The view from here

Did I mention that we have been in Lake Tahoe all week?
The girls & I are here with my parents & sisters (while Kevin is back home working, boo!)
The weather is beautiful and we are having a great time relaxing & playing!
I am actually getting some reading in...
My beach reads:
Here is what I have been reading this week:
For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
The Shack by William Young
Totally Desperate Mom by Wendy Hagen
Bringing up Girls by James Dobson
Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

I am ADD when it comes to my reading & have been reading through bits and pieces of each book when I get a spare moment!

Before I had kids, I would read ALL.THE.TIME.
I love reading & wish I had more time for it (besides just vacations!)

We are having a great week so far.....Get ready for a picture overload when we get back in a few days!


Taco Salad

I don't know about you, but all summer our dinners consist of either something BBQ'd or grilled. It is usually way too hot to cook & use the oven (except this summer which will probably go down in history as the coldest summer ever!)
About once a week, I will make a hearty salad for dinner if we have grilled all week and are all BBQ'd out.
One of our favorite (and easiest) summer dinners is Taco Salad.
This takes less than 10 minutes to make.
Here is what you need:
-ground beef (or turkey)
- packet of taco seasoning
- lettuce
- can of kidney beans (drained)
-green onions
-shredded cheese (I use a Mexican blend)
-tortilla chips
Of course, you can always add/substitute other items in your salad (like black beans, pinto beans, cilantro, corn, olives, etc)
and the star of the show...this Salsa Ranch Salad Dressing:
I LOVE this dressing! You can find it in the produce/refrigerated section of your grocery store.
If your store doesn't carry it, I think it is basically a combo of pico de gallo & sour cream, so you could make your own dressing if need be.

First, I brown my ground beef & add the packet of taco seasoning.
I usually cook 1 lb, but then freeze half of it to use later on in the summer!
I also cook the meat earlier in the day & then keep it in the fridge so that it is cold.
When you are ready to make your salad, chop & dice up all your goodies...lettuce, tomatoes, avacados, green onions, etc.
In the bowl, I layer lettuce, green onions, tomatoes, drained kidney beans & meat.
Then I add the cheese & dressing:
Then, I mix it up!
After I mix it up, I add my avocados & tortilla chips! (Idon't like my avocados or chips to get mushy & soggy....that is why I add them last!)
I usually use tortilla chips, but I saw these on sale & thought I would give them a try (they were yummy!)
So, if you need a quick, easy, healthy (and BBQ alternative) dinner this summer, I recommend Taco Salad!


I Heart Faces: Purple

I knew I had to participate in I Heart Faces this week because the theme was Purple.

Purple is Kate's favorite color and it the ONLY color she wants to wear.
(even though I am not a fan of the color I have "broken down" and have purchased a lot of purple clothes for her the past few months...I am more of a pink girl myself!)
Because of Kate's purple obsession, I have a lot of purple pictures to pick from!
Here is one of my favorite purple pictures of her:
My Purplicious little girl rockin' her shades at The Fair earlier this summer!
Check out more Purple entries Here!


Christmas in July

One of the first items that Kate wanted to add to our Summer List was to go to Tahoe and have Christmas. The last time we were in Tahoe was the day after Christmas until New Years Eve. So, Kate has associated Tahoe with Christmas (even though we also go every summer & then some.)
All summer long, she has been asking when we are going to have Christmas. Each time I explain that Christmas is in December and that is in 5 more months. But, she insists that Christmas will also occur this summer.
On Friday afternoon (after 2 hours of swimming) Kate went upstairs to change out of her bathing suit and she came downstairs with last years Christmas dress on and exclaimed that it was Christmas & that it was time to make Christmas cookies.
So, that is what we did! I needed an hour activity to do with them before Kevin got home from work, so Christmas cookies it was!
But, first Kate wanted to get Claire dressed in her Christmas dress so that they could match.
I was glad their Christmas dresses still fit! Maybe they will fit again this Christmas!
Luckily, I found our box of cookie cutters in the garage (still haven't finished unpacking....)
Also in the box was a container of un-opened holiday sprinkles. Score!
Kate was very focused on making the cookies.
Claire on the other hand, discovered the glory that is raw cookie dough & kept trying to eat it.
We made a Gingerbread man, bell, candy cane, snowman & Christmas tree
Don't forget the sprinkles!
Almost ready to go into the oven:
There's Claire sneaking in some more cookie dough...
Ready to bake (note the "K") Whenever we make sugar cookies, Kate has to make a "K" (and a "C" for Claire...upper left hand corner)
Kevin got home while our cookies were baking & was cracking up at what he saw when he got home. Kate & Claire in Christmas dresses & me in my bikini and swim suit cover up.
After our cookies were done, Kate wanted to deliver some to all of our neighbors & spread the "Christmas" cheer. All of our neighbors thought it was hysterical (or they think we are weird. ha!)
That night, Kate told me that she & Claire had to wear their Christmas pajamas to bed.
There's nothing like wearing fleece pj's in the middle of summer....
And of course, Kevin had to read her Christmas books before bedtime.
After they went to bed I wanted to wrap up some presents for them to open in the morning. Kevin put a kibosh on that & said that was taking this a little too far.
Hey, I was just following Kate's lead! :)
But, if they want Christmas in July next year, I can't promise that there won't be presents...


Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

A sad & heartbreaking milestone happened in our home yesterday.
I was in Claire's room changing her diaper & Kate came in to hang out with us.
Claire has mirrored closet doors in her room & Kate was looking at herself intently in the mirrors.
Kate started wiping her face over and over again.
I asked her what she was doing and she turned to me with big crocodile tears & said,
"Get them off!!!!"

