and to all a good night!
I had no business making hand made robot Valentines for Warren’s classmates, especially after returning from a long trip away from my family, but I did. With Colin’s help, we assembled these little suckers 24 times over.
Using boxes of Craisins, Starburst, pipe cleaner, sparkly heart stickers, googly eyes (for crying out loud!), and a sign that read, “I’m nuts and bolts about you!” we hot glued the robot together.
That’s what I get for giving him free reign to pick an idea off my Valentine’s Day Pinterest board.
Next year, it’s a package of Angry Birds cards straight from the supermarket!
Life might be hectic right now and we may be in transition, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating right. We put out our favorite decorations:
Played our spooky music playlist:
Everything from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” to several “Harry Potter Soundtrack” pieces from the various movies to a true gem that I found called “Classical Music from the Dark” (49 songs for $2.39 and all without words, as not to get too burned out since we listened to them all day long, over and over again). “Turn on the Halloween songs, please!” was the first thing out of Maddie’s mouth each morning. The kids could not get enough of Thriller, which you can see here, if you want to invest the time:
We carved pumpkins picked at a local farm (though my heart ached for our Avila Valley Barn and sunny weather):
No real candles to place inside this year since they’re packed away in some box somewhere between our bedroom and the rented storage unit.
And, of course, there were the costumes:
There is no way we could top the two-headed monster costume Jake and Joey wore last year, but we gave it a shot. Jake was a UPS delivery guy and Joey his little package.
We upped the ante by creating a UPS truck that Colin and I were both supposed to wear but couldn’t because someone had to shepherd the boys around. I ended up being the lone “driver” for the evening. Colin conceived of, designed, and created the truck himself. It turned out even better than the picture shows. Nice work, Colin!
Warren and Maddie had their own gigs as an army guy and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, respectively. They’ve never been on board with the family theme idea. All costumes were well-received.
We attended our church’s Trunk or Treat, with games and plenty of treats inside the cultural hall, and trick or treating out in the pouring rain among the cars. Warren went for it, Colin manned our car’s trunk, but I chickened out with the Maddie, Jake, and Joe. I kept them indoors and tried to convince them that eating the two mini chocolates they got before I herded them back inside was the height of the experience. I’m sure I’ll get used to events being soggy but this year was too soon.
On the actual Halloween day we took it easy since a) it was still raining hard and b) the kids were wiped out from returning home so late the night before. We went to the city-sponsored indoor trick or treating event at the town hall. Did they get as much loot as they would have hitting the streets? Probably not. But we were done in an hour and completely dry so don’t judge.
It was another great year of fun traditions. I love this silly, pointless holiday.
Happy Halloween, everyone! Enjoy pilfering your child(ren)’s candy!
Memorial Day, like last year, was spent with Julianna’s family, only this time there was new baby brother Garrett to enjoy. We had a fabulous time at Zuma Beach, our favorite on the SoCal coast.
More good memories were made catching up, boogie boarding, digging in the sand, and eating lots of food.
To top it off, we ended the holiday at a BBQ with friends here in town.
The sun was shining non-stop, it was over 75 degrees, and we spent the afternoon with loved ones.
It was a perfect day.
9AM church. Sleep in until 8AM. Breakfast of yogurt with granola and bananas unfinished. Children mostly dressed thanks to wonderful Colin. Don’t even wash my hair but throw it up in a messy bun. Race to church, arriving as the opening song is ending. Hold wiggling children on my lap through most of Sacrament Meeting. Cry through the rest of it as I give my talk. Present a Sharing Time lesson on “Baptism” in Primary. Laugh with friends as we chat and eat our Mother’s Day chocolate flower passed out at church (instead of attending Relief Society– oops). Head home to lunch on leftover lasagna. Fall into bed for a blessed nap. Wake to the sounds of whining children. Open the gift Warren made for me at school. Feast on two of my favorite breakfasts, Eggs Benedict and Crepes with Nutella and Strawberries, eaten as dinner and made by Colin. Lounge in the evening with my sweetheart at the end of our long week.
Just another Sunday in the life of this mother. And it was a good one.
We went to church in the morning but then drove down to my parents’ house to have an Easter egg hunt and ham dinner with them.
It was warm and gorgeous that day. The kids enjoyed spending time in the backyard, especially when searching for eggs.
Jake and Joey didn’t really move from the spot where they first found an egg. They just opened up the plastic and dug into the chocolate.
