Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Faves–Merlin


Kind of a funny, humbling favorite today, but I’m feeling HORRIBLE and wanted to make it short and sweet. AND, it was windy and rainy out today, one of those days where you just want to curl up on the couch and watch tv all day (having mono makes this desire even stronger!). So debuting this favorite seemed fitting. Here’s a TV series (there are 4 seasons, the fifth and final is premiering Jan. 4th, as noted above) you may not have heard of that you could catch on Netflix that would fulfill your all day couch lounging purposes.


It’s on the Syfy channel, my nerdy little secret. I almost HAVE to like Syfy if I’m married to my husband. It’s a BBC original – they have some hidden gems, don’t they? I’ll admit, it has some SUPER cheesy moments (doesn’t ALL syfy? Shh-don’t tell hubby I said that), but overall it has adventure, fun, romance, and the characters are charmingly adorable and you can’t help but love them. Look at the main character below, you can’t help but smile, am I right?


AND, it’s family friendly. I don’t mean family friendly like to sit down and watch with my toddlers, watch a few to determine if the violence factor is appropriate for your family. What I mean is that my husband and I can watch it and not feel like our brains have been filled with scum and filth. You know that feeling I’m talking about! You finish an episode and feel hopeful and lighthearted, whimsical even! =)

There you have it folks! If you’ve been wanting something to fill those nights when you’ve got nothing to watch (keep this in your memory, that time will come in between all your favorite shows), Merlin may be the answer.

I leave you with one more picture, Arthur and Merlin. Yeah, Arthur’s not hard on the eyes. =)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays–Compassion Sponsor


Meet Carlos David Salinas.

He’s our “Compassion kid” and we’re SUPER excited to be sponsoring him. Allow me to provide some background as to why we are so excited.

When my husband and I met, he was sponsoring a Compassion child from Thailand, Tidanai. Well, Tidanai just recently graduated from the Compassion program at 18 years old. My husband sponsored him for at least 13 years and went from seeing scribbled pictures to gorgeous hand-written letters in Thai from sweet Tidanai. While I’m sure that our sponsorship was a HUGE blessing to him, we probably only wrote to him a handful of times.

We decided this time around it was going to be different. My husband recently visited Honduras on a medical missions trip and plans to continue making trips to Honduras. So, I thought we should choose a child from there knowing we’ll be somewhat familiar with his country, and MAY POSSIBLY arrange to even visit him down the road. He is 4 years old, same as my son. Coincidence? Absolutely not!

It’s been so much fun ALREADY discussing this with my son. He now recognizes his picture and is aware of some of the differences in the way Carlos lives. Our goal is to at least write to Carlos as often as he writes to us. We wrote one letter online, and just sent this one in them mail…First Letter

Please forgive my horrible handwriting. Here’s the drawing Cooper included…Cooper's Drawing Nov 2012

And finally, we included some Mickey Mouse stickers and a picture of the kids with Pluto from our Disneyland trip. Carlos told us in his letter that Pluto was his favorite cartoon character.Pluto Picture

So, hopefully you see some of my excitement this time around! We’re hoping to sponsor Carlos up to his graduation from the program when he’ll be 18 years old, 14 years from now! How cool to see the change in both him and our kids, and what an eye opening experience it will be for my kids to have a glimpse into another country and someone else’s life.

If you do sponsor a child, consider “amp”ing up your communication with them. I enjoy getting letters from my sponsor child, so I can only imagine how much more our sponsor children would love hearing from us.

And, if you don’t sponsor a child currently, consider it! It’s only $38/month and it will be a huge blessing to you! You can choose from a variety of countries as well as age of the child. Here’s the link to Compassion’s website.

I hope I inspired you during today’s “Thoughtful Thursday”. The ironic thing about being thoughtful is…we, who are being “thoughtful”, are always blessed beyond what we would have thought or imagined. Would you agree?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday–and a yummy smoothie!

