All posts by Amy


Over Spring Break it hit me that Holden’s First Holy Communion was less than a month away and I hadn’t given much thought to his reception and invitations!

I had a color scheme in mind {mostly navy & green}, but not really a “theme”. As I was strolling through Target last week, I spotted these Mara Mi notecards and immediately knew that an anchor was going to be the icon for this big milestone in Holden’s faith journey.


“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” ~ Hebrews 6:19


I’ve also been on the hunt for a tie to complete his outfit for the big day. I immediately searched on-line for an anchor tie and settled on this one via Etsy…



Trying to keep the decor simple and use things I already have. Did a search for FREE anchor printables and found this one that I adore and ties in with everything…



Moving right along…..

Following this very special weekend is Elliott’s big double digit birthday celebration so I am in full swing with the party planning. There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing our kiddos at their parties & celebrations with friends and family.

Feeling anchored and extremely blessed.


Have Courage And Be Kind

It’s Spring Break over here at FFF. Elliott has had a terrible cough and we had rain yesterday, so we’ve laid low thus far. I’ve been trying to do some Spring cleaning & purging and the kids have been having fun making their own movies and playing Disney Infinity together. Although we’ve been inside most of the break, fighting has been kept to a minimum which has been nice!

Last night I took Elliott to see Cinderella while Holden and Daddy had a dinner date at Toppers. Elliott has never seen the animated version of Cinderella {where did we go wrong??}, but desperately wanted to see the live-action movie after seeing a preview during Annie at Christmas.

We both LOVED it and when I asked her on the car ride home what her favorite part was, she said “when the fairy godmother transformed everything!” Guess what….that was my favorite part, too! I also love the matching colorful frocks worn by Anastasia & Drizella. Such a great movie…I highly recommend seeing it in the theater despite the ticket prices and $9 for “small” ICEE and box of Sour Patch Watermelons!!

The message of this movie is loud and clear ~ have courage and be kind.

Simple really.

I hope Jay and I can teach this to our kiddos along with guiding them on their faith journey. After all, they both go hand-in-hand, don’t they?


So, yes. Have courage and be kind…..and a little silly, too!!


Any Excuse To Eat Doritos

Emily Bite’s Doritos Taco Salad has been popping up all over my IG account {flipflopfoodie_ww} and I knew it had to make it onto our menu plan one week real soon.

I had it down for tonight which is usually Taco Tuesdays in our house, but since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to have corned beef & taters so decided to make this up last night after soccer practice.

I will admit at first I was a little skeptical of the Catalina dressing….I am not a huge fan of it and thought about using ranch or a more creamy dressing, but wanted to make it according to the recipe. I also wanted to make my own dressing to have more control over the ingredients. I did a simple Google search and found this one. Since it was my first time making it, I cut the recipe in half….all measurements are halved and what I used. The amount I got was plenty for one big salad with a little leftover. You could certainly double or triple to make extra to have on-hand.

DIY Catalina Dressing

1/6 cup white vinegar

1/6 cup EVOO {or any salad oil}

1/4 cup ketchup

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt

A couple shakes garlic powder

Blend with a hand mixer or an immersion blender and refrigerate until ready to use.


The salad has very few ingredients, but is full of flavor and was a total hit with 3 out of 4 family members. One family member refuses to eat anything green so he didn’t even try it. His loss!


I used:

3/4 of a large head of iceberg, chopped

1 roma tomato, diced

1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

4 ounces {45 chips} Nacho Cheese Doriots, crushed to bite size pieces

1 pound ground sirloin, browned with 1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning

1/2  cup of the homemade Catalina dressing


Toss everything together and plate it up ~ dinner is served!


Next time I think I’ll add some fresh corn, black beans, red onion and jalapeños. It was excellent as-is, but I like lots of “stuff” in my salads!

This salad is also perfect for picnics as there is no mayo in the dressing. Pack it up with the dressing on the side and mix it up right before serving.

We really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to make it again on a busy weeknight.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


You Paid HOW Much For That?

I’ve really wanted to blog lately, but haven’t really had a lightbulb moment with a great topic…

I’ve wanted to share more recipes especially since I’ve been doing Weight Watchers and have been experimenting with more low fat/low-cal dishes in the kitchen these days. I started WW on September 3, 2014 and have lost 32 pounds! It’s something that I often wonder “why didn’t I get started sooner?!?”, but here I am 6 months into the program and fiiiiiiinally things are starting to click and I can definitely see changes on and off of the scale.

With that loss of 32 pounds comes the opportunity to buy some new clothes. I’ve always loved shopping for clothes, but when you are carrying extra weight and don’t feel the best about yourself, it’s hard to really go shopping and feel good about your purchases. I think I have been loving shopping for clothing for the kids to fulfill not being able to buy cute stuff for myself, but that is all changing! Lately I have bought some new pieces that I would not have worn prior to September 3rd.

