A Little Holiday

Warning! There are a lot of pictures!

Well! Its been quite the few weeks!
We have had some out of town visitors and the holidays and Bella's birthday to keep us MORE than busy!

I dont think I'm going to go into too much detail about every single thing that we did but I'll give a run down and share pictures!

On Christmas Eve my mother in law and myself cooked a HUGE ham with all the fixin's and had a big dinner with my mom, brothers, sister in laws, and my MIL & FIL. It was a lot of fun with a lot of clean up. (haha!) 

On Christmas Day we got up bright and early with the kids to watch them open all of their presents. Then we headed over to my moms to open presents, and after a few hours over there we went to visit with some more of Ryan's family. We had another big dinner that night at my moms too! We probably ate way too much this week!

The day after Christmas we drove to L.A. to pick up my grandparents who had flown in from Texas a few days before. They spent part of their trip with the family that I have in L.A. and then spent the rest here in Barstow with us for Bella's birthday and what not.

The next few days were filled with a lot of food, fun, laughter, toys (and their trash), and celebration! Bella's party ended up being a major success. I had so much help from my MIL and my Grandma that there was no way it wasn't going to come out great! I mean of course Ryan, his dad, and my Grandpa did their part too with the running back and forth to different stores picking up this or that haha!

Overall this holiday break has been amazing. I am so so so so very BLESSED. I have an amazing support system, an amazing family, and the most wonderful man at my side taking every step with me. I couldn't have asked for any more than what I have.

Enjoy looking at some pictures from our break! Of course there are a ton more but I thought twenty something was enough! hahaha!
Christmas Eve with the Hill family
I'm surprised we even got this picture, he was making faces in all the pictures!
Me and my three "little" brothers haha!
Me-The hubs-Melissa (MIL)-Scott (FIL)

Our annual pajama picture =)
The kids were READY for Christmas!

Our tree with all of the gifts under it.
The kids on Christmas Day

Merry Christmas from the Hill family!
Wela and Bella

The oldest Hill men

My door bow =)

Tutus for all the little girls

The favor table
Owl lanterns!
Tulle pompoms!
Personalized favor bags!

Food table!

I hope you all had a good holiday break too!

Talk to you soon,


Tasty Tasty

Lasagna Edition

I know this is a little late since I cooked this last Wednesday, but better late than never!

Once again while pinning a few weeks ago I came across this recipe for Crock Pot lasagna. It looked so easy and delicious that I knew I had to try it.

I'm not the biggest fan of lasagna but my sister (who was here visiting) and my husband both love it so I knew it would be a hit with them. As for my kids they're the pickiest eaters ever sooooo I didn't know quite how it would go over with them.

The Ingredients:

NOTE: I tend to buy generic when it comes to things that are going to be flavored/flavoring other things. Save money when you can!

These are the measurements from the recipe I used but of course things should be done according to your taste, so adjust as you see fit.

1lb of ground meat (I used turkey)
29oz can of tomato sauce (I ended up needing more)
8oz package of lasagna noodles uncooked
4 cups shredded mozzarella (I used all of it! We're cheese lovers!)
1.5 cups cottage cheese

minced garlin
diced onion
any other veggies that you like in your lasagna

The Instructions:

FIRST OFF...Spray the crock pot with cooking spray! I forgot this step and the bottom of the lasagna ended up a little crispy in some spots.

Brown the meat and drain any grease left over, add in the tomato sauce and minced garlic. After that mixture is heated all the way through spoon part of it into the bottom of the pot, then add a layer of the noodles. It will probably help to break up some of the pieces to make them fit better.

Next add a layer of cottage cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan. It says to do certain measurements of each item but honestly I just did what I thought would be good. I then just added another layer of noodles and then meat/sauce and cheeses on top. I just hit repeat on that step until everything was gone...about 4 layers. ending with meat/sauce.

I turned the crock pot on low and let it cook for 4 hours.

(Add a last layer of the mozzarella five minutes before the cooking is done if you like the cheesiness!)

Take the lid off when its done and let it sit for at least 10 minutes to thicken and make it easier to serve.

The Final Product and Verdict:

The husband said, "Sooooo bomb babe!! Can I take all of the leftovers for lunch tomorrow?!"
Sister said, "This is on point!"

The kids weren't into it really. Bella ate the most but Max just had a few bites and ate his salad.

I will probably make this again but I will end up making something else for the kids.

I hope you are able to try this recipe and let me know how it goes over with your family!
Talk to you soon,


To Do To Do To Do

I have a list of things I want to get done that is starting to feel like its a mile long.

