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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Patch trip

We visited one of our local Pumpkin Patches this weekend! The kids had such a blast, a huge difference from last year when they were still mastering walking and had a hard time walking around looking for pumpkins!

They probably could have stayed out in that pumpkin patch for hours hunting for their perfect pumpkin, Ava found this one pumpkin (it's the ugliest little thing) but insisted on getting it so well it's sitting on our front porch.  The loved getting to feed the goats and getting their little hands on a fresh apple fritter (don't worry we washed between the two ;)). 

Taking advantage of our gorgeous weather

I think this is it mom!

I can carry it myself

Ava and her ugly little pumpkin

cheesin

A rare smile picture from this one


Fun mom, again again
We had so much fun we will probably go again before the season is over!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

In September our good friend Kristina took our family photos! I look forward to this every time we have her take pictures, we text back and forth and decide what colors are good, where the location should be and everything else! She is an amazing photographer and if you live here in the PNW I seriously recommend giving her a call for your pictures too, you can check out more of her work here.

I have so many favorites that I can't even decide what to frame!











You see my problem! And this is only a few of the 100+ she took! She is truly amazing!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Project Pinterest- Pumpkin Bread



So I don't have a crafty bone in my body but I am a good cook, so most of my pinterest projects are food related.  It's my most popular board. I try a lot of things from there too.

This last week with the weather changing and fall being ushered in by the changing leaves I wanted to do some baking, so I went to Pinterest to find a yummy fall recipe that I could make with what I had on hand.

I found this recipe From Sweet Pea's Kitchen and decided it sounded yummy!

I followed the recipe except I did substitute the walnuts for pecans because it is what I had, also this would taste amazing with no nuts and with cream cheese frosting (which I am going to try next)

Ingredients:

For the Pumpkin Bread:
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 cup walnuts (optional)

For the Spiced Glaze:
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, butter, water, sugars and vanilla until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, pumpkin spice and walnuts. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
While the pumpkin bread is cooling, combine all of the ingredients for the spiced glaze. Drizzle over bread and allow the icing to dry before serving (about an hour).
Keep pumpkin bread tightly wrapped in plastic wrap to retain freshness.

finished product
 This one was a real winner, the kids loved it and hubs approved!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When Your Two Year Old Asks To Go To The Zoo

You go, right?

Landon on Friday was reading an animal book and all of the sudden stated that he wanted to go to the zoo, well we didn't have any big plans for Saturday so we decided if he asks to go then we will go.  Plus how can you say no to this face!


 Landon could probably sit and watch the sharks all day long, he will look up and say "Whoa, look at big one", he loves the animals.  Ava loves to look at the fish and tell us what colors they are.  I really can't believe how big they are getting some days. The walruses were really active too, he loved how they would swim right past him.


We received our zoo membership for the twins' birthday and I am so glad that we mentioned it to my Grandma as something they would love.  It helps because we can go first thing in the morning when they are happy and wide awake and we don't feel bad if we only stay for 1 or 2 hours and only go and see the animals that they are always talking about.


Both Ava and Landon asked to take this little guy home
We had a fun morning at the zoo and then finished the day with dinner at a friends home and a movie night for the kids! It was adorable!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Project Pinterest-Linking up with AP


 Out of the 345 pins on my "Food I must make" board I have tried approximately 32 of them, most of them were great and I am glad I have tried them.  This last week I made Twice Baked Cauliflower, our family loves twice baked potatoes but lets face it, they aren't the healthiest thing in the world, when I came across replacing potatoes with cauliflower I thought it could be a great alternative.

I found this recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen to give credit where credit is due. I have bolded the things I did differently than her recipe.

source


Twice Baked Cauliflower
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe adapted slightly from The Low Carb Gourmet.)

