Category Archives: Friends

Summer So Far…

Hi Friends!

Summer’s in full-swing and we’re trying to keep busy, stay cool and check those items off our Summer ’14 Bucket List.

Since school got out 3 weeks ago, here’s a little of what we’ve been up to…


{Updated our chalkboard for Summer}


{Elliott’s dance recital ~ she performed two numbers this time…hip hop/jazz & lyrical}


{Daddy was out of town and Holden was at a birthday party, so it was just Gramma and me in the audience cheering for our little dancer}


{Early morning swim and donuts by the pool}


{A day at Magic Mountain…Ninja made this mama woozy!!!}


{My Dad, Popsi, came to visit and the kids HAD to introduce him to MOD Pizza}


{A visit to the Ronald Reagan Library}


{Sunday Brunch at Grand Central Market in Downtown LA}


{Carnitas Burrito from Roast To Go}


{Bacon, Egg & Cheese [added avo] from Eggslut}


{Almond Macadamia Iced Latte from G&B Coffee}


{Cherry Picking at Villa del Sol}


We thoroughly enjoyed our maiden voyage to GCM. Jay and I couldn’t decide between Mexican food or a breakfast egg sandwich, so we split. Both were incredible! Jay waited in line for about 40 minutes at Eggslut, but it was well worth it.

This was our first time cherry picking, too. We tried to go a couple summers ago, but waited until too late in the season. This orchard is only about 45-60 minutes from us so it made for a nice little afternoon outing. However, it was HOT and we decided to stop at the local Sonic for happy hour since Popsi had never been. We sat in our air conditioned car and sipped on blended root beer floats and cherry & watermelon slushies. I then proceeded to bake a cherry cobbler for dessert that night. Of course I did.

I just returned from 4 days in Chicago and Detroit to celebrate the upcoming wedding of my BIL, Rodney and his fiancé, Anuja. There was a traditional Grashanti {Hindu ceremony} on Friday and a beautiful joint bridal shower {Anuja’s sister is getting married in August!} on Sunday. I’ll write about that tomorrow. The trip was absolutely perfect and made me even MORE excited for their big day which is coming up in a couple short weeks!


Hope your summer has been happy so far!


Summer Bucket List ~ Twenty14

I literally threw this together in a matter of minutes. It’s usually well thought out, but you know…

Our list looks a little different this year as we will be traveling to The Big Apple for a week next month. Looking forward to sharing the bustling city that never sleeps with the kiddos. They are in for a surprise!

1. Donuts by the pool ~ Nothing better than an early morning swim and some sugar to fuel it.



2. Ventura County Fair {rolling over from 2012}


3. Concerts in The Park ~ Eagles cover band August 2nd!

4. Shave It with friends

5. Picnic in Central Park



6. Visit The Statue of Liberty

7. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge



8. Summer Movie ~ most likely going to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles {smiling through clenched teeth}

9. Thrifty Ice Cream



10. Mommy & Daddy do Whole30 for the month of August

11. Rose Bowl Flea Market



12. Grand Central Market in Downtown LA


So, there you have it.

This is one “To-Do” list that isn’t daunting.

What are YOUR plans for the summer? I’d love to hear….


{View our previous summer lists: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 }


Hello friends!

Happy June…it’s already the 3rd…school will be out 2 weeks from today!

Oodles going on lately ~ Memorial Day weekend, birthday celebrations, baseball season wrap-up, school presentations & awards, field trips, dance recitals, wedding planning, etc. etc. etc.

The first graders learned all about animal habitats and treated the parents to a darling play. I am lame and do not remember how to share a video clip on this here blog, but believe me when I say it was cute. The kids were supposed to wear white tees & jeans…I learned a long time ago that boys and white tees do not mix and forgot to pick one up, so this is the closest we had. Tigers live in habitats, right? Right.


Last week, the third graders taught us all about the history of the Santa Clarita Valley which is OUR habitat! So much local history that I was unaware of.




