Gadget by The Blog Doctor.
Read more: http://www.blogdoctor.me/2009/01/random-rotating-post-gadget-with.html#ixzz1e5vH9P4O

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

I'm trying to get back in the swing of using my camera more than just for soccer games, so I've joined a few different challenges to whet my appetite for my camera more.

I've always loved I Heart Faces website, and while I'm simply a mom who loves to take pictures, I, well, LOVE to take pictures, am not a professional but find it fun and relaxing.

This weeks theme is Everyday Life. This picture is of two little boys my girls and I watch each week. They are sweet, funny and fill our lives with joy. We are making juice which we try to do at least once a week and they LOVE to help and "sample" what we make. It is a part of our everyday life, they are a part of our everyday life.

With Joy UNquenchable,

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Years ago I started participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook group and enjoyed it but for some reason stopped participating. Lately I've discovered that I get so caught up in the ho-hum of the everyday that I forget to just stop and ponder, or slow down and be creative and intentional. I wanted to do something to get myself going again. I came across an old post I had done and thought "why not start this up again." We'll see how it goes.


Outside my window...The sky is gray and cloudy, the trees in our yard stand tall and majestic...I love looking out my front window.

I am thinking...of the week ahead and the things I want to accomplish. I am also thinking  I want to rearrange things in my house. 

I am thankful...for the life I live, even when it's hard and I wonder where the journey we are on is going to take us.

In the kitchen...tacos for dinner tonight, fresh juice to be made sometime this week and maybe some banana bread. 

I am wearing...my favorite Adidas capris and t-shirt

I am creating...I have been wanting to stretch myself when it comes to taking pictures so I've joined a few "photo challenges". 

I am going...to be intentional about working out this week. I need to get back in to being fit and healthy.

I am wondering...what amazing adventures lie ahead.

I am reading...too many books at once...lol. A few fiction. Just finished "So You Don't Want to go to Church Anymore" (which isn't anti-church by the way, just makes us ask why we do what we do). So good.

I am hoping...that sometime soon I am able to go through a day without thinking about some of the events of the last several months and the hurt and sadness that goes along with it.

I am looking forward to...the weekend...my daughter's 16th birthday and some soccer!

I am learning....to embrace change and being willing to think different than I've thought before. 

Around the house...a little one is playing (we babysit), my youngest is still sleeping the morning away and I am enjoying some "me" time.

I am pondering...people's inability to recognize how their words/actions have affected others and their inability to take ownership of or even see the mess they created.

A favorite quote for today..."Time will tell the whole story if you wait out the critics and stay your course"

One of my favorite things...the reality of knowing how deeply God loves me!

A few plans for the rest of the week:grocery shopping, soccer practice, the list goes on.

A peek into my day...work and babysitting, getting things done around the house. Knocking out the to-do list. I have always loved planners..this is my newest and I'm liking being creative with it as a way of inspiring me to remember what needs remembering.

(add your picture here)With Joy UNquenchable,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vegas Trip #2

3 years ago, I took my oldest and her friend to Las Vegas for her 16th birthday trip. Here is the post on that trip. We had a great time and saw so many neat things, along with some, well, um, interesting things...lol. Almost two weeks ago I spent 5 days back in Vegas, this time with my youngest daughter for a soccer tournament. 3 of the 5 days were dedicated to exploring and having fun. The other two were focused on soccer and resting up between games. I'm so glad we gave ourselves extra time...the  main reason was if we traveled on Thursday and Tuesday we saved several hundred dollars per ticket which made it worth it, but it was also nice to be able to acclimate and see the sites, and, of course spend time with my girl.

