My Very Generous MIL

Yesterday my mother-in-law surprised me with a very generous gift. She called me and asked if I'd be home for the next 30 minutes, when I said yes, she said, " Oh good, cause I'm playing Santa Claus." When she arrived, the kids just snatched the gift bag out of her hand and we had to tell them to slow down, the gift wasn't for them. Polly, my MIL said that the gift was an Advent gift for me. Justin and I are taking a trip to Santa Fe in a couple of weeks, just the two of us for four days, and Polly said she wanted to get me something for the trip.

Inside the package was the most beautiful blouse! It's the kind of shirt I would admire at a store, but would never splurge on for myself. The blouse looks really pretty in the picture, but the picture does not do it justice, it's much prettier in person. In addition, there was also a gift card to Anthropologie. Polly insists that I go shopping before our trip so I can pick up something really special, and she's even offered to babysit the kids while I shop. This woman is so good to me!

Sales + Coupons = $5.64

Good sales at Albertsons. I know there are many, many moms out there that can get way more for under $6, but I'm still pretty pleased with this outcome :)

The kids and I will enjoy the veggies and the yogurt, and Justin will be glad to take the pizza rolls and the desserts for work snacks.

Happy Birthday Mia!

Happy 3rd Birthday! Hope you have soooo much fun today :)

Blogs of Late

Sorry it's been (what seems like) forever since my last post. Unfortunately I've had lots of trouble uploading photos from my camera, so I have no new photos, and since I don't like posts without pictures, I've just haven't written anything. Justin's working on the problem, hopefully he'll work it out soon; especially because my father-in-law and mother-in-law (FIL and MIL) bought me an awesome photo printer for my birthday. Yeah, they're great. Yeah, I love 'em. They also completed the gift with extra ink and extra photo paper. I am just itching to print out pictures and especially the ones with all the nieces and nephews that visited this summer.

Anyway, I have found some really fun, clever, beautiful blogs the last several months and I thought I'd share. I think I kind of need to also update the blog list to the left, but I'll save that for another day.

Centsational Girl
Katie Did

Centsational Girl has great design and DIY projects. She can really inspire you to tackle home projects. Armelle has a beautiful jewelry and just has overall great style. Made boasts of great home-made clothing, especially for kids. Katie Did also has lots of crafts and sewing. Finally, Stephmodo is one of my all-time favorites. The blogger/mom has great style, she's a foodie, and her family just purchased a second home in France and recently her updates have been about the amazing renovation.


Happy Birthday Lauren!

Hope you had a terrific birthday!


Although I've used coupons in the past, I didn't use them regularly. I might save $1 or $2 off a grocery bill, but it didn't really make a dent in the overall bill. In the last several months I've tried to become a little more dedicated to saving on our grocery bill, and after finding so many blogs dedicated to saving money and to couponing, it is quite easy.

Recently I stumbled upon the site A Thrify Mom and this mom really is quite thrifty. Her favorite store is Albertsons, which is a store that I've come to appreciate more (I'm a pretty loyal Fry's shopper). Anyway, last week she spent $19.04 for $234.06 worth of groceries.

I have to admit, my savings are not as substantial as some of these moms, but based upon the tips I've learned, I now spend about $75/ week on groceries, diapers, cleaning supplies, and paper products. This is compared to $100 +/ week I used to spend.

A couple of other money saving sites I frequently visit are:

Faithful Frugality
Money Saving Mom

There are so many other sites I also check, but if you're interested in learning how to cut your grocery bill, these are pretty good places to start.

Happy, Happy Birthday to YOU!

Happy Birthday Kiera!
Hope you had a great day.

We miss you and love you!

Chocolate Cake in a Cup

Seriously people, if you haven't heard of this recipe, or if you have heard of it and haven't tried it, you must. In need of a quick chocolate fix? This little recipe will solve your problem, in fact it can probably solve lots of problems :)

In 3 minutes, with a few simple ingredients, a microwavable mug, microwave, and measuring spoons, you can make this little chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake in a Cup:

4 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T cocoa
1 egg
3 T milk
3 T oil
3 T chocolate chips
1 small splash vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
(You can also add other items like marshmallows, nuts, etc.)

