Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School Water Party

For our last summer activity day, we decided to have a back to school water party!  I designed the invite of course and hand delivered them to each girl's home!  I was in charge of coming up with some "cool" fun water relay games!  Sister Jensen came up with a snack, craft, and back to school prizes. 
Credits: Template is from the Coffee Shop Blog and papers/elements are by Kate Hadfield from the Lily Pad.  I used Kids font and Love Ya Like A Sister font.
Sponge Ball Craft
Credits:One Charming Party inspired us with this cute craft idea!
Sponges, sharp scissors, and dental floss.
Cut the sponge into strips by cutting the sponge in half and then cutting it in half again.  You should have four strips from each sponge. You will need three sponges (12 strips total for each ball). Have the kids arrange the colors how they like them.  Squeeze the sponge pieces tightly and give them a little twist.  Then with a helper wrap around dental floss tightly in the center of the sponges and double knot it.  Cut any excess floss at the end and fluff the sponge ball.  
Rainy Day Relay 
 Two paper cups with holes poked in them all over Four buckets or large containers for water. 2 full, 2 empty
Have the kids line up in two lines by the 2 empty buckets. In relay style, have them run across to the other bucket (full of water.) Fill the cup, and holding it over your head run back to your empty bucket. Dump whatever water is left into the empty bucket. Hand the cup to the next person in line. Continue over and over. At the end of a predetermined time, see which bucket is more full!
Wet Sponge Relay: 
  Two buckets filled with water, two empty jars, and two large sponges (like car wash sponges). Instructions: 
 Form two teams. Each team makes a line next to a bucket filled with water. When the game starts, have the first member of each team put the sponge in the water, put it on their head, and run towards a jar at the other end of the playing area. Squeeze the water into the jar and run back. Continue on with the rest of the players. The first team to fill the jar to overflowing wins. 
Waddle Walk

Supplies:  Water balloons (fill them up large so they pop easier).
Divide the group into two teams. One goes at the time.  He/she carries a balloon between their legs across the yard and drops it in a large bowl or bucket. Then runs back and the next person goes. If they drop or break a balloon their turn is done.  The next person goes. The team to get a certain number and the most unbroken balloons in the bucket wins.
Tip:  I used the regular balloons with water instead of actual water balloons because I couldn't find water balloons at the stores.  Using water balloons would break easier and my balloons would not pop during this game, ugh!!!
Afterwards, the girls had a water fight and played on the slip and slide.
The whole group of girls!

We ran out of time quickly, but these are some other games that I wanted to play.

Duck, Duck Squirt

Supplies: One sponge or spray bottle.
 Gather in a large circle. The person who is it has the sponge/spray bottle does duck duck then squirt (squeezes the sponge or squirts water on them).
Water Guessing Game

Supplies: Spray bottle or water gun. 
 Have the kids get into a large circle.  The person in the middle will think of something: what is my favorite________? (food, color, song, sport, holiday, candy, subject in school, etc). Then everyone takes a turn guessing what the answer is. The person who guess gets it correct will be sprayed wet with the water bottle or water gun and in the middle. Everyone should each have a turn in the middle.
The Prizes: Back to School Supplies
Pencils, crayons, notebook, and glue.
The Snacks
Vanilla/Chocolate ice cream bar. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy 14th Anniversary to Hubby and Me!

