Tag Archives: day

1D & TMNT ~ A Valentine’s Day Shoot

A couple weekends ago we ventured out to shoot some fun valentine photos. Jay actually rented a camera and a lens to try out for the weekend so it was perfect.

Trying our best to capture more pictures and videos of the kids because these days, weeks, months and years are going by way too fast for my taste.

We broke it up into two separate days at two different locations and managed to get some cute shots.

Here are some of our favorites…















{The sweet burlap heart banner can be purchased here. Your generosity will help Ali fund her mission trip to Haiti. I plan to keep mine up all year long….it adds a touch of “happy” to any space.}

The kids had “Formal Day” at school on February 13th since they had a 4-day weekend for President’s Weekend. They exchanged valentines and received HOARDS of candy ~ my friend, Leslie, dubbed it “Valoween” ~ appropriately so!



Well, Superbowl and Valentine’s Day are over…to me, those are the two big days that kind of kick off the first couple months of the new year.

Next up….Holden’s Birthday.

HOW is he going to be seven?

Hello, Summer ’13!

We’ve been welcoming Summer the last several days doing some of our favorite things with our favorite people at our favorite places.


Giving hugs and signing yearbooks…


Enjoying a 2nd Grade ice cream sundae bar…


Pool plunging…




{Jay trying out his new GoPro camera}

Remembering a great school year with sweet teachers and teacher’s assistants…




Playing Legos in the driveway…


…and drawing “ninjas” just because…


Rehearsing and recital-ing….






…and celebrating our hard working “man-of-the-house”, Daddy…


….with fancy Umami burgers and a maiden {Sprinkles} voyage at The Grove….


{the Red Velvet is to-die-for!}


Judging by the first 5 days of our summer vacay, it looks like it’s going to be an exciting one!

What are YOU doing in your school-free months?

Creatively Cheap

Hi friends and Happy Friday!

Well, we’re already over half way into January and Twenty 13 has been great so far! I usually have a little bit of a hard time after the holidays and January, February and March are not my most favorite months. No offense if your birthday falls in these months…Holden’s birthday happens to be late February and I wouldn’t have it any other way, of course.

But if you really think about it, February has the Superbowl, Valentine’s Day and my little guys birthday, so there is lots to look forward to and we most certainly need January to prepare!

I always LOVE hitting the after Christmas sales at Target and everywhere for that matter. In the past I have overbought stuff just because it’s cheap and this year I really tried to reign in and be really particular with the goodies that I picked up. I am cheap and waited until the 90% off sign went up at Target ~ yes, things are picked over, but that makes it easier because it’s already been narrowed down for me! I picked up some sparkly pink and aqua tissue paper that I can certainly use for birthdays throughout the year for cents and found some adorable stuffed ornaments that aren’t Christmas-y at all that I can tie on packages year round ~ my new addiction!


{little Matryoshka from World Market ~ 50 cents}


{scooter from Target ~ 39 cents}

I am obsessed with cheap brown shipping/packaging paper & grosgrain ribbon {both from Dollar Tree} wrapping with a little attachment and the receiver’s name using my new alphabet stamps, a gift from my mama for Christmas.


I popped into World Market on Wednesday and all their holiday stuff was 90% off. Yes, there wasn’t much of it, but that was good because there wasn’t much for me to buy! Ha!

I could NOT pass up these little felt hedge hog baskets for Holden’s animal/safari party…


{World Market ~ 80 cents}

I also spotted this woodland creature paper that I plan on using as a backdrop for a little photo booth at Elliott’s “Glamping Sleepover” for her 8th birthday in May…


{World Market ~ 50 cents}


Then, on Wednesday afternoon while Elliott was at Religious Ed class, Holden and I went to Rite Aid for some dish soap. Of course, I had to survey the after Christmas pile and found some cute shoelaces with the stocking stuffers marked down 75%…


{Rite Aid ~ 25 cents a pair}


They had 5 pairs that were non-Christmas ~ hearts, stars and rainbow zebra print. Initially I grabbed those for a few of her friends as Valentine’s Day treats. They had several Christmas pairs, too, that I ended up going back for and will use later this year for their friends {the Christmas ones had more options for boys, too}. Sure I’ve seen these fun shoelaces at the dollar stores, but if I can get 4 times the amount for the same price, I’m on it!