Get a microwavable coffee mug.
Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.
Add egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in milk and oil, mix well.
Add chocolate chips and vanilla (and other add-ins), and mix again.
Microwave for 3 minutes on high.
Allow to cool.

I first heard about this from my next door neighbor and have also read about it in other blogs. Justin and I have tried it several times and it's worked every time. Good stuff.

Sorry, no photos available, since I can't seem to upload them to my computer :(

Gorgeous Vintage

On the Babyccino blog this morning, one of the contributors wrote about a company that sells beautiful vintage baby clothing. Everything on the site is absolutely gorgeous! I love every single piece for sale, but I don't love the price tag. I do, however, feel inspired to head out to some antique shops on a quest to find some pieces for Eva. The only vintage pieces she has are from her grandmother (Justin's mom)-- two dresses that Polly wore as an infant. These are so beloved to us and we're grateful to have them. But the only times Eva wore them were for a couple of photos because we didn't want to damage them, and now she's outgrown them.

Anyway I'm now on a quest to find some of these vintage beauties. In the meanwhile, check out Belle Heir to look at the beautiful little outfits.

Happy Birthday Aunt Linda!

You're gettin up there! 33 now almost puts you in your "mid 30s"! But, after 4 kids, you still look great. Happy Birthday!


We're wishing you a wonderful 8th Birthday! Wish we could be closer to celebrate with you. We want you to know that you are loved and missed!

Puddle Jumper Shoes

This is the most darling little shoe company. Eva has owned several pairs of their shoes and she is always complimented on them. They are having an awesome sale right now. In fact, a couple of you may be receiving some of these for your little ones' birthdays!

Happy Mom's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the momma's in my life! A special shout out to my sisters: Linda, Cheryl, and Tricia-- you guys are loved!

Sorry I haven't posted anything lately, but we've all been sick for weeks. As soon as one person gets well, someone else gets sick. I will try to put up a post later this week.

Hugs and Kisses!

The Pioneer Woman Giveaway

So I just posted a comment on The Pioneer Woman blog for a kitchen tool give-away. Guess what number my comment was???

Seriously, the woman's blog is amazing! Who gets over 10,000 comments on their blog? I have posted comments for free stuff plenty of times, but never have I come across this kind of madness. Crazy-huh?

Anyway, check it out. She's giving away five of her favorite kitchen tools, and they're good ones!

April 2008

I was going through some photos on my computer and found these taken almost exactly one year ago. How is it that time seems to move so rapidly when you have kids. How is it that my kids were just 3 years old and 1 year old in these photos? Where did the last year go? Looking at these photos reminds me just how precious our time is, how quickly it slips through our fingers, how much things can change without really seeing them. I am so thankful for being able to spend so much time with my kids while they grow, but I think I need to spend more time watching them too. The many things on the daily to do list maybe distracts me from really seeing my kids sometimes. It's so hard to cut through the busy-ness and to just be present in the moment. Today I am going to try to do that.

Pears and Bears

There's a terrific sale going on at Pears and Bears with lots of items priced at $10. Lots of classic girl's dresses on sale and women's shirts and dresses.

Easter Photo Shoot

Of course my kids are so goofy, that it's practically impossible to get a good photo. Andrew never smiles and Eva never sits still. Oh well. This is what I've got.

Loads of Easter Fun

Unfortunately Andrew and I were sick on Easter, so we had to skip church-- very sad. We figured that it would be so crowded that we wouldn't be able to get a seat away from everyone else, and we didn't want to spread this terrible cold, so we spent the morning at home.

