Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pumpkin Bites - Revisited

Jill, you mentioned that you'd like to see what my pumpkin bites looked like using the flower shape cutter...
Here they are! I've made countless batches of these little pies and my family LOVES them! They like them cold, room temp and just a little warm from the microwave. Bakerella posted these little pies made with a pumpkin shape cutter. Hers were cute, but actually I like the flower shape better. :-)
Here they are baking...

And here they are after they've rested a bit...

Oh and here's what one of my kiddos looks like when she knows I've been baking them (she has 5 of them on her plate!)...

Our Holiday Events 2009

Gosh - I take a few days off and forget to post half of the month! I'm old so I can't remember everything we did...I'll just hit a few highlights before Christmas. Away we go!
The third graders at Claire's school were asked to become entrepreneurs this month. They held a "Holiday Market" and sold handcrafted items to the 1st graders. The 1st graders paid with "brain bucks" they had earned from their teachers. After going back and forth (and back and forth!) on what she wanted to make, Claire finally decided on flower pens and pebble magnets. Claire was extremely proud of her creations and happily sold ALL of her items.

Before Christmas break, Claire's class had their formal lunch party (well, as formal as third graders get). After lunch, the students took turns telling what they were thankful for this year, and then made a toast with bubbly cider. It was SO cute!

The REAL Santa always visits dad's office, and he made the stop again this year. The kids know this Santa is the real one because he always knows details about them (what their teacher says about them, how they're doing in school, how they're behaving with their siblings, if they're keeping their room clean, etc.). Claire was excited to see Santa again, and Max ran up to the jolly man like he was a best friend. We quickly realized that what Max truly wanted was the candy cane Santa was giving out. :-)

First visit w/Santa, and first candy cane (lasted maybe a minute)!

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. We had freezing rain and snow late Christmas Eve, so the roads were really icy on Christmas morning; therefore, we stayed home instead of going to Grandma's. The kids had a great day playing with all of their new goodies. We exchanged our homemade gifts again this year (with exception of Max since he's too little). Dad made Emily a "to do" tile for her bathroom (in hopes of getting her to stop writing on the mirror!); Emily did a pencil drawing for Claire; Claire made a mod-podge eyeglass container for dad's desk; I made a ink transfer photo for Allyson; and Allyson made a jewelry box and photo mouse pad for me. The kids LOVE making gifts for one another and have already asked to do this again next year.

Emily & Allyson with their hand crafted gifts.

Max - not sure he likes the dinosaur

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Performances x2

Our Claire wants to be a movie star when she grows up. She's already a star in my eyes. :-)

Our elementary school has a choir this year - what they termed "an audition only choir". Claire decided to audition and won a spot in the choir. We have over 900 students in the school this year, so this is a big deal for Claire. The choir performed for the first time on Saturday at the mall. We were so proud of our little movie star as she had a solo in "Let it Snow".

We couldn't end the weekend with only one performance though. On Sunday, our children's choir at church performed their play, "The Best Christmas Present Ever", which we have been working on since September. We were blessed with nearly 40 children in our choir this time - (Kindergarten through 6th grade, and even a few pre-K kiddos). They all did a great job and I am so proud of them!

Vitamin C

Ever wondered which type of orange juice contains the most Vitamin C? Since I'm not a big fan of OJ, I never did. :-) Emily's science teacher required all students to do a science fair project, so Emily decided to check out V-C levels in OJ. She found a recipe on the internet that could be used as a vitamin C indicator when added to juice. She compared freshly squeezed OJ, canned, frozen, and bottled.
The verdict: freshly squeezed has the highest concentration of Vitamin C, followed closely by the frozen variety. I think it's probably best to not even bother drinking the canned OJ though, as it had 3 times less the amount of "C" than freshly squeezed...according to our testing anyway. :-)

Oh and Emily got an "A" for her work on the "C". :-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Emily's 12th Gotcha Day!

We recently celebrated Emily's 12th Gotcha Day! I say it every year, but it really is amazing how quickly the years have gone since we adopted Emily. We are SO blessed to parent this child! Emily is beautiful, intelligent, funny, mature, articulate...well, just an amazing young lady.

