the starlight foundation…

march 26.  2011

The Starlight Foundation has been such a wonderful blessing, to our family and many others who have spent countless nights in a hospital with a child.  We participated in some of their events when we lived in the DC area, and we signed up here in Atlanta to participate also.  The first week we were here, we met a family in our church that also has a child with DiGeorge Syndrome, so we met at this event and had fun together! Another amazing thing about Atlanta, is we live in the heart of specialists for DiGeorge and VCFS.  We know we were inspired to be here, for so many reasons!
California Pizza Kitchen sponsored this event through Starlight, and they served pizza of course, salad, drinks, ice cream, and cotton candy.  (I had a very hard time letting my kids eat cotton candy, but I did this time).
There was a craft, making wishing wells, which were cute.  Jarom made his all about Jimmer Fredette!  They had dogs at our event that are trained to go to hospitals for children to spend time with and take their minds off of being in a hospital.  A photo booth took a lot of our time, as it was so much fun dressing up, and squeezing six of us in there!  Then there were a couple of activities in the gorgeous outdoors.  
The event was held at Callanwolde.  The handout of this mansion says:  A magnificent Gothic Tudor-style mansion, built in 1920 as the home of Charles Howard Candler, eldest son of Coca-Cola founder Asa G. Candler.  It’s now a unique arts center.  It’s now owned by DeKalb County.

I’d have to say, the food and events were great, don’t get me wrong, but the beautiful mansion and grounds we were on were breathtaking.  I could have enjoyed the view ’til retirement for sure!

boxes, wrappings, and twine-oh my..

march  27.  2011

I love cute wrappings to put around anything.  So I ordered boxes to put treats in, twine, stickers off of etsy customized with words I like, and it all came in handy.
A sweet couple in our ward just adopted a little girl, their first child, and a friend and I were so excited to throw a baby shower.  It’s a dear experience that my family has been able to experience, so it was close to my heart.
So, with kids playing at a park, Carolyn and I planned for a short time what we hoped would come to be a cute display of treats, with only a few days for the execution of our ideas.
Boxes…
Cute and easy for taking to people you visit teach!  That’s why I originally found these boxes to give to people here and there, in a cute way!
Getting ready for the baby shower...
Nadia waiting patiently for the cupcakes to finish baking, so she could have one for being dry through the night!
The fluffy cream cheese frosting turned out delectably!  It’s the first time I’ve tried this recipe, and will never use another cream cheese frosting recipe again!
The pic’s of the family and cut-outs from the cricut and the first year cartridge…
oh, the vintage ferris wheel that I love…what a lucky find it was!
the beautiful flowers Carolyn found, and the fancy chocolate dipped pretzels was also her creation!
the yummy dark chocolate moose munch I love to make and eat…only special occasions!
the beautiful banner Carolyn made…it reads Welcome Annalise
All our work put together, looks lovely enough to eat!  Which we did!
I tried a new Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe, with a delicious new recipe for Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting.  What I didn’t tell a soul was, I made the cupcakes gluten-free.   I was able to take pic’s of the family to string along the wall with cut-outs from my cricut, and even though it was simple, I think it turned out endearing.   I found a cute vintage ferris-wheel at the pottery barn outlets, and couldn’t resist throwing it in there, with cupcakes taking the seat!  Some yummy chocolate mustaches were another vintage touch I couldn’t resist.  It’s so exciting just getting ideas out of your head and into the world, seeing them come to fruition.

jumping in and helping out…

march  2011.

Some days are hard and stressful, and some days, for some unknown reason, everything aligns and is wonderful.  I don’t know what makes one day so different from another, but when you get a good one, you don’t complain, and you just think grateful thoughts!
A couple days ago, Madison dressed herself appropriately for the lunch she would make and serve to everyone, without being askedI once again, feel grateful.

Then days ago, Alex helped Madison with a history lesson(medieval knights-the crusades), and they did the craft together.  I have to admit, as we are playing catch-up in our curriculum, I don’t always do the craft.  So I love that Alex took time to teach Madison, and then they had fun doing this craft together, again, without me having to even ask.  Yes again, lots of gratefuless.

gluten-free…

march  2011.

Going gluten-free, dairy-free(trying to avoid soy also), and sugar-free has it’s challenges for sure!  Am I perfect everyday? No.  But I try really hard to only eat a little dairy or sugar, and try even harder to really not take a bit of glutenous food.
But to our surprise, we have found phenominal flours and mixes.  I really like to eat completely homemade items if possible, to avoid unneeded chemicals and preservatives, but I decided to try a mix to make homemade gluten-free bread, and all I had to do was add a couple of ingredients.  It was AMAZING!
We have also been using my gluten-free flour for our cookies and other baking items, because it tastes sooooo good!  We have our own wheat(hard white) in buckets in our food storage, and usually grind that up to bake with, but now that I’m enjoying my food, the flocks are following and love my gluten-free goodies, which is good.  If I forced everyone to go gluten-free, you know they would complain.  The less gluten we all have, for sure, the better!
If you want some yummy gluten-free flour, recipes, and other goods,  
visit AuthenticFoods.com.  They have been the best resource in my trial-and-error journey.

our best bites…

march  2011.

I have never been very good about the whole execution of meal planning, shopping, and cooking… and when I do make meals, they are the simplest kind.  After checking out ourbestbites.com, and salivating over the delicious food, noticing how simple their recipes were, I couldn’t resist.  I decided to give another cookbook a try, and to our amazement, it’s been a very good week of delectable dishes
 
To recap-easy meals, delicious, not a lot of weird ingredients.
  

st. patty’s…

march 17.  2011.

St. Patty’s was easy to celebrate this year.  I woke up, and Alex had headed up the crafts and decor.  Even colored the milk green, which is a tradition, but ended up taking work to coax Madison into putting it into her cereal.   I think she knew since I went all out for Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t be doing much for this green irish day.  She even painted the rocks and put glitter on them to look like gold at the end of the rainbow. 
I’m often amazed and grateful for the things these kids do.  And when they pitch in together to accomplish a task, I’m grateful beyond words!

walking by…

march  2011.

I was doing something in the kitchen, and walked by these two cuddling and playing together.  These moments are the ones I stash away and treasure.  Alex and Nadia are also roommates, which is totally adorable too.  Nadia will be somewhere, and say, “Where’s my roommate?”  I’m glad they are establishing a good connection, which I hope later will become a strong bond throughout life.  My most sincerest dream is that these four girls are best friends.