FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket

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

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Since we live in sunny California, I thought this year I would make Easter Beach Buckets for my daughters instead of traditional Easter baskets. I have this incredible memory of a trip that I took to Hawaii when I was about nine years old. It was Spring Break and my dad was based in Honolulu. The whole family flew out to meet him and we stayed for a week-long vacation. Easter was happening while we were there, and as young children I remember my siblings and I were very concerned about the Easter Bunny being able to find us! What if he left our baskets at our house? What if he didn’t know we were here? I remember my parents assuring us that the Easter Bunny would find us. Sure enough, on Easter morning, Mr. Bunny had left three different colored buckets in the living room for my brother, sister, and I. We were ecstatic!

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I wanted to recreate that for my daughters and give them a bucket full of items that they can take to the beach with them! Walmart has everything you need with many different themes:

Walmart Easter Aisle - karainthekitchen.comWe went with FROZEN because we still love it in this house! Have you seen the new short, FROZEN Fever? It plays before the new Cinderella movie in theaters. It’s so cute! Here’s my latest short:

A video posted by Kara Miller (@kara_j_miller) on

For the FROZEN Easter Beach Buckets:

A water bottle to stay hydrated, flip-flops to protect their feet from the hot sand, a fan to keep them cool…

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a giant bubble wand, sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun, panties to put on after they rinse off in the outdoor showers, a jump rope just in case…

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washcloths to brush the sand off their feet before they get in the car, and eggs filled with jelly beans that (hopefully) won’t melt!

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I hope you’re inspired to make your own take on a traditional Easter basket now! Which characters are your children’s favorite?

Hallmark Northpole Holiday Gifts

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

Hallmark has the cutest line of gifts right now! They’ve made a Northpole movie (see the trailer here), and you can find Hallmark Northpole merchandise at Walmart. Our store has a whole special section just for Christmas items over by the Garden Center.

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A video posted by Kara Miller (@kara_j_miller) on

I also found a small section of the snowflakes by the greeting cards.

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This morning, our little elf had a gift for us…well, my girls! Bizzy brought us the Once Upon A Northpole Christmas story book, Find me Santa Snowflakes, and Magic Snowballs :)

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Ada showing off her gifts!

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The girls were SO excited to find their presents waiting for them this morning! Love these little bed heads :)

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This will be such a fun tradition to start with my girls, reading Once Upon A Northpole Christmas with them every December. It’s such a sweet story.

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Ada & Lola immediately took their treasures and put them in their purses :)

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The Find Me Santa Snowflake lights up so that Santa can find you no matter where you are staying on Christmas Eve!  If you hold down the button for 4 seconds, it will stay lit for 4 hours!

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The snowballs are just plain fun. They light up and are a blast to have a pretend snowball fight with. Since we have rain here, but no snow. It’s like we have a little bit of the Northpole here with us!

Check out a cute video about the city where Santa lives here: http://youtu.be/hCnimwpWvUs

Auntie Linds Visits & Other Fun Things

I took this picture of Ada for Joyschool. She wanted her sweater with the flower, all buttoned up. And her heart necklace, princess bracelet, and sparkly red headband. I love the way she accessorizes :)

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Matt & I went for a run by the Elks’ Rodeo grounds. I love the rodeo! Can’t wait for it in June.

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Matt went for a run with a friend and came home to Mav sitting on top of him. I think he missed him just a little bit!

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Poor Lola doesn’t get a nap on Sundays because we go from 11:30-2:30 this year. I was looking for her after church and found her like this on the couch!

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Valentine’s Day

I finally got my hair done! Amazing what a good mood it gave me just booking the appointment.

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Here’s what it looks like now! Thanks for the endives, California Endive! I’m making these with them.

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Valentine’s Day breakfast was Pink Heart-Shaped Whole Wheat Pancakes! I used our family’s recipe and just mixed everything in a freezer-size Ziploc bag and added pink food coloring. Snipped the end off the corner and made hearts! The girls were in heaven.

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The doorbell rang and it was a motorcycle tire. : / Talk about anti-climatic! Plus it was the wrong size, so we had to send it back and get a new one.

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Maverick was happy with it:

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I was happy with my box of See’s candy! All Milk Chocolate Butters. The BEST! Mmm :) I sent Matt to work with a See’s Bordeaux egg, Cadbury eggs (I don’t get the hype but the boy LOVES them), and a card.  

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My grandpa picked Ada up to go to an adorable Valentine’s party with her friends! They decorated cookies, made Valentines, and played. She wore ALL pink in honor of the holiday :)

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Matt & I dropped the girls with my mom for a slumber party! They made the most adorable Valentines and had a blast with their Nonnie! Then we went to SLO for a run. We planned on going to the shooting range, but got up there too late. Then we went to Firestone to get tri-tip sandwiches and they were all OUT of tri-tip!!!! We were so sad! We ended up trying out the new Splash Cafe Grill downtown and were pleasantly surprised! It took us forever to decide since we were set on Firestone, but I got the Crab Melt and it was insanely delicious.

