Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday thoughts

 My random Friday thoughts. . . 
My weekly inspirational bathroom mirror quote.  Talking to each other is so important and making that time a priority is important too.  We need to do better about date nights.  That is my goal lately.  Weekly date nights.  We go in spurts on that--do well for a while, then kids' schedules get crazy and we slack off.  With summer and vacations we have gotten off, so we are starting new now.  We live in a small town, so date nights and things to do can be challenging.  I don't mind movie dates, just not every week, so I am going to have to be more creative.  I have told Ben we will switch being in charge of the date each week.  We enjoy playing games together.  Skip-bo is one of my favorite that you can play with 2 people.  


My 14 year old daughter Miss O found this book at the library last week.  It is a trilogy and all 3 are out--love it when all the books in a series are out, and trilogies are so nice.  She read all 3 in 3 days.  She loved them.  I am about 3/4 of the way through number one.  Miss E, my 12 year old, is almost done with #2.  An interesting, well-written, and fun fantasy story.

Then wanted to share our family pictures from the reunion.

Thought they turned out cute.

And how can it be August already??  2 1/2 weeks till school starts again.  oh.my.  

Have a great weekend!



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's up Wednesday--whole grain waffles

I love waffles.  Always have.  They are really not Ben's favorite, but every once in a while I find a waffle recipe that he likes.  This one he definitely likes and so do all my kids.  I have been making these once a week all summer and putting the extra in the freezer for the rest of the week.  I always double the recipe. I got the original recipe from here.  Enjoy! 

Whole Grain Waffles

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 Tbl ground flaxseed
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbl sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup oil**
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together the flour, wheat germ, flaxseed, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  In another bowl mix together the milk, oil, vanilla, and egg and whisk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just mixed.  Ladle onto your waffle iron and cook according to its instructions.  My waffle iron makes 4 squares like above and I put 1/3 cup batter in each square and cook for 3 minutes.  Everyone's waffle irons are different.  

**I have used coconut oil for these, and it makes them taste really good, but coconut oil is only liquid when it is warm, so if I use it, then I have to warm up the milk and then add the coconut oil, and then if my milk wasn't warm enough, I have to microwave the whole bowl of liquid ingredients with the solid coconut oil clumped in until the coconut oil melts and it becomes smooth and ready to combine with the dry ingredients.  Kind of a hassle, but it does taste extra good with coconut oil.

Monday, July 28, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 30

At least I think this is week 30?  After being gone, I am way far behind.  My desk has stacks over a foot high all over it, and I haven't put photos in my project life album since before school got out.  But this week--my goal is to get caught up!  Wish me luck.  Re-entry is hard after being gone so long.  Here is a look at our week. . .
So the day after I got home with my family from 2 weeks of vacation, I left with my mom and met up with my 2 sisters in Colorado for a few days of a mom/sister retreat.  The timing was not the greatest since I hadn't even been home 24 hours before I left again, but we had a really nice time.  We spent a few days in Dillon, Colorado which is beautiful!  Sure had fun with these ladies!

The realities of returning home from vacation--lots and lots of laundry.  It was Mr J's turn to switch the laundry and sort the clothes.

Today was these two's last day of swim team practice!  They had a great season and worked really hard the last two months.  I am proud of how far they have progressed!

Mr J having fun at the pool :)

Girls' day in the city with my mom, my sister and my 3 girls.  We went school shopping, went to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and had a blast!

Check out that cheesecake!  We got the white chocolate raspberry and then a chocolate oreo--oh my!

Happy Birthday to my mom!  We are so blessed we can live close to my parents!

Have a great week!  Come back soon!  I share recipes on Wednesdays and random thoughts on Fridays :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vacation Review--Yellowstone National Park

So let me preface this by saying Yellowstone is huge--like really, really huge.  90% of the people that visit Yellowstone (and there are a lot of people that visit it) only see 5% of the park.  That said, we saw about 1% in our short time there.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but we just didn't have the time.  We hope to go back some day, and actually stay in Yellowstone.  That is the way to really see it--stay in the park.  That is also not the easiest thing to do.  Their rooms/lodges/cabins get reserved about a year in advance.  I checked 6 months before we were going to be there and couldn't find anything.  So, Yellowstone is definitely a plan ahead kind of trip.  I think if you want to camp, it is a little easier and some places are first come first served, but we (meaning me) did not want to camp.  So not my thing :)  So here is a look at a little, tiny bit of the Amazing Yellowstone National Park. . .

There are geysers and hot water springs everywhere.  This was near Yellowstone Lake

These pools are extremely deep in the center and very, very hot

Of course you have to see Old Faithful--it is over Miss O shoulder and not erupting at the moment or anytime soon because there aren't thousands of people waiting to see it.

This is the landscape around Old Faithful--awesome, like a science fiction movie or something.  