Enjoying my dinner, Yum! 
Yes, I am lame eating with a dinner fork in a Japanese Restaurant!  I cannot eat well with chopsticks!  I tried and failed miserably!  Thankfully my waitress offered to bring me a fork, lol!
Here is John eating his food and is a master with his chopsticks!
 On August 14th, 2011 was our 14th Wedding Anniversary! We celebrated by  eating sushi at Shogo in Orem.  My brother in-law Matt and sister in-law Chiaki highly recommended that place! Since they are sushi experts and my sister in-law is from Japan, we trust their opinions!  We absolutely loved it!  The atmosphere was cozy with friendly service. The presentation of the food was very creative, fresh, and authentic.  The restaurant was decorated with black modern and chic furniture.  We started our meal out with a refreshing house salad that contained a couple types of lettuces, mandarin oranges, tomatoes, shredded carrots, and cucumbers topped with an Asian dressing.  We then shared some sushi rolls (playboy and funky roll), and had an incredible dessert chocolate trilogy mousse,MMMMM! 
Our sushi rolls with a side of sauce, ginger, and wasabi
We like to mix our wasabi in with the soy sauce in the small white dish.
The Funky Roll and Playboy Roll 
The funky roll included the following: cucumber, crab, avocado, rice, seaweed, topped with eel tempura and a couple sauces.  As for the playboy roll, it included the following: shrimp tempura, cucumber avocado, rice, and seaweed topped with raw tuna, spicy mayo, unagi sauce and tobiko.
Chocolate Trilogy
What a beautiful edible master piece! It has three layers chocolate genoise, white milk chocolate, and dark chocolate mousse, with dark chocolate shavings, three sauces, and powdered sugar!  Oh, what a delicious treat!  We died and went to heaven!  There was a serious party going on in our mouths!  To our surprise, it was not too rich.  It was very fluffy and tasty!  We are total Shoga fans and cannot wait to go back again to try something new on the menu!  We give it 5 stars!  We left the place feeling satisfied and not over full.  This place is by far better than Happy Sumo and Sushi Ya!

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Visit with Grandpa Coleman Cape Cod Trip, 2011

Last year after several of weeks of not feeling himself and tired, my Grandfather was diagnosed with acute leukemia.  It was a terrible shock for all of us because that was the same disease that took my sweet Grandmother in 1979.  Due to his old age, he decided to not fight the cancer with radiation and chemo.  He was afraid the treatments would kill him.  Luckily, he has been doing well the first several month after being diagnosed due to his healthy life style of eating well and exercising.  A few months ago, the cancer showed its ugly face by wiping out a lot of energy from him.  At the age of 85, he finally retired from his job as a radio engineer for a Classical radio station on Cape Cod and volunteered citizen police officer.  He has a hospice nurse who checks on him regularly. He is getting by with blood transfusions every couple weeks as needed. Thankfully, the blood transfusions have been working for him and it has been several weeks since his last one.  He has been able to do some gardening, some small projects around the house, work a couple hours at the radio station, etc.  He is taking life one day at a time by making the best of it.   
My Grandpa with some old radio equipment downstairs.
A couple weeks ago my brother and I bought some last minute airline tickets to Boston, Massachusetts August 2-6, 2011.  My sister Karen was not able to come this year.  It was a  very quick trip not long enough for all of us but we didn't want to overwhelm him and my step Grandmother.   We wanted to purchase our tickets months ago, but we were advised by our Grandfather not too in case his health got worse.  More importantly, we all didn't know what to expect since he isn't aggressively fighting the cancer.  Since my grandfather is dying, we felt it was important to see him this summer.  I cannot imagine the guilt and grief that I would feel if he died without me seeing him this year.   It has been over five years since I last saw my grandfather and I am not close to him as I would like to be.  The distance in miles between us has made it difficult, but I have cherished my memories spent with him while visiting him on the Cape when I was a young girl, teen, and adult.  He came out to see us when we were kids occasionally too but I was sad we didn't live close by each other.  Over the years, we kept in touch by sending cards, letters, and phone calls.  
My girly girls and me! Big Sister is getting very tall!
Ready Set Go! On our way to the airport!
Nate and me at the airport ready to check in.
~My Journal Entries: My Summer 2011 Cape Cod Trip~ 
Goals: Eat fresh fish every day and spend quality time with Grandpa and Grandma!
Wednesday August 3, 2011 
We made it to Boston around 9:00 a.m. At the airport, I bought myself a ladies brown and pink Boston Red Sox cap and my daughters Red Sox t-shirts .  We were shuttled by bus from the airport to our rental car agency (National).  On the way down to the Cape, we stopped to see the Scituate Lighthouse, which is located on a very rocky shoreline.  The stones were very scared there and we were not allowed to take one as a keepsake. What a beautiful harbor and shoreline in Scituate!
Rocky Shoreline near the Scituate Lighthouse
 Scituate Lighthouse, 1636