"Get what off?" I responded. (There was nothing on her face)
"These marks. These dots. Get them off my face" She was sobbing.
At that point, my heart literally broke.
Kate had noticed the little sprinkling of freckles that have shown up across her face this summer.
I tried to hold in my tears as I reasoned with and tried to console my oldest daughter.
(Typing this out & remembering this is making me cry again)
As we sat on the floor of Claire's room with tears running down both of our faces I reminded Kate that she is beautiful. I told her that her freckles are kisses from God. I reminded her that lots of people have freckles...Mommy, Auntie El, Auntie Bots, her cousins & some of her friends have freckles.
I told her they are cute & they are unique.
She wasn't buying it. She still wanted them off. She wouldn't stop crying. She kept trying to wipe them off her face. My heart kept sinking & sinking.
(sorry Kate, I am part English/Scottish/Irish/Danish...the odds of you getting freckles are high)

So, I did what any good mom would do, I offered her chocolate & gave her some M&Ms.
It seemed to quell her emotions for the time being and I haven't heard about the freckles since then.
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach... How is it possible that my daughter who will be exactly 3.5 years old tomorrow is brought to tears because of the way she looks?
This is one of my fears about being a mother to two little girls.
Girls have self esteem issues. I have self esteem issues.
I could very easily list about 20 things about my looks that I don't like about myself.
I don't want my girls to have self esteem issues, although I know it is hard to avoid.
I want my girls growing up with confidence in who God created them to be.
I want them to know that they are fearfully & wonderfully made.
I want them to not compare themselves to other people & for them to be thankful and happy with the talents that God has given them.
I want them to know that they are loved for who they are.
(preaching to the choir....)
This is a BIG task, raising girls (and boys for that matter)
God has entrusted me (and Kevin) to raise up the girls in this scary, scary world.
Each day I realize more and more how unequipped I am for this job.
Each day I realize more and more how I need to rely on God to be the Mom that I need to be.
I don't have the strength, wisdom or patience to do it on my own.
I feel asleep last night with tears streaming down my face crying out to God & begging him to protect my girls from self esteem issues and asking Him to give Kevin and I guidance as we mother these 2 beautiful & amazing girls.
Ironically, all of these pictures of Kate last week when she was dressing up in her Princess clothes & staring at herself in the mirror that is in our living room (but not hung up yet). As I took these pictures she was busy admiring herself & singing at the top of her lungs, "I am a Princess, oh yes, I am a Princess!". She was so busy admiring herself as a Princess that she didn't even notice the freckles on her face....
Psalm 139: 13-14

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.


My Little Monk

Have you seen the TV Show Monk?

It is one of my favorite shows (the series ended last year, but they still show re-runs)

Kevin and I would watch Monk on Friday nights after the girls were in bed while eating pizza & drinking wine. It is such a great show! Re-runs are on all the time, so if you haven't seen it, you should DVR it!

The main character, Adrian Monk is an police detective for the San Fransisco Police Dept. (another reason we like it....it is filmed in SF!).
Monk is totally OCD & loves numbers (just like someone I know....me!)

When Kevin & I started watching the show, we laughed at all of Monk's OCD tendencies...but then it made us realize how OCD that we are and how OCD Kate is. Last year, we started calling Kate "Mini-Monk".
Kate loves things to be clean, her favorite number is 10 and Kate notices when things are out of place or missing (just like Monk).

But, this morning's actions take the cake. Kate was helping me put away her laundry. As she was looking at some of her clothes, she noticed that most of them are size 2T.
She was NOT okay with this.
Kate: "Mommy, I am 3, so I can't wear a 2T, I have to wear a 3T."
Me: 3T is too big on you & 2T fits you better.
Kate: "No. I can't wear a 2T. We need to change all my tags. Let's go find a marker." So, this is what Kate made me do to her clothes that were not size 3T.
I simply "sharpied" a 3T over the actual size.
At first, I just put a 3, put Kate insisted I put 3T.
Seriously? This girl is a riot!
I am thankful for sharpies, for they saved me from a toddler meltdown.
We only sharpied a handful of her clothes, but she wants to change the rest of them tomorrow.
Seriously, who's kid is this?!?! Actually...the apple doesn't fall far :)
I think all of us have a little OCD in us. But, I actually prefer to call it CDO, because then it is in alphabetical order!


Four Generations & Vintage Goodies

Earlier this week we ventured to the Central Valley for a couple days to visit my Grammy.
Here are 4 Generations...Grammy, my mom, me & my two girls.
Grammy will be 99 this October & she still lives by herself!
Grammy is an amazing woman & I am blessed to have her in my life.
Grammy's house is full of vintage goodies.
She has saved so many neat things over the years & still has them at her house.
Remember these old school little people?
As we were leaving, Grammy told me she wanted to give me some things to take home.
She handed me a gift that she had wrapped.
Inside, was an old vintage camera from the 1930's that was my Grandfathers.
The camera is a total antique, it took awhile for me to figure out how to open it:
Once I opened it, I had to turn a little crank & the lens popped out.
This camera is so cool & I will treasure it forever! I wonder if there is vintage film that I could use to see if it still works!
Other vintage goodies she sent me home with were this Old School Ragedy Ann doll. I don't even know how old it is.
And, this awesome yellow chair that used to be my mom's when she was a little girl.
Grammy said it was from a one room school room in Colorado & that is why she wanted me to have it.
This little chair is AWESOME! I can't wait to use it for some photo shoots!
And, don't be surprised if I switch out the paint color of it from time to time!

Here is Grammy with all her great-grandchildren:
To read more about Grammy & see her vintage goodness, click on this post!


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