Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything

resize Regal Entertainment theaters has $1 days during the summer with G or PG rated fun kid movies, our local theater has theirs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Boy does my child LOVE a good movie! He’ll do practically anything to sit down and watch a movie. I was planning on going to see the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything today, but…we’re adjusting to a napping little one. Thankfully, our neighbor had the movie, so we had our own little private showing later in the afternoon (which worked great for me, ‘cuz I got to get things done around the house!). I may have to rethink this one. hehe =) Anyway, a movie here or there is a great break to the summer heat and fun outing for the family!

 June 29th, 2010

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cars 2

Cars 2 cropped State Farm was the lead sponsor for the movie Cars 2, which made me happy because I’ve been with State Farm since I’ve been driving (we won’t mention how many years that’s been). Anywho, a local agent, JD Snead (I have no affiliation and no perks for mentioning said agent, but come on! Does an agent get any cooler than this?) hosted a free screening of the movie for local families who had RSVP’d. A whole mess of our friends attended, it felt like a private screening with just our friends practically! We had friends from out of town visiting and they were able to join us (hence the yummy recipe included at the end of the post, what I made for lunch for all of us!)

It was so well organized and we felt like we received the red carpet treatment! We arrived to an orderly line in which our names were checked off and each child received an adorable Cars 2 shirt as well as a little goody bag with pencils, a decoder, etc. My in-laws joined us. Here we are below checking in, can you see little Allie’s car seat?clip_image002I was so excited because the ONLY picture I captured the whole day was the one below (not the best, although it cracks me up that he’s holding his trains), but when I checked out JD Snead’s facebook page, he had some pictures of us on it! Lucky me! IMG_5351  After we walked through the front doors, they had the State Farm Good Neigh Bear awaiting us for pictures. Here’s Cooper’s reaction…Cars 2 entrance We were told which theater to enter and when we walked in, as I mentioned, we saw friends galore!! My neighbor was sweet enough to snap the picture at the beginning of the post for me, thanks friend! And here’s the excited theater awaiting the feature movie! All our friends were in the upper right corner (probably close to the exit in case little ones couldn’t sit the entire movie), and I’m below the arrow holding little Allie. =)Cars 2 audience with arrow JD himself (who you can see in the far right of the picture) welcomed everyone and sang Happy Birthday to a little boy in the audience who was turning 4. What a fantastic host, here he is again…JD Snead Cooper and I were so looking forward to this movie, and felt extra special that we got to see it for free (particularly since I had no idea how Allie would do, thankfully, she was an angel!). It helps to have a network of mommy friends to help find out about fun activities such as this going on in your area. If you’re not in SOME type of mommies group, I highly recommend finding one, or heck, start one yourself! =)

This was definitely a fun memory for our Cool Summer June activity.Oh yes, our yummy lunch following the hilarious and fun movie! The picture is from, it’s a Rachael Ray recipe (we were busy chasing all our kidlets after the movie, no time to take pictures of food). Here’s the recipe, I was able to do most of the prep ahead of time, so we just stood around the stove frying up the chicken.

Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

and Salad with Tangy Maple Dressing

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 ½ to 2 lbs. chicken tenders

Salt and Pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten with a splash of milk

1 cup plain bread crumbs

1 cup pecans, processed in food processor to finely chop

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 orange, zested


¼ cup maple syrup 6 radishes, thinly sliced

¼ cup tangy barbecue sauce 6 scallions, trimmed and chopped

1 navel orange, juiced

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped

Directions: Heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of oil over medium high heat. Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper.

Set out 3 shallow dishes. Place flour in 1 dish, eggs in a second and combine bread crumbs with ground pecans, nutmeg and orange zest in the third. Coat tenders in batches in flour, then egg, then bread crumb mixture. Fry tenders in small batches 6 to 7 minutes. Drain tenders on paper towels.

Combine maple syrup, barbecue sauce and orange juice in a bowl. Whisk in oil and season with salt and pepper.
Combine romaine, radishes and scallions in a large salad bowl or on a serving platter. Toss with 3/4 of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to your taste. Top salad with pecan crusted chicken tenders and drizzle remaining dressing over top.

