Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Where are you? I'm looking for you! This is Sierra! Don't you wish you could see my adorable face, hear my sweet giggle, and pinch my leg chubbers?

Mom says you're coming soon, and I can't wait! Mom can't wait, either! My sisters are especially excited and are counting down the days.

We have Trader Joe's chocolate raisins and mom's famous chocolate chip cookies.... lots of fun school activities, fall activities, and even a birthday party for Triscuit planned! You can stay as long as you'd like. Mom will cook for you! Please come soon!

Love, Sierra

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meaningful Monday!

And, we're off... week 2 of school! I still haven't decided whether I chose the right curriculum. We are doing a lot of supplementing in order to lengthen the school time, and challenge the girls a bit. Today I met with a fellow homeschool mom, and it was so helpful to see her curriculum and to get some inspiration!

The good part about our curriculum not taking too much time is that we can still do our "Meaningful Monday." Today we went to the Asian market for some Thai Tea, and the girls painted a recycled drink carrier to bring to a friend. It was fun, and I think it turned out cute! Best of all, in the midst of learning to read and write, they are learning to give!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork

Awww... it's finally cooler! In fact, it's only in the 70's! I couldn't stop smiling all day, as it feels like fall. I could even put on a sweatshirt right now! Anyway, I'll leave you with another yummy recipe I found on Our Best Bites. We really liked it!

Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork

2 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
1 Tbsp. cooking sherry or apple juice
1 lb. pork tenderloin or boneless pork chops, thinly sliced
1/3 c. water
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. oil
1/3 c. chopped cashews (or exactly one of those little .99 bags of Fritos cashews at the front of the grocery store)
¼ c. green onions
2 tsp. minced or grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced or pressed
6-8 oz. snow peas, trimmed
1 8-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained

Now...to get your pork super thin, you'll need to partially freeze it. When it's semi-frozen (or mostly-frozen), you can either cut it very thinly with a sharp knife or pop it into your food processor fitted with the slicing blade. It's like magic.

Begin cooking your rice.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, sherry, and pork. Toss well.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and ketchup. Stir with a whisk; make sure there are no clumps with the cornstarch.

Now collect everything that's going into the stir fry next to the stove so you can access it easily.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp. canola oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add pork and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add snow peas and pineapple. Stir-fry 3 minutes more. Whisk sauce ingredients again and add to pan and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews and serve over hot rice. Garnish with more cashews and green onions if you want.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Last Weekend

Last weekend was my 3rd annual Big Bear trip for our MOPS leadership retreat. As always, it was a blast to be with such fun mommies, (and such good friends!) It was meaningful, worshipful, and full of laughter; I am so blessed! It was also nice to leave the big girls behind and feel totally confident that they would have a blast with Papa! After all, what kid wouldn't enjoy...

Yummy chocolate chip waffles...

Putting together the ox tail...

(Don't mind Natalie in the background... I'm sure she wasn't going to pick her nose and eat it or anything after the hot sauce she had the day before for doing that for the millionth time!)


And, they learned a new game! "Twisted," as Natalie liked to call it! What an awesome idea! They know their colors, but Natalie still has trouble with right and left. So this game is not only fun, but educational! Way to go, Honey! Once again you blessed us with your creative parenting!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Fun Art Find!

We did it -- we made it through our first week of homeschooling! I hope to give you some highlights, soon! Today was day 5, and we "studied" day 5 of creation, when God made the sea and sky creatures. So, I came up with a fun little project for us...

First, I printed a picture of a fish I found on line. Next, the girls traced it with glue.

Do you know what that is? Yes, salt! The next step is sprinkling salt all over the glue. Then comes the hardest part: waiting for it to dry!

Really, you don't have to wait too long. In the meantime, the girls and I mixed water and food coloring for our paint! Now, for the fun: paint over the salt with the water colors!

Here's Natalie...
And, here's Allison...

Aren't those so fun? We will be doing this one, again!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Still HOT!

Have I mentioned how much I dislike the heat? Yikes, it's hot! Down to 103 today... ugh! That means that soccer practice was canceled, but I didn't find out until I already made our puff pastries for our picnic dinner. We just enjoyed the buttery goodness of a zillion calories sitting in the ac, instead!

And for dessert... (yes, I still have dessert even if I consumed my daily allotted calories in one meal!), we had our zucchini cookies! Thanks again, Karen, for the recipe! We made them on Tuesday for "Try it Tuesday." (It was only 105 Tuesday, so I thought it would be ok to use the oven!) Here is the recipe:

Zucchini Cookies

1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

In a medium bowl, cream together the Crisco and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg then stir in the zucchini. Combine the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir into the zucchini mixture. Mix in raisins and chocolate chips. Cover dough and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Cookies should be about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven until set. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ice Cube Coloring

It's HOT today... 109 to be exact! Not exactly conducive to outdoor activities. Luckily, we have a retractable awning out back that provides a fair amount of shade. Just enough, in fact, for the girls to do some ice cube coloring and provide me with 15 minutes of kitchen cleaning time!

I was lucky enough to remember to make these last night... but too tired to put them in the freezer very carefully!

... Hence, the disproportionate number of "turquoisey brown." :)

Time to move on!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten!

