Thursday, June 30, 2011

Let's try that again!

Well our trip got delayed...we finally arrived at Lake Mead on Wednesday, after getting a truck part and then I got a brief visit from Mr. Stomach Flu. Yuck-O! We were all set on Tuesday to head out mid-day, stopped for lunch on our way outta town and I had to run out on everyone for a personal moment behind the restaurant. It was lovely. Ugh. So we headed back to Uncle Chuck & Aunt Diane's house for me to re-coop. (Psst- if you're reading this-BIG THANK YOU!!).The next morning we were super ready to get this thing started (again)!! Oh, and it was drizzly--super wierd for a California June..
It was quite a thrill to be packed up & on the road 'for reals' this time. Along the way we stopped at the hubs so called 'favorite playground' AKA Mohave Desert.
We took a detour to what's known as "The Airport". It was fun to see where he loves to ride and the trail he and Blake blazed all on their own!
See it? It's to the far right. And yes I did just do the which hand makes an "L" thing.
And we also went to Red Rock Canyon real quick to use the potties. Ok so it was just me that needed them, but I'm sure you already figured that out.

Started pracitcing catching road signs so I can catch funny streetnames & state signs.
Passed lots & lots of Joshua trees when we entered into Nevada. (missed my first state sign oppurtunity)
Finally, we arrived at Lake Mead. At 4 pm. 104 `F!! So we quickly picked a site with plenty of shade and headed down to the lake and just sat in it for a good hour. It was fabulous.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Family Fun

Spent the first weekend of our trip at my hubby's family reunion. We had a GREAT weekend of swimming, laughing  & of course eating too. Here's a little re-cap:

New version of ultimate frisbee, played with beer...or other drink if you prefer. In a nutshell: throw frisbee to knock off bottle on top of pole,  all players must hold drink in one hand--meaning you only have one hand to catch the frisbee/falling bottle (each worth one point to opposing team if you fail!). It was hilarious fun. Beware that the competition gets intense quickly and new rules will begin in a flurry! No WW3's please! :)
Rescued an adorable kitten from the bushes. This took pretty much one full day and we had a whole army digging through the vines to get this little cutie out.
Had the traditional mexican food night, complete with lingua. And I tried one miniscule bite. Well, at least I can say I tried it...

Tanner got to spend some quality time with his girlfriend.
And the hubs got to pass along the golf trophy (highest score 'wins').This was the perfectweekend to kick off our 'gypsy summer'. Next stop--Lake Mead!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Scrapbook from Scrap Part II

Finally worked up the courage to puncture my scrapbook cover and make it an official book. It was quite an adventure, let me tell you! I recruited the hubs to drill (yikes!) holes in the cover to make room for the grommets (which I found out are actually called eyelets).
So we picked a drill bit to fit the size of the hole the eyelet would need and got to work. We had to hold the fabric real tight to keep it from twisting & tearing as the drill worked it's way through.
Then got goin' on inserting the eyelets. After inserting the eyelet we used a couple flat-head screwdrivers to hold the fabric ends in place as we folded the eyelet over. We then had the genius idea to use a second one on the opposite side to prevent the fabric from fraying further. Then we realized we were doing it backwards, the outer side of the back cover is backwards. Yeah,  picture that!  Or just skip ahead to the pic below and this rambling will make much more sense. As we went along we realized that the eyelets are fit to do this process. One is smaller than the other so they fit inside each other. We figured this out when we grabbed a small one first and then had to carefully pry it out of the fabric cover! It was quite frightening. But that's what I get for not following or even reading any directions.
But we got through it and I certainly could not have done it without the hubs.  Lookit how perfect it is now!
I've also added some more inside the book itself. I added a map to the front page to track where we actually end up going on our trip.
And I also added a few patterned papers and a few envelopes for stashing things like tickets or maps from the various hotspots we will be visiting on our roadtrip. 
And more stickers are in a big envelope at the very end of the book. I love them stickers a lot, a lot!
The book fits into those square scrapbook organziers so everything (book & supplies) will be contained throughout the trip. What luck!
The plan is to use Snapfish & my MyCokeRewards points to pick up prints along the way to add into the book as well. Anyone else ever make a roadtrip journal? I want to do something fun for the cover. I think it needs something sewn on, but since I'm not too good at sewing nor am I brave enough to put my book at the mercy of yet another machine, I'm hoping to find a patch then I can just stitch a bit around that. We shall see. I hope I use this book and its worth all the work  and stress that has gone into this thing! But hey, at least it's pretty from the outside so far!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hit the Road Jack