June 25th, 2010

Friday, June 24, 2011

Concert at the Park

My husband had the day off…thank goodness after his hellacious week! We were supposed to see Cars 2, but we have a fun opportunity to see it tomorrow…I’ll explain in tomorrow’s post. So, today we had a relaxing day at home including watching my husband remove his big toenail!! Ewww!, followed by a relaxing evening listening to music at the park.

Seriously, look how relaxing this looks! I snapped this adorable photo op of hubby and my daughter…IMG_5350 And, while it’s a bit John Elton-ish…how cute are these?IMG_5346  I’ll spare you the photos of my husband’s minor toe surgery and sign off with the cuteness above…=)

June 24th, 2010

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Zoo? Riiiight!!

So on the calendar for today, we were supposed to go downtown to visit the zoo (after all, it is zoo month and it’s Twilight Thursdays). Well, after my husband’s 4th night in a row of getting home after 7:15, mom did NOT feel up to that! Plus, I had a boxing groupon I was hoping to use scheduled at 7:10pm (let’s face it ladies…this baby weight doesn’t just go away by itself! Okay you who fall into that group, I DON’T want to hear it from you!!). I was SO hoping to go that I resolved to have dinner on the table and both children bathed so hubby could just waltz in the door and enjoy the evening with them while I went to my boxing class. This is exactly what happened, fairytale kisses on my way out the door, boxing wraps in hand. I decided on pasta for dinner, easy peasy, right? Oh wait, no pasta sauce! Hooray, neighbor to the rescue! And trying to get the kids bathed? Yeah, my 2 year old decides he wants to scream and cry at every given turn throughout bath time. *sigh* 

Well, when hubby still hadn’t called to say he was on his way home at 7 o’clock, I realized boxing was NOT happening (his commute is about 25 minutes).

At this point, I had 2 options. Pardon my french, but

Option #1: Get pissed and have a horrible evening, dwelling in self pity that my husband works such long hours and I never get to do ANYTHING I want to do!


Option #2: Be thankful that my husband is committed to serving people in his line of work, and 90% of the time, LOVES what he does AND…turn the evening around so that I could enjoy what was left with my kids.

I’m proud to say that I chose Option #2. HOWEVER, allow me to preface that “pride” with 2 notes. First, I called the gym, and they said it was NO big deal and I could show up any day I wanted. (phew – what a relief).

Second, and for those of you that are not “spiritual”, feel free to disregard this, but I cannot deny it! I’m a Christian, and one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace. I’ve got to chalk it up to the Spirit on this one! It was Him that gave me peace! Particularly regarding this aspect of the evening…

So, I had decided to have a happy attitude for the evening. I finally called my husband at 7:10 to find out where he was. Guess what? He was about a block away, I probably could’ve made it to boxing! When he came strolling in the door and saw me bathing the kids, he cocked his head in a confused manner.

I patiently said, “I was trying to have them ready for you so I could go to boxing, but I realized tonight was not a good night.”

He said, “Oh. Thank you.” in the most sincere voice ever! I was so glad that I remained calm and didn’t chew him out, which was my first thought as the evening began to go awry, which wouldn’t have accomplished anything good, right?

So, my life lesson to you is…take a deep breath when things seem to be going…umm…to put it delicately, not your way, and make a CHOICE to turn things around. Yeah, things might not have gone as you’d hoped or planned, but they can still be pleasant, but it IS a choice. What are you going to choose next time?

June 23rd, 2010

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

National Clay Week

Well…it may not be this week, but at least National Clay Week is in June. And really, honestly, does my 2 year old know this? No…all he knows is that he just got a new batch of play-doh (here’s the recipe I use)! We made it green (because green is his best!! Oh, and I added mint to make it smell yum-o!) and had a friend over to play. So sweet!IMG_5343 June 22, 2010

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer!


