Author Archives: slapdash

Berry Citrus Scones

#berries #scones #breakfast #baking

Guys. THESE SCONES. I tried to come up with an appropriate title to convey how much I love them. “Best Scones Ever” seems hyperbolic.  “Crumbly hunks of butter and berries” doesn’t sound appetizing. “What I Make for Breakfast Anytime I Have Overnight Guests” wouldn’t look cute on a pinable image. So “Berry Citrus Scones” it is.

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5 Tips for Smoother Summer Outings with Kids!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishInNoTime #SnackWithPurpose #CollectiveBias
#shop #cbias #nourishinnotime #snackwithpurpose #odwalla
We’ve been waiting for you, summertime! Even though my kids are little and we don’t have to adhere to a school-year schedule yet, there’s something magical about this time of year. We love to play hard and take advantage of everything that our beautiful corner of the world has to offer, but this is my first “real” year doing summer fun with two kids (last year P was a newborn and so we were sort of in hibernation for a good part of June and July) and getting the hang of getting out of the house is still tricky. Not to mention keeping everyone happy and safe for more than fifteen minutes wherever we choose to actually go. It’s not an easy feat! No wonder sticking in our backyard and running through the sprinkler looks pretty alluring.

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Nursing-Friendly Dress Roundup!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Utah in the summertime is HOT for this Alaskan transplant! As much as I love a good pair of mom shorts, dresses are probably my favorite option for looking cute while still staying cool. However, as I discovered last summer, dresses are not always compatible with breastfeeding! Ella was born at the beginning of October, and we didn’t make it too terribly long with nursing, so my wardrobe options weren’t really limited as we approached the next summer. P, however, was born May 31st and, being the world’s biggest mama’s girl is every way possible, is still going strong with nursing a year later. Which, I mean, I’m grateful for, but I’ve been wearing the same three outfits to church for the past year as a result!

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Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know if I’m cursed, or what, but this past week has just been a flop as far as cooking is concerned. Things got off on the wrong foot when the massaman curry paste I ordered from Amazon failed to show up (it eventually did, like four days late, with a crack in the bottom of the jar. Thanks a lot Prime!) and I had to scramble to figure out a meal to replace that one I had planned. Then I tried a new copycat recipe for Cafe Rio pork that just ended up tasting like enchilada sauce with a bunch of brown sugar mixed into it.

I made cinnamon rolls on Saturday but didn’t realize that the ones in the middle were totally under-cooked until AFTER I frosted them and they couldn’t be popped back into the oven. Rookie mistake! I know these are major first-world problems, but I’m a girl who lives for food! Nothing is more disappointing than wasting time and ingredients on a recipe that doesn’t turn out.

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Reading and Cooking with the Kitchen Club Kids!

*I was gifted copies of these books as compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.

Dave and I both love cooking and helping in the kitchen is one of the *few* chores that Ella is thus far interested in. She LOVES cooking with us (which, regardless of what we are making, mostly involves her self-assigned task of spooning teaspoons full of baking soda into a bowl or cup, or eating the ingredients as pictured above). So when one of the authors of the adorable Kitchen Club Kids series contacted me and asked if I would be interested in sharing their books with Ella, I jumped at the chance. And trust me, they have quickly become a staple in our house!

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Penelope’s Birth Story

Five months after the fact….I’m finally getting around to writing down Penny’s birth story! Honestly, neither of my girls have the most dramatic or noteworthy entries into this world–I mean, they are obviously precious stories to ME–but, I feel like everyone likes to hear about the day they were born, so it’s worth documenting for posterity’s sake. I also love reading other peoples’ birth stories so on the extremely slight chance that this overly-detailed account will be entertaining to someone….here we go!

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Dry Skin Drama–Restored Body Butter to the Rescue!

