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This Life

striving for a life well-lived, come play with me, e, halle, gav, isaac, and wy

Updated: 2018-02-22T07:40:26.788-08:00


Palm Desert 2014


We've been visiting this same JW Marriott Resort for over 14 years (not hitting every year, but most). It's such a gorgeous hotel and we love it! The First night there we headed to The River to the Cheesecake Factory for some dinner. He never holds still! and throws a pretty mean "grouchy" face, reminiscent of Isaac's circa 2009.Sitting on a giant, iron pig. The second night we ate at Mikado. The boys were thoroughly entertained by the chef and all of the fun. We missed Halle who was at Maggie's goodbye party back home. We thought Wyatt would love the fire...but he was pretty scared...ok really scared...and, no, he didn't want shrimp flung into his mouth. super fun though! All of us! (my necklace broke while we were there) Chowing down on the ice cream! Eric and Me Goofy dad as usual. Loves for my baby. [...]

Another Year Over…


And I can't wait for the new one to begin!I have so many plans and goals for 2014 and I know it's going to be a great year.2013 RecapJanuary :: Celebrated 13 years of marriage to my guy! February :: My mom turned 50!! And Wyatt ended our no-broken-bone streak. March :: Halle made it to the County Science Fair Eric had knee surgery and I ran a half marathon. April :: We took an awesome mini family vacation to Arizona and it has been one of our favorite trips          to date.  Lots of fun memories mades. Halle & I also saw Wicked while in Tucson.May :: We camped with friends. June :: Yay for the beginning of Summer. I spent the day at SYTYCD with some of the best people.July :: In July we left for an EPIC road trip that we will NEVER forget! (Although many parts we would like to!)August :: Back to School! Halle started Middle School at the Western Scrience Center and the boys entered 1st and 3rd grades. And Paige & Paxton came to visit.September :: After nearly 4 years at the training facility, Eric went back to patrolling. A huge change for our family! I also got to attend my cousin Jesse's wedding and see my cousin Dustin for the first time in years! I also spotted this amazing family picture on display at the wedding. Yes my dad is trying to grab my mom's boob. Yes this is completely normal! October :: We had our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch and for the first time in YEARS, it was actually really cold. November :: I took a little girls weekend trip.  Isaac turned 7 on Thanksgiving and chose turkey for his Birthday meal! December :: Feeling grateful for a great year and the health report that my dad received that he had finally recovered from his stem-cell transplant. The best news to end the year![...]

No, Wyatt...


... the mascara is not for "wips."

Whole30... what I've been eating


I am pretty sure I forgot to post the last weeks photos. I am sitting here, day 28 and not even counting the hours until I can indulge. Because I am extending a few days, probably until Father's day at the earliest.I will be at Girls Camp on my 31st day and I am not interested in reintroducing wheat, dairy or sugar while I am far from my own bathroom! ;) But seriously, can you imagine?I had some really amazing food this week, and have been feeling amazing.Broiled salmon (wild-caught at Costco for $10/lb!) over a berry salad, ghee sautéed veggies, and half of a sweet potatoWhole Foods Cajun Drumettes & green beansRoasted Turkey over a simple bed of green leaf lettuce drizzled with Tessemae's Lemon ChesepeakeI just kind of started liking fried eggs, but I have to cook them so the yoke isn't too runny. Having not liked eggs much at all until this year, I think I have made astounding progress. These eggs are served over a hash of bacon, sweet potatoes and Brussels. Same hash with an egg scramble for the man of the house. Banana + 2 eggs = pancakesI know they are not Whole30 approved, but I ate them anyway. Topping is just one cup of fresh berries cooked over medium heat for a few minutes. I mashed them a bit with the spatula and then poured 'em on. A delicious chicken served with a homemade salsa verde served along side a butter lettuce salad with grapefruit, berries and walnuts. Summer Salad with Blackened Chicken at the YardHouse where Eric and I ate dinner while out on our date. I had them leave out the cheese and sub the dressing for EVOO & balsamic vinegar. Yum! [...]

Activity Days "It's My Bag!"