Well we are on THE way! This crazy trip is actually happening! Our plans have changed a tad-SUPRISE! From Tulare (near Fresno) we are going to head down to Longbeach and then head through to Hoover Dam & Lake Mead and then up to the Grand Canyon, Bryce & Zion. But then again, this could change...That's the beauty (I hope?) of this trip. All I know is I've got eveything I need riiiight here:


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spice up Your Chili!

Chili is my all-time favorite meal to cook & eat. It's super filling, great for leftovers and really difficult to not cook correctly. Everytime I make it, its a bit different because I make it up as I go along. Honestly, that is the BEST way to cook. Just sprinkle (or dump!) a bit of this and a bit of that and let it all simmer and blend. Ok so one thing is always the same, my base is always tomato sauce. I've made a list of the add-ins I've tried for you to browse and experiment with yourself. Enjoy!

Vary your meats (ground/shredded turkey, chicken beef, stew steak, pork) 
Different types of beans (red/white kidney, black, garbanzo, pinto)
Cayenne Pepper
Corn kernals
Chopped carrott
Hot sauce (Tapatio or Cholula are pretty awesome)
For toppings sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped onion are mandatory, in my house at least. If you want to get 'real fancy' prepare baked potatoes too. But the ultimate compliment to  your chili is cornbread. I always use tried and true Alber's cornmeal mix and recipe. In which case you gotta have honey or some good jam on hand. Enjoy your (almost) one pot meal! And I'm always curious to see what else I can try with my chili so leave me a suggestion!

P.S. We are hittin' the road Thursday morning! So my post "schedule" as it has been is totally up in the air. Stay tuned for updates on the road!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


DIY BBQ, that's almost another language with accronyms right there. Well, since I made sugar scrub for Mother's Day, I figured I should come up with something comparable to give for Father's Day. So I came up with making BBQ sauce. Now, I didn't have all my fun paints & ribbons and such to make the bottles all pretty. But I figured since my dad and father-in-law are the 'manly-man' type that they won't miss the fluff. And in that light, lets cut to chase and get to the breakdown.

Ingredients: ketchup (lots, about 2 cups per batch), apple-cider vinegar, Tapatio (or other hot sauce), cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, red pepper and worcester. Also brown sugar, honey and salt which I didn't manage to get in this picture.

Now you may remember that I don't follow directions too well when it comes to recipes and any really any crafty type project. So the recipe (which I found on Google and I can't remember which site, but if you search homemade bbq sauce you're bound to find it) anyways the recipe was 2 cups of ketchup and then teaspoons & tablespoons of the other stuff listed above. But with those small additions, it still tasted like plain old ketchup. So I did what I do best: starting dumping random quanitities, stirring a lot and sampling till I got some flav-uh. But it was a challeng, let me tell you! The flavors were just not noticable enough. Maybe for some of you it'd be perfect, but I like to be SLAMMED with flavor. So I decided to let it sit overnight (in the fridge of course) to see if the flavors would 'mesh' overnight and magically become a flawless blend. It kinda worked. I added more worcester sauce before jarring it. Jarring? Is that a real verb?

