Ada’s Frozen 5th Birthday Party!

Ada turned 5 last month! She reminds us daily that she is 5 now. We celebrated with friends and family in Frozen style, would you expect anything less? :)

I did all white food to make it feel like a wintry-snowy-land. Cauliflower & jicama with Ranch dressing for dipping. Powdered donettes, marshmallows (that everyone mistook for mints – so I’ll just do mints next time), turkey & Rondele cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Sprite & water to drink! .jpg

I borrowed all of my mom’s Christmas tree collection and I think they looked perfect around the cake! I used Duncan Hines Blue Velvet cake, my buttercream frosting, then topped it with rock candy (I saw the idea from a friend who saw it on Pinterest) and an Elsa. I’m so happy with how it turned out! Ada was in awe :)

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I made snowflake sugar cookies and had a station with frosting and sprinkles for the kids to decorate their own: .jpg

Sweet girlfriends playing ring around the rosie:

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Matt’s dad surprised everyone and showed up as Olaf!

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All the party goers after the piñata. Did you know that they have piñatas now that you don’t have to hit? This one had ribbons that hung down and each person pulls a ribbon until you get to the one that opens it. Ours didn’t quite open enough and I had to rip it more, but I thought that was so cool!

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My big 5-year-old while all of her friends sang Happy Birthday to her :)

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I think we got all of the Elsas in this picture!

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We also had Frozen playing on the TV and had some impromptu singalongs with popcorn after all the food and cake. I’d say it was a success!

Happy Birthday sweet Ada! Thank you for making me a Mommy 5 years ago and teaching me so much. Love you baby girl :)

Wheel of Fortune & Duet

I have been watching Wheel Of Fortune since I can remember! As a child, I loved solving the puzzles and impressing my parents :) I’ve always wanted to be a contestant on the show, and tried to get into a taping in Vegas but it was full. Imagine my excitement while at the gym and a commercial says that the Wheel Bus is coming to SANTA MARIA, CA!!! Our little Town Center Mall, where I had my first job wrapping Christmas presents at Gottschalk’s (RIP), had the traveling Wheel of Fortune show!!

I went down there to apply and was feeling great. I heard a Billy Joel song on the radio while driving down. Always a good sign when my Billy serenades me!

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I got down there, filled out my application, and ran into my friend from college! We stuck together and we took pics of each other. Hopefully I can get pictures with the real Pat & Vanna soon!

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The way it worked was they had a huge box where all of the applications went. Once the game started, they would draw applications out of a gold spinny-thing. Very scientific. I saw a friend get drawn for the first game and it was exciting to cheer her on! My name was called for the 3rd or 4th round and I was SO excited!! I called my family but none of them made it to the mall in time, they had the games moving so quickly.

This is the picture that they took of me and then stapled to my application.

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Here I am on stage talking about how much I love Italians and traveling. They said show personality and excitement and I think I did! I didn’t solve the puzzle, but got the first word. I won a t-shirt and a cardboard bus. It was so much fun! They say that if they liked how I performed on stage, I will hear from them in a few months for an audition here on the Central Coast to be on the actual show! I am crossing my fingers, saying my prayers, and wishing on stars that I get chosen!!

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Lola spotted me in the crowd and Ada was very into the game. She’d clap when everyone applauded and guessed letters. We got lunch at the mall and people passing by were so sweet, complimenting me and telling me I’d get on the show.

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Matt & I sang a duet in church, I love singing with my hubby.

Funny story – we sang this at Stake Conference when we lived in Santa Cruz & when we harmonized, a little old lady in the front row goes, “OH THAT’S NICE!” Super loud!! It was SO hard not to crack up in the middle of singing! I love how in this recording it sounds like a little baby says, “Yay!”

Enjoy :)

Check this out on Chirbit

Leap Into Gaming with LeapTV!

I received a complimentary Leap Frog LeapTV to review. As always, all opinions are 100% mine.

We had so much fun trying out the new Leap Frog LeapTV! We invited over some cousins and friends, ate pizza, popcorn, and juice boxes. PARTY!!

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LeapTV is so much fun! It’s not just a video game, it’s educational as well. Kids learn about letters, shapes, rhyming, and numbers.

