Friday, August 24, 2012

Pencil Flowers

Per request...  here's the little gift we made for Avery's Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Lamb.  We had so much fun doing these!  And Mrs. Lamb thought they were pretty cool too.

PENCIL FLOWERS

All you need is:
Small terra cotta pot
1 box pencils
Enough small pom poms for each pencil
Colorful scraps of paper, cut into petal shapes
A ball of old play dough

First, put the ball of play dough in the bottom of the pot covering the bottom.  This will be what holds the pencils in place.  Then, using a hot glue gun, put a pea-sized amount on the eraser side of the pencil.  Carefully place the petals on the glue to form the flower.  You may need to add more glue as you go to make all the petals stick.  Top each flower with the pom pom and then stick into the play dough.  Viola!

A bouquet any teacher would LOVE!

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Family Pics

A good friend took some pictures for us this summer when we were in Vail... they turned out great!  And it doesn't hurt that we were in Betty Ford Garden which is stunning.  Thanks Darcy!



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Just One Bite

Here's what I came home to after dropping Avery at school this morning.
Can you find the ONE BITE of her dinner from last night that she REFUSES to eat before getting breakfast?  She would rather sleep than eat this one little bite.  (Sadly, this is hits much too close to home... she's a lot like her mother) Pin It

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1st Day of Kindergarten


I cannot believe this day is here.  I held Avery's hand for the entire 15 minute walk to school, talking about things we saw, about how she was feeling, about how much we loved her.  It was very surreal.  And she did great!  She loved playing on the playground before the bell rang.  And when that bell rung she ran like the wind to her backpack, standing in line with the other kids to wait to go into her classroom.

I prayed for months that her teacher would be Mrs. Lamb... and as Avery would say it, "Jesus said YES!"  He sure did.  She is awesome!!!!  Avery and I made her some "School Pencil Flowers" (pictured below).

So here is our precious Avery Joy on her first day of kindergarten... August 22, 2012.

P.S. When we picked her up from school, she was exhausted!




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Sunday, August 05, 2012

5 Years Old... I Can't Believe It

Avery turned 5 on July 31st.  I can't believe it!  She is a joy to my soul and a gift from the Lord.  I experience God's love toward me through this girl who is quickly growing up.

We started a new tradition... a video clip for each year... it's at the bottom of this post.  A little something to help us remember their years and how they grow.

I love you Avery Joy.  Beyond words.  All the time.  No matter what.

Day ONE

Year ONE

Year TWO

Year THREE

Year FOUR
Year FIVE

video

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Let's Eat CHOCOLATE!

For Avery's 5th Birthday she told me she wanted a "chocolate birthday party."  I figured... I can work with that.  And let me tell you that every woman she told that she was having that kind of party was so jealous of her.  My favorite comment was that Avery was "wise beyond her years."  LOVE IT! 

A woman loves her chocolate.  So we did it all... chocolate candy bar invitations, chocolate fountain, chocolate music (see the bottom of this post for the playlist... really fun kids music!), chocolate pinata, chocolate milk, chocolate cake.... and then I gave toothbrushes for party favors!  We had the best time ever and it was such a blessing to have such sweet friends join us to celebrate our precious girl.

A few highlights from the party...
-Malachi (her cousin) walked in and looked in my bedroom then said with a sigh, "I thought your bed was going to be made of chocolate!!!"
-We did the game "guess how many m&ms in the jar" game... here were the responses:  "50 thousand 40", "50 hundred 10", "3", "68", then Madi said, "Orange."  Not bad.  The right answer was 125.
-Faces COVERED in chocolate!
-Watching the parents beat that pinata to death!!!

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!








The rundown (left to right): Malachi, Isaiah, Lexi, Gracie L, Madi, Gracie F, Mira, Avery, Rachel














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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Carribean Taco Salad with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette

Refreshing, flavorful, tangy.  It makes a great meal for a summer night. The most fun part of this is making your own taco shells.  And the leftovers (if there are any) are great too!

For a gluten free version, serve the meat, salsa, and vinaigrette on a lettuce bed... it is just as good.





Ingredients:
Olive oil cooking spray
4 (8-10-inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 (20-ounce) package ground turkey
1 (1.25-ounce) package reduced sodium taco seasoning mix
2 T. water
1 mango, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 T. finely chopped green onion
3 T. finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 T. finely chopped tomato
1 ripe avocado diced (optional)
1 t. grated lime peel
2 c. firmly packed fresh spinach leaves
(Vinaigrette directions below)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Invert four, 10-ounce custard cups onto a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spray outside of cups and one side of each tortilla with olive oil cooking spray. Place tortillas, oiled side up, over cups. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned. In medium skillet, brown turkey until no longer pink and cooked through. Add taco seasoning mix and water. Cook over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir together the mango, bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, tomato, (& avocado just before serving so it doesn’t brown) lime peel, and to make the salsa. Place taco shells on serving plates. Divide spinach leaves evenly into shells. Top with cooked turkey and salsa. Drizzle vinaigrette over each serving. Serves 4.

Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. honey (or agave)
1 T. ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup canola/olive oil blend

Combine lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil. Whisk until well-combined. Reseason with salt and pepper, if necessary. Pin It

Artichoke Dip - Gluten Free

I make this every time we have a party! And everyone always asks me for the recipe, so here it is... ENJOY!

Ingredients:
1 can artichoke hearts
8 oz. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
GF Crackers
Veggies

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly drain artichokes & squeeze out juice by hand. Place all ingredients (except crackers and veggies) in a food processor and mix until well blended. Pour into 9x13 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with crackers and veggies. Pin It