Friday, May 26, 2017

Callie's Acting Debut

It should not have been a surprise.

Her whole childhood was spent reading stories, watching stories and then acting out those stories.  The most memorable is when she was Laura Ingalls of "Little House on the Prairie."  I don't remember exactly how old she was, maybe around 5, but if we called her by her name she wouldn't answer.  She called us "Ma" and "Pa"  and would pretend that her bed was her covered wagon.  When we would go somewhere in the car and we would come to a stop sign she would say "Whoa."  She had the clothes too and wore them everywhere we would let her.

Towards the end of last summer Callie "suddenly" wanted to get into acting.  All of these years it's been nothing but ballet and suddenly, seemingly overnight, she was dying to be in a play.  Sounds simple enough, but we are just far enough away from Indianapolis that most of the places we knew about were just too far away at the time.  There was also the stipulation that she did NOT want to sing, just act.  Want to know what most groups do?  Yep, musicals.  Little did we know that right under our noses was a school that does a little bit of everything.  I thought they only provided dance and gymnastics, but they also do acting and musical theater classes separately.  Callie could take an acting class, be in a play and not have to sing her parts!

She signed up in January for the spring semester.  The play was Doctor Dolittle and Callie was cast as....Doctor Dolittle!

It was a very small class and a very low key production which really was perfect for her first time.  She was nervous enough as it was so low key was perfect!

She was in every scene and had a lot of lines to memorize and she did great!!  It was so much fun watching her!

 I can't wait to see what she does next.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Road Trip Preparations

Apparently the most important things to get done before a road trip south is....pick out the right southern book and do some sewing!  I seem to have developed not only a "book by a southern author" tradition, but also a "I have to sew something before we leave" tradition.

Forget toothbrushes and toothpaste, surely something, anything neeeeds to be sewn!

We try to picnic as much as we can to save money so I thought the Picnic Rolls in Amanda Soule's The Rhythm of Family book would be perfect.  I had enough fabric on hand, thanks to a wonderful friend who recently was downsizing her stash.  That whale fabric is left over from a pair of pajamas I made for Kate a couple of years ago.  Isn't it perfect??  I can't wait to have a picnic on the beach with these!!  I also had enough because I made them smaller than the ones in the book.  They really don't even need to be as wide as these.  They will hold a set of silverware and a napkin and there is an extra spot for anything else we might decide to add.  It would be fun to add a surprise candy or granola bar.  This is a super easy project and came together really fast.  The last three were even faster than the first when I figured out a couple of shortcuts.

I'm looking forward to reading Grisham again.  I absolutely loved his first books when Cameron and I were first married, The Firm and Pelican Brief, and I think I liked most of  his others too, but somewhere along the way I stopped reading them and haven't read his last several books.  This one takes place in Virginia which is not where we are going, but it is the South so that's close enough!

Now I'd better go pack the "non-essentials." ;)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Look Who Has A New Camera...

Callie is just a wee bit excited.  If you want to give her some practice and get a reeaallly cheap photographer, let us know. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Easter Fun in 2017 {and how to entertain a variety of ages}

We were missing part of our clan, but we managed to have a lot of fun celebrating Easter anyway.  Our traditions are going to be harder and harder to hold on to with sports schedules and kids getting jobs, but I am determined!  I don't care quite as much where we get together as long as we do it somewhere, but the girls really love having everyone here for "Easter Saturday" as we call it.

In past years we've had the egg hunt using plastic eggs filled with all sorts of things.  Quarters, candy, stickers I think.  We use very little candy as none of them need it and Kate can't have any of it.  This year my sister had a good idea to use grapes and sugar free gum and I think someone chipped in a couple of $2.00 bills.  We also have a set of Resurrection Eggs.  If you aren't familiar with those, they are a set of plastic eggs that each contain something  symbolizing the Easter Story.  One contains a small rock for the stone that rolled away from the tomb, one has a rubber "sword", one has some "silver coins" representing the money paid to Judas, etc.  I remember one or two years, my dad would use those to tell the Easter story.  As they got older, we hid them along with the other eggs and when they all opened their eggs together whoever found the eggs told about that part of the story.  This year, I completely forgot to give them to the dads to hide!  They were even sitting in the kitchen.  Oh well.