Memorial Day weekend was extra special in that Jay’s folks {Lolo & Lola} and Uncle Rodney and his bride-to-be, Anuja, came into town. Anuja’s family was also in So Cal for a wedding so we had the chance to meet her parents, brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew. All the kids will be in the wedding together this summer and it was nice that they could meet beforehand and get to know each other…





Speaking of weddings….time is ticking and we’re less than 2 months away from the big day! My bridesmaid dress has arrived and I, just this morning, ordered Elliott’s flower girl dress…


And here is a recent picture of the beautiful couple…


It’s been so fun learning about some of the Hindu traditions and I look forward to the two religions {Catholic being the other one} coming together in a gorgeous ceremony honoring my bother-in-law and his new wife.


Our sweet Elliott turned 9 last Thursday. We decided not to have a party this year with all that’s going on and save it for double digits {nooooo!!!!!} next year. She had one little friend join her for an afternoon at Color Me Mine, Justice, Claire’s and Red Robin…





I also surprised her with an In N Out lunch at school on her actual birthday…


{mommy’s lunch delivery comes complete with hand sanitizer!!}


I must say that it was a little hard for me to not have a party to plan this year, but we took our favorite sugar cookie bars to CCD and dance class so she was able to celebrate lots!



Holden had his final baseball game with the Angels this past Saturday. I’m so glad that he started this sport up again. I believe Fall & Spring soccer is too much for him and I’m thrilled that he can take the Spring off from AYSO and enjoy a little good all american sport. He really seemed to do well and is maturing quite a bit with his team sports….we still have a little way to go, but I saw more drive and concentration out on the field in the past few months. I hope he can find “his sport” in the next year or so. Lord knows Jay and I are trying it all and signing him up to dabble in just about everything! He is on a wait list for summer basketball and will play flag football in the winter.





I apologize for this post being all over the map and discombobulated, but I just wanted to check in and give a little recap of all the fun we’ve been up to. The real FUN will start in 2 weeks from today….10 school days!

But who’s counting……..



Bubbles Two Ways ~ EOY Classroom & Campus Helper Goodies

OK, so apparently I’m on a roll with the EOY goodies…..

Today we’re focusing on classroom treats and little tokens for the campus staff like yard duties, librarian, cafeteria friends and classroom aids.

Holden is in a split class this year ~ kindergarten & first grade. I don’t like to give candy, so I was on the hunt for something summery for him to hand out on the last day of school. One year Elliott received the cutest little bucket of sidewalk chalk and I was trying to keep that in mind as I began my hunt. But, I spotted some fun bubble wands in the Target dollar section and decided to roll with those and save time {and gas!} driving all over town trying to gather other options. Plus, if I decided to go with the wands and go back to Target next week, they may very well be gone. Now I can check this off my list and move onto the next thing {for example: clean the bathrooms!}.


I just thought these were so fun and came up with a cheesy message which I printed on clear labels and affixed to some fish cutouts that I picked up at Dollar Tree and tied on with baker’s twine.


{pretend the labels didn’t get cut off at the top, OK}


Now onto the campus helpers….

In keeping with the bubble theme {well, there really was no bubble theme, but it just sounded good}, Ross had some 4.1 ounce bottles of shower gel in fruity/floral/botanical scents that came in a pack of seven for $3.99. Seriously….this comes out to 57 cents a piece! I grabbed some clear Spritz favor bags at Target and bagged them up with a few paper shreds. I also used up some leftover paint chips from crafts that I did with the third graders earlier in the year and made a little tag with a message ~ again just printed on clear labels.


Done and done.


Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do for Elliott’s class…..

I hope these ideas have been helpful. In the past I have not done much at the end of the year because I found that I waited until the last minute and was so over the whole school year that I didn’t do ANYTHING. As a result, last year and this year I tried to plan ahead so we could thank all the special school people who become such important parts of our lives.

Seventeen more {school} days ’til bubble blowin’!!!

Curbside Birthday ~ A Game Truck Party

This past Saturday we celebrated our PS3/Minecraft/Skylanders/Wii lovin’ little man with an early morning game truck pajama party. How’s that for a run-on theme? While doing my research on local game trucks, I noticed that the rates were lower if the party was held before noon. I was shooting for a 10am-12pm time slot, but only 9am-11am was available on the date that we wanted. I immediately said “yes!” and the breakfast menu/pajama party was born. What first grade boy wouldn’t want to roll out of bed on a Saturday morning and step into video game heaven for a couple hours? And then follow that up with some donuts & sugar cereal?

It was perfect.







