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There’s always something a little tear-inducing when I make a new category; this one? “Max’s 8th Year”
Good Lord, my baby is growing up.
Related, I chose this picture because he looks so old! I can totally seen teenaged Max in this picture.
We managed to wait a whole month before we told Max about #DisneySMMC, but it was worth waiting until his birthday! (I also didn’t want him to confuse that trip and our Spring Break trip, so we wanted to wait until after we got home from that trip to tell him about this one)
With summer coming, I’m always trying to come up with ideas for dinners that are easy to put together, and don’t involve cooking on the stove. I created this recipe for a variation on a classic 3-bean salad, and it fits the bill perfectly.
April is Earth Month, so we’re always trying to be aware of our environmental impact, but it’s especially important in California, where we’re heading into the fifth year of severe drought, so everyone is trying to cut back on their water use. One surprising way you can reduce is by cutting back on your meat consumption. Did you know it takes nearly 2,000 gallons of water to get 1 lb. of beef to market? You might not think of it, but it takes a massive amount of water to bring meat to your local grocer.
If we’re going to eat meatless, we still need to get lots of protein into our bodies, especially Max, because growing bodies need as much as they can get. This salad is packed with goodness and loaded with protein, both the beans and the quinoa give you lots of protein.
I’ve been doing a lot of my grocery shopping lately at Smart & Final; it’s less crazymaking than the members-only warehouse store, and I can pick up everything I need from fresh produce to paper products and bakery items. They have recently been working on expanding their organic offerings, and their Sun Harvest brand is high quality and delicious. (Well, the complete Sun Harvest line includes household things like dish soap and toilet paper; I haven’t taste tested those, and I don’t recommend you do, either!)
I love the dressing on this salad; even Jamie, who isn’t normally a balsamic fan, said that it was delicious and that we should definitely buy it again. It gives a nice bright kick to the more subtle flavors of the quinoa and beans, so it all comes together beautifully.
12 oz. bottle Sun Harvest Citrus Balsamic Salad Dressing
Prepare quinoa according to package directions, place in refrigerator to cool (overnight if possible)
Open beans and corn, drain and rinse well
Add dressing to taste
Garnish with parsley
I made a big double batch of this for Max’s birthday party, and everyone, even the kids, ate it up. I also think it gets more delicious as the day goes on, so if you’re making it for a party or something, do it early in the day or the day before if you can.Want to win a $25 SmartCash card? From now until April 28, Smart & Final will post a new picture every day on the Smart & Final Facebook page with a question and contest details. To enter, simply leave a comment on the post. Any relevant comment is considered an entry.
This is the story you don’t hear as often… after her experience with the bears and the porridge, Goldilocks went on to marry her own Prince Charming, find a great job, and have an adorable baby. As a busy mom, Goldilocks was always on the go, and often needed to find snacks to sustain her on her daily errands.
She tried rice cakes, but they left her sad and still hungry. A fast food burger, while convenient because she didn’t have to get out of the car, was too heavy and unappealing. But a quick trip to her local Circle K provided Goldilocks with the perfect snacking solution; a SNICKERS® Almond candy bar. It was just the pick-me-up she needs for her busiest days.
And she lived happily ever after.
I totally associate SNICKERS® candy bars with motherhood, because it was always the first thing my own mom stole from my Halloween candy stash. I thought of them as “grown-up candy bars” for a long time, and may not have discovered the fabulouness that is SNICKERS® until high school or so, when I was obsessed with all things “grown up.”
Nowadays, it’s one of my favorite candy bars, and while the classic SNICKERS® will always hold a place in my heart, the Almond and Peanut Butter versions have recently joined the ranks as well. They’re all delicious, and just what I need when I’m on the go and hungry. I don’t want to commit to a meal, or the timing isn’t right for that much food, so a SNICKERS® is just the thing to tide me over.
Easy to grab and eat on the go, it’s a must-have in my purse for those days when I have to Go-Go-Go and need a sweet little kick to keep me moving.