Usually, we don't really plan any other games or activities, the kids just play and do their thing.  As they have gotten older though, I have noticed a lot of times they default to some sort of electronics and they also kind of split up, the boys going one way the girls the other and maybe someone getting left out who's not interested in either group and then is bored.

This year I was inspired by How To Celebrate Everything by Jenny  Rosenstrach author of the blog Dinner a Love Story.   This book is part cook book, part memoir and part pure inspiration!  We filled a jar with jelly beans and as everyone arrived they wrote down there guesses as to how many were in there.  This is how easy some of the games are that she suggests in the book.  Yes, we had to count them the night before!  Kate helped with that.  Then we ate and did the egg hunt.  They all like to open their eggs and trade each other and compare and all that.  When they were finished with that we had an egg race where you race with a raw egg held in a spoon.  That was fun.  Then all of us participated in an egg toss.  My mom and dad won that.  I swear their egg was some kind of crazy hard egg.  We (I) saved the "best" game for last.  We had the kids get their empty baskets and we had a.......

DANDELION PICKING CONTEST!  It was hilarious.  My niece had even said, "What are you going to do, make us pick all your dandelions?"  I about died laughing.  Yep!  That's about the gist of it.  We set the timer for 1 1/2 minutes and whoever picked the most won.  Jasmine was smart and just sat down in a spot and started grabbing.  Other's made it a little harder on themselves.  It was pretty funny to watch and they had fun.  I was accused of making that up just to get them to "pick all the weeds", but I pointed out that if that was the only idea behind this game the timer would've been set for 10 minutes!!  This game was not in the cookbook, by the way.  This was my own pure genius! ;)

Everyone was laughing, no one was rolling their eyes, and no one was on an electronic device and everyone, from 70 years down to 11, had a good time.

It was totally worth the yellow stains on my white table cloth from all of the dandelion counting!  I think I got it white again.

I found a few selfies on my phone.  Hi Carter!!

I have no earthly idea what that 17 year old girl is doing with her tongue hanging out.  Who is that anyway?

Oh yeah, they colored eggs too.  Which I forgot to boil first!  They scrambled just fine a couple of days later.

Sunday we went to Cameron's parents for lunch and then I took a nap in the guest room.  It was lovely!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday With Words: All The Pretty Things


"We fumble around in the dark, begging for wisdom, praying that our children know how much they're loved, trying to be willing to admit when we are wrong-because we so often are.  Parenting and living require more faith than knowledge, more grace than rules, more trust than answers."

I just finished "All The Pretty Things" by Edie Wadsworth.  Edie also has a blog,  It's funny, it's sometimes sad, it's encouraging, it's honest, and full of pretty pictures and good recipes.   She lives in a part of Tennessee that my parents came from and all my extended relatives still live.  We went to and through some of the places she has lived every summer and Christmas to visit our grandparents, so it's fun for me to read and think about those places.

This book was so, so good.  It's a memoir of a woman who survived a childhood full of poverty and brokenness, and I could hardly make myself put it down.  Since I have read all of her posts, I was familiar with her background but the book gives so much more of her story and it is just so amazing.   Isn't the above quote just spot on?!  Especially that last line - more faith, more grace, more trust.  Yes, please!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Valentine Biscuits and President's Day Syllabub

I have finally found a way to make vegan, gluten free biscuits!!  These were so good and no one would ever know!  It was so exciting!  I've had this recipe for a while called Southern Biscuit Muffins.  I have no idea where it came from.  I had forgotten all about it and that I had made it gluten free a long time ago.   As my family will tell you, if Kate can't have it, I don't want to mess with it anymore because I just cannot motivate myself to make what feels like two meals!  I'm trying to get better about that and look for more options.  I miss some of those yummy things we used to eat and I know they do too.  So if we are all four going to have biscuits, they must be free of eggs, dairy and wheat and little to no sugar.  I've used coconut oil before and GF flour plenty of times, but apparently not really in the right combination because these were the best GF biscuits we have ever made.

