Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Memories

This time of year makes me so nostalgic! Lights on the houses, the smell of pine and peppermint, Christmas specials on TV, holiday tunes on the radio... all flood me with thoughts of my childhood. Warm, cozy, joyful, carefree memories. I feel so blessed to have grown up in a 2 parent household, for most of my childhood, with 2 loving parents who truly made the holidays special. So special that 28 years later the memories are so vivid and sweet I love to recount them. Hence, this post.

One of my favorite traditions was getting our Christmas tree, eating lunch at Burger King, and heading home to decorate it. Even the year my dad cut his hand pretty bad with "Old Hickory," a knife (of all things) he was using to cut some of the bottom of the tree off with. Yikes! I bet he still has a scar. Haha! Sorry, dad ;)

Sleeping with my sister every Christmas Eve with the radio on and hearing our favorite song, Transiberian Orchestra's "Christmas Canon." My sister now cries whenever she hears this song.

Watching all of our favorite shows, from the below list, that my mom had recorded off  TV (if you haven't seen any of the below, check them out now):

For Better or For Worse: The Bestest Present
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
Nestor The Long Eared Donkey
The Wish That Changed Christmas
The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas
Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Charlie Brown Christmas
Frosty The Snowman
Garfield's Christmas Special
The Year Without A Santa Clause

My mom baking Rich Almond Snow Drops, Honey Cookies, Toffee, and Peanut Butter Cups while my sister and I played around the house; not even realizing the smells and sounds coming from the kitchen would someday be the smells and sounds that would take us back to more carefree, innocent  times. Ahhh... how sweet.

Opening one present on Christmas eve (which was always Christmas pajamas). Still do this one :)

My grandma's elaborate Christmas decor that she still puts up to this day! Shelves with different Christmas scenes, a smoking cabin, a walking talking Santa with a bell, a Santa with a list of each and every family member's name on it, musical mistletoe, and so much more!!!

Playing with the tinsel and decor while my mom decorated the house and doing more damage than help. But she never got mad :)

Nothing compares to those times. I suppose as we grow-up, we rekindle this joy when we have our own children. Experiencing the sites, smells, and sounds of the holidays through a child is the best way to to relive those days. I see it when I'm with my niece and nephews and one day will with my own children, too. For any child or adult out there not knowing what I grew up knowing, my prayers go out to you. That you feel the peace and joy of the season in not an earthly way, but in a way only our heavenly father can give you; a peace that surpasses all understanding, a deep down joy, and a love more great than you've ever known! Merry Christmas and JOY to the world!

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories? I would LOVE to hear them!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's A Girl!

I have been wanting to sponsor a child through Compassion International for quite sometime now. I looked at various programs and Compassion is known to take very little administrative costs and my church works with Compassion, as well. The next step was going through hundreds of adorable babies all needing a sponsor. How the heck could I choose?! Well, I finally had Compassion choose for me! I picked the gender, location, and age and left the rest to God. I decided to pick a young age because I thought it would be fun to watch my sponsor child grow. I am very excited! I already wrote her a letter before I even got the information package in the mail. Can't wait to hear from her! Friends and family meet, Chistie:

Age: 4
Location: Togo

Monday, November 28, 2011

Disneyland Birthday

For my 28th birthday this year the hubs took me to Disneyland! There was a SharePoint conference being held in Anaheim, that Jeremiah was attending for work during my birthday week, so he decided to bring me along to celebrate my birthday at every child's dream location :)

Memorable Moments Include:

- Beignets! Beignets! Beignets! My new favorite delicatessen :)

- Jeremiah eating 1-2 Churros every day.

- The canoes.

- 90 degree weather!

- "World of Color" 3 course meal at Ariel's Grotto and reserved seating for the show.

- My free birthday pin.

- Favorites Rides: Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion When 2 Holidays Collide featuring "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

- Riding the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters more times than we could count so I could try and beat Jeremiah's score like I did at Disney World!

- In-N-Out at 1am.

- My Mayor Mufaletta Sandwich that came in a coffin and using any chance I get to say Mayor Mufaletta still.


Birthday pin moment.

Romantic lunch.