Enter the SNICKERS® “Who are you when you’re hungry?” contest by uploading a personal photo or video from your Computer, Facebook, Instagram or use the SNICKERS® Meme Generator to create something new! Voting begins at Noon on 5/11/15 and ends at 11:59:59AM ET on 7/15/15.
I set my word for the year, back in January, when I named 2015 as While it’s been a bit of a challenge in some ways, it’s also been a good reminder for me to do things that I might not have otherwise. It helps having Jamie there to encourage me, of course, but it’s always there, in the back of my mind. So how’s it going, here at mid-April? The single biggest thing so far was my trip to Utah with NASA and OrbitalATK. It was an extraordinary experience; in the course of a short 48 hour visit, I saw how rocket fuel is made, saw said rocket fuel fired off, met 4 astronauts, and scores of new social media friends. It was incredible, and I owe it to Jamie for first encouraging me to even apply. “Do it,” he said. “Isn’t this your year of doing?”
There are things that I am doing this year that are actually out of my control; for the first time, I was invited to Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration, which has been a sort of bucket list item of mine for some time. Even just being invited is a huge honor, and while it might be insane to jump on board for a family trip to Disney World with about 2 months’ notice, we’re jumping and going and OMG, I can’t wait! (We haven’t told Max yet; we’re telling him on Friday, his birthday, so expect a video of the reveal next week!) As an added bonus, it’s *my* first trip to Disney World too, so I can barely contain my excitement!
In case you don’t know, my birthday is July 4. One of the busiest camping weekends in the country, and we’ve never done it… we usually plan camping trips at the last minute, so booking for a holiday weekend is basically impossible. This year, though, with my birthday being on a Saturday, we managed to snag a few camping spots with some friends, so we’ll spend the weekend camping on the beach with some of our nearest and dearest. If you’re unfamiliar, state parks in California open their reservations six months in advance; popular parks, and popular weekends, can book up in MINUTES. I was online right at 8am when the reservations opened on January 3rd, and still only got our second choice park. Seriously.
Photo credit: Flickr user WorldIslandInfo.com
And speaking of brithday’s, Jamie’s got a big one coming up this summer as well. It’s not my place to say exactly how old he’s turning, but you can probably guess. Because it’s a big birthday, I’d been saving some money so we could do something really awesome. Well, the awesome thing is a cruise to Alaska! It’s Max’s and Jamie’s first cruise, and only my second, so we’re all really looking forward to it. It’s also pretty cool that we’ll see both Florida and Alaska in the same year!
And that’s my year of doing update so far! There are little things, too… We finally got a big garbage pickup scheduled so a bunch of stuff got hauled away, I actually paid my car registration the day it came in instead of waiting until the last week before it expires. We paid off our last credit card (Woo hoo!) and are working on finding a weekend to book a spot at a local flea market to really clear stuff out of the garage and guest room. Whew!
Did you choose a word for the year? Are you still trying to apply it to your daily life?
IT’S BASEBALL TIME! Jamie and I have been Giants fans since before the 2010 World Series, back to the 2006 season, when we had season tickets and missed very few home games. Basically, we were fans when they were terrible. Our Giants have thankfully rewarded us with three world championships in the last five years, so the Giants fandom has only grown, and it’s become more and more important* to find new ways to express our team spirit. *Level of importance is open to interpretation. But for us, it’s Important. We generally celebrate Opening Day at home, because OMG crowds, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a special day for us, even if we’re “just” watching on TV. Some of the things we do to make Opening Day special: 1. Serve ballpark food for lunch or dinner; we do hot dogs and garlic fries. Having a wide variety of toppings available is one way to make it a little more special than a normal day. We always have ketchup, relish and mustard, but will add pickle spears, onions, cheese, sauerkraut and stuff like that to take it next level. As a side note: How many kinds of mustard do you have in your kitchen? Because we have like seven. 2. Baseball snack food is a must, including that stuff that’s a pain to eat at the ballpark, like chips and salsa. I also like to throw in team sprit-y foods, which is easy with our orange team color. If you have trouble coming up with snacks to match your team, check out my team spirit colored popcorn! 3. Decorate the house: Put up some team bunting, pick up a few balloons, and get dishes and cups to go with the team logo, and you’re set!