And here's my beautiful masculine concoction in a straight forward, ribbonless jar. Time to fire up the grill!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Handmade Christmas

I know, I's June. But last year my hubs & I decided to do a handmade christmas for all of our gifts (except I bought him dirtbiking pants-but besides that-oh and the glow in the dark basketball for my younger brother.) But all  the majority of our gifts were handmade, which I will post pics of later because right now all I can focus on is this Christmas :) One thing at a time around here. So why in the world am I thinking about Christmas in June? Well we didn't start the making of gifts until November last year. Bad Plan. I mean it all worked in the end, but we seriously cut it thisclose. As in finishing on Christmas Eve and giving gifts within like 2 hours of finishing the making of the gift. Yeah. It was bad. And I want to do it all over again. So that is why we are starting our thinking now and then we can accumulate the necessities & maybe even do some trials of our ideas and be almost DONE making our gifts this November instead of just beginning. There's so much craziness in December just in parties & baking & christmas tree cutting and the list goes on. So here are some cool ideas I'm dreaming of right now (psst-I have all these on my pinterest account if you wanna get mo'info!)
Circuit board becomes belt buckle! Totally nerd-cool.
For the manly-men. Will have to pair this up in some sort of "kit"....
Personalized Tea Towels + Painted Serving Utensils = Hostess Set

And SOMETHING dip-dyed. A scarf? T-shirt? Mittens?.....
I usually give baked goods out to like everyone, so these re-purposed Pringle containers will really come in handy!
I love this idea! Every year I make LOADS of peppermint bark and last year I made chocolate dipped pretzels--maybe this will be a way to do both all at once?!
And then there's this beauty. Such a cool idea.

Any of you done a homemade Christmas? I really enjoyed doing Christmas with the hubs last year, instead me shopping and he finding out what everyone gets as they're opening it. I'm hoping I can continue to carry this tradition on with him every year and not run out of ideas/be able to make things our families will actually like! Nothing worse than a scratchy funkily knitted sweater that your dad has no idea what to do with....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lemon & Herb Chicken Dinner

Finally remembered to take a picture of dinner last week. I get all into my chopping & mixing & baking & boiling in the evenings and go into my own little world of herbs & olive oil that I forget to include a recipe here everynow and then. Here's an easy, nutritous and oh-so-good weeknight meal for y'all!

1) Place chicken breast in gallon sized baggie in the AM drizzled with your oil of choice (usually olive or grapeseed oil for me). Sprinkle with oregano, thyme & garlic and stick it in the fridge for the day.
2) Preheat oven to 350, place chicken in it w/ freshly sliced lemon atop of it. Cook times vary depending on how much you're making, but usually it takes around 30 minutes.

3) While the chicken is cooking whip up a salad. Mine usually contains spinach, iceberg & butter lettuce, carrot, tomato (I always slice an extra and sprinkle w/ salt for the inescapable making-dinner-munchies), sugar snap peas, broccoli and avocado (unfortunately I was out on this particular evening). And a healthy sprinkling of freshly grated parmesean is always needed for cheese lover like myself.

Oh and my hubby made that cutting board, isn't it a beauty? 
Yes, you are jealous and its ok :)

And look at that, the chicken is done! Maybe it was the camera, but I was feeling a little extra pumped and made some pasta and alfredo sauce to go with our meal also.  And it was so very, very good, I think I shall make this again tonight after seeing all these photos again!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

You can't always win...

Being "bargain brained" can be a severe handicap. A couple weeks ago I saw a bikini that I just had to have for $27.90 at H&M. Great deal right? Well I didn't think so..I've conditioned myself to have too high (or is it low??) standards for outstanding prices. I put the suit back on the rack because I have a giftcard to Westfield malls & a *new* H&M just opened in one nearby. So I justified that I would be getting the bikini for free by going to mall and buying it there. So I convinced my hubby to make a quick stop at the mall (HAH! Is there such a thing?), he only agreed because it was a BIKINI that I wanted to buy...I had no doubt that my stroke of luck (getting the hubs into the mall without complaining) would result in a win for me, the bikini and my hubby. WRONG. Apparently I have good taste because the sizes available were so not mine. So the clerk (obviously feeling compassionate that I had gotten my "I stick out like a sore thumb at the mall" husband into this frivilous store and was going to leave empty handed and which means I no chance of ever getting him back into a store with me ever, ever, ever again) called the first location I saw the bikini to see if they still had my size. No luck. So he gave me the barcode numbers and I dragged my feet and moped alllll the way out of the mall. Now, I called both locations daily to see if they had gotten more in their shipments. Took 4 days. Got the top at one spot, bottoms at the other. Moral of the story: Don't be so much of a penny pincher! And after all that she is! It was soooo worth the pain & suffering to get this into my hot little hands.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Goodwill Furniture Finds

