Thursday, August 28, 2014

What I've Been Up To- July Edition

Alright, even though it's almost September we are going to back up and talk about what happened back in July! I'm all about memories and what better way to to secure those memories than posting to the Internet? amiright??

Enjoy our July highlights!


I took the first week in July off from work to relax, spend some time with Kaydin and do some fun things around the city. Our  first stop was the Science Center of Iowa to see all the exhibits and catch an IMAX movie.


During the summer Jordan Creek Century Theater features a kid/family friendly for only $2.00!  The movie we caught was Turbo, a cute Disney movie neither of us had seen yet. It was a fun (and cheap) outing for a summer vacation morning.


It's never too early to teach kids about finance and saving. Kaydin added counting up the money from her piggy banks to her summer bucket list. After it was all counted and she kept $11 for spending we took a trip to the bank to get it deposited into her savings account.



It was just the dogs and I on the afternoon of 4th of July. Tim was out of town so I took some time to relax on the back deck with Squeaky and Ciera with some sun tea in hand and Bob Marley playing on Pandora. The rest of the July 4th weekend was spent with my bestie, Kristyn, eating some good food, lounging, and getting in a little pool time.


Before Kaydin and I headed north to meet my dad for the annual exchange, (Kaydin spends a week with my parents around the 4th of July) we hopped on our bikes and hit the trails in our new neighborhood to explore a new part of the trail system we hadn't been on yet.




Kaydin had been requesting a visit to Sky Zone for a couple months. A week of vacation was the perfect time to finally agree. And when pairing the visit with a Groupon, it was a fairly inexpensive activity.



Some of my family traveled to Des Moines for the Color Run on July 13th. It was so fun to do it with all of them! There's already talks of participating next year! A full recap to come!




My herbs have been doing great like they do every year! Now I just need to keep cutting them to preserve them and have some herbs through the cold, dead winters. All of my other veggies have been doing fairly well, slow but steady. Since we've had such a wet summer and be pesky bunnies like to visit, I've had a few growth stunts. Oh well, this is my year to learn the area our garden is set it and make it better and expanded next spring. I'm already excited and making plans for next year!


The day after Tim left for his Colorado stay for his graduate banking degree, Kaydin and I hit up the local pool, Valley View Aquatic Center. It was a prefect heat-filled afternoon to take a dip in the water and dry by laying poolside.


Just a slow summer evening relaxing with my little miss. We need to find more of these nights year round.


We visited our Little Free Library about weekly throughout the whole summer to check on inventory and donate new books. It's been a great hit in the area and I look forward to seeing the offerings maybe expand to additional parks. If you haven't visited yet be sure to check out Ridge Point Park and take a book home! but please leave one behind to share with others! :)


One warm summer night, Kaydin and I set out down the local gravel roads with a pair of scissors in tow. When I visited my Grandma in Kansas during summer when I was a little girl, picking wildflowers was a tradition. The setting sun, warm, evening summer air, and keeping your eyes peeled for the bright, beautiful colors of the flowers was one of my favorite events of the summer every year. Ah, memories!



It isn't summer without watching my favorite show Big Brother!


Tim and I did some landscaping! That is to say, we found some big rocks, Tim picked them up and got 'em in the car, I supervised from the side, told him exactly where they should be placed, and then I bought some clearance perennials from the Hy-Vee Garden Center. I think it looks pretty good though!



A summer staple, 4th of July fireworks! Kristyn has the best view from her driveway so that's where we stayed!


Just an evening game of Headbandz to keep us occupied!


Some pretty little girl engaged in a nice little selfie session in the backseat.


While visiting the Science Center, she told me my fortune!


I met up with a couple girlfriends, Traci and Summer, near the beginning of the month for Zoo Brew. Zoo Brew is an adults only event held at Blank Park Zoo on Wednesday nights with live music, beer, wine and margaritas. It was surprisingly* relaxing strolling through the zoo sipping on tequila with no kids tagging along!