Another thing to know about me is that I HATE to spend a lot on clothing. Growing up I remember being taught to start at the clearance rack and see what you can find first before paying full price for something. I recall heading directly to the clearance areas of Contempo Casuals, Wet Seal and Charlotte Russe when I was in high school trying to stretch my hard earned allowance and baby sitting money. After awhile it becomes a game to see how inexpensive you can find something and you’ll never want to pay full price for anything ever again. It may hurt a little when you don’t find something on sale or clearance, but it all balances out when the majority of your shopping is done mindfully and your items have a red clearance sticker affixed to them.

Lately I’ve come across some ridiculously amazing deals that I want to share with you…..


I picked up this Michael Kors leather jacket for about $40 out of pocket. I had a gift card from Christmas and was looking around the dress department in Macy’s one day and the saleslady asked if I wanted a great deal on a leather jacket. I tried it on and it fit like a glove so I HAD to get it! After a coupon and my gift card, I spent a little over $40 for this jacket.


A couple weeks ago I strolled through the shoe department at Target and spotted these for $3.56. They were an on-line return and my size {which is a 10 now!!}. Pays to have big feet! They look super cute with a pair of boyfriend jeans and a fun top.


My latest stupidly cheap find was this pizza shirt for Holden that Old Navy gave me for 47 cents. I have no idea how they come up with these prices, but I don’t care, I’ll take it! It’s a little big for him still, but I’ll tuck it away for next year. That’s another way to save money when shopping for your kiddos….if you see something at a great price, pick it up and hang it in the back of the closet for down the road. I also try to buy multiples of stuff like this for birthday gifts. The kids always like having matching shirts with their friends at school.

I’m trying to teach Elliott the art of bargain hunting, too. She loves to shop, but has no idea about stretching a dollar just yet. When she was really into Justice {thank goodness that phase has passed!} she would go in there and want a pair of shorts for $40-something. I would go to the clearance rack and find some shorts in the SAME style and ask her “would you like two pairs of shorts AND a top or that one pair of shorts for about the same price?” Most of the time I shop for the kids when they are in school and save the receipts in case it doesn’t work out. Holden is easy and will wear anything I put out for him.


My goal is to start a little frugal fashion blog and show just how easy it is to dress on a dime.

I look forward to sharing more finds with you as I expand my wardrobe in the coming months.

Happy shopping, friends!


Right On Target ~ A Laser Tag Birthday Party

Last fall Holden went to a birthday party at the local laser tag place and immediately said he wanted his 8th birthday party there. This mama party planner still loves hosting a good themed party, but after almost 10 years of birthday parties, I’m more open to letting someone else do all the work and having it “off-site”, as I like to call it.

I usually have a good handle on his February party right after the new year, but this January was full of flag football, the flu and lots and lots of post soccer season soccer games so I found myself scrambling to get the invitations out and didn’t have time to make them on my own. I found a cute one on Etsy and went with that. The digital file was just $7 and I had them printed at Target {4X6} for 19 cents a piece.


I reserved the party and made a deposit on-line. Easy peasy. The words “absolutely NO outside food or drink permitted” are utter disappointment for control freak party planners, but I took a deep breath and channelled my inner Elsa and just LET IT GO. I even had to order the cake through them which was the hardest part for me. I can handle pizza and sodas, but the cake?? And I almost brought my own coordinating plates, cups and napkins, but decided to keep it simple and go with what they supply. I did grab an “8” candle for the “mystery cake” and some balloons at Party City for a festive touch.

The party package included 10 guests and came with 2 hours of play {3 games of laser tag and 10 tokens per guest}, 2 slices of pizza/person {3 pizzas} and unlimited soda refills. Our hostess, Eliza, was great and kept the party moving along nicely. We ended up getting out of there just in time….apparently this is the weekend hot spot for teenagers and they started to take over around 7:30 right when the party was wrapping up. We practically had the place to ourselves for the first hour, though.

As a $12 “add on” they have a party wheel that the birthday boy/girl can spin and win anything from a free pizza, to more tokens, to extra tickets, etc. Holden spun and landed on 1000 tickets which basically translates to a absurd amount of cheap little trinket toys or ONE big cheap toy which he chose in the form of a disc launcher ~ a $12 disc launcher which retails at your local Dollar Tree for well…a dollar! Ha!


About a month before the party I came across some lightning bolt pajamas on clearance at Target. I scooped up 10 pairs, discovered there was a Cartwheel savings for an additional 20%, used my Red Card for an additional 5% and BOOM the party favors were done!


 I also picked up some brown craft paper bags at Dollar Tree, took a Sharpie to them and created a target to fit with the theme. The manila mailing tags are from Staples and the chartreuse polka dot washi tape is from Joann’s.


