Skip to content

Beach Avenue: “Coming Your Way”

2014 July 7
by Emily Hill

While catching up on the DVR, I caught Beach Avenue singing “Coming Your Way” on America’s Got Talent.

I may have a (totally innocent) crush on the lead singer.


Beach Avenue Music

I downloaded their single, “Coming Your Way,” as soon as it appeared on iTunes. It’s my new favorite ringtone.

What can I say? It’s super catchy.

Of course, there’s nothing like watching it live. Here’s the video of Beach Avenue performing on America’s Got Talent:


If you’re as hooked on “Coming Your Way” as I am, you can download it on iTunes here. And if that’s not enough, you can  listen to more of their music here.

You can find Beach Avenue on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I may follow them on all three platforms…but don’t tell.


Previous music faves:


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Oceanside, LEGOLAND & all things San Diego

2014 July 3
by Emily Hill

After our visit to Rome and 7-day Mediterranean cruise last year, Nathan and I decided we wanted to give our kids the gift of memories rather than the gift of crap things for Christmas. We started this new tradition last December by gifting the family a trip to southern California.


take care of all your memories


Worried they might be disappointed by the lack of gifts, we turned it into a guessing game. We bought a variety of “clues” that would help give them an idea where we were going—beach toys, sunglasses, sunscreen, small stuffed animals (San Diego Zoo), small LEGO kit (LEGOLAND), pictures of the San Diego temple. We wrapped and numbered each gift and had them open them at the same time (i.e., everyone opened #1, then #2, etc.). When they were all done and guessed the beach (YAY!), we played a video of the Oceanside vacation rental we’d secured for the last week of June, 2014.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited they were. It was a huge hit…so much so I was asked half a million times how many days until it was time to go to San Diego.

Note to self: Have a paper chain prepared so I don’t have to answer that question ever again.

We will for sure be sticking with this new tradition of gifting memories for the holidays and are already planning the next family vacation.

Here’s a quick recap of last week’s vacation. Can I just say it was absolutely perfect? Even with huge amounts of sand caught in the crotches of the girls’ swimsuits and a few mouthfuls (and nosefuls) of salt water, our Oceanside vacation couldn’t have gone better.

Okay, maybe if we’d had another day or two at the beach…


Day 1

  • Road trip from Utah to California.
  • Update Facebook status about someone peeing in a cup on the side of the road just before the Nevada-California border.


Day 2

  • Check out the Oceanside vacation home; discover it’s freaking fantastic.
  • Stock up on groceries and essentials like Diet Coke and aloe vera.
  • Visit the beach to hunt for shells and the perfect wave. (We found them all.)


Oceanside vacation rental

Oceanside, California

Day 3

  • Hit LEGOLAND California with George and Livi.
  • Discover Granny’s Apple Fries and lick the container clean.
  • Giggle over the restroom signs (see photo).
  • Learn the oldest two visited Ruby’s Diner for shakes…without us.


Legoland California

Day 4

  • Walk around Balboa Park; play at the Reuben H Fleet Science Museum.
  • Enjoy the coolness of the Botanical Building and the resident koi fish.
  • Feed the ducks Annie’s Bunny Grahams after walking through the Timken Museum of Art.
  • Watch the sun set from the beach.


Balboa Park

Oceanside beach

Oceanside beach

Day 5

  • Visit the San Diego Zoo and die over the koala bears. (Ring-tail lemurs are still my favorite.)
  • Drink so many free refills we float out of the park.
  • Dine at Station Tavern; inhale the tots and sweet potato fries.


San Diego Zoo

Day 6


Mormon Battalion Museum

San Diego LDS Temple

Day 7

  • Watch the girls during their two-hour surf lessons with SoCal Surf School.
  • Walk the famous Oceanside Pier and eat a yummy lunch at Ruby’s Diner.
  • Head to the beach for more shell hunting and wave catching.
  • Eat as much food from the fridge and pantry so we don’t have to pack it.


SoCal Surf School

Ruby's Diner Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier

Day 8

  • Road trip from California to Utah.
  • Miss the ocean but happy to return home.


I think we did a pretty good job of making memories. Now all we need to do is take care of them…and make a few hundred more.

If you’d like to see some of those surfing lessons in action, I managed to get a few snippets on my cell phone. Enjoy!

What memories are you going to make this summer?


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Last-minute 4th of July ideas

2014 July 2
by Emily Hill

I can’t believe July 4th is only 2 days away. Where has the summer gone? Before I know it, I’ll be buying backpacks, filling out school forms and topping off the kids’ lunch accounts. Though I don’t feel quite prepared for the upcoming holiday, these last-minute 4th of July ideas have me thinking I might be able to pull off a rather nice celebration.


Last minute 4th of July ideas roundup

Pop Rocks printable gift tags
How cute are these 4th of July Pop Rocks printable gift tags from Simple as That?

July 4th layered drinks
These July 4th layered drinks from In Katrina’s Kitchen are sure to be the hit of the party!

patriotic trifles
I love single serving desserts like these Patriotic trifles from Oh Sweet Basil.

4th of july shortbread cookies
Everyone will love 4th of July lemon cranberry shortbread cookies from Barbara Bakes.

don't eat pete don't eat the star 4th of july printable
This Don’t Eat the Star (4th of July “Don’t Eat Pete”) printable from The Crafting Chicks is a great way to keep kids busy while waiting for fireworks.

DIY patriotic mason jar luminaries
Light the way for guests with DIY patriotic mason jar luminaries from For The Love Of.

4th of july printable hot dog holders
These printable 4th of July hot dog holders from The Crafting Chicks are so much cuter than the ones I bought from the store.

white chocolate and fireworks popcorn
I’ve featured this white chocolate & fireworks popcorn from I Wash You Dry before but I can’t get enough of it!

firecracker tie dye shirt
Firecracker tie dye patriotic t-shirt from I Love to Create–think of the awesome family photo opportunity!

4th of July paper firecrackers
Love quick-and-easy crafts like these Fourth of July paper firecrackers from SNAP!.

fruit and brownie skewers
Red, white & blue fruit & brownie skewers from Cupcake Diaries would be fun to eat!

red white and blue trifle
I’m pretty sure this red, white and blue trifle from Lil’ Luna should be your centerpiece.


For more great 4th of July ideas, check out my 4th of July Pinterest board:

Follow Emily Hill’s board 4th of July on Pinterest.


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Pinned & prepped: Homestyle macaroni salad

2014 July 1
by Emily Hill

When my dad requests macaroni salad for his retirement party, you bet I’m going to scour the Interweb for the best homestyle macaroni salad recipe. I refuse to buy store-bought macaroni salad when we’re talking my dad’s heard-earned retirement. After doing a bit of browsing (and pinning), I settled on this macaroni salad from Favorite Family Recipes.


Wanting an excuse to taste test the recipe, I served it alongside steak for our family Father’s Day dinner.


Homestyle macaroni salad


It was a huge hit. Like, HUGE.

When I made it, I chose to leave out the carrots (kind of wish I’d left out the peas) and added diced ham, red bell pepper and tomato. Next time I think I’ll add in some diced dill pickle too. Heck, I may even throw in some diced avocado just before serving.


Homestyle macaroni salad


But I’m totally going to leave the dressing as is. It was perfect.

Printable recipe for homestyle macaroni salad below.

Homestyle Macaroni Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Light yet delicious classic macaroni salad. This is my new go-to recipe for backyard barbecues and family parties. Huge hit! Adapted from Mom's Macaroni Salad on FavoriteFamilyRecipes.com.
Ingredients
  • 1 (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni
  • 1½ c low-fat mayo
  • 2 T mustard
  • ¼ c low-fat sour cream
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1 cup diced cheddar cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ½ tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Optional:
  • ⅔ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and diced
  • ¼ to ½ cup chopped dill pickle
  • 1 to 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
Instructions
  1. Prepare macaroni al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  2. Combine mayo, mustard, sour cream, apple cider vinegar and sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Combine macaroni with ham, cheese, bell pepper and celery (and any optional additions) in a large bowl. Add mayo mixture and toss until pasta is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Notes
If macaroni salad appears a bit "dry" after being refrigerated overnight, add milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.


