Sunday, June 30, 2013

easy come, easy go

Vacations, no matter how well planned, usually includes hidden costs. A forgotten item, a gift shop purchase, a meal out....Whatever it is.

I have a Ford Expedition. I love, love, love my car. However, it is not cheap to fill her up! I take advantage of gas reward points programs but...the most I can get off a tank here in CA is a mere .20! However, I will take what I can get.

So during a stop to get gas, I was shocked to find a different offer from Safeway...we got $1 off a gallon! Gas was already super cheap compared to So. Cal but to get $1 off as well? Heck yeah! (Picture above is CA prices with discount. Picture below is AZ price with discount)

While driving into the Grand Canyon, Ben informed me that we had to pay a $25 fee for park entrance. As we pulled up though, we saw this sign...

See that line on the very bottom? Yep, not only did we get the day free, we got a whole year free! We congratulated ourselves on saving some more money on our trip.

At the end of our trip, Ben said to me, "Have you ever noticed how when we save money
on something, we usually end up finding it somewhere later?"

Uh yeah. Unfortunatley. After one more stop at Sonic (this was a must have), we decided not to eat out or spend any more money until we got home.

Upon arriving home, we were getting everything cleaned out of the car, and getting back into the swing of things. But then...we realized that one of the freezers in our garage, had had the door left open.

Everything was ruined. EVERYTHING. I had to throw it all away. It made me sick to my stomach to throw all that food out. I had carefully wrapped meats, frozen produce, whole chickens...ugh. All of my hard work down the drain.

I was already in a bad mood because of all this. I went out to the garage to get something out of the car. When I clicked the garage door button, the door went up and I heard a shattering sound. The lift gate on the back of my car had been left open. When the door went up, it got caught and the whole thing shattered.

After many, many tears, and a bit of chocolate, I called the insurance company. Thank heaven for good insurance. After parts, labor and paying extra for them to come to us instead of me going to them, we were looking at a little less than $500. Ugh. Do you know what I can get with $500?!

While the windshield was being fixed, I went to Costco. My husband insisted that " there is nothing good to eat" and that we needed some quick & easy foods. That "little" trip, knowing that I had to replace some of what was lost, put me back a lot of money.

Yet another kick to the gut.

Such costly mistakes that could have been easily prevented.

It was an expensive, expensive couple of days. Lots of lessons learned.

Now I am trying to re-stock my freezer with good deals...and of course, buying a lock for the freezer!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

lazy dinner

A couple of nights ago, I was feeling a little under the weather. Nothing serious, just kind of blah.

Yet, my family still wanted to eat dinner. Isn't that the way it always is?!

I decided on a quick and easy "dinner" that my family loves. German pancakes.

Recipes have a lot of history behind them don't they? Maybe not all of them, but some.

When I was first married, Ben and I were hanging out at his parents house. I am not sure how it came about but his Mom made us these puff pancakes and called them German Pancakes. After baking, we topped them with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

This was my first time having them...and yummo! I loved them. The buttery, salty, sweetness.  Because I loved them, and so does my husband, he wrote the recipe down for me. He never does this. It is so cute to have a recipe that he wrote out. I love it!

I have seen these called many different things, Hills & Valleys, German pancakes, Puff whatever you want to call it, this is our recipe:

6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp. butter

Pre-heat your oven to 450*.

Beat the eggs until they are frothy. Set aside for a moment and place your butter in your 13x9 dish. (We have also made these in pie plates for a circle shaped pancake/puff). I use a cube of butter, slice it at the 5 TBSP. mark. Then I cut into pats of butter  putting  one in each corner of the pan and one in the middle. Does that make sense? You want to melt the butter while you mix up the rest of the batter. Once you have mixed all the other ingredients in with the eggs, pour it into the dish and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.

My kids favorite way to eat these are with lemon juice squirted on the puff and than adding powdered sugar. However, I also like raspberry jam with powdered sugar. Have some fruit on the side and bacon/sausage and you have yourself a meal!