Probably Churro # 8 or something.


Birthday dinner at Ariel's Grotto before "World of Color."

Haunted Mansion.

International Woman Of Mystery


Well folks, I did it! I went out of the country! Only took 27 years! Now, you may be thinking , "Big deal, it was only Canada." But for me it was bigger than "just Canada." It was a stepping stone to bigger places! I want to travel and experience the world! Some, more experienced travelers, are jaded to the excitement of  new places and even familiar once loved places. Unable to see the joy and beauty in all of God's creation anymore. But to me, everything thing is new and exciting! Call me inexperienced, but Canada was exciting and a big deal to me :)

We had planned to be at the coast with family for our 3rd wedding anniversary, but that fell through so we decided to put our passports to use and go to Canada instead! I honestly had questions that Jeremiah laughed at. What language do they speak? Are the outlets standard outlets? What way does the toilet flush? Will my cell phone work the same? Do they accept CAD and USD? I also made sure to know what they called the bathroom. The "washroom" or "restroom" was acceptable. I have to say, I was actually a little nervous.

Victoria, B.C. turned out to look much like Oregon, but was cleaner and prettier... and a little more British looking. I had read it is the most British of the cities in my pre-trip research.

Here are some of our memorable moments:

- Fireworks show at Buchart Gardens and hitting an older lady in the knee with my folding chair after Jeremiah warned me about my chair sticking out. So embarrassing!

- Where we were seated at "The Sticky Wicket" being turned in to a dance floor as we finished our dinner. Apparently, at 10 pm the bar becomes a dance floor. And every restaurant is a restaurant/pub/bar and they all serve baked mac and cheese and rave about fries! My kind of people!

- The AWESOME British Columbia Museum. The coolest museum I have ever been to.

- Seeing 2 IMAX films about whales and caves.

- Going to the vending machine every night to try new Canadian treats.

- Ali Baba Pizza. Enough said.

- Pepperoni Pizza Roll Up at Buchart Gardens. A concoction of cheesy Italian bread stuffed with cheese and a pepperoni stick. Simple, yet delicious. Enjoyed while waiting for the traffic at Buchart to clear out.

- Jeremiah telling border patrol he bought new underwear on the return home.

- Getting the 3rd degree from border patrol on our way into Canada. "Where are you going" How long have you been married" Where you staying" Do you have friends or family here?" I almost confessed to something... anything!

Thanks, Canada, for the memories! We'll be back ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sam!

My nephew Samson Luke was finally born on August 22nd after a long wait. You see, my sister had my niece and nephew at 36 and 37 weeks, respectively, and the doctor did not think she would go past that with this pregnancy. At her last few appointments he kept telling her the baby was so low and since she was dilated a few centimeters he didn't expect her to make it to her next appointment. Well, she did. She made it to week 39. We went walking, bounced her on an exercise ball, and did everything we could think of to put her into labor. But apparently baby Sam was comfy and cozy in there and her water bag was like "leather," as the doctor put it, when he broke it! Ouch!

Anyway, her doctor put her on the schedule to be induced on 8/20, but told her to start calling the hospital on 8/18 to try and get in early since he was on call. However, the hospital was full and short staffed so she had to wait even longer. I cannot tell you how frazzled, excited, and anxious we all were! We had never had to wait this long. I do not know how my sister did it. But she did and on that warm, summery August morning the hospital told her they could get her in at 9am. She progressed fast and by 3:30 we had a baby! Yay!

My mom and I had my niece and nephew all day and took them to get balloons and flowers to welcome their new baby brother. They loved him so much! They immediately wanted to hold him or "it" as Harper calls him. It was such an exciting day and a great way to top off the Summer.

If you have seen my niece and nephew you know they are blond, blue eyed, and beautiful! Well Sam fits the bill... but has brown hair! And lots of it! So funny compared to the bald heads Eli and Harper had! Sam has more hair than these 2 did at a year! His hair is beautiful and he looks just like big brother E!

I love him so much! All 3 of these kids are such blessings and I am such a proud auntie. I can't even put into words how much love I have for these kids and how much joy they bring into our lives! August 22, 2011 is another day that I will hold dearly in my heart forever and thank God for.