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Every player gets a turn, and the levels of difficulty are based on the age of the player.

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One of my friends said that this might have to be a certain little girl’s Christmas present because she liked it so much!

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The kids LOVED seeing themselves on the screen. Some of the games go purely by the camera and others require the controller.

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Some of us took it very seriously,

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while some of us needed our Mommies to help out.

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We all had a blast dancing, learning, and playing!

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This is a perfect gift for any child ages 3-8 on your Christmas shopping list. We are huge fans of LeapFrog in this home and are happy to report that they have made another toy that makes learning fun!

Evelyn is a pro, check her out in action:

A video posted by Kara Miller (@kara_j_miller) on

Latest & Greatest

My hair was getting pretty 90s…bangs were so long that I had to keep curling them bigger and bigger!

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So I got a haircut :)

Before & after:

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I love it! Doesn’t take as long to dry and style.

Shaking it off to send pics to my sister:

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I applied to be a member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel for the first time this year! I was so honored to make it to Round 2 on my first shot among thousands of applicants.

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Here is the video I made for my application. They said “have fun” and I did! It worked out perfectly that we were at Disneyland!

So I got the email yesterday that I didn’t make it to Round 3 :( It was sad, but I also knew that I was competing with tons of Disney fanatics for one of only TWO spots for Disneyland. One of the current panelists lives in the UP House in Utah! So, yeah.

I went for a run to push the sadness away and get some endorphins flowing. 3 miles & felt better afterward.

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I signed up for the Holiday Sweat Challenge!! It starts on the 24th and goes through January. I did it because I felt gross after all of the Halloween candy and want some help with staying healthier through the holidays. I’m known to eat cookies for lunch if that’s what I’m baking, so I’m excited to have meal ideas, workout plans, and community to be accountable to. Matt’s going to do it with me too. You should join (click the pic below) and tell them I sent you! I get entered to win a prize if you do :)



Hope you’re doing well! What’s new with you?

Halloween 2014!

Halloween!! Oh my goodness, Halloween. So much fun but kind of glad it’s over :)

Girls eating apple cider popsicles at Gopher Glen:


We had two weekends of festivities. Carnival at Alice Shaw:


Mummy Snacks for Ada’s Preschool class:


She wrote all of her classmate’s names on the bags, it was so cute!


They had pajama day and the high school kids put on a carnival with face painting, pumpkin painting, and games.


Ward Trunk-or-Treat with Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Elsa & Anna!


We had a carnival inside at first and then Trunk-or-Treating outside. We’ve been praying for rain, and then it came in the middle of handing out candy in the parking lot! Torrential downpour!! Luckily, we were all in the trunk and closed it up before getting soaked.

Matt & I dressed up as the King & Queen of pop (in our opinions) :) I did You’re Gonna Hear Me Roar nails, giant false lashes, & had to get a pic with my Aunt Liz as a Minion! So much fun dressing up :)


We went to a fun party & they had these syringes with Jell-o in them :) I’m bummed I didn’t take more pics because everyone’s costumes were so good!!

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Ada in between an Anna & Olaf pumpkin – it was definitely a Frozen Halloween! A guy in our neighborhood has been carving these beautiful pumpkins since I was little.

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Favorite was when I asked Matt to go dance in the rain and he said, “I was just thinking that!” Love this boy that makes me laugh :)

Hope you all had a great time celebrating Halloween!


Elsa & Anna Frozen Photo Shoot

For Halloween this year, my girls are being Elsa & Anna from Frozen. I am sure we will be seeing lots of Frozen characters this year!

My friend from high school, Megan, is a talented photographer and took these beautiful pictures of Ada & Lola. She is doing Halloween mini-sessions for only $45! So worth it after all the time and effort put into costumes, plus Halloween night is always crazy anyway. My girls were stoked to wear their dresses before Halloween :) Check her work out & schedule a session at Meg McKenzie Photography!


My Nana and I found these costumes at Costco, we knew we had to buy them right then and there otherwise they’d be gone. Sure enough, I was there a week later and the whole rack was cleared!  I just love the little wigs on them! Ada’s kind of reminds me of George Washington…don’t tell her I said that ;)

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Thank you, Disney, for making a movie that stars two beautiful leading ladies!