 {Disclaimer: the generic Pop Rocks were not my first choice, but they were made in the USA and not China so I rolled with it! 😉 }




{Waiting for the guests}






{Holden hits the jackpot}



{Pizza from next door at Pizza Del Sardo}


{Pretend this is a red velvet Nothing Bundt Cake, K?}



{Please note the $12 disc launcher 😉 }


I must say that this party was right on target. The seven and eight year old boys were in their element and sweaty messes when all was said and done! Unfortunately, I didn’t get all 12 kids to sit still long enough for a group shot {yes, I actually thought that was going to happen}. I loved holding it on a Friday night because that left the whole weekend open.

The best part was that I did not stress at all. Not once. I even chaperoned a fourth grade field trip earlier that day and was still standing. Throwing cozy intimate parties at home is nice, but giving up the reins and letting someone else run things is sometimes nicer.

Many thanks to all the gamers who came out and helped Holden celebrate EIGHT! He sure did enjoy your generous gifts all weekend long.

We love you to the moon and back, Holdy! You’re a blast to be around and we pray you have many blessings, adventures and laughs on your way to NINE.


Daddy, Mommy, Sissy, Riggs & Rassy

Twenty Fourteen ~ A Year In Review

Happy New Year! I am eagerly awaiting to see what 2015 will bring….it’s a big blank space just waiting to be filled with precious memories.

I hope you all had a joyous and safe NYE. We got together with several of our wonderful neighbors and overindulged on everything from Ethiopian enchiladas to key lime pie and washed it all down with everything from caramel apple sangria to Shock Tops! Needless to say I need to get back on track with my Weight Watchers program!! I have been attending the weekly meetings, but watching the pounds go up little by little here and there since the beginning of December. I did so well from early September to the end of November….the secret is to have all the right foods in the house and that has been the problem. So, tomorrow I shall gather all the right groceries to regain focus and watch the pounds head back in the right direction.


About this time each year I choose one photo per month from our iPhoto library and post it as a way to look back on the past 52 weeks. It’s difficult to narrow it down to a single moment, but that’s part of the fun.

Here are twelve memories frozen in time from Twenty14…


{Splashing in Santa Barbara on a January day}


{Game truck madness for Holden’s February birthday}


{Cosmic mother/son bowling in March}


{April brought the beginning of Spring Sports Saturdays}


{Celebrating 5 years at Star Dance Center with Miss Erin in May}


{June’s maiden voyage to Grand Central Market}


{July welcomed Auntie Anuja into the family}


{An August day at the tar pits and MOMA}


{Fall Sports Saturdays commenced in September}


{October hosted our first, and definitely not last, Color Run}


{A blurry capture of a perfect Thanksgiving}


{December brought a full house for Christmas}


This year I was surprisingly ahead of the Christmas card game…both photos that I wanted to include on it were done and captured by mid-October and our cards were in-hand by Halloween! I loved not having that hang over my head for the month of November.



The happiest of January Firsts to you!


Hand Santa-tizer Class Goody

Hello friends!

We’ve been enjoying the holidays with Jay’s annual corporate party, soccer playoffs, shopping, wrapping and getting little goodies packaged up for those important people that bless our lives during the year.

Over the weekend the kids helped me get their classroom treats labeled, washi taped, stuffed and stapled. I stalked the Bath & Body Works after holiday store clearance in early-mid January and picked up enough pocket hand sanitizers…..ahem, Santa-tizers…..for both their classes. They were 75% off and came up to 44¢ a piece. That is a super small price to pay to help do my part in the germ-y hands department. 😉


 I grabbed the little favor bags at Target over the summer for 70% off and the washi tape is from Dollar Tree. I just printed off a little message on a clear Avery address label, added a mini candy cane and DONE!

I will most definitely be visiting B&BW in the new year for next years’ supply.

Can’t go wrong for under 60¢ per classmate!


I hope you’re decking the halls, setting up nativity scenes, sipping peppermint hot cocoa, ice skating under the stars & white twinkly lights, getting frustrated when your kids waste all the Scotch tape and there isn’t any to be found when you need it {just me?}, cruising the streets to see the Christmas lights and just enjoying sitting on your couch staring at your tree!

10 more days.


Under The Mistletoe

Just wanted to pop in and share a cute holiday gift that I’ve been working on ~ Mistletoe Survival Kits.

I’ve been hoarding all things candy cane & peppermint for the past couple months.

Last year I saw this cute idea and wanted to put my own spin on it to give as gifts this year.


Each kit will include about 4 of the goodies shown and will be nestled in a small gift bag.

The majority of these things were only about a dollar so this makes a nice, inexpensive little gift.

