This and That


1. So I finally convinced Maria that we NEED a minivan. We test drove the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. We like both vans and are having a hard time making a decision. Any suggestions?

2. It’s been a hot week and nothing tastes better than a toffee bar.

3. I’ve taken Caleb out on a few bike rides with the Chariot. He loves riding. We’ve even got the mommy out on a few rides.


1. Have you seen the summer issue of Foodie Crush magazine? It’s filled with tasty recipes, gorgeous photography, and fun stories. Make sure you check it out! I definitely have a huge crush on this issue! Congrats Heidi!

2. I love a good Caprese Salad, especially in the summer when tomatoes are at their prime. I can’t wait to make this Hasselback Caprese Salads! TOO cute!

3. The Red Faced Runners launched a website this week. Check it out and join the fun. You don’t have to have a blog to participate! The goal is to run a 5K on the weekend of September 8th and 9th. The peas are signed up!

4. Remember the Cherry Almond Cake I made without a cherry pitter? Well, I guess I don’t need one after all. Watch this video on how to pit cherries without a cherry pitter. No more red fingers! Such a great tip!

5. A beautiful box of Harry and David peaches showed up on our door step this week. Hello summer sweetness!

6. We are headed to Park City today for the EVO Conference. We are lucky we only live 20 minutes away! If you are going, make sure you find us and say hello!

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Toyota Sienna for sure, my family has had ours for over eight years and 235000 miles after travels in europe and it’s still great! (:

  2. Have fun at EVO! I remember when you went last year…I wanted to go then, wanted to go this year, one of these years…. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Ah thanks for the shout out my friend!! You know I love you guys and Josh, I’ll rock out in the mini van with you anytime! XO

  4. I would definitely definitely definitely recommend the Honda Odyssey!! We had ours for 7 years and loved it…the perfect car!! Cant say a single bad word about it, loved it and know so many people who’ve loved it too!!!!

  5. We had a Toyota Previa for 10 years until it gave up. Toyota’S service was great and it seemed like most repairs were covered by the warranty (or something) even after I figured we wouldn’t qualify for any of that anymore. We’ve driven an Odyssey for 10 years now nd it is still going strong. Almost all of our family trips are road trips not to mention the miles we’ve put on following our kids’ sports teams. Both were comfortable to drive and ride in. I really don’t think you can make a poor decision here although I would go online and search reviews on the current model year. There are sometimes small design or engineering changes that affect a particular model year’s performance.

  6. I’ve had my Odyssey for 12 years now, 200K miles, and not a single issue. LOVE Hondas!

    Have fun at the conference!

  7. We have had our Honda Odyssey for over 4 years without a bit of problems. I would definitely recommend it!

  8. Definitely the Odyssey! Toyota’s quality has gone down over the past few years, which is disappointing. I’m sure many would disagree but working for an unrelated auto manufacturer, I would drive Hondas if I had to choose between the two!

  9. we have had a Sienna for about 15 years, through 2 grandkids and all of the involved. we have had one one problem – the power side door failed somewhere along the line. otherwise, all was good and we are very happy with it.

  10. Whatcha gonna do with those peaches? We just drove through Georgia and I picked up a bunch at a farmstand, and I can’t WAIT to bake with them this weekend. I’m looking for some awesome muffin/bread recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I have had my Sienna for 2 years and I think it is great. I think the Odyssey is also awesome. Either way, seriously consider splurging on the power doors and rear hatch. I do have power side doors but not the rear. It is very difficult to close the hatch when it has been open for more than a few minutes. It is my only complaint!

  12. We’ve got the 2012 Odyssey and the thing that sold us on it versus the Sienna was the fact that the second row of seats come completely out on the Odyssey allowing for a lot of room when needing to haul stuff. In the Sienna the second row just push forward, but not out. I liked knowing we could have the entire back of the van empty if needed for construction materials, etc.

  13. Ooooooh… a mini van. That’s a big step! So, is Caleb going to try out for soccer next? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. I love our Toyota Sienna, drives so smooth, easy to park, fits everyone and everything. I never drove the Honda as I preferred the style of the Sienna. So, for us, we picked the one with the body style that I preferred, as I think they both are pretty equal in quality and functionality.

  15. Can’t make a bad decision with the minivan. My friends only bought Hondas until their minivan and went with the Toyota Sienna since the price was a little better. They couldn’t be happier!

  16. We tested both five years ago and fell in love with the Odyssey. It has been WONDERFUL- no regrets at all. We’ve had other Hondas and loved them as well, but what ultimately decided it for us was the wood-look panel inside that year’s Sienna. I knew I could not live with looking at it everyday. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I agree with Ashley. A Honda is the way to go. Toyota has been having quality problems and their new cars are coming in for service a lot faster than they use to. I work at a auto repair facility so we see it all. Honda is a pretty low maintenance brand! And they have a lot of great features.

  18. I have a Sienna, but my dad has an odyssey. I don’t think you could go wrong either way ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. We test drove both and loved both but we ended up with the Sienna. I did see that someone mentioned that the Sienna’s second row seats don’t come out, they do and the 3rd row folds into the floor. We LOVE our Sienna but have been told that the Odyssey has more bells and whistles. I don’t know that you could go wrong either way. Actually come to think of it I do have one complaint about the Sienna. We have 3 little ones in car seats. The 3rd row of the Sienna has two spots where you can hook in a car seat. The passenger side and the middle. I don’t think that the person who designed that had children, you never seat them next to each other if you don’t have to.

  20. We just bought our Honda Odyssey last month and absolutely love it! Have fun car shopping! We’ll totally represent the mini van, lol!!

