Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Lemon Cookie Ice Cream

 I'm obsessed with lemon. Lemon candles, lemon lotion, lemon salad dressing, lemonade!! So when I saw these babies at the store....

 Come. To. Mama. I may or may not have shouted that in the store. The kids thought I was nuts. They might be the best food on earth..and I'm not even a sweets person. At any rate, the kids actually came up with the idea of smashing these cookies into vanilla ice cream and voila! This recipe was born!! It's soooooo good. If you've never made your own ice cream, make it. TODAY!!!

Lemon Cookie Ice Cream

2 cups of heavy cream or half and half
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup sugar
1-2 teaspoons lemon extract
Juice of one lemon
Pinch of salt
10 Lemon Oreos, crushed
5-6 drops of yellow food coloring (optional!)

1. Whisk all ingredients expect Oreos in a large bowl until the sugar dissolves.

2. Pour into ice cream maker and allow it to churn for about 15 minutes.

3. Add in crushed Oreos and churn for an additional 15 minutes or until the ice cream consistency is like soft-serve.

4. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze an additional 2-3 hours or until desired firmness (I prefer my ice cream like soft serve!)

5. Sprinkle additional Oreos on top!

I have some pretty good helpers!!

Enjoy!! XO

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seven on Sunday: Summer Challenge Week 6!

Happy Sunday!! Yet another fun week..until I saw the Back to School display at Target!! Ugh! The countdown to the end of summer is starting!!! Trying to enjoy it all!!!

Day 1: Sunday--We left our campsite and made a stop at the Henry Cowell Redwood forest on the way home. We were all in awe!!! Look at these two!!

Day 2: Monday-- On Monday I had a 4 foot pile of laundry from camping (I know, you **think** I'm exaggerating), so we didn't do much. We did go outside and ride bikes with our neighborhood friends, though. Look at Sarah's moves on her scooter!!

Day 3: Tuesday--We checked off another "summer bucket list" activity on Tuesday--Jelly Belly Factory Tour! We've been a couple of times and it's so much fun!! The tour keeps EVERYONE entertained--even Sarah! Of course they give out FREE JELLY BEANS!!! You can also taste their wonderful flavors such as barf, skunk spray, moldy cheese and toothpaste-YUM!

Day 4: Wednesday--Ok, today was a fail day for "family fun!" I went to lunch in Napa for a friend's birthday! #epicfail #mommyhadfun #foodporn

Can I get an "amen??"


Day 5--: Thursday--Pool date with besties!

Day 6: Friday--My friend and I went to a killer strength class at the gym and the kiddos had their first playdate in the gym playroom. They had a blast, and I am so sore I can't walk. Success! Of course, I didn't take a pic...maybe because I was so sore I couldn't get my phone out of my purse. At any rate, I did take this pic on Friday Brookey a giant or what??! #scary #thoselegsaintmine

Day 7: Saturday--Brookey's last day of track camp. They had a mini meet so we cheered her on! She did AWESOME! The scores are still coming in, but I know they got 2nd in the 4x100 relay (she ran anchor) and 4th in the 400! She nearly DIED in the took every ounce of her being to finish it but she finished strong. We are so proud of her!!!

This next week is going to be BUSY preparing for my sister in law's wedding and 2 weeks of houseguests!!!! I have a feeling our "Summer Fun" will be family trips is Costco and Target! That should make for a super exciting Seven on Sunday next week!! Have a great one! ~XO

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day in the Life-Summer Edition!

It's funny, a lot of people have asked me if my kids are driving me crazy this summer, how to I get anything done with 3 kids, etc. For the record, I don't even think about the fact that I have three kids..which may sound like "a lot" of kids to some, but to me it's just life. It also may seem like a breeze to others who have 4+ kiddos or for moms who work full time. At any rate, I don't think about it,  I just DO. I thought it would be fun to do a "day in the life" so I can look back and see what life was like when my kids were 8, 5, and 3.

Summer is definitely different than during school--let me just say that upfront. I have A LOT more downtime and I prefer it that way. I don't have my kids in a ton of activities because we like to be spontaneous...if it's a gorgeous day and we want to go to the beach, we do it! If Daddy wants us to meet him in SF for lunch, we do it! I like the freedom of being able to do that for 2 1/2 months because once school hits, it's nose to the grindstone.

I tried to pick a "typical" day this summer, so here we go....