Yes, I was at the Goodwill again. Missed the flea market over the weekend due to 1) me forgetting and 2) it poured down rain (in JUNE mind you...). Anyways, the Goodwill helps me get through these tough times, here's what I spotted:

Coffee Table $18.99
I really like the block pattern, and that it was pretty low to the ground. It would be fun for one of those exotic lands inspired dining rooms where you sit on amazing floor cushions and eat amazing food and have an amazing time...

And then there's this chair $32.99 (what's with the big prices this time around?!). Anyways this shape is super cool, it's permanently semi-reclined. Perfect for reading or dvding. And while the fabric isn't in that poor of condition, I would want it re-upholstered because 1) it's a bit bland and 2) you never know where it's been or what/whose butt has sat on it...

Ok, so who trusted me & visited the Goodwill all on their own???

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sneaky Stripes

Everytime we move I get to really go through and look at everything I own and reassess what is worth keeping. You can learn a lot about yourself or anyother person just by noticing what is in their home--or junk drawer or hall closet too. I have realized that I really like stripes. Looking back on some of the things I've posted here, I probobly should have known that already, but I guess I take a little more convincing. It's actually pretty exciting, usually you come across a decorating theme and it seems like nothing you own fits that. Well folks, I like stripes and I already own some striped items :)

Striping on the foot of my trifle bowl (sadly, I forgot I even had this till I pulled every last piece out of my cabinets...)

And my very own plates that I've stared at every dinner for the past (almost) 3 years! HELLO! WAKEUP! (p.s. I know that pic is super yellow--the plates are ivory..still working out a cooperation agreement with my camera)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Clearance Couture

Annnnd Target does it again! For $8.72 (+ CA ridiculous sales tax of 9.25%....ugh) I got two great pieces on C-L-E-A-R-A-N-C-E! First I snagged a super soft dark green t-shirt with slightly longer sleeves than normal tees and a nice loose fitting shape for $3.74. Yes, you did read that correctly, I said $3.74!!And then I just so happened to pass the shoes aisle where I found these super fun heeled sandals for $4.98.
This tee and the sandals are great jumping off point for jeans (long, capri or even shorts if I can muster up the guts to wear those things). Which means these items will be perfect for Summer, Fall, Winter & Spring! And I can definately wear either of the $5 jeans (dark wash bootleg and gray skinny) I bought a Target on a previous trip. And as I was trudging around the house, actually it's my husband's family vacation home that's been in the family for almost 3 generations! Notice the awesome wallpaper above ;) which actually made a fun background for this shirt!The green ties right in and shows this outfit could go vintage real easily with some flea market or family jewelry. Ok back on track here, as I was experimenting with taking pics of my clearance couture finds, I remember I snagged these bangles for just 2 bucks at the flea market.
Mmhhmmm. I think I'm in love.
 This outfit is coming together nicely....What would you add to this ensemble? Do you have any to-die-for jewelry that would take this over the top?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Purse Purging

After moving & sorting our belongings for storage/road trip supplies, I finally tackled my purse...It was pretty bad! This was after I had gotten started throwing things away (before I remembered to take a picture!):

And my exhausted purse enjoyed the break.

It's amazing all that I got to fit in there, it was literally a Mary Poppins bag. So it made me start to think,  I obviously have a thing about filling up all available space possible in my maybe I should use a smaller purse? Genius! Here's my current purse (ok technically a wristlet), hopefully I can stick to it!

The only bummer is that my glasses don't fit inside, which leaves me with the following debate:
1) start wearing contacts or
2) Remember to grab them out of the car when I get where I'm going before I need them.
Hmm...decisions, decisions...