With the end of the year coming up on us super fast I want to be able to start 2012 with a clear mind. I have plans for some changes that I want to make within myself and I am going to need as much serenity as possible to be successful.

So here are some of the things I need to get done, I thought I would share with you what my next few weeks are looking like.

Get the laundry/storage room organized...again. I am always having to do this because there is always some reason for me to get into the bins that I have in there with our decorations, party supplies, and other various things. And most recently it was the Christmas stuff...

Go through Bella's clothes and shoes....again. Obviously she is always growing and I dont like the have clothes/shoes that are too small for her in her closet. It makes it hard for other people (Ryan) to get her dressed if they dont have the knowledge in their head of what is too small or whatever the case may be.

Organize Bella's toys and arrange her room to make it big girl bed ready! We decided to skip the toddler bed step when it comes to changing her from crib to bed. Either way, because we have a convertible crib, its going to be the same distance off the ground and she would enjoy having a bed like Max's so we are just going straight to a twin size bed after her second (eek!) birthday later this month.

Organize Max's toys...again. Christmas brings tons of new toys into the kids' rooms, so I have to make room, in his room especially, for the new things. See why I am going to make sure I have an entire play room for the kids when we buy a house?!

Organize my clothes and Ryan's by color. I love to see an organized closet...and actually let me amend this. Organize all of our clothes by color. I crave the calmness that comes from something that is organized. Who wouldn't love to open their closet and see a system? Sighhhh, I may have to move this to the top of my list!

There is a whole bunch of other things that I want done but right now I can't remember them all. But I'm sure as soon as I finish one thing on my list I'll be able to add two more things to it! There are some things that have to be done pretty soon because they are for Christmas and Bella's birthday party. But those things will get done no matter what, I can say that for sure.

Do you have any things you plan on getting done before the new year starts?
Talk to you soon,


I Pinned it, Then I Did it!

This year is the first year that I've had an amazing Christmas tree. I bought it last year after Christmas for an excellent price. Needless to say, I was so excited to finally put it up along with all of the ornaments I have collected over the last few years. Well rewind a few weeks before I put the tree up, I was browsing pinterest.com...again, and I came across this DIY-no sew-tree skirt...

from this blog and I new I needed to have one for myself.

Problem is, this calls for a lot of work with a hot glue gun...and I don't typically use hot glue guns on things I intend to keep until they fall apart...and in this case, I wouldn't expect the tree skirt put together with hot glue to last very long.

SO I made things a little more difficult on myself (shame on me) and i decided to make it with my sewing machine. It just seemed more efficient in this case.

I was going to write out how to do everything I did so I could share it with everyone, but it was A LOT of work...like at least 8 hours worth...I split it up over two days off and on but I'll probably never do it again haha!

Doing it with a glue gun would have been way faster and much less frustrating and complicated...but I took the long road.

The results...were WORTH it! It came out better than expected and I think it'll hold up for the next 10 years at least. I hemmed every single ruffle strip individually before pinning and sewing them onto the canvas to ensure they wouldn't fray for a long long time. And lastly I sewed ribbon along the inside smallest circle to give it that polished (;)) look and sewed a few strips of ribbon along the ends to tie it all together.

So here is MY version of the DIY tree skirt!

And here is our beautiful Christmas tree!!

Talk to you soon,


Thankful Thursdays - 36

Thanksgiving Edition!

What a wonderful day!
A day that most of America is counting their blessings and sharing with everyone what they're thankful for!
I want to share with you the things that I am thankful for every day of the year and this week.

327. I'm thankful for the health of my children. In a world where bad things happen every day, my children have thus far been unaffected. I thank God every single night after we are all in bed for the life he has given my children. I thank him for every healthy breath.

328. I'm thankful for the success my marriage. Evey day I tell God how thankful I am that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. With every smile, kiss, hug, and laugh I am grateful to have such a loving man at my side to live my days and nights with.

329. I'm thankful for all of my family. Even though the majority of my family lives 12+ hours away from me in a bunch of different directions, they are in my heart all the time. I can't wait for the day when all of my family is together in one place.

330. I'm thankful for tradition. I never thought I would have my own traditions, but I do. There are things that I have done every year for many years that I love to do. And every year that I do them, I get to put a new memory away that will live with me for as long as my memory works. I look forward to making new traditions.

331. The thing that I am most thankful for this year though, is the love that the Lord has shown me. He has opened my eyes.

What are you thankful for this week?
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!
Enjoy good food, good friends & family, and lots of laughter!

Talk to you soon,


Thankful Thursdays - 35

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
--Proverbs 31:25

322. I am thankful that I do not fear the future. There is nothing in my life that can scare me about the future. I am so glad that I can live my life KNOWING that I am living the life God has asked me to, which leads me to KNOWING that because I am living in his light, I will be rewarded with happiness.