Today is the official first day of summer on the calendar! I found a slip and slide at Target for just $5 and knew this had to be our way to celebrate! It was so sweet, when we set it all up, we realized Cooper had no idea what to do! I tried to explain, and he ended up just sort of crawling on it. So mommy got to bust out her bathing suit and give it a go. I must admit, I was slightly nervous I was gonna hurt myself, but I had a blast! I think we’re gonna have to bust it out when daddy’s home sometime in the near future. So fun! Yay for summer!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Ice Cream Soda Day-but not for little boys who don’t eat their dinners =(

RB Floats

Cooper was going to enjoy his first ever Root Beer Float! Well, until he didn’t eat his dinner. =( Hey, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do as a parent. Ryan and I enjoyed them anyway! (Allie wanted too, hehe) If you haven’t yet, you should enjoy your own Root Beer Float this summer. Delish!

June 20th, 2010

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father’s Day

IMG_5293I barely pulled off a “fancy” Father’s Day this year. We drove back from LA the night before and didn’t get in until 3am. However, between a little pre-planning, and my mom’s help setting the table before she left the house, we have….SUCCESS! Well, look at those 3 happy face up above. I gave in to ye ol’ tie theme this year. The morning began with these…IMG_5287I used a frosting bottle and squirted the batter onto the griddle. It took a little practice, I will admit. But how fun!

I printed out the infamous free printables including the tie banner floating around the internet (is it just me, or is it challenging to get a good picture of a banner?). father's day banner Here’s what the table looked like:IMG_5271 I bought the teal plates at Target. They’re salad plates and I’d been needing some for awhile anyway. I already had the vase. My mom bought the ribbon at Michael’s and doctored up the cute flower arrangement and Chinese to-go boxes (which we filled with Whoppers and cupcakes for the guests to take home).IMG_5292 I made French Dip Sandwiches (again, I was able to buy the few ingredients needed down in LA so I didn’t have to go shopping after a few hours of sleep the next morning) courtesy of Rachael Ray’s recipe you can find here. I say recipe loosely, super easy and delicious!!IMG_5298

My husband rarely needs anything, and doesn’t desire much (lucky me!!)…so I bought him a pair of workout shorts (which he DID need). Other than that, we enjoyed some family time to celebrate dad’s day. Here’s our happy family…IMG_5299 Ryan’s dad…enjoying his sandwich and loving time with his son!IMG_5300IMG_5310Ryan’s mom bought him a kite, which we failed to fly the day of…we’ll give it a go another day when we’ve had more than, you know, a few hours of sleep. =)IMG_5302 Ryan’s first Father’s Day with a daughter, precious!!IMG_5313

June 19th, 2010

Father’s Day 2010

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Enjoy the Moments


Short post, another catch up day. Today consisted of to-do lists and packing to return home. =( No outlandish Cool Summer Days activities (basically, Cooper got to watch A Bug’s Life in the car). While accomplishing said tasks, my son asked to get into Grammy’s trunk. He was thrilled to sit in the trunk for at least a good 1/2 hour. Oh to be a kid! Revel in the joy through your child fellow parents! =)

June 18th, 2010

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spitting Frogs…and an eternal perspective

IMG_5245Our Cool Summer Days activity for the day was to revisit the “Spitting Frogs” that Cooper LOVES down in Glendale, CA. IMG_5235This was also our day to go up and visit “Great Ma-Ma” as my son has taken to calling my grandma, as well as some of my aunts and uncles. It’s always a bit nerve inducing to bring a child into a senior home, but I tell ya…this trip made me wish we lived closer to my grandma.

We arrived during the weekly “hymn sing” and I’m thinking to myself, “Perfect…a 2 1/2 year old and a group of elderly people singing out of hymn books, great combo!” There happened to be an empty chair next to my grandma, so Cooper and I took a seat and opened a hymnal. Wouldn’t you know, Cooper was fascinated and sat quietly on my lap for a good 20 minutes while the entire room beamed with happiness while watching him. I had 2 thoughts while we “crashed” the hymn sing…

#1: Join planned activities at your local senior home and spread some youth!

This sounds a bit insensitive, but I think you’ll get where I’m coming from here. Visiting a senior home with kids is PRICLESS to the tenants. However, it is also very draining and, at times, awkward!! So my thought was this…look up activities being held at your local senior home and ask if it’d be alright if you joined in the fun. That way, you have something distracting you, but the tenants are still getting the same amount of joy from your visit.IMG_5230IMG_5232

#2: Your stage in life completely changes your perspective on things!