Monday, June 24, 2013


On our last full day at the Grand Canyon, we tried to squeeze a lot in.

I ate breakfast around 6ish. Really early but when the sun comes up at 5...well, what are you gonna do?

Following breakfast, we cleaned up the camp site, went and took showers, quick trip to the general store and then a hike. It was at least 85* outside.

We hiked, rode a tram to several look outs and enjoyed our day. By 1:00 none of us had eaten, so we walked from the bus stop to a cafeteria. Mason "was tired of lots and lots of walking" so I ended up carrying him part of the well as my backpack.

I was hot, tired, starving and felt loopy. Seriously loopy. So of course I CHOWED down my lunch.

We followed all of this with more hiking,  more carrying Mason (up a hill!) more straightening up, and then headed back to a view point to watch the sun set over the canyon. More walking. More sun. No water. No food.

By the time the sun had gone down, the kids in their shorts & t-shirts were all freezing. Ben took them back to the car while I stopped to take a few more pictures.

Walking back to the car, I got a little lost. We were in parking area 4, and I was in one. I began to walk when my body just felt weird.

I felt dizzy, sick to my stomach and just out of it. I kept walking and my foot would feel as if it was falling asleep. I kept walking, ( I am one of those "walk it off" kind of people) and the symptoms kept up. I was feeling disoriented and was about to text my husband to come and pick me up. I finally found the car and said, "I don't feel good."

Have you figured out what happened? Yeah I was completely dehydrated. I had been doing too much and not taking care of myself. I made sure my kids downed plenty of water. Had their sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, name it. Me? I was too busy to take care of myself.

I got in the car and guzzled water, which led to a sick stomach. I slowed down, rested in the a/c, ate some food, and lied down a while. I finally felt better, but it took awhile.

Can I tell you something? It was SCARY! I had never felt like that and don't want too again!

This summer, wherever you are, bring water! If you end up having to buy a water bottle, because you forgot, do it! Refill as necessary! Snacks are also important. Jerky, granola/protein bars, fruit, cheese, nuts...something. Drink your water! Water is the best but you can also have a Gatorade type drink. Just keep downing fluids.

Do as I say, and not as I did, because trust me, you don't want to feel that way! Stay safe this summer!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grand Canyon trip

After surviving the last 2 weeks of school, I had another even to survive...a family camping trip to the Grand Canyon!

As long as I have indoor plumbing & showers, I am a pretty happy camper. (Get it?! Camper?! I'm hilarious, what can I say?) Having Wi-Fi doesn't hurt either.

I know that everyone would like to hear the ins and outs & day by day account of our trip. I mean who doesn't love to hear about every one else's trips? So here we go...

Day 1:

Just kidding! Instead I am going to give it to you this way:

The good:
-family time
-sitting around the camp fire playing Mafia with the kids
-snuggling with Ben to keep warm
-looking at the beautiful landscapes
-lots of fresh air & exercise
-tons of photo ops

The Bad:
-so MUCH dirt
-getting cold at night
-not sleeping well
-roasting during the day
-family members complaining
-not being able to find my laundry soap from home and having to pay insane prices
-insane prices on everything

The Ugly:
All the dirty laundry that I currently have to do...and being totally worn out!

****So I had a whole bunch of pictures I wanted to share. However...they wouldn't load! Total bummer! I may not be the best photographer in the world, but even I got some awesome shots!****

Monday, June 17, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

It is the first week of summer! So excited to be heading out to the Grand Canyon tomorrow.

I enjoy camping but I have a few requirements. Really just two. Indoor plumbing & showers. I can handle just about everything else.

I get nervous when it comes to camping and food because of the lack of refrigeration. I have to get used to it though because our family is not going to stop camping any time soon!

So here is my weekly meal plan...camping version!