But the big kids knew what they were doing, even Maddie this time around.
As usual, my mom spoiled us with treats and good food. But I did contribute some to the eats. I made this chocolate coconut pie for dessert. Oh my heavens. We were fighting over the last few pieces.
We all found ways to relax and enjoy the day.
Warren dug out Kakya Andy’s mini Model-T collection.
But most of the time, the kids longed to be outside, or eating more candy. Or both.
Jake and Joe picked some ripe lemons off the ground and tried eating them whole.
Clearly, it was a struggle to consume. Why they persisted, I do not know.
We soaked in the warmth and enjoyed nature.
As usual, it was a wonderful day spent with those we love.
Easter reminds me that this life is a gift. And so is family. I am grateful for the sacrifice that the Savior made for each of us so that we can have the blessings of family throughout eternity.
Is there a valid reason that we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like we do here in America? Is it a throwback to our Irish immigrant ancestors (which I personally have) and a way to honor their traditions? Probably not. I don’t think they ate Lucky Charms with green milk for breakfast or lunched on green eggs with ham. Did they wear green beaded necklaces and pins that say, “Kiss Me, I’m Irish for the Day!”? Doubtful, but it sure makes for a fun break from the ordinary.
Aside from all things green, we did enjoy some authentic Irish grub, some of which we feasted on during our trip to Ireland back in November 2004. (One of the best adventures we ever had.)
Irish Beef Stew, one of our favorites. We actually had this dish on St. Patrick’s Day Eve. Let the partying start early, I always say.
And these Beef and Guinness Pies— a new recipe that takes some time but is fantastic comfort food.
Yes, don’t faint friends, but I occasionally use alcohol when preparing fine cuisine. And although I feel awkward in the store and look around several times to see if someone I know is watching at the checkout, it’s totally worth the hassle. Especially when it comes to this chocolate cake, which I turned into cupcakes.
It’s usually served with a chocolate ganache, but since we were going for the green look, I used a cream cheese frosting in its place to color it up. Not too shabby.
With good food you can turn a meaningless holiday into something worth celebrating. And that’s without resorting to drinking green beer!
Colin surprised me with this bouquet of roses. Roses on Valentine’s Day is overdone, you say? Not when they’re this color.
Warren came home with a sack full of Valentine’s Day loot.
We served the kids burritos for dinner (at Warren’s request) with heart-shaped strawberry ice cream for dessert.
(We decided to save the heart-shaped brownies for an upcoming Family Home Evening treat.)
Plus our good friends, Annie and Alex, hand delivered some Valentine’s goodies for us right after dinner. They were greatly appreciated!
Then Colin and I enjoyed our own romantic candle lit dinner for two we made together at home, after the kids went to bed.
The menu was perfect: Arrugula and Parmesan Salad (courtesy of our old neighbor and former ward member, Holly Y.), Fontina, Fennel, and Onion Pizza (from Martha, found on Pinterest) using this dough recipe, and Creamy Lemon Squares (also a Martha concoction, via Sarah H.). We did not care one bit that the dessert lacked chocolate. They were so, so, so good. I’m still thinking about them.
We finished the night off with “Midnight in Paris.” It was a perfectly simple day (despite sick children) and the best way to end our 6-week break from the norm. Colin returns to work starting Wednesday.
Hope your day was full of good food and lots of love.
Hearts, hearts everywhere. We couldn’t let Valentine’s Day arrive without some pink and red around the house.
Most of the decorations are ones we made before, or purchased years ago.
But I did add some new items. Some heart garland, using different size punches and twine, that I felt inspired to create after seeing Lisa Leonard’s display. I love her blog.
And some fancy hearts to line the entertainment center. (Thanks for the use of all the punches, Jo!)
Plus an “XOXO” printable I put together that you can download here.
We have a few treats planned for the season. One we made already, but didn’t turn out exactly like I envisioned, or as pictured here. “Blondies” using Valentine-colored M&Ms. Take any cookie recipe that you love (Colin used our trusted Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe), but replace the chocolate chips with candies, then spread in a 9×13 pan. The trick, which neither of us realized, is to reserve some candies and press on top of the spread dough. Otherwise you can’t even tell they’re in there.
Ours aren’t very festive looking but they sure tasted good.
Our other planned goody is brownies cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter, which we plan to eat for Valentine’s Day dessert.
What kinds of things do you do for Valentine’s Day?