*sarcasm



I had a fabulous weekend back home at my parent's house for the bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette weekend! Josh and Kerstin decided to have a joint party and float down the river. I had never gone before and was a little nervous, but despite a few glitches it was a great time! It's always fun to hang out with family that I don't see near enough!





And finally, Kaydin and I hopped on a plane on my birthday to meet up with Tim to explore the Boulder, CO area. Another recap that will hopefully be coming your way soon!


Make sure to click all the links to learn more about all of the fun offerings I mentioned in this post around the Des Moines metro area.


What have you been up to this summer?


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blue Diamond Honey Almonds {#savethehoneybees}

I was a lucky one that got to try the new line of honey almonds from Blue Diamond when they were released! And boy, are they good!


Blue Diamond has launched their honey line of products in their BeeCause We Care line. I love that they are doing this. I'm sure everyone has read the headlines and maybe a few articles and research papers about the declining bee population. I love that a company is supporting this cause. It's one that will really start affecting us if we don't make some positive changes.


BEE CAUSE WE CARE

"Honey bees pollinate our almond trees and one-third of the world’s food supply. Almonds are the only crop that is 100% dependent on honey bees for the pollination of its crops and every spring more than a million colonies of honey bees are placed in California almond orchards to pollinate the crop.
Since 1976, Blue Diamond has helped fund research in more than 70 projects focused on the health of bees, pollination and colony health. This is the largest, most sustained investment of any agricultural organization. Through this effort Blue Diamond has partnered with beekeepers and research institutions to find new ways to support honey bee health by addressing issues of nutrition, stock improvement, pest and disease management and the impact of pesticides."
Besides the great reason of supporting the bee research efforts to choose these almonds, the flavor is great! They are both easily my new favorites, especially the Honey Roasted Vanilla!


To read more about Blue Diamond's involvement and the other products they offer visit their website!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I was compensated with the above two cans of almonds. No monetary compensation was offered. All opinions are my own.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Bounty Salad

How about just one more zucchini recipe idea to add to your already long list??


This one, though, is barely a recipe at all. Just a list of fresh ingredients to throw together!

I used my spiralizer to turn one of our garden fresh zucchinis into some curly, thin, noodle-shaped strips. Then just used a few other fresh staples for summer that was in our kitchen at the time. Fresh sweet corn was cut off the cob raw and added. Yellow cherry tomatoes also made it into the bowl. Topped with fresh dill and tahini dressing to bring it all together!

Summer Bounty Salad

Ingredients:
1 medium to large zucchini, spiralized or cut into chunks
2 handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 ears raw sweet corn, cut off cob
1 small handful dill, chopped
drizzle of salad dressing, to taste (I used a tahini dressing, but ranch would match really well, too.)

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Serve immediately.


What is your favorite thing to make with zucchini this time of year?


Friday, August 15, 2014

Cherry Almond Superfood Smoothie {+Skoop B Strong protein powder review}

I have a quick and easy recipe for you today! (I feel like I say that ALL.THE.TIME!) Plus this one is super healthy for you!



I met the lovely Maddie at Blend this year and we clicked right away. That girl's got a good head on her shoulders! She works for an awesome little company, Skoop, that specializes in whole, plant-based nutrition. I've had the chance to try A Game and B Strong. Both are delicious and so healthy for you. So many times protein powders and energy/nutrient powders are laced with no-so-good-for-you ingredients. That's not the case with Skoop!


B Strong is rich in many different vitamins and minerals and not a trace of artificial ingredient or sweeteners in sight! Love that! All of their products are gluten free, too, if that's something you are looking for!


"Formulated for plantheads, meatheads and everyone in between, one serving of B-Strong®       contains 16 grams of plant-based protein, including essential and non-essential amino acids. With vitamins, minerals, prebiotic fibers and Omega-3, 6, & 9 fatty acids, B-Strong® works with your body intelligently. Our antioxidant-rich Mediterranean Blend even helps your muscles recover after a workout. It’s protein for the masses, not just the massive"


There are so many different ways you can use B Strong, but of course the obvious choice is to blend it up in a smoothie! When I recently was cleaning out my freezer I found a bag of frozen cherries. Perfect ingredient to throw in my Ninja for a nutrient packed smoothie

Cherry Almond Skoop Superfood Smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1/2 cup frozen spinach (1 cup if using fresh)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop B strong protein powder
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp hemp seeds

Directions:
Add all ingredients to the blender cup. Switch on until all thoroughly blended.