 Welcome to this big, crazy world Sam :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Try This!

Arnold Palmer 1/2 Tea 1/2 Lemonade is my favorite over-sized canned beverage. A co-worker had this drink at lunch about a year ago and raved about it so I tried it and have been buying it since. Refreshing, sweet, and what a fun name!

Strap Perfect - My grandma bought me these a few years ago and I wasn't sure if I would really use them. I had some of those fancy bras that the straps can go any which way you need. However, I was always fighting with them to stay in place and stay up! I don't have much to keep them where they need to be. Well, I decided to try one of these one day with a racerback top and a regular bra and was rather impressed. Not only did my bra stay up and the straps in place, my top half looked a little, um... well, let's just say happier ;) I always wear these now instead of messing with hooking, unhooking, and falling down bras. They're so easy to use and poor Jeremiah even knows how to use the things, thanks to me constantly asking him to fix my straps.                                                          

Darigold Refuel Milk - Jeremiah and I rode our bikes to Safeway the other night and were picking up some beverages for the ride home and spotted this chocolate milk beverage. We are chocolate milk connoisseurs and so we had to try it. It contains extra vitamins and protein. There is even a PB Chocolate flavor we have yet to try. Anyway, we both enjoyed this treat! It didn't taste weird and vitamin-y like I was worried it might with the extra protein in it. This is one of my new favorite chocolate milks. Creamy and tasty, but not super thick and sweet like some brands.

Talenti Gelato in Sea Salt Caramel. My sister bought it and told me how good it was and she was not lying!  Fred Meyer sells it.Get it! Enough said!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Oh Those Summer Nights (And Days)

I meant to post this ages ago! Oh well, here it is :)

This weekend was one of those Summer weekends you don't want to end. Perfect weather, good food, road trips, and family fun.

On Friday, we participated in Free Fries Fryday, thanks to Lambweston! Several area restaurants give out free fries on this day and for every free fry given out Lambweston donates .10 cents to Second Harvest. This yearly event is a great opportunity to eat some yummy fried goodness and give back. Jeremiah and I got our free fries from Arby's this year and they were not just the plain old small fries, they were a medium curly fry! I was impressed. Thanks Arby's and Lambweston!

With Our Art Show Yummies
Later that evening, I headed to Art In The Park with my mom, sister, niece and nephew. We strolled through the art, saw some old friends, and topped off the evening with delicious fresh squeezed lemonade and Kettle Corn... that I am still munching on as I type. Love this tradition :)

Drive To Walla Walla
Hubby At Olive's In Walla Walla
On Saturday, the hubby surprised me with a day trip to Walla Walla. Before we went to bed on Friday  night, Jeremiah told me to get up and get ready in the morning... no lounging around (well, he let me lounge a little). Then we were off to Walla Walla. What a sweet boy :) I forgot how pretty the drive is, despite the stinky Boise Cascade paper factory. We ate lunch at Olive's and strolled main street before getting candy and root beer floats and heading home.

Next up, we met my mom, sister, bro-in-law, and of course my angels to watch the Dust Devils beat the Vancouver Canadians. It was a blast watching my niece and nephew at their first baseball game. We ate sweet potato fries, nachos, and ice cream, and even met Dusty the mascot and  got his autograph. The game ended with a great fireworks display. I am like a kid when it come to fireworks. Sparkly explosions in the air excite me.

Eli In His Pirate Gear Enjoying The Game
Harper Enjoying Some Snacks At Gesa Stadium
The Atkins
On Sunday after church, we picked up some milkshakes and drove down Canal to catch the air show at The Columbia Cup boat races. We don't usually pay to go the races themselves, but I always like to see the air show! Diving, stalling, spinning low flying B-15's are just a little amazing! Later that night, I finally saw "Avatar". How I managed to not see it in theaters is pretty amazing, but we had moved it to the top of our Netflix queue so it was time. My review: Eh. Maybe I needed to see it in theaters, but it was a little slow in the beginning and blue naked aliens are really distracting to a storyline.