 The tournament ran Saturday-Monday, though we only played Saturday and Sunday (4 games). Our girls did great. They placed 2nd in their bracket and 9th in their age division out of 24 teams. Pretty good for their first showcase tournament, and we were not 100% healthy...we had one girl sick, and a few others nursing injuries, but they pulled together and played great. 
 We stayed in the Circus Circus as a team, though we were so spread out it didn't seem like we were all together...the room was comfortable, but the hotel is older and thus had some issues. Not sure I would stay there again. We spent the first day getting our rental car (we were upgraded to a 2015 Mustang....orange...can we say whoop whoop), getting some groceries for the hotel (no continental breakfast), picking up our tickets to The Blue Man Group (great show), eating lunch at In-N-Out then checking in to our hotel. It was a long day. We spent all of our free days going through the hotels on the strip, checking out the stores, eating yummy food, our favorite being Buddy's Bake Shop in the Venetian. My girl is a huge fan of Cake Boss so we stood in line for quite awhile to enjoy some pastries from the bakery. 
I love spending time with each of my girls individually. As much as I wish our whole family could have went, it was great connecting with my youngest. Laughing, having great conversations and just being together. And while we had a great time and enjoyed the sun and warm weather, we really were glad to be home to our beautiful green Pacific NW. 
 I love that my girls are budget conscious, and while in Vegas we discovered that we could easily share our meals (except one) and have plenty of food. Our last night there we ate at a really good Pizza Place called Metro Pizza. She wanted the BBQ chicken Calzone and I wanted the Spinach and Cheese, so we got our own that night...we did so well with our budget we came home with extra money.

Places we saw this trip:

* NY NY....she did roller coaster and we walked through the Hershey shop, which emanates the smell of chocolate.

* M&M and Coke stores....fun to see all the memorabilia.

* The Venetian....one of my faves..love the atmosphere, the gondolas floating down the middle with singing. Of course Buddy's Bake Shop. 
*Caesars Palace...lots of shops (HUGE H & M store), neat architecture.
* Planet Hollywood...lots of shops (most hotels have tons of shops, some repeats, some unique to the hotel), but we seemed to get turned around in there a lot.

* The Aria...very neat art features...ice towers and acrylic tubes with water spouts in them.

* Cosmopolitan...gorgeous chandeliers and Crystal swags from the ceilings.

* The Bellagio...fountains are awesome and the blown glass display in beautiful.

* The Paris...shops and restaurants are quaint and the ride up the Eiffel Tower is worth it. Go at night because it's beautiful and the Bellagio Fountain show is so neat from up there. 

Where we ate:

* Caesars Palace food court...the seafood place was pretty good. 

* Buddy's Bake Shop....uh, I think our dinner was pastries that night...lol.

* Metro Pizza...amazing pizza's and Calzones and good prices, located on Flamingo Ave.

* Chipotle....split a huge burrito.

* Chili's on the Strip....good food, good prices, and we enjoyed people watching on the patio.

We purchased breakfast and snack items at Walmart and Costco since the hotel didn't provide breakfast and we had a few early games. 

We also went to Fremont St. which is an "eye-opener"....lol, but the girls had fun..there was a great band playing on one of the stages and the girls all decided it was a good idea to stay in school..haha! Some friends went to the top of the Stratosphere and did the rides up there and loved it. We had pretty much spent all our money so we didn't do this. 

Many people bought a pass that allowed them to see a variety of attractions. We didn't do this because we bought tickets to see The Blue Man group and I didn't know what our free time would be like, but it seems like it was worth it. We really enjoyed The Blue Man Group, but I would wait and purchase tickets there because they were handing out coupons for buy one/get one...grrr...!

One afternoon our hotel lost power so we had to go down 7 flights of stairs but friends of our had to go down 30...thankfully none of us had to walk back up. That was funny searching for the stairwell and trying to decide where the door led to that we were going out of. Not very well marked. It is amazing to me how many people go there with little, little kids, and go out on the town with those little little kids at 11:00 at night. I wanted to ask them where they were going. 

