Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Happy Birthday aka "Cinco-Cinco"

I had a fun birthday this year!  I can't believe I'm 55 - or "Cinco-Cinco" as Craig says.  I love my 50's!  Just wish I was in better shape, but I'm working on that, so "Fabulous at Fifty Six" will be an understatement next year.  Poor Craig had a terrible virus all week long.  Fortunately for both of us, my BFF Ruthie had planned to visit for the week from Las Vegas.  We took her out to dinner for our 36th anniversary  on the 12th, and after that Craig was out of the picture for the rest of the week.  Once we had him squared away for the day, we took off so he could rest and we could play. 

We spent our first day at the movies, and in between we had lunch across the street at Miguel's.  It was a lovely, breezy day so we ate on the patio.  We saw WATER FOR ELEPHANTS - hated it-  an over rated disappointment that morning, and after lunch we saw MONTE CARLO with Selena Gomez.  A cute, fun, feel good movie!  I hadn't heard about it before I saw the trailer.  It was adorable and I highly recommend it!

The next day I began  my birthday by taking Ruth over to the neighbor's for a visit.  Look at those 3 adorable boy!.  Ruth promised Melissa she wasn't blinking when she checked the camera, but apparently she was not wearing her glasses or this could be a framer with all 3 boys smiling AND looking at the camera.
I love the interchangeable beaded watchbands from Bead It!.  I first discovered them when Melissa had a party in the fall and I just went to be supportive.  I went with her to a friend's party a few weeks later and I've ordered several online.  I can't get enough of them and was excited to get invited to an Open House here in Lake Elsinore.   [I'm having a party on Sept 7th if you're interested]
Karen Blackmer and her sister, Misty started this fun home party business.  Look at all those glorious beads!  You select the colors and style you want, pick a watch face, and they teach you how to bead a watch band.  It was the perfect activity!  I knew Ruth would love them too. 
She made several and helped me make one.  I could have stayed there and beaded all day.
 We went to Red Robin in Menifee for lunch and then we went home and rested up and read for awhile.
One of our favorite things to do is just hang out, lay on the beds and read.  Such fun.

Later we watched SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, DANCE, DANCE so I had a truly lovely day. 
All the kids sent wonderful cards and that day I got to talk to and/or Skype with most of the kids and grandkids, and best of all, I got an email from my boy in Afghanistan. 

Thursday we did a little shopping and went to see another movie, LARRY CROWNE with Tom Hanks. 
 A cute, feel good movie.  So we were 2 out of 3 on the movie picks.  It was such a treat to spend 3 whole days with Ruth!  Craig slept through most of her visit, and he felt bad to miss out on all the fun. 

Thank you, Dwight for sharing Ruthie with me for 3 whole days!  And a special thank you to Josh and Charlie for letting Grandma stay with you. Love you all to pieces!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Blessings of Technology

One of my favorite blogs is The Pioneer Woman written by Ree Drummond.  Today her post was so lovely, about a friend who'd lost a teenage son several years ago.  Ree blogged about this several years ago, and asked for prayers on behalf of her friend.  The comments she recieved were so heartfelt, from complete strangers.  A book was made for the family of this post and the comments.  Recently, her friend shared with her how this book of "comments" to a simple blog post had given her strength and comfort in times of sadness. 

I just felt so touched, and so grateful that the internet and the blogosphere gives us the opporutnity to connect with so many good people, and have such a positive influence.  It has truly blessed my life, and today I feel so uplifted and so grateful. 

Thank you, Ree.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Group Photo Attempt

This is a partial picture of the fisher-price city we built
The night before Jamie left we realized we had no pictures with Grama & Grampa and the kids or us with Jamie.  So we made a feeble attempt at a group picture
Kayle was not happy and Dylan was, well, being Dylan. 
Blake was a trooper and we can always get smiles from Luke and Austin. 

We made another attempt the next morning and this time we got Kaylee to smile but Blake wasn't feeling it.
 Jamie hopped in to the last one.  The Gargalis boys did not enjoy being left out of the picture!  Go figure!
We will miss Jamie, Kaylee and Blake so much!  We had such a fun visit and the kids were awesome and played so cute together.  They had a safe, uneventful trip home to DeRidder, Louisiana, and the kids even slept in the next day.  We are hoping to visit them in the fall once Ben is home from his deployment in Afghanistan. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beach Babies

Sand Babies is proabably a more accurate title for this post. 
The Louisiana kids did not enjoy our California ocean.  We picked a glorious day at the beach.  The water was warm, the sky was blue, it wasn't crowded.  Perfection.  Ahhh the beach in summer!   

