Friday, March 28, 2014

Project 365: #11 and #12

It's two weeks catch up time (we've had a lot of catching up lately!):

Day 73:

Leah was reading us her 5 page long fractured fairy tale that she wrote for school...a very clever combination of The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood.  Of course it's more fun to read out loud while standing on your chair.  Plus, she said she was the only kid in her class who did voices for the characters :)  Love her <3

Day 74:

Sleeping Beauty.

Day 75:

They were reading together before church, and I didn't even suggest it!

Day 76:

Fun times at Hobby Lobby in one of the summer stuff aisles!

Day 77:

The girls were pretending to have babies.  Leah was the doctor doing a "scan" to see if the baby was a boy or a girl, and nurse Maggie was recording the scan results on a chart!

Day 78:

The girls and I visited my parents for a couple of days during spring break.  I am SO excited for my sister...she just bought a house, so we went to check it out!  Everyone piled into the closet which the girls were pretending was an elevator.  

Day 79:

When I was in grade school and they didn't have a picture of a student for the yearbook, the picture spot would say "no photo," which I thought said "no potato," hence that little square up there.  Anyway, I couldn't find my camera on Day 79!

Day 80:

I couldn't find my camera on Day 80 either, but my friend reminded me that I can take pictures with our tablet!  So here are 2 cuties on a couch :)

Day 81:

We stopped at an Oshkosh B'Gosh store on our way home from my parents' house.  The whole store was 50% off everything that wasn't a Doorbuster or on, I had a 25% off coupon.  BOOM!  Leah asked if she could get this shirt.  How could I say no to that ;)

Day 82:

Movie night with shakes, popcorn, forts, and purple panda pajamas!

Day 83:

Another Sleeping Beauty who isn't sucking her fingers!

Day 84:

We went to the library to pick up a couple of books, and Maggie and Gracie had little time to play!

Day 85:

I enjoyed a lovely lunch with this little lady!  She's enjoying blackberries and gorgonzola cheese from my salad :)

Day 86:

My girls inexplicably have a passion for dum dums.  I just don't get it, but every now and then I get them some...and it's a treat I'm not tempted to share :)

I hope you have an awesome weekend!  Ours is pretty full...but full of lots of good things!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blackberry Gorgonzola Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing

Blackberries might be my favorite berry to to have on a salad, although it's one of my lesser favorite berries to eat plain.  


They are mysterious, these blackberries!

I got the recipe for this dressing from my friend, Bri, and it's paleo (I think).  She found it when I was doing the Whole 30 :)

Isn't this pretty?

Plus, you can get all of the ingredients for this delicious fanciness at Aldi!

Man, I love that!

Here's all you need for the salad...

That's spring mix (but you can use any lettuce you want), gorgonzola cheese (you can use feta if you want...I had gorgonzola on hand), blackberries, shallots, and chopped walnuts (you can use pepitas if you have a nut allergy).

You only need 3 things for the dressing!

That's extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, and pure maple syrup, and yes, they're all from Aldi!


I love me a good deal!  

For the dressing, add equal amounts of the olive oil, mustard and syrup to a bowl and whisk to combine.  Taste it and if you want it sweeter, add more syrup.  If you want more tang, add more dijon.  You get the picture :)  Also, add some salt and pepper to your taste.

I put my salad on spring mix,

and added the goodies!

Drizzle with salad dressing and enjoy!

I added some chicken to mine and had it for lunch!

It's pretty and delicious!  I love the combination of the juicy berries, creamy cheese, and crunchy nuts!  Plus, shallots are more mild than onions, which I think everyone appreciates :)

This is also really low prep, so you can whip it together in less than 5 minutes!

Fast, pretty, inexpensive, and tastey?

What are you waiting for?!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Winter Catch Up #2 (library and coffee)

It's time for more ketchup catch up!

These are from a fun morning we had almost 2 months ago!

We started out at the library when good behavior was high!

I have a love/hate relationship with the library.

First of all, I have to say that I genuinely appreciate the librarians.  You know how sometimes you take your kids to a place where kids are SUPPOSED to be (oh, like the children's area of the library) and the employees are just ticked that you had the guts to actually bring a happy child with you!

That is SO not the case at our library!  The librarians are helpful and sweet to the girls.