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It’s funny, when we were first married – this probably would’ve been classified as a “bad” Valentine’s day. But since having children and being busy busy busy…we were just so happy to have time together! Amazing how your perspective changes. We didn’t care that most of our plans fell through. We were just glad to be able to talk without being interrupted and eat without having to take someone potty or prevent a meltdown. :)

When we came home – the Valentine’s Fairy had left a gift for us! In Matt’s family, their parents do this every year and the girls loved their balloons & we’re loving the gourmet food inside!  

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Matt had been crazy busy with something every night that week. The girls went to bed before he got home, so they were missing him big time. Ada woke up crying and I went in, took her potty, gave her a drink of water, and she was still crying. I put her in bed next to Matt and she grabbed a hold of his arm and went right to sleep. She just needed her Papa :)    

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Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day! xoxo

Easy Microwave Caramels & Gingerbread Houses

First of all, let me give you the easiest caramel recipe in the history of caramel making. These little beauties are made in the microwave! The only tricky thing is getting to know your microwave and how long you need to cook them. Once you figure that out – you can bust them out every year and impress your friends and family! My Nana bought these plastic wrappers from a place in UT, but you could just use waxed paper if you can’t get your hands on any.

Easy Microwave Caramels
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 pound (2¼ cups) brown sugar
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Butter a 9x13 pan. Combine first 4 ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 17 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove and add the vanilla, stir well to incorporate. Pour into the pan and let cool. Cut into small rectangles and wrap in cellophane or waxed paper wrappers. Enjoy!

 

Now for some more Christmastime fun! We always go to Santa Barbara for the holiday sales…Ada loves to go try on lipgloss at the MAC counter :)

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We made gingerbread houses at Devin & Liz’s…it was so much fun!!

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Ada made her own Candyland:

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Becca made a Tribal Village, complete with teepee and bonfire!

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Devin & Liz made a Metropolis with Teddy Grahams ice skating in the middle! Some of them were even on one leg/paw. It was so cute.

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Sean made a Gingerbread House with the cutest cars & best garden, in true Portland style!

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Matt & I made Santa’s Semi Truck!

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Santa needs to work on his driving skills. :)

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I was pretty proud of my cinnamon bear Santa :)

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Christmas 2013

Why hellooooo there! Happy New Year! Can I still say that on January 16th? I didn’t mean to take such a long break from blogging, but it was a much needed one. I worked hard in December and was a bit burnt out…the post-holiday migraine told me so. :)

We had a wonderful Christmas and I hope that you did too! Here’s a recap.

We went to see Santa in SLO and Ada was so cute with him. He asked what she wanted and she said, “A pink scooter!” He said, “And what else?” She answered, “That’s all!”

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Lola was absolutely terrified of Santa. I was the heartless mother who wanted to get a picture of her screaming and send it into Ellen but my mom couldn’t bear seeing Lola in such distress! It was pretty sad. So I have a picture of sweet Nonnie rescuing Lola from the grips of creepy Santa.

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We enjoyed Christmas magic…Ada was having trouble falling asleep one night so I said she could come lay on the couch by me. I left all the twinkle lights on and I said, “It’s so magical with just the Christmas tree lights on.” and she said, “Yeah, it’s like Disneyland.” Then immediately fell asleep.

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I love these ornaments that the girls made at church! These will have a permanent spot on my tree forever.

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We had family time with Uncle Sean and Auntie Becca in town!

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Excited little girls going to bed on Christmas Eve!

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The tree before Santa and his elves went to bed! :)

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And my phone died after I took this picture. It was kind of a good thing because then I was focused on the girls during Christmas morning and not on taking pictures and videos. I put Matt in charge of that and he made this beautiful video. It’s titled the way Lola says Christmas :)

As I was excitedly wrapping all of the gifts that I’d bought and made for my family, I kept having this thought and shared it on Facebook: You know the excitement you feel as you watch someone open a gift that you’ve been waiting for them to open? The perfect gift that you know they’ll love and have been wanting? It’s the best! I keep thinking that this is how our Heavenly Father must feel as we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and allow his Atonement, the greatest gift of all, to wash us clean and make us whole. I hope you all had a wonderful time with your loved ones…Merry Christmas! :)

Virginia & Travel Home

Some more pictures of the girls in the snow up at Mountain Lake Resort :)
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We got hot chocolate after this since our thin California skin was frozen! We drove around Blacksburg and the Virginia Tech campus.
Go Hokies!
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The house my grandpa lives in was built in 1870. It’s beautiful, as you can see!
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The girls had fun walking down to feed the cows with Grandaddy…except Ada ran so fast when one came too close to her!IMG 2524
We went to “dinner” (can’t really call it that because we went at 3:40 PM! Ha!) at Cracker Barrel and I didn’t realize they had a shop in front of the restaurant! They had some adorable Christmas decor.
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The next morning we hit the road and drove the 4 hrs. up to Washington/Dulles.
This picture is of Lola as she was pitching a fit…no nap for her. The second I held up the camera she pulled this face! Little ham :)
Our portable DVD player saved us for this portion of the trip. Thanks Mommy!
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When we got to the airport, we’d forgotten to gas up so had to leave the rental place and go get gas. This put us behind a bit and my dad was texting and calling like crazy while we were getting through security and to our gate. I kept ignoring him because I had two kids and baggage to worry about…then he says, “Where are you? I came to surprise you and my plane leaves in 5 min!” Needless to say we booked it off the tram and met him just in time! The gate agents were telling him, “Sir, all passengers all rows…” then the woman saw him kissing and hugging his granddaughters and goes, “Oh…you have 8 minutes.” haha :) Lola was happy to get some cookies from Scotland and Ada had her backpack filled with gummies he brought them. Thanks for taking the detour to see us for a bit Cap’n Walt!
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The girls were complete angels on the flight home. On the bottom left you can see a sleepy Lola sitting on Ada’s lap. Then Ada was content with Papa’s noise-cancelling headphones (which were hilarious because they made her talk really loud) watching movies the whole flight.
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Lola was exhausted and fell asleep on me for a few hours.
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When we got off the plane, we headed to baggage claim. Matt waited for the bags while the girls & I stood out of the way. He started talking to an older man, and I noticed them talking quite a bit. On the drive home, Matt told me that the man had asked him, “Are you the one traveling with your wife and two little girls?” Matt said yes and the man proceeded to tell him that he could tell that our girls were loved. He said tell your wife that she is doing a wonderful job because he could tell these girls were listened to and raised well. I totally started to cry when Matt was relaying all of this to me, partially out of exhaustion and partially out of a nagging comment someone had made. It was a tender mercy from my Heavenly Father letting me know that I’m doing a good job and my girls are just fine :)

We got home around midnight and are just now recouped from the trip, visiting family, Thanksgiving, and all that’s been going on. I’ll post a recap of our two Thanksgivings soon!

Ever been to the East Coast?

What’s your favorite college football team?

Happy Halloween!

Halloween was so much fun this year! We dressed up as Yo Gabba Gabba characters and I loved seeing people’s reactions! Little kids were so excited & people with older children looked at us like we were crazy. Awesome either way :)

Matt as DJ Lance Rock, me as Muno, Lindsay as Plex, Ada as Foofa, and Lola as Brobee!

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I got these costumes way back in February! It was a crazy good deal for the whole family, and I loved that I didn’t have to worry about it at all the month before. I must say that I’m really proud of guesstimating on the girls’ sizes 8 months out!

We went to a carnival at my mom’s school last Friday, then to our ward’s Trunk-or-Treat tonight. Both were so much fun! Tonight was the perfect amount of walking for the girls. They made one loop to all of the cars and then were joining me in the trunk to sit and look through (eat) their candy.

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Note Lola eating a blue airhead in the pic above…she was SO happy! I just love her in that costume. She looks 10xs more huggable than normal, which is a lot. I had to sew an old headband of mine to Lola’s hat to keep it on. I am seriously amazed that it didn’t fall off (I am not a seamstress at all)!

I saw this Candy Hierarchy today and laughed so hard! Heck yes Snickers is on the top tier. Check out the bottom though: “anonymous brown globs that come in black and orange wrappers” HA! Those were always the first to get traded when I was a kid! So gross.

I also loved this article about why the heck girls decide to dress up so scandalous on Halloween. We need to stop it! I’ll never forget when I lived in Provo & had just broken up with a guy. My roommates and I went to a Halloween dance and I was dressed in this awesome 80s sweater dress (see below…yes, we went to WalMart and took roommate pics) that was totally modest. I see my ex, and he is dancing with a girl wearing pretty much underwear and some wings. Sexy fairy? Victoria’s Secret angel? I don’t know. He saw me and did the smile/head nod and I just shook my head at him. I thought, “Oh, so that’s what you wanted.”

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It sucked in the moment as my hair was falling out of it’s giant 80s glamour and I was sweating buckets in my sweater dress at a dance, but looking back on it, I am so glad that I was dressed in a way that I would not be ashamed of later. You don’t have to dress sexy to look awesome and have a ton of FUN! I mean c’mon, who doesn’t want to party with a giant red Muno & furry Brobee?! I’m glad my momma taught me these things & I can look back on my costumes and not worry about my daughters seeing pictures of me in them! I hope they learn from me & I won’t have the arguments about one of them wanting to be a sexy nurse or something…ahhhh! Good thing that won’t be for a few years now :)

Photo  4Anyway, thoughts on this Halloween! Hope all of you had a great & safe one. What did you do? What did you dress up as?