Hi everyone! Ok, I know it’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged. What can I say, fall, a new school schedule, the holiday season, and a few other changes in our routine totally got to me and I was swamped. But I’m back, and hoping I will get back in the blogging swing of things starting today 🙂

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So it’s November, which is one of my favorite months. Like everyone else, according to my Instagram feed, I love fall and all of the holidays, beautiful foliage, and fun activities that come with it. BUT, we live in Utah. Utah is basically the driest place on the planet (ok, maybe not but I did verify that it’s the second-driest state after Nevada) and so when cold weather starts to hit, our skin suffers. Not just mine, but Ella’s and Dave’s as well. Growing up in Alaska, the long, cold winters were pretty hard on my skin. I think I permanently damaged my hands from blasting the heater in my little Honda on the way to school in the morning, and sticking my frozen little mitts right up on the heat. I would have chapped, cracked hands for months (super attractive when you’re an already-self-conscious teenager), but life in the dessert is its own beast, as I’ve learned, and if I’m not careful I’m an itchy mess by April. When it comes to winter, I NEED something that works and doesn’t have to be reapplied 50 times a day, because who has the patience for that?

Therefore, when Tiffany at Restored Natural Body Care offered to send me some of her body butter, I jumped at the chance to try it out! I’ve tried plenty of body butters before, but this one immediately stood out because of how natural it smelled and felt. Restored products are free of the 3P’s: preservatives, parabens, or phthalates. The majority of the products are organic and there isn’t a huge long laundry list of ingredients. The philosophy is that you don’t need a huge list of ingredients and preservatives for something to be effective! Just choose simple, natural ingredients that work, like shea butter and coconut oil.

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I tried the Lemon Fresca Body Butter which smells amazing! I love that this product is scented with essential oils. It smells fresh and invigorating. The butter is whipped, so it’s nice and light, but a little goes a long way! The texture is a little greasy, just because the product is oil-based to avoid the need for preservatives, but it soaks into skin very quickly. In fact, that is wayyyyyy less greasy than more mainstream brands that I’ve used for years, like Aquaphor.

Another aspect of this company is the fact that Tiffany owns and operates it on her own! Everything is mixed, packaged, and shipped by her and her alone. Her story about how she gained interest in skin care is really cool, too. And she donates 5% of all sales to local nonprofits. Pretty cool.

If you are interested in checking out any of Restored Natural Body Care’s products, you can use the code SLAPTHANKS for 20% off all orders until December 2nd. So if you’re in the market for some new winter skincare (she’s got a line of lip balms and scrubs as well), or you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift, consider supporting a small business!

*I was compensated with product to review for this post. All opinions and thoughts are mine. Thanks!

Twice a Month Grocery Shopping: First Month’s Results

Last month I wrote a post about my new aspirations for grocery shopping less, utilizing more of what was already in our house, and hopefully saving time and money in the process. Here‘s the original post if you missed it!

So, a month in, I’m really pleasantly surprised with how not-overwhelming and cost-efficient it is to only grocery shop twice a month! As I mentioned before, I was previously spending about $70-80 on my “main” shopping trip each week, and then usually around $10-20 on little side trips throughout the week to get something we were out of, or something we were craving. In the three times I’ve shopped for two weeks at a time, I’ve spent between $100-$120 and so I’m really happy with that! I feel like meal planning for two weeks at a time has helped me notice bad patterns in our eating that might not be as noticeable if I were to just kind of fly by the seat of my pants. We also just naturally buy less junk food, because, let’s be honest, you’re probably going to buy one or two not-so-great things each time you do a bigger shopping trip, but if I’m only doing a larger haul twice a month that’s not soooooo bad, right? Girl’s gotta have her candy.

