Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm in love with freezer meals.

I know I've said it before, but I don't think I could ever say it enough: freezer meals are (one of) the best things that has ever happened to me!  My good friends Kim + Jessica are my freezer meal exchanging buddies and I have loved it.  We just had another exchange today and I came back with some gold for our freezer.

So I thought I'd share a few tips (and recipes!) with you in case you'd like to venture down the freezer meal path yourself (and I highly recommend it!)

+ Having a few girlfriends to exchange with has been fabulous.  There is usually three of us who exchange and we each make two meals.  You can't beat having six meals waiting in your freezer!  Precious gold I tell you.  It's always nice to get some new meals to try (since I often seem to get in a rut...making the same meals over and over again) and many of the meals I've gotten have become some of our very favorites.

+ Plan on spending a good chunk of time preparing (but don't worry, it'll pay off!)  I'm a bit of a procrastinator, so I usually end up making all of my meals the night before our exchange.  That can get a little crazy.  This time I was able to make everything a full day in advance (which is huge for me) and today was much less stressful.

+ You can freeze almost anything!  I feel like we've gotten more adventurous as the months have passed and I love it!  Don't be scared, just have fun with it and experiment!  Some things don't reheat as well as others, but at least you tried :)

+ Use mason jars, freezer ziplock bags, tupperware, disposable pans, etc... to freeze your meals in.  My personal favorite are ziplock bags since they take up the least amount of space.  If I'm using disposable pans, I've also learned to put a layer of plastic wrap first, before the foil to prevent freezer burn.

Here are some recipes from our most current freezer meal exchange:
Pizza Dough Recipe + Pizza Freezing Technique (Top with whatever you like!)

And more tips on freezer meals if you're really interested!:
Our Best Bites (Scroll down to the bottom for freezer friendly meals)

I'd love to hear about your freezer meals!  Have you done them before?  What have been your favorites?  Don't have enough room in your freezer?  Think again :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a night away.

i honestly can't remember the last time that danny + i got away for a night to ourselves.  so this last week, during danny's spring break, we were determined to put a stop to that trend.

we booked a hotel in downtown salt lake (the city creek marriott to be exact!) and had the most lovely, relaxing, wonderful overnight stay!!  we must do these little trips more often :)

danny's parent's so graciously offered to watch the kids for us so on monday morning we left our little town and made the drive up north.  we got there around noon and said goodbye to our sweet kids about 2 p.m.  for the following 24 hours we were together--just the two of us!--and it was the weirdest thing ever :)  



we checked into our hotel, admired the view from the 11th floor (yes, we live in a small town! hah!) and got prepped for a few hours of shopping at the brand new city creek mall!! i was more than thrilled.  we were able to spend as much time as we pleased in each of the stores and i had my very first experience at H&M.  it did not disappoint!  we spent half of our disney gift card and splurged on a rocky mountain chocolate factory carmeled apple.  yummmm.  we had such a lovely time.  city creek is absolutely gorgeous and everything about it is awesome.  if you haven't checked it out for yourself--go soon!  since we were there on a monday it was hardly crowded at all and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.



after shopping for a few hours, our feet were sore and our bags were heavy so we walked back to our hotel (which was literally right next door!) and rested up for an evening out on the town :)  we went to blue lemon again (we went there when we were in salt lake for conference) but i just can't get enough.  i ordered the special for the day: grilled trout on edamame + peas with squash and i couldn't have been happier with the dish.  plus, they have the best ice in the world so i was one happy camper!  (i told you i'm addicted to ice!)  we strolled around a little more--enjoying the water/fire show--before retiring for the night.  once back at the hotel we each ran 1.5 miles on the treadmills (side by side!  when is the last time that happened?!?) while watching one of our favorite shows, psych.  and then we cooled off by swimming in the pool + hot tub.  it was the perfect end to the perfect day.



the next morning, danny's birthday!, we slept in (!!!) and hurried off to the salt lake temple.  we haven't done a session there since right after we got married so we were glad to be back.  it is such a beautiful temple, inside and out.  the grounds are absolutely breathtaking this time of year and it is just a great place to be.  we enjoyed a nice lunch with danny's mom + kristina + tim (even though the kids were out of control!! welcome back :) 




and then we headed to provo to celebrate danny's birthday with my family.  we had a yummy dinner with brownie's for dessert.  what a wonderful day!!  happy birthday babe.  i hope it was a good one :)  i know i had fun!  thanks for being such a wonderful husband, father, friend, seminary teacher, etc... i know so SO many people love you!!  



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

happy happy birthday avery dear!


our sweet little avery turned ONE this week!!! can you believe it?!?  this year has seriously flown by.  we had a wonderful day filled with lots of balloons, streamers, cake, and yummy food.



my parents joined us for dinner + the festivities that night and we had a great time!  i made avery's favorite meal: roast, mashed potatoes, carrots, salad, and strawberry cake.  she devoured every last bite :)

 




after we ate our strawberry cake the birthday girl opened gifts.  we got avery a little set of 7 disney princesses.  we decided it was time that she had some girlie toys (and since we got a $200 gift card to the disney store for signing up for a disney credit card...we couldn't help ourselves!)  she was so intrigued and wanted to hold all of them at once.  (i love how she is kneeling in the photos below!)

 

my parents didn't want max to feel left out so they brought him this cool little lion that shoots a ball out of it's mouth.  he loves it!  and they got miss. avery her very own miniature piano.  it has become the new favorite toy at our house.  thanks to everyone who made avery's birthday so very special!



