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

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