.  I love Alex's team, just not ready to get back into the swing of things... including school which is starting really soon!

3. We went to the beach twice this week, with Eric and then later with my sister.  We have gone to the beach more this summer than I think we did the last two summer's combined.  It has been a lot of fun. Ryder even tried boogie boarding, first time was a fail as the waves were crazy, but then when we went with my sister it totally worked!

4. Other than going to the beach and soccer, we have had kind of a lazy week.  I will miss summer.

5. Eric and I have made it all the way to the letter Q in our eating the alphabet.  It has made for so many fun date nights!

5 Pictures
playing in the ocean with dad



selfie at beach

Reading a cookbook

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cooking With Kids: Skillet Penne with Beans

Summer usually means a few things- one: it will be hot; two- the kids will seem to have a never ending appetite and three-it is the perfect time for kids to learn to cook.

Since it is so hot, I love finding a good summer recipe that I can cook fully on the stove, no need to turn on the oven.  I also want a lighter dish with fresh ingredients.  The Skillet Penne with Beans is a perfect summer time dish.   Thank you to Bush's Beans for sponsoring this post and letting me share this perfect summer time recipe.

Cooking with kids

This summer I have had each of my kids pick one recipe each week to make.  Ryder was my helper for the Skillet Penne with Beans.

I love that this dish has only a few ingredients, including Bush's beans which is a great staple to have on hand for last minute recipes.  I will often grab a few extras cans on my trips to Walmart, where they are readily available.
Bush's Beans

I love that when Ryder cooks, not only is he learning to cook but he is practicing reading while following the recipe.
Reading a cookbook

It definitely takes a little longer to cook when kids help, but I really don't mind as I feel like a good mom and am totally engaged and present when we cook together.
fresh food

The other great thing about having kids cook, is their willingness to try new recipes.  If I had made this on my own, the fact that it has cherry tomatoes and *gasp* green things, probably would have made my kids turn up their noses.
Chopping Grape Tomatoes

When they are involved cooking the recipe they seem to take ownership of it and are willing to try it without any complaints.

It definitely is a win-win.
Skillet Penne with Beans

What is one of your favorite summer recipes?

Skillet Penne with Beans
Easy Skillet Penne with Beans

Serves: 4-6    Total Time: 20 mins
   2 Cups Low sodium Chicken Broth
   2 Cups Water
   1/2 t. salt
   8 oz. Penne Pasta
   Pint of Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
   1 Can Bush Cannellini Beans
   1/2 cup pitted olives (optional)
   1/2 cup Fresh Basil Chopped
   1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
   2 T. Olive Oil
   2 T. Lemon Juice

   1. In a Nonstick skillet over high heat add: chicken broth, water, salt, penne pasta.  Stir often and   cook for 15-18 minutes.

  2. While the Pasta cooks, halve the tomatoes.  Rinse the can of Bush's Cannellini Beans. Chop the olives.

3. Add the ingredients from step 2 when the pasta has cooked about 15 minutes.  Stir and let the ingredients cook for about 3-5 more minutes over low heat.

4. While those ingredients cook: chop 1/2 cup Fresh basil, grate 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.

5. Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, 2 T. olive oil and 2 T. fresh lemon juice.  Season with Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Searching for Irene

What would you do if you thought your life was in danger?  What would you do if you knew solving a mystery might put your own life in jeopardy?   I was given a copy of Searching for Irene by Marlene Bateman to review.

The Book
When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, has mysteriously disappeared. Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

Caught up in a maze of intrigue in a tormented and troubled household, Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance. She is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart. 

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. Then, her life is threatened, and Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene

My Review
   I loved this book!  Set in the 1920's, this turn of the century mystery kept me turning the pages.  Anna is becoming desperate to solve the mystery of Irene's disappearance, as Anna has a secret of her own.  This quick, page-turning book had me dying to know who was responsible and also fearing for Anna's safety as she works to uncover the mystery.

  There is great character development and I loved the period and time frame the story was set in.  I really didn't want to put the book down.  There is a little bit of a religious aspect brought into the book, but it is done so subtly and naturally that it is really just part of the character development.
   This book is a clean book, free from graphic imagery or strong language. I highly recommend it and it is making my "Can't Put Down List".

The Author
--I have also read For Sale by Owner by Marlene which I loved! (see my review here)

Buy the Book
  Amazon//Barnes & Noble//