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Queen Elsa of Arendelle!

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Sweet sisters :)

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Happy Halloween! What are you dressing up as?

Trick or Treat Em for Howl-O-Ween?

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TrickOrTreatEm

I never thought that I would be the type of person that would buy a dog costume. Then I saw the video on the Blue Buffalo – YouTube channel of SPIDER DOG! I laughed so hard and thought it would be hilarious to dress Maverick up as a spider. I did find a spider costume (not as awesome as the one in the video), and Mav looks so cute in it! Trick or Treat Em (1 of 6)It’s got light-up eyes, fangs, little legs hanging off the sides, and a fluffy rump…too much! His ears don’t really go through the holes like they’re supposed to, but I think it makes him look so cute. Trick or Treat Em (2 of 6)Look at that concentration. He is being so good waiting for a Milkbone treat. Trick or Treat Em (3 of 6)If you go to, you can take a quiz to see your pet’s Halloween personality (Maverick is “Quite The Trickster”), make a custom frame for your pet’s picture, and get a coupon for treats! Trick or Treat Em (4 of 6)Our mailman carries dog treats in his pocket and I think that is so smart! He’s come to our door and commented on how good Maverick is to lay by the screen and not bark. I love the idea of having treats ready for the pups that come Trick-or-Treating with their families. I’m sure the puppy parents would appreciate it too!  Trick or Treat Em (5 of 6)Our local FoodsCo has tons of Big Heart treats to choose from. If you can get around the boxes first ;) IMG_8477Mav loves his treats and will do all of his tricks to get one! 11 months old and he can:



Lay down

Roll over



Balance on his hind legs (Up)

He’s been working hard on his tricks and will definitely get treats from us this Howl-O-Ween! What about your pets?Trick or Treat Em (6 of 6)

Ada’s First Disneyland Trip

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Matt & I took Ada to Disneyland for the first time! It was 5 days before her 3rd birthday, so she was still free. Yeah! We dropped Lola off with Nonnie in Santa Maria and continued down the road in terrible traffic to Long Beach, where we stayed the night with Matt’s college buddy Steve. He treated us to dinner & his mom runs a regular B&B! She had little water bottles & snacks out for us, then made us crepes for breakfast, and made sure that we had snacks in our bag to get us through our day. Thank you so much Williams! We love you guys!!

So it turns out that their neighborhood is where Ferris Bueller’s house is! I freaked out a little bit and had to have my picture taken in front of it in true geek fashion :)

Ada was so excited! She had played the Disneyland Explorer app on Matt’s iPad so she was excited to see everything in real life! It’s free & fun, great marketing Disney ;)

She thought the tram was a blast…we were joking that we could go home after that!

We brought the stroller for her and told her that was the only way she could go on rides, if she rode there in the stroller. She really wanted to walk but we knew she would get way too tired and might get lost in the crowd. We are so glad we brought it!

I definitely recommend getting there early. We were at the park by 8:30 AM and it wasn’t even crowded. We were able to go to City Hall and tell them it was Ada’s first time. They gave her that cute button and she wore it with pride! Along with the two pins Steve gave her :) She was one accessorized little Cinderella! We saw Chip first and got a picture with him. Ada immediately had to wrap her little arm around him like they were old pals. She says he was very soft :)

Our only plan was to stay calm and relaxed so that we didn’t have an overwhelmed, crying child on our hands. We just walked leisurely around and let Ada decided what looked like fun, instead of pointing at every single thing and trying to get her on every ride.

The first ride we went on were the Astro Orbitors in Tomorrowland! Don’t watch the video if you get motion sickness, I’m talkin’ to you Aunt Lizzie!

Then we made our way over to the Teacups because word is that Fantasyland gets really busy the later it gets. I used the app Mousewait on my phone and it told us which rides had the shortest wait. The only bummer was that it sucked my battery dry.

This picture is right after Matt accidentally bonked Ada in the head with the camera :( She took off running and he reached out to grab her and forgot the heavy camera was around his neck.

