Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Here's a bunch of pictures from our Christmas celebrations this year.  Actually, this is just pictures of the opening presents part.  We DID, in fact, eat several nice family meals and read the Christmas story and light candles and listen to music and many things that had nothing to do with stuff.
Piper got a giant stuffed horse!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

What We're Loving Now {October 2015}

*Downtown Greenville.  We got to go for a few hours a couple weeks ago and loved it.  Clean, and pretty, and there was a free trolley.

Cadence on the trolley

Piper on the trolley

At Falls Park - so lovely
*Fixer Upper and Jane the Virgin on Netflix!

*Visits from Aunt Pami and Nana while Matt was SUPER busy with work

*Speaking of Matt, he made a cameo appearance as Doctor Who (Matt Smith) in the school Cirque show this year, and was charming and hilarious

Matt in costume, in profile
"I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool."

Happy Halloween!

This year, Cadence was Felicity, the discontinued American girl doll.  (Basically, a colonial girl).  I made her whole costume, which I came to regret a little bit, because while it turned out great - it took a lot of my precious free time this month.

Piper was a unicorn.  This was a super easy costume.  I made a felt horn and attached it to a headband, then made a mane and tail with ribbon and yarn attached to felt.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

what we're loving now {September 2015}

*The American Girl movies.  We've watched Kit Kitteridge, Samantha: An American Girl Holiday, and Molly: An American Girl on the Homefront, and Felicity, thanks to a 4 DVD collection from the local library.  They are a little complicated for Piper, but the history is appealing and not too scary.  Also, they prompted some interesting questions about serious issues.  And, Cadence decided she wants to be Felicity for Halloween.

*Cinnamon apples.  Piper will eat apples that aren't cut, but ever since her first loose tooth, Cadence won't.  I'm finally able to send them in her lunch due to this super easy trick - simply cut an apple and sprinkle the slices with cinnamon.  They are delicious and any browning is unnoticeable.  I got the idea from Foodlets here.

*The bus that takes the girls and their friends to school.   Honestly, I don't know that the girls are so excited about the bus, but they haven't complained.  Mainly, I LOVE having extra time, especially in the mornings.  I can drop the girls off, eat breakfast in the dining hall if I want, or head home and get some chores done.

Piper on the bus!
*Pumpkin spice Oreos.  We bought a pack last weekend and we all loved them.  Thankfully it was a small pack; we polished them off quickly and now they are out of our system.  Maybe. Let's hope.

*For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.  It's making me laugh out loud, it's making me think.  There's just nothing like grace.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cadence is 7! An interview

Favorite color: "All the colors except orange."
Favorite book: Fancy Nancy or Magic Treehouse
Favorite food: I don't know
Favorite dessert: I don't know
Favorite song: Let it go and Tomorrow
Favorite subject at school: math and listening to reading
Favorite place to go: "I think the dining hall because I can see my friends."
Favorite toy: all of them
What do you want to be when you grow up?: "I'm going to keep that a secret...I have a lot of ideas."
How many teeth have you lost?: "Let me count...6!"

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

What we are loving now {august 2015}

Here's what we were loving this August:

1. Duplos. Piper became straight up obsessed with these this month. She has always been a builder, now she loves making homes for all her little animals.

2. Stacy's Pita Chips - Simply Naked. Listen, August is hard. Everyone goes back to school; there are a slew of meetings; we all get used to new routines.  I Big-puffy-heart LOVE pita chips. Like, I can't buy the big bags anymore because I will eat the whole thing in 2 days. So I got the 24 pack of individual bags. And their crunchy saltiness carried me through.

3. Gilmore Girls. This is my favorite show of all time. And, because August is so exhausting, I hit good old GG hard this month. It's familiar, fast-paced, funny, full of feeling. 

4. Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth.  Cadence has been a long-time fan of the Fancy Nancy books.  It's become a full-on franchise with picture books, beginning readers and chapter books.  She's not ready to read these chapter books on her own, so we usually read one chapter each night.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Piper is 4!

As per tradition, we bring you: Piper's birthday interview.

Favorite food: Fried Okra

Favorite animal: "Pumas, cheetahs, snow leopards, regular leopards, tigers, lions..."

Favorite book: "I don't want to tell you.  I like all the books I read."

Favorite work at school: Cylinder blocks

Favorite play at home: building with Duplos, playing with pampered palace pets

Favorite TV show: "Dinosaur Train...and Octonauts, Daniel Tiger...and My Little Pony!"  So basically, any show you've watched in the last month.  Got it.  

Oh, this kid.  She's a nut.  She's so giggly and sweet.  And sometimes very stubborn.  She is curious and has a lot of interesting ideas.  I'm so excited to go through this 4th year with her. 4 is a great age, and Piper is going to do it so well.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sunday, August 02, 2015

what we're loving now {July 2015}

So, I'm still writing this blog after all these years because I like going back and seeing bits of our life I've documented. Here's what we're loving this July:

San Francisco - Matt and I went to SF for 6 days.  We ate a lot of great food, and walked around a lot looking at architecture and the water.