Pinterest Inspired Outfit
So technically this is “what I wore Sunday”, but it’s hopefully still inspiring! Pinterest inspired!
Shirt – Old Navy
Pants – Michael Kors – Macy’s
Tank Top – Lauren Conrad – Kohl’s (old)
No scarf, obviously…I’m still finding my way in the world of scarves. AND, no sweater, but I scored a plain, similar colored cardigan at Target cyber Monday for $10, woot!
Onto what I’m drinking…
Beetalicious smoothie
Another Pinterest find! I mentioned that I’m receiving fresh produce from Farm Fresh to You and trying to find unique recipes to utilize all its contents. Well, one of the contents was…
My husband nearly had a heart attack. If there was one food he could eliminate from this world, it would be the beet. He despises them. So…being the sneaky wife I am, I put it in a smoothie! I purposely waited until he was in the other room with the kids to grate it in the food processor! I tried to rid the evidence, the skin, etc. He drank at least a good cup!
AND THEN…he found out! =) hehe I think he’s forgiven me.
I loved it, lots of fruit so you can’t go wrong. My kids were so-so, but they are always hit or miss. I’m sure I’ll try it again with them. Here’s the recipe…
The Beetalicious Smoothie
Serves 2
5 oz unsweetened almond milk
5 oz fresh squeezed clementine or orange juice
1/2-1 cup peeled and shredded raw beets (start out with 1/2 cup to see how it tastes, you can always add more the next time you make it) I probably used about 3/4 cup.
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks (I used pureed frozen mango from the store)
1/2 cup frozen raspberries (I used fresh)
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/2 cup fresh sliced strawberries (I used frozen)
1 banana
1/2 an avocado
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp flax seeds
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth and serve.
Oh, and one more outfit from the week for ya…IMG_5279
Sorry, very poor lighting. I asked hubs to snap a shot literally at the end of the day. It’s so-so. I’ve never worn a puffy vest before, but have seen lots of pins I’ve liked. So, I’m gonna give it a go. I have another combination I liked better, but here’s what I wore sometime last week.
Earrings – gift from Hawaii
Necklace – LOFT
Vest – Old Navy
Shirt – Old Navy (check out the color here, you’ll really see what poor lighting the room was)
Jeans – I.N.C. – Macy’s
Boots – DSW

pleated poppy

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TOTT–Airplane Gifts

Airplane Goody Bags Traveling…with kids…we’ve ALL been there (and if you haven’t, you’ve at least observed it)! I often wonder why people aren’t more, shall we say, thoughtful? understanding?

This fun little idea was inspired by my mother to help some of my friends who were flying cross country with their kids. I purchased almost all of the supplies at the Dollar Store, but I’ll try and include links for some of the uncommon items. Below is an explanation, as well as the free printables to recreate them yourselves! Just click on the image to enlarge, then right click and save image as. Hope this makes traveling with littles slightly less stressful.

Step #1: Purchase all necessary toys, gifts, and wrapping. The shopping list for each group of 4 items is listed below.

Step #2: Wrap each of the items, placing the correct # label on each.

Step #3: Print and cut instruction sheets and put into an envelope for mom to reference, label with “For Mom’s Eyes Only”. They will fit in a business envelope.

Step #4: Place all the wrapped items in a bag labeled with the child’s name and deliver to the traveling kiddos. Watch a bit of stress dissolve from the parents face! =)

Inserts 1-4

Shopping List: wiggly snake: socks, yarn, googly eyes, felt, pipe cleaners, super glue (or velcro strips): Cars coloring book or felt coloring page & crayons: Pipe cleaners and small beads 

Inserts 5-8

Shopping List: party favor sized spirographs (or fun stencils), paper, writing utensils and a roll of scotch tape roll: Annie’s bunny fruit snacks and plastic pop-ups (I will admit, not the best on the plane, but you could do it at the end, and say that if they can behave until you land THEN they can play with them. They’re SO fun!): 2 silk flowers: Cars water color book (and a paintbrush if it doesn’t already come with)

Inserts 9-10 (and 2 repeats)

Shopping List: M&M’s, pretzel rods (both in ziplocks), peanut butter (I put it in a tupperware): some type of Bible story book: party favor sized spiral graphs (or fun stencils): roll of scotch tape

**Yes, I realize the bottom two are repeats, I included them in case you would rather wrap them as two separate gifts.

Inserts Girly

Shopping List: princess posters (or coloring book) & coloring utensils: princess glow-in-the-dark wand: princess stamps & stickers & paper

**I first made it for 2 boys, then for a girl. So the last one is in case you want to add some girly ones to the mix.

Numbers and Labels

And lastly – here are numbers (I put two in case you’re making it for 2 children, or if you want to put a label on each side), a label for the bag with ALL of the goodies inside (without the name so you can write it in), and a label for the envelope with all the instructions – “For mom’s eyes only”.

IMG_0588 Publisher with words

Here was Cooper all ready to deliver our goodies! He didn’t mind helping so much because he got to keep some that had extra in the package. Fun, fun! Remember, you can keep it relatively cheap – check out your Dollar Store, or browse the dollar aisle at Target or Michaels. Ironic that I have yet to do this for my kids. I think it’s for two reasons:

Reason #1: I haven’t had a long enough flight with old enough kids.

