Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey





As a kid, I loved going to the circus. As a mom of a kid who is a "clown fan," (Allison), I love going to the circus even more. We took Allison for the first time last year, and she absolutely loved it! So, we decided to do it again this year. Once again it was a hit with her! (And, once again, Natalie fell asleep!) But, for the time she was awake, which was most of it, Natalie did enjoy the show, as well. Here are just a few pictures of the girls dressing-up, (of course!), during the "pre-show." I will have to show you more pictures another time of the girls in their many different dress-up outfits; perhaps that will be an upcoming post!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Homemade ice cream





Ok, Friends... you have to try this!

First of all, it is YUMMY!

Second of all, it is FUN!

Finally, it is QUICK and EASY!


Here is the recipe:


You put these ingredients into a pint size ziplock bag:

1 cup half and half

2 TBSP sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla


Next, you put these ingredients into a ziplock gallon size bag:

ice to fill it half way

1/2 cup coarse salt


Finally, you put the small bag into the big ice/salt bag and shake for 5 minutes!

THAT'S IT!

We were so impressed and so shocked that it worked! Allison loved doing this. (And eating it!) Natalie was a little hesitant, but enjoyed walking around with her big marshmallow. :) We also added some mini chocolate chips to it for fun. I'm sure there are a million variations or additions you could do... fresh berries, m & m's, cereal, etc.

Ok, now check this out:


video
video

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Haircut


Today I got my hair cut!
I love getting my hair cut for all the reasons most of you like getting your hair cut:
  • Free time to relax and get "pampered."
  • The look and feel of your hair after leaving the salon.
But, I have a few other reasons, as well...
  • I have been going to the same hairdresser for almost 11 years now, and so it is like visiting an old friend.

  • I get my hair cut in Claremont, and I just love that town! It's so quaint, and midwestern-like. It reminds me of my college days!

  • Last, but not least, I have a "tradition" of stopping by my favorite bakery to enjoy a bear claw and Peet's coffee. Now that I'm married, I get to choose other fabulous treats and bring them home in a pastry box. I love seeing Daniel's eyes light-up when he sees the pastry box sitting on the counter!
So, it was a good day!


Incidentally, it is also my mom's birthday... Happy Birthday, Mom! So, in honor of your birthday, here are some pictures of your grandbabies, and a video of them giggling on their new "bounce around."


video

Monday, July 28, 2008

Garage makeover



I could blog every day for the next year just about the things I love about my husband... but I will spare you! For now, let me just say he is a wonderful handyman. He's almost like "Tim the Toolman Taylor," wanting to conqueor every project himself, but he is learning his limits. Today he busted out his new saw, (the one he bought at Home Depot when he went for a 19 cent washer!), and has almost finished our custom shed! I am so impressed... it looks awesome! It means that we can put the lawnmower and lawn care materials in the shed and have the space cleared-up in our garage!

Remember my earlier post on our "Yehground?" The storage racks and swings were our first improvements to the garage... next came overhead lighting (which allowed for an awesome ping pong tournament, where I got creamed!). Next will come the shed, which is almost complete, to clear out more "clutter." Finally, we (Daniel!) will be putting in an epoxy floor next week. Aaaahhhh.... a clean garage! I promise to post pictures when it is all done; stay tuned!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fair favorite

Who doesn't love fresh kettle corn? That's our favorite treat at any fair! It has always been so special and so rare, that whenever we buy some we consume almost an entire large bag before taking it home. While it is still very special, it is no longer a rare treat... Daniel has learned how to make it! Well, it's not the same process, but it's still delicious! He just adds some sugar to our stove-top popper, and VOILA! Can't you smell it? Try some! (I would have a picture for you, but we ate it all, already!)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Asian Introductions...

Being married to an Asian man has introduced me to many things… One of the best things that Daniel has introduced me to is Asian vegetables. The only problem with that is that I am no longer satisfied simply with broccoli and green beans! (BORING!) We now shop at least twice a month at some sort of Asian Supermarket to stock –up on all our favorites!
The veggie I love the most is pea sprouts! It is literally the leaves and sprouts from a pea plant… stir-fried with a little olive oil and garlic; yum! Actually, that is the key to most Asian vegetables… you just stir-fry with a little olive oil and garlic, (sometimes a little soy sauce and pepper), and our girls even enjoy them! Brilliant, really! Not quite as healthy as steamed, but delicious and actually consumed by our kids!
The other vegetable I love – ladies, are you ready for this? LOOFAH! (I don’t actually know the “American” term for it, but it is some sort of squash that literally becomes a loofah when it is all dried-up; I promise!) I didn’t believe Daniel until I saw a dried-up one at his parents’ house! I actually haven’t seen these even at the Asian markets, but since my in-laws grow them, here is what it looks like:


*** Give Asian veggies a try! ***
*** Or, at least try cooking veggies Asian-style; (olive oil and garlic stir-fried; yummy!) ***

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Pool Routine





If you live in Rancho Cucamonga and can't have a pool... it is SO nice to have neighbors with one! We are incredibly blessed to have such sweet neighbors. (And, it's not just because they share their pool, though that's what I am writing about today!)
The Routine:
The girls usually start with a snack in the shade next to the pool as they ponder the idea of plunging into something so cool. They then brave it and jump right in; (sometimes they literally jump!) After about 30 seconds, Allison exclaims with a shivering voice, "I'm used to it!" We then swim around and play games. Natalie loves when I let go of her and she's on her own. When that happens, she paddles around like a mad woman yelling "I YIKE IT!" This summer has been especially fun in the pool, since Natalie can now "swim" with arm floaties, and Allison is on her own with a life jacket.

On the way back home, they usually stop at the slide and go down it about 50 times. I love that part because it means they're getting even more ready to crash at bedtime!

So, here are a few videos for you, grandma!

video video

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Little Pup

Let me introduce you to our latest visitor... this is who Allison lovingly refered to as "Little Pup." He showed-up in our backyard 2 days ago, and fell in love with our family. Well, most of our family, that is... He was not so fond of Triscuit swiping at him as if he were a toy! And, Natalie was not so fond of her Mama holding something smaller than her. (Yikes!)
It was a short but sweet stay... 2 full days and one night. We bathed him, fed him, and I can honestly say he was the sweetest chihuahua I had ever met. (Normally I refer to chihuahuas as overgrown rats!) He didn't even bark when we put him outside for the night!
If he didn't follow me around everywhere, and if Natalie had liked him a little better, I think we would have kept him. Ironically, Daniel has always wanted a chihuahua! But, alas... much to Allison and Daniel's dismay, we took him to the Animal Shelter to hopefully find a better home. We'll miss you Little Pup!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Book Recommendations


Hey, you eighties kids out there… remember the “Facts of Life?” Who was your favorite character? Mine was Joe… she was so cool! Now, however, I am a huge fan of “Blair,” or Lisa Welchel. I remember learning that she was a Christian back when she took a stand against being on an episode that promoted pre-marital sex. So, I wasn’t surprised to see a book of hers in a Christian setting regarding raising kids. At first I was skeptical about her as an author. Was she a good author, or did her fame allow her to publish a book? My conclusion? She is an awesome author!
Her book, Creative Correction, is full of tips, stories, and scriptures helping parents raise kids. Though it’s enjoyable to read, it is also a valuable resource to refer back to… especially regarding scriptures!
One idea that we tried that worked well for us was a reward system. Allison had been potty trained for several months, but had been in pull-ups at night, and showed no signs of waking up dry! So, we went to Chuck E. Cheese’s, bought a cup and several tokens, (By the way, always use a coupon for Chuck E. Cheese tokens, because they’re everywhere and save you a bundle!), and told Allison she could put a token in her cup every morning she woke up with dry underwear. She has had only 1 accident in 2 months! She recently enjoyed her special trip to Chuck E. Cheese with Daniel, and they had a blast!
The other book of hers that I love is called Busy Mom’s Guide to Bible Study. You’re suppose to read it over a 3 month period… (It took me 4 months), but it is so worth it! It is just full of tools to help you study the Bible more efficiently, and in a limited amount of time since that’s all we as moms have! So, there you have it, Mommies… Check out “Blair’s” books, and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Creative Change


I have a super creative friend, who is also a busy mom... how inspiring! For Christmas she made me this adorable change purse. As you can see, it has gotten a lot of use.


