April 29, 2011

Friday Food ~ Four-way Juice

This juice has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember! I loved waking up to enjoy a warm, homemade breakfast including this sweet, tropical juice! It's super simple to make. Just throw the following ingredients into your blender in batches. You will need to work in batches, because everything won't fit in all at once. Also, you can add most of the water directly into the serving pitcher to minimize the amount of times you need to run the blender. Plus, if you use less water in the blender, the fruit and juice concentrate will blend smoother, faster. After everything has been blended and poured into the pitcher, give the Four-way Juice a quick stir. It will be frothy. . . and oh, so yummy!

Four-way Juice
1 ripe banana
1 apple, peeled and sliced*
1 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
1 can of frozen pineapple juice concentrate
6 cups of water

*Note: If you don't have much time or don't feel like peeling and slicing the apple, you can add about 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce into the blender instead of the apple.

April 27, 2011

Wednesday Away ~ Mt. Tallac, Lake Tahoe

A few years ago, before our sweet little boy arrived, we took a summer vacation to Lake Tahoe! It was kind of a surprise to me, because Jason planned the trip without letting me know where we were going. He wouldn't respond to my guesses until we were about a week away from the trip! I LOVE surprises, so this was lots of fun! He is very good at surprises, too! We had talked about potential places to go for vacation, and Lake Tahoe was one of the ideas, so it didn't take long for me to guess. We spent about a week exploring the area around the lake and even took a kayak trip on Lake Tahoe! One of the adventures we had was climbing Mt. Tallac! The mountain is 9,745 feet high and it's about a 4.8 mile . . . hike one way!! We started out early and spent most of the day hiking! The photo above is of Fallen Leaf Lake, which you can view along the trail up Mt. Tallac. It really does look like a humongous leaf. The lakes in that area have the most beautiful crystal clear, blue water!

The little spot, Floating Island Lake, had water so clear, and it was so beautiful. It was a beautiful spot to pause and ponder the amazing beauty around the Lake Tahoe area.
The trails were pretty dry, dusty, and rocky. The breath-taking scenery made this hike much less difficult! We really enjoyed spending the day outside!
Cathedral Lake was at a much higher elevation than where you might imagine finding a lake. It was crystal clear and amazing!
My handsome husband, Jason! We're both outdoorsy types, so this was a wonderful vacation spot! Mt. Tallac was just the right level of difficulty for both of us! I did get a little more tired than he did, but he works out more than I do. (shame on me, I know) At one point we were looking up at a rocky area that to me seemed like it could be the summit. I thought, oh great, it looks like we are almost to the top! Yay! Then, a group of hikers passed us and I chit chatted with them a little about how much farther the summit would be. They pointed at that supposed summit area, and said it's about a mile and a half beyond that area! OH! Thanks! So, at that point the trail got very steep, and we kept going another mile and a half. Sheesh. And, believe me, a mile and a half on straight, flat ground is no big deal, but when you're climbing a mountain. . . . um . . . a mile and a half UP is actually a rather big deal.
Lake Tahoe and another view of Fallen Leaf Lake can be seen in the background behind me and my husband. It was a wonderful, memorable time!
Mt. Tallac is surrounded by other smaller mountains, small mountain lakes, and along the trail we found these flowering patches of wildflowers. They seemed to be little meadows with a variety of plants and fauna.

The summit!! Well, actually the edge of the summit! It was STRAIGHT down from this spot. The lake in the distance is Lake Tahoe! The summit was basically a pile of rocks. I was not really delighted to see a pile of rocks that I would have to scale in order to say I reached the summit. They were very large rocks with crevasses and jagged edges. I didn't want to injure myself or drop my camera in one of those crevasses, or worse yet twist and ankle trying to scramble around on the rocks. Well, I was very careful and made it to the summit!

Here is the view from the summit! It was really, really amazing!

April 26, 2011

Tues. Reviews ~ Baby-sized books

I love tiny books for babies! Isaac got them for Christmas last year from his Grandma and PopPop. They are just the right size for his pudgy, adorable hands! First up are these little Bible story board books. There are nine books in the set, and can be purchased here.
Isaac loves to look at these books in the car, and sometimes digs them out of the bottom of his book basket to read at story time. Stories featured in nine books are: The Nativity, In the Temple, The Storm, Good News, Loaves and Fishes, Little Children, the Kind Man, The Royal Welcome, Jesus Lives.
Puppies and Kittens is the first book Isaac ever received. Even before he could turn the pages himself, he enjoyed looking at the pictures in this book and listening to Mommy and Daddy making the doggie and kitty cat noises! Now that Isaac is 18 months old, he often pulls this book out of his pile and perches on his baby-sized chair to look at the pictures and touch the fuzzy, furry spots on each page. This book is especially good for very young babies (0-6 months) because each page includes a solid color background and one cat or one dog. The image really pops off the background page, without too much busy effects or graphics to overwhelm their young eyes.

Isaac absolutely LOVES these books! They were a special Christmas gift from his GiGi and Pappy. I keep one handy in his diaper bag for times when he seems bored or frustrated --either in the car or when we're out in the stroller. They are really great for teaching your baby words! Again, the solid background, with one bright, bold image really works well for infants. Each page also includes the color and word featured. Babies love looking at vibrant, "kid-colored" toys and objects, and these books are full of bright, fun toys, foods, animals, and vehicles! These books, by Katie Cox, can be found on Amazon.com.