I was recently called to be the Activity Days Leader in our ward. This is what happens when you notice they've been a little short-handed and offer to "help out" for a while. I couldn't be more excited though. I will get to hang out with Halle and all the other sweet girls. For our first activity, I wanted to do a fun, get-to-know-you kind thing. Back when I was called to the YW presidency, we had played a paper bag game where you put things in the bag that represent you. The girls get to try and guess who the bags belong to as a girl empties the contents of a random bag. It's fun and informative! I decided to use paper bags for invitations and couldn't help but use the phrase "It's My Bag." If you are/were an Austin Powers fan, you will also be saying it in your best British accent and adding a "baby" at the end. I ended up incorporating Starburst into the night for an additional game we played where the girls picked a candy out of the jar and answered questions, while chewing, that corresponded to the colors. This was also very fun for them. We did it in small circles of girls on the floor. That's how I chose the colors. Each bag is folded in half. Then flip the flap that is the bottom to the inside of the bag and crease. Now you have that extra little flap. Then simply staple the edge and embellish as much or as little as you like.  This also left a great little space in the front for sending the empty bag for them to fill {see photos below}I have no idea how to post the files, as I am NEW to doing this sort of thing, but would be happy to email them to you if you leave a comment below. the extra bag is sticking out ever so slightlythe full inside of the inviteclose-up of activity detailsback of invite another view of how the extra bag is stuck in Thanks for stopping by! I will be updating out Activity Day fun and happenings regularly. [...]

Oil Pulling


I was researching teeth whitening the other night and came across this article. While I will still get them whitened at a dental office (can we say ROSS?!!) I still am going to try this for improved oral health.

Basically, I took a heaping spoon full of coconut oil into my mouth, then realized i had a little much and spit some out, then switched it around for 20 minutes. Many sites state that a first-timer might not be able to keep the oil that long, but I handled it like a boss. It wasn't as bad as I had expected it to be. You are supposed to do this daily for 20 minutes.

I snapped a quick iPad pic mid swish.

I will compare teeth pictures in 2 weeks, and then 4.

Mother's Day by the Sea


Spent the day with the little ones who made me a mom. breakfast:  {eggs, watermelon, bacon, and freshly juiced greens} love this picture of Eric & Wyatt  sibling love Isaac by his favorite rose Halle's favorite rose  Gavin's favorite rose  these poinsettias were my favorite[...]

Whole30 Day #3


I am not going to lie, I am pretty happy to be putting day 3 to rest!

I took my dad to the City of Hope for a pre-op style appointment today. I took Halle along and we headed out to Duarte. I made sure to get up in enough time to cook up some of the yummy and approved sausage that I had picked up at Costco. Day 2 and already not really in the mood for eggs? Uh-oh.

Meal 1: Aidel's Checken & Apple Sausage. Yum-o. I had a little over one link and it was delicious. I ate 2 cuties as well right after while I was driving and a green drink made with celery, cucumber, and a bit of apple.

After his appt, he really, really wanted to head to an Italian restaurant for spumoni & lunch. He has been really sick and not eating well. I was not going to tell him NO. But really, what genre of food is more torturous for a Whole30-er than an Italian restaurant??

Meal 2: Side salad with olive oil and vinegar and minestrone soup that I picked the beans out of.

My daughter sat inches away from me with ravioli. It was homemade and smelled delicious. The table next to me had pizza. PIZZA. Sigh.

Before work I grabbed a handful of macadamia nuts.

Meal 3: A ginormous helping of sautéed zucchini and yellow squash, Italian Sausage, and marinara. The marinara was bottled, but totally compliant. I also made this ribbon squash salad and it was really good. My friend stopped by and had some, and then seconds, and loved it.

The past couple of days I feel like I have had a weird taste in my mouth. Weird and I am not sure what would cause that?
I really felt that sugar craving kicking in today. I wanted to scarf down candy really badly. But I didn't. 27 more days!

Whole30 Day #2


Day two was pretty busy, but i stayed compliant by starving :)

Meal #1: I made scrambled eggs for breakfast and added in some leftover asparagus and it was actually really good. I also had a small banana. I think I will take a little asparagus break now though. 

I had a 10am hair appt and didn't really have anything on hand that would taste good unheated so I planned to eat when I got home or find a Chipotle. Didn't end up eating lunch until 2:45. 