Octonauts - Cadence and Piper are loving watching this Disney Jr. show together on Netflix.

The Annie 2014 film and soundtrack - The girls and I saw this at the free kids film festival our local theater does every summer.  I like the original Annie, but I like this one better - Ms. Hannigan has a change of heart at the end of the movie that I appreciated, and the music is really fun.  C was asking for the soundtrack for her upcoming birthday, but then we discovered it was available on Amazon Prime music.  The girls go around singing "Tomorrow" and "Hard Knock Life" with slightly erroneous lyrics.

uSwim - Cadence has been at the not-gonna-drown swimming level for the past two summers, and we really wanted to solidify her skills this summer.  Unfortunately, the swimming lesson options around here are limited, expensive, and inconvenient.  So, I did some research and found uSwim, free online video lessons from Australia.  Matt and Cadence review the video, print out the lesson checklist and then go practice at the lake.  She has improved by leaps and bounds.

First 5 app - I love my YouVersion Bible app and have used it heavily for the last few years.  However, when I heard about First5, I decided to try it out for my morning scripture.  The app provides a Bible passage and short reading each day, but what I really like is the alarm feature so that my morning alarm is set in this app. When I silence the alarm, it goes directly to the devotional.  I am automatically waking up to scripture, reflection, and prayer instead of noticing the emails that arrived overnight or checking my calendar.

Baked Cream Cheese Chicken Taquitos recipe - I've made this twice in the last two weeks.  It's REALLY GOOD.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Zucchini! (and what to do with it)


I have the totally cliche gardening problem of too much zucchini, and giant ones at that. So, we have been experimenting with a number of zucchini recipes.  Translation: everyday we are eating something with zucchini in it.  Some of these were better than others - here's a roundup of what we've tried so far.

Zucchini Tots from The Curious Country Cook - I was the only one who liked these.  She claims they taste like tater tots, but I didn't think so.  More like little zucchini quiches.

Zucchini Fritters from Damn Delicious - Draining the zucchini really made these come out crisp, not soggy.  I liked them, but no one else did.  Pfft.

Blueberry Zucchini Cake from I am Baker - I made this with my friend Stephanie, who is vegan, so we subbed flax seed for the eggs.  Oh, and a banana and applesauce for some of the oil.  We baked it in little loaf pans.  It was very good and very sweet and very popular with Matt and the girls.  We didn't mess around with the frosting.

Chicken and Zucchini Poppers from One Lovely Life - These were tasty, healthy little meatballs.  I used italian seasoning and basil instead of cumin and cilantro so they weren't really Mexican/popper-y as the recipe intended.  Still good.

Best Zucchini Bread Ever from Simple Bites- Well, no.  It wasn't.  It was good, I guess.  I can't pinpoint what I didn't really like.  The texture, maybe?  I didn't use freshly ground spices like she said to?  I cut the sugar a little because we used sweetened vanilla yogurt?  Anyway, I'm still looking for a go-to zucchini bread recipe.

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins from In Erika's Kitchen - Very yummy.  Definitely a treat, as they were pretty sweet.  I subbed applesauce for about a 1/3 of the oil and stevia for 1/2 cup of the sugar.

Zucchini Casserole from Our Ohio - I took this to our church life group potluck.  Honestly, I thought it was weird.  I wished it was more cornbread-y.  But, a couple folks complimented it and I was asked for the recipe, so...

Parmesan Zucchini Wedges from My Blessed Life - I ate a bunch of these, but Matt tried one bite and gave up and I didn't even attempt to give it to the girls.  I left out the rosemary and just used cooking spray.  I'd make them again to take to a potluck - somewhere with more adventurous eaters.

Healthy Zucchini Muffins from Gimme Some Oven
Healthy Zucchini Muffins from Gimme Some Oven - These were a hit! Moist, healthy, not at all too sweet.  Cadence said, "Mmm...these were sooo good!  I want another one."

Easy Zucchini Bake Casserole from Canuck Cuisine - This is another one I didn't bother feeding my family.  I took it to a party.  I liked it.  Simple.  I used two eggs instead of one egg and one egg white (ain't nobody got time for separating eggs around here) and used garlic salt to season the zucchini.

Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs from Baker by Nature - Delicious.  I halved the recipe and had just the right amount for our family for dinner.  I used frozen chopped yellow onion (I hate chopping onion!) instead of red onion.  I didn't use her marinara sauce but it sounds good.  I think making it again as a full batch and freezing half would be a great idea.

And now, off to make some zucchini bread!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A trip to Virginia in phone pics

I didn't mean to take such a long break from blogging.  I like coming back here and seeing what we were doing. It is a sort of journal or scrapbook for me.  So, here's a few glimpses of our road trip to Virginia.