Previous pinned & prepped features:

Caprese stuffed avocado
Cookie dough pretzel bites
Caramel snickerdoodles
Sugar cookie bars
NOEL Christmas banner
Crock pot refried beans
Taco Bell chicken quesadillas
Southern peach cobbler
Oatmeal chocolate coconut chewy cookies
Salted caramel butter bars
Hello Dolly bars
Brown sugar & balsamic-glazed pork loin
Brussels sprouts with bacon & walnuts
Glazed doughnut muffins
Crock pot chicken tacos
Brownie cookies
Peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Copycat Chick-fil-A nuggets
Slow cooker angel chicken
Slow cooker chicken & dumplings
No-bake peanut butter s’mores bars
Tomato basil Parmesan soup
Chocolate chip cookie n’ Oreo fudge brownie bar

Want to see what else I find “pinteresting?” Find me on Pinterest here.


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Simple slipknot napkin rings ~ Lemon Tree Dwelling

2014 June 27
by Emily Hill

This week I am featuring 4th of July-themed posts by three of my favorite bloggers. Today I bring you simple slipknot napkin rings from Cathy over at Lemon Tree Dwelling.

Simple-yet-festive napkin rings are the perfect accent for summer entertaining!

Simple Slipknot Napkin Rings - so perfect for 4th of July!


Hey, everyone! It’s Cathy from Lemon Tree Dwelling, and I’m so excited to be joining you here at is this REALLY my life?. Today I’ll be sharing how to make these Simple Slipknot Napkin Rings, which add a fun nautical twist to your summer table. They are simple to make and perfect for summer entertaining. Wrap them around some red, white & blue napkins…and you are all set for the 4th of July!


Simple Slipknot Napkin Rings - so perfect for 4th of July!


Do you love the 4th of July as much as I do? I look forward to it all year! Ever since the kids were little, we’ve been going all out – parade, bbq, sparklers, fireworks, and plenty of red, white & blue. I love all of it! Right down to the fact that we’re always a hot, sweaty mess by the end of it. To me, it’s the perfect day to celebrate summer, family, friends, and all the good things in life…!


Simple Slipknot Napkin Rings - so perfect for 4th of July!


Which…of course…always involves FOOD! After the parade, we head back to our house for good food with good friends. Although I want the day to feel simple, I definitely like to dress it up with a little red, white & blue. Nothing fancy, of course…which is why these napkin rings are so perfect! All you need is a single piece of rope…


Simple Slipknot Napkin Rings - so perfect for 4th of July!


…and voila! A quick, easy set of napkin rings that are perfect for July 4th and all summer long. With plenty of time left over for the food (aka the most important part)!


Simple Slipknot Napkin Rings - so perfect for 4th of July!


Thanks so much for letting me share here with you today! Speaking of food…I’d love for you to stop by my Lemon Tree Dwelling to check out some of my favorite 4th of July recipes


Birthday Cupcakes 3 - Copy


Creamy Coconut Dip 3b


Lemon Basil Berry Salad 2


Strawberry Pie 3


Cathy Lemon Tree Dwelling

I kid you not. Cathy’s recipes are simply divine. And her photos are simply scrumptious. You’ll want to subscribe to her blog Lemon Tree Dwelling. While there, read “My Lemon Tree Home” for the story behind her site’s name.

Thank you for guest posting today, Cathy!


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Orange yogurt fruit dip ~ What’s Cooking with Ruthie

2014 June 25
by Emily Hill

This week I am featuring 4th of July-themed posts by three of my favorite bloggers. Today I bring you orange yogurt fruit dip from Ruthie over at What’s Cooking with Ruthie.

You’ll lick the bowl clean on this one with or without the fruit!


Hi to all of is this REALLY my life‘s friends!

I’m Ruthie from What’s Cooking with Ruthie and I’m SO excited to be visiting with you today. I’ve brought one of my all time favorite fresh fruit dips to share and you’re just going to fall head-over-heels in love with it. :)

Oh my goodness y’all…this Orange Yogurt Fruit Dip is absolutely amazing!


Orange Yogurt Fruit Dip by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com


Can I just tell you—you’re going to want to eat the whole bowl yourself AND you’ll love how simple it is make!

Orange Yogurt Fruit Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c honey flavored greek yogurt
  • 1 (8-oz.) neufchatel cream cheese
  • 2 T orange juice concentrate
  • Zest of an orange
  • ¼ c powdered sugar
  • Assorted fresh fruit
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add greek yogurt, orange juice, orange zest; mix until smooth.
  3. Add powdered sugar, mix.
  4. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes before serving (to set).
  5. Serve with fresh fruit.


* This recipe is also really delicious with Fuji Apples…FYI :) I also used wooden skewers for the fruit presentation in the photos—it’s a fun way to dress it up a bit!


Orange Yogurt Fruit Dip by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

Here are a couple of other delicious summer recipes you might enjoy too…

Homemade Strawberry Pie by www.whatscookingwithruthie.comHomemade Strawberry Pie

Cherry BBQ Beef Slider by www.whatscookingwithruthie.comCherry BBQ Beef Sliders

Patriotic Fruit and Cheese Kabobs by www.whatscookingwithruthie.comPatriotic Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

I hope you enjoy a wonderful summer with family and friends AND lots of delicious cooking.

I’d be love to have you come and visit me at www.whatscookingwithruthie.com or connect with me on Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Happy Cooking!

Ruthie from www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

xoxo~ Ruthie

Oh my, Ruthie has the most divine recipes on her site WhatsCookingWithRuthie.com. I pin every one she posts. Perhaps I should dedicate an entire board to her recipes! You’ll want to follow her on all her social media channels for sure!

Thank you for guest posting today, Ruthie!


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Easy summer grilled chicken ~ The Happy Gal

2014 June 23
by Emily Hill

This week I am featuring 4th of July-themed posts by three of my favorite bloggers. Today I bring you easy summer grilled chicken from Jenny Layton over at The Happy Gal.

Pretty sure this recipe needs to be served at your next backyard BBQ.


You can never have too many marinade recipes, right? Especially when you grill extra to save later for salads and lunches during the week (see my post Making Healthy Eating Easy HERE.) So here is another fabulous chicken marinade from The Happy Gal. It’s healthy, it’s delicious, and it is going to make your summer BBQs a sure hit! Enjoy!

Easy summer chicken


This easy summer grilled chicken recipe is also part of an amazing, healthy 4th of July BBQ. Click HERE to see the entire BBQ.

Easy Summer Grilled Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This recipe is guest post by my friend Jenny over at TheHappyGal.com. She makes the most delicious recipes including this one for summer grilled chicken.
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1 cup fat-free balsamic vinaigrette
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
Instructions
  1. Mix balsamic vinaigrette, vinegar, parsley, orange juice concentrate, Italian seasoning and garlic in bowl. Add chicken and marinade 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Place chicken on hot, oiled grill. Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until chicken is no longer pink the middle.

 

Happy Gal Tip: This makes a great freezer meal. Just place fresh chicken breasts in a freezer bag, combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then add marinade into the bag. Freeze on a flat surface in the freezer (so the shape is convenient to store.) When ready to serve, thaw and grill.

Image by Sandrine Hudgens at creoleartphotography

Jenny Layton The Happy Gal
I adore Jenny. She always posts all kinds of wonderful things related to health and fitness, from recipes to workout plans, on her blog TheHappyGal.com. You’ll want to follow her on all her social media channels:

Thank you for guest posting today, Jenny!


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.