And here we are with thousands of others waiting for Old Faithful to go off.  Yes, it was raining and cold.  And yes Yellowstone is pretty crowded, but it was definitely not as bad as we had heard such as back to back traffic and such.  We didn't run into that at all.  We got around really easily, but there are a lot of people there, and, as with almost any National Park, English is not the main language you hear.  Lots of people from lots of different counties are there which is cool.  Did you know National Parks are truly an American idea?  And Yellowstone is the first ever National Park.  My kids had fun trying to figure out what languages everyone else was speaking.

Old Faithful erupting--a pretty amazing sight.  It needs to be on your bucket list :)

Yellowstone also has its own Grand Canyon and 2 amazing water falls.  This was the lower falls.  

And then the landscape is just so neat and so varied--you have areas like this, the lakes, meadows, mountains, plains, and there are a lot of animals.  We saw lots and lots of buffalo, deer, elk, a coyote and many others.


This area was neat with the runoff into the river.

This was the Dragon's cave

And Mr J was excited about the mud pots

The wildflowers were gorgeous!!!

And then just as we were leaving the park we saw this. . .a grizzly bear

A real, live, in the wild grizzly bear.  That was cool.  We obviously weren't very close to it, and we didn't try to feed it (you will need to obey all the "Do not feed the bears" and other animals signs while there) but it was truly amazing to see.  Such a fun trip and a great way to leave the park!!!  We hope to get back someday!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Vacation Review--Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is just north of Jackson, Wyoming and south of Yellowstone National Park.  Most people just drive by and miss it on their way to Yellowstone.  Don't.  It is beautiful!  


The gorgeous Teton Mountains

We did some pretty hikes past rivers

And around lakes

Saw some amazing views!

Then we went on another hike around some lakes, and it started raining--hard--and we were a mile from anywhere.

So we just got really wet and enjoyed the time and scenery as we walked back--soaked

This earth really is amazing!

Beautiful views of the valley

Like I said, don't miss this!

Tomorrow--Yellowstone!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vacation Review--Afton, Wyoming

So once upon a time as a kid I lived in Afton, Wyoming which is in the beautiful Star Valley.  It is about an hour south of Jackson Hole, WY.  We decided to use that as our base for the last half of our trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.  It was fun to show the kids where I grew up, went to elementary school, etc.  It is such a beautiful place!

Up the canyon from Afton is a beautiful hike to the Intermittent spring which in the late summer/early fall will stop and then start again every 20 minutes or so.  When we were there it was going really fast and not stopping at all, but I remember going there as a kid and seeing it stop and start again.  

It was kind of cold up there, and Mr J wasn't fully prepared for it, so he took a blanket from the car.


The spring is so pretty and it comes right out of that rock.

Having fun on the hike

This is where the water comes right out of the rock

And down it flows to join Swift Creek

The condo we stayed at offered free use of a fitness center next door which had a racket ball court.  Ben and I played racket ball quite a bit in college together, so it was fun to teach the kids.

We had a very nice condo.  If you ever are in that area, may I suggest the Mountain Inn condos?  They are great!  The kids loved the bear :)

Afton has the largest antler arch in the world

We went on some beautiful hikes

And this was our view from the back porch of our condo

We loved it here!  A beautiful and relaxing place to be for a few days!

Tomorrow--Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vacation Review--family reunion

So the main reason for our trip was Ben's family reunion.  It was his parents' 50th wedding anniversary, and they had been planning this reunion to celebrate that for the last few years.  We just sandwiched the reunion between some other trips for us :)
This is the whole family minus 3 grandkids who are currently serving missions for our church.  A pretty impressive group I must say that we love so much but see so little because we are so far away, and it was so wonderful to be with them!

Ben's parents and siblings.  

We had the reunion at Bear Lake which is in northern Utah/southern Idaho.  It is beautiful.  Everyone had a fun time on the lake.

My girls loved playing frisbee with cousins.

I think the water was a little cold for Mr J.  Love his expression in this shot.

The older girls had fun too :)

Back at the cabin there were lots of things to do--Legos, games, 

We had a family dance one night---so fun!  The place we stayed in had a huge garage which was perfect for that.  We were doing the bunny hop here :)

The Virginia Reel--Mr J and Miss A leading it in the middle

Lots of time to play and spend with cousins

Lots of fun games

This is the place we rented.  It was perfect for us--big, a bedroom for each couple, lots of floor space for kids to sleep :)  My amazing sister-in-law found it on VRBO which is a great site to find places to stay.  I have used it several times and highly recommend it.  

And the last evening we were there we had a special "program" honoring Ben's parents and what they have done through 50 amazing years together--we interviewed them, they shared stories, and the kids shared memories.  At the end we presented them with this picture complication that Ben's sister and her husband put together.  It was an awesome time!  So glad we got to be there.  Sure love you family!!!

Tomorrow Afton, Wyoming