1. Candy Cane Green Tea ~ Trader Joe’s

2. Socks ~ Target

3. Mug on the left ~ 99¢ Only

4. Mint Chocolate Chip mask ~ Wal-mart

5. “Pur” gum ~ Albertson’s

6. Mug on lower right ~ Dollar Tree

7. Ghiradelli peppermint hot chocolate mix ~ Wal-mart

8. Minta soda ~ Ralphs

9. Peppermint hot cocoa spoon ~ Wal-mart

10. Candy Cane Chapstick ~ Wal-mart

11. Candy Cane mini Oreos ~ Wal-mart

12. Peppermint tissue paper ~ Dollar Tree

Not pictured: EOS sweet mint lip balm and LUNA minis in Chocolate Peppermint Stick {both from Target}.


These will make sweet gifts for teachers, aides, hairstylists, babysitters, etc.

Now off to make my Thanksgiving shopping list ~ less than a week away.

Happy Friday!

The Year I Dressed Up As My Favorite Condiment

How is it already November 4th?

I ran into Trader Joe’s for milk and eggs this morning and the 99cent Christmas advent calendars are out, the candy cane green tea is on the shelves and the Thanksgiving staples are stacked up high! Turkey Day is 3 weeks from Thursday…

Halloween was celebrated here for what seems like weeks with a church trunk-or-treat outing mid-October, the school Fall Festival the following week and the piece de resistance last Friday night. Not to mention the school costume parade on the morning of October 31st, too.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really give too much thought to the kids’ costumes. As a matter of fact, I picked up a Michelangelo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume for Holden last year at Target for 90% off {$2} and he was thrilled with it for this year. Elliott wanted to be Wednesday Addams which I thought was brilliant. I started my hunt for a white collared shirt, black dress and striped tights when I came across a darling {dead bride} costume at Ross for $12.99. It was different and well made so I picked it up and she ended up loving it so that is what we went with for her this year. I guess that means I have 12 months to procure the proper Wednesday Addams attire!

For truck-or-treat I literally went into the dress up box and pulled out two super hero costumes. Bam. Easy.




{the fall festival wasn’t ready for this motley crew}


{apparently pizza isn’t the only thing TMNT’s like to eat}


I wanted them to participate in the school parade, obviously, but tried to keep the costumes simple. Elliott begged me to take her to Party City for these suspenders and I found a cute “nerdy” math equation tee at Old Navy for under $3. Holden decided to don an old AYSO jersey and go as David Beckham. Done and done.




{a friend’s older teenage daughter did Elliott’s make-up for Halloween night}



The Tuesday before Halloween I needed some serious hocus pocus to come up with a costume for me. A friend posted a Sriracha costume on Facebook awhile ago that was from Target. I checked my local Targets for it with no luck and then decided to try I found it on sale, but had to pay expedited shipping to guarantee it here for trick-or-treatin’. I ordered it on Tuesday and it was at my door the next afternoon…


{the best $8 I’ve ever spent ~ I’ll wear it for years to come}

That’s about it, folks. We managed to carve a couple pumpkins and Elliott decorated one for the contest at school…




{Elliott’s “Girly Pumpkin”}


Is it just me or does it seem like after Halloween, the holidays are downhill from here?

Fasten your seatbelt.

Kaleidoscope ~ The Color Run

Well, hello readers!

Are any of you still out there? I sure do kinda miss blogging and hope to post more now that the holidays are upon us….my absolute favorite time of the year.

But, what I’m sharing today is the fun time we had this past Saturday morning in Ventura participating in The Color Run. We’d been wanting to cross this off our bucket list for awhile now and coupled with the fact that my vision for this year’s Christmas card involved lots of color, we needed to get this done sooner than later so mama could make sure her vision would be carried out. 😉

So, we rose super early, threw back some coffee, tied up our tennies and headed out the 126 before the sun came up. Needless to say, the kids couldn’t understand why we woke them up “in the middle of the night”, but once we got there and got our bibs, shirts, temporary tattoos, and headbands, their excitement built.




{It was a freezing 51* so we sat in the warm car until it was time to line up in the chute}




{about a mile in we ran through the pink station}


{…then came yellow…}


The route took us down Main Street and by the Mission San Buenaventura. It turned out to be a gorgeous morning for “The Happiest 5K on the Planet”.



Before we knew it, we ran through the final color station and the kids had fun gathering samples of KIND Bars, McDonald’s smoothies & Oberto Beef Jerky!


Once you cross the finish line, you are handed your own powder dye pack and encouraged to partake in the group color bomb that happens every 20 minutes or so. The kids were a little skeptical at first, but quickly warmed up to the idea!




{Holden had Hulk Hands when all was said and done}


So glad we finally did this….the whole family had a blast and the kids are asking when we can do another one.

May I suggest adding this event to your 2015 Bucket List?

So fun!