Friday, December 21, 2012

Ada's 3rd Birthday!


20 Questions for Ada on her 3rd Birthday

1. What is your favorite color? Pink and green
2. What is your favorite toy? Babies
3. What is your favorite fruit? Grapes 
4. What is your favorite tv show? Fresh Beat Band & Blue’s Clues
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Peanut Butter Sandwich (PB&J)
6. What is your favorite outfit? Cinderella Dress 
7. What is your favorite game? Hide & Seek
8. What is your favorite snack? Fruit Snacks
9. What is your favorite animal? Lambs
video

10. What is your favorite song? “Peanut Butter & Sandwich” (an original song by Ada Miller) and I am A Child of God

11. What is your favorite book? Waddle 

12. Who is your best friend? Lydia Richardson

13. What is your favorite cereal? Cheerios 
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play Shock (Sidewalk Chalk)
15. What is your favorite drink? Orange Juice
16. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? My doggie
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Toast with Nutella
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? My pink princess cake 
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Cinderella 

On the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, we celebrated Ada's birthday with my mom & Nana & Bobba. Ada loved the, "Sparkle Cake!" 
 It tastes good to be 3!
 Nonnie gave her the cutest coat & hat! Perfect for the trip to Utah.
 And an umbrella & matching boots!
She was just a little excited to try them out :)
video
Ada had a Princess Party up here since all things are princess with her right now.
Capturing the madness that is a 3-year-old's birthday party! Complete with moms & baby siblings! So much fun. 
We invited some of her friends over and had snacks, pink punch, and PINK PRINCESS CAKE! Ada was obsessed with the cake. It was so good! I made this yellow cake with a brown sugar frosting. Mmm! 
 Ada chose all of the paper goods...pink tablecloth, green runner, yellow silverware, pink napkins, pink AND blue cups, and multi-colored straws. :) Love the dollar store! 
I had everyone fill out a tag saying what they thought of Ada. We hung them on the tree and have loved reading them and seeing them all month. Lindsay & I made those tags (next to the tiaras) for Ada's baby shower! They were for advice to me as I became a mother. I still look over those and hope to do the same with these.
Ada & Kate, so excited for cake time!
Thanks Melissa for taking a picture with ME in it! :)
Cute little princesses and knights!
Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Mommy loves you so very much!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dry Shampoo & Scheduling

I've talked about dry shampoo before and how much I love it. My sister-in-law introduced me to it years ago and this brand is what she used and I've used it ever since. Smells like a lemon cookie on your head :)
 I just started doing something with it that CHANGED MY LIFE! 
Instead of putting it on in the morning, I put it on before I go to bed at night. This lets the powder soak up the grease and absorb it all so that in the morning, it looks like new! Here is a poorly lit bathroom self shot...my hair isn't red, promise. Self portraits are so awkward. 
This was Thursday night after washing my hair on Wednesday morning and putting dry shampoo in it that night.
It's like doing preventative work versus damage control. Give it a try & see for yourself! I gave a talk in church with 3-day old hair, and it looked good (I think...)! It also helps my slippery hair curl better. For Halloween as Minnie I curled it and it held for much longer that it would have with freshly-washed hair.
Moving on...I have a question for the moms. I used to get ready when I just had Ada during her morning nap. Now that I have two, they nap 12:30-2ish and I get ready then (most days). We have our fair share of lazy days around here :) It's so hard to get ready with my Lola because she has to be wherever I am. Which means she opens the shower curtain and gets soaked. When do you get ready? Shower at night? During naps? I'm curious to know what your routine is. 
Have a happy Thanksgiving! We are heading down south and I can't WAIT! :)  