One last story...Our plane left at 6:00 Tuesday morning to come home. We were traveling with 4 other teammates and their families. I had about 5 muffins left so I packed them in a ziploc bag and brought them with us. We left Vegas and landed in San Diego only to learn we were delayed due to a maintenance issue. Kristianna and I and the girl who was traveling with us ate 3 of the muffins. That left two, somewhat smooshed muffins left. I decided to throw them away in a nearby garbage can. 20 minutes later another teammate said "hey, can I have one of those muffins?". I jokingly said "well, I can pull them out of the garbage." She replied "that's tempting." My girl promptly heads to the garbage can, and digs around till she found the bag, hands it to her friend, who promptly eats the muffins. The airport was packed but thankfully the garbage had been recently emptied so there were only some bags from food and coffee cups...oh boy! My girl the dumpster diver. We all got a good laugh at that one. 

It was a great adventure and maybe someday our whole family could go. 

With Joy UNquenchable,

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Goin' to the Chapel and She's Gonna Get married

As a parent there are certain milestones in your children's lives that can bring about a variety of different emotions. When they are younger, there are many milestones fairly close together...rolling over, crawling, walking, their first words, their first day of school, riding a two wheel bike. Then the milestones spread out and bring them that much closer to independence, total independence. They turn 13, then 16, then get their drivers license and no longer need mom to drive them everywhere. On to graduation, possibly college and maybe moving out on their own, and then that one day, when they get married. 

This past December my oldest reached a milestone. She became an engaged young lady. WOW! Am I old enough to have a daughter engaged and getting married? She will be 20 when she gets married this December. I realized my mom was 19 when she got married and turned 20, 3 months later. While it's tough to realize that one of our girls will soon be out on her own it is exciting to be experiencing a new kind of relationship. I loved the relationship I had with my mom as a young adult, married woman, and eventually mother myself. I only wish we had more time together. 

I am thankful that my girl has a good head on her shoulder, knows who she is and is such a deep lover of people. She will be an amazing wife and someday mother. 

I am also thankful that she isn't a bride-to-be that is set on making her parents take out 3 mortgages on their house, sell the cars, the dog, the cat and her sister in order to finance this big day. Phew! What a relief. I truly believe you can have an amazingly spectacular wedding on a budget, dare I say, even the wedding of your dreams, because, really, what does that equate? If it equates tangible things that only last a few hours, I'm not convinced one would ever have their "dream" wedding because there's always something more. But if it's a beautiful, stress free day (or evening in our case) with friends and family and knowing you paid for it without debt hanging over your head, then to me that is more of a "dream" than anything else. Does it mean that sometimes on a budget you have to be more creative, maybe not have something you thought of having, or needing to do more searching for things in your budget? Yes, but it can be fun, if you let it be. If you don't stress, if you don't compare or set unrealistic expectations. Will there be times of stress or frustration? Sure, but it'll be worth it. 
I hope over the months ahead (we have 10 months before the wedding) and after the wedding, to share some of our ideas, tips, etc..without giving away too much...lol.

My daughter is an organizer and I tease her that she will have this wedding planned in 3 months and have nothing to do the rest of the year. She might be okay with that since she will be juggling college classes, work and wedding planning. 

Here are a few ways we've saved some money already:

  • We have reserved a venue. Did you know that if you get married during a weekday (mon-thurs) you can save several hundred dollars. We checked out several venues that seemed to be able to seat what we wanted and in our price range. Many venues required you to use their own, or from a list of approved caterers (cha-ching) and did not include any options for other rentals. They were fairly basic and would also require quite a bit in the way of decorations to make them pretty. 
  • She already purchased a dress. While yes, going to the large bridal salons affords you with the latest styles, it also can kill the wallet. We weren't opposed to going to these places, but we found a few bridal shops in the nearby city of Portland, Oregon that were non-profit dress shops. Their proceeds from dress sales (all dresses are donated from larger bridal shops, designers, or brides...often maybe a year or so back in style) go towards a variety of causes. One shop's proceeds went to stopping sex trafficking (which is very prevalent here). Another shop donates 50% of it's sales to the cause Wish Upon a Wedding where it grants wedding and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness or other life altering situations. So while we could've went to a larger, franchise shop, the option of shopping local and helping a cause at the same time was more appealing. We attended an event put on by one of the shops, and let's just say my girl saved 90% on her dress and loves it. She, in no way feels like she settled. 
  •  Join some Wedding FB pages. We haven't purchased anything on these yet, but there are always things brides are selling, great places to find photographers, tips on what works and doesn't work, a place to say "hey where can I find this for a good price".  
I don't believe you have to settle because you are on a budget. I guess in some ways maybe you will. Instead of the 5 course sit down dinner that you would love to have, you may "settle" for a simple buffet, but I believe it's how you decide to feel about every choice you make that makes all the difference in the world. For us the 5 course sit down dinner, while it would be great, is not realistic, but a buffet might be (though not what we are doing). 