For example, how 18 years old feels SO old when you’re 6, but when you’re 30, 18 years old feels QUITE young. This realization donned on me as we were singing the words to some of the hymns. Read the words in the following hymns, with the perspective in mind of that of an elderly person. So much more truth, right?

“How Great Thou Art”

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation

And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow in humble adoration,

And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!”

“The Old Rugged Cross”

To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,

its shame and reproach gladly bear;

then he’ll call me some day to my home far away,

where his glory forever I’ll share.”


I’m not the type to get all choked up, but as I looked around the room, realizing many of the tenants might live those truths out within the next few months, it was quite humbling and a good reminder to…carpe diem! Which we promptly did following our visit.

We had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, rode the trolley at the Americana, sat in 2 1/2 hours of LA traffic, and had a family dinner at home with our ENTIRE immediate family, spouses and “adopted” kids included. =)

IMG_5241IMG_5242 So what are you waiting for….CARPE DIEM!! =)

June 17th, 2010

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beach Memories are Unforgettable

Our first full day in LA was dedicated to going to the beach! Cooper was very excited to play in the sand and build big sandcastles. The idea was courtesy of 2 of his favorite books:

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long

I purchased this book for Cooper’s first birthday, thinking it may be too long for him. It is long for that age, but he loved it from the get go! It’s a fantastic pirate book invoking fantastic imaginative play.


Olivia by Ian Falconer

While we love this book, and will probably be purchasing more (now that I have a girl), Olivia is quite mischievous, potentially displaying undesired behavior to your child. But who are we kidding? Our children get that plenty from other places as well. So, why not take the opportunity to discuss it together while reading? In this book, Olivia becomes SO good at building sandcastles, she builds a skyscraper! =)


We were a bit worried when we first arrived to the beach, it was raining!! We even had to ditch our normal breakfast spot and go to IHOP. Clearly, Cooper was disappointed:IMG_5183We walked down the pier and obtained our traditional HB bench pictures, first one with Allie! =)HB Allie  HB Cooper

HB Family

Cooper was still pretty dead set on playing in the sand, so we decided to give it a go and…surprise…we ended up with nice weather! We went from this:IMG_5193 Brrr!! To this…IMG_5203Unfortunately, I didn’t get too many pictures. (my camera may have been caught by surprise by a rogue wave). But, repeated life lesson on my blog, be flexible. Who knew with rain in the morning that we’d end up with fun in the sun. Some more fun pictures from our day… Cooper's lunch Papa and wine







Ryan and Becky


IMAG0118 How cute is she in her suit!! Eek!

June 16th, 2010

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Family – Make it a priority!

Today was sort of a recovery day for all of us. My kids had driven down 6 1/2 hours south the night before, getting in at 3am, and hubby and I drove down during the day today, arriving to LA around 7pm. The kids went to sleep before Aunt Annie and Uncle Scott flew in (which was kind of nice because then we had a few hours of adult time with them, which was wonderful!). But we were all looking forward to hanging out with family. Yes, the drives were long, but time with family is priceless. Can’t wait to have them closer! Here they are with their niece and nephew. Yay!Coop and Scott


FYI – Annie’s great with kids, Allie was TIIIRED!

June 15th, 2010

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Karen’s Bakery Story Time

Story Time. Baby Turtle Tails

I’ve mentioned I like to prepare in advance. I thought it’d be nice for Cooper to maintain some routine while Ryan and I were gone (I know, I know…it was only for 2 1/2 days! Nonetheless). So Grandma took Cooper to the story time at Karen's Bakery. They got to see a tortoise! Look into the fun, local story times in your area during the summer. This one can get a little crazy, especially with the construction going on right now, but Cooper loves his routine and looks forward to it each month, crazy or not! Here he is petting the tortoise. Story Time. Cooper is eager to touch the tortoiseTortoise is a turtle, but a turtle is not always a tortoise

June 14th, 2010