Saturday, September 26, 2015

LDS General Women's Conference Quotes 2015

Some of my favorite quotes from todays Women's Conference:
 "Happiness doesn't always happen instantly"
 "Because you are His child, He knows who you can become"
 "The people who do this are the happiest people"
"I'm grateful for friends that think I'm better than I am.  That see your good qualities and ignore your weak ones"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Steel Cut Oats with Berries & Brown Sugar Crumble

Here we have one of my other favorite HEALTHY breakfasts:
Steel Cut Oats w/Berries & Brown Sugar Crumble
 inspired by Jamba Juice & Deals To Meals
335 calories (1 cup oats, 2 Tbsp berries, 2 Tbsp crumble)
I first tried Steel Cut Oats at Jamba Juice. 
 I was so surprised how GOOD they were!
I started craving them every day, but not so practical to go there for breakfast every day.
I tried making them at home and just could NOT get them to taste right. 
The crumble was key.  You can't just throw some brown sugar on there.
So I found a crumble recipe from Deals to Meals. 
Then I had a friend come over and show me how to cook the oats so that they would be the perfect texture...not too mushy and not too crunchy.
And then for the topping.  You can put anything on there, but I prefer berries. 
They taste best in a compote, instead of just throwing fresh berries on there. 
Now, let me tell you that these can take a little bit of time to make, but they will last you ALL week.  Here's the recipes for ya:
Steel Cut Oats
2 cups dry oats
6 cups water
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla
I like to buy my steel cut oats from the organic/health section at SMITHS.  They have one of those big buckets of them and you can scoop up as much as you like.
Put dry oats into large pan and add the water.  Turn stove onto medium heat and bring to a boil.  Let it boil for a few minutes and then turn the heat down to low, COVER, and let stay there for about 20 minutes. 
After 20 minutes, give it a good stir.  They will still look a little runny...there should be kind of a thick liquid.  Turn the heat down to WARM or OFF, cover the pan again and let them just sit there for at least another 20 minutes (they can even sit up to an hour and be fine).  All of that liquid will keep soaking into the oats.
Once most of the liquid has soaked in, stir it all up and then add your cinnamon and vanilla.  Mix well, and then you can keep in a Tupperware and put it in the fridge.  These will last you the week and you can pull them out and heat them up whenever needed.  They taste just as fresh as the first day and such an easy breakfast.

Berry Compote
any amount of frozen berries 
(I do mixed berries from Costco.  But you can do JUST blueberries or something if you'd like.)
1/4 cup water
1 Tbps cornstarch
You can put any amount of berries into a medium/small pan.  If you are doing the full batch of oatmeal above, I might suggest at least 2 cups of berries.  Add your water and let it boil at medium heat.  Heat can be slightly lowered if you feel like you are having to stir too much to keep berries from cooking to the bottom of the pan.  Still, make sure you stir frequently.  After berries have cooked for about 20 minutes, add the cornstarch and cook for another 10 minutes. 
The result should be a beautiful, dark and gooey looking compote.  It's perfect for mixing into tyour oatmeal.  And you can put them in a Tupperware and pull out of the fridge to add to your oats

Brown Sugar Crumble
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T flour
4 T ground regular quick oats (I would suggest grounding a couple cups of them in your blender or processor and keep the extra in the pantry for next time)
Dash of cinnamon
2 T butter, melted
Mix all the dry ingredients together and then slowly add butter while mixing.  Keep covered well and this should last you all week. 

Put all of the above together and you have your delicious Steel Cut Oats for breakfast!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Egg & Avacado Breakfast Sandwich

I know, this is not a food blog.
I haven't had too much time for organizing lately. 
But I HAVE been heading up a weight loss group and so I am focused on organizing a healthy eating menu every week. 
And I have certain favorites that I want to be able to share with people, so I figure the best way to do that is to blog about them.
So here we have an
Egg & Avacado Breakfast Sandwich
inspired by A La Graham
300 calories
1 Egg
1/4 Avacado
1 Strip of Bacon
1 English Muffin
Scramble the egg with a splash of water and a little salt and cook it omlette style so that you can fold it over to fit in the English muffin. 
Mash up the avocado and spread on the other half of the muffin.  You can just stop there if you'd like, but I like a strip of bacon for a little more flavor.  You really can make this sandwich anyway you like.  You can poach the egg instead and add a turkey sausage patty.  But I love having the avocado on there to replace the cheese.  Much healthier!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Boys Baptism Photo Ideas & Tips

Sorry I haven't been around for 3 months!  So much for doing a monthly theme! lol  Gosh, I guess I got busy.  You see, I don't feel like I have many followers, so I try not to let it stress me out if I'm not posting on the blog...especially if I've got other things to do. ;)
ANYWAY, I've been preparing for my almost 8-yr old to get baptized and I searched everywhere for picture ideas, because I was going to attempt his photos myself!! So now that I am finished, I decided I'd add my own ideas out there for people to use. ;)  I will make a post about my daughter's photos soon.  We did some fun things for hers 3 years ago.
I decided to get him a suit.  He grows so fast that I know he will grow out of it, but we found a great deal and I feel like it makes him look so handsome! It helped that the weather was still a little cool, so he didn't get too hot or anything.  I let him pick out a new tie, in which he picked his favorite color red. 
The hard part is getting him to have a more natural smile like the ones above, and NOT like the one below, and I'll tell you my secret.....
 POTTY HUMOR!! I'm sorry, but that's the only thing that would get him laughing.  So go prepared with some potty humor jokes!!! It should get that natural smile out:
 As for backgrounds, I wanted to make sure I got some shots that were a little more "boyish".  I think for that you need a little more urban-like setting.  Cool walls or stairs are always good.
I actually took this next one without him knowing...he was telling me something and looking the other way.  But I like it for some reason...not all the pictures have to be smiling to be perfect.  Let him be silly too!!
Angles from above can be fun too
 We wanted to do a photo to represent that he was turning EIGHT, but I'm not sure I love our 8 fingers one...I hope that's not some kind of gang symbol I don't know about. lol  But then after we finished I told him we could get a treat and he LOVES donuts.  So we went to dunkin donuts and I had the idea to make an 8!! Turned out fun!
 And then lastly, we live close to the Oquirrh Mtn Temple.  So we took advantage and got a couple of shots there.
If you are doing an invitation, it is fun to make sure you get a picture with a lot of open space, like the one of him against the blue wall, because then there is room to put the writing on the photo.  If you don't know how to do this in photoshop, you can put a collage like this together with text pretty easy in  Here's how it turned out (thought it was a good idea to blur my phone number and part of the address):

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Save Money at Disneyland


1.  DISNEY CREDIT CARD : Watch for these offers in the mail!!! We got one that said if we spend $500 on their card, they will send us a $200 Disney Gift Card.  We did it and it worked!  All we did is use it in place of our other credit card and between gas, groceries and bills, it was easy to hit $500.  And then once we got our gift card, and paid off the bill, we canceled the card.  But guess what, we got ANOTHER offer in the mail and this time we did it in my name and did the same thing and got another $200!!  If you haven't seen these offers, try going to their website and see what they have to offer.   OR get on facebook and enlist your friends and family to keep their eyes peeled in their mail for these credit card offers. 
2.  GETAWAY : We decided that it's usually a better deal to do a package through .  They have lots of deals where the 4th night is free or something like that.  And our hotel had free, hot continental breakfast, but only to people with the getaway today package...not everyone at the hotel.  Our adult tickets were also priced at a child's rate, so that was better than buying at the gate as well.

3.  NEIGHBORING HOTEL :  There are plenty of neighboring hotels with free parking at the hotel and close enough to just walk into Disneyland. Parking at the park is not that bad if you have to do it, but it's $16 per day! That can add up! 

3.  BRING YOUR OWN DRINKS : Everything is already so expensive there, so anything you can keep from buying is helpful.  We had water bottles, but to keep the kids from complaining about wanting lemonade or something, I brought along these handy DRINK PACKETS so they could have some kool-aid or crystal light every now and then.  There are water fountains all over the park to refill your water bottles and any counter service restaurant will give you free cups of water or ice.
4. Also, Try to book a hotel with a FRIDGE & FREEZER.  That way you can bring food from home and spend less at the park.  We would freeze our water bottles, usually one full and a few half way, so that we could have cold water at the park, but it also helped keep our sandwiches and fruit cold in our backpack!  I also brought a few ice packs and it was nice to be able to freeze those over night as well.

5.  PACK BACKPACKS with snacks and at least one meal...I suggest lunch, so it will lighten your backpack load for later in the day.  We just  had this one backpack and it held our water bottles, 1 sandwich or lunchable for everyone, a big bag of chips, bag of veggies, a fruit for everyone and a few extra snacks. Of course the backpacked lightened as the day went on, which was nice and then we bought something for dinner. 
I will admit that Disneyland has pretty good quality food as well as some pretty tasty items that you should not withhold yourself from.  You're on vacation after all, right??!

BUT you can still try a few new things without having to spend $$ on EVERY meal and EVERY SNACK. See next tip:

6.  SHARE!  Want to try new foods & treats at the parks? Well, each member of your family doesn't need a whole one.  Get one or two and everyone take some bites.  This way you can try more things for less $$!  

7.  Start a Disney PIGGY BANK for SOUVENIRS.  If your trip isn't happening for another month or more...start putting all your change into one container.  You can get the kids involved in doing work for $$ or doing a bake sale or something to earn money for their souvenirs.  The stores there are SO fun to look through, but don't let yourself get carried away.  As the trip gets close, add up what you have so far...get the coins converted to cash and let the kids know beforehand how much they can spend and tell yourself that you are not spending any extra!!  My kids got their one little souvenir and knew we were out of cash, so they didn't ask anymore.  It worked out great.

20 Tips for a Better Disneyland Vacation

I'm going to stray from our theme of Apps this month and do a post on Disneyland Tips. I don't consider myself a Disneyland expert, but we just went and so I felt it might be helpful to share what I learned!! 
(My view point is from a visit in mid February and my kids are ages 6-11) 

1.  WATCH DISNEY MOVIES before you go!! There are so many rides that touch on all the old movies : Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Pinnochio, etc and my kids hadn't seen half of them! (Or didn't remember seeing them)  There are too many new movies that are so much more fun to watch, that I feel like a lot of kids today haven't seen the old ones! But a lot of the rides are about these movies, so I made sure they watched them before we left and it made all the rides so much more meaningful for them!  Yes, the rides featuring some of these movies are only a couple minutes long, but if they hadn't seen the movie, they wouldn't have gotten as excited about it.

Highly Recommended Cartoons:
Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Aladdin, Dumbo, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, The Incredibles, Cars,  & A Bug's Life.
Highly Recommended Non-Cartoons:
 (if you don't feel comfortable with your kids watching the whole thing, maybe youtube some parts of them to give the basic idea)
Star Wars, Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Roger Rabbit.

(don't have a full ride based on them, but there will be shows and references here and there)
 The Lion King, Beauty & The Beast, Mulan, Cinderella, Bambi, Tinkerbell. 

2.  HOTEL - Just stay walking distance. We actually stayed at the Radisson in Buena Park 15 min away, and while it was nice and everything, we had to take a shuttle into Disneyland.  This would have been fine since it was free and we didn't have to hassle with a stroller or anything,  BUT it only dropped off and picked up at certain times, so we didn't like the lack of flexibility.  It would just be so much easier if you stay at one of the neighboring hotels.  That way you can go back and forth at your leisure.   If you are going primarily to do Disneyland, it's not going to matter how nice the hotel are just basically sleeping there.  But I would say BOOK EARLY.  We procrastinated and booked a month before our trip and it was hard to get into a neighboring hotel.

3.  Good Walking SHOES!  This was our first time without a stroller.  While their shoes seem great for school and playing in, maybe they weren't the best for being at the park for 12 hours a day!  So it might be work it to invest in some good shoes....and that goes for yourself too.  We set a pedometer and found that on average, we walked about 8 miles a day!!  So make sure your shoes will be good for that!

4.  Understand the park SCHEDULE.  There is Disneyland, and then there is California Adventure.  They will sometimes have different hours on the same day.  If you have the bonus of a "Magic Morning" (where you can get into the park 1 hour earlier than the regular crowd) with your tickets...they are different for each park.  Disneyland is Tues, Thurs, Sat and CA is Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun.  So when you decide which days you will be there, make sure you know the schedule!  It sucks to get there early for one park, all prepared with a plan,  and find out that it was actually the OTHER one that opened at that time.