Luckily I had thrown in some coconut flakes to hold me over and I was disciplined, though have the feeling these could turn into a crack-like addiction. Must be cautious. 

(Sprouts for $3.49)

Meal#2: Huge bed of romaine lettuce with shredded seasoned chicken that I prepped early this morning, bell peppers, avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro. It was really good but I DID miss my black beans. 

Meal #3: My second meal was really meant to be dinner, so when I got home from work, I had a small bowl of the chicken and just threw in some chopped bell peppers. I also had a half of our baby apples we have dipped in almond butter. 

Whole30 Day #1


The first day at anything usually isn't too bad. I am still pretty pumped up with the initial excitement and, really, who can't go one day without indulging?

Biggest shock of the day, a $139 Sprouts trip. I even bought little meat. My weekly Sprouts trip averages closer to $100. I wanted some sausage and bacon but, of course, it was very difficult to find something compliant. They had removed many of their sausages for Easter turkey and hams, so I am hoping one of them may work when they bring the stock back. 

We took our measurements and photos this morning so we would really be able to see the results. I have to admit that I was horrified at my photos. Out of control eating over the last month or so and a knee injury preventing real workouts had taken its toll. I am already about 3-5 pounds up from my usual weight and looking way more bloated than usual. Welcome Whole30!!!

Meal 1: 2 hard boiled eggs, a handful of raw almonds, and a very tiny apple (i wasn't feeling too hungry and wanted none of these things, but forced myself to stay on program)

Meal 2: Cooked my chicken breast in a tiny bit of EVOO on the stovetop. Seasoned with herbs and had with roasted asparagus and a few spinach leaves (that I swirled in the chicken juice as a "dressing") and three grapefruit wedges. I felt completely satisfied and full after lunch. I even sat at the table as suggested. 

Meal 3: Marinated London Broil cooked in the brioler after a pan-sear. Sauteed onions, carrots, and broccoli and one mango wedge. marinade was good and recipe can be found here.

Would LOVE a snack right now, but I'm really not hungry. I just want something. 

Big things to come....


(image) I have dabbled in Paleo for years now. Sometimes strict, but mostly unable to give up my sugar. I have had lots of good excuses why it would be hard to go full force. Some valid, some not so much. Sometimes I think I jus haven't been sold enough on it. I'm not overweight. I am heathly, active, progressing in workouts and abilities, and I still have my ice cream or cranberry-walnut toast. But I always have that question in my mind of could I feel better, run faster, look better, jump higher, sleep better??

After finally downloading It Starts With Food, I have decided to accept their challenge. I am going to put myself as the experiment. No longer will I be accepting the testimonials of others, I am out to try it for myself. I have chosen to start my journey on April 1st, not coincidently one day after Easter, the day I will eat my last Cadbury Mini Egg for the year. I love that on the Whole30 you cannot, really CANNOT cheat. I think that's where I have fallen in the past. Too many slip-ups to really see a clear picture.

I am very excited. Nervous, curious, eager also. I have recruited Eric and a friend from the gym to come along with me on my journey. I am happy to have the company.

In addition, I want to keep a daily blog on my experience. I will post how I am feeling, what I am eating, and a few progressive pics as I am not allowed to weigh during the month. I will start the plan while still on limited activity for my knee sprain, so it will have been several weeks since I have had a good cardio workout. Best timing ever.

Anyone else want to come along??? 

Wyatt 19 months


Wyatt at 19 months old Words: Mama, milk, wait, stop, pizza, birdies, airplane, fish, snack, thirsty, water, diaper, nap, night-night, Dada, outside, yay, and I don't know, to name a few. Foods: Doing well with most foods. Loves eggs, Mama's green smoothies in the morning, crackers, bananas, dried fruit and Zbars. Personality: He's got loads. Loves, Loves, Loves to play with his bigger brothers and is turning out to be quite a screamer. He lights up my world every day with his smile and cuddles. Cute feetLove his eyes. [...]

