Best Lunch Ever

Here’s the conversation I had with myself tonight.

Me:  Go to bed

Me:  But you have to blog

Me:  Can’t it wait… I’m tired

Me:  No!  You have to record your most special lunch ever!

Me:  OK, you win…

And that’s about how it went.  Truly, we had one of the most blessed days ever yesterday.  In fact, it was quite the weekend!  Friday we went to see Matt Maher after getting a call Wednesday from our local radio station that we won tickets.  Despite feeling sick, it was an AMAZING concert, and so much fun to have a date!  Sunday was our anniversary.  Let me skip right to dinner.  While the kids were at AWANA, we enjoyed a fun dinner of Spanish Tapas in Claremont.  As we both love trying new foods, (and this place was SO good), it was a lot of fun!

And now for the best lunch ever… Our girls gave us a list of ingredients they wrote from their new cookbook, and made us a wonderful lunch and dessert for our anniversary.  The table was even set with real flowers.  PRECIOUS!

ha 1

Daniel helped minimally, and I did nothing.  I think I kind of like having bigger kids.  Oh, and thank you Grandma for giving Allison the cookbook!

ha 2 ha 3 ha 4

ha 5

I only took one picture of the food and it was blurry.  Bummer.  But, both Daniel and I truly loved it all.

ha 6 ha 7 ha 8

ha 9

ha 10

For dessert, homemade tiramisu.  Sadly, the kids didn’t really like it — after all their hard work!  (I think Allison made it by herself.)  But, Daniel and I liked it.

Thank you for such a special anniversary surprise, kids!  You are a huge blessing, and loved more than you know!!

Wildcat Party!

Natalie turned 9!  Happy birthday, my sweet girl!

When you requested a wildcat birthday, I was at a total loss for what to do!  I made you give me a back-up theme in case I couldn’t find any ideas, but alas Pinterest came through with some fun ideas and God sparked a few in my mind just in the nick of time, as well.

9n 1 9n 2

Food is always one of the most exciting parts for the kids.  Some of the favorites this time were “tiger tots,” “tiger tails,” “tiger brownie favors,” “lion mane veggies,” “cheetah paw cupcakes,” and “lemony lion cake.”

9n 3 9n 4 9n 5 9n 6 9n 7

The kids are getting older… **sniff, sniff** I am certain they would still enjoy coloring, but I am trying to find other activities for when the guests first arrive and we are waiting for everyone to arrive.  I found a really cute website that had how to draw a lion, cheetah, jaguar, and leopard.

9n 8 9n 9

For the second activity, I wanted to use animal print little jewel stick-ons I got on clearance from Oriental Trading.  I literally had no idea what we would do until the morning the kids arrived.  I searched my craft cupboard and found a lot of little wooden pieces, some paint, some magnets, and some clothespins.  They made either ornaments or magnets.  Praise God for last-minute ideas and an art supply closet!

9n 10 9n 11 9n 12

Planning for the wildcat trivia was fascinating.  Now I know why Natalie enjoys reading about them so much!

9n 13

9n 14

9n 15

Natalie requested lemon cake.  I used this recipe, and it was a hit — I think I’ll have to use it every year for Natalie.

9n 16

9n 17 9n 18 9n 19

So many sweet presents… so many sweet friends…

9n 20 9n 21

 Love you, Christmas Baby!

Sierra’s Sixth Spa Party

Planning a birthday party for the day after Halloween is a bit exhausting.  But, having that extra hour of sleep was a huge blessing!  This year Sierra’s request was for a spa-themed birthday.  She gave me plenty of time to come up with ideas, but for some reason this was a tough one for me.  And, it snuck up quickly; (How is it November?)  As is always the case, things came together and we had a great time.

spa 2 spa 3

Since we had about a dozen girls coming, I decided to have four stations so that they didn’t have to wait too long for any one activity.  The stations were: face painting, (care of big sister Natalie), nail polish, (care of our favorite teenagers), spa sandal decorating, and face painting our paper model.

spa 4

Goody bags were care of Oriental Trading.

spa 5 spa 6.5 spa 6.7

Party food is usually my favorite part.  In this case, it is what prompted the entire theme.  Sierra saw the marshmallow/ tootsie roll “nail polish” pictured in a magazine and decided that was what she wanted for her birthday party…. hence, the theme.

spa 7 spa 8 spa 9

spa 10

spa 11

spa 12

spa 13

spa 14

Another favorite part of parties is having Sierra choose friends, then opening her presents with them.  I think it makes the guest feel special along with Sierra, (and provides for good pictures).  This year my oldest wrote down the gifts while my next oldest folded tissue paper and organized.  All I had to do was sip coffee, nibble on cake, and take a few pictures.  Aw, the joys of having “older” kids!

spa 15 spa 16

Hope you had a fun-filled spa day, my sweet six year old!  It was so fun to see you so mature this year.  You welcomed guests, tried to make sure everyone was included, and were such a gracious host.

Love you!!!

Thankful Thursday

It’s so appropriate to think of thankfulness around this time of year.  For us, however, it continues to be a weekly discussion.  I believe we are in our fourth year of Thankful Thursday tea parties.  Natalie just noticed the date on the inside cover of her journal and asked me, “Was I really five when I wrote this?” Yup, Sweetie… you were!  It is fun to look back and see all the things we have been thankful for!  I think Allison is close to 700 entries.

that 1

that 2

This week was pumpkin scones and apple cider with whip cream.  You can’t beat a fall tea party!

Dinner Fail, Breakfast Win

For quite some time now, I’ve been diligent about trying to bake any baked goods we need fresh rather than buying them made.  We have many exceptions, of course, but it is fun to bake and have the house smell delicious as you pull fresh bread from the oven!  We’ve been pretty successful with following the recipes, but the other night we had a huge fail!  I was grilling some sliders for dinner and wanting Hawaiian rolls, but not wanting to go to the store.  No problem, I thought… I could make them!  The recipe I found called for pineapple juice, which we didn’t have.  We did have fresh pineapple, so I pureed it in the Vitamix and used the puree instead of the juice.  No big deal, right?

My first clue should have been the dough texture.  It was weird.  But, I held out hope.  I baked them, and they tasted exactly like Hawaiian rolls; except, the texture was completely different.  They were much more like biscuits; it was weird!  And, they were disgusting with the hamburgers.

dfbw 1 dfbw 2

Not wanting to waste them, the next morning for breakfast I made an apple syrup and poured it over the biscuits.  The kids loved it and I didn’t have to waste them — yay for us!  (Sorry, chickens… maybe my next fail!)

626 Night Market… with kids!

Last year we tried out the 626 Night Market, and I knew we had to go again.  To be honest, I wasn’t excited about taking the kids because I remembered the crowds were a bit much.  But now… I am so glad we did.  They had a great time and enjoyed the food as much as we did.  (Well, the drinks and desserts at least!)  One of our goals as parents is to have our kids not be afraid to try new foods, and I think we’ve been pretty successful.  Even our one super picky eater is surprisingly open to new foods!

6261 6262 6263 6264 6265

I waited in line for my Ramenburger first thing.  Delicious!

6266 6267 6268

6269.5 6269

Yes, this may just have to be an annual tradition… with the kids, because they all want to go back!  (Sierra still thinks she was in Taiwan!)

National Waffle Day

One of my son’s library books this week gives all sorts of fun facts about different foods.  It’s called Food Trucks, and it has also inspired a food truck game he plays with his sisters.  I love when library books are multi-purposed!  We happened to be reading 2 days ago that National Waffle Day is August 24.  We couldn’t read that and not celebrate.  Since we just had waffles, and this was a “celebration,” I decided to try to make chocolate waffles.  (They were still pretty healthy with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, cocoa powder and shaved 70% dark chocolate, but don’t tell my kids that!)  All the kids thought they were awesome and tasted like brownies.  Personally, I still thought they tasted ‘healthy;’ ha!  But, good…. I thought they were good!  Either way, it was a win!

nwd 1

nwd 2

Just to be sure this was legit, I googled National Waffle Day, and sure enough it is legit!  If you are curious about the origin, click here.  Happy National Waffle Day!  (And, thank you, wonderful library!)