28 September 2011

Stamping Fall Leaves

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I brought home some pretty leaves that I found in Idyllwild over the weekend. 

 

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Gotta love the many uses of a cookie sheet.

 

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Stamp away…

 

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Or paint the leaves…

 

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Lovely!

 

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Hello, fall!

Swingin’ into fall!

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It’s hard to believe we’ve lived in the desert for FIVE years now. Overall, we love it and it’s been a wonderful place to raise our young family. We can’t complain. Nine months out of the year it’s absolutely beautiful! The only drag about our summers- we don’t get to spend a lot of time outdoors. That means no bike riding, no trips to the park, no walks, etc. In fact, our local park even removes the girls’ beloved swings during the super hot months.

But alas… they’re BACK!

 

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Can you sense the JOY?!

          

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It’s still pushing 100 this week but next week, we get a few glimpses of the high 80’s!

(Yes, for us- that’s cooling down considerably!)

 

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And speaking of cooling down…

 

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We didn’t exactly plan on taking a shower before dinner BUT…

 

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You’re only a kid once!

 

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So long, summer!

27 September 2011

Winter Tree Silhouette

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I love art projects that you can do on any given day, simply because you have all the necessary supplies to make it happen!  We made these winter trees last week and I thought they turned out beautifully! 

 

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Start by using pieces of masking tape to make a tree and branches.

 

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Next, use a craft stick to flatten out the tape on any bubbly spots (so paint doesn’t get underneath them). 

 

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Then use watercolors to paint the entire page.

 

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Left:  Before (with tape)                                                                          Right:  After

The girls really enjoyed this project.  Make sure to let the paint dry before gently pulling off the tape.   

Simple and gorgeous!

25 September 2011

Crazy Good Marriage

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Tahquitz Pines Christian Camp.

 

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Crazy in love.

 

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We spent a fun afternoon doing various team building exercises.

 

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Morgan chipped it into the bucket and won a prize!

 

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Smores by campfire with our friends, Josh & Shannon.

 

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Morgan and I were incredibly blessed to be able to attend the Crazy Good Marriage Retreat in Idyllwild this weekend. 

I can’t even begin to describe what a valuable time we had!  In fact, we highly recommend it to ALL couples, no matter how long you’ve been married.  Everything from the meetings, the discussions, the meals, the free time they gave us, the natural beauty of the camp, the team building events, the laid back schedule, and the superb instructors- we thoroughly enjoyed it all!

It’s no secret that Morgan and I are already blessed to have a great marriage.  However, we believe there is always room for improvement.  We learned some valuable tools and steps to take for the next stage of our lives.  The weekend also gave us a chance to reconnect, reconfirm, share our hearts, dream together, pray together, and set some new goals. 

It was the perfect way to begin the next 10 years of our marriage!

A big thank you to Grandma & Grandpa for watching the girls all weekend and for Josh & Shannon, who told us about the retreat.

If you’re in So. Cal, the next retreat is in January.  Do it.  You won’t regret it!

22 September 2011

5.5

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She’s always thinking one step ahead of everyone else (including her parents).  She’s artistic, creative, too smart for her own good, mature beyond her years, and remembers EVERYTHING. 

Favorite food:  Caprese Salad (YES, that’s what she said!)

Favorite band:  Streetside Vinyl (her cousin, Shawn’s band)

 Favorite Song:  The Lost Get Found by Britt Nicole

Favorite color: (this month) Yellow

When she grows up, she says her husband is going to be a Veterinarian and she’s going to be his nurse. 

Favorite bible story is about Noah.  She likes him because he obeyed God. 

Favorite bible verse is Matthew 28: 18-20.  It’s a long one and she can recite it!  

“Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end."

Favorite thing to do with mom:  “Special time” with mom.

Favorite thing to do with dad:  play games 

Favorite person in the whole world:  Grace

Faith keeps us on our toes and we are so blessed to call her daughter!  What a gift she is.

We can’t wait to see what God has planned for her!

 

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GraCE

  She’s lovely, feminine, beautifully simple, and perhaps the bravest person I know.  She’s compassionate towards others and fiercely protective of her loved ones.  She has a real heart for the homeless.  She ALWAYS, ALWAYS thinks about her sister.  She is generous and kind-hearted with an innocent spirit.   

Favorite food:  Mac & cheese

 Favorite band:  Switchfoot

Favorite Song:  Sweet Sweet Love by Rob Biagi 

Favorite color:  Pink (always has been). 

Favorite thing to do:  Play dolls, dress up, and put on performances.

When she grows up she says she wants to be God’s helper. 

Favorite bible story:  Queen Esther, for her bravery and beauty.

Favorite bible verse:  Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

Favorite person in the world:  Her sister, Faith.

She never goes too far without her Greenie.  She loves being a girlie girl.  She’s a ray of sunshine and brings joy to our world.  She often reminds me to stop and smell the roses. 

What would we do without Gracie?  She is so precious to our family!

Normally, I wouldn’t do a post about being 5.5 but the girls just seem to be growing up so fast.  Morgan and I have recently realized, we are, in fact, experiencing the last of the littles.  We’ve heard this happens around this age.  The little in your daughter starts slipping away and all of a sudden one day, you realize, she’s become a young lady.

It’s so true… I can hardly believe how quickly time passes.  So today, in an effort to capture a “time capsule-like moment” I’m choosing to stop* recognize* be thankful* be intentional* and celebrate* the beautiful gift of this day!!

We love you , girls!  We’re so proud of the young ladies you’re becoming. 

You’ll always be 5.5 in our hearts…

(especially in daddy’s heart!) 

 

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To celebrate, the girls indulged in a sprinkled donut this morning.

 

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Cheers to being 5.5 and being little, for just a little while longer!

21 September 2011

Thumbprint & Handprint Fall Tree

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Lovely autumn trees, ladies!  Art projects are even more FUN with friends!  

Foil-Pack Chicken & Broccoli Dinner

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Ready to bake!

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First, crisp up some proscuitto (or use bacon if you have it).  Bake at 350 for 15 mins.  Cool and set aside.

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The hungry masses were drawn to the aromas from the kitchen (and who could blame them?).  Give them a snack of melon w/crispy proscuitto and fend them off until dinner-  a delicious and delightful combo on it’s own!

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Found some LOVE-ly organic chicken breast on sale at Sprout’s.

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Butterfly and split lengthwise.  Salt & pepper both sides.

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Other toppings you’ll need.

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Spray your foil sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

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From bottom to top:  Stove Top stuffing, chicken, broccoli, sharp cheddar cheese, a T. of Ranch dressing, and then crumbled proscuitto.

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Wrap up the packages and bake at 400 for 25 mins.

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I’m always interested in new ways to make chicken.  Confession- I enjoy comfort food as much as the next person but I’m not a big fan of recipes that use a can of Cream of Mushroom, or Cream of Celery, or Cream of Chicken... you get the point.  This dish is much more nutritional and yet still, very comforting. 
I made this a couple of nights ago and my family liked it! 
You could substitute the stuffing with rice or couscous and the broccoli with asparagus.  It’s really just about the method. 
You could also bake this in a casserole dish, but the individual packs of foil cut down on the clean up and help keep the chicken moist.  That makes this dish perfect for traveling- such as camping! 
Another great fall-ish dinner!  The bonus- it could be prepared earlier in the day and all you have to do pop it in the oven when you’re ready.  It would be yummy with leftover Thanksgiving stuffing and turkey breasts, too.  
*I decided to butterfly the breasts but you could use a whole chicken breast and add 10-15 mins. to the cook time.  Enjoy!
Adapted from BigOven.

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