Full disclosure though, I haven’t been perfect at not running to the store for other things. For example, we got together with some friends for dinner spur-of-the-moment once, and I definitely ran to buy the ingredients for that. And we ran out of eggs last week and I totally bought more because we use those constantly. So I’m figuring it out and it’s a work in progress! 🙂

I also just have a general sense of satisfaction over wasting less food. I just read that the average American family wastes $1365-$2275 annually on uneaten, spoiled food–and based on our family’s past habits, I’d believe it! Not to mention it puts a strain on environmental resources. I’ve definitely noticed that over the last month, I’ve become better at using what we already have in the fridge, even if it’s not what I necessarily want right then. So yeah, the last few days before I shop aren’t the biggest party (not that we are going hungry….I am reasonable…..but, like, if I want bagels I don’t go buy a dozen bagels right then. Even though I really want to).

Shopping also doesn’t take as long as I would have thought–even though I’m buying food for double the length of time, it doesn’t take twice as long to shop. Still, I’d recommend leaving small children at home if at all possible….this is what happened the last time I took Ella with me:

Car-cart abandoned promptly when we discovered it contained no restraining device.

So it goes without saying that I LOVE not having to drag her to the store as often! Saturday is usually my shopping day, and it’s great to wake up every other Saturday and not dread dragging her through the busy aisles (as I’m typing this I’m wondering why I don’t switch to another day?….).

The very hardest part of this system is the meal planning! It just seems like such a daunting task and figuring out what’s for dinner is always such a chore–I love cooking, and I don’t really mind shopping, but planning is a pain. It’s just that nothing sounds good, and I get bored of the same meals over and over, so I definitely take a while figuring out what we are going to be eating for the next two weeks. I set aside time after Ella has gone to bed, get the laptop (for Pinterest, duh) and my cookbooks, and just go to town browsing. I try to avoid too many of the same kind of meat for dinner (like, not all beef dishes, or chicken, etc.) as well as a few meatless things. My all-time favorite recipe site is Mel’s Kitchen Cafe–seriously I don’t think I’ve ever tried a dish I haven’t liked! And, the Paprika app is the best for saving recipes that I love and will make again.

For lunches we usually just do sandwiches, leftovers, or pasta, and breakfast is usually cereal, toast, or scrambled eggs unless I’m feeling fancy, so that part is pretty easy to plan for. We usually do Costco once a month and I get the requisite Cheez-its, dried fruit, and fruit snacks for her royal tiny highness.

So, I hope this little report has been helpful! To sum it up, yes, shopping less frequently definitely takes some more effort and discipline but it’s awesome to not have to deal with it as often, and it’s saving us money and sanity!

Making the Sabbath a Delight….with a Toddler

 
Most of you who read this blog probably know that I am a member of the LDS church. We believe in the commandment that the Lord gave in the Old Testament to keep the Sabbath day holy (as many religions do), and set Sunday aside as a day of worship and rest, and a day dedicated to doing activities that will bring us closer to God. In return, we are promised that we will be blessed:
 
I believe He wanted us to understand that the Sabbath was His gift to us, granting real respite from the rigors of daily life and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal. God gave us this special day, not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty, with physical and spiritual relief.–Elder Russel M. Nelson
 
But to be totally honest, in spite of how they should be, Sundays have not exactly been my favorite day of the week since I had Ella. It just didn’t really fully sink until she was born that, when you’re a parent, there aren’t any days off! While the Sabbath used to truly be a break–from school, work, and other activities that I was participating in–with time for learning at church, personal study, contemplation, spending time with loved ones, resting, etc., now it’s a little nuts.
 
What I wish was a reflective, peaceful day is usually comprised of: trying to get to church on time (when Dave and I both sometimes have assignments for our callings that take us away from home before our meetings), wrangling Ella and trying to get her to be somewhat reverent at church (aka shoving fruit snacks at her and hissing empty threats),  missing naptime (we have church from 1-4 this year–LDS congregations rotate meeting at different times annually), and trying to keep Ella happy and entertained all morning when we aren’t really doing our normal routine. Needless to say, we are all a little frazzled and out of sorts by the time the day is over. If you have young kids, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, because I’m sure it’s similar for you too (if not way harder depending on your circumstances–I mean, we only have one kid!)!
 