  21. We test drove both as well and loved both, however, we ended up buying an Odyssey in 2006 because my husband was working for Honda at the time and we got a family discount ๐Ÿ™‚ I have put on almost 120,000 miles since then and is still going strong. I have had a Honda civic which I put on 210,000 miles before I sold it to my friend who is still driving it to this day. I used to work with Honda R&D engineers and know how dedicated these engineers are (don’t get me wrong, Toyota does equally well) very dedicated to the safety and reliability of their products. You cannot go wrong either way but thought I would let you know we love our Odyssey and plan on driving it until the wheels fall off. By the way, don’t forget to get a video for your little guy, you will appreciate it so much when you are driving long distance to keep him entertained.

  22. Harry and David is the BEST! Apparently, I need to check out Foodie Crush magazine because I’m in love from the cover alone. Have fun at EVO! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Love your this and that posts! I’ve been ogling that FoodieCrush cover too! Have fun at the conference!

  24. Oh the minivan! We were trying to decide last year between the Odyssey and the Sienna as well. They are practically the same vehicle. I just happen to like to front console of the Sienna and how it fit my arms, so totally a preference thing. We’ve loved ours and would buy it again. But I don’t think you can go wrong with either. I have heard from a couple of friends who own Odysseys that the more recent models tend to have problems with the automatic sliding doors. So just a little something to look into.

  25. Loving Foodie Crush and I am so excited for Red Faced Runners!!! Food Bloggers + a 5K Challenge? How fun!!! Just what I needed to keep me motivated right now!

  26. I can’t recommend either car, but I say get a Volvo based on Amanda’s post over at the kevinandamanda blog today! I want one now but don’t need a new car quite yet ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Cherry pitter tip sooo cool!

    How about Honda CRV, nice ride and roomy and doesn’t look like a “mommy mobile” LOL

  28. LOVE Park City! Haven’t been in years but we had the best time there–enjoy your conference ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. I have a 2007 Sienna, maybe it’s the year, but this past yr my inside lights kept coming on and draining the battery and no one seemed to know what to do and we have had some other repairs that I feel should not have happened on this van yet. Love driving it and it’s large enough to carry a bunch of kids.

  30. I agree with Lillian: the CRV is awesome! And way better gas mileage. But the Odyssey is a excellent too. I know of many families at my daughter’s school who have had them 4Ever.

  31. i would always go with the Honda, but that’s my opinion! ๐Ÿ˜€ I like the suggestion of the CRV, too! My friend’s family has an acura station wagon. I didn’t even know they made station wagons anymore! Except Suburu Outbacks, of course. I like those because before they say “mom,” they say “sporty.” hahaa I admittedly a person who takes into account “car image.” :[

  32. One of my favorite things about our odyssey is how the back seat folds into the floor. That feature has come in handy MANY times. Also the trunk space is fantastic. I don’t know if Siennas have fold down seats and awesome trunk space, but those are my favorite things about our odyssey.

  33. We’ve had our honda odyssey for 12 years now we’re over 300,000 miles and still lovin’ it. (The power doors still work too!!)

  34. Hey guys, I am partial to Nissan! I have also lost alot of trust and respect in Toyota with all the issues the cars have had (I’m a safety nut). But I have always dreamt of owning a Nissan…and I do! I love my Altima! But their vans are FANTASTIC!
    Check them out! And since you live in Utah…like me, if you go to Tim Dahle they have great perks! That is where I got my Altima and they are great…at least my sales guy was!
    Here is a link for some research! You can email me if you want any referrels for who to talk to there!

  35. Love, love, love our Sienna. Have traveled across the country many times – Have transported 3 children and 4 adults in comfort – get decent gas mileage – ride in comfort. We have had no problems with the Sienna and I don’t believe they have had any safety issues.

  36. Check out the Nissan Quest minivan, too. We’ve had two different ones for at least 10 years and love the Quest. It’s also just a little more sporty/less boxy van looking.

  37. We’re in the same boat. We’ve had a Sienna for 9 years now and LOVE it! We have been looking at the new models of both the Odessy & Sienna. We love the Honda look and the Toyota’s have taken some storage away and added plastic which we don’t like. The engines though…the Toyota is supposed to be superior. Hmmm, I’ll be interested in hearing what you come home with!

  38. Hi Josh and Maria:

    I would go with the Toyota.

    I have been driving a Toyota (Camry) for twenty years (I’m on my second.)

    I rust proof for the winter, keep regular check ups and haven’t had a spot of trouble with them.

    Love how they drive and perform. Great for safety.

    They get 100% from me.


  39. I read in a car review article that the Sienna was a pretty bad polluter being made and the Odyssey was more “green” being made.

  40. We have the oddesey and love it. I never thought I’d love a car so much, but the minivan definitely makes life easier.

  41. Honda – no brainer. I’ve owned Honda’s for 23 consecutive years and if you check out all of the comparisons you’ll find that Honda comes out ahead!

  42. Try the Volkswagan Routan. I really had my heart set on an Odyssey, and the Routan beat it for me. Been driving it for a few years and LOVE it.

  43. We have always been a Toyota family, but we ended up getting an Odyssey about 5 yrs ago. At the time we were going to school out in Pittsburgh and the Odyssey was about $15K less for the options we wanted compared to the Sienna. We have had some minor problems … mostly things that are just irritating and that take time out of your schedule to have them fixed. And then we have both side doors power and something on those had to get replaced that was a few hundred $$’s.

    After owning a Honda for 5+yrs and numerous Toyota vehicles, I definitely like Toyota better BUT if I’m shopping around again and there’s a big price difference again, I may go for the Honda again knowing that the kids are hard on it & once my kids are old enough, I’ll be happy to say adios! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Either way, you can’t go wrong!