Malachi’s Construction Party

Lots of thanks to Pinterest for this one… And, to my firefighter husband for giving me black and yellow tape… and of course my Mom for doing a million and one dishes and lots of cleaning!  For the first time, I didn’t really plan any activities other than turning our garden box into a construction site.  (What kinds of activities do 3 year old boys need?)

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And, a little coloring, of course…

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My husband makes an awesome grill master, and was in charge of the lunch.  He always seems to be in charge of food.  No wonder we eat so well!

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Balloons, balloons, balloons!

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 The cake…. oh, how I loved doing this cake!  I am not a perfectionist, and not very good at cakes.  Making one that was purposefully sloppy to resemble a construction site was right up my alley!

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Look how cute my little dude looks waiting to open his presents.  (His feet will be touching the floor all too soon!)

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Hugs… love it!

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Playing with your best friend and your new toys… does it get any better?

Malachi Turns 3!

Our sweet boy celebrated his 3rd birthday on Black Friday this year.  Thankfully, his parents aren’t big shoppers.  🙂  His day was quite mellow in anticipation of his construction party.  As usual, it began with opening his “under the bed present.”

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He also opened his presents from Grandma and Grandpa…

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Can’t wait to celebrate with all your friends, tomorrow!  Happy birthday, buddy.

Thanksgiving 2015

What a wonderful Thanksgiving we had!  1.  My parents came for a visit.  2.  All I had to cook was breakfast…

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Around noon we headed to the fire station for our Thanksgiving Celebration.

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I made some yummy popcorn mix and brought some Kids’ Thanksgiving table mats, but those did not get touched.  The kids were too busy having fun outside!

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After dinner, we took Malachi outside to open an early birthday present…

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We scored this awesome excavator on Craigslist for $15.  Malachi was thrilled… he kept saying, “My Costco excavator!”  Daniel thought it would be fun to let him open it at the Fire Station because of the huge pile of sand in their parking lot.  The kids may or may not have rolled through the sand the rest of the night!

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So much to be thankful for…

Thanksgiving School!

This year has been a bit different for us, as far as homeschooling goes.  Being part of a Classical Conversations community has been a huge blessing; I really do need to do a post just on why I like it so much.  The only thing I have struggled with is not having as much time for “fun” school days with friends.  Despite having to prepare for a holiday, company, and a birthday this week, I decided we had to have one of our “fun” school days; Thanksgiving school!  To be honest, I keep it pretty simple, collecting a few ideas from Pinterest and going from there.  And, I am so glad we did it!  These days with dear friends always refresh my spirit, and hopefully create fun memories for the kiddos!

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BINGO with Reeses pieces markers.

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Mini pumpkin pies; yummy!  So easy, and a big hit!

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Thanksgiving pattern blocks.  Loved these, (as well as what the kids came up with on their own!)  Next year I want to try these perler bead patterns I just found!

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As usual, the kids had no trouble keeping themselves entertained when there was no planned activity…

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…And a great day was had by all!

Our verse for the day:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Pearler Beads using Cross Stitch Patterns

Right about this time of year is when we (I) start longing for a little break in the routine.  Thankfully, now is when it comes!  The hard part about leaving the routine is knowing it will be that much harder to get back into it… but for now I am relishing the fact that the Holiday Season is here!

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This little one is probably the most ready for a break.  She recently asked to do a craft, so I went to my Pinterest board to see what I could find.

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We found a site that suggested taking cross stitch patterns and making them into pearler bead patterns…. genius!

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I loved this one so much, I asked for it as a Christmas present.  My sweet girl agreed.  I am one lucky mama!

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And this… this is one happy girl!

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The Snowman

In general, I really enjoy jogging.  However, due to schedules, weather, health, and other reasons it just seems hard to be consistent.  Thankfully, the past 2 weeks I’ve had several opportunities to jog, and I’ve taken them.  The weather has been absolutely ideal; high 60’s and low 70’s!  Sometimes I wish we had “real seasons,” but coming across this on my jog yesterday just made me smile:


Homemade Crackers

It was meant to be a snack, but with some ham, cheese, cream cheese, and salami… it ended up being our lunch!  Homemade crackers.  I had been wanting to try these out for quite some time.  Turns out, they are super simple.  Initial comments by my children were that they were “weird” and “too healthy.”  And then… they ate them all!  (I was shocked, too.)

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I believe mine were slightly too thick.  I definitely did not get 60 crackers.  I can’t wait to try them again a bit thinner.

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Recipe taken from here.


Ingredients (60 crackers)

1 1/4 cups (5 oz) 100% whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling on

1/4 teaspoon paprika

4 tablespoons Earth Balance (I used soy-free) or butter

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water (or a tiny bit more if dough is too dry)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, paprika, salt).

3. With a pastry blender (or two forks), cut in the Earth Balance or butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. See image below. Now mix together the water and vanilla and then pour into the flour and Earth balance mixture. Stir this mixture until it comes together. I got in there with my hands and really squeezed the dough to help it come together. If it appears dry add a touch of water, but you don’t want it sticky.

4. Split the dough in half. On a floured surface or on a non-stick mat, roll out one half of the dough very thin (1/16th inch). Using a pizza cutter, cut into whatever shape you desire. Using a splatula, place the crackers on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat as necessary. Sprinkle with more salt and sesame seeds if desired.

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, watching closely. Half way through baking rotate the pan to ensure even baking. My crackers took 10 minutes, but if you do not use a baking mat it will likely take less time for you. Be careful because they burn quickly. Cool completely. Makes about 64 crackers for this full recipe. Store in an air-tight container.


Tea Party, Too!

If you saw my house right now, you would probably think I am crazy for blogging and not cleaning.  And, I would agree with you… it is a pit!  But, it will get clean; it always does.  And so I blog!

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We have continued our tradition of Thankful Thursday Tea Parties, though we are not quite as consistent as in past years and I don’t always take pictures and blog about them.  I did today, however, because the kids were just so excited to try the tea I brought home from the tea house yesterday.  We went with vanilla almond, and it was a hit all around.  Thankful Thursdays are especially relevant this time of year, as we are all hopefully thinking of many things to be thankful for.  Looking at these pictures, I can’t help but smile and state the obvious; I am so thankful for my kids!

Sierra’s 5 Year Old Tea Party

It all started just before Allison turned 5… my dear friend Katie had the wonderful idea of a mother-daughter tea party every time one of her daughters turned 5.  Like a good friend, I immediately stole her lovely idea, and the 5-year-old tea party was born.  What a blessing it has been… thank you, my dear friend!

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We are blessed to have a fabulous tea house just down the street from us, which we pass by every time we go to church.  Sierra has been waiting anxiously, and today was finally the day!

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It took me a minute to realize that this would be my last 5-year-old tea party, (unless we decide to do it with my son.)  **sniff, sniff**

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I looked at the menu, and was a little sad to not see the raspberry coconut cream black tea — a favorite of both Allison and Natalie.  I mentioned it to our server, only to find out they did have it.  Hooray!  Unfortunately, Sierra did not like it.  She picked out our second tea, which was vanilla almond.  I was pleasantly surprised to see her face light up after trying it.  Needless-to-say, we went home with both teas.

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Sierra loved the cinnamon apple scone with apple butter.  She also felt very special pouring her own cream and adding her own sugar.  I may have stopped her after about 5 or 6 spoonfuls, but at least she enjoyed the tea that way!

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Of all my children, I think Sierra had the most fun looking around.  She was especially fond of this sweet green fairy.

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Dress-up time!  I think I have a picture of both Allison and Natalie just like this one:

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Sierra was given this special candle, along with a fancy bracelet.  She couldn’t have felt more special.

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After lunch, Sierra could hardly wait to swing n the front porch swing.  Precious.

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My girl and me… what a lovely time, Sierra!  You made it so fun; even when you got silly and started yelling “Bam!”  It was also fun to watch you dance around, and to sing “Amazing Grace” when we heard it play.  I especially loved it when we both got the giggles.  Happy 5th birthday, my dear!

Pumpkin Stuff.

I mentioned earlier that apples seem to have taken over my pumpkin love this year.  But, it just wouldn’t be fall without a few pumpkin recipes.  First up, I tried pumpkin granola…

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It was ok, but not a huge hit.  In my quest to enjoy all things fall, I think I went overboard making a huge batch.  At least the chickens enjoyed the leftovers!

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Next up… pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are always a hit, but I think I scored with this recipe.  They are actually pretty healthy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup flour

1 cup oatmeal

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

mini chocolate chips

Mis dry.  Mix wet.  Combine.  Add chocolate chips.  Makes 12 large muffins.  Bake@350 for 20-22 minutes.

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See… healthy, right?  Definitely yummy.  Give ’em a try!