Friday, August 30, 2013

Love naps. . .

I laughed so hard when I saw this because it is totally me. . .I love naps!  Happy Friday and enjoy the 3 day weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's up Wednesdays--smoothies

We love smoothies at our house.  They make a perfect breakfast, after school snack or evening treat.  One of our favorite things to put into our smoothies is frozen bananas.  I have read several places that people don't know what to do with brown bananas beside banana bread (which I love), but the best thing to do with brown bananas--besides making banana bread--is just to peel them and freeze them.  My kids will eat frozen bananas for breakfast, as a snack, and then they go into lots of smoothies.
We don't really have exact recipes for our smoothies.  This one pictured above is a new one I tried.  It uses instant pudding.  You can change up your fruit and your pudding flavors.  Here is what we did. . .

In your blender put,
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup of any flavor instant pudding ( I used vanilla in this, but chocolate pudding with frozen bananas and strawberries would be good)
1/4 cup sugar
fill up with milk after everything else is in to about 4 cups and blend.

Another favorite is our adapted Orange Julius smoothie

1 cup water
1 cup milk
6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
1 frozen banana or frozen strawberries or blueberries, or a combination
1/4 cup sugar
1 tes vanilla
10-12 ice cubes
Place all in blender and mix well.

Using yogurt in smoothies is really good also.  Here is another variation

Put in blender,
1 small container vanilla yogurt
1 frozen banana 
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup grape juice
about a cup or less of milk.
Blend well.

With all these recipes you can easily change the flavor by using different fruits, yogurts or juices.  I just basically use what I have in the fridge and blend it up.  Yum!  

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 34

Well we have one full week of school and seminary under our belts, and Ben has 2 full weeks of his new job, so I think we are kind of getting our lives figured out.  Band is the predominate theme in Miss O's life along with volleyball.  She has early morning band practice then volleyball practice after school, so she is pretty busy.  Cross country is Miss A's big event.  Miss E is loving the experience of middle school and band is also big for her.  Mr J loves his 3rd grade teacher, and I am loving my quiet time from 7:40 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.-- life is good!  Here is a look at our week. . .
We had some visitors from Japan here.  More about that in my previous blog post.  They brought a bag full of goodies for my kids.  The kids loved hearing the names of the different candies and snacks and trying them out.

Our Japanese friends taught the kids some calligraphy.  They did a good job!

Back-to-school night this week.  I got to go with Miss O to all her classes, and she showed me her locker.  Lots of fun!

Miss E had a 'brown bag' assignment for English.  She was supposed to pick 5 things or less that would fit in a brown bag that described her life or things that were important to her.  Then each student shared their items with the class.  These were Miss E's items--a Nerf gun dart because she likes to play Nerf guns, a mini basketball because she likes sports, a duck tape bracelet that she made because she is crafty and likes to make things, an "I'm a Mormon" pass along card because her religion is important to her, and her name in Japanese calligraphy because she likes Japan.  She picked out all the items herself.  I was impressed.

We have sister missionaries in our town for our church, and we love them!  We have them to dinner once a week.  We were sad to lose one this week.  So, this was our good-bye shot.  

Ben teaches an early morning seminary class in our basement for the school year.  It is a religious scripture study class for high school students.  He started this week.  This is his bright eyed and happy 6 a.m. class :) He does an amazing job! 

Are you ever too big for a kiddie pool?  I don't think so.  Miss E and Mr J enjoyed the sprinkler and kiddie pool with some friends today.

Thanks for visiting, come back often.  I blog several times a week.  I hope you have a good week!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sharing cultures

Learning about the world and how others live on the other side of the world is extremely important for kids (and adults) to realize they aren't alone on this big planet, and there are more than one way to do things.  This past week my kids got a big taste of Japanese culture, and they loved it.  Japan has always been an important part of my family's life.  When I was a kid my Dad went to Japan for a month and had some art exhibits over there.  I have a Japanese pen pal that came to stay with us one summer before I went to college.  I still keep in touch with her.  More recently my Mom had the opportunity to go to Japan for about a month, and both my Dad and Mom keep in contact with their friends in Japan.  My mom has set up Japanese pen pals for the kids in her school.  All of my kids have Japanese pen pals.  So, we were very excited this past week when one of my Mom's Japanese friends and her friend came for a visit.  They visited the local schools and gave presentations, but we were extra lucky because they made us a Japanese dinner and shared a lot of things with my kids.   
They invited my kids to come over and help them make their Japanese dinner.