When the kids woke up, they came downstairs to find Easter baskets. One set was filled with goodies and one set of baskets was empty so they could hunt for eggs. It rained, uncharacteristic for AZ (in AZ, you can almost always count on no rain!), on Saturday, so it was pretty wet outside. The Easter bunny cleverly hid most of the eggs inside the house and hid a few in the backyard. Later, the kids entertained themselves by hiding eggs for each other and finding them.

We ate brunch at home. I made a yummy crab and asparagus eggs benedict (my favorite) and then lemon bars for dessert. Then Eva took a little nap.

Off to Gma and Gpa's house in the afternoon to hunt for more eggs! When we arrived, the kids weren't allowed to go out in the backyard yet, but they were spying for eggs through the windows. Their cousins arrived and then the egg hunt began. Eva and Michael, both 2 years old, were on their own for the first minute. After all that practicing throughout the day, Eva was a real pro and found so many eggs. Andrew and Jacob were then let out next. They had a blast.

We had a wonderful dinner prepared by Gma. Spare ribs and homemade mac and cheese. She also made a delicious apple cake.

It was a great day!

Easter Food

Mmmm, mmmm, yummy. For Easter brunch we made a crab and asparagus eggs benedict with a potoato bake. I also made lemon bars for dessert. It was so good! Lemon bars recipe can be found here (and I used the modifications suggested in the first review).

Happy Easter!

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die". John 11:25

Good Friday Twittering

Passion Play performed through Twitter by Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church.

Sick at Home

Andrew stayed home from school today because he has a sore throat and pretty bad cough. We made the most of it by decorating our Easter eggs. My next door neighbor gave us 4 coloring kits, add that to the 2 I already had and it was a decorating extravaganza.

Dreaming About Green

I love this dress from Shabby Apple, but this fabric would hug me in all the wrong ways. Unfortunately it's a no go for me. Too $46, it's a steal.

Banana Bliss

You must, must, must try this recipe.
I made a banana cake a few months ago and couldn't remember where I put the recipe, so I did a simple google search and found this recipe. It's very different from the recipe I had tried, but I had all the ingredients it called for, so I gave it a go.

Oh my.

It's so delicious, moist, smooth, flavorful. It's practically perfect. Trust me, your family will thank you if you make this cake.

Vinegar and Water

I have been really pleased with the glass cleaner I normally use, Odoban's Glass Control, which I pick up at Home Depot. It's supposed to be more environmentally friendly than other products, and I think it cleans better (ie. less streaks) than other brands. Recently I've been reading about home made cleaners and thought I'd try to make my own glass cleaner since I just ran out. It couldn't be easier to make, and it was certainly easier to whip this together than to haul the kids to HD. All it takes is just one part water, one part white vinegar.

After cleaning the glass furniture downstairs, I'm surprised at how well it cleaned without streaks. The vinegar smell was hard for me to get over at first, but then I figured it was better to have a smell from a natural product rather than a fake smell from a product, because what you're really smelling are chemicals.

I'm sticking with the vinegar and water method, as it's natural, works just as well (if not better), and it's cheaper. Guess I need to put more vinegar on the grocery list!

Wedding Photos

So, here are some of the wedding photos. They're not very good, because the lighting was difficult and it was crowded! There was lots of competition to get photos, I mean, there were like 5 pro photographers walking around plus everyone else was also trying to get their photos. Anyway, I'm glad I did capture a few precious moments. After Kate walked down the stairs and met with George, her dad, they hugged and had a few beautiful moments. Then, while Tara was walking down the aisle, Ryan just proudly and lovingly stared at his wife. Just after the wedding the wedding party was busy taking pictures, but we got a few cute shots in. During the reception I was able to get a pic of Gloria and her husband Miles dancing across the room from us.

Oh, I just love weddings. Needless to say, my tearducts were gushing before anyone even walked down the aisle. I especially let loose when I saw Ryan getting teary-eyed watching his sister.
There was such much love in the air! Especially from Kate and Brian...they are so in love and it radiated all over their faces.