Thursday, July 31, 2014

July in Pictures

It's hard to believe that July is at an end. We had some relaxed days at the beginning of the month, but the end has been a whirlwind of travel. Here's a peak at what we've been up to around here!

Hot Georgia days=old toys are fun!
Picking blueberries locally. Lots of pink but platy of blue too.

 Hot weather fun. 
Fountains and Dairy Queen

We call that Ode to our favorite Kroger salads
Project Organize Kids Rooms

Visiting the Panda Bears at the National Zoo was a definite highlight!

 Enjoying Mimi & Grampa's front yard

Playing in the creek with friends. In the rain. With an umbrella. 
Hadleigh read and read and read. And finished the Chronicles of Narnia!

Seeing their great-great grandfather's stained glass windows 
while exploring the National Cathedral.

Enjoying Rochester's 60-something degree temps
Singing Frozen songs with Uncle Alex on the piano

Meeting my sweet nephew Anders
They are so excited about another cousin! 

Mimi & Grampa with their grandchildren 
Love seeing my little sister become a mother.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My New Favorite

At the beginning of the summer, I began making green smoothies. I wanted something easy and healthy and quick because otherwise, I just want pastries with my coffee.

I found a recipe somewhere, and I've been making them almost daily ever since. Sometimes for breakfast, sometimes for lunch. It took me a few sips to like it, but now I really look forward to my daily smoothie!

A few tips. 1) I use my Vitamix and the consistency is awesome. However, I've made it with other blenders and have had good results too. If your blender can crush ice, you should be set. My suggestion (if you're not using a Vitamix) is to process your oats first before adding other ingredients to insure that they are smooth and fine.  2) The banana can be frozen or fresh; it's a bit icier and colder when frozen, so that's my preference. 3) Sometimes I add a dash or two of cinnamon!

Green Smoothie

1 cup milk
1/4 cup old-fashioned uncooked oats
2 handfuls spinach leaves
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 banana
4-5 ice cubes

1. Place all ingredients in blender, in the order of ingredients listed. (Or order them based on your blender's suggestions for liquids, ice, etc.) Blend until smooth and pour into a glass. Enjoy!

Also, this smoothie does not have a strong banana flavor. The oatmeal and peanut butter are the flavors that stand out! I hope you enjoy…and if you have a favorite green smoothie recipe, I'd love it if you'd share!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Simply Lovely, no. 20

She said to me, "I didn't know that moths could be so beautiful,"
after this little discovery at church on a Sunday morning.
I love how children see wonder and beauty in nature…even simple things become lovely.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

July 4th through the years...

This weekend, as we celebrated our nation's birth and our freedom, I looked back at older pictures that documented the day. 

I love the way an annual celebration is recorded with a few snapshots…it's so special to look back and see growth and change and what remains the same. 

I noticed gaps in our July 4th photographs…years we moved on July 4 (last year), years where we just didn't pull out the camera, and Hadleigh's first celebration which I know we took but is missing in our digital archives. Hmmm. It's fun to see all the different cities and states where we've celebrated our country.

2005 Wichita Falls, TX (and pregnant with Nathanael)

2007 Wichita Falls, TX (and pregnant with Madeleine)

 2008 family reunion in Missouri

2009 Asheville, NC

 2010 Enid, OK

 2011 Enid, OK

2012 Asheville, NC

2014 our current backyard :)

I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Independence Day Sponge Balls

In preparation for a dinner party we're hosting for friends for Independence Day tomorrow, the kids and I put together an old favorite summer project from several years ago.

If you're looking for a last minute 4th of July amusement to keep the kids (or adults) cool and having fun, this is the project for you! All you need are sponges, scissors, and dental floss. (You will want 2-3 sponges and 15 inches of floss per sponge ball.)

I was excited to find packages of red, white, and blue sponges at our local Dollar General. (I bought all they had!)

1. Cut each sponge lengthwise in half. Then cut each half lengthwise again, so that you have four equal pieces, as pictured above.

2. Divide your sponge pieces so that you have a variety of colors (if you wish) in each ball. I'd recommend anywhere from 6 to 12 pieces each. (Several years ago, we used 12 each. This year 6-7, as we needed to make more balls for the number of guests we will have.)

3. Cut a length of dental floss, about 15 inches long.  Take the sponges and grasp them tightly at the base, so that the midpoint of the sponges is just above your hand. Wrap the floss tightly around the center of the sponges 2 to 3 times, then tie securely.

4. You will then need to twist and "fluff" the sponge ball. Pictured above is what they look like after being tied (left) and after being fluffed (right). Gently pull the ends of each sponge towards each other and twist until the shape is rounded and full.

5. Repeat until you have completed all your sponge balls. Cut excess dental floss, about 1.5 inches from the knot. Soak balls in a bucket of water or kiddie pool and watch the fun begin!

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