  1. This is where I keep my quarters for my Saturday jogs.

  2. Every time a coupon mailer arrives, I cut-out yogurt, ice cream, smoothie, and coffee coupons and stick them in here. That way, if I'm out on a jog with crabby kids, we can head to one of these places for a special treat... and I save money! Likewise, if we are out running errands, it is with me on my keychain! (I'm so glad she put a keychain on it!)

  3. Any gift cards I receive as a gift go in here as well. (Sadly, I already used up all my Pinkberry gift card from my birthday... yum!)

I would love to try to make these myself, but alas I have not learned to sew, yet! My beautiful sewing machine from my husband is collecting dust. My friend said she just ran a piece of cloth through her printer to get the picture on there. In MOPS, they did a similar project before I joined, and used iron-on transfers; those turned out great, as well!


Ok, I'm inspired...


I'm off to learn how to sew... after the dishes, the laundry, my game time with Allison, and...


Oh, some day!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Birthday Cards




Birthdays used to seem to come in seasons for me... I always thought of spring as "birthday season." Now, however, there seem to be birthdays around every corner! And, while I love the celebrations, I don't like looking for cards. Whenever I am card shopping, I always seem to pick out the same cards. With hundreds of cards to choose from, you'd think it would be an easier task!

You've probably figured out by now from my past blog entries on garage sales and free activities for kids that I am quite frugal! So, you can see where it would be hard for me to spend $4 on a card that will probably be thrown out within a week after it's read. Sadly, I no longer seem to have the time to make "real" homemade cards as I once did when I was single. I also feel silly buying the box of cards from Costco, because I am sure whoever I give it to will probably already have it! So, I have come up with another solution.

For the past few years, I have saved the fronts of some of the cards that I like the best in a little craft container of drawers. I also save things like tags from my kids clothing that are cute, or I have even cut-out Cinderella and Hello Kitty from my kids' gummy boxes. Then, when a birthday comes around, I either fold a piece of construction paper, or use some cheap pre-made cards I got at Michael's, and stick on things from my craft container. It is a simple way to give a cute, "homemade" card without much work or money. (Of course, I often let Allison glue things on herself, or paint a card herself... another cheap and fun solution!)

So, next time you get a homemade card from me... :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Summer Fun

"I'm bored." Thankfully, my kids have not yet come to utter these words. And why should they? At least here in Southern California, there never seems to be a lack of fun things to do for kids. During the summer, it is especially easy to find things. The trick is finding relatively cheap and/or free things to do!

I have made a list of some of my favorite local activities that I refer to often. (Usually it's because I am bored of the routine, not the girls!) Here are some of the favorite free activities: (I have hyperlinked most of them in case you want to check them out for yourself!)


  • Movies in the park

  • Upland Street Fair

  • Claremont Museum of Art Family Craft day (I especially love this one. Allison has made some cool things, including a ceramic plate and an impression stamp made out of balsa wood -- all FREE!)

  • Free summer theater movies

  • Pump it up pop-in playtime (This one is only free with a coupon from the Rancho Cucamonga Shopping Guide mailer... otherwise, it's $6 for kids 2 and up)

  • Library activities (You need to sign-up for these in advance... they're especially free for us since we can walk to them and don't have to pay for gas!)

  • VBS (What kid doesn't enjoy stories, crafts, snacks, and games?)

  • Victoria Garden’s; water fountains/ park/ trolley/ Thomas store... all fun and FREE

  • Upland Airport; watch planes

  • Chick-Fil-A; playground and Tuesday night craft, cow and kids eat free

  • Toys R Us... it's airconditioned, and full of toys... who says you have to spend money? :)
  • Rancho Cucamonga Animal Shelter... usually Daniel takes the girls, and Allison LOVES it!

