Sunday, July 31, 2011

at least we had pie

My father-in-law, who from here on out will be referred to as FIL, has held the prestigious title of best apple pie maker in this neck of the woods.

I was filled with trepidation when I attempted my 1st go at my FIL's recipe. For those of you who have followed along for a while, you know that I'm a total wanna be Martha, but I have no game.

Much to my delight, I rocked my 1st apple pie like it was nobody's business.

We had company on Sat. night. They are the kind of friends who I could serve pizza out of the box and they would not blink an eye, but I decided to make an apple pie and chocolate chip cookie bars for dessert. I like options with my sweets. Well, truthfully, I can't use the word "options" because I eat all of them. Guilty.

We were short on time as we prepped for our friends to arrive, so the hubs started making the pie while I was upstairs frantically cleaning. I walked downstairs and panicked when I saw him mixing all the ingredients together. He's good at a lot things, but has no street cred when it comes to the kitchen.

However, I have to admit he rocked it and would make Martha say, "it's a good thing, Kevin."


Unfortuanetly Martha would scowl at me and say, "kitchen time out for you missy!" if she saw what I did. I took the cookie bars in a glass baking dish out of the oven, rested it on the stovetop, and accidentally turned on the wrong burner for our corn. Instead of heating a pot of water, I heated the glass containing my delicious chocolate chip bars. As we were chatting and prepping food the glass popped like a gun firing and shattered glass everywhere.


So much for the chocolate chip bars.

At least we still had pie.

The best part? I found my hubs taking pics of his Top Chef experience. He must have an inner blogger in him.

And because we are friends, I'm going to share the recipe. I'm not one to keep secret recipes. When something is as scrumptious as this, you just have to share.


Much love,

Linking up with the lovely Heather. Come visit!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Let me tell you what a week it has been! Thank God it is Friday!


Seriously. Seriously.

We've had a ton of tattling. A few thousand time-outs, and more mama threats than you can imagine. Despite it all, I love my 3 rowdy boys and the fun we have together.


Seriously. Seriously.

A visit to the Bird Sanctuary in Del Mar was super cool.


All the birds there are rescues. We got to feed them and hold them. Well, I didn't because I'm scared of the fact that parrots have sword sharp talons and pointy beaks which could pierce through my skin and cause quite a bloody scene. But, I let Luke (8) do it. I'm Mother of the Year that way.

And speaking of Mother of the Year, I forgot that I made plans to see Midnight in Paris with friends (woo hoo) and had to pick up Luke from a friend's birthday party early. I whispered in his ear that we'd get ice cream on the way home to lessen my guilt and to get him out of their house without him giving me the evil eye. Mission accomplished.

His youngest brother Jack (3) was down with ice cream plan too...


After spending a scorching day out in the blazing sun while splashing and diving in the pool, I cut this humungous sucker up...


Am I the only lazy mom who looks at cutting up a watermelon like I'm about the climb Mount Everest???

Two major life savers this week. Forts and City Blocks. 3 boys+building=a few minutes of peace and quiet for mama. Charlie (5) was hard core about his tower...


To wrap up the week, we went bowling and checked off one more thing from our Summer Fun List. I get a rush each time I mark a check. I'm a nut that way. Bowling with bumpers is so the way to go...


And proof that we all needed to catch our breaths and exhale with an long slow "whew", a sleepy 8 year old after VBS, bowling, and karate...


Happy weekend everyone!

Much love,

Linking up with LIfe Rearranged Insta Friday.
life rearranged

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's a God Thing Sat.-Sun. Link-Up

I've been in a funky funk on and off for a couple of weeks. I think it has been the fact that we were house bound after the boys' surgery. Everyone told me how fast they'd recover from having their adenoids removed. So I was prepared for one day at Children's hospital and then back to our summer fun by the next day.

Except that Luke (8) also had his tongue clipped.

My poor kid was not only throwing up from the awful taste in his mouth from the adenoid removal, but his tongue was sore and swollen and stayed that way for days. He barely spoke for a whole week; just a lot of shaking "no" and nodding "yes".

Now, I know some of you love slow days at home. I am seriously giving you a high five now as I type.

I am not the mom who enjoys long, slow days at home. My boys are wild. Our house is small. God did not give me the gene of patience, and I may or may not have a hint of hyperactivity lingering around in my brain.

I like busy.

I like plans.

I like plans to keep my crazy boys busy.

So over the last few days, I have gone down a road leading to nowhere but, Feeling Sorry For Myself Street.

I have been griping about the lack of space of my home, griping about hyper children who like to giggle a lot over words like "fart" and "poop". I just don't get it. I'm a girl. Homey don't play that game.

My kids have had time-outs, "I will not tattle" writing assignments, and a mom on the brink of a break down with not a bon bon or bottle of Calgon in sight.

But then I read something powerful. It stopped me in my tracks. It brought my journey down Feeling Sorry For Myself Street to a halt.

How could I let these little daily hiccups control my outlook so profoundly when this sweet mother was making plans for her journey to heaven?

I wonder why it takes reading something like her blog to make me more grateful for the life God has blessed me with. Yes, I say "blessed" even with the potty talk and time-outs because I know this mother would gladly trade a day of frustrations with a day of planning to say goodbye to her children.

God did a major heart check on my heart through her story. It is my prayer that it won't take the majors in life to make me realize how insignificant the minors are.

Much love,

P.S. The winner of last week's gift away is Kelly from Fly with Me!!!

P.S.S. Thank you for praying for my boys and my mom. My mom has jumped through one more hoop. Her latest test were better than the weeks before, which means no dialysis for now. She will test every 2 weeks for now and we'll take it from there. You guys are the best!!!

I was so thrilled with last week's link-up. I love your heartfelt wisdom and beautiful words. Here's how you can link-up for this week:
1. Post the title of your blog post.
2. Attach the minivan diva button or include a link to this post.
3. Leave lots of comments because it makes others feel warm and fuzzy when they get to connect with readers. Check back a few times since the link up is open all weekend.


Life can be complex for a 3 year old.


"Mama, is this a Sunday or a Monday?"

I replied, "It's a sundae, Jack" and left it at that.

Much love,


Monday, July 25, 2011

roller skating

When I was growing up during the 80's in southern cali suburbia, I was a carefree girl who enjoyed playing outside until the street lights flickered on and we kid folk dispersed to our homes for bed.

Days were simple then.

My neighborhood was filled with kids. Some my age, some older, some younger, but it didn't matter because we all had one thing in common: we were hard core about playing.

Whether it was riding bikes, skateboards, or playing tag, we didn't mess around with playtime. There was no need for structured play dates or parental supervision in our hood. We had everything we needed just by having each other.

If there was one thing that I remember enjoying the most, it was roller skating. We had elementary school skate nights at our local skate ring, Skate Way, where I'd wish and pray for Adam Port to ask me to couples skate. And the one time that he did, I gushed to my friends,"I'm never washing this hand again!"

Sigh. Those were the days.

And as I practiced my jumps, spins, and backwards skating in my neighborhood, I knew life was good. Because it was.

And now when I catch a glimpse of roller skates, my heart skips a beat and I'm that young girl, skating in the neighborhood of my childhood without a care in the world.

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

Much love,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's a God Thing Sat.-Sun. Link Up & Gift Away!

Hi Friends,

I sincerely want to thank each of your for your sweet words of encouragement this last week. Although I have not met most of you in person, I consider you my friends. Not just blogging buddies, but FRIENDS. As this last week proved it's challenges with my boys' surgeries and my mom's medical concerns, you have been there to offer your support and prayers. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I also want to thank those of you who have linked up on It's a God Thing. I realize your weekends are busy and that I'm a small time blogger, but it is something that God put on my heart and I'm glad you are sharing your experiences with me.

So this week I have a gift-away to thank those of you who are following and for those of you who are posting! My hubs is a software sales executive by day. However, he is a super talented musician. He was a worship leader for our youth group when I met him in high school and had a band through college. If you follow Joy's Hope, my husband's band opened for her husband's band, The Supertones, a few times. It is a small world!

So here's the deal...

I'm giving away one of Kevin's CD's. You can listen to his music here. You can also check out his music video...

If you enjoyed his music, here's the steps to win his CD:
1. Become a follower of minivan diva.
2. Leave a comment on It's a God Thing (in my comment box). Please leave comments for the other posts too, though!
3. An extra entry will be added if you link-up!

Link Up Guidelines:
1. Let your readers know you are here by grabbing my button or including a link.
2. Leave comments for other bloggers. Everyone appreciates comments!

Much love,

Friday, July 22, 2011

a tale of two stories

I'm going to give you two versions of a story. Your job is to try and guess which one is true.
Story 1:
Once upon a time there was a impecabibly dressed mama who decided it would be a wonderful day to make homemade ice cream. Her 3 lovely boys were so perfectly behaved that she thought they deserved a delicious treat. So she calmly took all 3 children to the grocery store. Child 1 read the list, child 2 pushed the cart, and child 3 put the goods in the cart. Meanwhile, the beautiful mother sipped on a virgin pina colada, with an umbrella garnish, as she followed behind her sweet young children. Once home, the 3 obedient boys, asked their mother, "Dear Mother, how may we help you prepare our homemade ice cream which you so graciously offered to help us make?" One by one, the children listened to their mother as she softly explained the 3 simple steps. Once the children filled and shook their bags, they gently put them in the freezer and found something to keep themselves busy with while Mother sat comfortably in the chair reading her favorite book. They didn't even ask, "Is it done yet?" once. The ice cream was ready and the children sat at the table and waited for their sprinkles, chocolate syrup, and cherries with their bottoms firmly planted on their chairs and hands folded on the table. Mother put the toppings on the table and without even having to remind the boys, they took turns with the toppings. Upon tasting their homemade ice cream, they exclaimed with joy, "Oh dear Mother, thank you for teaching us to make homemade ice cream. This is the best ice cream we've ever had."
The End.

Story 2:
Once upon a time there was an exhausted mother who was stuck at home for 3 days with her boys. 2 boys had surgery a few days earlier. The youngest fully recovered but the oldest was taking a looonnnggg time to recover. The mother felt sorry for them (and herself) because they had to cancel plans to go to the beach. She figured they would check off an item off their summer list by making homemade ice cream. She piled her boys into the car. They stopped on their way to pay for VBS. The oldest child went out to the grass area in front of the office to throw up because the certain surgery he had leaves a horrible funk in the mouth for DAYS. She then grabbed her kids and ran into the grocery store and grabbed the very specific ingredients for the recipe which she googled. Once they got home she called them one by one into the kitchen. The two young ones were excited. The oldest (with the funky mouth) dragged his feet into the kitchen. She was about to say, "We're making homemade ice cream and it is going to be fun whether you feel like it or not" but decided to keep those thoughts to herself. While the ice cream froze, the anxious kids asked a zillion times when it would be ready. The mother decided to take the boys swimming as a distraction but they quickly returned because the youngest has taken up the habit of biting for humor. He screamed the whole way home. Once the ice cream was ready the boys sat at the table and started opening the sprinkles before the ice cream was on the table. They proceeded to load the ice cream up with toppings. 2 thought it was satisfying. 1 (Charlie), always the fussy eater, took a few bites and left the table. Mom decided to go old school and add bananas and chocolate. She took a bite and quickly realized why Charlie bailed on his ice cream. It was gross.
The End.





At least we tried! Don't worry, I won't be posting this recipe.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

surgery for my boys

Today I'm linking up with sweet Casey.


I've got to admit that I feel like I am crossing the line of blogland and all by saying this, but Wednesday was more than rough. I felt like someone put me on an upside down roller coaster against my will. And each time we approached the end, the operator decided to give us another round.

We woke up early Wednesday morning to head down to Children's Hospital in San Diego. Luke (8) and Jack (3) both had to get their adenoids removed. I knew it was simple and routine, but the pit of my stomach was still unsettled. Despite Luke hiding from us because he did want want to wear a "dress" (hospital gown), we were out the door with no meltdowns...a God thing.

Jack enjoys his morning milk like a 50's business man enjoyed his martini. When given jello and apple juice instead, he didn't even flinch. He rolled with it like a champ.

Once we arrived, we had to wait a long time in the lobby and then in our pre-op room. Both boys got dressed in their child friendly hospital gowns and pants and waited patiently. I was expecting Jack to give us a run for our money, but he was super chill...a God thing.

When Kevin walked back with them to get their "sleepy" medicine, they bravely walked through the Operating Room doors. I was a wreck, but put on my brave mama face...a God thing.


Luke woke up easily. We went to his bedside and we were able to attend and engage with him easily. Jack on the other hand, woke up suddenly and had a very difficult time figuring out where he was. I heard him wailing, "I want my mommy" but I had to wait to see him until the nurses gave me permission. On one hand I wanted to race to where he was because I knew my boy needed me, but on the other hand I knew the nurses had to go through their procedures 1st. Hearing him cry for me and not responding was miserable.


Eventually both boys had Popsicles and juice and we were given permission to leave.


On my way home my mom and I were texting. She has lupus like me. When she was pregnant with me, her lupus flared so dangerously that the doctors told my dad that neither of us were going to make it.

God had another plan.

There were two other times when her life was hanging on the ledge. God brought her through it. As a child it was terrifying. I can only imagine now that I'm a mother how horrifying it must have been for her.


