Saturday, March 31, 2012

spring has sprung!

we have daffodils and tulips blooming in our front yard!!
it definitely brightens up our grass-less, dirt-infested yard.

cute kids help too :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

oh happy day.

i saw this little video on rockstar diaries and it was such a day brightener!
we should all start our days like this :)

have a happy weekend!

and enjoy conference.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

quinoa stuffed peppers

i think this marks the first time that i've ever shared a recipe on this blog!  kind of exciting :)
i should do it more often, because i personally always love finding new recipes to try.
thanks to pinterest, i've been able to try a whole bunch of new things--this being one of them!

this is the one i based most of the recipe off of + from this one i was inspired to add zucchini (frozen from my garden last summer!) and shredded carrots.
gotta squeeze in as many veggies as possible, right??

i made these for dinner tonight, and they were a huge hit!  
definitely going in the recipes to make again folder.

4 peppers (any color!)
2 C. quinoa, cooked*
1 C. hamburger, cooked**
1/2 C. tomato sauce
1 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. shredded/diced zucchini
1/2 C. shredded carrots
1/2 C. grated cheese
seasonings to taste
I used taco seasoning, some chile powder, a little garlic salt + salt and pepper.

preheat oven to 400.  in a medium size pan, over medium heat, mix together quinoa, hamburger, tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth.  add seasonings and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.  mix in veggies.

wash peppers, cut in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds.  place in baking dish.  spoon the meat mixture into each pepper and fill to the top!  pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan.  cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.  remove foil and cover with grated cheese.  bake until cheese is melted.  enjoy!

*little tip: i cook a batch of quinoa in my pressure cooker and then keep it stored in my fridge for whenever i might need it.  this helps me throw it into a lot of dishes that i might not usually do because it's right at my fingertips.

*another little tip: i'm sure most of you already do this, but i just started and it has been a huge lifesaver.  we cook our hamburger meat right when we get it and then freeze it.  for meals like this, it comes in handy big time.

lastly, like i said earlier, i have found so many wonderful recipes on pinterest.  
i've pinned hundreds...and i'm slowly working up to trying them all :)  
if you want to check out which ones i've pinned, click here.
and if you what to see which ones i've pinned + tried, click here!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the great outdoors

we have been spending a lot of time outdoors.  the weather has been absolutely perfect!
max + avery could live outside and danny and i have been able to work on our yard a little bit...there is still much more to do!!  but for now, our front flower bed is looking much better!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Today marks the first day (in 10 days!) that I've been able to get dressed in something besides sweats, and get up off of the couch!  Wow it's been rough.  Danny finally sent me to the doctor's on Friday and after 3 looong hours in the office I got home with some meds.  I had to wait forever to even see the doctor, and once he saw me he thought I had influenza...awesome!  I got tested, and luckily I didn't have it, but I did have an ear infection and a nasty cough.  I took the last pill for my ear infection today and things are definitely looking up in that regard, thank goodness!

The only good that came from being sick included:
+ reading Unbroken
+ joining Netflix (free trial!) and starting Downton Abbey.  What can I say...I'm hooked!
+ having so many reach out to help me!  (THANK YOU to those who have watched the kids, brought meals, and called with encouraging words.   You know who you are.)


With general conference coming up this weekend (yay!!) 
I have been trying harder to prepare myself because I am in need of some serious spiritual guidance.

Things in my life have seemed a little out of whack lately.  I'm not sure what exactly has gotten me down this last little while...maybe the crazy weather?  Maybe the fact that I've been sick for the last 10 days??   Maybe the unsureness about the future?  (We might be moving from Nephi this next school year...)  Maybe the challenges of being a mother?

Whatever the issue, life can be tough at times.
And for me, one of those times has been rather recently.

In searching out answers to my questions I've come across 
some highly inspirational talks, videos, and blog posts and thought I'd share the love:

So, that's that!
Have you read any of these before?  Any other good suggestions for me?
What plans do you have for Conference?

mini da vinci

as a mother it is so much fun to see what interests my children.
max is such a boy.  he loves to be outside, kick balls, and play with cars.
however, he also loves "craft time" with mom.  i love it!

i got him this little watercolor set the other day and he is so determined and concentrated when he paints.  cutest thing ever.  he insisted on wearing his home depot apron (to keep it manly, i'm sure :) and he stayed entertained for a good chunk of time.

he also loves playing with play-doh and making little "eyes"  the other day, while i was making dinner i set out his play-doh for him and next thing i knew, i saw this:

what fun activities do you like to do with your kiddo's??

Monday, March 26, 2012

in need

anyone have ONE extra ticket to the saturday afternoon session of general conference???
(my sister-in-law wants to join us!)

i'd make you a yummy treat :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

am i dreaming??

or is my little baby girl turning ONE in just a few short weeks?!?!

avery has brought so much joy to our family.  we love her to pieces.  she is such a sweetie, but can also be pretty feisty at times :)  she loves her big brother so much and they are quite the team.  she LOVES to eat.  almost anything and everything.  i'm trying to think of which foods she doesn't necessarily like...and i'm having a hard time.  she isn't a huge fan of pasta or kiwi...other than that, she'll eat pretty much anything you put in front of her.

she enjoys looking through books and i'll often find her plopped next to a stack of books, flipping through the pages.

she claps her feet!! like a monkey.  we love it and i caught it on film so you can enjoy it too:

she is finally starting to let me put headbands on her again!  she went through a phase where the second it touched her head, she would rip it right off.  this resulted in many people asking, "how old is your little boy??"  we've stuck with it and she tolerates it now.  they usually don't last more than an hour or so, but this is improvement!