5.  MAGIC MORNINGS.  If you are able to do "Magic Morning" for one of your days, don't get too excited.  It really was NOT worth it for me.  We got there early and found out that they don't even open the whole park for that extra hour.  In Disneyland, only Fantasyland and Tomorrowland were open, so even though you get in an hour early, so do a lot of other people and without the whole park for them to spread out in, it was quite crowded.  I'm not sure if this changes at different times of year, so maybe call and double check which lands will be open before attempting your magic morning. 

TIP**Someone gave me this great idea: Instead of going to your magic morning....Get there when the park opens and go into the OPPOSITE park.  So if it's a Tuesday, which means Magic Morning at Disneyland, go to California Adventure instead! Most people try to take advantage of the Magic morning and so you might get less crowds at the opposite park.  If you really would like to give Magic Morning a try, I might suggest one person waiting in line at the gates of the other park, while the other person takes the kids and tries to hit a few rides in the other park. 

6.  GET THERE EARLY!  We accomplished the most in the mornings because the crowds were so much lower! We didn't even need fast passes in the morning.  We got onto so many rides so quickly! So do what you have to do to get up and over there right when the park opens.  Pack your bag the night before, lay out your clothes and set an alarm.  It's worth it!!

***BUT if you are going to go through the trouble of getting there early, head straight to the rides that will have the biggest lines later in the day!  Don't waste your time stopping to get pictures with characters or stopping in the shops.  You can do those things later!! Catch the short ride lines while you can!

7.  MAKE A PLAN BEFORE getting to the park.  This goes along with the last one, getting there early.  If you want to make the most of your time, don't spend the first 10 minutes looking at the map and deciding where to go first.  Get a hold of a map, whether printing one from online, or getting one mailed to you and decide where you want to head first.  That way, when you get there right on time, you can just head straight there!  And you don't have to have the whole day mapped out or anything...Just the first few things you want to do so you can head straight there.  You can look at the maps and make more plans while you are standing in ride lines.

8.  SOUVENIRS - I saw a blog tip to buy souvenirs at the end of the day so you're not carrying them around all day AND that most of the toys found around the park can be found in the main shopping stores at the entrances to the parks.  BUT THAT IS NOT TRUE!   If your kids find what they want at a store, JUST BUY IT THEN AND THERE.  Yes, you may carry it around for the day, but it sure beats walking all over the park to find it again and then being disappointed that it isn't there anymore!

9.  WHICH MONTHS ARE THE BEST?  February was wonderful!!!!!  Stay away from Presidents Day though.  We've also been in early October and that was fine as well.  Here is a blog that can give you more info on when to avoid the crowds:  The DOWNSIDE to visiting at these less crowded times is that they close some rides for routine maintenance.  So we missed out on Splash Mountain, It's a Small World, Big Thunder Mtn Railroad, etc    I'm sorry, but it was worth it for me to miss those and have less crowds AND not to mention lower temperatures.  We were in jeans and a tee shirt...could have pulled off wearing shorts and had a jacket on hand for early mornings and evenings and we were fine.  Never sweating! It was great.  If you have little ones especially, I would highly suggest going in these off months...even with rides closed, you will be thanking the heavens that the lines are shorter.

9.  WEEKDAYS are obviously going to be less crowded.  We did Mon-Thursday and it was wonderful.  BUT we missed out on Fantasmic and fireworks that are only Fri-Sun at the Disneyland Park.  But really, it STILL was worth lower crowds!

10.  TOONTOWN does NOT open when the park does!  There was one day where we planned to hit it first thing to avoid the crowds, but found out it opens an hour after the park opens. Dumb!!  But I would still try to get there when it opens or soon after.  The kids love the Go-Coaster...a really easy going roller coaster ride, but it's a SHORT ride and not worth staying in line 30 minutes for.  But if you get there early, you can ride it several times with just a 5-10 minute wait.

11.  WATCH THE SHOWS!  They have some great shows, and it's a great way to give your feet a break!!  I would suggest taking advantage of them in the afternoon, when the lines for rides will be the longest and the temperature at it's hottest. 

 Captain EO (Michael Jackson 3D from funny!), Great Moments w/Mr. Lincoln, Disney Theater (shows short animated cartoons), and the Tiki Room in Adventure land! (you can get a Dole Whip and eat it while watching the show!)  But then there are so many random shows at each of the big theaters, but check the schedule for times.
The Jedi training can be fun and gives the grown ups a chance to sit.  It seems almost a guarantee that your kids will get to participate if you do the first show of the day.  We went to the 10:30 one day and all 3 of my kids got to go and do it!

