Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summertime Update

Hi All!

Life has been busy here at the Elias' house. Emad is keeping busy by working, working out, helping with the youth group at church, playing volleyball with friends, and fishing! He has become quite the fisherman. Unfortunately, the Mercury levels in our lake are too high to eat the fish, so he just does catch and release. But, it is always exciting when he catches something! (Actually, he is out fishing right now.)

I have also been keeping busy with book writing, teaching swimming lessons everyday, working at the school, and gardening. Many people have asked me recently when my book will be coming out. At this point, it feels like forever. I am hoping that in 6 months I will be ready to release a digital version to the various online book stores (iTunes Books, Amazon, and Kindle). Then, I will try to figure out how/if I will do an actual book.

Here is a sneak peak of the introduction thus far...but it will probably change 50 times before I publish it...

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Meal Planning Made Easy

I hate meal planning. It is my nemesis. But, since I am writing a book/cookbook about eating on a budget, it seemed important to put at least one section on meal planning. Some of you may be wondering, "Why should I plan my meals?".

If you are anything like me, you have a set of recipes that you make over and over again. But, every once in a while you make something new and it DOUBLES your grocery bill because you had to buy unique ingredients that you don't usually buy. With meal planning, it gives you the opportunity to try new things (or repeat the old ones) without the extra cost for ingredients.

Here are my four steps to simple meal planning,
  1. INVENTORY what you have to use for the next week.
    • For me, this was boneless skinless chicken breasts. I bought them last week when they were on sale and they are taking up too much room in my freezer.
  2. See what is on SALE at the store this week.
    • I use the Safeway app and love it! It automatically loads the coupons onto my card. If you shop at another grocery store, look up their weekly sales online.
  3. Now, you have a LIST of items to use and items to buy. So, start pulling together recipes that you (a) already  have or (b) have always wanted to try. 
  4. Once you have a list of recipes for the week, go SHOPPING
I know that that sounds way to simple and it is actually very time consuming. But, the more that you do this, the easier it becomes. My husband can attest to me repeating over and over again, "I don't know what to make!" as I meal planned this week.

Here is this week's meal plan:

Saturday (yesterday): Falafel & Cucumber Pitas
Sunday: Asian Shredded Chicken Salad
Monday: Burrito Bowls
Tuesday: Black Bean Tacos w/ Slaw
Wednesday: Chicken Lo Mein
Thursday: Greek Style Salad w/ Kafta (Substitute the Lamb with Beef)
Friday: Chicken & Rice (This is one of my new favorite recipes!)

Note: I am doing a lot of recipe testing this week which is why so many of these recipes are new ones. Usually I stick to my old reliable recipes.

I hope this inspires you to save money by planning your meals this week!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why KCA is the BEST!

Do you know that Beats by Dre commercial with Colin Kaepernick? Well, if you don't know the commercial, watch the video below. Basically it's a headphones commercial.

Well...the 7th and 8th grade class at KCA decided that it would be fun to do a spoof of that commercial with their FAVORITE teacher, Mr. Sombs. And, I am in it!! Enjoy.

Monday, May 26, 2014

First Anniversary!

We have been married for over a year now! I really can't believe all that has happened in the past year. For our anniversary we did a couple things. First, we went to a nice dinner at The Blue Wing. It was one of the best meals out that we have had since moving here!

Next, we went on a camping trip to Kern River with my siblings.

This face says the meat is not good. :(

Our last anniversary adventure was this past weekend. We went camping in the Redwoods!

The North Coast is beautiful!

Our campsite & my dish washing husband!

We drove through a tree!

Emad squinting to see the top of the redwoods (350 Feet)! 
Camping breakfasts are my favorite!

Anytime we leave Lake County we always try the food (and drinks).

I cheated and had dairy @ Cowlicks! Yummmy!
The last five years of being together and last one of marriage have been amazing! I am so blessed to be married to such an amazing man.

First Picture Together

Wedding Day! 
Married 1 Year!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Life These Days

It has been a while since my last post. I am sorry! We have settled into a new routine since we are both working now. At the end of February I started working for a small, local, Christian school for about 25 hours a week.
I do yard duty (watching the kids play), the after-school program, and office work. It has been quite an adventure this past month. Between juggling the random art projects I am constantly starting, the cookbook I am writing, the piles of laundry that are ever growing, and now work, it has been a crazy month. Despite the sometimes hectic schedules, our friendships here are growing! Here are some of our favorite weekday activities,

1) We have a bi-weekly game night with two other couples which is always the highlight of the week. We always eat dinner together and then play games until past midnight. Most of our games have been zombie themed, and one even had a soundtrack for while we played (it wasn't very good). On New Years we played games until midnight and shot off black powder (it lights up like fireworks).

The Brothers
2) Emad has been helping out at the youth group on Wednesdays. The kids LOVE playing dodgeball for HOURS. It is very therapeutic to run around throwing dodge balls at kids after a long day of work.

3) My friend Becky and I go walking around town a couple times a week. I always get a kick out of how many people wave at us as they drive by. If we are on a small neighborhood road, people wave to be kind. If we are on a "big" street, people wave that know us (mainly just her though).

Additionally, Emad's brothers and their wives came up to visit over this past weekend. We had so much fun! Having family and friends visit us is one of our favorite things in the whole world. We love to show new visitors around town; highlighting the grocery stores, Kmart, and the lake.
The hardest thing about moving away has been missing our family and friends from home. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to transition into life in Lakeport. Here are some fun, random pictures of what we do to keep busy:

Hiking at Anderson Marsh State Park
Day Trip to SF
A trip to SF is not complete without a bread bowl. 
We try to make it back to SoCal as often as we can. And, nothing is better than playing with these two (and the turtle)!

Waiting for turkeys cross the road...
I love cold mornings by the fire. 
And, dinner by the fire!
I got a sewing machine for my birthday!!

Emad mending clothes on my old sewing machine!

Dinner for Two for Emad's Birthday

Emad's Birthday Cake 
A birthday is not complete without a trip to the laundromat.
Some days I am so tired in the morning that I drop the bucket of coffee on the floor.
When there are no clouds, the sky is absolutely BLUE! 

Thrift store fabric is my new obsession!

With my new sewing machine I updated my bedroom's curtains to keep the light out better. 

I finally started working on my project chair. Unfortunately, it is still not finished. 
Emad loves Taco Night!! 

Happy Spring flowers!

Deer are everywhere here!!

My "new" pressure cooker

I love eating lunch at the lake with my duck friends.

Sunrise is beautiful over the mountains.

Local produce from the community coop.

Sandboxes are so fun!! Especially when they become rivers.

One of the joys of living in lake county: being this close to an arrest.

REAL Butter is way better than any else in the world!

We are so happy that these cuties have adopted us!

My most recent project: updating a metal shelf for the dinning room. 

My garage lizard friend.

One of my new projects is painting on fabric. I am not sure what this will become.
I hand sewed hearts on a pillow for valentines day.