I'll share more as time progresses. We are looking forward to this fun journey. 

With Joy UNquenchable,

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mock Buffalo Wild Wings Wing Night

My oldest and her friends love going to Buffalo Wild Wings. If you don't know what that is, check out the link above. In a nutshell it is a restaurant that is especially known for it's "wings" and their variety of rubs and sauces. 

Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar is an American casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise in the United States, Canada and México that is known for its Buffalo wings and sauces.

A month or so ago,  I came home to my daughter telling me that she and her friend were going to be making wings at home for their group of friends and could I please check her recipe and let her know what she needed to buy. It doesn't happen often, but I love when she decides to cook and even better when she has her friends over. 

She searched the internet for the recipes she wanted to make. In the end she decided to use our own homemade BBQ sauce recipe, a recipe she found online for Parmesan Garlic wings and then she bought a hot wing and teriyaki sauce from the store just to save some time.

Oh my goodness! My faves were the parmesan garlic and we've made them several times since then, along with the BBQ sauce. The recipe for the parmesan garlic came from the website Raining Hot Coupons. I don't know where it originated because I saw similar ones elsewhere on the net, but they get the credit tonight. These were the bomb! Serious competition with the real deal. There is nothing quite as fun as knowing you made a favorite restaurant dish from scratch...and probably with less ingredients. 

We served these with sides of celery and carrot sticks as well as Bleu Cheese and Ranch Dressing. Dipping the wings in the dressing helps to cool the heat (spiciness) of the wings. It makes the flavor pop. The downside of wings is it takes a lot and the ones I bought at Safeway weren't separated so that was a bit time consuming. Yes, I could've just left them together, but that's not how the restaurant does it..lol. My mother in law did find some at the local Winco that were separated. 

These are great for anytime...game time, meal time, snack time, potlucks. I did mine a little different than the recipe, but used all the ingredients. The sauce could also be used on any form of chicken.

NOTE: I doubled this recipe because I wanted it saucy. 

Parmesan Garlic Wings
Courtesy of Raining Hot Coupons


6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbs. Olive oil
1/2 c. mayonnaise or plain yogurt (I used mayonaise)
1 Tbs. corn syrup
2 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper


1. Heat oven to 350.
2. In a small baking dish or a piece of foil, place garlic cloves and drizzle with oil. Cover with foil or fold up foil and bake 20-25 minutes till garlic is tender.
3. While the garlic is baking, combine the rest of the ingredients, whisking until smooth.
4. Let garlic cool, mash and add to ingredients. Adjust ingredients according to taste. 
5. Refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
6. Toss with your favorite wings for a great saucy dish.

NOTE #2: I didn't refrigerate my sauce. I wasn't sure about tossing my hot wings in a cold sauce. Though it's possible refrigerating it would bring out the flavors more. I placed mine on a stove to warm up or another time, I "basted" my wings with the sauce when they were almost cooked.

NOTE #3: I seasoned my wings with season salt, pepper and some garlic powder. Baked at 350-375 till done. 

NOTE #4: I think next time I will refrigerate the sauce, then warm it up slightly and THEN toss the wings in it and see what that does. 

Really, you can't go wrong, AT. ALL. They are just that yummy! 

With Joy UNquenchable,


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin