Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter



Easter was full of fun, food, family and friends, as it should be! I made my Easter table decor a few weeks ago see my blog on Tiny Oranges all about that here. Then I happened to be in Carlsbad, San Diego checking out the flower fields and stopped by the outlets to get some polo's for my guys.

Saturday before Easter Tim's family invited us over for egg hunts, dinner, and they did enough Easter-ing that I was pretty much off the hook as far as all that stuff went. I even stayed back and got a bunch of stuff done, that I'm not really able to do since Tim had been traveling half the time. Like getting my hair done, grocery shopping, baking and sewing.

Easter Sunday we got to share in a great service with our church and Tim's friend since high school, Ian and his fiancee, Natalie. They came over for lunch after church and brought toys for the kids, delicious desserts (see pics above). I just barbecued some ham I had the butcher cut into 3/4" steaks, heated up my scalloped potatoes, and they helped saute the green beans. It was a simple meal, but still felt festive and fulfilled my cravings. 

After naps, we took our first trek out to Holy Jim trail, saw the Spencer's and played at the lake ampitheater for a while before getting Thrifty's ice cream.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Holy Jim Trail

Well, I've pretty much shared this story with some of my friends already, so if you have heard it before, aren't you lucky! Last Sunday night, after eating a very large Easter lunch, complete with Paula Deen's Strawberry cake and cookies that looked like they could be in bakery, I decided to get my husband to take us all on a little nature walk. I needed the exercise but get bored to tears walking the neighborhood, and the boys just want to play on the playground anyway, so I needed some adventure.

We used my hiking in Orange County hiking book that I checked out from the library, and saw a trail marked easy was just 10 or so miles away, and it included a 30 foot waterfall at the end. Perfect for boys who need to basically be bribed to do anything other that watching TV or getting into various non-toys. We can see a water fall! Maybe you guys can splash in the water! Etc.

The road to get there was just past the suburbs. It was exactly where the suburbs end in Orange County, and the Saddleback mountain range starts, complete with nurseries, windy roads, and the dirt road that had no street sign with the name on it, which is where we were supposed to turn. I just couldn't believe it, I mean there were people sitting on top of an old decrepit tractor taking pictures, and bikers giving us the eye. But my husband trusted his GPS and is way braver than I am, and turned down the dirt road.

You guys, I've been on some dirt roads, ok, to get to a house! But this went on for miles, there were giant lifted trucks leaving us in their dust, I kept feeling like we were fishtailing...how am I supposed to know how gravel feels under tires?? What is this? Anyway, we kept plowing through, me anxiously holding on to my pink dog, and white knuckling the handle bar above my window, reminding my husband to go slower. We finally made it to where we assumed was the parking lot for the trail.

Which turned out to be just the starting point of the actual unmaintained dirt road. Since it was already close to sunset, we decided to cut our losses, and turned around for civilization. But, I was determined to try it again, which is what we did yesterday. We made it back to the really bumpy road and kind of decided that we didn't want to get stuck, but this is an SUV right, and hopefully not just a glorified station wagon. But as we made our way through the longest two miles of my life, we realized how yuppy and not exactly the usual clientele for this type of excursion. Even a rather older gentleman seemed a little doubtful of our ability to make it to the hiking trail, as he blazed off in his 4x4. Thanks for making me feel a little worse about this!

The kid's heads were bouncing back and forth between the ears of their padded headrests, and they were so over this ride through crevices and never ending holes and hills, but we finally made it to the trail head. First things first were a few more discouragements about our stroller (which I didn't hear) and news of a mountain lion sighting down the road. Well, we packed our stroller and started the hike up past the cabins, and were already feeling pretty accoplished until we got to the actual trailhead. How many trail heads are there?? Turns out number one on the hike's agenda was to render our stroller futile because there were boulders in the middle of the two foot path, then next was a 2x4 plank for a bridge. So we ditched the stroller, and decided to just walk for a few minutes.

Timmy only slipped three times, and Troy is not the lightest thing to carry, in addition to me holding on to my rat dog for dear life, my diaper bag and cooler lunch box. We're so outdoorsy!! I felt as ridiculous as I probably looked to all teenagers in their woodsy, singleton lives, confused as to why this isn't easy. We turned around after about ten minutes in the actual trail because it would be better with hiking back packs, no dog or a picnic lunch and a gallon of water sloshing around.

We stopped at the bottom and I sat down on a rock to enjoy my sandwich until we got too creeped out by the thought of a bear or something smelling my ham and just walked back to the car. The ride back was just as treacherous except for the pack of wild horses on the road.