Yesterday was our first day of Kindergarten homeschool! I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally be starting... the fear of the unknown always overwhelms me, but now that we have 2 days under our belt, it feels totally natural! And, I'll admit it; I was excited to use all the fun ideas I found floating around blog land for the first day of school! Above, we used the free printables from Gourmet Mom on the Go to create some yummy crayons! (Isn't my hubby sweet to help out?) Tip: food coloring changes the consistency of candy melts, so the less you use, the easier it is to work with!

I set the table for the girls to wake-up to. They were SO excited!

Bubble wrapper: Living Locurto
Word Search: Classroom Jr.
Crayon Wrappers: Gourmet Mom on the Go
Back to School printables: Bird Crafts

Allison ran in to Sierra's room to tell me all about it. "There's even a sign that says, 'Welcome to Kindergarten.'" I had to laugh... Here we are not even officially learning letters in our curriculum until next week, and she just read, "Welcome to Kindergarten."

Oatmeal blueberry pancake breakfast! Recipe HERE.

First Day of School Sibling Picture!

Just for fun... We colored tissue boxes from Target!

Recess = Using our bubbles!

Handwriting with our new white boards!

Natalie's favorite part: snack time!

Although she is just 3 1/2, we are treating Natalie as if she is a Kindergarten student, as well. The only difference is she has the option to opt out of certain activities if she finds them too difficult or frustrating. So far, I am not anticipating that happening. She loves school, too! Allison even commented, "I wish school never had to end!"
We've had a lot of fun so far, and I will fill you in on some of the games, but it would be a bit overwhelming, (and boring), if I covered what we learned every day!
For now, I'll leave you with the "Pledge of Allegiance:"

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Soccer Practice

We had our first soccer practice last Thursday! (Can't believe I'm that far behind on blogging!) Because it falls right at dinner time, we picked up an early dinner for a family picnic. It was so nice that I decided we'd make every Thursday a picnic dinner. I've already planned out the menu for the next 3 Thursdays to take with us to practice!

Allison did really well, but more importantly, she enjoyed herself! I am not looking forward to the next practice with a forecast of 110 outside, but hopefully that will change!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Coming Attractions...

Hello all! Super busy mom, here... Tomorrow is our first official day of homeschool Kindergarten! I am very excited, but Allison is a little nervous. I am sure she will be thrilled... it's just the fear of the unknown. I am obviously behind on blogging, but hope to catch-up soon! Coming Attractions:
  • Back-to school prep
  • First soccer practice
  • Weekend with Daddy
Thanks for your patience! And, just because she's cute, I'll leave you with a picture of fang girl:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Simple Card Idea

Once upon a time, I was a scrapbooker... way back before all the cute stuff that now exists existed! Before kids... even before marriage! Today my only form of creativity is kid crafts; (and this blog!) But, every once in a while I am forced to be creative! For instance, last weekend when I had the baby shower, I realized that morning I had no card! Luckily, I pulled out 4 baby boy hole punchers, a piece of blue construction paper, a blue pen, and a pre-made striped card, and within minutes I was done! (Oh, and some of those puffy doble-stick stickers to make the boxes 3-d... what are they called?!?!) As I have many more cute punchers going virtually unused, I will have to use this "template" more often for future cards! Simple. Cute. Done!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


In just a few days, Allison will have her first soccer practice! She is on the Lasers; a co-ed team through Hillside church. I, too, started playing soccer when I was five, and would you believe I still remember going to my first practice? My dad took me, and I was crying and not wanting to go because I didn't like how the shin guards made my legs look... Seriously!?!?! Looking back, I cannot believe I was so vain at 5! Once we got there and I saw that everybody had them, I was ok. Luckily, Allison was happy to try hers on, and I don't think the thought ever crossed her mind! Doesn't she look adorable -- suddenly she's a school girl, and no longer a preschooler! I am so excited to go to her games and practices, I can't even tell you. I still have dreams of playing soccer. It was part of my life for so long, until I tore my acl playing about 10 years ago. Natalie will be a cheerleader, so we get to make pom poms some time before her first game. Natalie already has her first cheer, and it is SOOO cute! What a fun time of life!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dora's Birthday Adventure

Last night was Dora's Big Birthday Adventure on tv. There was just one problem: it started at 8pm, and my girls go to bed at 7pm. Stay up 2 hours late??? I think not... Daniel is gone for a few days, and I don't want to deal with crabby kids. So, I did the next best thing. When the girls woke up this morning, I announced it was "Dora Day." We started with a "boots" relay in honor of her monkey friend, Boots!

Next came the backpack guessing game. The girls each took turns finding some object and hiding it in the backpack and letting us play 20 questions. They LOVED this!

Next came a Dora birthday coloring sheet they had online at Nick Jr. I should have shown you the finished projects. I made it a coloring contest, and Natalie won. (Allison was the judge, so no hurt feelings there!)

I rarely buy gumies, so these Dora gummies were a special treat for snack.

Nick Jr. also had printable Dora birthday hats.

For a special treat, they got to eat lunch while watching the movie.

Here the big girls are totally entranced in the movie, while the littlest one got a hold of a chicken nugget! She had several bites before I discovered her, and cried when I took it away. I guess those 6 teeth work pretty well!

As I am typing this, the girls are playing Dora games on the computer. It's amazing how much is available to kids these days! Hope your Monday is off to a great start!

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