What we are doing over here in our home + a vlog!!!

Knox is back and we are ready to do some fun things all together.  Whenever Knox is gone, Brooke asks me about 374 times a day about when we get to be with him again.  She was beyond thrilled to see him today.

My brother sent this to my family this morning and it is exactly what we are focusing on over here at our house!

IMG 1679

Let’s go back to the beginning of the day.

Brooke loves giving morning hugs to everyone including Beretta (unless Knox is there… then she just goes straight to playing with him:).

IMG 1678

It was actually a little too warm for long sleeves (I have no idea what is happening in Utah right now… but sometimes it gets really warm right before it snows) and I came across a pet buck and deer.  They were staring at me so I took a picture with them.  I did seven miles for the day.

IMG 1682

Breakfast was a really good one with zucchini, squash and cheese in the eggs.

IMG 1713

And then Knox was home and they were acting crazy like usual!

IMG 1706

This afternoon included a trip to the dentist.  Remember how I started the process of getting a tooth implant 10 months ago… well, I am officially now 3 weeks away from it being all done.  Not sure having a numb mouth is my favorite thing ever but everyone at my dentist’s office is very nice.

IMG 1691

Going back in time to one of my favorite meals again—>  sweet potato (I just cook them in the microwave when I don’t have time to cook them in the oven), this bbq sauce, chicken and avocado.  I’m telling ya, you need to try this combo if you like these foods.

IMG 1712

I don’t know who is more excited about seeing Trolls tonight, us or the kids.

IMG 1715

PS while we are on the subject of movies… Have I told you about the fact that Harry Potter is one of Andrew’s all-time favorite movies.  I have seen all of the movies with him a few times at this point.  He never gets sick of them:)

IMG 1710

And last but not least we have a short vlog today about normal randomness:)


Ever been to Harry Potter Land?  What were your thoughts?  Fun without kids… or should we wait to go with our kids?

Anyone have (or had) picky kids when it comes to food?  What did you do to help?  

Favorite sweet potato toppings?

You May Also Like



We took our kids to Universal Florida a few years ago. It was beyond magical. Rylee cried multiple times, like when we walked into Honeydukes. Her words, “Mom, it tastes like Harry Potter”. I have a soft spots for those books since I was a 7th grade teacher when they came out. They were books I’d have to tell my class to put away. I cried walking into Hogsmeade village and walking through Platform 9 3/4 onto Hogwart ‘s Express. For my uber Harry Potter nerd family it was perfection. I’m not sure if young kids who haven’t read the books would love it quite as much.


Harry Potter World is A TON of fun for adults, especially if you’re really into the books (sigh, or the movies I guess). I don’t think kids (like your littles) would enjoy it nearly as much as something like Disneyland; there aren’t a ton of little-friendly things to do. It’s more about enjoying all the neat details that went into the creation of the park and interacting with your favourite characters and places from the stories! I’d wait until they’ve read the first few books before their first HP experience…


I have an obsession with sweet potatoes! My favorite way to eat them is in homemade French fry form and then baked with exactly the toppings you love too! So delicious.


My kids are picky. They have to try everything and eat a certain amount or they get no snack. My son is terrible. Occasionally, we have to not give him a snack and give him bread and water for breakfast for not eating dinner.
I have never seen a Harry Potter movie nor have I read any of the books. I’m just not interested.
I usually just put a little salt on sweet potatoes.


Hi, if you haven’t tried this yet, cook your white or sweet potatoes in the crock pot. When cooking white baking potatoes, I wash them, rub them in coconut oil and sprinkle pink Himalayan salt and then wrap them individually in aluminum foil. For my sweet potatoes, I rub them in coconut oil and sprinkle a sugar/cinnamon mix and then wrap them individually in aluminum foil and cook for about six hours on low heat. They are delicious and using the crock pot doesn’t heat up the house.

I have been reading your blog since the beginning. You are a very strong woman with a beautiful family!


I read all of the Harry Potter books (yes, as an adult. There are some very good messages in them.) so I visited HP in Universal Studios. I enjoyed it but it was uber crowded when I went.

I had a purple sweet potato for lunch (the color is stunning and they’re slightly sweeter). I topped it with black beans, spinach and salsa. It was delicious.


I’ve been to Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida, and I loved it so much! I went to almost all the attractions, ate fish a chips, and drank butter-beer. No matter if you go with kids or without kids, you’re going to get so much fun.


We actually go to Universal studios every thanksgiving break and we love it there. The amount of rides that little kids can go on is really limited tho, even with an adult. Your kids wouldn’t be able to ride any of the rides in Harry Potter land at all. Our kids are 12, 9 and 3 and the older ones like it better than Disney.