If I sound like a big fat whiner, it’s because I have been. I’ve truly had a terrible attitude toward Sunday for the past little while, and sadly, I’ve sort of just accepted that it would be a stressful, frustrating, chaotic day while I have young kids, and I’ve been going through the motions rather than really consciously dedicating my day to the Lord.  In the talk that I quoted above (read the whole thing, it’s really good!), Elder Nelson quoted this scripture:
 
“And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, … the fulness of the earth is yours.”–D&C 59:9-16
 
What an amazing blessing we are promised if we use our Sunday to rededicate ourselves to our Father in Heaven–and view it with gratitude instead of as just a day where our baby’s routines get thrown off. 🙂 So, like President Hinckley once said, I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better.
 
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
 
1. Prepare
 
What’s the old saying? If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail? While that’s usually reserved for those pseudo-inspiring posters in school hallways I think it has some application here. If I really want Sunday to go smoothly and be a day of rest and renewal, I need to work harder to get ready for it. Things like planning dinner, making sure church assignments like lessons and talks are taken care of before Sunday morning, and even getting the diaper bag packed so Dave doesn’t have to get it pulled together if I’m gone in the morning. Plus, then we will have more time in the morning for constructive family activities, rather than scrambling to get out the door in one piece. Getting enough sleep is a huge one too! Since we started having church at one, I am totally guilty of thinking, “Oh, we can stay up late tonight because we can sleep in tomorrow.” Well, with alarm-clock Ella that doesn’t really happen, so then I’m tried and grumpy, and not really in a good frame of mind to get a lot out of church!
 
2. Communicate
 
This kind of goes along with preparing. If Dave and I both have responsibilities for our calling, home or visiting teaching appointments, and family plans (his parents Facetime from their mission and my sisters come over for dinner quite often) we need to talk that through and make sure we know who needs the car at what time and where Ella is going to be. Just talking through our plans and responsibilities for the day goes a long way.
 
3. Learn to say no
 
Reading through this, I’m realizing that I sometimes overextend ourselves on Sunday. Therefore, I don’t really make it a day for strengthening my relationship with Heavenly Father, as much as a day to get any church-related responsibility accomplished, or making plans with loved ones.  While there definitely is room for those things on Sundays, I think I could be better at saying no sometimes. Often home and visiting teachers want to come by, or people want to schedule presidency meetings, and I always feel bad saying that another day would work better for us because I want to be accommodating. But I am realizing that crowding Sunday with too much is the fastest way for me to resent it instead of it being a day I look forward to, and pretty soon there is no time for the quiet time that I think should take place.
 
4. Embrace reality
 
Like I said above, before we had Ella, there used to be a lot more time on the Sabbath for relaxing, reading General Conference talks, writing in our journals, etc. As nice as those things are, and while I think we can still find time for them, the reality of our lives right now is that we have a toddler and she doesn’t really care what day of the week it is, and she needs to be fed, entertained, and cleaned up after–that’s just life 🙂 And, we need to think about how we can use this day off from school and work to teach her about the gospel too. So, here are a few things we are going to try, to make Sunday a special day for everyone in our family:
 
-Family drives
-Walk around the temple grounds (we are lucky that we live close to two!)
-Have special toys/books/movies that are Sunday only (my mom gave us some of her Living Scriptures videos because….let’s be honest Ella would freak if she couldn’t watch a show after waking up in the morning. It’s just the truth of the matter).
-Family home evening (Dave usually works Monday nights so Sunday works better)
-Just having pretty hymns on in the background as we get ready
-Visit extended family/members of the ward who might like company
-Trade off Ella duty with Dave so we can each have some personal time (that should probably be communicated early in the day, though, if it’s going to happen).
 