California Adventure
Aladdin, 3D Muppets, Disney Jr Live, etc.  One of the best spots we took a break in was the building that holds the "Talking with Crush" & the Animation Academy.  It's a HUGE room with HUGE screens where they highlight almost every Disney film ever made and there are couches and plenty of floor space to just relax.  It was very impressive and almost no one was in there!  Do people know this exists? I thought it was awesome.  I would highly suggest trying everything in this building...there are 4 different rooms to go into and we enjoyed them all!

12. Ride the TRAIN.  When you know you need to get to the other side of the park and your kids are tired of walking...grab a snack or treat and hop on the train!  I would look at your map and circle the 4 train spots so you can find them faster. 

13.  FASTPASS : Take advantage of these!! There are only select rides that have them.  When you get to the park, get fastpasses to a ride and head to the rides that DON'T have fastpasses and hit them while the lines are shorter.  Then you get to GO BACK to your fastpass ride and stand in a shorter line for that one also! We got so much done this way!!  Fastpasses are wonderful! It was helpful to know that if your ticket says come back between 11:00-12:00, you can get another fastpass at 11:01.

TAKE NOTE** that the Radiator Springs Racers is by far the most popular ride.  Therefore the fastpasses run out pretty quick.  I would suggest one person going to get in line for the fastpass for this right when the park opens, while the other person takes the kids to the back of the park to do Toy Story Mania because you will get in pretty quick and can probably do it a couple times before the line gets 45 minutes long.  As you walk into California Adventure and get to the circle with the fountain, look for signs or a long line of people for where the line to get the fastpasses start.  It may look huge, but it goes pretty quick. I think I was only in line for about 15 min. 

14.  SINGLE RIDER lines!  Your kids need to be at least 7 to do this, but some rides have a SINGLE RIDER LINE.  This means that they take one of you at a time to fill in a seat on a ride that might be empty.  Since most families want to ride together, there will not always be an exact number to fill the ride.  These Single Rider lines go SUPER fast.  We rode the ride once as a family, but then when we wanted to ride a ride multiple times, we did the single rider line...especially for RADIATOR SPRINGS RACERS in CarsLand.  This worked great!  My two older kids and I rode it probably 4 times within 30 minutes.  I just made sure to have a plan in case we got separated...showed them where to wait for me, etc.  But we never got too far apart...usually got in the cars right next to each other.  This picture is when we went as a family, but since there are 5 of us, they grabbed someone from the single rider line to join us...that's him on the top left. haha
15.  Use the MOUSEWAIT APP  I talked about that in my last blog post here:

16.  Don't HOP parks every day.  If you have a 3 day Park Hopper, I would suggest going to one park for one day, the other for your 2nd day and use the 3rd day to hit anything in both parks that you missed or want to do again.  It can be a waste of your time to walk back and forth, not to mention TIRING! use your map and work your way around one park at a time the best that you can.

17. Pack a BACKPACK with snacks/drinks/food.  If the kids need a snack, don't stop and sit at a table! You  might as well get in line and snack while you are waiting!!  This will also save you $$ on buying snacks!

18.  Bring frozen WATER bottles!!  There is nothing better than cold water on hand when you are walking an average of 8 miles a day!!  Get a hotel that has a fridge/freezer so that you can freeze water in your water bottles over night and then you can pop them in your backpack to refill from drinking fountains around the park.  You can even buy those drink packets that you can add to a water bottle for a flavored drink.  I don't think we bought one drink while we were there.

19.  Get your PARADE spot early!   And just so you don't waste time sitting there for an hour, it can be a great place to picnic and eat lunch or dinner while you wait for the parade to start!  For the Pixar Parade in California Adventure we decided that one of the best spots is near the Pier with your back to the water.  There are benches on the other side, but there's a bend in the road, so it's hard to see the floats coming, especially as all the kids step out to peek around.  From our view we sat there comfortable and could see everything coming from WAY down.
20.  Try to RELAX & HAVE FUN!  I know I've talked about a lot of planning and things to watch for, but don't let yourself get stressed out over it all.  You will find that things don't always go as planned anyway, so you have to learn to let it go and move on!  You came to have fun with your family, so make sure that happens!
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