SO good to know… thank you July! Sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving break tradition!


Sweet Baby Rays is the best!! I also love their BBQ mustard sauce (same section as the other BBQ…but it looks like honey mustard). It’s soooooo good!!


I love the barbeque meat on sweet potatoes! I also love putting pumpkin seeds on my sweet potato. I love all your food creations and try them all! Thanks for all the food creativity!


For Knox you should look up the “dinner winner plate” on Amazon. My son who wouldn’t eat anything loved playing the “game” and now he eats!


AWESOME… looking that up right now. Thank you Carly!


We went to HP World at Universal Studios last year over Christmas (and EPCOT, Magic Kingdom) Do NOT go over Christmas!!! It was waaaay too busy. Magic Kingdom hit capacity on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve (day of). We had been to both 2X before and never have there been that many people.

Back to HP…Love, Love, Loved it!! We read all the books and watched all the movies many times. However, I would not take kiddos younger than 5/6. I just feel the older they are the more they will “get it”. They will enjoy the decor, the alley’s, every nook and cranny having something amazing…..fast passes are and will be your friend for sure. My kiddos last year were 18, 16, and 12….and we all loved every minute!! Oh, geesh now I want to go back!! ;-)

Picky eaters….aka my son…..for years he lived on waffles or pancakes, peanut butter English muffins, cereal mixed in yogurt, bananas and milk. Doctors always said he was healthy and as long as I have him “try new foods” eventually he will want to and be willing to eat more variety. We always said take one bite of spaghetti, or lasagna, or a hamburger, or one spear of broccoli, one tidbit of pineapple etc….he would and make a face like he was going to die.

Now he is 13 and he still prefers cereal and peanut butter English muffins but he will eat many other foods. Know will too some day. ;-)


Dang I forgot to add my 2 cents about Beretta…..Why doesn’t Andrew go biking with her??? People do that with their dogs around here all the time. Get her warmed up and tired out and in perfect pace for an actual run with you or J.


THAT IS BRILLIANT!! We need to try that out… so smart! Thanks for sharing about your son too… hahaha yep, I know that face very well!


Please don’t try this…biking with a dog is very dangerous! Very–for both the dog and the rider.


We just bought season passes so we can take our kiddos to Universal Studios over Christmas. We haven’t been yet so I am super excited and we adore HP! The hubs and I read it together while I was pregnant with our oldest (she’s 12) and it was all of our kids’ first book series.

Our middle kid is pretty darn picky and he pretty much always has been. I have him help me pick out and cook food and that helps tremendously. I don’t force food, but he knows that he gets no treats if he doesn’t at least try everything and finish his veggies. Some nights he chooses not to eat and that’s okay. It’s truly not a battle worth fighting.

I love my sweet potato with smoked chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, Sweet Baby Rays, and a bit of plain Greek yogurt. Yummo!


Oh the picky eaters…. I myself was/is a picky eater so I totally understand how the kids feel. For me, the best thing is to keep on cooking them in different ways but be consistent. i love cooking and if I’m being consistent enough, they’ll just try it one day and be like, oh! This actually tastes good!

It’s so cute to see Brooke and Knox hugging and playing so well together!!!
It always makes my heart melt whenever I hear our girls just giggling and laughing together. A lot of the times, they’re bickering about something but whenever they’re having one of those really fun moments, it makes me smile :)

Ahhh 2 more weeks till I can officially run again! I cannot wait!


I never liked harry potter but a few years ago we checked out the harry potter thing at universal studios!


Hi! I really enjoyed this article about picky eating: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-mid/6-words-that-will-end-picky-eating_b_7139710.html

A book is suggested but I haven’t read it, because I feel like the tips in this article alone helped a lot.

It has been pretty liberating to not make meals a power struggle. I am a lot loser with breakfast and lunch but implement the ideas in this article very strictly for dinner time. I think a huge part of this method is not giving in and offering other options besides what is at the table. That can feel really hard, but it definitely works. Both my boys are pretty awesome eaters most of the time, and when they aren’t I don’t stress about it too much. Hope this helps!




I’m a registered dietitian and I second what the article says. Ellyn Satter is the go to for picky eating gurus.


I have never been to Harry Potter land/world/whatev — but my friends went and said it was awesome. Sadly, our house isn’t into the whimsy of HP… typing that makes me feel like we’ve been missing out!

I love Cinnamon on my sweet potatoes. It just taste so good!