Kaylee and Blake loved playing in the sand! 
Kaylee would have nothing to do with the water!  She was content to just sit and dig. 

Luke spent the day digging for sand crabs and had quite the collection.  Then he decided to body surf by laying on the sand and letting the waves push him a few inches. 

Luke and Dylan
Melissa dug a nice pit for the boys to play in. 
It's a good way to corral little ones.  Such a great beach tip.

And Melissa's greatest beach tip of all:  BABY POWDER. 
 It's true.  When it's time to dry off and get in the car, baby powder helps the sand come right off. 
It really works!  Amazing!  Go Meliss!
Luke hunting for sand crabs
Jamie was the photographer and Grama had creative control,
so even though we aren't pictured,
we were there having fun as well. 
I spent most of my day with Dylan and Luke in the water.
 Luke is a water bug and he is totally fearless!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July, 2011

It was nice to have Jamie and the kids here to have a reason to celebrate 4th of July.  Holidays kind of lose their sparkle without family and children to share it with. We watched Blake and Kaylee that morning while Jamie did some rare, solo shopping.  We went swimming at Melissa's and even got Kaylee in the pool. 
Then Jamie and Craig went to see the new Transformers movie. 
I opted to babysit napping children.  I'm pretty sure I was the lucky one that time!

Kaylee helped me make these darling Firecracker Cupcakes from Jamie Cooks It Up! for dessert.
 This is an amazing blog my sister, Dana shared with me.  I subscribe to it now, and I adore her.
After I piped the frosting on, Kaylee added the licorice "flame".  They turned out pretty well, even though I used chocolate cupcakes instead of white.  I love a little chocolate cupcake with my vanilla frosting!
I think next time I'll use a paint brush for the color instead of a knife, so that I get a finer line.
 I don't enjoy eating brightly colored frosting but the kids all loved it!
Greg and his trusty side kick, Melissa,  made a fabulous dinner for us. They are a great pair and have become quite the gourmets!  Plus it is always nice to eat someone elses's cooking! 
Everyone but Grama went to watch the fireworks at Greg's Dad's house in Canyon Lake. 
These are two of the cutest pictures we have this week of all 5 cousins .

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On the way to Huck Camp

This week is Krista's family reunion in southern California: Huck Camp! Josh gets to attend for the first time.  Most of the Huckvale's will be together with lots of great activities that include a very serious Olympic Competition, a Talent Show, Disneyland, The Beach, a Dodger Game and that's not all. At they end of the week they all get to be together in the LA temple with her cousin before he leaves for his mission. 

 It sounds like such a fun family tradition.  The timing worked out great so that they were able to spend the day with Jamie and the kiddos.  It has been really hot, so they drove through the night.  (They made it from Provo in 8.5 hours) As usual, we should have taken more pictures.  We grabbed these as they were leaving.  So glad I remembered the camera. 

Jamie and Krista whipped up this lovely Red, White and Blue Fruit Pizza.  The pictures don't do it justice.  Here's the recipe from Our Best Bites:
We didn't love their sugar cookie recipe for the base.  Next time I'll just use my recipe or you can also use the refrigerated cookie dough. 
Josh and Krista will stop by and spend a few days with us on their way home. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blueberry Picking

Melissa's play group went to the Temecula Berry Co. and picked blueberries last month.  It was such a fun outing that she wanted to go again. It's nice and close so we took the cousins there for a little outing Friday morning after we'd recovered from Disneyland on Thursday. (Still sorting those pictures - post coming soon)
This is the coolest place and the blueberries are so delicious. They are only open about 6 weeks a year.  I can't wait to take my preschool class on a field trip there next May. They have a facebook page and you can sign up on their web site to be notified when they open.
They show you which blueberries are ripe and how to pick them, and then they send you off with your bucket.  Just like in the storybook, Blueberry's for Sal by Robert McCloskey.
Luke, Dylan, and Kaylee were very serious about their blueberry picking.  Blake and Austin obsesrved from the stroller. It was a very hot morning, so we stayed just long enough to pick our blueberries and take a few pictures.  They also have a story time and other activities.