So there you have it! Those are just a few of the things on my list; the free, "special" ones! I'll post more if you'd like... just let me know! On Thursday we went to Upland's Street Fair, and the girls rode the train, (which is not free, by the way!) Here are some pics for ya!



video

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Daddy's clothes





Is there anything more adorable than a little girl wearing her daddy's shirt? I still love throwing on my dad's old sweatshirt when I visit my parents. There is just something so cozy about it! Ok, so enough of my words... the pictures say it all!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dollar Store

I just recently discovered the Dollar Store. (Don’t ask me what took so long!) Perhaps it was the dollar section in Target that inspired me. Anyway, I walked in for the first time and was in awe of all I saw… for a dollar! Of course, dollars add up fast when I have a big cart to fill and constantly tell myself “It’s only a dollar!” So, I had to remind myself that I can always come back later to get things I actually need! That seemed to work… I actually walked out of there with 8 items, (which means I spent less than $10).
Of all the items that seemed to excite me most, (kid puzzles, foamies, etc.), I was super excited about all the organizational baskets they had. Wire baskets, wooden baskets, plastic baskets… large, medium, small… they had baskets for every possible organizational thing I could imagine! I was in basket heaven! I have baskets in most every room in my house, from kid toys to craft supplies to our remote controls. Now I have a mental note whenever I walk through the house and see something with no “home”… Next time I go to the Dollar Store, I’m getting a basket for that!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wallies

Back when I was thinking about how to do Allison's new big girl room, (that was almost a year ago, already!), I was wishing that some sort of peel-and-stick giant bubbles existed so I didn't have to paint them all over her room. Alas, I couldn't find any and even if they had existed, I probably couldn't find the exact colors I was looking for. But, it turned out to be a lot of fun to paint and has since created a desire in me to practice painting on walls! (My poor husband!).
Since then, however, I have come across a fun website that sells just the sort of thing I am talking about... peel-and-stick art for your walls. It's called Wallies, and it is a lot of fun! My favorite items are their giant flowers, as well as the fun chalkboards for kids rooms. They are a bit pricey, but do have an awesome clearance section as well as a wide variety of quality products. They even do entire wall murals, such as your favorite baseball park for little boys rooms.

I guess this is becoming more and more popular because I've also seen peel-and-stick wall art at Taret and Ikea. I spotted them at Ikea just in time... I was all ready to purchase these cool giant flowers from Wallies when I found almost identical flowers at Ikea for less than 1/3 of the price! Granted, they are not the same quality... but super cute, none-the-less! Here they are:

WARNING: Your husband may see them simply as over-sized, over-priced srickers. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Little Girls

Remember this little nursery rhyme? "Sugar and spice and everything nice... that's what little girls are made of." I still can't believe how much I wanted boys and how well God knew I would love girls! Of course, I would still love to have a boy some day. (Allison keeps praying for a baby brother!) But, I can't imagine life without my precious girls.

So, in honor of a sweet friend who was just surprised with a baby girl, I would like to give my top 5 reasons I love having girls:

5. They are so nurturing. Here is Allison with her little friend Corinne today... she couldn't stop giving her hugs!
4. They look so adorable when they play dress-up. Here is Natalie in heels... I can't believe she walked aroung the house in these for at least an hour!


3. They are so fun to do baking/ cooking with.


2. At least mine seem to want to do arts and crafts all day!

1. They seem easier than boys at this age... though I've never lived with little boys, so I don't know! I doubt I can say that when they become teenagers :)
Congratulations, Melissa... Emma is beautiful!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Prehistoric Pets





Of all the unique birthday parties... Today we were invited to Ethan's 4th birthday to be celebrated at a place called "Prehistoric Pets." From the moment we walked in, we could smell just how prehistoric it was! Immediately, we were greeted by a 5 foot long giant lizard called a monitor... yikes! I thought it was fake until it's lizardy tongue slipped out and it began to chase me! (Ok, so it didn't chase me, but it was allowed to roam the entire place!)