Friday, November 16, 2012

PG&E & Opower Luncheon


I was recently invited to attend a luncheon for bloggers in SF hosted by Mom Central. PG&E and Opower were there and taught us about our energy usage and the new tools they have to help us monitor how much we use in our homes.
It was held at the Presidio Social Club which was lovely. The whole presidio is gorgeous and it was fun to drive around and see the historic buildings. 
I'm pretty sure they chose this butternut squash soup based on the fact that it matches the PG&E logo perfectly.
Here is the adorable Abbie from Opower who was out of breath during her presentation because she's due with baby #3 next month! She sat with us after her presentation and taught my friend Lynda & I about the new features that Opower is integrating with PG&E. I love that they are using technology to connect customers with our energy usage! We had a Smart Meter installed about a year ago, and I saw no difference other than it was digital. And I could see the numbers turn off and on when I had to go flip the circuit breaker :)
What you can do now is sign into your account and compare your energy usage with your friends and houses that are similar to yours. Nothing like a little friendly competition to get you to conserve energy! In studies that Opower has done, people were most responsive and apt to change when they heard that their neighbors were doing it. Not to save money, not to help the earth, but because their friends and neighbors were doing it. So - Opower & PG&E have the right idea by using social media (a huge part of most of our lives) to integrate energy usage with technology.
Here is my delicious Chicken and Arugula Salad with Candied Pecans & Avocado Dressing. I want to recreate this at home!
This German Chocolate Cake was killer! Instead of the coconut frosting on top, it was sandwiched in between the layers of cake. Then the whole cake was frosted with chocolate buttercream! More chocolate in a chocolate cake = awesome. 
I am more focused on the saving money end of things, so I am always turning off lights and anything else that uses electricity. In our energy report, it shows that we are higher than other homes that are similar to ours. I think it's because we live in Santa Cruz and those other homes have solar panels or something! Also in your report, you can look at the energy usage throughout the day. If you have a spike at a certain time, think about what was being used at that time and if it could be lessened or eliminated completely.  

I definitely feel more connected to our energy usage in our home after attending this informative luncheon. I am so glad that PG&E and Opower are reaching out to consumers to connect with us instead of just receiving a bill that is foreign to us every month.

Thank you Nikki at Mom Central for having me, and thanks to Darleen and Abbie for your wonderful presentations. It was great to meet you all and learn so much over a delicious spread of food! 

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"I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of PG&E and Opower. I attended an informational luncheon and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation."

Monday, November 5, 2012

On Fasting

Yesterday was Fast Sunday. In our church, we fast (or go without food or drink) on the first Sunday of each month, and anytime we need to draw nearer to Heavenly Father.  Our Bishop asked us to dedicate this Fast Sunday to missionary work and finding opportunities to share the gospel with others.
It was really difficult for me. I haven't fasted in over three years because I've been either pregnant or nursing!
I prayed for strength to not focus on my physical needs but to be able to fast with purpose. I really struggled because I woke up thirsty and have a water bottle on my night stand at all times. I reached for it out of habit and then remembered it was Fast Sunday. The thought came into my head, "Just one sip, then you can start your fast." But I put it down and walked away.
The time change combined with Halloween candy sugar high made for a very rowdy bunch of children at church! Primary was out of control & when I went to pick Ada up from Nursery, she was running full speed and throwing herself onto the table. "WATCH ME, MOMMY!" Ughhhh
Poor Lola was so tired and was wrestling with Matt. He finally took her for a drive and she fell asleep.
I thought I was imagining the smell of food during third hour, but the Singles Ward has a break the fast meal after church. Torture for everyone else in the building!
I had a throbbing-behind-the-eye headache on the drive home and Matt and I were talking about going without food. I was telling him how I hear of moms who forget to eat because they're so busy. I will NEVER be one of those moms! How do you forget to eat?! I'm always snacking especially since I'm constantly fixing snacks and meals for the girls. If I don't eat I become such a grouch. And I'm always sipping on water or something (Dr. Pepper) :)
It got me wondering if it's something with our genetic makeup...do men have an easier time going without food and drink than women do? That's how it is with Matt & I.
I felt so good after completing the fast and breaking it with a prayer for more missionary opportunities.
First order of business:
Nutella S'more :)
I'm hoping that I can work every month to get better and better at fasting. I know there is great power in fasting and have been a part of fasts that have resulted in miracles! The alternative is getting pregnant again, and that's not happening ANYTIME soon :) Is it hard for you to fast? Are you grouchy without food or just fine until you notice your stomach grumbling?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloweenpalooza 2012

On Saturday night, our Ward had a Trunk-or-Treat.
What is a Trunk-or-Treat you ask?
It's where everyone gives out candy from the trunks of their cars in a parking lot. 
It's nice because you know everyone (at least you should...if you don't ya might consider NOT trick-or-treating there) and it's a safe environment. 
Reasons I love the picture below:
1. Lola grabbing Matt's finger
2. Ada's face while holding her beloved necklace
3. Ada's glass slippers!
4. Lola trying to give kisses
5. Matt's wearing my old track spandex
We were Disney themed this year!
Minnie & Mickey Mouse with Cinderella and Princess Tiana..it's been fun. 
Ada makes us talk in high voices and calls us Minnie & Mickey while the ears are on. That got old real quick :)
Cinderella & Minnie
The Baers went as characters from UP! How adorable are their costumes?!
Trying to get a good picture of both girls...but all Lola cared about was that sucker :)
Ada saying, "Lola's dancing!"
Minnie & her Princesses :)
Then on Halloween, Chipotle was selling their burritos for $2 if you were in costume! You know we were all over that...it tasted 10 times better because of the price :)
Afterward we went to the mall for trick-or-treating, but evidently people were there at 3 PM and most stores were out of candy. The girls still got some, but it's not like they needed more anyway. 
Ada enjoying her "Potate" and Lola with my lipstick on her cheek.
The next two pictures might possibly be the best ever taken on Halloween!
Life is hard as a princess!
Excited to go trick-or-treating? :) 
That's better. 
Ada loves Yo Gabba Gabba and got very excited about this display at the Vans store :)
All Halloweened out!
And here are Ada's little glass slippers in action...the heels lit up :)
The older the girls get, the more fun it is to celebrate the holidays with them. We put fake crows and spiderwebs on the mirrors and stuck paper spiders on the walls. I love the holidays! I hope your Halloween was sugar-filled and fun :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Googleween 2012

Matt works for Google now! I'm still a teensy bit excited about it :)
They had a big carnival for all of the employees and spouses with children. How cool is that? They had free kettle corn (SOLD), a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, horse-drawn carriage ride, tractor ride, face painting, balloon animals, and lots of other fun things. We didn't even get to it all! 
It was funny because Matt was stoked on the horses and says, "Ada! Look over there! What do you see?" And she answers excitedly, "OH! I see Minnie! And princesses!" She could have cared less about all of the activities. She was just in awe of all of these people in costumes and couldn't stop looking at all of them!
 ...
My beautiful Cinderella. Can you believe how old she looks in this picture? Not even 3 yet! She also had just woken up...the girls usually fall asleep on the drive to Mountain View.
She had to wear her Cinderella necklace (neck-iss) and we put her comfy shoes on for walking on the lawn.
I told Ada to go stand by this guy for a picture. She quickly waved at him and kept her feet planted and hand clenched onto her Papa's! The thing's head spun around, it was pretty creepy.
Papa & Ada
I didn't realize how scary that scarecrow was until I saw these pictures! Ahhh!
Excited girls, both talking a mile a minute. Ada guarded the kettle corn like her life depended on it. Smart cookie :)
Our friends The Baers were there too! Devin works at Google as well & let Matt know about the position he now has. Thanks man!! 
Sweet Lola girl (Princess Tiana) on a mission to grab my soda! Poor thing is teething and has a terrible cold. It's been a rough couple of weeks for her.
Right after this, we headed to In-n-Out for dinner. I was able to join in on a Google Hangout on my phone with my whole family to hear that my cousin Matthew and his wife KayLa are having a baby GIRL in March! :D 
So excited for them & the fun that lies ahead with a sweet baby girl!

