{FG's } Dream vs Nightmare


They may be a dream come true, or they may be your biggest nightmare.  To what am I referring?

Family Gatherings.

Come on people. You know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.  Either you like them or you don't.  However, if you have to go then you might as well enjoy yourself.  And I'm going to help you.

After spending last weekend at our annual get together with my in-laws, I have decided to share with you a few things that might aid you in this social adventure.  Of course with my professional background in recreation I'm sure you'll hang on every word.;) 

{Yes, my BA is in Recreation Management with an emphasis in Leisure Services Management, yes it is a REAL major, yes I got a job IN MY FIELD after college and LOVED it, and yes I actually USE my degree ALL of the time--yeah, look who's laughing now.!;)}

With that being said...

This is the Part 1 of my Family Gathering Survival Tips...

{#1 Water}
Use it as much as possible.  Hot summers = water fun.  I don't care if you use balloons, sprinklers, water fights, relays, hoses, buckets, cups, pools, lakes, rivers, oceans...you get the picture.   Water must be involved if a summer family get-together is to be successful.
Swimming is always a great option, and so is a life jacket...

But just remember you want to have a good time too...If your hair is in your face, your goggles are filling up with water, and your life vest seems to be strangling you...JUST STOP.

Its not worth it...

Using water to float on is a great way to go,

however, spitting it out onto someone else is not.

Look. Even a deflated pool with 1 inch of water can make little people very happy and entertained for a long period of time...

Oh, and if you add a stick to the water if adds even more fun and excitement...

Oh, and DON'T forget a towel!

{Tip #2: Add a cow}

Adding a cow to your family event will add a dimension of enjoyment you never knew existed.

I mean, who doesn't enjoy a good cow race?

And you'll be surprised how certain family members connect with this grand animal.

Who could ask for more than a cow train ride? 
Ethan is definitely having the time of his life...

And if you can't round up a cow...a pony will do just fine.;)

{Tip #3 Snackie Shackie}

My last tip of the day is to use food as often as possible during your family get-together.  If regular meals aren't enough, open a concessions stand. 

You don't need a big event to open shop, just throw on a movie in the backyard and get one of your most trusty & able family members to run it...

Hmmmm. Well, maybe in this case the older brother is the better choice. 

Using currency that everyone can understand is also a big help.

And as long as you have some yummy items to offer...
{for more about these party bags you can see my last post}

you will have very happy customers:

{Part 2}
And you know I'm having way too much fun with this to stop now.  Part 2 will be coming soon and you can gleen even more life-changing tips from my expert knowledge.;)  {I know.  And you thought you only had the 4th of July to look forward to this week!} 

My emphasis in my next "Family Gathering Survival Tips" post will be on...

yes, you guessed it.  Love.  If you're not already feeling it, I'll help you out. I promise.;)


4th Food

{Weekend Food}
If you are new to my blog you may not be aware that my original motivation for blogging was to document the year and then print it out into book form.  {For my latest blog book and more info about where I got my blog printed you can click here.  I was totally thrilled at the way it turned out}! It has been more than wonderful not having to scrapbook, print photos, organize, etc...everything I really want to remember I just blog about!

With that being said, you now understand why I blog about family quite a bit. I'm warning you because this weekend was the annual get-together for my honey's family.  It was full of GREAT activities, food, games, super cute kids, and funny people that I can't wait to tell you about! 

But first things first. Let's start with the food...

{Jello Triffle}
This one is really a no brainer, but look how easy and fun it is!  Cubed red and blue jello with whipped cream and berries on top. 

The toothpick flags were lovingly made by Ethan and I.  We just printed out some flags onto sticker paper {address lables work well} and stick them on colored toothpicks!

The kids loved them...and okay, so did I.

{Party Bags}

No, I didn't make these cute stickers, but I did fill the bags with candy.:)  They are actually cupcake toppers and I printed them onto a white sticky {sticker} paper, cut them out, and stuck them on.  This great blog called Bella Grace Party Design had them to print for FREE! 

I think they'd be cute on cups, cupcakes, or anything else you want to spruce up for the 4th!  Ethan actually gave these little gems away at our family concession stand --the Snackie Shackie--during our outdoor movie. {More about that to come!}

If you'd like more printables LivingLocurto has some great links to share...

{KatieMarie's Cake}
My cute sister-in-law is made this great cake. And I'm telling you...not only did it look good, but it tasted good too!

And I just thought these straws looked cool.

I can hardly believe its almost the 4th of July!  What fun things do you have planned?

I {heart} Ba & Dee

{Big thumbs up}

I laughed. I cried.  I giggled with anticipation. And {since Aidan actually sat to watch Ba {Buzz} and Dee {Woody} I actually got to see most of the show!  Yes, we joined the masses to see the latest Toy Story...and LOVED it.

I have to admit I'm a baby.  I sat by Ethan---our 5 yr old---and couldn't help but think about how fast the next few years will go.  Tears poured out of my eyes when Andy was saying goodbye to his mom. 

I guess it didn't help that on Father's Day he made his dad this card...

Um, do most kids call their dads by their 1st name?  So funny, so Ethan.  And  I LOVE the attention he gave that heart.

And this was the inside.  I'm not sure about the tornado on the left, but Ethan was smart and put his dad closest to it...hopefully to protect him.:)

And while I'm talking about Ethan...I have to tell you {and Ethan's grandparents;)} a few of my favorite moments with him...

-Today as we were filling up water balloons and the water was spraying all over the place, we just laughed and laughed.  He was trying so hard to tie those darn balloons in a knot.  Once he hit his patience limit he announced that he was the owner of the balloons and that I was working for him now. Not sure how that happened.:)

-The other day we were looking for Aidan's binky and Ethan found it.  I told him he had "good eyes" and he told me that he could see really well because he actually had "Super Eyes".

-A few days ago Ethan told me, "Mom, you are as skinny as Woody... and Tanya."  {I guess I've been looking in a different mirror.:)}

-The 1st time we floated around the lazy river on inner tubes this season Ethan leaned back, closed his eyes, and said, "This is the life." 

And I have to throw this photo in.  This was the last picture he drew of ME.  Can you tell what I'm doing?

IRONING of course!  I guess he thinks I iron a lot...{which is pretty funny for those who know how little I iron}.

{Back to Business}

Alright, enough chit-chat. Here's a fun little project for ya.

I saw these sweet sand toys at the dollar store, but had other plans for them instead of sand...

Please forgive the blurriness of the picture...it is hard to get a 5 yr old to hold still for long.  Oh, and he insisted his yellow car be in the shot too...

So we grabbed some ice-cream...
{You know I have to support the Oregon economy with Tillamook ice-cream!  And its the best anyway.}

And threw it in the molds.

And covered them with plastic snack bags. {I used snack bags since I was out of waxed paper, plastic wrap, or regular baggies anything else I thought would work...}

And how did they turn out? I don't know yet. They are freezing as we speak.  You'll have to stay tuned for my next post I guess!;) {Or if the suspense is killing you, just go try it yourself!;)}

{Other Stuff}
So, I have to tell you that I've been working on a few projects I think you are going to like.  However, in order for me to get them up to par it takes time.  I guess its the Oregon girl in me...but when the sun is out I have to be out too.  Needless to say, my time at the machine has not been much lately.  And when I do sew I seem to screw things up...and it sucks. 

This towel skirt for the pool would have been really cool...if it had worked out.  Don't worry, I'm on it.

{Primary Fun}
But on a happy note---the sun has been good to us.  Today we had a pizza/water party for my church primary class {aka kids Sunday School}  & it was a blast.  They say you love those you serve...and I love these kids.  They actually "earned" the party by getting stars each week for goals they had set for themselves.  I know, they are so great.

And these chicks are gals after my own heart.  They just put on their suits and went for it.  They also have younger siblings so they didn't mind that Aidan decided to join them for lunch... even when he proceeded to eat food off of their plates.  {What am I going to do with that kid?}

We had water relays, balloons, an obstacle course... 

{I LOVE this picture...check out Camilla's feet hitting the water!}

Oh, and of course a water fight.   Ah, I love summer...