5:45: My alarm goes off! I try to wake up early (AKA: before 7:00) at least 3 days a week, so I get an hour or hour an a half of solid downtime before the house comes to life :) I read, surf the internet, empty the dishwasher and have a little alone time with God :)

This is what gets me through..two cups of coffee!!! (Non fat milk and 2 Splendas in case you ever want to buy me coffee).  I love my cup :)

This the the book I'm reading. My BFF turned me onto Karen Kingsbury who is a Christian author and I can't stop reading this series. I actually finished this book, "Remember," today:

7:00: At 7, I hop in the shower and wake Sarah up. She drinks her milk and watches Sofia the First while I get ready. I always shower and "get ready"--meaning makeup and "clothes you'd want people to see you in" each day. If I don't, I am completely unproductive the entire day!! Here's my outfit today! LOL! I love mirror selfies!

I'm starving so I have my breakfast. I have this or egg whites pretty much every morning. Breakfast of champs right here!

 At 7:45 Buddy rolls out of bed. He has his milk and watches his Lego cartoon. See him?? He's not a morning person :)

A little after 8, Brookey wakes up and I make breakfast. "Make"--sorry, I POUR Cinnamon Toast Crunch in bowls, along with OJ and cut up an apple. After that the kiddos get dressed and changed, then do their "homework." Will has a little Summer Bridge Book and Brookey writes in her journal.

I clean up the kitchen and we leave for the library at 9:30.

Brookey has tutoring once a week at the library, so Sarah and Buddy get to play. Sarah played on the computer a little and did puzzles and Buddy built several block towers (of course!)

After tutoring, we headed to Carl's Jr because the kids wanted to use their free hamburger coupons they earned from the library by reading this summer. That was a delicious mess. Brookey declared their buns were not up to par ("like In and Out") and Buddy said it was the best thing he's ever eaten. All I know is my car stinks now.

After that greasy mess, we head to none other than NORDSTROM! Yes, I take my 3 wild animals to Nordstrom. I need a dress for my sister in law's wedding in 3 weeks and my weekends are BOOKED! Plus I wanted to try a few dresses that were on sale :) A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

Here is the dress I tried on...
Brookey's comment was, "It makes you look taller than a woman should look." So I bought it :) During this time, Sarah found the gum in my purse and stuffed several pieces in her mouth and Buddy was talking (yelling?) about how he could "see my butt" while I was trying on dresses. Brookey was stressed out. My train wreck left the dressing room and headed to the kids shoe department where we browsed around the kids shoes looked at the fish tank--exciting times over here.

I decided to leave before we got kicked out, so we headed home. It was almost Sarah's naptime so she was in a mood. I was driving down the freeway and Sarah was screaming that Brookey wasn't letting her see some doll, Brookey was complaining she was so thirsty she was gonna DIE and Buddy decided to play the "Would you rather" game...It always starts: "Would you rather eat a slimy booger..." It never ends well.

We get home about 1:30 and Sarah goes down for her nap. The kids get some iPad time and I do some laundry and random cleaning here and there and settle down to read again. I started the new book in the series!

I read and maybe closed my eyes until about 3:00. Then I prep dinner--we're having Indian-spiced chicken wraps with cucumber yogurt dressing! Then I work a little bit on a blog post and allegedly have my 3rd cup of coffee:

At 4:00 I wake Sarah up. We go outside and ride bikes and scooters. The sky was sooooo pretty!!

After our walk, everyone bathes and changes into PJs. They play while I do more random cleaning and finish up with dinner. Brookey plays with Monster High dolls, Buddy is busy with Legos and Sarah loves this little kitchen! At this time, it always comes to the point where someone is screaming at someone for something, someone is always whiny and everyone (including me!!) is hungry!! This is definitely my LEAST favorite part of the entire day!!!!

Scott gets home at 6:30 and we all sit down to eat dinner. After dinner is mostly cream for dessert, a little Legos and House Hunters on TV and then around 7:30, things always get wacky. NO IDEA what's going on here!

At about 8:00, we put Sarah down to nigh-night. After that, Brookey and I read together and Scott and Will read together. Then we all read Harry Potter together! We are on Chapter 3 of the first book.

It's 9:00 and I put on my running shoes and hit the gym! I recently started working out at night and so far, I'm loving it! I sweat for a good 45 minutes or so, come home, shower and at 10:30, I'm in bed!

There we have it! A day in the life-Summer Edition! Hope you enjoyed the glimpse into my crazy day! I'm ready to do it all again tomorrow (maybe not the Nordstrom dressing room part). I hope you also realize my life isn't perfect....but I'm having a great time and try to make the most of each day! ~XO

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Salads Part 1

In the summer, I love having "salad night." Here are two salads that are quick, easy and delicious! These salads are meant to be main course salads. Later, I'll share my favorite "on the side" salads.

Although I make my own dressing quite often, these two salads call for dressings that I can't make nearly as good as the bottle :) They are the Giard's brand dressings and I get them at Safeway--which is affiliated with Vons, Dominicks, Tom Thumb, Carrs and Randalls--so you should be able to buy it at any of these stores! They often go on sale for Buy 1, Get 1 Free, so that's when I stock up.

