Herby Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

If you are anything like me, you would often have visions of diving into a large swimming pool filled with ranch dressing. No? Just me? Ok maybe a slight exaggeration, very slight, but I do have an overwhelming addiction to ranch dressing. In fact I may or may not have been deemed a “ranch snob” after refusing to use any store bought ranch dressings. They just never taste the same to me. Whenever I eat out, I always have to try the restaurants ranch. As if this one item determines whether a restaurant is acceptable haha. So i figured it was time to find the perfect combination of ingredients to create what I look for in a really good ranch. I like mine tangy and with tons of herb flavor and I think I have managed to achieve that with this recipe. Here is what I used.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayo (not miracle whip)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4-1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp (maybe more) apple cider vinegar
  • a handful (not so specific measurement :/) of parsley, chives and dill
  • 3/4 tsp mustard
  • salt and pepper

I start by mixing the mayo and sour cream.

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I then add the other wet ingredients.(buttermilk, vinegar and mustard) start with 1/4 cup of buttermilk and taste at this point. You may want to add more and you might think its fine the way it is. Same with the vinegar.Start with a tbsp. you can always add a splash later. Like I said, I like mine tangy so I usually add a bit more vinegar but thats up to you. Once you are satisfied with your base, then add the herbs. I used a large handful of chives and dill. parsley can be a bit over powering so you can add it a little bit at a time since you can always add more but once its in.. its in!

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Mix and then add your salt and pepper.

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I then transfer mine to a cute little mason jar. (everything is better in a mason jar) and let it sit for at least a half hour in the fridge so all of those flavors can become friends, soak and do their thing.

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Then serve it on some veggies, a burger, drink it, whatever your heart desires! Enjoy!!

Strawberry Freezer Jam

For those of you that wanted to know how we make our delicious jam, here it is:

Ingredients for one jar:

1 container of fresh strawberries

1 cup of sugar (more or less to personal taste)

1/2-3/4 packet of sure jell fruit pectin

*Some people like a sweeter jam and some like it more sour so its totally up to you! Start with a cup of sugar and you can always add more if you want it sweeter.

Hull and cut the strawberries into quarters. We then threw them into our nutri bullet (or any blender) and pulsed them until slightly pureed. We leave ours a little chunky.

Mix in the sugar and pectin and stick it in a jar! Its as simple as that. Leave it in the refrigerator for about an hour before eating to allow the sugar to dissolve.

We always use ours right away which is why we make such a small batch. Your jam will keep in the refrigerator for a week. Maybe a little longer.

If you choose to make more and  freeze it make sure to put it in a plastic container. Not glass. The jam will keep up to one year in the freezer.

This is a summer staple in our house! Nothing beats fresh Jam!!

 

 

A day at Wheeler Farm

Yesterday my husband got to watch his kids enjoy a place that he remembers visiting as a child. It was interesting to hear him share his memories with the kids and to describe to them how some things had changed and how others were exactly as he remembered them. This place is amazing. We had so much fun. Cove hasn’t stopped talking about the animals since we left. the best part Wheeler Farm is that its FREE!! As a family a five, we don’t want to spend a ton of money every time we go out. Perfect example that it does’t take a bunch of money to create wonderful memories. There are things that cost a couple of dollars like the tractor rides but I think they were literally $2 for a ride around the entire farm. This was one of my favorite family day destinations so far.

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I am still amazed at how many brother bonding moments we were able to capture!

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I dont think my kids had favorite animal. They loved them all.

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Cove loved the old machines and found that the wheels make for a great hat rack

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Jordan sat and listened to the blacksmith for awhile

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and both boys enjoyed feeding the ducks (more brother bonding!)

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of course cove couldn’t resist trying to swim with them.