In Awe At The Air Show

Hope Summer is going well for everyone!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bisquick Sugar Cookies

Approximately 2 years ago, my mother-in-law baked some cookies she saw on the back of the Bisquick box. She didn't care much for the cookies, but I did! They were buttery, rich, and tasted like a sweet, moist, dense biscuit. I have wanted to make these cookies for some time, but could not find the recipe. I looked online, but couldn't guarantee I found the same recipe. Well, today I decided to pick one of the Bisquick website recipes and give it a try. Although, I am not sure it's the exact same recipe, they are very close and just as good! What is great about these cookies is they can be colored for any occasion, are super easy to make, and don't take many ingredients. I added pink and blue colored sprinkles to the sugar to give them a fancier look. I brought some to mom's for dinner last night and my whole family enjoyed them... raved about them actually! I am one happy girl :)

 Bisquick® No-Roll Sugar Cookies

4 cups Original Bisquick® mix

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. In large bowl, stir all ingredients except granulated sugar until soft dough forms.

2 .Shape dough into balls, about 1 inch in diameter; roll in granulated sugar to coat. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls about 2 inches apart. Flatten balls slightly with bottom of glass.

3. Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks to cool. Store in airtight container

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Holly's Baby Sprinkle

Every baby deserves a celebration! That's why I threw my sister and baby #3, Samson, a "Baby Sprinkle." Although my sister didn't register, want gifts, or want to seem like she was asking for gifts, auntie had to throw a celebration! And c'mon, all babies need new clothes and of course, lots of diapers! My nephew, and older brother Eli, was a winter baby and Sam is due in August so they can't really share clothes anyway. This "Sprinkle" entailed a raffle for anyone who brought diapers and no cheesy or cliche games. Just fellowship and fun.

My sister is the most beautiful girl pregnant or not and has a heart of gold! She is a wonderful mommy and sister and I wanted a day full of friends, laughs, food, and fun to celebrate her and baby #3! Here are some of my favorite pics from Holly's "Sprinkle":


Happy Day Harper

My niece loves the song "Happy Birthday." For weeks she had been singing, "Happy Day, Harper" and we kept telling her that her "happy day" was indeed coming up. Although, she didn't believe it at the time and I think by some of the pics you can tell she was a bit surprised that it really was her "happy day" and we weren't joking. To celebrate my sister threw a beautiful flower themed party that any birthday girl would love :)

Harper Josephine turned 2 this year and I can't believe that little baby girl I used to hold and think about shopping and painting nails with is already doing those things with me. I am sure blessed by this girl everytime I see her! She is the sweetest, most beautiful, funniest, and smartest little princess ever! I love you and Happy Day Harper :)

The birthday girl.

Posing for Aunt Mimi.

Aunt Mimi always brings a crown. She loves it. I promise ;) She is just confused as to what is going.

Loves her balloon!

Time to sing her favorite tune!

Can't forget about the boys. They got a little something special too!
Adorable decor on the tables.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Must-Do Summer

It's officially Summer! My favorite season. It's also the longest day of the year! Maybe only by a second or so, but I still celebrate the extra daylight and the joy of sitting outside at 9:30 p.m. and still being able to see sunlight. Makes time seem to go a little slower. And can't we all appreciate that? For the first day of summer I have compiled a list of the best "Summer Must-Do's" that you shouldn't miss out on! What will you be up to this Summer?

Cool Desert Nights -

Blueberry Daze Festival -

Fourth of July Festivities-

Miss Tri-Cities Pageant -

Waterfollies Talent Show -

Free Fries Fryday -

 The Art Show at Howard Amon -

Boat Races -

 The Farmer's Market -

Dust Devils Games -

A Few More Summer Must-Do's:

Hit Up Country Mercantile For Lunch, Dessert, and More!

Bike Rides or Walks Along The Columbia

Hiking Badger

Boating or Floating The River

Eating Outside At Any and All Restaurants You Can

Slurpees From The Slurpee Capitol Of The World In Our Very Own Kennewick

Slip n' Slides, BBQ's, Laying Out, Gardening, Milk Shakes and Ice Cream, Iced Tea and Lemonade... Go Summer!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Few Favorites For Friday

Favorite new cereal! Pick it up at Fred Meyer. Now! It has so many marshmallows in it and is surely chocked full of so much sugar you could get an instant cavity. But at least it's fortified ;) Your kids will love it too! I mainly eat it as a snack so that's got to be better than for breakfast...

