Family Date Night Idea: Shakespeare in the Park & The Shinzen Japanese Gardens

We recently checked off two fun “Fresno Bucket List” experiences since moving here last August.  I love to find unique and interesting family date night ideas that don’t cost a fortune, and this was a great one! I’m sharing some images from our evening at Woodward Park and maybe someday if you’re ever here, it’s worth a stop! I had no idea we lived right next to something this lovely.

The Shinzen Japanese Gardens is gorgeous. I can’t wait to visit again in Fall and Spring to see the leaves and blossoms change. The kids especially enjoyed the peacock family.

To read more about the history and visitor information visit

Japanese gardens fresno

peacock from shinzen gardens fresno

Lily pad pond shinzen gardens fresno


Mom and baby peacocks at Shinzen

peacock at the gardenskids on the bridge

After walking around the gardens we had a picnic and enjoyed some free Shakespeare in the Park!

Shakespeare in the Park

Thanks so much for stopping in today!

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Back to School Easy Healthy Meal Idea & Giveaway


organic ravioli from Grocery Outlet

Hi friends! Are you right in the middle of the back to school hustle like me?

back to school organizing

On weekdays I’m juggling blogging, taking kids to and from school, homework,and then to dance and soccer activities. Sound familiar? Today I’m sharing an easy, fresh, and healthy meal solution for our busy weeknights the entire family will enjoy!


 I picked up this double pack of Monterrey brand organic roasted red pepper ravioli at my Grocery Outlet in Clovis, CA for around $7.

Monterey organic ravioli

They pair perfectly with fresh basil and tomatoes from my garden!

ravioli collage


1.Boil one 32 oz. bag of ravioli according to package directions and drain.

2. Put the ravioli back into a skillet and saute with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil leaves, 1 cup chopped or cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Salt and pepper to taste.


That’s it! It’s so delicious and both my kids and hubby LOVED them! I love a meal success 🙂

To celebrate Back to School my sponsor Grocery Outlet is giving away TWO 25$ gift cards!! Whoo hoo They have a great selection of back to school lunch and snack items for super cheap! 

grocery outlet bargains

Enter below and I’ll pick two lucky winners next week! To see if there’s a location by you click here.

grocery outlet giveaway

Thanks for entering and thanks Grocery Outlet for this wonderful opportunity!

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DIY hand painted rustic wood sign for the bedroom


Better Together wood sign wedding

 Today I’m sharing this fun hand painted sign I made for or master bedroom with left over wood from the faux barn wood project above our bed!Master bedroom

Above these bookshelves in our room there is an arched “nook” in the wall. I thought making a personalized sign would be a fun way to fill it.

a sign for the wall nook

After we exchanged vows at our wedding we turned around and walked up the isle to the song “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. In fact, below is the photo of us at that very moment. That’s why I decided to stencil a knot and our wedding date on the sign too 🙂

how to paint a pallet sign

Here’s the lyrics in case you don’t remember it 🙂

“Better Together”
by Jack Johnson

There is no combination of words I could put on the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing, but I can try for your heart
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs
With sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it’s so hard?
It’s not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re togetherMmm, it’s always better when we’re together
Yeah, we’ll look at the stars when we’re together
Well, it’s always better when we’re together
Yeah, it’s always better when we’re together
I started out with these three boards my husband secured together from the back. He also cut the top in an arch shape for me so it could fit the area above the shelves.
I painted it with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in the color French Linen,
and then went over it with the Annie Sloan Dark Wax to make it look older.
I used letter stencils to paint the BETTER in a paint color called Amber Rose by Valspar. After I painted the letters I outlined them with a black Sharpie so it’d stand out more. The word “together” is written in cursive with a pencil first and then painted over it with the same coral colored paint. I thought it helped to print out the “together” on paper in the font I wanted to emulate so I could look at it while penciling the word. I also outlined this word with a Sharpie. The last thing I did was stencil the knot and our initials and wedding date. I used a Sharpie paint pen to do that part.

hand painted pallet sign

 So what do you think? I feel like it fits in great with our room! I love making personalized decor like this. It’s what makes a rented house like this a home 🙂 So my makeover is almost finished. I just need to finish painting the dressers! I’m hoping now that the kids are back in school this will happen soon.