Lately, I’ve tried your Chicken + BBQ sauce, and it’s SOOO GOOD! I’ll have to add some avocado to bump it up a notch!


What works for us is that when we go to the store he can pick out a fruit and a veggie no matter the price. Also have had mine help make meals and as he got older help plan meals. When he was very little I would make at least two things I knew he liked and the deal was he had to eat two things all gone and a bite of everything else to get dessert.


I haven’t been to Harry Potter Land yet. I want to go so badly. I’m a bit like Andrew. I love the movies, but I’ve been an HP fan since the books came out in the late 90s. It’s on my bucket list.

My daughter started out as a fantastic eater and as she got older became a bit pickier. Her siblings (on her dad’s side) are quite picky and her dad has his moments, so it wasn’t unexpected. I basically just kept a few staples on hand that were options if she absolutely would not eat what was being served. They don’t vary, so when she gets sick of eating chili and sandwiches, she’s more willing to try other food. I won’t force her to eat stuff, but I refuse to make an entire meal special just for her. This works for me (worked with the older kids too), but each family is different. My advice would be to look at what people tell you, ask your mom and your sister (moms are amazing sources of information), and then discuss with Andrew what you guys feel would be best for your family.

I rarely get to eat sweet potatoes, but I love bbq sauce, or just butter. My absolute favorite is butter, brown sugar and toasted marshmallows. I only indulge this way once a year. Keeps it special. ;)


We were actually just at HP World in Universal- Orlando last week. We LOVED it! I would say that you actually might be better going without kids… the rides could be a bit big/scary for your kiddos.

Also wanted to mention that I got a dental implant 14 years ago (I was 12) and have had no problems with it. I think you’ll be really happy when it’s done!


I’ve heard great things about Harry Potter land. I’ve never been myself though. I do like sweet potatoes but enjoy putting sweet toppings like cinnamon or vanilla yogurt/cream cheese on them!


I agree that Harry Potter World is more fun for older kids and adults. There’s not as many small rides for little kids.


I have picky eaters, but they are improving. My kids don’t prefer certain textures, but are starting to branch out. My daughter is never in a rush to eat. What does help her is for a small amount of time at dinner, there is an eating time. We eat and talk about our day for several minutes, but then when it conversation slows down, it is time to eat. A few minutes of eating and no talking helps her to focus on eating. I wouldn’t worry too much about amounts of food. For a long time, my daughter would eat a great breakfast and lunch, but not dinner. Some kids just are not as hungry at dinner. I talked with our pediatrician and she confirmed that as long as we get two good meals and a healthy amount of milk, my daughter was getting what she needed. So we encourage trying new foods (but always including at least one thing she does like), but we never insist on finishing her plate. We ask if her tummy is happy and remind her that we’re done eating after dinner.


My 5 year old used to be incredibly picky! I had someone recommend that we make sure each meal contains at least one thing we know she likes (sometimes 2), but then she had to choose to eat 3 things from the meal options. We never made her eat a TON of anything, but just giving her the power to chose seemed to really help. I would often times make yogurt, apples, or carrots be some of the options available. That way I knew she was getting something nutritious while it still being something she likes and wants.

I hope that is helpful!


Hi Janae!

I have been a blog follower for several years and have never left a comment, but your mention of your tooth implant inspired me. I am also in the process of having two implants right now, and I am so ready for the process to be over! For me, the implant process has been very psychological because my needed implants are on either side of my two front teeth, which means that they have been a huge and scary thing for me to be missing as a woman who wants to feel beautiful and have an awesome smile to encourage others with. I am so glad that I finally took the scary (and expensive!) jump to complete the implants, and I hope that you will be happy with yours too!

Keep up the awesome blog – love reading every day!


We’re headed to Harry Potter Land in California tomorrow, so I’ll let you know how it is! We’re very excited and going with all adults. :)


I have two picky eaters! (both boys) We go with the “pick your battles” theory. He has to eat, that’s not negotiable. I try and introduce (or reintroduce) new foods to his short list periodically but we discuss it in advance and try and make him feel like it’s his idea in some way. That seems to help. I refuse to push him or force him though. My husband came from a family that was forced to eat whatever their mother gave them and now as an adult he is super picky and I won’t eat so many things because he was forced to eat things as a child. I came from a more relaxed environment and my brother and I “didn’t like” all kinds of things as kids and now as adults we have a very broad scope of foods and things we like. Hang in there with him. Make suggestions, try and make it his choice between two items. But at the end of the day I say forcing him will backfire!


I am obsessed with sweet potatoes! I just love cutting them really thin and roasting them. There is nothing better!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *