Monday, December 22, 2014

three years later

I'm not a professional photo kind of gal.  I love when I see friend's wonderfully taken photos of their little ones and always think I might set something up. And then I never do.  The outfits coordinate so well and the setting is perfectly selected.  Our lives are well photographed.  I'm always taking pictures.  I even upload them semi regularly and back them up and print them out.   It's been almost three years since I had the kids photos taken by a photographer.  It's been since before Lou was born that we've had a family photo taken like that. Geesh.
Hubby's cousin helped us out and took some lovely photos of us a few weeks ago.  I was even going to make Christmas cards.  I didn't.   Maybe New Year's cards!

We were in town for Hubby's grandmother's funeral.  We hadn't planed on photos, so our outfits aren't well planned but did end up looking decent together.


Hubby's parents joined us and I plan to frame some for them for Christmas. These are taken out at the edge of one of his uncle's property.  I was nervous about the setting sun causing problems with lighting but it ended up making it really lovely.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thanksgiving December

It's December... It's 4 days until Christmas... Here are Thanksgiving pictures. It's seasonally inappropriate.   It's the first day of Christmas vacation so I have time. That's makes it totally appropriate.
Happy thanksgiving!  Decemgiving.  Thanksember.  Happy I'm-on-Christmas-vacation-and-finally-printing-first-day-school-pictures.
There was the usual.  Ad looking,
my youngest sister, Meg
entertaining of the kids,
Meg and Lou with Juggle Bubbles
my sister, Chris

a little bit of dancing,
and the annual trip to Scheels.
Lou drove the race care simulator and I nearly puked in the car!
The ferris wheel wasn't much better for my stomach!
Daddy and Bee
I seriously wish this kid wasn't so anxious all the time.  He's an actor, but the thought of being on stage freaks him out.  He can't wait to come to musical practice with me and loves the idea of it all... just not with him on stage. 
Lou and his catch. 
Lou and his catch.   Bee walked around with my sister, I didn't get any of the traditional funny photos of her with the fish or the talking presidents or the big bear.

This year, there was a special activity organized by my sister.  Minute to win it... family style.
Chris and the boyfriend, the organizers but not the winners!
She asked me to make a trophy.  The kids and I bought a large candle holder and a glass eagle candy bowl topper at the thrift store. We glued them together and spray painted them a lovely textured gold.  I added some vinyl letter cut out on the silhouette.  I think she was hoping for a tackier trophy but I loved this.
 We played couples.  There was the dice on a tongue depressor stack.
 W had the create paper unroll race.  
There was the tissue box empty race.

The M&M straw transfer game,

and the ping pong wobbly cup stack.


There was some unfortunate crying from Lou, as he an Bee weren't doing as planned.  Lou did well with the cookie on the face race.   

 My sister and her boyfriend ended up in a tie with my brother and his wife.  The tie breaker was blowing the cups off the table race. 

The winners were my brother David and his wife, Kelly. Their names are on the trophy and they will hold the title until next year.

 Happy Thanksgiving... at the end of December.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bee from scratch

We've been watching Master Chef Jr.  It's our treat to ourselves on school nights when daddy's working late and the homework is done and dinner is done and cleaned up.  It's about the only way I can get my people motivated to get through dinner and get baths in a timely manner.  It's a treat for me to sit down and veg on the couch with the kids.  The days when it's all me after school are extra wearing, especially after a long day at school.  They are always long days in third grade.  I love them, but I am worn out.
So, because of this Master Chef Jr. watching, the kids are especially into cooking.  It's nice, but that used to be my quiet time.  It's probably worth it that someday they'll be able to take some of the cooking duties for me.  It makes them more willing to eat different foods.  They've eaten goat cheese and pomegranate.  They are messy cooks.  Messy.  Bee has been taking cook books to bed with her to read, which makes me giddy.  She really loves The Pioneer Woman cook books since there are so many photos.  It's great for the young at-home cook (as Chef Ramsey says).
She decided she wanted to make glazed yeast doughnuts from scratch.  It took a whole weekend, since they need to sit in the fridge overnight.  She stuck with it and did every step (except some of the end frying- after an upsetting burn) and was pleased to share them with us and the neighbors.  They were scrumptious and a great lesson for her in patience.    They were an additional lesson for me in the need for a renewed gym membership.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cold toes but a warm heart