323. I am thankful for my husband. I am constantly reminded how amazing he is. Most of all though I am thankful for why he loves me. He loves me not to spite people, or to prove anything to anyone. He loves me because he has seen in my heart, and he knows I am kind, and loving, and I let him be...HIM.

324. I am thankful for the changes my kids have been making. Their growth is always astounding and leaves me constantly speechless. I wouldn't ask them to stop for all the money in the world. They are the proof of what love can make.

325. I am thankful for the strength that God has given my friend. Even through the hardest thing she has ever had to deal with, she is looking towards the future, instead of living in the past. With God she will prevail, and will find the life she was meant to live.

326. I am thankful for the opportunities that arise at just the right moment. God will ALWAYS provide.

What are you thankful for this week?

Talk to you soon.


Tasty Tasty

I cook nearly everyday, and I dont save the awesome stuff for just Tuesdays, so I decided to just call these posts "Tasty Tasty". Why not?

Anyways, I have been perusing pinterest.com every single day...I'm obsessed. There are so many awesome ideas on there, it can keep my attention for hours.

I came across some awesome looking potatoes and thought I'd give it a try tonight since I had all the ingredients and they would go great with the pork roast that I was making.

The Ingredients:

4 potatoes (or however many)
Olive Oil (I use Extra Virgin)
Minced Garlic (totally optional)

The Instructions:

This goes without saying but, clean your potatoes thoroughly. Then dry them and lay each one on its flattest side. Next, take your time and make slices all along the potato. Go as far down as you can manage without cutting all the way through, and try to keep each slice like 3 to 4mm apart.

Note: This is just the way I flavored them, you can probably do whatever you want to these according to your tastes.

Next put bits of butter into each slice of the potato (or every other piece), I decided to put the garlic on only one potato just in case it didn't taste too good and I just put a tiny bit into every third slice. Next drizzle the olive oil over each potato, shake salt and pepper over them after that.

Stick the potatoes on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet and put them in the oven to cook at 425 for about an hour, or until they look crispy and brown.

The Final Product and Verdict:

I originally put them in the over for only 45 minutes as directed on the website I found but I think an hour would have been better. The insides weren't as tender to me as I would have liked them.

The Husband said: "Babe, you should really cook potatoes like this every single day."
Max said: "Mom, I dont really like the potatoes." (hes not a fan of any potato)
Bella said: "Mine? Yummy!"

Overall they were a hit and I will make them again. I should have taken pictures of the pork roast because THAT got rave reviews from all three of my test subjects!

Try it and let me know how it goes!
Talk  to you soon,


Tasty Tuesday

Chicken & Dumplings Edition

I love my Crock Pot. Seriously...I love it, if I wasn't so timid when it came to trying new recipes I would cook in it every day.

So when a friend of mine sent me a super easy recipe for chicken & dumplings I just had to try it.

The Ingredients:

4 halves of boneless skinless chicken breast so, two chicken breasts cut in half. (I cubed mine to make it into bite size pieces.)
2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup
2 10 ounce cans of refrigerated biscuit dough (I could only fine 7 ounce cans so I just used three of those and didn't use one biscuit.)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion finely chopped

Note: I added some fresh cracked black pepper like halfway through cooking.

The Directions:

1.Put all ingredients in the crock pot EXCEPT the biscuits. Add water to just covering all the ingredients.Turn the cooker on to high and cook for 5 1/2 hours.

Note: If it seems as if its too watery, have patience, the biscuits will make it thicker really fast!

2. Add the biscuit dough in pieces (I tore each biscuit into four pieces and rolled them into balls) and cook for another half an hour until the center of the biscuits are no longer raw in the center.

Note: Stir the dumplings about halfway into the final half hour and before serving.

The Final Product:

I know today is Wednesday but I didn't have time to write this post yesterday.

This meal was a major hit! The husband isn't a fan of dumplings but he trusted me when I said these are different. They aren't as doughy as real dumplings since they're made from biscuits. Even my kids gobbled it up, and they're the hardest to please!

I think this is an excellent recipe for colder weather and its super filling so a little goes a long way!

Talk to you soon,



I sucked at Halloween this year.

I have already confessed to being a major planner...I plan nearly everything that way I'm not being stunned by surprises every day. For some reason though this month was kinda outta whack for me. I had a plan in mind for our family Halloween costumes and was fully intent on making everything because I am totally capable...but then the time flew by. So Max ended up as Darth Vadar cause he loves Star Wars and really wanted a pretty legit light saber and Bella ended up as our Baby Bumble Bee...as in the song (hahaha). Now of course they looked as cute as ever but I was still slightly bummed that we didn't end up in coordinating costumes. (Last year we were all pirates and Baby Bella was our parrot) I already told myself though that we will end up dressed next year like I wanted us this year. Luckily I have a husband that is happy to make me happy and knows how special some things are to me, and Halloween is definitely one of those things.