Invitations were homespun and printed on brown paper blank notecards with which I mod-podged on a little mustache to tie in with Mario & Luigi of the Super Mario Bros. fame. I realize the mustache craze has been around for awhile, but I’m still drawn to the whimsy of it and thought it was perfect to weave into this party.


Each guest had a VIP access pass to claim upon arrival.



The game truck grub was simple and included both sweet & savory treats. The mini cereal boxes were a must as well as monkey bread, homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch donuts and a sausage & hash brown casserole. In hindsight I could have grabbed two dozen bagels from Noah’s instead and called it a day, but……..












99¢ Only had cute mustache mugs which I picked up for the coffee bar and a little take home for the mamas.


Party favors were a pair of Skylanders socks, Mario Bros. fruit snacks and cinnamon red hots tucked into a glass mason jar with a lid. I’ve become obsessed with this little dollar store find since the holidays. I also included a little note to thank Holden’s guests and a recipe for his favorite smoothie {the girlies got a 3-pack of super cute dollar store neon mustache socks}.




I can’t say enough good things about the game truck company. Our game master, Jeff, was awesome and got the kids up and running in no time.







Two hours was PLENTY of time and Jay and I were actually surprised at how unrushed it seemed. Once the truck pulled away for the next party, we gathered around, sang and had “Skylanders Rice Krispie Treat cake” and Creeper cake pops!






This was the easiest party ever ~ curbside service and nobody had to come inside the house. Holding it in the garage was a great excuse to sweep and straighten up, too!

A HUGE thank you to all the little gamers that came out to celebrate with Holden. He had a fantastic time and told us this was the most epic party ever!

After over 4 years of blogging, these birthday party posts are my absolute favorite to write. I love reading other blogs and seeing how their parties come together and where they gather their inspiration and supplies.

Thanks to Jay for all the great pics. There are TONS more, but I’ll spare you. 😉 He rented a camera {Sony A7} to try out for the party and was pleased with the results. It’s a great way to try a certain model before you jump in and make the purchase. You can also rent lenses, too!

Here is a list of the vendors & services we used:

VIP Access Passes: instant download from luluCOLE on Etsy

Birthday Poster: CSSdesigns on Etsy

Creeper cake pops: Tickle Me Sweet

Game Truck: Game On Game Truck of Santa Clarita

Camera Rental:

‘Round Here

Hey friends!

So here we are one week away from February and I haven’t taken the time to sit and blog. When I read other blogs, I start to miss the daily/every couple days entries. My GOAL is to sit down more and chime in even if it’s just a new healthy recipe I’ve discovered or a little craft I whipped up or a little facelift to the house or a fun, frugal find I came across along my travels.

I miss this space and connecting with you.

Here is what we’ve been up to in the new year {instead of blogging}…..


{Researching monthly quotes for our chalkboard. I love updating this inspirational piece that hangs in the hub of our home. I have another old/outdated framed graphic that I’m going to spray paint and turn into a second chalkboard. It’s on the list of “Things To Do”.}


{This little gallery wall was swirling around in my head for months. I had finished re-doing the aqua table over the summer and couldn’t wait to get something hung over it. This happy space is in our master bedroom and I just love it. It took me awhile to source the makings of this space, but I love the way everything came together. The mirror is from Target clearance, the “I” & “U” hooks are from Anthropologie clearance, the sweet little chalkboard hook with the heart {with hat} is to help support my friend Lena and her heart for Acres Of Love here, the 8 X 10 prints on the clipboards were a gift from sweet Lindsay at my baptism last Spring and can be found here and the smaller 5X7 prints can be found here and here.}


{I love finding printables to stick in these two red frames with the change of seasons or holidays. I just searched FREE Valentine’s printables on Pinterest and voila!}


{Over Winter Break we had some friends over for the day and the mamas made these fun canvases that I spotted on Pinterest. We had to break the boys away from the PS3 and the girls away from their Rainbow Looms to paint their hands and feet, but I adore the way they turned out.}


{I love that Holden’s birthday is in February because it gives me something to focus on after the letdown of the holidays. I always start planning and shopping for goodies in January and let the party planning begin. This year he is having a few little boy buddies over for an early morning pajama party…more fun details to come!}