Reason #2: My kids have an attention span the size of a gnat are perfect on airplane rides! Winking smile

There you have it ladies and gents. Use some, or all! If you’ve got time, leave a note letting me know if you used them, I LOVE hearing from you!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Meal Plannin’ Monday

Last week in review:
Monday Dijon Chicken, Rice & Salad (I “cheated” and used the microwavable brown rice packs from Costco – yum and easy!)
And if you’re curious as to what I feed my son, I’ll try and snap a few pics of his plate, too. Here’s his from Monday:IMG_5274
Tuesday – Meal Delivered (Thank you friends!)
Wednesday – Chicken Tortilla Soup & SaladIMG_5286
Thursday – Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes & Cranberry SauceIMG_5298
Seriously? AGAIN, I neglected to snap a picture of the cranberry sauce. But, look at those delicious sweet potatoes! I didn’t do “twice-baked”, ‘cuz this was just easier and when you have mono? You go with easy! It was DELICIOUS!
Friday – Papa Murphy’s
Saturday – Leftover Chicken Tortilla Soup
Sunday – Bacon-wrapped pork loin with cherries & Veggie SideIMG_5496
Ain’t she a beaut? Here’s the plate, and my son’s. He ate it all!!IMG_5501
I’ll post recipes sometime this week.
This week…
Monday – Meal Delivered
Tuesday – Butternut Squash Risotto, Chicken & Salad
Wednesday – Meal Delivered (but watch my blog for a new smoothie recipe!)
Thursday – Dinner out for Polar Express!
Friday – Meal Delivered
Saturday – Butternut Squash Soup & Salad
Sunday – Meal Delivered
Okay, so not a very impressive week, but I’ll also have a bread recipe with an interesting ingredient. We receive Farm Fresh to You every other week (boxed organic produce) and I’m trying some new recipes to use the ingredients delivered. So stay tuned!

Linkin' up with

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Faves - Kicks & Cups

I know, Friday Faves are done everywhere. But, I have appreciated hearing about other people’s favorite devices, foods, clothing, etc. So, why not share in the great advice club? Winking smile
I have two favorites to share today.
Favorite #1.
I splurged for my birthday and spent more than I normally would, but friends? It was worth it! I’ve been wearing these like 3 times a week since I got them. My poor husband is itching to polish them and at first my response was, “They just look rustic.” But now, they’re really starting to need a good polish. If you have a difficult time getting them to fit in the ankle, give these a try! The fit is a dream! They also have them available in wide calf if need be. I was trying to find a picture of myself in them, but you know…we moms are always the ones behind the camera. I’ll have to wear them on an upcoming What I Wore Wednesday. =) Anyway, here they are! They also come in black and a darker brown.
Favorite #2.
This is an oldie but a goody for me! Let’s just start by saying that my two children drink milk as if we own a cow in our backyard! Seriously! Our family of 4 goes through 2 gallons easy in a week! So last summer, when milk started shooting up out of the straw due to the difference in temperature (cold in the cup, hot outside), I was done with having stinky, gross milk everywhere! On my carpet, in my car, rings on the table…okay, I’m done with my rant. So I bought a few different kinds and this was by far the most spill-proof! Both my kids still use them and they are a life saver! Just don’t leave one with milk in the car, pee-yew! C’mon, I can’t be the only mom to have done that! =) Go on, buy yourself one, you know you want to! I believe they are a Babies R Us exclusive.
Here’s another version of the Tommee Tippee brand with a straw that works very well, too! And no this was certainly not a weak excuse for posting an adorable picture of my sweetie pie.IMG_3163

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays - Gratitude

I’m leaving Thursdays a bit up for grabs. I may post something I’m thankful for, something I’ve been pondering, something that’ll get YOU thinking, or something thoughtful that you can do for others. I know, broad, but all along the same lines. I was planning on posting something different, but had a change of plans.
Happy Thanksgiving!
What a great day to begin this string of blog posts, right? I have been focusing on having a grateful heart recently. Man, in our society, it’s easy to take SO much for granted. That was me. I was grateful, sure, but not really, truly, THANKFUL. What a pity! And you know what? When you focus on the many hidden (and not so hidden) blessings of your life, it really is true that you can’t help but see them.
I recently heard a friend say that he was keeping a “Gratitude List”. Writing down all the things he was truly grateful for. I took the challenge and decided I would only write something down if I was in fact, truly grateful for it. I’m adding slowly, because I really want to let my thankfulness sink in. Here’s the beginning of what I came up with…
I’m grateful for…
The sound of rustling pages - because both my children LOVE to read!

My washer and dryer, to help speed up the laundry process. Bless those 3rd world country women!
"Pillow room" - and my children's imagination and love of laughter!
The conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Cooper and Allie get along swell.
An amazing husband.
A supportive group of friends.
My son's broad vocabulary, at such a young age!
My husband brings me delicious coffee.
Grammy & Papa are willing to drive far and often to see us.
I have in door plumbing. 'Nuff said!
Like I said, I’m really letting each one sink in. Not just writing it down because I know it’s something I should be thankful for. This gratefulness list did begin to change my heart. THIS Thanksgiving, I really have felt an outpouring of love for all the people that are blessings in my life. It led me to sit down and write each of my Facebook friends a “thank you” letter of sorts. Each of them has made an impact in my life, and for that, I am thankful.