4. Get into the spirit with a game of catch: Max and Jamie spend quite a bit of time playing catch all summer. It’s especially fun now that it’s actually becoming catch, and not just Jamie playing fetch with Max. 5. Dress the part. Because isn’t this the most important thing? Fanatics.com has everything you need to outfit yourself, your family, your home and your car with everything for your favorite team. The largest retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, it’s a one-stop shop for sports fans. (They carry NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, and PGA, for over 200 professional and collegiate teams) Here’s my Opening Day outfit: ’47 Brand Helm Closer Flex Hat – Black | Majestic Women’s Cool Base Player Jersey Giants Clutch | Bring on the Bubbly World Champion Women’s T-Shirt
And because he keeps growing at a pace that I can’t keep up with, Max needed a new Giants jersey this year, to go with his new World Series t-shirt. I told him he could pick which player’s name was on it, so guess who he picked. His favorite player, of course!
Hooray baseball season!
What’s your team? Are you a jersey or a t-shirt wearer?
And last, but not least… CHEERS!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Can I tell you secret? I’m kind of a terrible housekeeper. I try, mostly, but never seem to get quite caught up. There are pretty much always dishes in the sink, junk mail on the counter, and toothpaste on the bathroom mirror.
Because Jamie and I both have travel and commutes for work, we don’t spend a whole lot of time at home, and the time we do spend? There are other things we’d rather be doing than chores.
It can be easy to stress about the mess sometimes. I will watch things slowly pile up on the coffee table, and it can be a source of stress for me. Here’s what I mean:
Tissues, water cup, a book, tax paperwork, phone, keys, sunglasses… just a pile of STUFF. But a simple change of perspective allows me to see the beauty in this scene. Do you see it?
Max and Jamie are having this moment together, instead of cleaning. Will Max remember the pile of stuff on the coffee table? I doubt it. Will he remember reading with his Daddy? For sure.
Sometimes, finding the beauty just takes a change in perspective.
Nine times out of ten, when I go to set the table for dinner or breakfast, this is the scene on the table. Detritus from doing homework after school, miscellaneous scratch paper, colored pencils and markers. Some have rolled off the table and into the floor, and they are *everywhere*
But it’s because I have a little boy who can’t get enough drawing, and he loves sharing his creations with me. The mess that’s made in the process? Worth it.
This is a dramatic re-enactment, but it’s something that totally happened… I was in my room getting ready in the morning, and I came out to the kitchen to see this:
An almost full box of Cheerios spread across the kitchen floor. It’s easy to freak out about it, to rumble and grumble and let this wreck the start of my day. But instead, I tried to find the beauty in the cereal spread across the lino. And you know what? I found it. We are raising a smart, independent little boy. In an effort to help me and Jamie out, Max had tried to make his own breakfast. Because we have been doing a good job, Max thought this was a task he could do on his own. Unfortunately, gravity won over, the box was freshly opened, and the mess was made. But it’s because Max had taken initiative and tried to do something on his own. I’d call that a win.
O-Cedar wants to help you find the beauty in life’s messes, too, because even the worst of the messes can bring beauty. Check out this video to see what I mean:
We love our O-Cedar Angler Broom, and we can rely on it to help us clean up those messes that life throws our way. Want to win your own broom AND up to $500 in Visa gift cards? Enter below!
And tell me: How do you remind yourself to look for the beauty?
Heh. The short version. Thing number one, I'm tall. I've been told I should have a warning on my blog, so here it is! I am taller in real life than I appear on the internet.
Want to know more than this "short" version? Click here to read more about me and my family, and for links to some of my favorite posts.