Spring Has Sprung


I wanted to celebrate the first day of Spring with a little Springtime goodie. They each got some new kicks and something to wear. I picked them up early and told them we were going to see the new Oz movie. They decided park and Cold Stone sounded a lot more fun, and was really a better way to celebrate Spring on such a nice day. Eating the Cold StoneHalle: Cake Batter with Crunch barGavin: Cake Batter with Peanut Butter Cups Isaac: Cotton Candy with Gummy Bears Mama & Wyatt: Sweet Cream with Snickers (ALWAYS!)Halle, Isaac, and I always get the same thing, rarely trying a new flavor. Gavin and Eric are usually trying out something new. [...]

Turkey & Black Bean Chili


This is one of my most-requested recipes. It is flavorful and full of yummy goodness. 

Turkey & Black Bean Chili

1-2 tbsp olive oil 
1 lb ground turkey 
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c. carrots, chopped 
2 bell peppers, chopped (I like to use different colors)
2 tbsp chili powder 
2 tsp cumin 
1 jar prepared salsa 
14 oz chicken stock
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed 
1 tbsp tomato paste 

Sautee onions & veggies in the olive oil until transparent. Add spices and continue sautéing until spices are fragrant, add the meat. When meat has browned, add all other ingredients and simmer about 30-45 minutes. 

Home Cafe


My kids love to pretend that our house is a restaurant when daddy comes home from work. We have chefs, a hostess and waiters all at his service. Makes dinner making and cleaning up a little more fun.

Earth Day Snickerdoodles


It's Earth Day!

 After church, a nap, and a walk over to our favorite park, we decided that we would treat ourselves to some fun baking for earth day. Pinterest had a few ideas that were adorable, but required more food dye than I really care for. The dark blue and green pieced cupcakes, cakes and rice krispie treats were all gorgeous and bold. Our earth cookie snicker doodles are a bit more subtle and less messy. 

I had tried the snicker doodle recipe from my classic Better Homes & Gardens cookbook several times and always came out with these huge, flattened cookies that all ran into each other. Until I found this recipe. And now they turn out every time!! We used a cookie scoop to form the balls and then the kids pressed the colored sugar onto the balls. They were fun and the kids enjoyed making, eating, and sharing these with our neighbors!

Wyatt is 8 Months


It's so hard to peel the little sticker off the sheet to take his monthly photo. I was ok when we were on the first half of the stickers, but they are dwindling down to the last few. Wyatt and I are in state of perfect mommy-baby bliss!! He is the sweetest, cuddliest little thing. He loves to be down on the floor exploring and is very, very curious. Once he grows interested in something he locks in on it. But he is happiest up with mommy. He is smiley and has an infectious giggle. He doesn't nap during the day unless being worn or held. But that's ok. I am not at all concerned about how I can work it out to get this baby down. So I can do my thing. He is my thing. He is my focus. And I am at peace to know that I really did soak it all up. I didn't miss a snuggle, a kiss, a single eyes-lit-up grin. I can't believe this much time has passed. I wish I could put this baby stage in slow motion. Life is just better with a baby.
(image) (image)

(image) (image)
Wy-Guy stats:
weight: 18.09 lbs
noises: mostly raspberry noises, giggles, and delightful little squeals
newest tricks: doing really well at feeding himself cheerios & puffies, scooting & rolling to get where he wants to go, gives big drooly, open mouth "kisses"
loves: you to sing "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town," Sofie the giraffe, just about anything you put in front go him is amazing! playing peek-a-boo
sleeps: quite a long block at night, only with/on mama during the day



Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...