Ingredients:
1 large head cauliflower (I bought the largest I could find)
4 oz. low fat cream cheese (do not use fat free) ( I used a whole 8 oz)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream (do not use fat free)
1/4 cup minced green onions ( I didn't put in because I didn't have any)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (If you only have finely grated Parmesan, use a bit less)
6 slices bacon, cooked until very crisp, fat blotted with paper towel and then crumbled ( I used about 9 slices)
1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese ( I used regular medium cheddar)
(I used Kraft 2% milk sharp cheddar)

I also added 1/2 t of garlic salt and a small bit of pepper 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Cut out stem and core from cauliflower, and cut into small pieces. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until cauliflower is tender, but not overly soft. ( I DIDN'T BOIL IN WATER, JUST STEAMED IT) Drain well and mash with potato masher, leaving some chunks. Mix in light cream cheese, light sour cream, green onion, Parmesan, and 3/4 of the crumbled bacon.

Spread evenly in a medium-sized glass casserole dish. Sprinkle with low-fat cheddar cheese and reserved bacon. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.


The kids gobbled it down and everyone really liked it, I definitely plan on incorporating it into our normal menus.

Head over to I Love You More Than Carrots and link up your Pinterest Project!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Don't Tell Me You Haven't Thought of It

You know, THE Christmas card.  The one that will sit on someones fridge or pinterest inspired card holder for about a month with your smiling friendly face on it.  It is one of my favorite things about the holidays, seeing all of the faces of my family and friends and their families in one place!

I love picking out a beautiful card to put our picture on so when Minted contacted me about hosting a giveaway it took me about 2 seconds to say yes! Have you checked out their Holiday cards yet! There are so many choices this year.  Here are just a few of my favs.

found here
found here
found here
These are just a few of the hundreds on their site, they have made it so easy to find a card that suites you as well, by offering ways to search for cards by number of pictures, religious, folded or flat, size and many other options.  I have used them in the past for other products and have never been dissapointed!

Now here is the fun part! Minted has generously offered to let one of my readers win a $50 credit + free shipping on their site.  You can use this for Christmas cards, birthday invitations or whatever else your heart desires! This giveaway will start today and go until 9/18/2012! I will notify the winner via email!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

** I was provided with product from Minted for this giveaway, I really do love their products and would not be doing a giveaway if I didn't truly love their stuff** 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blogging for a Good Cause- Lawyers Autism Awareness Foundation

When I was approached to help with this great, I immediately said yes, this is a cause that as a mother this is something that I can not imagine hearing the diagnosis.  Most everyone knows someone who has an autistic child now, there are many theories as to what can cause Autism, who knows if they will ever be able to pinpoint the cause, but now that the public is becoming more aware of the Autism spectrum the public is also learning how to help those children in need. 

The LAAF (Lawyers Autism Awareness Foundation) is a foundation started by 2 dads both of whom had a child with Austism.  Their mission was to make sure that families that couldn't afford special therapy for their children were provided with the means to do so.  Please visit their site to learn more about how they helping those children in need.

Here are some basic facts straight from their site
- Autism is a developmental disorder that is usually marked by impairments in communication, social skills
and repetitive motions

-
Autism affects 1 in every 110 88 Children

- 1 in 70 54 Boys

- Autism is the 3rd most common developmental disorder in the US
- Autism is usually seen within the first 3 years of life

- Some persons with Autism are gifted in certain areas like Math Art or Music


That brings me to what we are trying to do.

A group of bloggers got together to try and raise money for this cause,  Tracy Meehan, Independent Stylist for Stella and Dot has donated a "Lucky Charm" Stella and Dot necklace for one of you "lucky" gals to win!


Another way to help this cause is to shop the Trunk Show where a large portion of the proceeds going straight to the Lawyers Autism Awareness Fund.  Together I know we can make a difference in these kids' lives!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 27, 2012

From Mrs. to Mama Wedding Day Link Up

 I missed the last couple of link ups but I wanted to join in on the fun.  Becky always has the best link up ideas and her link ups are pretty much responsible for me being able to learn a lot from the other blogs I follow! So head over to From Mrs. to Mama and link up your wedding story!