   Next, we went to Plymouth for lunch at Cafe Nicole.  The view from this Cafe was breathtaking!  We could see Plymouth Harbor!  I ate calm chowder, fries, and a haddock sandwich.

 New England Clam Chowder and Haddock Sandwich
  To our surprise, we got a $15.00 parking ticket because we forgot to pay the meter, duh.  Good grief, I had at least $5.00 in change!!!  That was a terrible mistake due to lack of sleep and jet lagged from the airplane...  We learned our lesson the hard way, GRRR!  Finally, we made it to Marshton Mills later in the afternoon to see my Gramps and Grams Coleman.  We took our stuff upstairs and talked outside on the patio deck for a couple hours.  Then my grandparents took us all out for dinner at Wimpy's Sea Food Cafe and Fish Market in Osterville, MA.  I tried swordfish with capers for the first time and absolutely loved it!  I also had ginger al, dinner salad, rolls, baked potato, and squash.
Picture from ---->Wimpy's Seafood Cafe
 On the way home, we stopped by 1856 Country Store.  There are several cute souvenirs, decorations, gifts, books, candy, etc at the shop.  My father informed me that he and my mother lived in the apartment above that store many years ago.  
1856 Country Store
We all went to bed early that night since Nate and I were running on no sleep or nap due to traveling and sightseeing.
Thursday August 4, 2011
We woke up to the incredible smell of homemade blueberry pancakes, orange juice, coffee (for my brother and grandpa) and sausage for breakfast!  Nate and I visited with our Grandpa and Grandma for awhile.  We left the house around 11:00 a.m.   Today we spent most the day in Hyannis, Massachusetts.  We went shopping on Main Street. There is a lot to see and do on Main Street, Hyannis!
Main Street, Hyannis 
There are rides for kids, modern art, a large Cape Cod beach chair, several shops, many restaurants, a church, and live entertainment.  What a quaint place to hang out for a couple hours!    I bought some sea shells , a beach tot bag, a salmon pink Cape Cod jacket, some popular nautical postcard and print by Robert Edward Kennedy at Kennedy Gallery, and small souvenirs. As for lunch, we went to an Irish"rustic shire" restaurant called Common Ground Cafe.  The place was absolutely enchanting with handmade wood decorations!  I felt like we were in the middle of a forest among hobbits!  I ordered a fresh tuna wrap sandwich, chips, and bottled water.  They make an amazing homemade dressing  as a dip for chips or spreading on sandwiches/wraps.
  Afterwards, we went to Craigville Beach.  I was able to change my clothes at an old bathhouse.  The ocean water was extremely warm and the beach was filled with sea shells and grainy sand.  We enjoyed swimming and sitting on our towels soaking up the sun.  There were a couple snack shacks across the street.  Nate got a very yucky Coke there (fountain that was maybe expired).  Since my brother is a sales man for Coke, he knows the difference between the taste of fresh and expired product!
Craigville Beach
  We went home around 5:30 p.m.  Grams made homemade chicken pot pie, baby peas, a berry/pineapple yogurt salad, and cranberry sauce.  My grandmother spoiled us with her homemade hot fudge sauce over peppermint ice cream.  We spent the rest of the evening visiting with Gramps and Grams until around 10:30 p.m.  I enjoyed listening to stories about my Grandpa.  Several years ago, he worked with the Boston Pops and met many jazz singers.  He worked for a recording studio in Boston.  He showed us his awesome man cave in the basement!  He has a lot of cool toys such as vintage radio equipment, artifacts from the civil war time period, as well as several original paintings by my great grandfather.

