Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A friend from the east...

*Renae*

It meant so much to have a friend from back east come to visit us! Here are just a few random of MANY shots that were taken of her week here!

We had fun making dirt cake, and originally thought it might be fun for an almost 2 year old, but in the end found it more fun doing it together!


We picnicked in a park called Liberty Station.


 Jacob was actually a bit scared of the slide for some reason, so I climbed up and took him down a few times..

 * 
Just some unique bottle brush flowers on the walk along the bay and Jacob thought so too!



This is the Cabrillo Monument at the point of Point Loma. 
This was where the first expedition was of Cabrillo and his men, which later became known of as the west coast of the USA. Going to this location would provide anyone with a spectacular view of the city & ocean!

A light house is also present there with a small museum of the lighthouse keepers headquarters/stay.


A Blue whale's spine and a painting of what would be a typical size for one.



We took the trolley all throughout the city and stopped at several locations for her to see:-) 



A unique flower they have out here that Renae loved!


On the trolley



This one was so funny. Jacob had decided he needed a nap while in the stroller, so he took one. Renae, has felt this would be a once in a lifetime trip for him likely and wanted him in as many pictures as he could, so she decided to remove him from the stroller and place him there.. he sat there about falling over in several of the shots we got. This one is in Balboa park..



We went to the ZOO...
These are MASSIVE turtles!!





Outside of seaport village, this statue is located and has been talked about for years! 
The sailor and the nurse :-) Unfortunately, just a couple weeks ago the sailor that is to be represented there passed away. 





Renae wanted to see some dolphins, as she LOVES them.. the closest option we had was to take a whale watching cruise (3 1/2 hours) to get several miles into the ocean to see whales and some dolphins.. We saw whales, and someone on the other side of the cruise ship saw a dolphin, but we didnt!


Jacob against mommy's lap sporting his sunglasses.




She wanted to also visit the beach to put her feet in. Jacob had a blast playing in the water!



And lastly, a picture shortly before leaving to head to the airport.
We had a great time together!

Thank you so much for coming to see us!


:-)

WE LOVE CAMPING!




Our first camping trip of this year
with our new replacement backpacks & tent, since being stolen!






Couldn't help but take a shot of our new hydration packs in use either! We love them, Ange & Steve!


And our bottle insulators! We had several new items and were very excited to use them!


These are some shots along a hike we took.. as we climbed a mountain in the area.



This is a "zoomed in" (haha) shot of a army base we found while on top of the mountain we climbed.


....And, the zoomed out shot. 
We used binoculars to "spy" on the guys on base walking around and driving their vehicles.
Very interesting.




We try to be very particular in what types of meals we bring with us to eat. We try to package everything in freezer bags that require limited cooking/ heating. This is a Black bean, corn salsa chicken meal that I cooked in the crockpot the previous day before bagging to put over rice!


Here I am sporting my headlamp that I got for Christmas! 
Thanks a bunch mom! 





Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Love of a Crock pot & Pinterest



Within the past 9 months, my sisters have been sharing their love for pinterest and all the wonderful 
new meal ideas they have found for their families. I have frequently requested for some good recipes that they have tried, so that I can ultimately create more of a variety of meals for us here! They will freely say, "Check out my pinterest page" there are several good ones I've pinned and actually made! I finally broke down and started my own account, as I had begun to gain an interest in all the creative meals, crafts, decorating ideas etc that pinterest had to offer, but still didn't know how to use it very well :-) With their help, I was given tips in searching, pinning and creating your own boards to collect ideas for later use! Now, I can hardly stay away from it. :-)

Just before the Christmas and the New Year holiday, I had come across where many on pinterest were posting about putting together freezer meals for MANY days worth, if not enough for a whole month! I guess I was having a hard time wrapping my brain around this one. How am I to create a grocery list and produce a bill that to me would be overwhelming, and then still hope that I can create enough meals that I FEEL like it's worth it? It's an area I've struggled with in regards to limiting my trips to the grocery store. When I first moved out here I was going either everyday or every other day to the store just for that nights meal. I love shopping, and most times don't even mind grocery shopping either. Mom and I use to go a lot together and it was just nice shopping with her and spending that time together. I have to say though, in the first couple months, I was getting tired of it to say the least.. and was nearly dreading going like I had been. Since being a wife, I have longed to prepare dinners for Tim and have them nearly on the table for when he gets home from work! I know he likes variety and FLAVOR :-) I knew that I needed to do something different. Again, with the help of my sisters, they encouraged me to come up with meal ideas for the whole week and then do all your shopping on whatever day I chose to for that week. This definitely helped. I felt like since I wasn't running to the store everyday, that I had more time to research new meal ideas and actually wanted to do so, without burning myself out at the idea of it, plus get other things done!


