Lisa Leonard Giveaway @ Simple Mom!

I've seen Lisa's designs in Wondertime before..and the simplicity & charm of her work appeals to me! Her website is filled with unique, whimsical pieces- many can be customized as well. I appreciate the fact she's a busy mother of two boys and runs her businesss DEBT FREE and is living a creative yet fruitful life. What's not to like about that?? It's an inspiration to me.

Simple Mom is having a giveaway today and there are three chances to win something from Lisa's website. I've posted pics of two of my favorite pieces...I'd LOVE to own either of these, though if I had to pick just one, I'd say the teenie tiny initials necklace so I could wear my littles next to my heart everyday. The little pearl just *makes* it too...love that.



long week...

Is it just me- this week feels like it should be over by now.
It's been a long one.
Enjoying our heat wave part deux, however!
100 degrees today!

I received an email from PaperSource today and boy-oh-boy...
they have some adorable things for sale right now.
Here's a couple I was salivating over...

And this 2010 Cavallini Farmer's Market Calendar...LOVE it! Perfect kitchen calendar.



Albertsons..how I love thee...

Until our move here, I've never shopped at Albertsons.
I had NO idea what I was missing!
There's been recent mention of my amazing ice cream deals & such...
And today I'm sharing a great cereal deal I was able to get in on before it expired tonight.

Select Post Cereal was on sale for $2.50
If you bought 4 boxes you'd save $4 instantly at checkout.
But I had coupons for $1 off 2 boxes PLUS Albertsons had Double-the-Value coupons in the Sunday paper...
So my total initially was $10 for 4 boxes.
Then the $4 instant Post savings at checkout=$6
Then I handed over my 2 coupons for $1 off 2 boxes AND a double value Albertsons coupon for each of those so that was an additional $4 off=$2

Then once I paid I received $3 in Albertsons catalina's (essentially store credit/cash to be used on anything in the store). Once I was done with that transaction- I handed it over to the hubster and littles to take to the car and went back for round 2.

I did the exact same thing (I buy multiple Sunday papers to have multiple duplicates of coupons) again- only this time I used a couple of my catalinas (they're $1 each) so that the second round of 4 boxes were FREE.

8 boxes of cereal for $2 vs. regular store price of $32.64

Anyone know of a good milk deal??!



frugal tip

We love our foaming hand soap.

Bath & Body Works.
Dial Complete.
You name it- if it smells good and comes out of a foam dispenser-- chances are it'll be a hit around here.
I learned a new trick.
A FRUGAL new trick-- and typically, those are a hit around here too!

Take your favorite REGULAR handsoap/dishsoap and squirt several drops into an empty foam-style dispenser. Then fill the rest of the way with water, shake gently to mix and VOILA! For pennies, you have foaming hand soap!

Good thing for us, since we're going through hand soap like CUH-raaaaazzzzy. My little man has a nasty chest cold and I've been the nagging mother, hovering to make sure he washes his hands a bazillion times.

And because I *do* adore him..here's a couple pics of him and his cousins from July. They're ALL pretty adorable (and if he knew I kept saying adore, adorable,etc. in reference to him, he'd start gagging and sputtering- and not from the chest cold).


Which Way Do I Go?!

Samoa Girl Scout Cookies.


Running (cool shoes,right?!).

I've got a hankering for both.
Both "hankerings" could be viewed as ridiculous & grossly uncalled for...
Both could be viewed as GOOD for me.
Cookie in my tummy...(ala Cookie Monster, who, I've recently been told, now pushes veggies)
or the glorious feeling of tossing some after running 3 miles...hmmm.
I'm seeing some shifting of the scales...
Which way do I go?!
What would YOU pick?




I had a fun evening with my Mom last night... we went to see Julie & Julia (LOVED it! If you haven't seen it yet, you must!) and had enough time just before to hit a thrift store and grab a bite to eat.

We don't get to do this often, so it was a treat!
After seeing the movie, I'm very curious about the book and am hoping to pick it up on my next trip to the library. Later, as I lay in bed, thinking about the movie-- recalling my favorite moments, I thought about Julia Child's personality and her passion for what she liked to do- EAT! Despite nervousness, she jumped in and sometimes had to "lump it" when things flopped and carry on with humor & determination. It was an affirmation to myself- to not let nerves swallow my dreams and making them a reality. To not let life's hiccups and personalities squelch the life out of me. To stay true to myself & what's important to me...and nourish it.

And speaking of inspiration... I'm beginning to crave crisp Fall weather. I have LOVED the hot Summer we've had, but I'm ready for the next beautiful season we get to experience. And with it come boots, scarves, hats.... and here are some pretty boots from Title9 Sportswear. Aren't they lovely? Paired with long skirts. Or shorter skirts and tights.... I love them.

A few weeks ago we discovered a brand new "croc-a-doodle" kit while thrifting. The kit included stencils, paint and washable markers. Both kids went for the free-hand method and had fun decorating their crocs. I was a bit disappointed in the quality but my littles enjoyed the mini art project. Not bad for 99 cents, I suppose!

Last week I spent a few days at my parents- watching over things while they were out of town. On my way out to their farm, I couldn't get over the moon. It rose so quickly and was HUGE!! I had to pull over on the highway and attempt to capture it. And the setting I spotted was PERFECT. I was going to try and take more pics out at my parents but by then, the moon had risen enough to not appear quite as remarkable..to my dismay.

I'm glad I followed my gut and pulled over on the highway.. I love this picture.

If you are not nervous about your passion,
you are not passionate about it.
~Chef Bobby Flay




groovy kinda love

This has been all over Facebook and such but I thought I'd share it here, for fun.