I was on Pinterest scoping out non-candy Valentine’s treats and there are TONS of cute ones so I will have to come up with something for the whole class, but I thought the laces were too cute for her to hand out to a few of her “besties”.


So, with that, I will say that the year has started out well and I am not wallowing in the sadness of the post-Christmas crash as I usually do.

But all this creativity has certainly gotten in the way of me being more active and that’s not OK. I got in about 3 miles yesterday and plan to get out this weekend and log some more miles before the month is over.

Have a beautiful weekend, all!

We must use time creatively in the knowledge that the time is always right to do right. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rainbows & Washi Galore ~ The Happy Day Project Recap

This year’s Happy Day Project was on my radar and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear of it’s arrival.

I was up at the crack of dawn last Monday and had my Pen & Paint {Oh Happy Day} notes printed and perfectly sliced on the school paper cutter by 8:15am. I came home, sat and wrote quick little heartfelt notes to a few people and popped them in the mail. I have yet to hand deliver one of them, but just sitting down and writing it brought a smile to my face.


On Tuesday morning I drove through Mickey D’s and grabbed a $5 gift card to affix to one of these….

I didn’t do much running around that day, so I still have the gift card ready and waiting for the first person I spot that could use nourishment of the body and soul.

I’m saving the rest of these darling notes from Hope Ink to attach to more gift cards throughout the season.


Wednesday we were able to treat our teachers to some caffeine and sugar first thing in the morning.

Elliott’s teacher is more of a Big Gulp girl rather than a Starbucks girl, so I planned ahead and grabbed a bottle of Coke and attached a little handwritten note to it…

We snuck into her room as she was grading papers and surprised her. She loved it…

We left the house early and went through the Starbucks drive-thru for Holden’s teacher and delivered her an extra hot Pumpkin Spice Latte.

She also loves Skittles so Holden sifted through his Halloween candy and put aside a bag for her…

30 Handmade Days provided this fun pillow box to house your {treat} of choice, too!

{Click here to print}


Thursday brought us to blessing bags and these sweet notes from Julie over at Joy’s Hope….

A friend and I are going in on the blessing bags together like we did last year and have just a few more things to purchase before we can get them stuffed and ready to go. I did, however, start to find some quotes to write on these notes that I will tuck in their bags.

{Click here to print}


For Friday, I printed out Blossom & Vine’s super cute tags and will bake cookies/treats on Monday when the kids are home from school for Veteran’s Day and we will deliver to deserving servicemen and women that afternoon before soccer practice. Also, my local Starbucks sells pounds of coffee to send to the troops at Thanksgiving so I plan to purchase a bag and ask them to tape a little hand written note from our family onto it.

{Click here to print}


It was five days full of rainbows, glitter pens, washi tape and opened hearts.

And that, my friends, is a lot of happy.

Stop by Life Rearranged to see how others spread sunshine last week!

P.S. I have included links to all these sweet printables…consider printing and keeping them close to your heart for use during the upcoming holidays and throughout the year. XO

Spread Some Sunshine

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I like to sit back, count our blessings and acknowledge what we’re grateful for. It’s also nice to conduct random acts of kindness and spread a little sunshine.

Here’s a fun way to do that…

Starting this coming Monday, November 5th, you have the chance to participate in {The Happy Day Project} and touch the life of someone you know, someone in need or even a complete stranger. As seen below, each day has a fun task, an adorable printable graphic to adorn your treat with or pop in the mail to that unsuspecting someone and a charity that you can donate to on-line if that is more convenient.

Please go to Life Rearranged each day to download the printables and to see how Jeannett and her sweet family are spreading sunshine.

Last year I was a little tardy to the Happy Day party and participated a week or so later…doesn’t matter as long as you do it and do so with a kind & happy heart. You can read about the giftcard to someone in need here and the blessing bag assembly here.