Oh, plus they send me return-your-books emails which I greatly appreciate as I consistently flake out about returning library books.

Anyway, I love the library because of those reasons and because of, you know, books!

I struggle with the library because of all of the choices...which sounds obvious, but my people are not always good with narrowing things down.  I only let them choose 4 books each per visit (to cut down on potential fines, naturally ;)), so that can present a challenge.

They did well this time!

Maggie was happy to check out a bunch of Berenstain Bear books.

Leah got a Boxcar Children book and some easier books that she enjoyed for fun!

Gracie selects her books based on size (the smaller the better) then hangs out with her buddies, the Raggadies (Anne and Andy or course).

Then, I received a text of this picture from Aaron...

I hunted Aaron and Castle down.

Castle is one of my favorite shows, and one that Aaron doesn't mind too much :)

After checking out all of the books, we headed to play some games at our friendly local coffee shop!

We brought Spot It, Chef Cuckoo, and Speedeebee with us (I enjoyed a chai latte).

Chef Cuckoo is the all around favorite!

Maggie was the first judge and went to the futon to cover her eyes so she wouldn't see what cards we chose.

Leah selected her cards...

...and Gracie was our judge the round after that!

We had enough coffee shop behavior left to play Spot It.

And when we went home, The Red Head Alliance read some books while the other girls napped.

It was a good, regular morning <3

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

10 Dimes

I think I just paid Maggie a dollar to stop sucking her fingers!

I mean, she's been sucking her swear finger tall man and ring finger on her right hand for literally her entire life!

I haven't made the hugest deal out of it.  Last summer we made a lot of good progress.  I was thinking about how when people quit smoking, I've heard that they are more successful when the replace the smoking with chewing gum or something else. 

I got Maggie a cool Minnie Mouse water bottle to carry around so that if she wanted to do something with her mouth, instead of using it to suck her fingers, she could use it to drink some water out of her water bottle.

It worked for a while, but stopped for some reason.

Maggie's teacher says that she (Maggie, not her teacher, although she doesn't either :)) doesn't suck her fingers at school, so I know she can do it!

I gave Maggie 10 dimes the other morning. 

I told her that she could keep however many dimes are left at the end of the day, but I would take one each time I had to remind her not to suck her fingers.  

I thought for sure she'd end the day with like 4 dimes.


Maggie sucked her fingers one time!  

I was making lunch and she was in the living room.  Leah came out to tattle inform me.  I went out to the living room to ask Maggie if she had sucked her fingers.  She gave me a dime right away and admitted it.  I was so proud of her for telling the truth and I wanted to reinforce the honesty, so I gave her the dime right back.

She hasn't sucked her fingers since!

I thought I explained to her that she'd get 10 dimes each morning, but she carried around the same ones the next morning (in a miniature plastic dog kennel obviously) and seemed happy with that.  I intended to do dimes for like 4 days and then switch to 4 quarters for 3 days, essentially only giving her 4 chances to keep any money.

I'm so happy with how this is going so far, and Maggie seems really proud of herself.

I don't think she's sucking them at night, but honestly, I don't really care.  

Our dentist said that Maggie sucking her fingers isn't messing up the alignment of her teeth, plus I can't do anything with the dimes while we're sleeping.  

But, so far so good!

My little sweetie is growing up!  

I'll let you know if this round of operation stop sucking your fingers sticks!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy, Happy Saturday

We had such a fun Saturday!  

It started out rather hilariously as I didn't sleep well the night before.  I asked Aaron to go to the coffee shop and get me a dirty chai...which is a chai latte with espresso.

Now, a dirty chai is my go-to when I need a kick of caffeine, but I usually get 1 shot of espresso.

Aaron got me 2 shots, and let me tell you, I felt every drop of that second shot of espresso!


I was more productive than ever!

I cleaned the bathroom, including scrubbing some questionable areas of the toilet with a toothbrush, which I've never done in my life!  

I was washing floors.

I busted out fancy, unexpected dance moves at will!

I was AT LEAST 25% funnier than I usually am!  Is that even possible?!? ;)

And my hands were shakey :)

So let's just say that between the espresso and excitement to see our friends, the day got off to a very robust start.  