Miss E working on a type of Japanese pancake made with cabbage and pork and shrimp.  They put ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mayonnaise on them.  They were good!

Miss A and our new Japanese friend working on the pancakes.

The ladies were so nice and brought lots of Japanese candies, snacks, and gifts for my kids.

The kids had fun learning what all the things were called.

Then they got a lesson in Japanese calligraphy which is just beautiful.

They got to try it out.

They did a good job.

They taught them how to write "friend" "heart" and their names.

Pretty impressive!

Then they showed us how you wear a kimono.  These ladies were so cute and generous.  We had a wonderful time being with them and learning from them.  

That night as we were having our scripture study, saying prayers, and writing in our gratitude books I asked each of the kids one thing they had written down that they were grateful for that day  "diversity" was one, and "Japanese friends," "Japanese food," and "Japan" were others.  What a great learning and bonding experience.  We are so grateful for God's many children on this earth and how much we can share, teach, and learn from each other.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's up Wednesday--banana bread

I think I have shared this before, but it is definitely worthy of a repeat.  This banana bread is my great-grandma's recipe.  We called her Dearie.  That wasn't her real name, but she did not want to be called 'grandma' because that made her feel old, so she was called Dearie.  She was wonderful.  She passed away when I was still in elementary school, but I remember her.  I remember going to her house and spending time with her.  She was the mother of 5 girls and was truly inspiring.  I love having this recipe of hers to remember her by.  I think it is the best banana bread ever!  The great memories make it even sweeter.
Dearie's Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, soft
1 cup sugar

Cream the butter and sugar together then add
2 eggs

Mix well.  Then add
2 cups flour
1 tes baking soda
1 tes salt
1 tes vanilla 
3 medium ripe bananas mashed

Mix well then pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for one hour.  Insert toothpick in middle to see if it is done.  I usually have to cook it 10 more minutes or so until the toothpick comes out clean.  

Enjoy with wonderful thoughts of your grandma!

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans week 33

Big week this past week.  School started for the kids.  Ben started a new job.  Lots of changes, but good changes.  The house is sure quiet during the days now, and I have a 'to do' list a mile long.  This is the season of quiet days and crazy afternoons/evenings.  Early morning band practices plus after school volleyball and cross country practices will dominate our lives for the next little while--not to mention spelling tests and projects and all the crazy that school brings.  Welcoming our new season of change, here is a look at our week. . .

Our friends who recently moved couldn't take their fish tank, so Mr J inherited it.  He is so super excited about that!  Ben and Mr J took care of moving the tank to his room and getting it cleaned out today.

First day of Ben's new job.  He was not looking for a change.  The new job just fell into his lap, and we decided to accept the change and challenge that came with it.  Change is never an easy thing, but he is so good at what he does.  I know it is going to be a great thing.  He is just amazing!
Trying to get rooms and things organized before school starts this week.  Miss O and Miss A cleaning and organizing their bedroom.

First day of school for Mr J and Miss E!  3rd grade and middle school here we come!

So excited to get home after the first day!

Miss A and Miss O's first day of school!  They started the day after the younger kids and enjoyed one extra day of summer.

We had a church swim party scheduled for this weekend.  Normally our weather right now is very hot, and an evening swim would be extremely welcomed, but not this year.  It was 72 when we left for the pool, and 66 when we went home.  Quite a cool evening swim, but it didn't seem to bother these cute girls!