 


avery, we love you so much.  you are constantly on the move (just like your brother!) and you are taking more and more steps every day, which is so exciting for all of us.  you've definitely got an opinion about most everything and you are really good at making it known :)  you are so curious and love to explore and follow max around.  you have an obsession with balloons currently and have a balloon string in your hand at least fifty percent of the day!  you want to be able to go down the stairs like max and so you get very frustrated when i pick you up and try to teach you how to go down backwards.  you give the most wonderful open mouth kisses (which are so so slobbery!) and you love it when daddy comes home.  you have 8 teeth now and your drooling has finally subsided a little bit (the last few weeks you've been wearing a bib to try to contain it!) and you've got a gap between your two front teeth which makes for the most adorable smile.  you love bath time.  you love to listen to music.  and you absolutely love bedtime.  as soon as we hand you your blankie and zulie (your stuffed zebra) you give them the biggest hug (with a huge smile on your face) and lay right down on the floor.  you sleep like a champ (this morning you slept until 9!) and you are such a happy baby.  we love you little goose :)

.....

ps. in case any of you are interested in how the potty training is going...we survived!!!!! we followed the 3 day potty training method and really liked the techniques she uses.  however, by the end of day 5 with no success, we were ready to give up until max reached kindergarten!  i felt defeated.  we were discouraged.  we felt like horrible parents because we were getting so frustrated.  max was uninterested and acting up like never before.  it was not a happy time.  but then, we prayed about it and since heavenly father has such a wonderful sense of humor, he reminded us about the pink potty we had sitting in our garage waiting to go to the d.i.  to make a long story short, it was just what max needed.  since monday max only has accidents during nap time + at night which is leaps and bounds from where we started.  so the moral of the story?? endure to the end!!  and if you need moral support, i am here :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

favorites.

one of her favorite things is crawling over to the window as fast as her little body will carry her, standing up, and peering out at the big, wide world outside.

once she's up and standing, gripping onto the window frames with her chubby, dimpled hands,
one of her favorite things is playing peek-a-boo in the curtains.






one of my favorite things is tickling her through the curtains and hearing her deep little chuckle.

but one of my most favorite things of all is being her mom.

Friday, April 13, 2012

the terrible twos have begun!

you guys!  i don't know what to do about my sweet, energetic, happy, runningahundredmilesaminute little boy.  just within the last few weeks i feel like he has entered the terrible twos.

now, it's not all the time.  most of the time he is still his happy, good-natured little self.
but sometimes, a monster emerges...and i need some advice :)

just a few examples:

+ he hits avery at the most random times.  i'm not sure where this is coming from, but i sure hope it's normal!  most of the time he loves her SO incredibly much, but sometimes he just takes his anger out on her.  she is getting pretty tough!  today i caught them playfully wrestling and avery was totally holding her own.  proud mama moment :)

+ he insists on changing his outfit at least three times a day (if not more)  
his favorite outfit of choice?  pajamas of course.
(on the flip side, he has gotten a million times better at getting himself dressed!)


+ he doesn't eat well during meal times.  he used to be a champ about this, but lately he either refuses to take one bite!! or he takes a bite and then plays with the rest of his meal.  when danny's mom watched him the other day she told us that he "ate enough to feed a mouse!"  what a great description!


+ and don't even get me started on potty training!!!!! holy moly.  it's been an exhausting three days.  and i'm a little teeny tiny bit super-de-duper frustrated because today was probably the worst day of all. he did make it to the toilet ONCE today (after peeing mostly on the bathroom floor...) and yesterday he even pooped twice in the toilet (major accomplishment in my opinion!) but it has been incredibly hard.  i can't tell you how tempting it has been to just throw diapers on him and wait another few months...or few years!!!  danny has faith that things are going to work out.  i sure hope he's right.

........

ok.  i think i'm done venting :)

i really do love my little maximillion soooo much.  he brings so much light into our family.  he is full of energy and is such a lovable and loving person.  he is talking so well lately and has even started singing some little snippets of songs.  the other day in the car he started randomly singing "the itsy bitsy spider" it was the first time i've ever really heard him sing more than a few words and it was so cute!

+ one of my favorite phrases of his lately is his version of the word "noodles."  he calls them "nerdles" and just typing that makes me laugh :)  he is such a cutie.  another random cute thing he did the other day: he hurt his knee and instantly leaned over and kissed it better himself :)

+ he loves "craft time" with mommy and totally gets into it with me.  we've done all sorts of fun things lately (especially since we've been cooped up in the house getting "potty trained") and it's been great to try out some new things.

 


+ he is such a boy and can spot a truck, bus, car transporter (he actually saw one the other day and said, "mom! a transporter!" so funny!), tractor, etc...anywhere!  he was especially excited when a tractor got to stay at our house for the night.  a dream come true in his opinion!

 


+ speaking of singing, here is max singing his version of "scripture power."
we're still working on most of the words, but we love it!

video

happy easter

our easter was pretty low key this year--we stayed at home and had a very small easter egg hunt (think four eggs within a ten foot radius...) but we did manage to make a delicious meal + we were able to spend some quality time outside where it was absolutely beautiful!

i taught my primary girls this last week, (was easter really almost one week ago??)  and we had a great easter lesson which definitely helped contribute to the spirit of the day.  i am so grateful to have a testimony of my Savior and for his atoning sacrifice.  the knowledge that he still lives and cares about me is something that gets me through some tough days.  what a wonderful holiday!




thanks to some awesome balloons (with mega helium) from my friend natasha, avery has discovered that she cannot live without a balloon string in her hand.  it is actually pretty darn cute.  we have balloons scattered all around the house, and whenever she sees one (and believe me, if it's there, she will spot it!) she reaches towards it saying "ohh, ooh!" and she doesn't stop until she's got a firm grip.  silly girl.