DIY Pallet Sign for bedroom

On a side note I just wanted to mention I started an Instagram account just for Fancy Frugal Life. I love to share deals I find, thrift store finds, my garden uodates, and fun life stuff there too! I hope you’ll follow along 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

 Have a beautiful day.

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A lovely meal at Togo’s (Sponsored Post)

Togo's BBQ Pork Sandwich**Sponsored ad on behalf of Togo’s. 

We ate at Togo’s for the first time this weekend! When I was contacted to see if I was interested in taking my family to try out the new BBQ Pork sandwich I raised my hand and said of course! I’ve seen these a lot since moving to CA and glad we gave it a go.

My husband and I ordered two sandwiches and shared. The BBQ pulled pork was very good! It’s made with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, which happens to be our favorite. And their bread is so great! Everything tasted super fresh and yummy.

The other sandwich we shared was the turkey avacado, which is my favorite type of sandwich and I do love their version with a generous portion of avacado, red onion, and delicious bread.

Togo's Turkey Avocado Sandwich

Our kids ordered one meatball and one turkey sandwich and they both ate all theirs, and enjoyed it The best part? No dishes for me!! Thanks Togo’s!

For more info and Togo’s and their locations visit While you’re there, make sure to sign up for their offers and promos. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


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Frozen Banana Instant “Ice Cream”

just frozen bananas dessert

 Exciting news about frozen bananas! If you put them in your food processor with a little vanilla, it makes a creamy dessert like ice cream! I’m not kidding! Plus it tastes so great! I was inspired by this guilt free ice cream idea awhile ago and finally just tried it, and was so glad I did.

The first step is cut up about four ripe bananas and freeze them. Put them in your food processor or high powered blender like a Ninja, or Vita-Mix. Add a little vanilla, and blend for several minutes. The longer you blend the better it gets! You may have to stop and scoop it down a couple times.


frozen banana dessert

Eventually you get this! Some of my friends have recommended adding a little

Nutella or peanut butter for different flavors.

frozen bananas to ice cream

It’s definitely kid approved. I think this would make a great after school snack as well! Are you back to school yet?

kid approved

We have just a couple weeks and I’m not sure who is more excited! They love school and miss their friends 🙂

back to school

Thanks for visiting!

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The 36th Avenue

Thrift Store Find: My New to Me Leather Chair

leather chair from Salvation Army

Thanks for stopping in to see my recent find from the local Salvation Army. I was there on my 75% off kids clothes day a couple weeks ago and found this leather chair and ottoman for just $ free. What’s funny is that I bought it for a friend of my hubby’s that just moved here and has no furniture, but I decided to keep it. Mean huh? I told him I’d find him something else. And I did. The very next week I found him a nice microfiber couch and futon..perfect for his apartment at the same thrift store.

Living Room Decor

This spot has sort of sat empty since we moved in just waiting for the perfect chair.and I found it! It’s super squishy and comfortable. There’s a few scratches on the ottoman, but I think it’s in great shape especially for the price.

At the store I asked a few people if they thought it was real leather,because the cushions feel so real. Everyone I asked said yes, but now that’s it home I’m thinking no because it doesn’t smell like leather? I dunno..but it doesn’t matter..It’s working out great!

thrift store find leather chair

The first thing I needed to do was pick out some throw pillows that matched the room and came home with these from Ross &6.99 each,

Throw pillows

I’ve moved my little french label table by it, and it’s nice to sit in when my hubby’s not here! This is the new favorite place to sit and relax.

french label table 2

Have you made any great thrift store finds lately?

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