1. Are you married? If so when did you get married, and tell us about your special day. If not? How would you describe your dream wedding? 

My hubs and I have been married for almost 7 years come November 11.  We got married November 11th, 2005 in a medium sized ceremony.  We got married in a small chapel and had the reception in a nearby home.  It was perfect for us at the time.  We started planning in July so we didn't have a lot of time to plan some HUGE fancy affair and I wouldn't really have wanted that anyways. 


2. Show us some wedding pictures. Either yours or of some that you love.


3. How about the engagement? Tell us your story. If not engaged, what's your dream proposal?
It was a fairly simple proposal.  I am not into big grand proposals, those in a restaurant are not for me, I would probably crawl under a table and cry.  We went on a picnic for the 4th of July and under a big old tree on the grounds of our state capital he got down on one knee and proposed. It was perfect.
4. Show us your wedding rings or an engagement photo! If not engaged/married ... show us your "dream" ring.
Since I can't find the "official" ring picture, I had to take a cell phone picture, believe it or not our photographer took the pictures on a film camera (digital wasn't as popular yet), which was a pain when I wanted to get them onto my computer, my mom had them all scanned and put onto discs, which I have yet to have time to organize. So here is my ring.
5. Tell us why you think marriage doesn't work out for so many? What can we do to make things last 
I think that in todays society, marriage is just kind of not held as a high priority for a lot of people.  We get busy, we have kids, we have jobs and we seem to forget the vows and promises we made how ever many years ago.  People don't try hard enough, when the going gets tough people seem to just get going.  In order to make things last, we need to learn to listen and actually hear the other person, communication is key and learning how to fight.  I realize that statement sounds completely out of place (WHAT PEOPLE FIGHT WHEN THEY'RE MARRIED), but people don't realize that fighting, when done correctly can help and bring a new understanding of your spouse. 

 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Estrea Body Care Set Giveaway


When I was contacted about reviewing Estrea's Body Care Set I jumped at the chance, I mean what girl doesn't like to try out new and exciting products.  When the set arrived I opened it all up and immediately tried the body lotion.  Summer tends to make my skin feel dry and I really hate lotions that feel thick and have a strong scent and this lotion was neither of those.  The Hydrating Body Lotion was light and the smell was fresh and easy on my nose.  It absorbed quickly as well which is great because I hate feeling like I have something on my legs for a long time after applying it.  The Hydrating Hand Cream was another favorite and also absorbed quickly and didn't leave a greasy residue like many lotions I have tried in the past.  I forced my husband to give me a foot rub with the Refreshing Foot Balm and the minty smell was just that...refreshing.  The Tightening and Replenishing Face and Neck Cream is an anti-aging product which is a perfect thing to start now and stay ahead of wrinkles, the Mediterranean olive oil and Vitamin-E rejuvenates, protects and nourishes your skin. The caffeine increases microcirculation and helps skin that can be stressed by everyday environmental damage.


Here is some general history of Estrea. Before now it has only been exclusively available in Europe and has been the number one choice of European women.  Only recently has their skin care system been available here in the US.  Estrea only has 12 products (face, hands, body and feet) available in their line but but those twelve products have been tried and tested and have proved themselves as a wonderful skin care regimen.  Estrea uses natural ingredients which include aloe vera, collagen, coffee, olive oil, citrus extracts and Vitamins A, C, E and F.  Their most popular product is their hand lotions and creams which have also been proven to promote fingernail growth (YAY for awesome nails). 

Now onto the Giveaway, Estrea is giving you the chance to win your own Body Care Set, it will be the same one that I got to try and love! The giveaway will end on August 31st and the winner will be notified by email.  You will receive a Body Care Set valued at over $65.00. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***I was provided with an Estrea Body Care set at no charge to review for this giveaway.  All opinions are my own and had I not loved the product you wouldn't be seeing this post** 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Exciting News

Hi everyone! I know I've been a bit MIA, between work and the twinsies blogging seems to be the last thing I get to during the day.