I am pretty good with our morning routine although the kids would offer another analysis. They consistently accuse me of "rushing" in the morning. This rushing all pretty much takes place in the last 5 minutes before needing to leave for anywhere. "At some point," I tell them, "we will actually have to get our shoes on, gather our things, and get into the car." This is the rush-y part. But as I mentioned, I have a pretty good handle on our mornings. However the morning is NOTHING about me. I don't get dressed, eat, drink, nothing. So I dropped the kids off at school last Wednesday morning and was headed back home to tackle the tasks that awaited me. I was about 5 minutes away from the school when Halle calls me and tells me to come back. It's the honor roll assembly today. In 15 minutes. Come on back! I am not that vain of a person. No make-up and bad hair would ever win over breaking my poor kids little heart. But I have a hygiene and decency code too. No bra, no make-up, no hair done, no contacts... it was all bad. Plus the baby had been left at home with my mom and needed food. I had to keep driving. But I could hear the sadness in her voice as I explained to her that I may not make it. And even though she was "at fault" for not telling me about the assembly, I felt a pang of guilt. So I decided I would be supermom! Dash home. Grab the undergarments and clothes I was lacking. And a hat. And the baby. And off I went. Racing to at least catch the last minute. But we didn't. It was over. We went over to her classroom anyway to give out congratulations and chocolate. There were no smiles until the chocolate bar appeared. Then all was right in the world. Halle is forever working hard in school. Silver Honor Roll for this trimester (one pesky B) and soaring...[...]

Baby Teething Biscuits


I had been looking for a great baby teething biscuit recipe for my little teether! Wyatt has been feverishly working on his chompers and I hope these help!Banana Teething BiscuitsRecipe from MamaNatural who, by the way, has an adorable site.1 cup rolled oats1 cup steel-cut oats, ground into flour1 cup mashed, ripe banana1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger & vanilla extract2 tbsp coconut oil, meltedMy lil guy was assisting (see the DROOL!)We mixed the dry ingredients, then added wet, and used our hands to shape into little football-y shapes.Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. MamaNatural recommends leaving them out to fully harden. I feel like mine may be a bittoo crumbly. I am thinking this is probably due to the fact that my bananas weren't quite as ripe as they could have been. I added a bit more oil to compensate, but I am thinking not enough. Wyatt is currently snoozing on my back in a BBII, so he can't sample just yet! :) Check out her variations and let me know how they turn out! [...]



Is it over-dramatic to already assume that my new iMac will solve all of life's problems? It has been out of it's big white box for under 24 hours and i cannot imagine not having it! I am excited to resume our family blog. I will not even let myself think about re-writing what has been missed. It's way too much. Overwhelming. So I am gonna take a deep breath of fresh air, and start over. Here we go...
(and i have the baby iMac from the photo. having had only small laptops for the past 5 years, it is gigantic!)

Baseball Begins


Both Gavin and Isaac are playing their first year of baseball! And what's even better is that they were able to play oin the same team (which means one location and time for practice and games!!) Eric is one of the teams coaches and they are having a lot of fun!
(image) Gavin getting ready

(image) Isaac up to bat

(image) Friends are one of the best parts of sports!
Cameron, Jonathon, and Isaac

(image) Jaren & Gavin

5 minute "ice cream"


i am always looking for treats that aren't quite so unhealthy. i found this recipe years ago on allrecipes, but was discouraged that it called for cream. a while back i tried substituting yogurt, but that was too thick. i think i have found the right balance of yogurt and milk to keep the texture good. i suppose it has more of a frozen yogurt texture. it is a good thing it is sooo yummy and gets gobbled up quickly, 'cause it melts fast!

this is a good base... you will have to adjust. this makes about 4-5 1/2 cup servings.

2 cups frozen fruit... go ahead and try 'em all
2tbsp-1/2 c sugar (confectioners or reg)...depending on the sweetness of the fruit & what you like

combine the 2 above ingredients in the food processor. the new mixture will be very grainy. now is a good time to test sweetness. start with less as you can always add more.

now add:
3-4 tbsp greek plain yogurt
and process again.

while the mixture is still processing add milk very slowly through the chute. it will begin to turn from the grainy mixture, to a smooth creamy blend. add milk slowly and in small amounts so it isn't runny.

and that is it!! hope you love it as much as we do! tasted so great on this 90 degree day!

Another Baby!


Well... of course we have all known for quite some time, but it's not "official" until it's announced on Facebook, right?[...]

Here in Sunny So-Cal


I spend a fair share of my time during the Holidays wishing I lived where it snowed. Where you really could bundle up and play in the snow, go sledding, and see the snow falling peacefully. Well, after spending a quick weekend in Utah visiting some family, I was delighted to come home to sunny high 70's and take my kiddos to a picnic at the park! The skies were so blue that day! Ah... I think I am finally a So-Cal girl at heart!