5. Change your attitude
 
Admittedly, there have been a few Sundays where I’ve wondered what the point was of even bringing Ella to church.  But when I started to think about what I was teaching Ella by showing her that we attend church even when its inconvenient, things got a lot better. And when we were at our peak of hall–pacing (probably from months 10-18), I would just try to think of ONE thing I had learned or felt at church that week. Dave and I would usually trade off having Ella so there was at least a little time that I could sit quietly and listen or learn (I know that’s not possible in some people’s situations and I commend you!). And there’s always light at the end of the tunnel….she’s in nursery now and it’s awesome!!!
 
Elder Nelson also said that we should think about what sign we want to give God, in relation to our activities on the Sabbath. I think just carrying that thought in our hearts as we go about our day makes our priorities and what we are doing fall into place naturally.
 
So there you have it. These are a few things we are going to try to do better at in our family. I really hope that in a few months I can honestly say that Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I’d love to hear any ideas for Sunday activities with little kids or how you keep them happy at church!

My Fall 2015 Reading List

It’s that time of year….the weather is cooling down, the leaves are starting to change, and Pinterest is flooded with pumpkin recipes. It must be fall! Time for a new reading list, but first, a few updates on my summer list:

The Girl on the Train was over-rated and not nearly as suspenseful as I was expecting it to be. Mostly just depressing haha.

This is Where I Leave You was really funny and well-written but really raunchy and I wouldn’t recommend it or read any of his other books now, sadly.

-I ate Belong to Me right up (and I wrote about it here).

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen (and Listen so Kids Will Talk): This is really good so far. I’m still working on it, and I like how in the introduction the authors suggest reading it slowly and practicing different techniques in the book before moving onto a new section. That being said, I think it’s probably aimed at parents with kids that are a little older than Ella. Still helpful for the future, though!

And…the rest of my list I didn’t get to. Instead, I went through a phase where I read the memoirs of Ann Romney, Hoda Kotb, and Kathie Lee Gifford. What can I say, I am a middle-aged cat lady in 20-something’s clothing.

This fall, I’m not tackling anything too lofty, haha. These are all books that have been on my “to read” list on Goodreads for a while, and I was lucky enough to find Still Alice and A Walk in the Woods at The Dollar Bookstore today, so they made the fall reading list cut!

Small side-note: If you live around Utah Valley, you have to check this place out! There is a location in Orem and Spanish Fork. It’s a used bookstore and all books really are only $1! And they actually have a lot of good stuff. I looked around for about half and hour and easily came away with several books I was pumped about (I think Carl’s Christmas was actually the one I was most thrilled by. I really want to build up our Christmas book collection!).

Without further ado…here’s what I’m excited to read this fall!

1. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling: Ok, ok, I recognize that any girl under the age of 40 has already written about her excitement for this book to come out so I’ll just add my name to the list. I really do believe that Mindy and I would be best friends if she got to know me, though. I just know it!

2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: This book has been around for a while and I’ve heard how funny it is about a million times so I figured it was time to give it a try!

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks: This seems a little more “chick-lit-y” than I’m usually into, but I’ve heard it’s such a fun, cute story I am intrigued. And, isn’t it a little bit based on Kate Middleton? So sign me up.

4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande: I found a recommendation for this book on Everyday Reading, and her review was so glowing, I was really interested. Admittedly this topic (the science of dying) isn’t really normally my cup of tea, but I’ve been known to embrace some less-than-warm-and-fuzzy subject matter if it’s written about in a captivating way (Nothing to Envy, anyone?).

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: This book had its heyday this summer and I want to see if it lives up to the hype! I mean, Pulitzer Prize? Seems pretty promising.

6. Still Alice by Lisa Genova: (I know, I’m late to the party on this one too haha. I have to hear a lot of good reviews before I take a chance!) The idea of a book about early-onset Alzheimer’s seems almost too sad for me but….it’s supposed to be extremely moving and triumphant. Plus it’s got a crazy high Goodreads average so that’s a good sign, right? Also, I found it for $1. Sometimes that’s enough to convince me to read something.

Let me know what you think! What’s on your reading list this season?