I did learn a lesson though. Things will not always go the way you want them to go. I am constantly struggling (but always learning) with letting go of all the control. I don't know how I got this way but I think it is just one of the things that happened to me when I started having kids. Luckily I don't throw fits or get angry when things go different than what I had planned...I just take a few breaths and go with the flow. 

I'm very happy though that we were able to do every thing I wanted to do aside from the costumes. October is filled with so many fun things that I love to enjoy with me children and my husband. We went to school functions, we found an awesome Pumpkin Patch, we picked pumpkins, we baked Halloween cakes and cookies, we made fun Halloween magnets and did a few other crafts, and we went Trick or Treating at our local ghost town, my moms work and around a few of our friends streets and our own.

Even when things don't seem to turn out perfectly, I always look back and see how really, things were perfect.

Enjoy a few pictures!

Talk to you soon,


Thankful Thursdays - 35

This month has positively FLOWN by!
Even as fast as time goes by I still like to take the time to be thankful for what my life has been blessed with!

317. I'm thankful for Gabriella's vocabulary. I don't know if it's coincidence or not but ever since we got a handle on the thumb sucking she started talking so much more! She has her own little language but all that matters is that we understand her.

318. I'm thankful for the pride on Max's face when he knows he has accomplished something. It makes me that much more proud to see how proud he is of himself.

319. I'm thankful that all the praying I did for Gabriella really mattered. Aside from having a completely healthy baby and all that, I wanted so badly to have a little girl that would enjoy the girly things in life and she so does.

320. I'm thankful for all the time I've been able to spend at home. Being able to cook dinner for my family nearly every night and be able to give baths and read books before bed is a blessing. This time with my kids being little is short and I must soak up every second.

321. I am thankful for the few moments of silence I get. While Max is at school and Bella takes her nap I get about two hours of the most blissful quiet time. Sometimes I read, sometimes I watch TV, most times I clean, and a few times I've halfway slept....so I rested lol.

What are you thankful for this week?
Talk to you soon


These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...Part Two

It's been a while since I've just blogged about something fun. I've been barely fitting my TOAT's into my crazy days. So I thought I would do a Part Two to a fun blog I did a long time ago called These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...Part One

I never ever thought I would like sushi. I was never even down to try it because the idea of eating it grossed me out. My husband on the other hand is a huge sushi fan. He pretty much loves any food so this isn't something that came as a shock to me. 
One day earlier this year my brother Hugo and his wife Sandy were here from Northern California and they told us about this sushi place that was so good. My sister in law, with the help of Ryan, totally talked me into trying it. So we headed out and went to Samurai Sushi. It's a cozy little place with a nice comfy atmosphere. I was naturally skeptical when I was looking at the menu, but with the guidance of Ryan, Hugo, and Sandy I made my choices. It turns out...I love sushi. Not I don't just love it, I'M OBSESSED. Ryan was just teasing me the other day because he said if anyone asks me what my favorite food is and I don't say sushi then I'm lying. I could seriously eat it every single day. Too bad we dont have a place here in Barstow where I could eat it more often. 
Netflix is another thing that that I absolutely LOVE. Although their prices have been raised and its slightly more expensive that it has been, for me its worth it.
I am not really a movie person because there is hardly ever a two hour time span that I can just sit down and watch a movie, so I never actually buy them. Having Netflix I've been able to watch movies on our Wii or XBox and the ones that I can't watch like that I get in the mail super quick. Another amazing thing that Netflix does is allow me to watch every single episode of any (I think) show I can think of. There have been a few different series that I have been able to watch all the way through because Netflix has it. Just recently (well it took me a few months) I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I just love having the access to all the things I want to see.
Something that I am loving right now for my kids is the Scholastic Book Program. I don't really know exactly what to call it, but I'm sure you all remember getting order forms sent home from school for your parents to order books for you. Max is now getting these order forms and I love it! 
The prices for most of the books are pretty fair, we recently ordered 12 books and paid between one and three dollars for each book. I even got a book, Days With Frog and Toad, that my mom bought for me when she was pregnant with me and has since been lost. Our house is full of budding and experienced readers. We read every single day to our kids and they really enjoy it. I am slowly building a library for them and hope to get them an awesome sling book shelf for all of them. Now that I think about it I can't wait for the next order form!! 

I'll talk to you soon,