Moments 07.2018

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We had an absolutely crazy month of July! We renovated the church building, hosted our annual kids camp and tried our best to still soak in all the summer fun we could! Moments 07.2018

Overhead view of fudgy paleo brownies Moments 07.2018

I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.”

Welcome to “Moments” here on JoyFoodSunshine. At the end of every month I share a recap of all the shenanigans that went down in crazy town (i.e. my life in a nutshell).  So here it is for July 2018!

Recipe love:

Here are a few must-share recipes from the month of July from my favorite spots around the web!

Edamame Hummus from Dishing out Health {with grilled pineapple}! 

Almond Peach Galette from Also the Crumbs Please {Summer Dessert Perfection}!

Mango Chicken Stir Fry from Ambitious Kitchen {I could eat this every day}!

Berry Fruit Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing from Cooking Classy {Balsamic everything}!

Cookie Dough Froyo Bites from Feasting on Fruit {No spoon required}!

Le Creuset Instagram Giveaway!

Head on over to this Instagram Post to enter to win all the Le Creuset pieces pictured below {Valued at over $500}! Giveaway is open to U.S residents ONLY – and closes 8/7 at 11:59PM EDT!

Life with my tribe

Fourth of July

My kids get insanely excited about the Fourth of July. This year we went to a neighborhood breakfast and bike parade….although we missed the parade part which was totally my fault because I thought it started 30 minutes later than it actually did (whoops).

At night we went to a friends’ house for a BBQ, and then Ritch took the older three kids to see fireworks while I stayed home and snuggled with Mara.

Moments 07.2018

The highlight for us was going to a parade in a nearby city at night on July 3rd. It was so much fun watching our kids watch the parade. It took them a little while to get used to running into the street to get candy. But once they caught on there was no stopping them. Mara wasn’t so sure what she thought about the whole thing, and preferred to be held by mom and dad.

I think one of my favorite moments of the parade was when a giant princess fairy float came by that was decked out to be a little girls’ fantasy world. Bethany saw it and exclaimed, “MOM! Look at the princesses!”

Naomi saw it and exclaimed, “MOMMY! A HORSIE!” To me, that moment was so precious because it showed how different my girls really are. I love learning more about their perceptions of the world around them, and a parade is the perfect place to do that! LOL!

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine

Mara Hope 

Oh my word our sweet Mara has changed so much this month! First, she ditched crawling and transitioned to walking 100% of the time (yay)! Also, her feisty personality has come out in full force, and I want to a few fun things about her!

  • “I love you.” Ok every night when I’m putting Mara to bed I say, “I love you Mara.” Then she nods her head wildly with a huge smile on her face. Then I say, “I love you very much.” And she does the same thing. It is the best thing ever. If she starts falling asleep and I haven’t said it yet, she starts nodding her head to remind me.
  • Shaking her head no. Mara is not easily pleased or amused. Actually quite the opposite. If any male, old or young, (besides daddy) says “Hi” to her or smiles at her, she immediately shakes her head no and usually cries. She recently started shaking her head “no” to just about everything we ask her, because she thinks it’s funny.
  • Dancing. Mara picked up on her older siblings’ dance moves and made up some of her own. It’s so much fun to see her participate in our family worship or evening dance parties as just another one of the kids!
  • Talking. Kind of. When I ask Mara, “Do you want to learn how to talk?” She shakes her head NO. LOL But really I think I can say with certainty that she has said Daddy, Cracker, and Hello. BUT she will absolutely not perform them on command, because no one can tell that girl what to do! LOL
  • The Slow Blink. Ok this girl just kills me. When she is trying to be cute or sassy, or knows she is being cute or sassy, she gives you this look  and blinks reallllllly slow. I wish I could capture it and show it to you it’s literally unbelievable! I smell trouble with this little cutie.

Summer Fun

No surprise, but we are still living and the pool and loving it! We got at least 5 times a week and I would go more often we didn’t have other things to do (like grocery shop lol). I’m so grateful to live in a community with so many great places to swim!

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine


This year I made a list of activities that I loved doing every summer when I was a kid that I wanted to do with my kids, and tie-dye was on it! So I ordered this One-Step Tie-Dye Kit and we made it happen!

I had the kit for quite a while before we actually got around to making the shirts (because we were waiting for all the white shirts to be shipped to us lol)! Every. single. day. the kids asked if we were going to do it, until finally…one Saturday we did! Here are a few tips I learned when we did this activity…

  1. Make sure the shirts are wet. If they are dry they absorb SO much dye that it’s not effective!
  2. Use gloves and a plastic surface to tie-dye on. Keeping the dye off of important things is critical. Part of my favorite marble shooting surface is dyed purple, and I’m not super stoked about it lol.
  3. Let them soak. I let them soak for a good 18 hours, and more never hurts!
  4. Rinse out ALL the water. Before washing I took each shirt and rinsed it with warm water until no more dye came out and the water ran clear. This keeps the colors from bleeding in the wash.
  5. Wash separately. The tie-dye shirts can be washed together, but keep them separate from any other clothes the first few washes. I felt ok washing them with the rest of our laundry after 3 washes!

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine

The kids LOVED this activity SO much. It was definitely worth all the mess and fuss! Now, they wear their shirts every chance they get.

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine

Ritch’s Birthday 

This was the first year since moving to Utah that our annual Kids’ camp {see below} didn’t fall on Ritch’s birthday! Although he was working on finishing the construction project at the church so we could actually host the kids camp, I persuaded him to take his birthday evening off so we could celebrate him!

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine

The BEST part of his birthday was letting the kids decorate his cake. They chose the colors and I put them in piping bags and let them go to town. They had SO MUCH FUN! And they were SO proud of their final creation!

It wasn’t super easy for me to give up my cake decorating control and let them have at it. But it was SO worth it, because they ate it up. I often have to remind myself that my family doesn’t need perfect-looking cakes to make their birthday celebrations special. They need love, and time and FUN.  This beautiful cake, was decorated with a tremendous amount of love from three adorable kids who have the best daddy in the world and wanted to do something special for him. Because *that’s* what really matters.

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine

Kids’ Camp/Church Building 

Ok this is probably the most significant thing that happened to our family this month. If you didn’t know, my husband and I (and our kids of course, but we only had 2 at the time) moved from Chicago, IL where we were born and raised, to Salt Lake City, Utah to plant a Christian church. Over the last 5 years we met in our home, another church’s building, and a community center, until we finally got our own building this Christmas.

We renovated half of it so that we have been able to hold services there since December. However, this July Ritch and a crew of people finished the second half so that we could host our annual kids camp. Below is a sneak peak of part of the almost finished space!

Ritch worked around the clock to finish the project enough to host camp, and most of our July was consumed with getting permits, construction projects, etc. Then the third week of July we had two teams come to town to help us put on our Pirate Themed Kids Camp.

My kids look forward to it every year, as well as many others from the community! However, to say that I’m happy July is over is an understatement. Now I’m looking forward to being able to spend lots of quality time as a family doing fun summer activities!

Our Garden

We started a garden in May. It is not doing great. I am sad. 😉 We have harvested one zucchini, a few mushy cucumbers and a handful of baby tomatoes. It may look lush and green, but producing it is not.

A few of my favorite things…

Vitamix Aer Disc Container

Vitamix came out with a new container that works on both classic and smart model blenders! It can whip, foam, muddle and emulsify! So far I have made a Mocha Latte and Strawberry Whipped cream with the Aer Disc Container, and I have some more recipes up my sleeve in the future!

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine Vitamix Aer Container


I ordered this shirt in black and I am in LOVE. It is cute, comfy, stylish and affordable! Plus it transcends the seasons! Wear it alone in the spring & summer, and with a cute jacket or sweater in the fall and winter! They also have it in coral, but I’m not sure that is my color! LOL! I hope they come out with even more colors!

Le Crueset 5″ Square Baking Dish

I know I have talked about this baking dish before, but I just love it so much. And with how often I made my fudgy paleo brownies this month using said dish, I had to mention it again! It is the perfect size for small desserts, and still looks brand new even though I use it all the time!

Recipes I’m Making on Repeat

Here are a few recipes we enjoyed in July…

Puppy Chow Recipe

The BEST. You must make it!

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine Puppy Chow

Fudgy Paleo Brownies

I made these Fudgy Paleo Brownies more times than I care to admit this month. With the busyness of our July, I needed lots of chocolate. 🙂 Plus they’re ready from start to finish in 15 minutes. Sooo..yeahhh…

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine Fudgy Paleo brownies

Homemade Pizza Dough & Easy Pizza Sauce 

This is a go-to meal for me when I know we have a lot going on and I need dinner ready in 30 minutes. I know everyone in my family will love it and we always have leftovers!

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine Homemade Pizza

Oatmeal Cream Pies

This is one of our family’s top 5 favorite dessert recipes. I made these to take to a BBQ on the Fourth of July!

Moments 07.2018 JoyFoodSunshine oatmeal cream pies

Well that’s all she wrote folks. If you stuck with me this long, THANK YOU! I hope you have an amazing August!


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  1. I love reading these monthly updates! Also…how have I not made those paleo brownies yet?! Love everything about them…making them ASAP! 🙂

  2. I loved your story behind letting the kids decorate the cake for Ritch. And that is so cute how both Bethany and Naomi reacted so differently to the unicorn float. 🙂 Your church building looks so clean! 🙂 Some day I’d love to do tie-dye. Yours came out so pretty!