Friday August 5, 2011
We had a light breakfast today cereal, English muffins, jam, and juice.  Nate and I  had a long day planned.  We decided to check out some more lighthouses and hang out at the beach.  Nate is extremely fascinated by the beauty of lighthouses in fact he has a book that contains the location and photographs of all the lighthouses in Massachusetts.  We drove south to Eastham, Cape Cod.  We saw Three Sisters Lighthouses as well as Nauset Lighthouse.  
 Three Sister's Lighthouses, 1838.
Nauset Lighthouse, 1923 was a twin lighthouse transferred from Chatham.
Next, we ate lunch in Orleans, MA at Lobster Claw.  We shared a plate of fried calamari for an appetizer. As for my main dish, I ordered fried lobster, fries, and coleslaw. We loved the restaurant!  The service and food was excellent!  
The Lobster Claw (Postcard)
We drove to Chatham, Cape Cod to see the Chatham Lighthouse.  What a gorgeous beach!  The water was so blue and the sand was white!  To our surprise, most of the beaches there were for locals only that required stickers (for parking) and there was no public parking near the beach we wanted to hang out at... 
Chatham Lighthouse and Beach
 So we continued our journey to find another beach near the coast.  Along the way, we stopped at the old Eastham Windmill off 6A.
Eastham Windmill 
Then proceeded down the road to First Encounter Beach in Eastham. According to history, First Encounter Beach is where the pilgrims first met the native Indians.  The pilgrims stopped at Provincetown, then Eastham, and afterwards they headed towards Plymouth, MA where they settled in 1620.   Anyway, it was high tide during that time of the day at the beach.  There were a lot of sand dunes which were prohibited to walk on.  I recall the sand was rocky.  The water was extremely warm like Craigville Beach.  Most beaches have very cold water and we were lucky to swim in two warm ones during our trip, Yay! 
We headed back home around 5:00 p.m.  Grams made a dinner reservation at Amari Bar and Ristorante in East Sandwich.  The authentic Italian food was magnificent.  I ordered shrimp scampi while Nate got shrimp parmigiana.  We had tons of left overs for the next day!
 After dinner, we drove out to Sandy Neck Beach.  Nate and I walked on the beach for a few minutes enjoying the sunset.  Sandy Neck Beach is extremely rocky compared to the other beaches.  It is also cold to swim in, although it is a beautiful beach to sit and listen to the waves.  There are beautiful sand dunes there too. 
 When we got home, we ate some lemon cake, played a game of Phase Ten, and talked way past my grandparent's bed time! 
Saturday August 6, 2011-August 7, 2011
This morning, we packed up our things and spent some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa Coleman.  We had blueberry muffins and juice for breakfast.  Before we left, we had some of our leftover food from Amari Bar and Ristorante and took many pictures on the backyard deck of my Grandfather's home.  I cannot believe how quickly our trip came to an end!  It was so hard to say good bye!  My grandfather truly appreciated the time we spent with him and Grams. We sure hope and pray he can be around for a while.   
If there is another "next time" on the Cape in the future we would like to extend our trip another day or two. Travelling home was brutal!  We saw another windmill on our way to Boston. We returned our car around 1:45 p.m.  
We bought some last minute RED SOX stuff at the airport and were off to New York City around 4:00 p.m.  Since we had a couple hours until our next flight, we ate dinner at a Sports Bar and Grill.  We were able to watch the Red Sox versus Yankees at the airport restaurant.  The Red Sox won that night 10-4, Woohoo!  We proudly wore our Red Sox caps in the New York airport and boy did we get the glares!  For dessert, I got some Ben and Jerry's sweet cookie and cream ice cream!  Our next flight was so messed up in New York.  We had no seats assigned to us luckily we were able the get the LAST minute row seats at the ticket counter since it was a FULL flight.  
No surprise we were delayed, ugh!  
Our gate changed on us three times.  Our "plane" was taken twice by other flights.  There were mechanical problems with the third plane.  So around 9:00 p.m. we boarded a plane from Boston and sat on the runway for ONE HOUR!  I need to remind myself to avoid the JFK Airport next time.  Every time we fly from there we were always delayed due to the heavy airplane traffic. So the captain on our flight home to Utah allowed us to watch free movies and Nate got free cocktails. I slept a little, watched some TV, and listened to my iPod.  My husband John and daughters greeted us around 1:20 a.m. near the Jet Blue pick up parking.   I went to bed around 3:00 a.m.  I was extremely jet lagged for a day and half later.   Overall, we had a fantastic time!  We saw many lighthouses, beaches, and windmills! We ate delicious sea food and Granny's home cooked meals! We went swimming and shopping.  Lastly, best of all we made some wonderful memories with our Grandfather and Grandmother Coleman.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sausage and Vegetable Lasagna