Next came the presentation. My girls were so brave! I think they are the perfect age for such a place because they don't yet have the concept of fear associated with reptiles. Anyway, one-by-one they brought out snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, etc. for the kids to pet. They even brought out a scorpion! Oh, and a giant hissing cockroach. The host brought a giant bottle of sanitizer from Sam's Club and promptly gave the kids a squirt after each petting.


As you can see from the picture, I was brave, too! (I couldn't let my toddlers show me up!) Not to mention, I didn't want them to know I was a little nervous. :) Overall, it was a lot of fun!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Tradition

We have a pretty regular morning routine:
***
breakfast
jog to the park
come home and make smoothies
play in Mom's room while she showers
***
A very simple routine, really. However, on Saturdays we have one deviation: GARAGE SALES! Before our jog to the park, I make sure to throw several quarters in the stroller. Then we're off... we follow the signs, and hit as many as we can before the girls are ready for the park. I think we broke our record today: 9 garage sales! For just $1.50, I got 6 kids books, a Hello Kitty surfer doll, and a Disney Princess "cape." (Ok, so it wasn't a cape, it was a mini tree skirt, but Allison doesn't know the difference!) But, wait... it gets better! I often find change on the ground when I jog, and today was a lucky day; 1 quarter, 3 dimes, 1 nickel, and 2 pennies! That means I really only spent $0.88! Gosh, I love bargains!
Some of my other favorite finds include a sit 'n spin for $0.85, 2 Hello Kitty purses for $0.25, and an adorable dress for Natalie that I splurged on at $1! Oh, and of course, the $35 double jogging stroller which has allowed me to start this tradition! I wish I could say every Saturday was as fruitful, but there is a lot of junk out there! We once hit 7 garage sales and came home with nothing. In fact, we often come home empty-handed, but I think the girls enjoy searching for the garage sales as much as finding "treasures."
I have found one additional benefit to this fun Saturday tradition... I have lost 5 pounds since January, and can finally say I am at my pre-pregnancy weight. Woohoo! (9 months to put it on, and 18 months of jogging to garage sales to take it off... somehow that doesn't seem fair!) But, I made it! :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

God is good!

I love singing "God is so..." and waiting for Natalie to sing "Giiid!" (Good) Oh, how I want my kids to know the Lord! It's so precious that even at Natalie's tender age of 18 months she can fold her hands, bow her head, and say "Amen!" But, unless I can show her and her sister that it's all about a relationship with the Living God, then I will have failed.

Anyway, today was a tiring day... I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and Daniel was forced to work overtime. However, if you can hear me shout I am declaring GOD IS GOOD! To keep my spirit up on days like today, I often randomly blurt out praise songs. Today I was singing "Lord you never let go," when Allison asked, "Why doesn't He let go?" We had a pretty deep conversation for a 3-year-old. I wasn't sure how much she grasped, but then she said "Mom, I am going to sleep good tonight and not wake up or have bad dreams. I won't call you until the sun wakes up."

I pray that she does sleep well... We have had a month of not being able to sleep through the night! But, if she doesn't, I will still declare God is good! I will just have to continue to pray and trust Him... feel free to join me in praying for Allison's sleep! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Our "Museum"

Turning 2 years old means a lot of things to a lot of different toddlers... Unfortunately, in our household it meant no more naps for Allison. The first few months of adjustment were pretty tough, but I have since tried to look at the positives...
1) An early bedtime (Tonight she asked to go down at 6:00pm!)

2) Special "big girl" time with Mama while Natalie is sleeping

3) Ummmm... I think that's about it!

During the usual afternoon nap time, I often have Allison help me with dinner, or play board/ card games, or work with play doh, or do other crafts that Natalie isn't quite ready for. When given a choice, 99% of the time Allison chooses to do a craft. I have never met a 2 or 3 year old who could sit and do crafts for as long a period as Allison. I think it is God's way of blessing me during the time that she should otherwise be napping!

