Saturday, November 29, 2014

There is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS Something to be Thankful For!

I have always considered myself to be the luckiest girl ever.
This year really tested my ability to find my blessings some days.
But I know that even on the worst days, 
there is always, always, always something to be thankful for!

It became kind of like a game sometimes, to find that something.
On days when I couldn't get out of bed, I could be thankful I had a bed.
Thankful I was alive, thankful my family was there, 
thankful for the beautiful view out my window.

I am not perfect at it, but I have become more thankful.
And it's easier for me to see the blessings in my life and in other's lives too!
Can you imagine how joyful our world could be 
if we all focused on our blessings instead of our trials??

Brighten your corner of the world by playing the thankful game!
You will make a difference and inspire others to do the same.
You are more powerful than you know!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Power Crunch: The Genius Behind Protein!

This week I had the opportunity to visit the Southern California headquarters for Power Crunch!
I had never heard of this company and was intrigued as I have become an on-the-go mommy
needing to grab something quick for a meal between work,
 driving kids around and endless doctor appointments!

Power Crunch founder Kevin Lawrence explained his vision born from his own experience 
with his newborn son who could not digest breastmilk or formula and became very sick.
Kevin developed a protein formula so gentle that his infant son could digest it and saved his life!

This formula is the basis for all Power Crunch products.
It is gentle to the system so you get all the protein benefits without gas and bloating!
Check out the Power Crunch website for more about the science behind it.

The Proto Whey Protein Powder comes in four different flavors:
Double Chocolate
Vanilla Creme
Cafe Mocha
Cookies and Cream

I love this powder because it is protein power punch with 20 grams of protein and only 5 grams of sugar!
I like this because I find that a lot of "health foods" have way too much sugar,
negating the benefit of the other healthy ingredients.
I also love that the Proto Whey is best mixed with water!
I love dairy but I know it's not that great for me, and I try to limit it.

This product is also great for cancer patients who are having trouble getting the nutrition they need.
Gentle on the stomach and full of nutrients, I wish I had this when I went through chemo!
I'm excited to share it with my cancer friends now!

The Power Crunch bars are a great on-the-go treat to keep you satisfied with several flavor options!
I sampled a few tasty options and am excited for the new Salted Caramel coming in January 2015!

There are also mini bars and protein beverages!
My daughter has been sneaking them out of my bag!
I love that they are safe for the whole family!

Power Crunch is truly the genius of protein!
It's smart protein!
I love these products, but even more important I love this company!

For more information, check out Power Crunch online!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Guest Post: Greek Lemon Potatoes by Engineer Mommy

I'm excited today to introduce you to Jennifer from Engineer Mommy!
She has a tasty dinner dish to share with us that I can't wait to try!

Hey, everyone! My name is Jennifer and I blog over at Engineer Mommy
I am so thrilled to be over here at Polkadots on Parade today!
 Jaime is such an incredibly talented woman and I am honored that she has invited me 
to share this easy recipe for Greek Lemon Potatoes with you today!

I am always on the lookout for easy, delicious recipes to feed my family. 
With a 3 year old and a 15 month old occupying my every moment, 
I am usually short on time - there will be no marathon cooking sessions in my kitchen anytime soon! 
I need recipes that require minimal prep time while still producing flavorful, healthy meals. 
And these Greek Lemon Potatoes deliver just that! 

Preparing these potatoes requires combining some ingredients 
and popping them in the oven for about an hour, 
during which time I can concentrate on far more important tasks - 
you know, like building a sand castle or playing "tag" with the kiddos! :)

My kids are picky eaters, and even they cannot get enough of these Greek Lemon Potatoes. 
Bursting with the delicious flavors of lemon & garlic, 
these potatoes are sure to become a favorite side dish in your house, as they have in mine. 
Plus, they're so versatile, they will complement any entrĂ©e you may be serving: chicken, beef, fish, etc. 
Just make sure you have enough on hand - people will likely want second servings!
Let's get to the recipe now, shall we?

Greek Lemon Potatoes

Greek Lemon Potatoes


3 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup chicken broth

Greek Lemon Potatoes Ingredients

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine all the ingredients in a large baking dish 
and toss the potatoes to ensure that they are fully coated by the sauce.
Bake for 1 hour, turning the potatoes once halfway through the cooking time.
Optional: For crispier edges and more color on the potatoes,
 preheat the broiler and broil the potatoes for an additional 5-10 minutes until they are golden brown.

Greek Lemon Potatoes

I've made this a few times beforehand so I can tell you that the chicken broth is essential - 
it infuses a rich flavor into the potatoes and keeps them moist. 
Also, even though it's not necessary, I always place these in the broiler afterward. 
It only takes an extra 5-10 minutes, but it really imparts a lovely color and crispness to the finished product!

Greek Lemon Potatoes

It has been a pleasure sharing this with you all today! 
If you'd like to see what else I've been up to recently, 
feel free to check out some of my easy DIY tutorials
some fun kids' crafts, and some other delicious recipes!
 Thanks again, Jaime, for having me!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Winds of Change

This year has been one of many changes for our family.

A year ago our life looked something like this:
Every morning we would sleep in til 8 or so until the children went off to get breakfast.
 I stayed in my bed until 9 when we started school in our pajamas
 and stayed in them until right before Daddy came home 
when I showered and changed into clean pajamas.
My wardrobe consisted of church clothes and pajamas, with a couple every day outfits.

We left the house maybe once or twice a week for groceries or some other random errand.
We went to the doctor every couple of years when we got too sick.
We mocked those people running around crazy with school schedules.
Our life was simple and relaxed, and relatively easy.

And then bit by bit, our simple life changed.