I would've LOVED to have been the photographer for this wedding! Oh the possibilities with personalities like those...

I appreciate traditional and UNtraditional ceremonies such as these... when people put their heart into it, it shows and grabs ahold of my own.

love it.

Hope you enjoyed it!




Sarah & Ryan

We were blessed to witness Sarah & Ryan's wedding last weekend. Sarah is essentially family to us. She's my brother-in-law's sister, and we typically see them at birthdays and other family get-togethers as well as a few July 4ths and such. She comes from a wonderful, loving family that we've grown to love and admire.

The wedding was beautiful-- the sun broke through the clouds literally RIGHT BEFORE the ceremony began, which made for an even more magical setting. The contrast of the cloud cover, the sun setting behind on the West and being surrounded by lush greens... gorgeous! The color scheme she chose was such a refreshing & eye-grabbing one! Chestnut brown with deep berry and oranges. The flower arrangements were striking and I was lucky enough to take a centerpiece home after the festivities!

We enjoyed the evening- following the ceremony there was dinner, dessert & dancing. Dinner was delicious- the cake was three levels & assortments- one layer of white cake, one of chocolate with chocolate ganache and the third was cheesecake with raspberrys. I was ALLLL over the cheesecake!

I found myself observing the wedding photographers as they worked. Curious to see their perspective, the moments they happened upon, their interaction with everyone. Plus, I saw everything with a fresh eye myself- which was great fun. It was a fairly intimate setting with tables close to one another, so I didn't feel free to roam and snap away- but I was able to take a few from our table that were respectable.

I'm still learning all about lighting and making necessary adjustments but the trial & error is exciting to me. I'm stretching and things are really beginning to CLICK.

...was that a most excellent pun or WHAT?!?!
Please appreciate it...

I'm looking forward to this coming weekend when another friend of our family will be married. Another opportunity to shoot without responsibility- purely out of love & for the fun of it.

Can't wait!!!

I'm thinking the bride & groom are pretty psyched that it's coming up so soon too...
So in a week or so- expect more wedding pics!

Congrats and many,many blessings to Sarah & Ryan- may you live and long and happy life together.



We bought a rather large bunch of bananas at Costco last week they ripened MUCH faster than we could consume them...so I began a quest for a good banana bread recipe. I had a few but they were nothing spectacular. I went through my list of "foodie" blogs and discovered that SMITTENKITCHEN.com had a recipe. Reading through the recipe, it sounded good. Then I read through the comments and saw many positive reviews...so I printed it out and gave it a go.

First of all, my house smelled DIVINE.
Secondly, the bread was the best I've ever made. EV.ERRRRR.
I tweaked the original by adding baking powder to make the loaves a bit lighter. Plus we had quite a few bananas so I ended up doubling the recipe and putting a large loaf in the freezer for a rainy day.
Try it for yourself-- you will be SO happy with me once you do! ;)

Hopped Up Banana Bread

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar (depending on the amount of sweetness you prefer)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp bourbon(optional,but it adds such a nice flavor! I'm not a fan but this is the exception)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon; then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour in last and mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice and serve.




Oui to Wishes

just a bit of fun...




G'Day Mate!
It's been longer than a week since I last posted... needed some recovery time!
I'm still feeling rather sloth-like but am bouncing back!

VBS is over. I survived my first year as Director!

It turned out quite well and we averaged about 134 kids each night!
Quite a nice turnout and despite a few hiccups, it was smooth sailing.

I was blessed with plenty of help this year (you can never have too many!)and not a bludger (Aussie for lazy!) among 'em! I'd prayed for certain sorts of personalities, so they could be placed in specific areas (registration, games, teachers)using their talents! HE did it!!! God rocked my socks off...seriously.

It was SO cool to be in the Worship Rally and see over 130 kids worshipping God and eager to learn about Him; and some eager to begin a relationship with Him. I was able to pray with a little girl who accepted Christ and I'll never forget it.

I had seasoned pro's in my team that were full of sage advice and encouragement and knew when to give it and when to just give me a hug or high five in the hallway. I had people who's hearts were burdened to be a part of our program and they gave every ounce of their energy to the kids. I had people helping who's children had long since grown and I had young teens who'd graduated to helper status since last year.

The focus of this year's VBS was that no matter what life throws your way- it ALL comes back to Jesus. We learned about Peter and his relationship with Jesus and the impact it had on him. About what it means to Follow Him. Worship Him and Live Through Him. And most importantly- we focused on our ABC's! The ABC's of becoming a Christian.

A- Admit. Admit to God that you're a sinner & repent (turn away)from your sins.
B- Believe. Believe that Jesus is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness from sin.
C- Confess. Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

I wish I could've captured pics of each and every helper and room- I only captured glimpses!
Here's some pics....not the best quality but I was running around like a crazy woman so we're lucky there are any at all! ;)
** click on the pics for a slightly bigger size!

above: As you enter the church, the Registration booths

above: a shot of the stage in our Worship Rally area

above: the right side of the stage, Worship Rally area

above: one of our amazing teachers & a rotation of our 3/4yr olds!

above: two of my awesome teen helpers.

above: Kids grabbin some tucka (food)at G'Day Cafe!

above: closeup of stage right, Worship Rally

above: stage left, Worship Rally

above: kids playing at Recreation Rock & one of our priceless helpers. Love her.

above: another shot of kids at G'Day Cafe

Hoo-Roo (Aussie for goodbye) Boomerang Express...
It was a crazy good trip through the Outback!