I began writing them, and got through 60 and this was the message the popped up from Facebook:

That is probably true. Facebook probably did not intend for you to message ALL of your FB friends at once, with a sweet message. Ironic, right? Facebook stopping me from getting in contact with my friends? I had to giggle. Anyway, I get to take a break from these fun messages to go share Thanksgiving festivities with family. I’ll leave you with a challenge…
Start a gratitude list of your own. And remember, don’t write it down if it’s not something you’re truly thankful for. It will change your heart, for the good. You will feel full, blessed, loved. You may have a rough start, but it will be a life-changing activity!
Again, Happy Thanksgiving….be thankful! I am truly thankful for the gift of family…IMG_7837

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TOTT–Trick of the Trade Tuesday

#23 – Waiting Games
I’m part of a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and our theme for last year was “games”. We try to give the moms a gift the first day of each semester, and we came up with this cute little idea to help the moms for those inevitable moments when you have to wait with young children. At a restaurant, in traffic, in a long line at the department store, waiting at the doctor’s office…the list goes ON AND ON. And without a game plan (sorry, bad pun), the waiting period leads to bad behavior. So, these ideas help moms create a game plan. They’re ideas we’ve all used, but often times when it’s crunch time, those great ideas flutter out the window. So this is a simple reminder you can toss in your purse for those very moments. We printed them out on cardstock, pasted them back to back, laminated them and put them on a cute ribbon.
Feel free to do the same. Enjoy!Waiting Games
Here’s a list of the “games” and a brief explanation, if needed.
#1: Show me your ________ face.
Use the listed emotions to practice showing emotion with your little one. Give them an example. Show me your sad face. Show me your excited face. Show me your silly face. Show me your angry face. You get the picture.
#2. What’s missing?
#3: Trace and match the objects.
#4. Sing songs, the sillier the better.
#5. I Spy!
#6. 20 Questions – with animals
#7. Name the clouds.
#8. Simon Says (classic!)
Again, these are all ideas we’ve used, but sometimes you try to play Simon Says and run out of ideas after touching your nose and patting your belly. So hopefully this print out keeps you going a bit longer. Here’s the cover, if you’d like to give it to a fellow mom as a Christmas gift. Print it out, cut it out and fold in half.
Happy waiting!
Waiting Games Cover
If you have a difficult time printing it out, don’t hesitate to email me and I’ll send you a copy. =)

Semi Homemade Mom

Monday, November 19, 2012

MPM–Meal Plannin’ Mondays


I said I had a plan to try and keep up on blogging, and I’ll unroll it this week! Mondays – I’ll share my meal plan for the week (I figured this might help me stick to it as well!). And while I am EVER so thankful, sorry for you guys. I have meals being delivered for the next week and a half or so to help me rest as I get over mono. So, fewer recipes and planning this week. Here goes…

Monday – Dijon Chicken, Rice & Salad

Tuesday – Meal Delivered

Wednesday – Chicken Tortilla Soup & Salad

Thursday – Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes & Cranberry Sauce

Friday – Papa Murphy’s

Saturday – Bacon-wrapped pork loin with cherries & Veggie Side

Sunday – Out to Dinner with friends (or leftovers)

My thought is, I’ll ATTEMPT to snap pictures each night, and next Monday, I’ll post a review of the previous week as well as that week’s planning. We’ll see how this goes! Happy meal planning.

Octonauts at Ease…

Let’s do an Octonaut party roundup, shall we? Click the pictures below to take you to each individual blog post. Enjoy!
Invites Link
Costumes Link
Party Favors Link
Party Games Link
Decorations Link
Food and Drinks Link
Here are a few more pictures from the party. Such a blast!
Brother and sister love!
Making his 4th birthday wish, blowing out the candles.
Enjoying his cupcake!
One final image of the kids watching Octonauts. I love the craziness that was this party. Check out how maxed out our house was! Yet, fun was had and memories had.
One final Octonaut FYI, we splurged and bought Octonaut toys on Amazon (so shipping was included with Amazon Prime), but they ship from England so the shipping costs are rolled into the price. BUT, the Octonauts FB page just announced they will be available here in the states starting March of 2013. The toys are by Fisher Price and well made. Cooper got (through the love of aunts, uncles, and grandparents) the Octopod, the Gup-A, the Gup-C and a variety of the characters. My husband and I were equally excited to bust them out of their packages and play. Very true to the show and lots of fun. Here’s Cooper when he first opened his Octopod. So fun! He did an amazing job sharing with his sister, too.IMG_4639

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Semi Homemade Mom