We'll be back Holy Jim, we'll be back! But in the meantime, our car does look pretty tough covered in ten pounds of dirt. Until next time, you can find us at the drive-through car-wash!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Little Catchin Up to do About a Whole Lot of Nothin

Recently, about two weeks ago, Timmy went on "Spring Break" I say that loosely because he's not actually in school yet but we do go to a pre-school two days a week together with Troy and we try and do an hour or two of educational activities. But those class rooms were closed for the week and I decided to let my hair down. We slept in, we took naps, we watched too much TV, we ate too much junk, I didn't have work to do, and we just relaxed. Now that it's over though, it's hard to put the ol' cat back in to the bag, the cork back in the bottle, the alarm back to 5, to work early in the mornings, etc.

But, I have been working well into the night, if that makes any difference, which it does help apease my conscience in the "like a door on it's hinges" proverb kind of way. Honestly I kind of like it, I feel like a middle schooler on my month long breaks (we had two months on, one month off) in which I would sleep in so late, and stay up so late, we were practically nocturnal. We were up until one or two every night, waking up at ten, and all we needed to get done that day was walk to the store to get hot cheetos and cream soda. One month we helped raise my rabbit's litter of six baby bunnies, one month we had to walk the mile or so to cheer practice, or walked to the store to work on my American Girl Tiny Treasures craft. I mean what is better than using a bottle cap as a pie tin? Not much in life.

But, I have been making sure to get to the gym (mostly for the childcare so I can take a shower/get dressed) to offset the cakes, candies, cookies, ice cream, etc. etc. ETC. we've been indulging in a little more over the break, I even ran to the store one night to GET the ice cream.
 Now don't mind me, I'll be off brushing my teeth.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ladera Ranch Spring Celebration

Over the weekend was Ladera Ranch's Spring Celebration, or as we told Timmy an "Easter party." This is the same park that they hold the fourth of July celebration and Summer concerts and it's like five minutes away from our home, so it was a super short walk for us which is nice!
 Loved this little photo prop set. And yes, Sarah Dog is dyed. It's a permanent dye from the groomer, and it will grow out. She got lots of attention, and many people asked to take her picture! Any white dog can be dyed any color.
 W.M. was there with a booth and a mini trash truck! A mini one!! I couldn't handle the cuteness, and Troy who is OBSESSED with trash trucks, waited in long-ish lines THREE times to sit in it. They said it is essentially a golf cart that they made in-house, and it does run. They keep it at their facilities and bring it out to events like these. Also, they said that they do birthday parties with the full-size truck for 30 minutes for free! Tim and I want to have a little trash truck party just for the boys to get a chance to check out the real thing. Since they drag me out many times bare-foot traipsing around the four dumpsters in our complex to see every.one.being.dumped.
There were also fun activities like egg hunts, face painting, crafts, inflatables, and some yummy food vendors.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Casper's Adventure Day

Last weekend, we headed down the Ortega Highway, a windy mountain road for a few miles to Casper's Wildnerness Park's Adventure Day. Thanks Anne for the heads-up! We were looking forward to a day spent in the great outdoors and getting a nature walk done for my Spring Bucket List.


Only when we got there, it was way better than we even thought! They had a ton of volunteers and employees, free tractor rides to help with parking, Search and Rescue trucks, a sheriff and his canine, fire trucks carrying thousands of gallons of water...Troy was in HEAVEN; trucks and dogs are his favorite!
 
 The cub scouts set up a bunch of fun games and lots of fun prizes like these binoculars.
 At the booths were local nature preservationists and activists, and some beautiful birds of prey!

After checking out the main activities we went on a nature walk and caught up with the guided tour. It was over two hours of nature-y, outdoorsy splendor and it totally makes me want to get out to enjoy our local parks more often! So fun.

So put it in your calendars, or pin a pic here to remind yourself of next April's Casper's Adventure Day!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Little Bit About My Grandma...

I was just reading big mama's blog, like way back on page 428, the archives as you'd say, and she had shared a really sweet story about a dad's toast/speech for his daughter's wedding, and it made me get all teary eyed, just how much he appreciated his daughter's and new son in law's mom's. Saying that "People think that it takes a village to raise a child, but that's not true. It takes a mama to turn these kids into what they have become...so thank you for raising such exceptional children." And how it inspired her.

Well, it reminded me of my Grandma's funeral, and the touching stories some of her nine children (!) shared. I was 19 at the time, and really just newly saved, and getting a whole idea of what a Godly woman would even look like. Anyway, what I was so encouraged by over and over were the stories her kids shared about how their Mom fed them. It seems like such a small thing, that they remember her making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the passenger seat of their station wagon on one of their long road trips as a family, and she would make them and pass them back, make them and pass them back. Or that she always provided dinner for them...

