Friday, October 22, 2010

Fun Times in October!

With Autumn in full-swing, we're having such a fun time in October!

We have all the kids' costumes ready. R's a cowboy. C's a knight. K's a butterfly fairy - she calls herself a princess fairy. I don't like the term princess, so butterfly fairy is what she is. The end. Mom has the last word.

And of course I'm dressing up too! I'll never get too old for it. Not a year has gone by that I didn't dress up. Even if it was something I dressed up as the year before. I've repeated 'black cat' and a 'pumpkin' multiple times. But who cares - the kids think I'm fun and that's what matters! This year, I'm a pumpkin fairy. I don't know what a pumpkin fairy is or does, but I imagine she's a fairy that watches over the pumpkin patches and helps them grow =)

This season is packed full of fun stuff! We did the Hoover Dam trip, and for weeks now I've been helping out at R's school for the Fall Festival - which is finally happening tonight!! For the first time in our living-in-Vegas history, I'm praying it stops raining. It's been raining for like ever. I love and welcome the rain... usually. But the Fall Festival is outside and there's so much to set up out there... it just can't rain. I hope that even if it rains everyone has a great time. For some reason, when it rains, the people in Las Vegas run for cover like it's raining fire. Yesterday at soccer practice, there were only 3 parents sitting out there. Me and then a husband and wife couple. It's ridiculous! Lol... literally.

So anyway, back to the Fall Festival... the kids who bring in bags of candy or baked goods are thanked with a little incentive of food/game tickets. Of course, R begs me to go buy candy and I buy 4 bags of the good stuff - like skittles and twizzlers, etc. I find out yesterday that we've got soooooooo much candy at the school but hardly any baked goods for the cake walk booth. So instead of the candy, we decide to bring cakes and stuff. At the last minute, I run to the store this morning and pick up a Pumpkin Roll, Lemon Coconut Muffins, Banana Nut Muffins, a Double Chocolate Pudding Cake, a Raspberry Pudding Cake, and an Apple Pie. It was way too much fun picking out what to buy! I wish we could bake stuff, like in the good 'ol days, but everyone has allergies now and it's just too risky.

Now we have a bunch of candy to give out on Halloween! Rather than go out on Halloween, we're going to go to a special event this weekend and do our trick-or-treating then. On Halloween night, we're going to decorate the heck out of our house - spiderwebs, pumpkins, green lights and all - and give out tons of candy like skittles, twizzlers, tootsie rolls, fruit chews, starbursts, kit kats, and we got glow sticks, skull & spider rings, pixie sticks, and omgosh the list goes on!

I'm really looking forward to hanging out with the kids on Halloween night and giving out to others. Halloween becomes all about "what do I get" and not much about giving. So eventhough candy isn't my favorite thing in the world to give out to kids, it'll be a fun time being with the fam and our neighborhood. ♥

Also, I'm loving what our church has going on! Last Sunday, the kids each picked out their own construction paper leaf that had an item written on it - R picked sweet potatoes, C picked bags of beans, and K picked bags of rice. We then bring those items back to the church and they're going to assemble around 150 bags of food, along with giftcards for a turkey, to needy families. Of course, it's not just bags of rice, beans and some sweet potatoes. There were other items too, which were picked up by others. I love doing things like this. Giving, especially food, is my gift. I just have such a huge heart for serving people and for the love, comfort and nutritional need of food. There's a natural need for food to survive, and when you provide that to someone who couldn't do it on their own, it's an incredible blessing. Even if they don't appreciate it. You have to give with a giving selfless heart. Food is my "giving language" I guess you could say. I appreciate when other cook for me and I speak my love through food. Soon, I'll write a blog about what the Lord has placed in my life for December. I'm super excited!

Well, I'm still waiting for some leaves to change and fall to the ground. I love doing leaf projects with the kids. Soon enough! There's still lots of Autumn left.

What are you doing to enjoy Fall?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rainy Day Crockpot Mix-up

Our 'Bountiful Baskets' basket from 10-16-10

It's been a wonderful lazy, rainy Sunday, filled with church and family time. Yep that's right, it's raining in Vegas! And not just a little, eventhough it's coming in spurts. There's lightening, thunder, dark cloudy skies, and raaaain! It's also very chilly. I think it may be the coolest day we've had since before summer. What a great day to make veggie soup!

I had to wing it, because really I didn't have all the stuff for the veggie soup recipe that I have. With so many healthy delicious veggies in our basket this week, I just threw what I had into the crockpot and hoped for the best. I kinda think anyone can make a soupy mixture with any veggies and it'll come out as.... well, veggie soup!

I used:
2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 a cucumber, halved and sliced
3 carrots, sliced thin
a bunch of green onion, chopped
6 russet potatoes w/skin, cut into chunks

For the soupy/broth concoction:
7 cups water
oregano, garlic powder, dash of sea salt, black pepper
And I used 2 cubes of a boullion that is so good, and vegan!

I put it all in the crockpot for 4 hours on HIGH.
If you desire to simmer on LOW, give yourself around 5-6 hours.

And this is what we got!
(we served it with grilled cheese)

My 5 year liked it!! Enough said! He hardly likes veggies at all, and complains about most meals we make. My main concern was the flavor. That it would end up tasting like vegetables boiled in water. That just isn't yummy.Well, he instantly made those fears go away with his first comments on how the "soup" part was soooooooo good!