She was not happy about it!

Poor girl!

Once we got into a giant purple teacup, she was magically healed!

Then to try and pull out the Sword in the Stone:

She gave it her all!

Look at the tongue action!

She ultimately concluded that she needed Papa’s help and that it was just for big kids to pull out.

Ada’s #1 favorite ride:

It’s A Small World!

Look at the wonder in her eyes!

She was singing along with the Christmas carols and waving to all of the dolls:

I must say that the Christmas version is much more enjoyable than the original. This was the first time I’d ridden it since I was a little girl…I think my parents took us on it once and that was it! While in line we saw Meridia from Brave and Ada got to wave to her. We also passed Cinderella and she waved but Ada was disappointed that she was in such a hurry. We told her Cinderella needed to go potty :)

Enter Frontierland around noon! We laid the stroller flat and put the shade down so that Ada could take a nap if she wanted. She ended up just laying back because Billy Hill & the Hillbillies put on a fun show she couldn’t sleep through! It was perfect for her to decompress and relax as we hung out. Frontierland is incredible at Christmastime. They had a huge area for kids to play reindeer games, make Christmas cards, do crafts, meet Santa & Mrs. Claus, and listen to the show. This is where I found these little nuggets of fried goodness:

MONTE CRISTO BITES! I was so happy. The best Disneyland lunch in bite-size form!

Now over to California Adventure. The only ride I cared about going on was Tower of Terror, my all-time favorite! Ada & I waited for Papa to go on the ride and had a snack. The child swap is incredible. The second Matt got off a ride, I was given a pass and went to the front of the line. Genius!

While we were waiting for Papa to get off the Cars ride…

suddenly a dance party began in the middle of Cars Land, and the cast members were trying to get kids to come out and dance with them. A ton of older children around us said no, and when she got to Ada, she just ran out and danced her little heart out with no hesitation!

So happy (note the glass slippers have been traded out for comfy shoes)!

Then, Lightning McQueen cruised right in front of us! He was talking and thanking everyone for being there. Ada was big on waving to everyone :)

Getting into the evening (notice the little bags under her eyes), we asked Ada if she was still having fun. Her response:

She made friends all over, in every line we waited in. This was for Mater’s Tractor Ride and we all laughed SO hard on it! We were heavy with the 3 of us so it whipped us around really fast! Ada giggled the entire time.

Her second favorite ride was Ariel’s Grotto in CA Adventure. After riding it, she said, “The Sea Witch was SO mad! She was like, grrrrrr!” And made the expression below:

Last ride of the night for Ada girl…King Triton’s Carosel on the Boardwalk.

After all of that, I was ready to head home. Matt insisted that we stay for the World of Color show so we did & it was brilliant! Like the waters of Bellagio in Vegas x 1,000,000.

All day long, I went on any ride that spins with Ada. Matt says he can’t handle them, so I did them all. After World of Color, he says, “Babe! The line is so short for California Screamin’! You have to go on it!” I said no, I was ready to go home, but he talked me into it. I do love that roller coaster…normally. After splitting a churro with Ada and being so tired, I wasn’t really feeling it. But I went against my better judgement. It was awesome until I got off the ride. I said we are going home now! I had the worst headache and decided that I just needed sleep. We get to the car and Ada falls asleep immediately. As we’re pulling out of the parking structure, I tell Matt he has to pull over NOW. He pulls straight into the AMPM and I run inside looking for the bathroom. No bathroom to be found! I ran into a room that turned out to be a closet and threw up on the floor :( I hear a teenage valley girl’s voice behind me say, “Uhhh ma’am, what are you doing?” I turn around, mortified, and say, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t find the bathroom in time…do you have any napkins?” She rolls her eyes at me, no doubt thinking that she’s the one who has to clean it up later! She brought me some towels and I cleaned myself up and RAN to the car. We continued to an Albertson’s where Matt went inside to buy me Saltines and 7UP. I threw up again in the parking lot and a random lady is sitting in her car and asked if I was okay. It was just easier to tell her I was pregnant instead of, “Oh, I just ate a churro and went on a roller coaster and don’t have the stomach I used to since having children.” She was very sympathetic with the pregnancy claim ;)

So: aside from the last events of the day, Disneyland was a raging success! Ada loved everything and still talks about it.

