Monday, April 30, 2012

Anna the artist

Anna dreams of being an artist one day.  she often talks about studying in Paris and loves to send art to her Uncle Collier.  she's hoping she will be discovered!  i am impressed by her style.  but, if i tried to keep every piece she makes, we would be drowning in paper over here.  so, i take pictures and file them away digitally.  here is her latest creation! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

muffin time!

lately i've been on a health kick, and a saving money kick.  i'm tired of buying snacks that have no nutritional value, and cost an arm and a leg.  but i still need snacks around the house that are easy to grab on the go.  i turned to muffins. 
 i've tried a bunch of recipes and have some very healthy ones that i love.  but the easiest and most versatile is the one i use the most often.  made with pancake mix:

pre-heat oven to 350
2 1/2 cups of pancake mix, (i use Krusteaz)
1 egg
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
2 tbsp of oil

then 1/2 cup of your choice:

chocolate chips, raspberries, apples + 1/2 tsp cinnamon, carrot, blueberries, peaches, zucchini, nuts, dried cranberries, strawberries, etc...bake for 12-15 min.

for this batch, the kids chose apples and cinnamon.  i chopped the apples really small and made 48 mini muffins. 
we had these for snacks for a couple of days and threw the remaining muffins in the freezer.  then we made a batch of zucchini muffins and the rest of those went in the freezer, now we have a freezer full of many flavors that the kids choose from for snacks!  i am a muffin convert!

Friday, April 27, 2012

ragnar baby! (aka: i am a runner now!)

so, i'm very behind in updating this blog.  one of the reasons for this is my recently acquired fitness-hobby: running.  i have spent the last 6 months training for the So Cal Ragnar Relay.  what is Ragnar you ask?  oh, well, let me tell you.  it is a 12 person relay race from Huntington Beach to Coronado Island.  yes, that's right, 12 people running 3 legs each of the 203.5 mile race!!!!  if you are exhausted reading this, then you can imaging how exhausted I am, having completed 14.5 of those miles over 36 hours. 

my weekend started with a morning flight to my homeland, with Ali picking me up for a little pre-race shopping trip.  after picking Sawyer up from school, having lunch and Fashion Island, and shopping at South Coast Plaza, I was begging her not to drop me off with my team!!!!!  i could not wrap my head around the idea of trading a cushy girls' day out for waking up at 4am to spend 2 days in a van with 5 other sweaty woman, and running over 14 miles!  i was on team "so you think you can run?!" but i wanted to trade to team "i've made a huge mistake!"
but, hanging out with these ladies, and decorating our van gave me the team spirit i needed to pump me up and get me ready for race day.
so, between the 12 of us on team, "so you think you can run?!" we abandoned 38 kids to run 203.5 miles!  the husbands were acting like we were headed to a spa weekend, i'm not so sure this was a good trade off.  (ps: can you see the "kills" window?  that's how many people we passed.  wanna know how many that ended up being?  114!  oh yeah, that's right, triple digits!)

race day started about 4:30am!  but we look bright eyed and bushy tailed right?

starting line!  they pumped up the jams and got us excited about our grueling next two days!
were you wondering which of the 12 runners i was?  well, i was #6.  how did i get assigned to the most difficult hills in the whole race?  i was afraid of the higher mileage!  what a silly novice runner i was!  give me a flat 20 miles any day!  the hilly 14 was a beast!

ps: it was so fun to tackle the first half of the race in my hometown.  my first leg started right in my old backyard.  in fact, i took off right out of my parents' church parking lot!

we thought it was fun to have posed hand off pics.

here's me giving a big thumbs up as i ran down the road in high temps.
at the finish....of my first leg.  just two more to go, yikes!

people like to get all kinds of crazy at Ragnar.  these little beach bunnies actually ran in these get ups!  we opted for matching green tanks.   who looks better, us or them? you be the judge.
last leg.  i noticed there are no photos from my second leg at 2 am.  i wonder why?  here i am showing off my Ragnar tat.  i was really super tough and intimidating, no?  i bet the 14 people i passed on this leg thought so!

i was surprised how much fun we had in the van.  i mean, i was among friends, but the idea of hanging out in a sweaty van for 36 hours, throw some running in the mix, i didn't think "fun" was going to be a component.  but look at all that love!

the finish....the real one!  look how happy we are to be out of the vans!  our kids were all universally impressed with our medals, though they were all confused about who we were "versing". 

all i can say is my biggest opponent in getting this thing done, was me. so i kicked my own tush!

long live van 1!  we had so much fun!  and we got to shower and nap before the finish line!
can't forget our awesome nails.  thanks to Julie for blinging us out!
so, it's been a week since i boarded the plane for Ragnar.  i had my reservations, i exhausted my physical resources, and battled a little head cold, but i feel confident now saying it was fun and i plan on doing it again someday.  the biggest surprise to me is that i don't think i'll give up on running.  i will keep it up. i think i see a half marathon in my future.  me?  a half marathon?  sounds like fun.  wait...did i just say that? 
thanks Ragnar!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jason's new title: Master Gardener

Jason wears many hats in our family.  he's a man that loves the challenge of learning something new.  he has tackled many a home improvement project both indoors and out.  last year, during the building of our pool, he was a major driving force in the landscape design.  in fact, he did the sprinklers and most the planting himself.  part of that planting included 4 grape vines on the trellises in our yard. 

this year, we both have been trying to learn the fine art of pruning and maintaining these vines.  here's the man hard at work:

 so it's going to take at least 3 years for us to literally taste the fruit of our labors.  but here's a sneak peek of what's growing now!
sadly, this little bunch had to go to make the vine stronger and ensure better fruit next year.  as a side benefit, we feel like we're learning a lot more about all those parables in the Bible.  it is truly a labor of love trying to get these vines to grow and produce!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

another soccer season under our belt!

the Angry Birds finished their season with smiles on their faces!  Anna had a great time playing on this team, and really saw improvement by the end of the season.
 these two super fans are going have had a blast on the sidelines cheering on their sisters!

 we had a super fun end of year party for the Green Dragons!  they were all super excited to receive their trophies! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Week

as previously disclosed to all who may have come to our front door, we headed to California to celebrate Easter with our family.  Barrett's little cuties headed out to a Dodger's game. 

 and we  Arizonans headed for some much needed beach time! 

 i can't believe how much this little Violet  has grown.  she looks just like her daddy to me in this pic:

 Easter day brought smiles to all our faces, as we went to church, hunted eggs and feasted on some yummy food!

 the kids put on a fabulous Easter program:

 here we all are in all our Easter glory!  and this is with just 2 out of 6 kids having grandchildren!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holly and Austin's sealing

as you may recall my brother and his beautiful bride were married last January.   one month earlier Holly was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  so this week, Austin and Holly headed to the Newport Beach Temple to be sealed for time and all eternity.

after a beautiful ceremony we gathered to celebrate their eternal family!

 congratultions Holly and Austin, we are so happy for you!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

hey burglars! we're headed to CA. just so you know.

on Tuesday we're headed to California for a joint family celebration of Easter, and Austin and Holly's sealing.  today, i found this informative note on our front door:
let me translate, "on April 3, the Earls is going to California on Easter, for Easter and for Laine's birthday."

we are so proud of how much Anna is learning about reading and writing in kindergarten, at home we will be reviewing stranger danger and general home security.