*Disclaimer: I was provided was a free bag of Skoop B Strong protein powder. I was not offered any other form of compensation. All opinions are my own.


Have you tried any of the Skoop products?




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday {July eats edition}

Hi!

I'm alive and well! and busy!

But you probably already knew that. It seems like blogging falls to the wayside in the summer, especially the month of July. I have so much to fill you all in on, though! July was a fun month and since I like to document what happens in our everyday lives, we'll be backing up a bit during the month of August!

But since I'm still not caught up in real life and ready to devote more time to blog, I'm jumping back in with a picture heavy post of many things we ate during the month of July!

Enjoy!

Tim makes a mean breakfast! His French toast is pretty dang good! 

I got a flyer for a free Graze snack box in the paper one week. Now I'm a paying customer! Their boxes are so fun and pretty cheap!! Go here to learn more and enter my invitation code, YKLLRNRB to get your free box, too! 

Summers at the work cafeteria mean make your own pizzas! This one had alllll the veggies, pesto, and a little bit of chicken! Need to recreate this soon!

Pupusas with the family at the Downtown Farmer's Market after a fun, early morning at the Color Run!

Froyo after an afternoon at the aquatic center is mandatory, right? And a quick tip- Orange Leaf has the best cookie dough topping in all the metro frozen yogurt chains! Mmmm!

A quick fresh recipe I need to get posted- zucchini noodles, fresh raw sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, dill and a little salad dressing. So fresh and summery!

Another recipe coming your way soon- blueberry galette with a coconut oil crust. Yum! Even better eaten warm and topped with some vanilla bean ice cream!

Fresh peaches in July are the besssst!

A new find from Trader Joe's. Pretty good! Just apples and mangoes on the ingredient list!

Typical summer dinner for us. Tilapia with some veggies on the side! Tim has perfected his tilapia preparation technique and it's sooo good!

When you are craving roasted marshmallows but there's no campfire in sight, ya do what ya gotta do! 

Snack plate for dinner is always the way to go when your kids are out of town and you only have to 
feed yourself!

Sangria on 4th of July? Yes, please! Made by my bff, Kristyn!

A mouth watering meal from Jethro's! Locals- if you haven't tried the jalapeno creamed corn from there you are missing out! And I don't like spicy food but this is AWESOME!

Jethro's fried pickles- a must order item!

Bowl of mojito fruit salad from Iowa Girl Eats and a fresh peach, aka Heaven! 

Bagel breakfast during staycation is definitely a good idea!



Simple crockpot pork tacos with cilantro, queso fresco, and avocado. Plus a great meal for leftovers!

A fun, easy meal with no clean-up. And made by my mamma! Can't beat that! She calls 'em hobo meals. There's a hamburger hiding under all the veggies. Easy and filling!

Another staple summer meal. Can never have too much corn and watermelon in the summertime!

Have you tried the peach and blackberry mojito green tea lemonades from Starbucks yet? Do it!

Creamy, caramely gelato! 

Who remembers these? When I saw them in Target I had to snatch them up, just for nostalgia's sake.

The awesome spread at Kerstin's bridal shower, my soon-to-be sister-in-law!

Eat as many fresh rainbows as you can :)

Need to seek these out! A freebie from Blend but they will soon be making it into my regular 
grocery rotation!

I don't usually buy this brand of Greek yogurt because it's thickened with cornstarch, but I was intrigued by the new flavor, almond creme. It tasted just the filling of a Dutch letter!


There ya have it! All my documented eats during the month of July! It was a delicious month! :)

Linking up with Jenn for WIAW!
Peas and Crayons