This was a blessed Sunday ♥

Making History!

What's an awesome fun way to learn about parts of speech, vocabulary, and writing structure - all while on a road trip??


Think about it.....

Think about it.....

Got it?


And our kids are LOVING them!

I even got hubby and I a big one. Over 140 stories worth. It was a great way to get the boys to work as a team, for Christian to practice his writing and spelling, and both boys are working on Language Arts so much that if they knew it would make their heads spin! It also made for lots of laughs during our car ride!

So, where were we going you ask?

Yesterday, the public had the opportunity to walk across the new Hoover Dam Bypass bridge. We were invited to stroll along, take pix, and be stunned in amazement. Most of all - be a part of HISTORY! So many years from now, our kids' kids' kids will be able to see these pix and think how cool it was that they're grandparents and great-grandparents were there before speeding traffic was ever allowed over it. They're going to think and say to each other "Can you imagine life before the bypass!?" And we'll forever remember it, because ever since we've arrived to the West Coast, going over the Hoover Dam was the only way we had to get through to Arizona. And we'll also never forget one of our first times going over the Dam and being backed up in traffic because a construction truck had flipped over right on the Dam and was blocking both lanes. Fun times... fun times...

I'll post a few pix along with some stats.

Kai, enjoying the view from the top level of the Duece double-decker bus
This was my son's idea to sit up top and at first it made me choke with nervousness. But then I was so glad he suggested it because we were able to get this shot of the Colorado River!

The bridge arch is 1,060 feet long, the deck is 900 feet long, and the tallest pre-cast concrete columns standing atop the arches are 280 feet tall - almost the length of a football field!

The total cost to complete the Hoover Dam Bypass remained unchanged at $240 million and was consistent with the original 2001 estimate.

Yep - commemorative water.

The bridge deck is 900 feet above the Colorado River and is located 1,500 feet south of the Hoover Dam.
And what I thought was so amazing was that, besides from a helicopter, before the existance of this bridge there has never been images of the Hoover Dam from this point of view!

At the time of the completion in 2010, the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge was the longest concrete arch span in North America!

So that was our fun historical adventure yesterday. We ended up missing Ricky's soccer game and I was a few minutes late for work, but this was something that couldn't be missed!!

This trip also made me realize and finally decide that I will indeed do the Hoover Dam Half Marathon by Calico Racing. This year at the Hoover Dam is so exciting!

I'll leave you with one more pic. One that will make most families literally LOL. This was how our family group picture turned out:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sewing Kit

As I mentioned on my Craft info page, my dad always had a sewing box. Looking back, how cute was that for a single dad?! hehe

So I thought ~ show me yours, I'll show you mine! I'd love to see what other people use.

Here's mine:
I bought this (probably on sale) from Joanns etc. a couple years ago.

 I keep the buttons from anything. It's always good to have extra buttons!

this is the bottom section - in here I store extra pins, random pieces, chalk that I never use, extra scissors, patches, and that bag of black stuff are furballs that fell off something and I promise one day I'll attempt to sew them back on.

Books & Pasta

Tuesday and Thursday nights are busy for us, but they're my nights to really cook up a meal. So for dinner tonight, I needed to make something homemade, healthy and quick! I was going to make stuffed artichokes but at the last minute realized we were out of parmesan cheese. Bummer. So we had "Easy Tuscan Pasta". We're using carrots and onion that were in our Bountiful Basket this week. This is one of our favorite quick dishes. For years I've been making this on the stovetop and it just occured to me to try the crokpot! Of course I realized this with only 45 minutes left to make dinner so crockpotting tonight wasn't an option. Definitely on the list to do for next week.

This recipe is so super easy and has a lot of nutrition snuck in. Most kids think they're just eating pasta and sauce. You can serve this with an extra green veggie onthe side like dark green salad or broccoli, but that's up to you.

You'll need:
Olive oil
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup onion
1 (28 oz) Garlic & Onion pasta sauce (or whatever garlicy kind you prefer)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (19 oz) can white beans - drain & rinse
1 box of penne pasta

~In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
~Add carots & onion, sautee 5 minutes
~Stir in pasta sauce & crushed red pepper
~Heat to boil, then reduce and simmer 5 minutes.
~Add beans & simmer with lid on.
Meawhile, somwhere along here, you need to cook your pasta.

Pour sauce over warm pasta and serve!

This night, we didn't have enough penne, so we used thin spaghetti. And Gluten free pasta for my daughter. It was all delicious!

By the way, did you know how amazingly awesome Quinoa is?
You can read about it here or any site! The nutritional value and awesomeness of Quinoa is undeniable.

Now usually we have soccer and boxing tonight. But shhhhhhh.... we're skipping both (which we absolutely don't do!) to go to a Library Book Extravaganza! Really it's called "Family Library Night", but I think the former sounds way more fun! The fact that the whole family can go was the deciding factor for me. Yeah we can go to the local library, and we do, but this event is at our son's school. Going to big bro's school is sooo much cooler than the library down the street.

I won't be posting pix of the event. There were lots of little kids around and I'm sure their parents wouldn't appreciate thier faces plastered on some random blog. So you'll just have to imagine how much fun it was =)

If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I've started a new blog for the "everything else". Welcome. Feel free to comment, jump in and share, or just lurk.