{Happy Things}

Waiting for your favorite mode of transportation...the train at the zoo...

and laughing with your friends.  Isn't this what summer is all about? 

And if you haven't already...go have a little fun outside...and go see Toy Story 3!;)

Quick Fday Banner

Hi all! This is totally last minute, but hey...that's how I roll these days!:) Just made this and thought I'd throw it up on the blog for those that want a quick banner.  I haven't even made ours yet, but you should be able to get the drift of what it will look like from the pictures below. 

Just download and print the 2 pages out, cut the letters out-- each one will be 4.25 X 5.5inches-- {great job for kids}, hole punch the top, & thread your string through. 

Should be fun to have up tomorrow!

{Hat GiveAway}
And if you're into hats...

my friend Jenn--from my fabric co-op--totally talented--super cool & chatty--is giving away a hat from her cute website.  you don't even have to become a facebook fan--just click on "like" and your entered!

Beans & Babies

{Melting Pot Bean&Rice=Yum}

Does this look good to you?  {Well, as good as a picture that I can take...}

If so, you'll want to read this post.  If not, just go about your next blog hop & we'll catch ya later:)

{The Story}

If you've ever lived on or visited the East Coast you know how amazing the food is.  I gain about 10 pounds just thinking about it.  The pieces of pie {pizza} you fold in half, the freshly made bagels {ahh}, and the gnocchi to die for.  Not to mention the gelato from heaven and Dunkin Donuts on every corner. 

Enough already.

While I was living in the lovely garden state of New Jersey for a year and 1/2 I could not eat enough.  If you don't believe me you can ask these 2 lovely ladies...

You see, we were LDS missionaries and got the chance to know eachother {and eat alot together} while teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the amazing people living in NJ.  

No, I won't get too religious on you--but I do have to say that this service bonded us for life.  {If you're curious and want to read a post about this adventure you can click here.}

So its natural that we would want to reunite every now and then...and in fact...a few days ago we got together and brought all of our wee-ones.  And everyone LOVED it.

Meet Tate.  He is the youngest of the group clocking in at 3 months. And he is truly a sweet, mircale child.  You see his dear mother--Siri--suffers from a severe case of HG when she is pregnant. {For which I have complete empathy/sympathy.}

I'm so proud of her for even attempting to have baby #3. 

And even with all the sickness, stress, IV's, doctors, hospitals, etc...I'm positive she would do it all again.  She is an inspiration to me. 

And yes, I'll talk about the beans and rice...in a minute.  First you have to see these darling boys of Heather's.  I know I don't even need to say another word...how handsome are they?!

And what does New Jersey have to do with beans and rice?  Well, I'll tell ya. 

New Jersey is known as a "melting pot" with so many nationalities gathering together in one spot.  While living and eating there I learned how to make Haitain, Puerto Rican, & Korean rice...from people of the respective nationalities.  It was all so yummy so say the least.

However, when I came back home...to the West...it was ALOT harder to find the right spices, ingredients, and help {heaven knows I needed it} to make it.  So, I adapted. 

The following recipe is NOT nearly as cool as the orginial, authenic recipes by any means, but its become a staple meal in our home...and we eat it at least 2-3X a week.   Since several of you have asked me for the recipe--here you go!!

{Beans&Rice Baby}

Here's what you'll need...

Just be sure the rice is the type you actually cook on the stove.  Yes, it takes longer, but believe me--its worth it.

Follow the directions on the rice package to give you the correct rice to water ratio, and put it in your pot.

Once its in the pot just add the can of black beans--the beans and liquid. {Don't drain the beans!}

Then you'll add Taco Seasoning.  The seasoning will be to taste, but if I'm making a big fatty pot I'll add 1/2 cup.  If I'm only making a small pot--with like 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice---I'll add one envelope or 2-3 TBL.

Just cook the rice as long as the package says...and you'll be loving life in no time!

Now go for it!

Oh dear. 

{Win Vinyl}
Oh, and if you make this far in my post you deserve to know that my friend over at Lett'er Express It {vinyl decor} is having another giveaway.  She is giving away 3 of  her cute new designs to 3 different people, and last time I checked she only had 7 comments.  So hurry if you want good odds!:)


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