Adapting

My determination to leave the house today came on strong and was brought into light by the inability to go out for the past few days. Having any sort of ailment or chronic illness can make many things difficult. In my case, when said illness is rearing its ugly head,  leaving the house is a struggle and most times we just stay home. (Insert major mom/wife guilt here.) We have had to adapt to short jam packed outings rather than long all day events or things that keep us out for too long. Thankfully in these moments I have learned to shift my thought process. I take advantage of the days that we have dad home. His presence in no way takes away the symptoms that I have to deal with but I feel a sense of peace knowing that there are an extra set of eyes on the kids if I have to run an take care of myself for a minute. I have also learned to celebrate even the smallest of things. We left the house for 2 hours today and in that short amount of time the kids experienced some really cool things. It is so important to us that they have amazing memories of their childhood as big or small as they may be and sometimes the most simple things leave the biggest impact.

Moving on from depressing talk of illness 🙂

Today we ventured to Salt lake which has become a place of such spirit lifting experiences for me. This place just speaks to me and I would absolutely love to move here in the future. We visited Liberty park, the oldest park in Utah. The park opened in 1882 and has so many cool attractions and was filled with such community and diversity. We visited the Utah Folks Arts museum and there were awesome art and jewelry booths set up. The kids visited the lake filled with ducks and we hope to go back and ride the paddle boats soon. There was also a aviary that we somehow missed so we will for sure be heading back ASAP.

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Its amazing how much fun a giant hill can be!! Running and rolling and dodging duck poop! Jordan stuck to riding his hover board along the top.

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This garden was my favorite part. The colors were so vibrant (and conveniently matched my kimono). Bowie enjoyed the view, the other boys… couldn’t have cared less about the flowers lol

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Then they have the seven canyons fountain, the splash pad and multiple playgrounds.

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and my ridiculously cool pre teen… well he was actually super stoked about the vintage car show that was going on. That and chilling out on the grass with his baby bro.

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So today we celebrate getting out of the house, overcoming challenges, appreciating the smallest things, and spending time together as a family. Not settling or giving into the crap that we can all get handed. Here’s to pushing forward.

I am in the process of writing about my journey with Crohns disease. Its taking me a bit longer than expected. Hoping to have that up soon.

The Fourth of July at Discovery Park

I knew that I would be finding more of Utahs hidden gems as the summer progressed, I just didn’t realize it would be this soon after my summer activities post! I had been hearing great things about this park In Pleasant Grove that is filled with amazing learning activities. Since my husband was home for the Fourth of July, we decided to check it out.

This park is called  the Novell Kids Discovery Park and is a part of the Manila Park in Pleasant Grove.

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The first thing I noticed when we pulled up was that it was all wood, which I loved! No dirty plastic or Hot metal. The second thing I noticed was how huge this park is! Also I saw a wide range in ages. I liked that I can bring my almost 3 year old an my 12 year old and they both had a great time.

Discovery Park is broken up into Learning Zones. They have a Science zone, a huge wooden rocket ship that the kids can climb inside of, a dinosaur sand pit with a geological timeline, speaking tubes placed around the park that the kids can communicate through, whisper dishes made from old satellite dishes, an echo box perfect for screaming! and Plenty of climbing activities for all ages. There are also great areas for adults. plenty of seating, one table has a chess board and a plant garden if you want to take a break from the playground.

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There are giant musical instruments which I think my husband may have enjoyed more than anyone…

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my favorite part were the giant beehives!!!

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There are , of course, all of the normal park amenities. All the usual suspects. Cove loved the tire swing and puzzle boards.

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The kids were all over the place. They explored every inch of this park. By the end Jordan was ready for a nap. Its really difficult being a pre teen 😉

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As we were leaving people were setting up chairs and blankets for the fireworks show going on at the park but we decided to head back home and enjoy them from our yard. We were starving after all of that playing. We cooked up some burgers and corn had a picnic on the front lawn.

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Later on that night we headed back out front to watch the many fireworks shows going on in our neighborhood. I think we counted 4 different shows going on at once.Our cul de sac was the perfect central location to view all of them. The kids climbed on top of dads car for a better view.

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Hope everyone had an amazing had an amazing holiday weekend.

 

 

 

Summertime and the living is CRAZY! some of our favorite summer activities

The topic of what to do with your kids  during this major heat wave has come up a lot recently. I’ve been asked what we do to stay cool and how I keep my kids busy.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about these activities at the beginning of summer because I was still trying figure out life with a third child!! If I still lived in Los angeles my go to spot would of course be the beach but obviously thats not an option. Luckily Utah has a ton of gorgeous, family friendly places to check out and I’m sure that we haven’t even seen a quarter of them. We have so much more to explore here . But we have managed to find some places and things to do that are fun for the kids while being manageable for mom. 🙂

There are some days that I absolutely need to get out of the house but there are other days when I just want to stay home! On said days, when packing up, getting dressed and driving anywhere seems more than I can bare, we head to our “backyard wonderland” and have just as much fun there as we would anywhere else. Anyone that knows us would tell you that my children are naked most of the time. Yes I have little nudest nature babies and that is totally okay with me! So most of the time we will turn on the sprinklers or fill the kiddie pool. Clothes come off, water goes on and thats our afternoon. Here are some other backyard adventures we enjoy:

Backyard camping

One of my favorite things to do is set up a tent in the back yard. I bring out blankets and pillows (sometimes the mickey mouse couch makes its way outside as well) snacks, drinks, crayons and books. everything we would need for a real camp out. This is so fun for the kids because its something a little different than our everyday back yard routine. They think its fun and a special treat. We sit in our little shaded tent area and i’ll set up the kiddie pool also in case they get too hot. These days usually include a nature scavenger hunt and we draw and color what we see outside! Cove usually collects sticks to make a pretend fire.

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Water Trampoline

Spraying the trampoline with the hose has become a favorite of my oldest son. Or he puts the sprinkler underneath and they both think it hilarious  that the water comes up through the bottom. Easy fix to them telling me its too hot to jump!

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Painting Parties/Art Days

These pictures are from awhile ago but being creative and getting messy is still one of my favorite things to do if we are going stay home. I love putting on music, grabbing a canvas and some paint and letting the kids go for it! Take a hose and soap to them when they are done. They are clean and you are left with some awesome art to keep forever!

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On days when I feel like getting out of the house and its too hot for the park, we have found a ton of fun things to do that are still outdoors (our preference) and also involve water.

Splash Pads!

These magical places are now something I hold near and dear to my heart! When my husband isn’t with me, I can’t take both babies to a pool since I wouldn’t be able to be in the water with one and out holding the other at the same time. Splash pads are the answer!! I can watch from the sidelines, kids stay cool and we are lucky enough to have found one near our house that has an enclosed playground attached!!! winning! We love this place so much we ended up having coves second birthday here last year

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Scera water park

We have this amazing water park near our house. There are Multiple pools, a huge water slide, a splash pad and a large grass area to set up for the day. There are lounge chairs, a concession stand and water toys available for purchase. We love it here.

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Lakes and Ponds 

We are so lucky to live near so many beautiful lakes and ponds and waterfalls! Hiking may not sound like the best idea when its scorching outside but when there is a gorgeous waterfall near by, hiking seems a lot more appealing! We feel so blessed to have these areas all within a 15 min drive.

Tibble Fork Reservoir

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Utah lake

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Manila Creek Pond

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Bridal veil Falls

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Although we are lovers of the outdoors, there are some days when coming in from the heat is necessary. On those days there are always indoor play gyms and bounce houses. We are frequent visitors of Kangaroo zoo but there are plenty of these places around. They are great for staying cool and allowing the kids to run and jump and be crazy!! The kids get to play and there are couches and tables for moms to sit and watch from a safe distance. 🙂

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and last but not least….. The ARCADE!! my personal fave 🙂 Cove is now old enough to appreciate how fun this is because he can finally play the games himself and he understands the concept of collecting tickets for prizes. We just went the other day and had so much fun. Thankfully I had my baby wrap so I was able to carry the baby on me while chasing cove around with jordan.

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I am sure we will be adding to this list as summer moves forward and I need to get more creative in order to keep my little babes entertained.