 But I did want to let you all in on a fun bit of information that is new to my life! I have officially joined Thirty-One. After hearing about Thirty-One for awhile I decided to take the plunge and sign up.  I love the products and the versatility of their products, I love that you can choose fabrics that fit your personality instead of just getting a box item.  I also love that you can personalize them which makes great gifts for anyone of any age! I decided that it would be a great fit for my family since I need some fun time away from the kids and I believe that Thirty-One will provide that opportunity for me!

I would love for you to check out my page HERE! I'm hoping I can kick off my first month with a bang! It would make my day and I hope that you love the products as much as I do.  Also if you are interested in hosting a Online party please let me know and I can let you know how being a hostess can benefit you.  Just email me at brittanyechols@hotmail.com!

For the month of August the special is for their new Spirit Line! This line is great for anyone who love sports or has a favorite team! For every $31 you spend you get an item for 50% off! That is a great deal! W

Happy Shopping ;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Surviving traveling with twin toddlers

At the end of June we traveled to Utah for a family reunion.  Now while I was excited for the twins to get to ride on a plane and see  family that hadn't seen them since they were 2 months old! So here are some of my tips for traveling with toddlers!

Tip #1: Packing

 I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to effectively pack for all
4 of us while maintaining some sense of organized as well as not have a ton of luggage to pack around along with the toddlers. I ran across this idea on Amanda's blog, I thought this was genius, I could make sure I have clothes for each toddler each day plus a couple of extra (just in case) outfits and it would all be orderly. This worked wonderfully for us.  I packed the twins in one carry on size suitcase, including shoes, diapers and wipes.  I packed my hubs and I in one regular size suitcase which I have become really good at doing, I kind of like to think of myself and the packing master!  We did check both of our bags so that we would have our hands free to be able to handle both kids without having to worry about bags too. I had also made sure all important documents were within easy reach in my purse so when going through all check points I didn't have to mess around to find them including boarding passes/id's/birth certificates.

Source (all things simple)
Tip #2: Carseats & Traveling

I had to decide if we wanted to lug our Britax Marathon 70's along for the ride, at first we thought it could be a lot of work to take 2 full size heavy carseats with us but after reading stories like this, I decided it was well worth the time and effort to bring our own carseats, my children's safety is not something I want to take a chance on. I purchased these to protect them on the flight and I loved them, they were easy to carry/roll or to put on your back like a backpack.  They also had extra space to put a few more things in there like a stuffed animal or doll or extra diapers, plus since carseats are free to check on most airlines you should take advantage of the extra space.  By checking the carseats we had our hands free to handle the twins going through security and to the gate.  The carseats were treated well during flight and I had no complaints. Our family had rented minivans for the ride and of course with the Britax easy latch system they were a breeze to install (even at 11 pm in 102 degree weather). 
Source


Tip #3: Entertaining your toddler

I had asked on twitter what were some good ideas for entertaining a toddler on the plane.  One of my favorite twin mama Erin suggested I get a new toy or something for them to play with.  I ran over to Target and picked up travel sized magnadoodle pads! They loved these, I didn't let them see them until after we took off and it occupied them for quite a while.  Also I fit everything into the Pottery Barn Kids Preschool size backpack, I first got these and wasn't sure how often I would use them, but we use them A LOT! I actual think that Ava and Landon love that they have a bag of their own to use.  We had an iPad and a portable DVD player so that they could watch a movie or a show and snacks for the ride! All in all they did such a great job on the plane ride and I was pleasantly surprised!  

 Tip #4: Maintaining your sanity

Luckily for us we had family along on the trip to help but I now can safely say I would travel with them on our own for an extended period of time.  We maintained their normal schedule as much as we could including we would try to time any car ride that was longer to nap time so they would sleep.  We kept bedtime as close as we could to normal and did our normal bath, brush your teeth and pj routine to keep them in check.  I'm sure it helped that they were playing hard most of the day and were exhausted by the time bedtime rolled around. 


