Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Trip

My mom purchased Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Wristbands at Emily's school picnic this Spring so last week we decided to take a quick trip and use them.  On Thursday we headed to the coast.  We arrived about lunch time and ate corn dogs on the Boardwalk; a must when visiting.  We then rode lots of rides and had so much fun.  In the later afternoon we played on the beach which the girls loved.  The weather was great on Thursday.  We had dinner at a new favorite spot on the pier; Woodie's Cafe.  It's a quick spot to eat but good food and a great view.  We couldn't pass up Marini's on the Wharf and had ice cream cones.  We headed to the hotel very late.  My girls can't miss one single second so since we were all in one room they didn't want to sleep.  Mind you we didn't have any naps and we played hard all day.  Regardless of that Emily fell asleep at 9:45 (bedtime is 7 pm for both girls) and Madi was after 10:00 pm!!!!!!  Still up early the next morning too.  UGH!!!!
Friday morning was cold and totally overcast so we did a little shopping.  We ate lunch at The Farm in Soquel which is a yummy little stop.  We promised Emily we would go to the beach again so we made the trek despite the weather.  Also Madi fell asleep on the drive down to the beach so I carried her in her carrier so she could sleep.  It was almost impossible; I'm so pathetically weak.  Emily played for a little bit on the beach but it was so cold we didn't last long.  Mid afternoon we headed to Gilroy for a little shopping and then headed home in the evening.
Thanks Voa Voa for tickets to the Boardwalk.  We had so much fun!  Our girls trips can be totally hectic and bit stressful but love the memories we make!

White chocolate covered Oreo.

Madi LOVED the carousel.

Mommy Monday-Date Night

We're still trying to give Emily one-on-one time and some special treats to make her feel special and not get lost in the busyness of two children.  A few weeks ago Emily and I went to BJ's Pizza for a mommy and daughter date night.  We had pizza and pizzokie; you can't go wrong with those!!!!  It was lots of fun just hanging out with my girl.

Supper Sunday-Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad

Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad


1 pkg. of pasta (rotini, bowtie, etc)
3 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I bbq'ed chicken then sliced)
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 package canned corn
1 can of sliced olives
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix 

Cook pasta, drain and cool.  Add all of the other ingredients and then mix up the dressing.
Add dressing to the salad and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  Right before serving, add in Frito corn chips to taste.  Enjoy!
This is so good and perfect for a hot summer night.

This was a picture of leftovers because this makes a ton!!  So the picture doesn't look great but it is amazing!!!

Mommy Monday-Fresno County Libray

If you have kids and don't frequent the library you are missing out.  Especially this summer because they have a Summer Reading Challenge.  The challenge runs from June 13- August 2.  After your child reads (or reads with you if they are too young to read) 2, 5, 8 and 10 books they receive a prize at the library.  The prizes range from novelty toys to free lunch at BJ's.  Once they get to 10 books they are entered to win a Kindle Fire HD.  There is also an adult summer reading challenge. 12 kids and 2 adults will win a Kindle.
In addition to the challenge there are craft days, movie nights, workshops, and children's performances.  Emily and Madi also love going to the library to play with their toys.  They have a kitchen, tables, chairs, couches, lots of toys, and a computer.  Emily also loves picking out books to read at nap and bedtime.
Check out their website to see more info and to find your nearest branch.

This picture and the next cracked me up!

Father's Day 2015

Today we celebrated DADDY!  We started the morning with an early breakfast at Fresno Breakfast House.  We went early to beat the crowd and had a delicious meal.  In the afternoon we went to go visit Papa Ed in the senior rehab facility he's been at for a couple of weeks.  We spent the evening at home and ate a yummy bbq meal.  We finished the night we our favorite, YoDiggity!  It was a laid back and pretty relaxing day which is just what daddy wanted to do.  We were so happy to just spend the day doing what he wanted.  I am so thankful to have such an amazing husband and father to our girls.  He treats us royally.  I feel so blessed and am so thankful that God put him in my life.

Family selfie didn't work.

Daddy opening his gifts.

I did the above (blue) interview first and when I got to this one it had overlapping questions.  When I asked Em what her favorite thing to do with dad was she replied, "I already told you...Play with my car!"  I started cracking up and then didn't ask her the next question because I knew it was a repeat question as well.

Fresno Friday-Skywalk

Today 7 mommies and 10 babies and toddlers went on an adventure to Skywalk and then lunch at Panera.  It was AMAZING how well behaved everyone was.  We actually all sat down to eat without one tear or tantrum.  I would call that a miracle!!  Anyways most of us had never been to Skywalk out past Children's Hospital and it was fantastic.  From 10-11 am every weekday it's just for children under 6.  It's $6 for a child and one adult is free.  Madi was also free.  On the weekends it's $10.  The hour with just young kids was great.  We were there past 11 and it did get a little full and a bit wild.  The facility is amazing with lots of trampolines, foam pits, and obstacle courses.  I think this is a great outlet for kids and I found it very reasonable.  Two thumbs up for Skywalk.

Start With Why

Start With Why by Simon Sinek is a leadership book for just about anyone.  Sinek has a philosophy about inspiring others and how leaders should run their businesses.  The basic premise is to start with WHY.  Why are you selling this?  Why did you start a business?  Why do you do what you do?  In business there is the What, the How, and the Why.  Most companies and people know what they do/sell and how they do that but so many people don't get the why; they forget the purpose.  Sinek claims that knowing the WHY is the key to success.  You have to keep the WHY at the heart of everything you do.  It translates easily to the customer and they feel the reason you do something.  When your WHY is clear the success starts flowing.  

Some key ideas:
Trust is key to leadership.  A leader must provide his people with a practical or emotional net, like the net under a trapeze artist, so that the people feel supported.  Supported employees will put in the extra effort which benefits the group as a whole.  They put in the extra effort or take more risks because they know they have a safety net underneath them.

Charisma is another component to leadership.  Energy motivates people but charisma inspires.  The difference between energy and charisma is the WHY.  "It comes from the absolute conviction in an ideal bigger than oneself."  Energy will get people to do things in the short term. Bonuses, promotions, and contests get people to work harder in the short term but they do not create loyalty.  Knowing your WHY makes for a charismatic leader and employees/customers will naturally develop loyalty. 

The WHY is ultra important but the What and the How need to be consistent with the WHY.

When making decisions you should always go back to your WHY.  Does this make sense with my purpose? Not only should the leader know the WHY but the WHY should be clearly communicated to all employees so that everyone can make sound decisions.  If they filter decisions through the WHY then better decisions are made each and every day.

For far more details check out the book; I definitely recommend it.

Emily's Swimming Lessons 2015

Today Emily finished her swim lessons for this year.  She did 11 lessons with Teacher Leah from Bullfrog Swim School.  We decided this year to go to their pool since it was heated.  Last year our pool was freezing during her lessons and I felt like I was torturing her.  She loved just about every second of swim lessons this year.  She was never timid or afraid.  Her favorite part was diving to the bottom.  It's so funny because that was my least favorite as a kid.  She learned to use her octopus arms, goldfish kicks, and to take a breath (not perfected though).  She's also working on floating on her back.  She can jump in and swim to the side and get out all by herself.  She's a little fish and we're so proud of her.
Thanks to Bullfrog Swim School for teaching our little fish.

P.S.  No surprise to anyone but Emily's biggest struggle was keeping quiet during her lessons.  She would come up for air and start chatting away.  The teacher and I were constantly telling her to zip it.  LOL

Saving herself with clothes on so she knows the feeling if she were to fall in clothed.