Hope you had a great week!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Remembering on the first day of school

School is officially in session here.  
First day of 3rd grade for Mr J--our lone elementary student

First day of 6th grade and middle school for Miss E

Our high school sophomore (gulp)--Miss A

And our expert 8th grader--Miss O

So I am wondering if anyone else has this problem, but we cannot have the first day of school without someone forgetting something.  This little list is on our door heading out to the garage.  It was first put up after the first day of school when Miss A (my current sophomore) was starting 3rd grade.  She had gone to school the first day and . . . forgot her glasses, so I got a call.  She forgot her lunchbox in her dad's car, so he got a call.  Thirty minutes after dropping her off at school, both her parents had to return to school.  So, I said, 'We aren't doing that again, so here is a list.   Please check it as you go out the door each morning."  Well, it has worked pretty well, except for on the first day of school.  Someone always forgets something.  This year it was exactly 10 minutes after Ben and the kids had walked out the door that the phone rang.  I knew who it was, and I knew what she had forgotten.  I saw it behind the couch 5 minutes after they had left--her band instrument--her mellophone.   
She said, "Mom. . ." 
and I said," you forgot your mellophone."  
"Yeah. . ."

So, 20 minutes after dropping the kids off, I was at school dropping off the forgotten instrument.  
I am going to have to figure out how to add "instrument" to the above 8 year old list.  Maybe it is time for a new one :)  So here's to a new school year and for continuing the tradition of always forgetting something.  At least my kids are quick learners and don't seem to forget things after the first day, so I hope that tradition continues also! 

Happy First Day of School!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What's up Wednesday--breakfast food

I love breakfast food.  Breakfast for dinner is one of my all time favorite meals.  As school is set to start here (like tomorrow) I have been thinking about breakfast foods.  We are usually cereal kind of people, but I like to try to make something at least once a week so they have something different.  I will do a big batch of pancakes, waffles, or muffins, and then the extras go in the freezer for the rest of the week for the kids and Ben to just grab out and heat up.  We eat a lot of eggs at our house too, because scrambled eggs are quick and easy and yummy!  

Here are some of our favorite breakfast recipes. . .

Classic buttermilk waffles with cheese:  When I saw Mel's Kitchen Cafe's cheddar waffles, I admit I was skeptical.  Cheese on a waffle?  But let me tell you it works!  Yum!  My family likes them a lot.  

You sprinkle on a few tablespoons of cheese before you close and lid and then. . .

Ta-da!  Yum!

Coconut and cashew granola:  This is just to-die-for good!  The recipe calls for raisins, but we usually put dried cranberries in it.  It makes your house smell so good when you make it also!  It does take a while to cook, so I usually make it the night before I want it.  

Overnight maple brown sugar oatmeal:   I make this once a week.  It is really good.  A great way to use steel cut oats, and we always put the dried blueberries in--I get those at Costco.  It is good reheated for the next few days also.  

Healthy Whole Grain Waffles:     This is from Our Best Bites, and I love these.  They are probably my all time favorite waffle.  I am not an extreme health freak--I like things healthy, but I also like them to taste good.  These waffles are a perfect combination of both.  I just use regular sugar when I make them, and I do use the flaxseed meal and wheat germ in them.  They are great!

Happy breakfast from our house to yours!  Here's to happy school mornings ahead!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013 Blue Jeans Week 32

Re-entry--what I call returning to normal life after vacation--is always hard.  This week was no exception.  Mountains of laundry from our mountain vacation, but that is okay.  It was also a week of welcoming and good-byes which are also hard.  Here is a look at our week. . .
We got to welcome back some of our bestest friends that moved away, but then moved back!  These kids have been friends since forever, and they are so happy to be back together!!!

Our Nana is the librarian at our kids' school, and we went to help her get the library ready today.  School starts soon!

Back-to-school shopping today!  

An exciting day for Miss E--she got contacts!  She was very happy about that!

We had some dear friends staying with us this week as they were preparing to move.  Mr J was so excited that his friend helped him build an awesome train track!  So cute!

Miss O and her best friend who moved away this week.  Man, that is hard!  We will sure miss them!  Aren't they the cutest girls ever?

Miss O had band camp this week, and tonight they did a short concert to show the parents what they had been doing this week.  She plays the French horn, but you can't march with a French horn, so she plays the mellophone.  She is going to be a busy band girl this year!

Our library did a fun thing this Saturday--they held an "Amazing Race" our town style--sort of like the Amazing Race TV show.  Our family was one of the 16 teams who participated.  We had 14 clues and places to go and do different challenges--like eat a banana without hands, put on a bunch of different clothes in a minute, etc.  This clue led us to Wal-mart where we had to take a goofy picture.  Our family ended up getting 3rd place.  It was really fun!  We love our library!!!

Thanks for visiting!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative.

Friday, August 9, 2013


What is it about a new box of crayons that just makes you smile and happy?  We went school supply shopping this week (not clothes, just supplies) and an hour and $150 later we left the store, but those crayons just made me smile.  I only had one of my four this year that needed crayons.  That almost made me cry.  It was kind of an up and down emotional roller coaster trip to the store.  We are almost getting out of the crayon stage which is sad, and we are moving onto the scientific calculator and graph paper stage of school supplies.  Those are a little more expensive than the $0.50 box of 24 Crayola crayons.

When my kids were little their needs and wants were pretty simple--diapers, bottle, formula--not saying those were cheap by any means, but when I compare them with my kids' needs/wants now--ipods, Nike running shoes, a car, nail polish, etc, those baby things seem so simple and so much less expensive.  It is interesting how the different stages in a child's life can change you and your perspective, but some things never change.

My kids will always be mine no matter what stage they are in or what their needs are, and a box of crayons will always make me smile, and I think I will always buy a 24 box of Crayola crayons every fall even if they aren't on the school supply list--just for me--to smile and remember.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's up Wednesday--easy peach cobbler

So, no picture for this post because it was all gone before I could get my camera out, but let me tell you it is easy and sooo good!  Three ingredients, and 45 minutes later it is done!  I had company for dinner Monday night.  I got home at 5, they were coming at 6.  I made this baby up and got her in the oven.  It was done by 6, and out of the oven, so slightly cooled and perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.  Our company raved, and even my little guy who "doesn't like it," liked it!  He told me later, "Mom, that peach cobbler was really good!  Thank you for making it."  Does a recipe need any more recommendation than that?  I think not.

Easy Peach Cobbler

5 (15 oz) cans of peaches
2 boxes of yellow cake mix (or white if you don't have yellow, I have used both)
1 cup melted butter

Spray a 9x13 pan, then dump in all the cans of peaches with their juice.  Combine the 2 cake mixes with the melted butter then crumble over the peaches.  Bake uncovered at 350 for about 45 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool slightly and then serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  Yum!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Catching up--Blue Jeans Week 31

So, 2 weeks ago was supposed to be a really slow week, but I could not keep up with anything to save me.  Then, the next week we went on vacation, and I really was saved.  We live in the very humid and hot mid-west, so escape to the mountains of Colorado where there is no humidity and the high was only 70 the whole 8 days was divine.  I really didn't want to come back.  We stayed in a small little ski town, and had a blast.  We all needed the break before lots of changes with school starting and Ben starting a new job (not moving anywhere--thank heavens, just another job in our town).  It was so nice to be together, relax, and enjoy the beauties of the world our Heavenly Father has given us.  Here is a look at our week. . .
A beautiful trail by the condo we stayed in--when did my kids get so big??
Lots of hiking was on the agenda, and finding the perfect walking stick for everyone was way important.

We road the historic Georgetown loop railroad, which my train loving boy was elated about!

The steam train crossing the super high bridge--150 feet high!

Getting an extra large and extra yummy treat

We rented mountain bikes for a day--that was really fun, but we were all a little sore the next day. . .

The kids loved playing and wading in the clear mountain streams.  

And the ski resort had an alpine slide, so my kids got to ride a chair lift for the first time ever.

That was pretty cool!

Getting ready to go down the alpine slide.  My boy was the most nervous about it, and went back and forth from wanting to ride or not, but he finally decided to ride and loved it!

Hiking around a beautiful mountain lake

Enjoying the indoor swimming pool which we had almost all to ourselves--going to a ski town in the summer is the way to go!

The view from our balcony and everyone's awesome hiking sticks.  We were all sad to come home, and re-entry--what I call returning to 'normal' life after vacation--is always hard especially with school starting in 10 days!  But we have some wonderful memories and lots of fun to reflect on and remember to get us through the hot, muggy, school days ahead.

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a great week!

I am linking up with The Mom Creative.