Well I hope maybe some of my tips will help some of you who might be getting ready to travel with small ones this summer, if you have any great tips or something that has worked for you please let me know! I am always looking for better and more efficient ways to travel with toddlers!

Check back for my story about the time I was "that mom" in Vegas with her kids awake at 12:30 am in the lobby of the Palms Hotel...yeah that happened!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blogger 411 Link Up

Because I am late to everything these days why would this be any different.  Anyways, I have seen so many Blogger 411 and I have learned so much about a lot of bloggers that I really love that I thought it would be fun to join in the fun (even a couple days late).  Becky always has the greatest ideas for blogger link-ups, I used to love when she did Seriously Thursdays and her Meet this mama features! She is always a great host and one of my favorite daily reads!

1. How long have you been blogging?
I started blogging approximately 3 days before I got put in the hospital until the twins were born, in my head I had all these great ideas to go back and document my pregnancy while I was on bedrest at home and then things just got a little crazy. 

2. Did you go to college?
I was all ready and planning with acceptance letter in hand to attend a state University but well I decided to follow my heart and get married to my high school sweetheart instead. ;)

3. Where have you traveled?
I have been to Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, California, Washington D.C, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and many of the states across the US since my parents dragged us on a train trip that took a few days and stopped all along the way to Washington D.C.  I hated it at the time, now I think it was a cool trip.

4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
I would probably purchase my dream house on the water.  I would also take care of my parents.  Then I would take everyone on a big family vacation.

5. What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?
1.The toilet paper not being the correct way (comes over the top), I will change it even if I am at someone's house.  2. Dishes in the sink, this drives me nuts and my husband will tell you this, I can't stand the thought of them just sitting there getting all gross.3. Junk, junk mail, trinkets, whatever you want to call it, I keep very little, only things of significant meaning.  My mother keeps everything and I just don't like "stuff" all over the place.
 
6. What is your favorite movie?
Hands down, Pretty Woman, I know it's a movie about a hooker but I love the love story and I have watched it probably a hundred times.

7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?
This is a fun one, honestly I love water, I drink so much water all day long.

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?
A good pedicure or a massage would be nice, hasn't happened in a long time though.

9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?
O boy, well since I would try and stretch it as far as it could go it would probably be Target because you can buy anything there and well $10,000 would buy a whole lot of everything.

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past? Or present.
O gez...where would I start, actually I think I must have blocked most of these out of my memory because I can't think of any right now.

11. What day would you love to relive again?
The day the twins were born, I feel like everything was such a blur and really it was, but since I really couldn't relive that one, maybe my wedding day, I was young and now would do a lot differently.

12. If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?
hmmm...Maybe Jennifer Anniston, one I love her, two I feel like she is quirky and funny and well that's how I am most of the time.

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?
In high school I worked at a toy store which was fun, then I went to work for my FIL and I have been here ever since.

14. Show us a picture from high school or college.
O gez, since I honestly have no idea where most of those are...hello digital cameras, you will get one from my early days of marriage (aka when I would have been in College) Deal...
Honeymoon November 2005


15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Europe, a two month trip to Europe so I could go all over.

16. Show us the most current picture of you or you, or your family, or anything of meaning to you.
Utah Family Reunion from June

17. Where do you see your life 5 years from now
Living in my forever house and my kids will be 7 (INSERT PANIC), working at a job I love and just living my little life here in the PNW.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The 4th of July in iPhone pictures

So since I rarely seem to actually pull out my camera today my iPhone is responsible for about 90% of my pictures on a day to day basis, so 4th of July wasn't much different, I did take some real pictures but by the time I actually upload them at the rate I'm going it could be next July...

So here is our 4th of July.  We went to our hometown parade, BBQ'd with some great friends which included the best ribs ever, potato salad, fresh pineapple, strawberry shortcake, and s'mores!  Our summer here in the PNW has officially started and our weather has been BEAUTIFUL the last week or so, this is the time when we all stay outside ALL DAY!






Hope you guys all had an amazing 4th!