There are 3 other families in Emily's travel group, and we all take turns hosting gotcha day weekends. This group of girls has become SO close and have dubbed themselves the "F4E's". This year's gotcha weekend was hosted by Natalie's family in Texas. After our arrival on Friday, the kids got busy playing the Wii and just hanging out together. On Saturday, we went to a fabulous shopping area in South Lake for a photo shoot (of course we squeezed in some shopping too since the girls are at "that" age!). :-) Dinner was at a Mongolian grill - where we all loaded meat and veggies of our choice into 2 bowls and watched as the chef cooked them on a hot, round stone in the middle of the room....pretty cool! We also celebrated with cake and presents later in the day. The parents really went all out for this year's gifts which included: a special custom necklace for each girl, shadowbox frames with a few photos from past reunions, and a photo frame with F4E tiles. Our gift to the girls was a photo book with pics from the past 12 years of gotcha days and China camp (the book ended up being 39 pages total and I also left a spot for this year's gotcha day photo). Before we left for the weekend, the girls wrote messages to one another in their books. (Note: I'm happy to share the contents of the book with other adoptive families, but don't want to post the slideshow here on the blog...just contact me privately if you'd like to view it.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I'd like to introduce you to Lurch. Lurch, meet the blog readers. :-)

My sis-in-law Holly is friends with the woman who owns and loves on Lurch. While we were in Mountain Home visiting Randy's dad, we made a quick stop to meet Lurch. Lurch is a world-famous guy you know. He's been featured on Animal Planet and the Ellen DeGeneres show (Ellen even built a new barn for Lurch). Lurch is a 14-year-old African Watusi steer. He is famous due to the size of his horns....they are doozies! Lurch owns the Guinness record for their size (no surprise there...not many guys would want to carry something that big around all day!).

While we were surprised at the size of Lurch's horns, we were also surprised at his wonderful, gentle nature. He is aware of how big his horns are, and is careful to not hit anyone with them. We were sad to learn that Lurch has been sick though. He apparently has a cancer in his right horn. The cancer is making his right horn heavier - thus the reason for the way he is holding his head. :-( Janice (Lurch's owner) said Lurch is feeling better though, so were were able to meet him and take photos.
Janice is a gem of a lady. She has a huge heart for animals and runs the Rocky Ridge Refuge. If you're even near Mt. Home or Gassville, AR and want to meet Lurch, give Janice a call! If you'd like to read more about Lurch and the gang, check out their website here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Writing in the Sky

Behind on blogging....again. :-( Hope to catch up later today - after I find Claire's little camera we used on a trip!

We went to visit Randy's dad after Thanksgiving. As we were driving (3 hours), we noticed all of the jet trails in the sky. It was a beautiful day and the trails just looked perfect for we pulled over to snap a few. Take time to enjoy all of the little things...

"X" marks the spot

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pumpkin Bites

If you're looking for a new yummy treat to serve during the holidays, I highly recommend pumpkin pie bites! I found the recipe at Bakerella last week and made the little treats for a church gathering on Sunday. My family LOVED these...even Emily who is my picky child! My pumpkin bites looked different than Bakerella's as I used a flower cookie cutter instead of a pumpkin shape. The family thought the mini pies were adorable because the flower shape cutter gave the crust a little scalloped edge. I was also able to fill every hole in the muffin tin since I didn't have to worry about a "pumpkin stem" on the crust.
I would post a picture of our little pies but unfortunately, they didn't last long enough. Trust me though - make these and they will be eaten! ;-) Oh and you can even serve them warm (they just melt in your mouth!). Now...get thee to Bakerella and start baking! :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

His "Good" Side

Just thought I'd post a pic of Max's "good side". :-) The boy thought it was SO much fun to slide head-first off the chair and get stuck between the chair and ottoman.

It wasn't long before he discovered it was even MORE fun to slide backwards off the ottoman. It's a good thing he has such a hard head!

Flu Shots

Our schools gave free shots for both the H1N1 and seasonal flu, so we took advantage of the offer (just wish they had done this before Emily and I got the flu!). Claire wasn't very happy when she came home last week after her shots though. Apparently, they ran out of the nasal mist, so she had to have TWO shots, and THIS one hurt the most! I told her I would take a pic of her battle scar and put it in her scrapbook, so she was willing to pose for me. :-)

Pool - Week 2

Our girls were SO excited at the end of week #2...the 'cement pond' was finally looking like a pool. The water started going in on Friday, and the girls just HAD to try it out when they came home from school. It was a bit cold, but they didn't seem to mind much....well, only for a little wading in the shallow end.
The squirrels decided to check out the pool too....

Monday, November 9, 2009

I like Pink!

Daddy's biggest fear has happened....Max likes pink! LOL We have a rug near the garage door where the girls in our house drop our shoes when we come home. (Haven't managed to train the boys yet - doubt we ever will.) Last week, Max perused the pile of shoes for awhile and then chose a favorite....the pink ones! He wanted to wear these shoes constantly. No matter which room I went to, I could hear Max "clomping" after me in his pretty pink shoes. They caused quite a few falls and ouchies, but Max didn't seem to mind much. He looks pretty good in pink!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pool - Week 1

I think we've gone too far to turn back now. Our front yard is torn up from the dump trucks and cement trucks plowing through...and we also have a big hole in the back yard. Yes, maybe a little too late to turn back now. Since I was sick with the flu, I took the photo from inside - this is the view from our formal living room window.
Amazed at how quickly it's taking shape....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Deep End

What are these silly kids doing? Swimming in the deep end of course!
We've talked about putting in a pool for several years, and we finally took the plunge (pun intended). The girls are "swimming" where the deep end will be. This is what our yard looked like at the beginning of the week before the digging began. We had to remove one tree (where the corner of the pool will be). And yes, we will be fighting the leaves every year.

Honor Society

So proud of our girl.
Earlier this week, Emily was inducted into the National Jr. Honor Society at her school. It was a formal event, so she had to wear a dress (thank goodness she's changed her mind about wearing dresses!). When I was in school ("back in the old days" according to the kids!), we were automatically put into the honor society if we had really good grades. Not so anymore. Emily had to fill out a 4 page application, and get signatures from former teachers, activity sponsors, etc. - quite an ordeal. There were only 41 students (out of the 1,000 at her school) who made the Honor Society this year, so this is truly an accomplishment for her.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

October Round-up

Someone please stop this train...I want to get off! Life is moving WAY too fast for me. I can't believe that October is gone. I think I missed a couple of weeks - I'm sure they're around here somewhere! October was a hard month for us. Emily first had strep, then the flu so she missed quite a bit of school. Claire then became ill and missed several days. Just when I thought everyone was good, *I* became sick too...the flu...hooray! Max now has a cough and runny nose, but I think it's only allergies. Whew!
I missed posting during most of the month, so I'm just doing a recap of some things I missed (& can still remember! LOL).
Allyson's orchestra teacher hasn't allowed the class to use their bows until recently. Allyson was so proud to show us how much she has learned.
The 3rd grade performance at school this year was "I Have a Dream". The students were asked to dress in clothing that represented their ancestry. The music teacher suggested that Claire wear one of her Chinese dresses, and Claire was more than happy to oblige. Claire was so happy that all of the other little girls just LOVED her dress. Even some of the boys told her how pretty she was...they even went so far to ask what it was made from. All was well until Claire told them she thought it was silk...that's when the boys went "Ewwww, that's worms!" LOL Kids are SO funny! When it came time for the program, our hearts filled with pride as our little girlie opened the show with her speaking part.
Now, let's zoom all the way to the end of the month for Halloween. As usual, we went to daddy's office for trick-or-treating (I don't think our kids have EVER gone door to door for candy). The office staff goes all out for Halloween. They have a competition for best costumes and office decorations. I'm always amazed at their creativity. These are just a few of the themes/costumes from this year:

Looney Tunes Characters

The Beatles

Yosemite Sam (anyone else remember him?)

Wylie Coyote

DH's group - the doctors
Our kiddos dressed as a doctor (Emily), nurse (Ally), Raggedy Ann (Claire), and a spider (Max).
And finally, our display for our church's trunk-or-treat event. Since dh had to dress as a doctor at work, we decided to go with a hospital theme for our car. I painted a simple backdrop of medical staff and then pasted pics of our church staff onto that (with the staff's permission of course). We hung white sheets from the sides of the van and put red crosses on it. Then we just used various medical items from around the house (cotton balls, peroxide, alcohol, etc.). We were blessed to win the grand prize for decorated cars!

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