Click here to see recaps of all the wonderfulness that was spread last year. So great. So so great.

But, I am on it this year and will be taking part with the masses. This weekend I’m going to make a list of who the handwritten notes and snail mail will go to for Monday, grab a few gift cards at local fast food restaurants for Tuesday and be on the hunt for a baked treat to deliver to deserving bodies on Wednesday. You could also {treat} someone to a morning coffee or take a friend or co-worker to lunch. It’s so much fun to see how everyone serves and carries out these heartfelt acts.

Won’t you join me for five days of spreading sunshine…..let’s have a HAPPY week together, K?


This afternoon I searched the garage for some old water balloons and the little do-hickey that goes over the outdoor faucet to make filling them easier. I was fortunate to find both and spent a good 30 minutes perfecting my balloon filling and tying skills and getting ready for summer.

The kids gently tossed the balloons back and forth ~ one thing is for sure….30 minutes filling = 5 minutes to break. NOT a good ratio, but they had fun and that’s all that matters. They then resorted to filling the bucket and tossing that onto each other.

Summer has definitely been teasing us this weekend.


Gentle warm breezes.

Grills being lit up.

Sorbet recipes being googled.

Corn being spotted in all the grocery stores.

Fun foods and cool beverages being pinned on The Big P.

Taking in these last few weeks before school is out and I officially have a kindergartner and a second grader…


And today we are sitting still and gentle…thinking about and remembering ALL who have served, are currently serving and will serve our country.

Praying for those who are waiting for their loved ones to return and praising those who did not return.

This day is for YOU.

Happy Memorial Day!

For love of country they accepted death. ~ James A. Garfield

Pinky Up

Mother’s Day weekend was fabulous.

Special cards and handmade gifts from the two that made me a mama. Pedicures. Meals treated to by Gramma and prepared by Jay. Mango margaritas. Homemade Cake Batter ice cream. Beautiful Mother’s Day mass. Fancy tea at a local tea house. Pool time. Taking a nap under an open window letting through a cool breeze.

It was just what I needed.

Here are some Mama’s Day moments…

{vanilla rooibos}

{clotted cream}

{beautiful words}

{the scones were my fave ~ with clotted cream and blackberry preserves}

{petit fours and other miniature desserts}

{my mama, aka gramma}

{mama and her babies ~ elliott was upset they didn’t serve pancakes!}


I LOVE high teas. I wish I could attend/have them weekly, but enjoying them only once in a while for special occasions maintains their charm, I think.

I have fond memories of each and every tea I have attended…to name a couple, The Empress Hotel in Victoria and The Hotel Del Coronado. Holden’s Baby Shower was held at the cutest little tea house in Gilroy, Jordan Rose Tea Haven, which is no longer in business unfortunately, but that is one special day that I will never forget.

This Mother’s Day Tea was no exception…once we diverted Elliott’s attention away from pancakes and found a butterscotch scone, all was well with the world.

Thanks babe, for the special treat.

Putting up my pinky and sipping with four of my favorite people made me feel like royalty!

P.S. Jay made beef kebab and saffron rice for din din…

It was delish, babe. Thanks, again & again!


Green Food Coloring

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends!

It’s a cold, rainy day here today ~ much like Ireland, so it’s perfect.

The kiddos started out the morning in their Old Navy {lucky charm} jammies from last year and had Lucky Charms and green milk for breakfast…a must for leprechauns!

I braved the storm and went to gather ingredients for this evenings dinner with neighbors ~ Steak & Guinness Pie

Spotted this on Pinterest and thought it’d be fun to do a little something different than the usual corned beef and cabbage.

We’ll have it with a little {green salad} and Jalapeño Popper Dip as an appetizer.

The beer glasses are in the freezer and the food coloring is ready and waiting to tint our pale ale a festive shade of green.

For dessert, I’m going to make some Lucky Charms marshmallow treats…


Just prepare as you would regular Rice Krispie Treats, but sub Lucky Charms for the rice krispies and add a couple drops of green food coloring to the marshmallow and butter mixture!