Salad 1: Chicken Caesar Salad--This is Brookey's all-time favorite dinner. She LOVES this salad!!! The Caesar dressing is perfect and you can taste the lemon in it, which is rare in bottled dressings.

Chicken Caesar Salad
- Several cups of chopped romaine lettuce
- 1-2 cups of poached chicken (click here to see my post on cooking chicken)
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 cup croutons (store bought or homemade, I do both depending on the time I have!)
- A few tablespoons Girard's Caesar Salad dressing (see below)

Optional Ingredients
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- Black olives, sliced
- Parmesan cheese, grated

This dressing is the KEY ingredient!!

1. Shred chicken and toss with about 1 tablespoon of dressing; set aside.

2. Chop lettuce, place into a large bowl and pour the juice of 1 lemon over the top of the lettuce (the lemon is optional but gives the salad an extra fresh kick!)

3. Top lettuce with croutons, tomatoes/olives/Parmesan (if using).

4. Toss salad with a few tablespoons of dressing, add in the chicken and you're ready to eat!

Salad 2: Chinese Chicken Salad--I'm not sure if there is really anything "Chinese" about this salad but the dressing bottle DOES mention it, so I'm just going with it :) All I know is that it's delicious!

Chinese Chicken Salad
- Several cups of chopped romaine lettuce
- 1-2 cups of poached chicken (click here to see my post on cooking chicken)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped
- 1 can mandarin oranges (chopped fresh oranges work, too but more work for you!) :)
- 1 handful dry Chow Mein noodles (in the Asian aisle...they add a great crunch!)
- A few tablespoons of Girard's Chinese Chicken Salad dressing


1. Shred chicken and toss with about 1 tablespoon of dressing; set aside.

2. Combine all other ingredients, add in the chicken and toss with a few more tablespoons of dressing. That's all she wrote :)

If you poached a bunch of chicken per my crockpot method, these two dinners literally come together in minutes!

Enjoy! XO

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Crazies Go Camping!

Last Friday we packed up the rig and headed out for our annual (tent) camping trip!! This is only our 5th camping trip (we started when Buddy was 2 and potty training!!!), but we already feel like old pros. We switch back and forth between going with friends and going just as a family. This time we went with friends and we had a blast!!

We have gone to different places each time. This time we headed to Henry Cowell Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was awesome because our campsite was in the "mountains" but we were also 15 minutes from the beach!! It might have been my favorite location so far! This was the view right near our campsite:
Hanging out at the campsite:
There was a really cool tree on our site that the kids LOVED climbing!!

To me, camping is all about the FOOD! We did hotdogs for the kiddos and huge steaks for the big kids!!!! :)

Steak, corn on the cob and baked potatoes for the big kids! Yummy!!

That night we went to the park's campfire and the kids sang songs and learned about the park. Sarah was a trooper and was going strong even with no nap! She never misses a chance to sing!!

The next day, we headed to Roaring Camp, about a half mile down the road. This old steam engine takes you on a ride through the redwoods. It was so much fun!!

Here we are at the entrance to Roaring Camp:

There's our ride!

 What's not cool about a locomotive through the Redwoods??!!

He's taking it all in!

 After the train ride, we walked around the little village and Buddy tried his hand at gold panning. Brookey said she wasn't interested because, "Of course it's FAKE!!!" 

After that, we headed to the cute little beach town of Capitola. LOVE this little town! The beach is small, but beautiful. The kids played around and we ate lunch at my favorite pizza shack called Pizza My Heart :)

That was a FULL day, so we headed back to camp and hung out and played in the trees :) Look at these lovebirds!!

The next day, we checked out of our campsite about 10am. We LOVED the Henry Cowell campground and I'd love to go back and get Site #35!! We really had the best site :) After checking out, we made one stop at another Redwood forest right on our way home. WOW! It was spectacular. So glad we stopped here!!

Look at my loves! :) Note, this is what we look like after 2 1/2 days in the woods and no showering! LOL!

I love this pic of big sis and little bro:

Look how dirty Sarah is! I didn't touch her hair for 2 days!

And here's how I look after 2 days in the woods! I think I smelled worse than I looked, but it's debatable :)

Running through the forest:

One last shot of my loves!! Anything make you think they are SO SICK of Mom and her camera??!!

If not, then what about this one:

This was a very successful camping trip, in my mind! Everyone had a great time, no major disasters...was it hard and a lot of work? Of course!!! But I think Brooke and Buddy will remember our camping trips forever. Sarah is working on it :) We first took her camping last October and it was a disaster, so I'm happy to report things went pretty smoothly with her this time and as she gets older, it definitely gets easier.

I think this means they had fun!!!

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