Our friends, John and Jenny, came to visit for the day!  They brought their 7 month old son, Evan, who is JUST the sweetest little guy!  I LOVE seeing Jenny be such an amazing mommy!

The girls loved having Evan here!

Leah took lots of pictures of him!

And Gracie had what was possibly the best moment of her life when she helped him with his paci.  It may have been the most panicky moment of Evan's little life, though :)

Maggie took the above picture.  If I had taken the above picture, I would have asked Gracie to stop picking her nose!

In the afternoon, Andy, Steph, Evan, Bri, Amanda, and Brandon, and Hannah (and their brand new baby, Emma aka lucky little lady to have such a great mommy and daddy!) joined us and stayed for supper!

I love how Gracie is just sitting on the couch here with the ladies :)

I was so proud of myself for being so prepared for supper!  I made 6 pizza crust doughs with Steph on Friday and popped them in the freezer so I wouldn't have as much work to do for supper.  Plus, we prepped almost all of the pizza toppings!

There was a slight problem in that I forgot to take the pizza doughs out of the freezer.  

It was probably all of the caffeine induced cleaning, dancing, and hilarity.

So, I whipped up some more dough, which wasn't the end of the world, but that had me in the kitchen for longer than I would have preferred.

Let's pause for a moment and talk about brown sugared bacon.  I made brown sugared bacon to put on some of the pizzas and it is perfection.  I'm pretty sure God wants all of us eating brown sugared bacon ;)

That was a joke.

Anyway, we had 6 pizzas:  cheese, pepperoni, Hawaiian, and half pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and brown sugar bacon/half all of those meats plus onions, black olives, and mushrooms.  The 2 fancy pizzas were the brown sugared bacon, caramelized onions, fried jalapenos, craisin one that I made for Leah's birthday and a chicken, peach, gorgonzola pizza with arugala, balsamic reduction, and lemon honey vinaigrette drizzled on top.  So, so good!

Oh, and did I mention that the girls were in all of their glory having 2 babies at our house?!?!

I told Leah that I would let all of you know that she held Evan too, but I just didn't get a picture :)

Anyway, it was a full, beautiful day spent with some of our favorite people! We were the best kind of tired at the end of the night.

I hope your week gets off to a great start!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Winter Catch Up #1 (snow tunnels and chinchilla presentations!)

I was going through the pictures on our camera, and I realized that there were a ton that have yet to make it to a blog post!  So, I'm doing some Winter Catch Up.

Not to be confused with Winter Ketchup, because I feel like that would be weird.

The winter is (allegedly) almost over, but on the days that weren't insanely cold, the girls enjoyed playing in the snow with Aaron. 

Look at how deep the snow was!

It drifts right behind our house and was really close to being as tall as Gracie!

Maggie was sick, so she would bang on the window for Aaron.

The one perk to being sick is that you get your hot chocolate earlier :)

Anyway, on this particular day, they were working on a tunnel,

and took a nice rest at the end.

I promise that Gracie was having more fun than her facial expression would appear to indicate!

A few days after the above tunnel digging, Leah had her long awaited chinchilla presentation.

She was SO excited!  I was afraid that I was inadvertently teaching her to procrastinate, because she kept on asking me to work on it and I kept on telling her we'd do it later. 


In my defense, she found out about the project at least 2 months before it was her turn to present. 

Leah was given a list of about 100 animals to choose from which for some kids would be good.

For Leah, it was overwhelming.

I mean, I feel like there are certain kids who are passionate about, oh, zebras or cheetahs or whatevers, but that's not the case with Leah.

We narrowed the list down to like 25 and then looked them up on wikipedia so she could see what they looked like.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that it took between 45 minutes and an hour to choose an animal.

Naturally, the chinchilla wasn't on the list, but her teacher approved it which was great!  

Aaron, Maggie, Gracie, and I went to observe her presentation.

She did AWESOME!

She shared her information like a pro and answered questions like a champ!

And, much like her mama, she's not afraid to be up front with a microphone in her hand :)

That's my girl <3

We had lunch with her afterwards!

One of our tabemates' pudding dipping inspired this post :)

It was so fun spending lunch time with Leah and getting to see her do such an awesome job on her presentation!

We start Spring Break today and all of the above happened in January...oops :)

Have a great start to a great week!