Off to do some food prep and take a look in my closet for a green somethin’ to wear.


Erin Go Bragh!

Shortcut Sushi

Happy day after V-day!

Weekdays are obviously hectic with homework and stuff, so I decided to keep dinner semi-simple, yet special last night.

Last week my cousin, Gia, posted something on Facebook about a sushi bake…I immediately commented that I needed the recipe ASAP.

When I was pregnant, I ate lots of baked rolls since everything is completely cooked. Before you get your sushi feathers ruffled, hear me out. Most serious sushi-ers would probably say that a {sushi bake} is NOT sushi…I agree that it is an extremely westernized version, but IT IS GOOOOOOD.

We’ve made sushi at home plenty of times {here too} and while it does save lots of cash, it isn’t the easiest thing to prepare and prep alone can take hours. So when I heard about this, I immediately thought it could become an easier week night way to enjoy this Japanese favorite.

It’s also a fantastic way to serve sushi at parties…instead of spending all your time rolling, you can set this out with quartered sheets of nori and let your guests help themselves. Instead of being in roll form, this is eaten more like a hand roll {in cone form}.

Here is the recipe from my cousin that I referred to. I did make some adjustments, however.

I used a 20 ounce package of imitation crab meat and mixed it with just 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. mayo {the recipe called for 1 cup mayo AND 1 cup sour cream!!!} and this was plennnnty for the 20 ounces of crab! I also added A LOT of Sriracha sauce {like 4 big squiggly lines worth}, about 3 green onions {sliced} and just about 3 drops of toasted sesame oil. Mix that up and let it sit for an hour or so in the fridge while you make your sushi rice.

To make the sushi rice ~ 2 cups sushi rice rinsed WELL [until water runs clear] and drained. Add 2 cups water and let it sit for 30 minutes. After 30, turn burner on high and wait for it to come to a boil and let it boil for 1 {one} minute before turning it down to low. Put the lid on and leave on LOW for 20 minutes. After 20, turn off burner and move from hot burner and let it sit for another 10 minutes leaving the lid ON. After 10, you will want to add the warm rice to 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. salt {I put these 3 ingredients into my glass 9X13 Pyrex pan while the rice is sitting to let the sugar & salt dissolve a little before adding the rice}. Stir the rice around and get it coated in the vinegar mixture.

To assemble, use one 9X13 pan or two smaller oven safe dishes {as I did}. I made the heart shaped one and another one in an 8X8 dish…it makes A LOT! Just layer the rice first, followed by the crab mixture {you can also use shrimp, real crab, salmon, scallops, etc. just make sure the fish is fully cooked first} and then finally top it off with the furikake {seaweed & sesame seed seasoning}. The recipe called for 2 jars of this, but one was definitely enough! I picked up the furikake at Ralphs so no need to find an Asian market.

Bake in a 350* oven for 20 minutes.

I cut some thin slices of cucumber and avocado ~ some other recipes I referred to said that they added these things as a layer in the bake. I preferred to have them on the side, however.

Take either a half or quarter sheet of nori, add a couple cucumber and avocado slices, a scoop of the sushi bake, some highly wasabi-fied soy sauce, roll up and enjoy!

This was a hit with 75% of the family. Elliott was curious after she finished her Valentine’s Day dino chicken {ha!} and tried one. She loved it. It’s a great way to introduce sushi to the little ones and they will love assembling the roll themselves.

Don’t forget to grab some Sapporo or Kirin to go with your sushi bake!


And since I was into shortcuts yesterday, I decided to put a no-bake blueberry cheesecake mix to use that has been sitting in our pantry. I picked up some Keebler mini graham crackers crusts and followed the directions on the package, but decided to add some fresh lemon zest to brighten the flavor up a bit.

I don’t really know how I feel about no-bake cheesecakes, but these turned out pretty darn good and cute, too!

Last Valentine’s Day I made this cheesecake…no comparison. No comparison, at all!


Hope your day was filled with lots of LOVE…..and maybe a little something SWEET!