All this to say, we have Allison artwork galore! It is tough to just throw it away; (especially if she catches me... yikes!) So, I have come up with another solution: The Yeh family art museum! I'm sure it will evolve as we think of new ways to creatively display her work, but for now it has taken an otherwise useless space and made it useful! Here it is:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What's for dinner?

For someone who loves to cook and eats almost anything, I sure don't like the task of figuring out what to make for dinner every night. It seems I'm always missing an ingredient, or don't have the meat defrosted, or have fussy kids who don't want to let go of my leg while I try to prepare something... it's just a tough job at this stage as a mom!
So, to make the task a little less daunting, I decided to plan out my meals for an entire month! I've been doing weekly planning for a while, but wanted to do more. Of course, I still grocery shop once a week for fresh fruits and veggies, but I am LOVING having this calendar! It has lifted a lot of stress off of me. And, I'm hoping to be able to make several monthly calendars and then start inter-mixing them to where it gets easier and easier!
For inspiration, I often get meal ideas from "Family Fun's monthly meal planner." I actually get a lot of ideas from them... crafts for Allison, gift ideas for Daniel, and just fun activities. It's an awesome site, but I highly recommend checking out their monthly meals... perhaps it will inspire you, too! (And, most importantly, help relieve some of that "What's for dinner?" stress!)
Well, I'm off to make a cool summer pasta salad with some of our homegrown cherry tomatoes. (I've finally been able to harvest them without Allison consuming them before they make it inside!) If all goes well, I will have dinner done before Natalie wakes up from her nap, and we can enjoy it picnic style tonight!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The sick duck

It's no secret that Daniel and I are proud products of "e-harmony.com." The philosophy behind e-harmony is that those with much in common will potentially have a better marriage. When Daniel and I first began e-mailing, we were shocked to discover just how many similarities we had, despite our obvious cultural differences. It seems that the system works!
Of course, we have our differences as well. When I first told Daniel I was starting a BLOG, he responded "You're one of those now!" :) He is fine with me doing it, but feels no need to join-in on the fun, because to him it is no fun at all. Likewise, when Daniel told me of his latest endeavor, I responded with similar disinterest. I have no desire to try to figure out how to play a complicated instrument. However, he is such a gifted musician that it is a joy for him to figure out. Unfortunately, he hasn't had an outlet to play music much since college; until now! So, what instrument has he chosen?

video

Yes, my dear husband has chosen the bagpipe to play with the fire service. He practices on what's known as a chanter, which you can hear Allison playing above. From the few books he has ordered, he can already play "Amazing Grace..." pretty impressive! Fortunately, he practices mostly in the car because, as you can hear... it sounds like a sick duck!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The "Yehground"

Our first house was an adorable little 850 sq. ft. place on Daisy Court. Though the square footage was small, it didn't feel all that small because it had an awesome layout with some great features that helped to open it up. During our time there, I loved to watch HGTV and get creative ideas... especially for a small space! Ever since then, I have not looked at spaces the same. Rather than always wanting more space or a bigger yard, I think it's more fun to come up with creative ways to utilize space and to put our own stamp on it.
We now live in a much bigger place, put still don't have the luxury of a basement or play room, nor a large backyard. So, I have been wanting to figure out how to give the girls a playground. I'm excited with what we came up with; Allison would spend hours a day on the "Yehground" if she could! It was inspired by our visits to "My Gym," in which they have removable swings and things that hook on to a metal structure on their ceiling. One day I walked into our garage with our new "metal structure" (Storage rack on our ceiling), and thought... brilliant! So, would you like to check it out? Here it is....





Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Funny Girl


Driving home from lunch at Chick-Fil-A after our awesome Beth Moore Bible Study, Allison was being her goofy self and saying silly things. When I asked her why she was so funny, her response was funniest of all. "Because God put 'funny power' in me!" she replied. (Where did she get that?!?!?)
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