Her lupus has significantly damaged her kidneys. She is on the transplant list and possibly nearing dialysis. Her doctor is running tests again on Monday and the decision will be made. It is a scary place to have a parent who is sick. I certainly don't want to see her go through this. She has jumped through so many hoops before this. Please pray with me that this will be one more hoop that she can jump through. Pray that her kidney function improves. Pray that she will not have to begin dialysis.

Thank you dear friends. You are a God thing to me.

Much love,

P.S. Please link up on Saturday and Sunday for It's a God Thing. I will have a special give away for those who comment and/or post! HUGS!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

wiww-summer style on a budget

It has been a ages since I've linked up to the Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. Since it is summer, I've been in flip flops and bathing suit cover-ups more often than not. However, Andrea from Four Flights of Fancy gifted me two spectacular handmade bracelets from a give-away and I want to show off my new goods and give a major shout out to Andrea for her creative talent! Go on over and check out her amazing life-style blog and tell her I sent ya and don't forget to tell her how much you think her bracelets rock!


shirt:forever 21
skinny jeans-american eagle
bracelets-made by andrea from four flights of fancy (love them!)


shorts-old navy
sandals-old navy

shirt-old navy
shorts-american eagle


shirt-old navy
jeans-gap outlet
braided sandals-target

What's your fave summer go to outfit or accessory? Do tell!

Much love,
pleated poppy

Sunday, July 17, 2011

library book bags

Lists make my heart smile.


There is something about the possibilities that lists create.

There is something about the feeling of completion when I cross an item off my list.

So this summer it only seemed appropriate to create a summer fun list.

And today we made our 1st check: Library book bags.

Aw, it felt good, friends.


I dislike having library books on the kitchen counter or scattered around the house. I worry about misplacing them or getting them mixed up with the books we own. The kids now keep them in their bags and bring them along when we go to the library. They hang them on their bedroom door handles when we get home.

Jack (3) welcomed my help...


Charlie (5) is fiercely independent and wanted to do it on his own. He took a modern art approach...


And Luke (8) declared that bags "are for girls" and only wanted his name on his bag. He didn't want anything to do with the project and asked me to write his name for him. He's getting big...sniff, sniff.


We found the bags and fabric paint at the Dollar Tree. The foam stickers were already in our craft box.

For a total of $4 we are all set for the summer reading program!


Much love,

Linking up with Heather:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's A God Thing Saturday-Sunday Link-Up!!

Luke (8) and Jack (3) are scheduled to have their adenoids removed next Wednesday. We'll get up as the sun is rising and make the 45 minute drive to Children's Hospital in San Diego.

Although it is a routine surgery, it is still surgery. I am uncomfortable with using the word "surgery" with 2 of my boys' names in the same sentence.

Charlie (5) was somehow genetically given the free ride when it comes to damaged adenoids.

So as I struggle with my worries for my babes, I ask that you please pray for them.



Pray for everything to go as planned. Pray for no reaction to the meds. Pray for me to be calm for them.

Thank you, friends.

Much love,

Please come and link up. Share a verse, story, photo, or prayer request.

-Grab the minivan diva button or simply leave a link for your reader's to visit the link up so the can be encouraged by the other posts in addition to your post.

-Leave comments for the other sweet bloggers who have been so generous with sharing from their hearts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

button swap

Woo Hoo!!!

I have wanted a blog button F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

My brother-law- was in process of doing it for me, but then he started a new job and got stung by a sting-ray on top of things.


Anyway, sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

I got together with my BFF, Google.

And after a few major (like wanting to hit my computer with a hammer) frustrations, I figured it out. Trust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can!

So, anyone want to go old school with me? Sorta along the lines of an elementary school sandwich swap, but a button swap!

Let me know if you want to swap. You can find the code on the right side bar under my button. Just scroll down. Let me know if you have any problems!

Thanks, friends!!!

Much love,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

taking one for the team

When everyone else in your house, including the dog, is male, there are times you simply must do things to take one for the team.

Case in point: Camping.

I am not a high maintenance girl by any means. I don't fuss with my hair and make-up too much, I don't get regular manis and pedis, and my wardrobe mainly consists of finds from Target, Old Navy, and Forever 21.

However if there is one thing that camping and I will never see eye to eye on, it is the dirt. No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to keep clean. I like clean.

A lot.

Although I don't have true affection for dirt, I do love the experience camping provides all my guys.

So I suck it up like a true mama and take one for the team.

Here's to memories of time by the campfire, crafting, beach bumming, friends, and family...











Hope your 4th was memorable too.

Much love,