she still won't say mama :(  she jabbers a lot, and a lot of that jabbering includes words that sound a lot like "dada" but whenever i ask her to say mama, she gets a big grin and says "dada!" little stinker.

she loves her blankies and will rub them over her cheeks as she's falling asleep.  cutest thing.
she's still pretty attached to her binky, but only when she's cranky and tired.

she is sooo close to walking!!  she seems capable of walking, but she is held back by her fear.  she'll practically run while holding onto our fingers, but if we try to let one slip, she stops, flails her arms, and won't go until both fingers are firmly gripped.  silly girl.

she would spend all day outside if she could.  this has been a recent discovery.  usually when we go outside, she's strapped in the stroller.  but the other day, it was especially warm and max was napping, so she and i went outside with popsicles in hand.  i set her down on the front walk and she looked up at me, confused, and then after a few minutes she was all over the place!  getting into the dirt, eating the dirt (she loves dirt!), picking up rocks, climbing the steps, and crunching leaves in her chubby little hands.  she cried when we had to go back in.  

she sleeps on her tummy; arms and legs tucked in, with her bum high in the air.  

she has three really visible teeth on the bottom and (i think) she has three more coming in right now (one more on bottom and two on top).

we love you miss avery mae!  don't ever forget how special and loved you are.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

beater lickin' good.

the other day i made these cheesecake bites (they are deliciouso in case you haven't had them before!) and decided to mix things up a bit and give the kids a beater.  

they loved it.

avery especially, since i've never given her full reign of a beater before.
she looked at me, gave me a huge grin, and then went to town.

funny how some things just come naturally to children...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

birthday wishes

the pictures speak for themselves!
happy birthday mom.
love you!

st. patty's day

the past few days have been rough.  i've been sick (with just about everything imaginable...headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, chills, achy muscles, etc...) so things at the mckinley household have been a little lot crazy.  we've been watching a lot of movies, eating popsicles constantly, and i'm just looking forward to the day that i have my health back!  (being sick really makes you grateful for that!)

however, we did manage to have a good st. patty's day.  my mom sent us the cutest little package of goodies ever (there was also a green hat and shamrock necklace not pictured...) so we got some decorations up a few days before the holiday rolled around.  we actually slept at my parent's house friday night (since we went up to heber to see some friends friday night) so saturday morning we had a delicious breakfast complete with green powdered sugar, kiwi's, and a green smoothie (those were the green menu items at least!)

saturday night we went to a party at jeff + natasha's house where we had a soup + salad bar and lots of desserts.  (my life really does seem to revolve around good food doesn't it??)  we had fun playing games and hanging out.  thank goodness for wonderful friends!

p.s. happy birthday to the greatest mother-in-law ever!! we hope you have a great day! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


do you understand now why i couldn't put all of my houston pictures in one post??
we just had wayy too much fun and took hundreds of pictures :)

our last full day in houston jenny had to go into work (being the grown-up lady that she is...) so brittany and i planned on driving to galveston to hit up the beach.  we got ready, packed lunches, and headed out to the car to discover that the stars were not going to align for us.  we couldn't get the car to start!  we tried many different things, talked to jenny and kyle (who both felt so bad) and ultimately decided that something bad would have happened if we would have gone.

even though it would have been awesome to hang out at the beach, we didn't mind one bit.  we laid out at the pool for a few hours, eating our packed lunches, reading, and splashing our feet in the freezing cold water.  it was heavenly.  (i think the last time i laid out at a pool was during my honeymoon!)

once jenny and kyle got home from work we got ready for our last night out on the town!!!  we planned on hitting up beaver's (legit texas bbq) but once we got there, they were closed!  (apparently, people in houston close up on monday's instead of sunday's...)  so we drove around for a while and decided to branch out and eat vietnamese food!  there were mixed reviews about the food but we had fun playing with our chopsticks, dousing our food in spicy sauce (jenny), and worrying about having cilantro stuck in our teeth :)

since dinner wasn't a complete success, we decided that to complete the night we would need some serious dessert.  so we set out for pie in the sky.  since we were having such a lucky day, pie in the sky was closed too!!! boo for being closed on monday's.  kyle rode the horn all the way down the street and we tried really hard not to cry.  luckily, instead of pie we got delicious cupcakes from crave cupcakes (we made it just at closing so we bought the 4 different flavors of cupcakes they had left) and then bought tons of blue bell ice cream.  we rented dolphin tale from redbox (most fun i've had at redbox in a long time ha!), but of course, it was super cheesy and we ended up making fun of most of it.  but hey, what else would you expect??  the day just wasn't in our favor.  

the next morning, brittany and i packed up and headed to the houston rodeo one last time.  we bought a bunch of souvenirs and then on our way out we got some goode co. bbq sandwiches for our trip to the airport.  jenny picked us up, and all of a sudden, we were on our way back to utah.

the flight was loooong but as soon as we landed, danny's parents were there to pick me up with my sweet, sweet kids.  (oh i missed them SO much!)  i sat in the back in between their two car seats and i just couldn't stop smiling.  danny met up with us a little while later, which was also an awesome reunion :)  i love my family so much.

the next day i gave them their gifts and i'm pretty sure the smiles on their faces made my heart melt a little bit: 

 jenny, thanks so much for organizing this whole trip and for being the most amazing hostess ever!! i had such a lovely time.  kyle, thanks for putting up with us three.  you were a huge sport!  and brittany, thanks for being the best travel buddy + friend!

can't wait for #bestiestrip2013!!! :)