It's some of my fondest memories of her, too. I remember staying at her house, sleeping in so late, which she would be shocked about, but then ushering us in to the table for pancakes with green apples chopped up in them. For dessert, late at night a few Chip's Ahoy with a little glass of milk.

How she plated my Grandpa's dinner and served it to him at the table, her eating tangerines she picked off the tree in her backyard. Her fruitcakes, her zucchini cake, and her eating salted tomatoes.

Her children told the stories of the culmination of a lifetime of hard work as immigrants from Poland, Pennsylvania farm life as a girl, and then raising nine kids, making whatever my Grandpa brought home stretch, and work and be saved. These stories were what meant so much to her kids, sticking out in their memories so much, just little things like making pb&j's.

"Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates."

Proverbs 31:28


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Troy's 2nd Birthday!

Two years ago, this 9 lb. 3 oz. baby came out of my belly and into our lives. He's been a healthy, hearty, carb-loving, milk guzzling ball of energy.
One year ago, he took a picture with a balloon outside by the fountain, and this year we recreated that.
 
In one year, he's gone from taking his first steps, to running and keeping up with his brother. He's been an absolute champion of a sleeper, 12 hours at night and 2.5 hour naps every day. He still eats a chocolate chip pancake for breakfast every morning, though we try to balance it out with apples, smoothies or "fuddies" as he calls them. He can pound a pb&j, crust on, in about four minutes.
 
He is a talker!! Trucks, trucks, trash trucks, tractor trucks, big trucks, if there is a truck within seeing or hearing distance, he has to let you know about it, and will continue to let you know about it until you think that maybe your tired of knowing about it.
 
He talks in four word sentences "No cheese Si-Dog", loves to read books, always requests more songs, and is not a fan of TV unless it is "fishies".
 
He is still very affectionate, would spend all day being carried if your back wouldn't break, and loves to clobber anyone in sight.
 
He is so outgoing, waves hi to most people, and laughs a lot!
 
He's my little Troy Troy, my Trom, my baby, Timmy's Bro Bro, or as Troy calls him, "MeeMee".
 
At any given time you can find him scaling tall playgrounds, sucking his thumb/rubbing his face on his Nieners (blanket) or playing at his kitchen.
 
For his birthday, it was a Sunday, so he wore his "I am 2" shirt, and Tim's mom and eldest sister came over for some present opening in the afternoon...

He loved this money bank, and putting in change all day! Until he's over putting all the money away and instead just leaves three dollars in pennies all over the floor for mommy to "hel me" put away.

He also got a ride on pa-plane, that if Timmy even looks at, prepare for the wrath of terrible twos. Oh yes, it's that time.

But overall, we are looking forward to a year with our little guy being two with lots of molars to finish breaking through, 18 month clothes to put away, ABC's to learn, and perfecting his colors, etc.

Love my little Trom Bom!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Knott's Berry Farm with Toddlers


Saturday we went to Knott's Berry Farm, a little theme park just past Disneyland in Orange County. First I'll tell you what we did, then give a general review in the last paragraph to help if you are thinking about going to Knott's Berry Farm with toddlers!

They were having a half price deal through May 15th if you buy tickets online. Once we printed them we headed up to be there when they opened at 10. It was a great start to our weekend, not too early so the boys could sleep in and have a good breakfast. It was nice and overcast too! I love spending a day with Tim and the boys, and it gave us all something to do more than the usual play at home.
 
Timmy went on a few rides, and liked most of them. I took Troy on two train rides.
 Timmy is obsessed with gold, probably since his favorite show, Lego Ninjago talks about it a lot. He paints everything gold, too. So he got to pan for gold here at Knott's and got a few flecks to put in a tiny jar.


 Pretty flowers for Spring!
 My Aunt Dorothy, Uncle Michael and my two cousins, Mike and Moriah all met up with us there. Love getting to spend time with them!
 We had a pretty good lunch at Jonny Rockets, and the prices were the same as outside the theme park so that was nice!
 We were able to bring snacks from home too!
 Troy kept dipping his Oreo's in ketchup and ranch. Bleh. We did stop him after a few dunks.
 It definitely had an old timey thing going on!
 End of the day, 4pm pic before going home.

Knott's Berry Farm with Toddlers Review:


Overall, Knott's Berry Farm has a few rides for toddlers, some of them are  a little too nauseating to recommend. They also have costumed characters but my kids aren't entirely sure who most of them are. The playground was closed but that would have been good for them. There are some good lunch options, Jonny Rockets even gave free balloons to my little ones. And lastly, there are a few activities that you can pay in addition to the ticket price that are enjoyable for toddlers like panning for gold.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lego Day at Ladera Ranch Library

lego day at ladera ranch library
Last Thursday was the long awaited Lego Day at Ladera Ranch Library. Timmy went to their other one a few months ago, and has been asking to go again. When we saw the sign up weeks ago, he got so excited and memorized "March 20th is my Lego day".
 