{With the new year comes the promise to eat less and exercise more. I try to drink plenty of this water daily and find it a little more interesting than plain old H2O. Add a sliced lemon, half a peeled and sliced cucumber and some fresh mint leaves to your water. I refill the jar several times before changing out the produce. Per Pinterest, this concoction is good for detoxing. I’ll let you be the judge 😉 }


{I’m trying to be better about reading the calorie count when in restaurants. On our Santa Barbara day trip last Sunday, I ordered this crispy Asian salad with less than 350 calories at silvergreens. I didn’t eat the roll, but the salad was delicious and filling.}


{At home I’ve been trying to create flavorful, lo-cal versions of my favorites. I could eat pizza every day all day, but with this BBQ chicken tortilla pizza, I don’t need to feel guilty. Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla, 2 tbsp BBQ sauce, red onion, cilantro, 3 strips of precooked chicken (TJ’s), 1/4 cup lite mozzarella cheese and some Sriracha drizzles added after baking for 8-10 minutes at 325*. It’s around 300 calories and will most certainly take care of your pizza cravings!}




{With friends posting about Snow Days and single digit temps in other parts of the country, it still amazes me that we are on the beach and the kids are frolicking in the surf in mid-January. Our MLK weekend was made perfect with a little day trip to Santa Barbara and we hope to do more of these throughout the year. It’s so easy to get holed up in our little valley, but it sure was nice to take a drive up the coast for the day and still be home in time for dinner and a relaxing evening.}


So, that’s what’s been goin’ on ’round here for the past several weeks. It’s been nice to have a break from soccer, but Spring will get busy again with baseball for Holden and AYSO for Elliott along with some after school enrichment classes that start up next week! Just taking it day by day……

I hope you all have had a great start to Twenty14.


Twenty13 in Review ~ Photo-a-month

Hello and Happy New Year!

Here it is almost mid-January and I am just now sitting down to review 2013 with my annual one-picture-a-month to relive just some of the highlights of our year.


{Vegas with Lolo & Lola in January}


{Elliott’s First Reconciliation in February}


{Palm Sunday in March}


{Neon Day in April}


{First Holy Communion in May}


{Shooting a pirate commercial in June}


{Savannah, GA in July}


{Last hurrah of summer in August with friends in the OC}


{Spent the day as superheroes in September}


{GoPro-ing at Legoland in October}


{Frolicking in the country with dear friends in November}


{Family day at The Grove to celebrate the season in December}


It’s never easy to select just one picture, but I love recalling memories made over the previous 12 months.

You can view previous years’ recaps here.

A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories. ~ Honore de Balzac

Christmas Goodies For A Buck And Under

At the holidays especially, I like to acknowledge and thank all the people who we see on a daily weekly basis that are a big part of our lives.

If there is any time of the year to stop and take a little extra time to prepare and present little tokens of our appreciation, to me, it’s the holidays.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be a lot, but just a small something that is wrapped with lots of love and care.

Tonight I’m sharing three inexpensive little gifts all which ironically enough I learned about from Instagram!

Last year an IG friend from Hawaii posted the little Bath & Body Works hand sanitizers tied up with yarn along with a lollipop and I thought it was the cutest. I immediately stalked my local B&BW for their after holiday sale and ended up getting the small pocket size hand sanitizers for 75% off ~ about 38 cents each!

For Elliott’s class this year each student is receiving a candy apple anti-bacterial gel and a candy cane Tootsie Pop. I’m adding a little tag that reads,”Have a healthy and happy holiday! See you in 2014!”

I did similar treats for her soccer party which included the holders that I picked up for 25 cents last year…


For Holden’s Kinder/First grade class, I picked up some knit gloves from the dollar bins at Target. Skull for the boys and rainbows/stars for the girls. I just wrapped them in little treat bags from Dollar Tree and added a label that read, “Bundle up and stay warm over Winter Break. See you in 2014!”

Another IG friend posted something about Target having the “Yes to” lip balms for $2.99 with a $2 off coupon affixed to the package! It took me a couple weeks, but our store had several and I grabbed about 15 of them for our yard duties, aides, cafeteria workers and librarian.

Again, a dollar, but I wrapped them up and added a little note to make them a little more special…


The ziploc baggies are also from the Target dollar bins and came with the {enjoy} toppers!

This last little gift idea came from my friend Julie via IG, as well.

I’ve seen this floating around Pinterest, but had forgotten about it. Who doesn’t want their toes all done up for the holidays?