It's cold here, I don't know about you, but it's cold here.  Snow day on Monday, bought new snow pants kind of cold.  Our house is old and drafty and my toes are always cold.  I'm wearing long johns under my jammies.  I can't remember why we moved from the beach anyway.
My toes may be cold, but my heart is warm and happy.  Back in June I wrote about my 100 nearest and dearest sewing friends getting together to make dresses for the little girls at my church's school in Uganda.  They were finally delivered.

I'm completely jealous that I wasn't there to help deliver them, but seeing the smiles on those dear faces is enough. These photos were taken by a sweet mama I used to teach with.  The girls were so excited they put their dresses on right over their school uniforms.  I think I see a few of my dresses.  Today is the first day my friend has posted any pictures and I can't wait to see more.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Club and stuffed dates

This inviting table welcomed us this month at book club.  My friends have the most lovely homes.  We're reading and cooking our way through Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.

This month's menu consisted of bacon wrapped goat cheese stuffed dates,  Mexican grilled corn, dark chocolate sea sated toffee, enchiladas and a delicious guacamole.  Those are my dates below.  They were pretty yum.  I ate a lot of them and also did some damage on the toffee.

The food is always great, and I love learning new cooking techniques, but the company is tremendous and the conversation is delightful.  These gals are wise and funny and a breath of fresh air amidst a busy week.  

Last month we ditched cooking together and ended up out to eat at a downtown sushi spot.  The service was less than great and we ended up with discounted meal.  We decided we are better cooks.

Here's how those yummy stuffed dates are made:  I'll be making them again!

2 packages of dates (found in the produce section)
1 pack of bacon
8 oz. goat cheese (found in the specialty cheese case)

Slice the dates open, but not in half.  Pull out the pit.  It sort of looks like a pecan.  Spoon in a little dip of the goat cheese.  Wrap each in a half a strip of bacon.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  We flipped them at about 15 minutes. They can be served warm or room temperature, or as I discovered the next morning, cold from the fridge.  I actually thought they were even better the next day. 

Next month, we are cooking, eating and exchanging Christmas goodies.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

book club- kitchen 2

We met again, my 6 new mama friends, to cook and eat and talk and avoid homework with the kids and bedtime drama and just be grown ups together.

We met at a different home and made dishes from the next section of our book, Bread and Wine. Section one post here.

We take a lot of photos of our treats!  We met in a different friend's home, a farm house that has been in her husbands family for three generations, that she and her husband recently restored.  It's gorgeous and homey and a great place to gather.

The other mama's have kids who are a little bit older and I'm learning a lot about parenting teens.  As we've had a little interaction with their kids passing through the house and those I see at school occasionally, or work with for the middle school musicals, I'm impressed. They have respectful, mannerly teens.  I want that and I'm tucking all this good info away for later! 

We cooked and then devoured together watermelon feta salad, mango chicken curry, breakfast cookies, sweet potato fries with sriracha dipping sauce, and an Italian sausage cassoulet.  We had to take home our breakfast cookie because there was so much food going on. 

I was in charge of the chicken curry and it turned out pretty decent.  I guess I just don't really love the curry flavor, but it was fine.  Better than my biscuit flop from last month.  I thought it would be super spicy but it was not at all.

The watermelon feta salad was amazing! It contained watermelon, feta, mint, arugula, and a balsamic dressing.   It had lime as well which gave it a fun flavor.  It tasted like a special summer drink.  I always think arugula is bitter, but spinach might be a tastier base to the salad next time. 

I so enjoy meeting with these ladies.  I'm going to have to get better at time management though.  I can hardly stay out until 10 and miss an entire evening at home without getting behind a little in every area of life!  The papers that needed graded are still not caught up and today I'm the laundry queen!  I say that as I take an hour our of my Sunday to post this.  Guess a time management class may be needed. 
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