My Packing List for Disneyland:

– baby wipes

– Purell

– change of clothes (she was not about to take her princess dress off, but you never know)

– comfy shoes

– extra panties (she’s been potty trained for a year, but excitement can get the best of any kid)

– sweatshirts/cardigans for everyone

– blanket to hang over stroller during nap time & to keep warm at night

– water bottles

– snacks for waiting in line (clementines, grapes, fruit snacks, crackers, Steve’s cookies!)

– Advil, Excedrin, etc. for mom & dad :)

It was so much fun sharing the magic of Disneyland with my daughter! I can’t wait until Lola is old enough to appreciate it too, I think we’ll go again right before Lola’s 3rd birthday.


Lots of new things have been happening around here! For starters, my first born started Preschool!! I can’t believe it. She was so ready and is thriving. Check out her sparkly new Hello Kitty shoes! We live in flip flops so that was a big deal. The second I pick her up, the socks and shoes come off!

Her teacher told me that she is well-mannered, well-behaved, and eager to learn. Music to a mother’s ears :) .jpg

When we first walked into the classroom, Ada went straight for the paints. She put on the smock and got to it! I told her I was going to leave and she said, “Okay, bye Mommy.” all the while focused on her masterpiece. I said, “Hey! Gimme a kiss!” so she did. She didn’t cry, I didn’t cry. Lola cried because she wanted to stay!

I whispered in her ear that we had a smoothie date and the tears disappeared. Lola is loving the one-on-one time with Mommy and so am I :)

Ada has made friends and this little girl is the daughter of one of my friends! They’re adorable together.

I love volunteering in the class. Ada puts her little hand on my arm during snack time and looks back at me with a smile while I’m there :)

Another new thing is the blog redesign! I am thrilled with it!! I wanted to convey in my header that I cover Food, Home & Family, Travel, and Running & Fitness. Danielle nailed it. The font and blues make me SO happy! She was easy to work with and extremely patient with my picky requests, not to mention incredibly reasonable for her work! She works with Mary on WordPress installs and she was fabulous as well, answering emails within minutes and fixing any requests quickly. If you’re looking for someone for a redesign, check them out!

The last new thing is that we finally joined a gym again!! We are loving it!

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Lola Turns Three & Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake

My baby turned three this month! Sweet Lola girl wanted a Tinkerbell party and picked out her tablecloth, plates, napkins, cups, and outfit to wear. We looked through the blog for dinner ideas and she chose Hot Beef Sandwiches au Jus, much to her Papa’s delight!

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This is typical Lola, not used to the spotlight while opening gifts.

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Showing off her baking outfit:

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And deciding to blow out her candles with my help this year. Can you believe that sweet little face?! I just love the way she looks at me.

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This little one is our lover. Always up for snuggles, hugs, and kisses. Always willing to share. Loves to do everything “Mine self!” Is talking non-stop and has the most contagious laugh. We love you sweet Lola-girl!!

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I took a page from my Coldstone days and made an ice cream cake that fulfilled Lola’s “Pink with green on top” request. It was perfect on such a warm summer birthday celebration!

Press brownies into the bottom of a springform pan,

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Pour and spread your softened ice cream on top and freeze.

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Pour warm water around the edge of your pan and release.

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Top with whipped cream if desired.

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Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake -

Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy, fuss-free homemade cake perfect for any party!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 1 9x9 in. pan Ghirardelli Brownies, prepared
  • 1.5 quart Breyer's Strawberry Ice Cream, softened
  • 1 8 oz. Carton Heavy Whipping Cream (optional)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  1. Bake brownies according to package directions and cool. Press brownies into the bottom of your springform pan.
  2. Scoop and spread the ice cream into the pan, on top of the brownies.
  3. Place the cake in freezer for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. When cake is completely frozen, remove from freezer and run the edges of the pan under warm water until the form can be removed.
  5. Place cake on serving platter and add whipped cream, if using.
  6. Whipped cream:
  7. Beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and desired color food coloring in stand mixer until stiff peaks form.