April 25, 2011

Monday: Mommy Menu ~ Vegetarian Fajitas

Monday Menus are the number one reason I wanted to start this blog! I LOVE to cook and I love to take photos! It's fun taking photos of food and watching how it changes as it is prepared, cooked, combined, and finally served! I love blogging about my faith, our family travels, and Mommy stuff, too, but there's something really fun about sharing my recipes!

This blog post isn't going to include the "serve" picture...oops! I forgot to take one! Probably because this is one of the absolute favorite meals ever at our house! Once I place that sizzling pan of Vegetarian Fajitas on the table, it's over! We're grabbing the tortilla wraps, filling them up, topping them with sour cream, cheese, and salsa and . . . YUM! It's done! I usually make some fresh guacamole to go with it,too! And, raspberry lemonade! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Definitely a favorite meal! Here's how it can be come one of your favorites, too!

Vegetarian Fajitas
1 of each, green, orange, and yellow peppers --sliced

1 onion, sliced
1 bag of Morning Star Chik 'n Strips (available at Walmart and just about any grocery store in the frozen section)

olive oil

Fajita tortilla wraps

Slice the peppers and onions. Place them in 1-2 TB of olive oil in a medium non-stick frying pan. Cook the peppers and onions for about 4-5 minutes, covered. Stir, then add the package of Chik 'n Strips. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, then stir and fry until edges of peppers, onions, and Chik 'n Strips get a little golden.

Serve in fajita wraps with your favorite toppings! Chips and salsa or guacamole are a great side dish!

April 22, 2011

Friday Food ~ Vegetarian Turkey Wraps

I forget how easy it is to make a wrap sometimes! I made these Vegetarian Turkey Wraps the other day, and they were so delicious, fast, and fully of healthy veggies!

Here's how we made ours, but a wrap can include so many different types of "stuff", so get creative!

We started with a layer of "sauce" --my husband likes mayonnaise, and I prefer Ranch dressing. Next, we added a couple of slices of cheese --provolone for Jason, and mozzarella for me. Then, lay three slides of vegetarian turkey slices on top of the cheese. Finally, we layered in lots of veggies --tomatoes, lettuce, black olives, and avocado! I like to grill it a little, to melt the cheese, and it helps the whole thing stay together really nicely! Plus, the edges get a golden and crusty. You don't need any oil to do this, either, just use a non-stick pan! Yummy!

April 21, 2011

Thursday Thoughts ~ Healing

Maybe you need some healing in your life! I know this sinful world gets me discouraged many times, but I'm so thankful that God is constantly only a prayer away. Join me in praying this prayer, "Search me, O God and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts. God you know I want You and I want to be saved from my sins and live with You as my Lord and Father and Friend forever. I make so many mistakes and I feel so much guilt and frustration. Please help me God! I need You and I want You. Please fill my heart, mind, and soul with your Presence, that I may shine You to others and I may be transformed inside to be the person You created me to be. Lord, forgive me for all my sins and bad choices I have made and done. Please cleanse me, please give me the joy of Your salvation and the assurance of Your love and acceptance. Please lead me in Your way and keep me from wasting precious time, resources, and talents You have given me. Bless me greatly and bless my family and friends, too!

April 20, 2011

Wednesday Away ~ San Fransisco

We spent our family vacation in California two summers ago, and one of our sight-seeing destinations was San Fransisco!
Here are my top 10 favorite things about San Fran . . .
#1 ~ While walking around one of those beautiful row-house neighborhoods, we spotted this gigantic, gorgeous echeveria succulent plant! I couldn't believe how big they were! I hope to grow some of these around my house soon!

#2~ Lombard street! This is the steepest, curviest street I've ever driven down! It was very beautiful with all the flowers and landscaping around it. People live along it, so at one point we watched someone pulling out of their driveway onto it! I'm not sure I would want to live there, because tourists are constantly hanging around and trying to drive down it!

Here we are with Lombard street in the background. There were lots of flowers along it, mostly hydrangeas, and they were in full bloom!
#3 ~ Staying in the Palace Inn! See www.sfpalace.com . It's a historic hotel, and absolutely amazing!

We swam in the pool on the last day we were there!

#4 ~ San Fransisco row houses! They are EVERYWHERE!

#5 ~ The Embarcadero is along the water, and they had the most wonderful farmer's market!

#6 ~ Chocolates on my pillow! I have stayed in a lot of different hotels, but our visit to San Francisco was the first time I ever found chocolates on my pillow!
This lovely hotel also had a great view!!

# 7~ The San Francisco Botanical Gardens. We saw some of the most beautiful and unique flowers and plants there!

#8~ Skyline view of San Francisco

#9 ~ This view of the bay!
#10 ~ And of course, the Golden Gate Bridge!

Along this section of the walking trail, we saw a pod of four dolphins swimming! They even did some synchronized jumps out of the water! That was really amazing to watch!

April 19, 2011

Tues. News ~ A Baby Shower

I just love baby showers, and help organize them for my friends whenever I can!
Aren't these the cutest cupcakes ever!?

We just had a baby shower for our friends, Brent and Dee! It was great fun!

I came up with this little rhyme for the favors. Notice the mints . . .

And the Hershey's Hugs and Kisses! :-)
Congratulations to our friends . . . we can't wait to meet baby Caleb!