I found the polishes at Ross for a dollar a piece ~ 6 for $5.99. And if glitter doesn’t scream “HOLIDAY!!”, I don’t know what does.

The sweet tags are a free download from Andrea over at Knitty Bitties.

These are perfect for babysitters, hair stylists, fellow mamas, dance teachers or any female really.

I picked up some cute little 1.69 fluid ounce body butters, also at Ross for 6/$5.99, to go along with.



Finding these little deals is sometimes time consuming, and it does require some planning ahead, too.

The key is to but it when you see it and tuck it away. There are TONS of cute wrapping options at all the dollar stores right now.

I hope these ideas are helpful. I joke that I need to stop checking Instagram, reading blogs and going onto Pinterest because I want to do everything!!

I have to remember that there is always next year and we all know how the holidays sneak up on us. They’ll be back before we now it….

Have a blessed weekend, friends!


Summer ’13 {Sand} Bucket List

For the past few years I’ve drawn up a Summer To-do List. Last year we were not very successful at crossing off our items, but we DID have a fantastic summer!

This year I tried to make the events a little simpler so we can {check} away….because we all know a to-do list immediately becomes less daunting when you see check marks all over the place and know you’re making progress.

So, without further ado, here is our Twenty-Thirteen Summer Bucket List:

1. Rita’s for dessert. I hear it’s ah-mazing! Line-out-the-door-and-around-the-corner ah-mazing.

Thinking about ordering Iced Coffee or Mint Oreo Cream Ice….


2. Pizza at the pool. This rolls over every year and I don’t know why because it’s such a fun and easy one….going to do our best to check this one off once and for all this year!

3. Send Happy Mail and surprise someone special

4. Visit our OC friends for the weekend

5. See Despicable Me 2 on opening day ~ July 3rd


6. Baked S’mores!!



7. Bike to Starbucks/donut shop on the weekend

8. Dine at Cracker Barrel and rock on the porch 🙂

9. Visit Hobby Lobby {first timer}

10. Early morning walk on the beach

11. VBS


12. Sign Holden up for Taekwondo

13. Attend a couple concerts in the park


A few of these we/I will have to accomplish when we are on the east coast later this month. Fun. Fun.

You can view previous summers’ to-do’s here: 2010, 2011 & 2012.

Gotta go. We have some summer livin’ to do!


Fancy Schmancy Grilled Cheese ~ Provolone, Goat, Prosciutto & Jam

Today is a perfect June Gloom-y Monday. No pressure to get out to the pool or the park, just temps in the low 70s and a work-around-the-house kind of day. I’m enjoying it because before too long, it’s going to really heat up around here.

Elliott spent the morning at Cooking Camp while Holden and I {ok, just me} whizzed through the house filling trash bags, getting piles ready to donate, vacuuming and throwing a couple loads of laundry in.

Feels so good to just get rid of STUFF. Ugh! So. Over. It.

On this wonderfully overcast and cool day, it only seemed fitting to light a candle ~ this has been my favorite to burn lately and sends off and ever so slight tropical scent making you think wish you were on an island far, far away sucking down a daiquiri with sand between your toes…


{Yankee Candle, Paradise Spice ~ banana, vanilla, cinnamon & cloves}

Also, I think a nice warm grilled cheese fits the bill for lunch on a day like today.

I have a whole board on Pinterest just for grilled cheeses. I’ve yet to try any of them, but when I saw this one on IG, well….I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Thanks, Cameron, for sharing! It was amazing…..duh.


What you need:

Loaf of sourdough bread

Slices of provolone cheese

Log of goat cheese {or already crumbled. I used plain, but an herbed one would be even more delish}


Jam of choice {I used homemade peach, but strawberry, fig, apricot or blackberry would be fantastic}

Softened butter

What you do:

Lightly butter two slices of bread. Flip them over and spread some jam on both slices. Add crumbled goat cheese to one slice and a couple thin slices of provolone to the other. Lay some prosciutto {I used 2 slices} on top of the cheeses and make into a sandwich. Place buttered side down onto a pre-heated grill pan or panini press. Flip after a couple minutes or cook as your panini press directs.

Slice diagonally and ENJOY!


It’s crispy, gooey, sweet & salty!

This sandwich will be your sunshine on a cloudy day.

Trust me.