Since we have an abundance of zucchini, squash, and onions from our lovely box garden, John and I came up with a tasty white lasagna!

Sausage and Vegetable Lasagna
1 (16 ounce) package of lasagna noodles, cooked and drained. 
1 pound of mild sausage, cooked
Italian Season (desired amount based on your preference)
1 large white onion, diced
1 medium-large squash
1 medium-large zucchini
3 medium carrots peeled and sliced
2 (16 ounce) Ragu Alfredo Sauce 
1 (24 ounce) cottage cheese
1 (8 ounce) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (8ounce) shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a large frying pan, cook sausage, diced onions adding Italian Season on medium high heat. Drain meat mixture and set aside. Boil the lasagna noodles in a large pot following the directions on the box.  Stir fry chopped squash, zucchini, and carrots in a large frying pan for a few minutes.  In a large bowl add Alfredo sauce, cottage cheese, sausage, and vegetables. Spray cooking butter on the bottom of the baking dish.   In a 10X15 pan, layer lasagna noodles, meat/veggie mixture, and top with cheeses.  Repeat until desired amount of layers.  Top with cheese and bread crumbs.  Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool before serving!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Our First Box Garden

Around spring time, we decided to build our first box garden.  We bought four cubic yards of dirt, which I hauled half of it from the front of the street with a wheeler barrow to the backyard ALL by myself!!! Gooooo me, right?!  John had to work after it got delivered to our house.  It took me all day and boy was I sore afterwards!  What a serious workout!
Box Garden Before/After, May 2011

 We planted a lot of starter plants such as tomatoes, cucumber, squash, zucchini, watermelon, onions, basil, chalets, green onion, green peppers, cabbage, strawberries, and broccoli.   From seeds, we planted green beans, peas, yellow tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, parsley, chives, cilantro, and radishes.  So far, we had some bad luck with parsnips and the watermelon everything else is thriving well.  We planted green beans in place of the parsnips!  The watermelon has a couple tiny green leaves that are not getting very big.  The girls have been very helpful in watering and weeding.
 June 2011
Leftover Scraps Project!
With some small pieces of wood, John was able to construct a small planter box for me.  He used some logs for the base.  I bought a couple flowers from  Walmart.  It is a little wobbly and it blow over from a serious summer rain storm, but I think it is cute!
 July 2011
In the long box on the left are cherry tomato plant, two rows of beans, one squash, one zucchini, and few pea plants.  Back box on the right contains two rows of radishes and one watermelon plant in the middle.
As for the front box on the right, it has strawberry plants, herbs, and yellow tomato plants.
Yes, we need to weed around the box garden...  In this long box, we have in the back two rows of onions, some chalets, and a green onion plant.  In the middle, are two tomato plants, four cabbage plants, one cucumber plant, and hidden pepper plants! In the front of the box there are two types of carrots growing.  
We have already picked some radishes, chalets, cabbage leaves, zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, baby carrots, and squash!  It has been a lot of fun learning how to garden and I have been impressed with our efforts so far!