The interesting thing is, I realized after the girls and I had wolfed them down and I was cleaning up that I had actually forgotten part of the flour.  Hopefully I remember correctly what I did do and I can make them the same way next time because they were yummmmmyy!

The other difference that may have helped, but I'm not sure is that instead of coconut oil I used a "vegan butter product".  Never in my life did I think I would ever buy such a thing.  Butter rules!!  But, you do what you gotta do sometimes.

So here is what I {think} I did....

1 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1/2 t. xanthum gum
1/4 c. Truvia (Kroger's version)
1 1/2 T. baking powder
3/4 c. vegan margarine (I didn't even know how to spell margarine!!)
1 c. cold almond milk (unsweetened, plain)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl combine flour, sugar (or sugar replacement) and baking powder.  With fork or pastry blender cut in "butter" until mixture is crumbly.  Add milk and stir until just combined.

The original recipe directions say to spoon dough into muffin pas and bake, but I used a large scoop and just scooped them onto a baking sheet and baked for 20 min.  They were divine!  "Buttery", light, fluffy, and delicious.

Glitter For Days!!

Now what in the world is syllabub, you may be asking!

Kate and I recently finished the book "Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin".  At one point in the story the family is having guests and the mother is serving syllabub and cakes and cookies.  I had no idea what it was so I looked it up.  It seemed sort of like a punch made with wine and whipped cream.  I thought surely there is a non-alcoholic version, so I looked and yes there were recipes.  Thank you Google!  Now to find a way to make it without real cream.  {I know.  I hate saying those words}  Thank you God for coconut milk.  Seriously!  There are so many foods that Kate can have because someone thought to substitute coconut milk for real milk.  Almond milk is okay, but if you need fat and creamy, coconut milk in a can is your friend!  So because I know all my friends are dying to make a non-alcoholic, non-dairy, refined sugar free syllabub, here you go!

1/4 c. sparkling white grape juice or sparkling apple juice
1 orange's juice
2 lemon's juice
sweetener to taste

1 14 oz. can coconut cream (trader joe's) or full fat coconut milk (thai kitchen)--I used the coconut cream
1/2 t. vanilla extract
sweetener to taste

Basically what I did was combine the non-alcoholic recipe from and the non-dairy whip cream recipe from then took out the sugar and replaced with some stevia.  The sparkling grape juice is sweet and so all the sugar is really not necessary.

The whipped coconut milk is a little tricky.  We first did it in the mixer and it was not smooth at all.  So we transferred to the Bullet blender and that was better.

So this was a fun little recipe to try, but I'll be honest.  We didn't love it.  We used the coconut cream from Trader Joe's and I think I would like to try it with the regular coconut milk and I think since I reduced the sugar, I would also just use one lemon. One more thing I would recommend is to taste the juice combo and the whipped coconut cream separately and then adding the cream to individual glasses instead of combining the whole thing.

Let me know if you try it.  It really was a fun recipe for Kate to help with.  Callie reminded me that syllabub is also in the Felicity books so it's perfect for a historical type "tea time".  Of course you have to invite at least one stuffed animal and read the Gettysburg Address. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Out of the Mouth of Kate

Our Advent reading this morning was about Abraham and Sarah and God's promise to them that they would have a child.

The reading mentioned their advanced age and this was Kate's response......

Kate  "How can someone have a baby when they are 99 years old?"

Me  "That's why it's called a miracle!"

Kate  "Well that's a weird miracle!"

Callie and I got a good laugh and as usual, Kate asked what was so funny.  Which always makes me laugh harder.

Obviously, she still doesn't get the term "virgin birth"!!  LOL