B: bananas, dry cereal (we finished off the milk and I am not buying more until we get home!)
L:on the road
D: hot dogs, chili, salad and of course...

B: pancakes, eggs and bacon
L:sandwiches, chips & fruit
D: bbq chicken kebobs , fruit and grilled corn
Treat: fruit cobbler made in the dutch oven

B: breakfast casserole with sausage/bacon, potatoes, eggs
L:sandwiches/hot dogs
D:in town
Treat: woof 'ems

B: pancakes/cereal
L:sandwiches/hot dogs (just depends as we are busy during the day!)
D:taco salad
Treat: whatever is left :)

B: cereal/leftovers
L:in town
D: leftovers

B: whatever is left
L:on the road
D: at home...with electricity! We will probably stop and grab a pizza or something!

So that is it! I am looking forward to family time. Even though my teenage daughter informed me that, "I will probably spend the whole time wishing I was at home." Ahhh I can just feel the love!

For literally HUNDREDS of meal ideas, head on over to OrgJunkie!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers Day

Almost 14 years ago, I became a Mother. And at the same time, Ben became a father. Since that day, he has:

**stayed up late with kids
**put multiple lego sets together
**sat through concerts, programs, promotions...
** cut hair

**given baths
** put up a trampoline, bunk beds, shelves...
**moved furniture
**built lego tables

**gone camping
**gone to Scouts
**barbequed more times than I can count
**taken the family to Disneyland, LEGOLAND, Six Flags, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, along with museums, science centers...

**gone to the pool
**gone to the beach, hauling chairs, towels, buckets etc.
**gone to practices
**helped the coaches

**gone to Scouts
**helped with homework
**built Pinewood Derby cars

There are so many more that I could never list them all. I love my husband and the father that he is. He is a loving husband who has financially, physically & emotionally supported me.

Happy Fathers Day, Ben! We really do love you to "pieces".

Friday, June 14, 2013

I made it!!

Its over! The crazy busy school year (especially the last 2 weeks) is now over! I am amazed at all we fit in and were able to do. Besides being absolutely exhausted I am so glad I was able to attend my children's events.

So oldest to youngest, this is what we have had going on...

Although she had a plethora of end of year events, she is not a big photo taker. So I have no photos of her trip to Magic Mountain, her day at the bowling alley...The Mama-razzi was there for her promotion! After a trip to Ross to find the perfect dress, she was set. Dress, shoes, and a necklace. I did her hair and put a little bit of make up on her. Then I just wanted to cry! My baby girl has grown up! I love that girl.

The 6th graders at Monte Vista participate in Greco-Roman games. They have a 3 strikes and your out policy, and so Ethan made sure his behavior was perfect. Despite getting one strike for missing homework, he managed not to get any more. He decorated his own shirt, which turned out so awesome! I love it! After a day of participating in games like chariot races, relays, tug of wars...his team came out victorious! They won first place and were rewarded with candy and prizes. He was so excited!

Connor was my other child who promoted this year! Moving on from 5th grade to 6th. I can't believe he is already heading to middle school. The time has flown by! Even though the kids were asked to dress nicely, Connor wanted to wear his bow tie. He looked so handsome. The next day he got sunburnt at the 5th grade picnic. Connor really liked his teacher this year and had a hard time saying goodbye!



Although I was more excited than he was, I was able to attend Ivan's spring concert. They were asked to wear red, white and blue. I set out a nice pair of blue church pants and a red & white polo. When he came downstairs...he was wearing a Super Mario shirt. He informed me that it was ok since he was still wearing red, white & blue! He did a great job and participated in all the songs. It was cute to watch.

Even Mason got in on the end of the year festivities! His last day of school, his class held a share circle. They sang some really cute songs and followed it up with ice cream cups. He gave his teachers big hugs and loves looking at the picture book they gave him. He had such a fun time at school and I know he is looking forward to going back next year.

We are all ready for least until the "I'm bored's" start!

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