Tim & I were talking one day after I had previously been looking at all the freezer type meal options that people had created, and I mentioned that this was something I wanted to try in the new year. I knew that there would be some trial and error in the organization of producing each meal, learning just how much of each major ingredients were needed when at the store, and trying to save money in the process. I decided the beginning of the week that I was going to try this. Our grocery stores here, have all their new sales starting on Wednesdays so I planned to get everything then. Today I started putting some meals together. Right now it is truly a trial stage, as I'm trying TOTALLY new recipes and want to see which ones we like versus cant stand. I say this because the people that really have a hand on the freezer meal plan, make enough to separate everything into 2 freezer meal bags( which ultimately gives them more meals for down the road.) Im starting out with only making 1 bag per meal idea (cutting recipe in 1/2) until we know it's a good recipe and I get a better handle on it & the portions. We've thought about getting a membership to Costco for more bulk items, which may help too, but haven't done so just yet!

I'm excited, and it was actually fun working on it this afternoon! It's kind of like a sense of relief knowing if you didn't have time to prepare something after getting home from work, etc that if planned right, one could just throw something in the crock pot and a decent dinner would be ready with minimal effort after a tiring day!
Hey, it's a new year... so why not try something new! :-) 





Monday, December 9, 2013

Blessed..



Each day, I realize more and more just how BLESSED 
I am to have such an awesome Man in my life...


*


... and I also make sure he knows it too!
 God truly knew what he was doing (and he ALWAYS DOES) when he brought our lives together! I am soo very thankful for that! My life has been enriched! :-)

Our Firsts for the Holidays :-)



Like so many areas of life, the firsts of anything are exciting... but I also pray that we never lose that excitement as we have many more together! I have been (and Im sure Tim has too) looking forward to our first holiday celebrations together since being married. The hustle and bustle of making preparations and planning together has been so much fun! We were really excited to make the trip to Lancaster area to meet up with family and some of their friends/ church attendees. 
*
We spent a ton of time pushing through crowds of people in the grocery stores to find the the much needed spices and ingredients to make our desserts and breads to share! After spending a good period of time finding them after most seemed out of stock... we headed home so I could start the baking.. What a mess I had!  With the help of Mama, I was able to put together a favorite of Tim's- his Pumpkin pudding. We trialed it several days prior and then tweaked it to prepare for making for way more than our share. Tim was quite pleased with the results! (No bragging on my behalf either) We discussed what it should be TOGETHER, and had Tim taste test it too. I have to say, after never having it before...the recipe was DELICIOUS. Thank you so much for sharing! Now, I can carry on the recipe for years to come! Along with the Pumpkin pudding, I made sugar & spice cookies, banana bread & a cranberry orange bread! We just had to sample them all... ;-)



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To any that may remember my love for putting up my Christmas tree prior to Thanksgiving.. may be surprised to know that I waited until after Thanksgiving this year:-) We decided that the day AFTER Thanksgiving would be our day each year (if we can) to set aside and put up our tree to decorate. I had been counting down the weeks & days to be able to get it out of storage! That morning, Tim woke me up saying... "Guess what today is? I was being stupid and said.. Friday? He said.. Today we get to set up our tree. :-) LOVED the excitement we both shared! I've realized that when one sets a specific date to do something, it actually adds excitement in the air as one waits for that day, versus just putting it up just because you WANT to right then and there. 

We then rearranged the room to provide a decent open space for the tree.. 



*

Says.. "Our 1st Christmas"

Tim & I have both enjoyed shopping together for the family gifts this year... 
and decided to get a head start. Don't get me wrong, fighting traffic and the crowds isn't the most enjoyable and after spending evening or weekend hours making several stops to places, we have found ourselves exhausted many times. All in all, we are really thrilled with our progress! To have a majority of our shopping done before Dec 1st is/was exciting.. With just a few more things to get, I'll probably start wrapping this week just so its not left to the last minute as we also try to pack! With as much as needs to be wrapped, I thought it would be helpful to do it during the evening hours to pass time by with Tim gone on business. Speaking of wrapping, Mama.. the traditional gift came at just the perfect time! Looking forward to wrapping gifts with Christmas carols and the "flickering of the fire." What a nice surprise! Thanks so much!
*
Well, looking forward to seeing everyone in just a few short weeks! SOOOO Excited!