Journal

My friend Emily has this quote from President Hinckley on her blog:

"To you women of today, who are old or young, may I suggest to you that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper. Writing is a great discipline. It is a tremendous education effort. It will assist you in various ways, and you will bless the lives of many--now and in the years to come, as you put on paper some of your experiences and some of your musings."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley

I've been thinking about this blog a lot. I have been putting much more time and energy into Kara in the Kitchen and am loving the direction it is going. What I am feeling for this blog is that it will be a place for me to journal my thoughts and experiences, and chronicle the life of my family.

I am one who tries to be positive most of the time. Especially online, I feel like there is so much negativity out there that it is especially important to uplift and not be a Debbie Downer. There is definitely a balance though. I realize that on the other hand, there is the tendency to post only the pretty things online. To make your life appear perfect. Then the comparing comes in and you feel like a failure as a mother after looking at blogs of moms who are way more crafty/skinny/organized and whose kids dress way better and never have meltdowns or go to time out.
I think she was so mad because the linoleum in our kitchen made her that way. 

So, while I am a bit scared to share some things, I know that it may help someone. I also know that it will be a blessing to my children to read in the future. I will try my best to share in a way that is uplifting and informative, because the last thing I want is for people to come here and feel like they're being dumped on! I want to be more REAL though; not that I've been fake in the past...but I have censored myself for fear of judgement. Does that make sense? I just don't want to blog anymore and think, "What will so-and-so think if they read this?" I just want to be myself.
Life is messy!
The end :)


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

28th Birthday!

My birthday was back in April, but I'm just now getting around to blogging about it! I had SUCH an awesome birthday!

It started with waking up to my front door being heart-attacked by my awesome friends Heidi & Hannah! They even gave me a bag full of only the red and pink Starbursts because I'd mentioned those were the best. How cool is that?! Check out chunky 8-month-old Lola! And chunky me! I've definitely lost weight since then, awesome bonus of being behind on the blog :) Unless I'd gained more weight since then. 
We then headed out to Zachary's for some delicious brunch. Mike's Mess & their homemade whole wheat bread can't be beat!
My mom surprised me with the ultimate birthday cake! It's the Pink Champagne Cake from Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. Look at those gorgeous pink chocolate curls!
Can you tell I was a wee bit excited? :)
I think Ada looks like Mowgli from Jungle Book in the pic below. You know the scene where he sees the girl  for the first time? Yup :)
Ada was stoked on the pretty pink cake too.
Love my little firstborn!
So I am a planner. My husband is not. I usually plan things way ahead and it drives me crazy when there are no plans for big events like holidays or birthdays. I saw the previews for Titanic 3D months before and that it was coming out on my birthday weekend! So I made sure to tell Matt that's what I wanted to do for my birthday. My birthday was coming up and I knew he didn't have tickets. I was getting upset because I always take charge and do everything. I even complained to my mom about how frustrated I was! Boy did I eat my words later...
We DID end up going to see Titanic in 3D and it was AWESOME! I felt like I was reliving my Jr. High days because I wasn't allowed to see it when it came out in theaters. So it was fun to pretend like Matt and I were on a date to see it for the first time while my mom watched the girls. Thanks Nonnie! :) We took pictures in the photo booth and had a blast! 
Fast forward to the weekend. Matt said that he was taking me out to dinner and we were doing something after. I was so thrown off because I knew he was up to something. He was supposed to go to work but was acting so weird and would not leave me alone! He is the worst liar and cannot keep a secret, it literally kills him. It's hilarious! He drops random hints all day and looks at me weird, I should get a video of him when he knows something I don't. 
We went out to eat and I was turned, talking to the table next to us. When I turned back to face Matt, this ticket was sitting in front of me! I almost started to cry I was so excited and surprised! We were going to see ZAC BROWN BAND!!!! I felt REALLY guilty for complaining about how he never plans anything. Because he planned this. And it was INCREDIBLE :) 
See for yourself:
video
We had the best time! Sang and danced our little hearts out. Thank you again to my mom for watching the girls for us...I loved feeling young again, even though I'm inching closer and closer to the big 3-0. 
Here's to awesome family, good food, great music, and many more birthdays to celebrate ahead!
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