We started school, as independent study students at a charter school.
We started going a couple days a week, and now our children are there full-time, 
with me working as the librarian.

Cancer came on the scene, and our years of infrequent doctor visits were a thing of the past.
We were at the doctor multiple times a week, 
filling more prescriptions than I've had my whole life.

We are up every morning and out the door fully dressed with no idea when we'll be home again.
My wardrobe has evened out and my pajamas don't dominate the drawers anymore.
I have makeup on everyday.
My hair has gone from long to short.
And my world is bigger and more satisfying because of all the people I have come to know.

When I read this quote recently, it rang so true for me.
I have watched people fight the changes in their lives and it has made them sad.

I promise that if you will have the faith to build a windmill,
you can harness the power of the winds of change in your life
and use them to move you forward to a bigger and better destiny!

I know because this year we have been blown, but not blown about,
as we have embraced our new reality and rejoiced in the blessings of change.


Friday, November 14, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train and Christmas Tree!

One of our favorite Christmas memories 
is visiting the Irvine Park Railroad at Christmastime!

The park is transformed into a twinkling winter wonderland
 with Christmas trees and lights everywhere!

The train is decorated as well!
You can buy your tickets and climb aboard 
for a magical ride to see Santa!

The kids were so excited to sit with Santa 
and tell him all their Christmas wishes!
Santa has a photographer to capture your kids' happy faces
or bring your own camera!

Besides the Christmas train, there are other fun activities!

- Decorate Christmas Cookies
- Enjoy storytime with Mrs. Claus
- Play Carnival Games
- Go Ice Fishing
- Jump in Santa's Bounce House
- Color a Christmas Picture

And this year you can visit the Christmas Tree Ranch 
next to the Irvine Park Railroad train station
and choose the perfect tree for your home 
from their selection of Douglas, Grand and Noble Firs
 ranging in size from 4 to 12 feet tall!

The Christmas Train and activity tickets are on sale now for the dates listed below!

Christmas Train Dates
Christmas Train Hours
Christmas Train Activities
November 28th and 29th
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Activities open at 10:00 am.
November 30th
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Activities open at 10:00 am.
December 5th - 6th
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Activities open at 4:00 pm.
December 7th
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Activities open at 4:00 pm.
December 12th
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Activities open at 3:00 pm.
December 13th and 14th
2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Activities open at 10:00 am.
December 15th through 19th
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Activities open at 3:00 pm.
December 20th and 21st
2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Activities open at 10:00 am.
December 22nd and 23rd
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Activities open at 3:00 pm.

And now for the best part!
I have tickets for you and a Christmas tree!

Here's what you can win!

- 4 Christmas Train tickets
- 6 Christmas Train activity tickets
- 1 Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park bike rental (excludes the double surrey)
- 1 Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park paddle boat rental 
- 1 Christmas Tree valued up to $75


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Farrell's Veterans Day All American Red, White and Blue Thank You Sundae!

We kicked off this Veteran's Day weekend with a trip to Farrell's
to try their Red, White and Blue Thank You Sundae!

With two scoops of vanilla ice cream, blueberry compote, 
strawberry syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry on top,
this is the most delicious way to celebrate Veteran's Day!

Farrell's would like to treat every veteran and current military personnel 
to a FREE Thank You Sundae for their service to our country!

Acceptable ID's include a U.S. Uniform Services ID Card (active/reserve/retired), 
Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), 
Photograph of yourself in uniform, 
Veterans Organizations Card (e.g., American Legion and VFW), 
DD214 or discharge paperwork. 
One free sundae per person for the weekend and no sharing.
 Unless, of course, it’s with another Veteran or active military man or woman. 

Non-military personnel may also purchase the sundae for $7.76.
Get one and have a conversation with your family 
about how much we appreciate our veterans!

Happy Veteran's Day!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Knott's Merry Farm - Southern California's Holiday Tradition!

In just 2 weeks, Knott's Berry Farm will be transformed 
into a winter wonderland for Knott's Merry Farm!

My family is excited to check out all the food, fun and shows 
available from November 22nd - January 4, 2015.

Here are a few of our favorites!

Come ride Engine 41 with all the fun Ghost Town characters dressed up for the season
and eager to share Christmas songs with their guests!

Listen to the sounds of the season from groups all over the park, including a Dickens quartet!

At Santa's Christmas Cabin, you can take your picture with Santa and taste some holiday treats!
The Knott's bakers have specialties in store, such as gingerbread men, fresh maple lollipops,
a hot fudge sundae bar and specialty drinks!

We love the shows on Calico Stage and the Charles M. Schulz Theatre.
I can't wait to see the brand new ice show, Merry Christmas Snoopy!

Those Peanuts characters are so cute all dressed up for the season!
I can't wait to give them a squeeze and capture some memories
with my family at Knott's Merry Farm!

And if you're planning a trip to Knott's Merry Farm, 
you might want to think about a 2015 Knott's Season Pass!

We're surprising our kids with passes this Christmas
and I can hardly wait to see their excited faces and hear them squeal 
when they realize we can go see Snoopy whenever we want!

With one free visit in 2014, the new dining plan, and an easy payment plan,
the 2015 Knott's Season Pass was an easy sell for me!
Get yours too and we'll go play at Knott's together in 2015!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

All About That Bass Printable

One of my greatest joys is music!
I love a great melody or beat and always sing it loud!

All About That Bass is a great song with a catchy tune and fun lyrics.
(There are a couple parts where I turn the radio down when my kids are in the car!)

Download 8x10 HERE
Download Notecard size HERE

I've taken the core message of the song and made it into a printable!
You can put it on your wall, on your kids' wall,
or take the notecard size and mail it to a friend 
who might need a little encouragement!

Whatever you do, remember...
Every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top!



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