We woke up baby Troy at 3pm and walked down to the Library, which is only a half mile away from our home. They had a section for Timmy-- tables with a bin of Lego's on each.
 
Why is it so much fun, when Timmy has his own bins of Legos at home? I think because they are new pieces he doesn't own!

 They had cute coloring pages at a table too, which Troy loved.

 Even Lego Movie coloring pages which YOU KNOW my boys love!

 He NEVER smiles for pictures, and yet here are three super happy ones.
One of his final masterpieces, a Lego cave.

They also had a section with big Legos (Duplos and Mega Bloks) off to the side for younger kids.

If you are around Ladera and your kiddos love Legos, it is a great activity! Lego Day at Ladera Ranch Library is made possible by donations of Legos as well, so if you have any you would like to drop off, they have big collection bins in the branch.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tiny Oranges Contributor

1. On Sunday I had my hubby take some headshots...
 2. For my new gig!
I'm super excited to announce that I'll be a weekly contributor on my favorite local blog, Tiny Oranges! Ahhh!

3.I have so much planned for my time there already, and I cannot wait to share about this beautiful county, with the amazing gals over there! Special shout-out to Jen for taking a leap of faith on me and spending so much time teaching me to be a better blogger!

 4. Last year I had my yarn wrapped wreath tutorial published on her blog:

Which, if you look at the date, is what launched me writing my blog! I realized I loved it so much, and just her publishing it was enough to think, maybe I could do that!

 And post some pictures on Instagram with your fun spring activities to share with other local moms! #tinyorangesspring






Linking up with some fun blogs for "5 on Friday"


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hummingbird Feeder in Orange County

You guys. I am a tiny bit (a lot) obsessed with my Hummingbird feeder. It's been out for four days now and I've already had to refill it!
 
 Hummingbird Nectar Recipe:
1 cup tap water
¼ cup sugar
To make your own mixture, bring tap water to a boil and stir in sugar. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature before adding it to your feeder.
To yield larger portions, mix at the ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. The solution will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

See this picture? This is my parent's backyard nicknamed "Hummingbird Alley" up in Castaic, CA. My Dad is a humming bird enabler too! See? It's just in my genes.
 

Hummingbirds in Orange County, CA

Did you know there are two species of hummingbirds in Orange County CA? We have Rufous and Allen's Hummingbirds here.
 
Also, Orange County is home to the most famous hummingbird in the world!!! Pheobe Allen has her very own live-streamed web-cam with over 16 million views per year! See her here.
 
You can even buy a t-shirt with the famous OC momma on it! :)
 
It's a great activity to bird watch with my kids, my favorite thing to do is read books to my boys on my patio in the late after noon, as the Humminbirds especially love the cool of the morning and late after noon. We get one about every minute up to feed.
 
Watch a short clip with fun facts all about God's wonderful creation here.
 
 
Go out and get yourself a feeder and be a Hummingbird enthusiast like me!!
 
 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quick and Easy St. Patrick's Family Night

Quick and Easy St Patrick's Family Night:
Craft: Coloring Clover Table Cloth
Décor: Green flower centerpiece, green plates
Main Dish: Spinach Pesto Meatballs
Side: Green Grapes
Dessert: Green Ice Cream
Book: Green Eggs and Ham
 
 Monday night was St. Patrick's Day and after a busy weekend where I only had time to pick up some green plates, I realized at 5:20pm, if this family night is going to happen, it needs to start now. I made a grocery list and was out the door to Pavillion's when Tim got home at 5:40.
 
 
 First, in lieu of decorations (why are there no dollar stores or Targets anywhere near me...even Pav's had no St. Patrick's décor!), we covered the table in brown wrapping paper I already had, I drew some clovers on it and had the kids color it while I got the rest of the night going.
 
Little green flowers I picked up at the store, trimmed and in a jar.
 
 I needed a main course, something green but no time for corned beef and hash, enter Mix and Match Mama's Spinach Pesto Meatballs; green, delicious and on the table in 20 minutes
 
 
 We cut up the meatballs for the kids and had green grapes as a side.
 
 
 
Then we read Green Eggs and Ham for the first time! I forgot I had it tucked away in a cupboard.
 
 
For dessert, we had some green ice cream because it's so warm I didn't want a baked good!
 
After dinner, we went for a walk and tried to find some frogs that were croaking loudly in a little stream off the sidewalk in Ladera.