Reebok Runtones are my favorite tennis shoes to date. I bought them at the end of last summer and got to do a little running in them before it got too cold. They are comfortable and ventilated so your feet don't get hot. The first time I ran in them I felt like I could run longer and my calves could instantly feel the work out. Now that the weather is warmer, I brought them back out and even wore them to the 6 mile March of Dimes walk. I could definitely feel my legs working more... but I was not nearly as sore; nor were my feet in as much pain as previous walks. That was the test that convinced me this shoe is a winner and I must share! Bonus: They are not HALF as ugly as the Sketchers! You can even get the Reebok Easy Tone if you're not a runner. I recommend this shoe... stay away from Sketchers. For real. Don't listen to Kim Kardashian.

Chukar Cherries Honey Pecans! Bonus: Supporting a local company with its headquarters located in Prosser, WA! Love this! Tried these little gems about a year ago and am so addicted to them. Good thing they are not sold at grocery stores. I love all the Chukar Cherry treats, but these are my favs! Pecans sweet as honey, dipped in creamy milk chocolate, and dusted with powdered sugar! Oh my mouth! My niece loves them too and is only 1 1/2 years old. They are worth the $12! Order them online here or find somewhere they are sold! You don't want to miss out on these sweet babies!

Great Jeans

After much deliberation (5 years worth), I have come to the conclusion that 7 For All Mankind jeans really are the best premium denim money can buy.

My journey into premium denim began about 5 years ago when I purchased my first ridiculously over priced pair of Paige jeans. They fit like a glove and were so cute with their little leather strip by the pocket that I had to splurge. The quality was great too! I only recently retired them last year, due to the frequency of wear tearing a hole in the butt (mostly due to my bad habit of pulling on the belt loops). I do have to admit I regretted the decision at first, as everyone thought I was crazy for paying the price I did, but I loved these jeans and definitely got my monies worth in wear.

Before my Paiges came along, I was a Buckle or Macy's jeans type girl (note: The Tri-Citie's Macy's does not sell 7s or other "premium" denim brands). While I do like the fit of the BKE Star denim, my Paige jeans made me feel so... grown up! I made the decision to buy the jeans at this price with my hard earned college graduate money and it was quite empowering and confidence boosting. Now the forbidden fruit had been tasted and I wanted more.

A couple years later I bought my first pair of 7s. The softest most crack concealing pair of jeans I have EVER owned! I still wear them all the time and everyone always compliments me on the look and softness of my 7 Dojos. Later on, I decided to purchase a pair of True Religions. Verdict: Cute, but no 7s or Paiges. So, I bought another pair of 7s. I tried on a pair of Hudsons this year and bought them, but they are still no 7s. I swear they weren't the same jeans after I bought and washed them. While I am always trying on other brands, I keep coming back to the 7s.  I haven't purchased another pair of Paiges though and think I am about due ;)

While I know it seems ridiculous to spend a high dollar amount on a pair of jeans, you have no idea what it's like to be short and have everything fit wrong and find a jean that finally feels right. I will add, I am still a Buckle jeans girl and love the quality for the price. They are probably my second fave pair of jeans I own. Furthermore, if you shop for jeans through 6pm, Zappos, or even through the designer websites you can get great deals on premium denim. The 7 website has some great sales! I also shop The Rack when I am out of town and purchased my Hudsons there. You can save over $100 shopping this way. While It may seem stupid, and I totally see how you may think that, it's the little things that make a difference. A good pair of jeans is a little thing that helps me feel excited to get dressed for the day and makes me feel worthwhile, in an odd way. Maybe it's my insecurities talking, but hey at least I'll admit it. One day I may retire from the premium denim, but I sure hope not. It's kind of like a hobby to me and rather exhilarating finding the right pair of jeans. I might just be the crazy person who puts my baby in them too. Ye be warned ;)