i swear the price of ear piercing has doubled in the last 2 years. $50!


but we were there and she was excited so we just did it. while she was sitting in the chair we had serious thoughts of going to Sally's and buying our own gun since we still have a couple of girls to go.

how did she do?

she barely blinked and only muttered Owe! for each ear.

no tears shed.

just a proud little 5 year old with some new blinging ears.


Oat & Date Bars


A few weeks ago our friend Catherine came to visit and she brought these amazing homemade bars to share.

I fell in love! I have always wanted to make granola type bars at home but have been a little afraid to jump in. They were so easy though!! I can't wait to make some with chocolate.

These ones are chewy, fruity, and nutty! My favorite part though is that they are not overboard on the sweetness as some bars tend to be and they are pretty much perfect to throw in my bag for the pool or if I have skipped on breakfast.

I can't wait to pack them up for our long journey out west coming up!

I don't have a food processor so we improvised with small batches of the honey-oat-date mixture in my blender to get it right.


Homemade Oat and Date Bars
recipe adapted from here


1/3 cup
chopped pecans
1/2 cup
3/4 cup
Medjool dates, pitted (I used Sunsweet and they worked fine)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon
cinnamon (I like using 1/2 tsp)
2 1/2 cups
regular rolled oats
1/2 cup
dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots chopped

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until light golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

2. Warm honey in a microwave until the consistency of thin syrup. In a food processor, pulse honey, dates, cinnamon, and oats until oats are coarsely chopped.

3. Scrape oat mixture into a medium bowl. Break up any clumps of dates and, if needed, chop any large date chunks. Stir in pecans, cranberries, and apricots. Squeeze mixture into a ball. Line 8x8 square pan with parchment paper. Using oiled hands, firmly pat mixture onto paper smashing it into the corners

4. Freeze until bars are firm enough to cut, about 20 minutes. Lift out of pan to a work surface and cut into 16 bars. Wrap bars individually. They get moister and chewier after standing at least a day.

Make ahead: Up to 1 week, chilled, or 1 month, frozen; for transport, pack in containers to protect them.


Splash Bash!

Two years ago we did a great big party for Ava on her 5th birthday, so naturally MaeMae needed one this year too. I originally wanted to do a carnival theme but with the heat there was just no way! So we tucked that idea away and we went for a Splash party.


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Not Pictured: Sponge bombs, Slip N Slide, Sprinkler, water balloons, and painting the fence with water

The highlight of the whole party was by far putting 15+ goldfish in a swimming pool for the kids to catch with their bare hands. If you caught it you got to keep it!

Happy 5th Birthday SissyBear!


5 years ago


5 years ago we counted down the last few hours before our silly, passionate, snugly, second daughter came bounding into our world.

She is fierce, protective, and imaginative. Loves hard and fights hard. Not to mention she is undeniably beautiful with her summer bronzed skin, sun-kissed hair, and pale blue eyes. She is a bright light and will always attracts friends wherever she goes - as long as she stays out of timeout.


She loves:

Macaroni and Cheese
Taking care of Rosie
Wrestling her dad
Suckers and gum
Cooking with Mom
Snuggling after she eats

She wants to be a swimming teacher when she grows up.
She wants 3 kids.
She wants to travel to Arizona.

Oh yes, she also loves to talk about farts.



This Week


There is a certain special girl that is turning 5 this week!

We all can't wait!!

Her birthday list includes:

A pic of Easy and I on a keychain for her to take to school
Fake flowers in a vase for her bedside
A surprise gift

more to come...


Roaming Rosie

Today I'm in need of a little reminder on how much I love our sweet scooter.

She is on the verge of popping her first tooth and actually isn't behaving sweet at all!

Constant crying, diaper rash, drool everywhere, gnawing on everything, wants me to tote her around all day, wants to nurse all day, no napping, lots of pooping, very mild temp.

It makes me want a grandma close to take the other chickies and make cookies, forts, and play pretend with them all day long...because this momma is spent.


Tie Dying with the Gardiner's


So I bought some Rit and some blank tees a couple of months ago fully intending to do some tie dying with the girls. The dye sat in the cupboard and I finally got brave enough last week to go for it after seeing Sheena's success.

First we assembled all the supplies. You really want everything in arms reach and a nice old towel or cloth down especially if you are inside. Funny thing is that Easy came home just as we were getting all set up. He looked real skeptical and recommended we go outside. I refused (crossed my fingers) and promised that we wouldn't tie dye the walls. It was over 100 out there +humidity. No thank you!

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We used this site as a guide to tying the shirts. The big girls selected which ones they wanted (diagonal, spiral, bulls eye) and we also did a few random ones. We chose the donut for Rosie's little blank onesie.

(can't keep their fingers off)

We filled the squirt bottles with 1 part dye to like 6 parts water because we wanted them to be vivid and I wasn't sure how much they would fade with the first washing.

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Using the squirt bottles over a cheapo bowl makes dying inside easy. After the tees were soaked we slipped them into gallon size plastic baggies for a few hours, cut the bands, threw them in a rinse cycle with cold water, then in a warm wash cycle with detergent.


The girls don't really "look it" but I promise they were thrilled and could not get the shirts out of the dryer fast enough.

We all agreed that Miss Rosie's donut onesie was the best.


Baciscally they wear them every. single. day.

Looks like we have a new summertime tradition!!


High Five America

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Our 4th actually started on the 1st this year with an amazing show put on by Cross Church (3 huge crosses). They almost converted me with this show it was so magical.

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We snagged some pretty sweet grass right on the lake and the kids oooed and awed with every bang.

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On the actual 4th Easy helped some friends put together a giant 100ft slip-n-slide. After a few test runs of getting clawed by the grass (man this year has been dry) they threw some tarps and blankets under it and it was smooth sailing...with of course, the occasional wipe out, face plant, clothesline, and butt grab (sorry babe - i was catching you fast and it was just the most logical thing to do).

Thanks Christy!! What a blast!

The rest of the night went as follows:

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And finally:

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Holidays like the 4th are so magical and I always reminisce on how much I loved it as a kid with so much family around boating, BBQing, setting off fireworks, swimming in my cousins pool, lounging on the hammock, eating amazing food.

Since we have never really had family around I have always felt like our holiday's don't quite compare.

You know what though? This year rocked. We have been blessed with great friends here that really know how to party. I love it! This year was magical for us and our kids.

Giant slip-n-slide. Pony rides. Sparklers. Best Arkie friends. BBQ. Sparklers. HUGE (surprisingly legal) fireworks.

High Five America!


Sitting (not so) Pretty


You wouldn't know it, but Little Girl here hates sitting. As weird as it sounds I think she is afraid of it even though she is totally capable. 2 seconds after I snapped this picture her face turned upside down and she really let me have it.

She would so much rather scoot around all day on her tummy shoving Cheerios, Polly Pocket heads, finger puppets, Barbie feet, etc into her mouth.

The girls have been informed that if they see any bobby pins, hair ties, beads, legos, crayons, etc they are to promptly pick them up. This task in itself is a full time job.

I really don't know how and when it happened, but my baby girl got big.

I would never ever take that colic back, but this whole sitting up and being on the move...I don't like it at all. Maybe it's a good thing she hates sitting so much.

It might just keep her little a bit longer for me.

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