Monday, September 28, 2009

Weddings, 1st Birthday, New Baby and New School Room

This weekend was a busy one! Saturday my cousin, Sara, got married in Denton. Well, since we were making the trek to the Dallas area what a perfect time to fit in a trip to IKEA, my new best friend! =D Since we were there why not fit in a trip to PF Chang's too since we (Cullen, Clara, and I) could not eat the wedding food. It looked great but it was BBQ.

The wedding was very nice. They got married in the cutest little chapel that was made of rock and just looked like a fairy tale chapel. The only decoration needed was the beautiful candle light. Candy took pics of the ceremony so I might steal some later and show you guys. After the ceremony we took a lot of pics outside the chapel. I will also steal some of those from Candy later. Here are a couple of the kids outside the chapel. Love it!

We finally have an updated family pic with all of us. I will try to work on editing them later. Thank you Candy for taking the pics. Isn't this a great pic of the boys! Thank you Candy!Here is a pic of my youngest brother, Matt with GG, our grandmother. GG is my Dad's mom. Thanks again, Candy!Then it was off to the reception. We had a really nice time seeing family we had not seen in a while and chatting with everyone. It was fantastic getting to share in such a special occasion for Sara and Brandon.

Sara and Brandon's first dance. Her dress was very pretty.

The married couple.

Sara dancing with her Dad, Tim. It was so sweet to watch these two together.

Sara dancing with her step-dad, Byron. There were no tears here, just goofin' around. The couple cutting the cake.

Here is a pic Candy took of the groom's cake. It was too cute. It was decorated in the style of the Star's Hockey team.

This is a shot of my cousin Laura, Sara's sister. She looks fabulous. She has lost a lot of weight and she just looked GREAT!

Two sisters very happy and beautiful! I actually have some shots with me in them this time. Cullen is starting to show interest in photography. So we both were picture happy. The photos in this post are only a SMALL amount of the 257 photos we took this weekend. LOL!! When I saw this pic I could not believe how much older Christian is getting. He is my young man. I am so proud of him. Isn't he incredibly handsome if I do say so myself!

Christian brought in his Ipod Touch and it came in quite handy. He had spent his own money and bought a couple of Sesame Street videos, which Clara loves Sesame Street, particularly Elmo. So we enjoyed goofing around with it. After the wedding we ran by PF Chang's with Matt & Candy. It was a nice dinner. We were re-thinking this decision when we figured out what time we would get home. We pulled in our driveway about 2:30 a.m. and still had to unload the truck from the trip to IKEA.

We drove up to Dallas early and went to Frisco to IKEA. This place is absolutely a God-send for someone that wants to be organized and stylish but does not have a clue how to go about it....that person would be ME!! You could spend an entire weekend in that place. Clay and I have already decided that we are going to focus on one room at a time and IKEA-fy our my new word?? I know, I am a dork! This trip was to focus on our new school room I had planned in my head after seeing pics of it on Shannon's blog. Thank you Shannon! I always love it when God provides and lets you see the answer you need. We had a somewhat functional schoolroom before but it was so chaotic in there I wanted to scream. I knew I wanted it to be organized but just was at a loss. I have bought drawers, baskets, etc. and it would just solve a small problem but not the large one. Well, here are shots of the progress of my finally functional, organized schoolroom!!

The boys had the assigment of assembling their chairs. Christian would not let me take a pic of him as he was frustrated at the moment. They both did very well assembling them and it was a great learning lesson.

Clay had the hard job of assembling all the shelves and desks. While he was putting it all together I was clearing out the schoolroom. Here is Daddy and Clara bolting it to the wall. Clara was a great helper, can't you tell? =)

And the finished school room!!!!! A place for everything and everything in it's place!

The shelving unit is called Expedit. I just love it. I have a place for everything. Everything is in sight so it will get used and not forgotten about. I still have some work to do but for the most part it is finished. The shelving lets me keep things up high so Clara cannot get what she does not need to be into. I am just thrilled with my new space and have such a peace of mind about our space. I had to share it with you.Before we undertook the schoolroom project on Sunday we had more important things to do. We had to go celebrate Pierce David's first birthday party! Here are some shots from the day. KK cut the birthday cookie for everyone. Look how many kids there are. It is so neat to have so many great kiddoes in one family!

Since we don't eat dairy or meat products any more I wanted to make sure that the kids had some cake to eat too for Pierce's birthday. They had to miss out on it at Sara's wedding. So I woke up early Sunday and whipped up this wonderful Layered Chocolate Cream cake I found here. It was absolutely easy and wonderful. I stole this pic from her website but mine looked just like it. After trying out this recipe I immediately bought her cookebook, The Everyday Vegan. I cannot wait for it to get here. You won't believe what the ingredients are. No one knew what was in it until after they ate it. I think everyone liked it. It was ALL GONE!! =DClara and Ashley playing on the piano. I love this pic of Clara. I was trying to get the light from the window on her but she did not coopeate very well. I do like her little profile in this and her concentration amazes me. She is brilliant if I do say so myself!Here is a shot of Kathy (Taffy) and Jampa, Kathy's Dad. Jampa's name is Pierce and he has a lot of namesakes. He has Cullen Pierce, Pierce David, and now Judson Pierce! Judson was born to Dustin (Clay's cousin) and Kristin who was born Friday, September 18th.

Isn't he tiny? When I saw him I could not help but think Clara was even smaller. Time just flies by so fast! He is absolutely adorable and I think at this point he looks more like Kristin than Dustin. Any way he goes he will continue to be a cutie!

Believe it or not I actually have a TON more pics but I have to get off this computer and actually get some work done! =D

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yummy Vegan Alfredo Sauce

I found a great recipe for Alfredo sauce on Vegan Yum Yum. If you want to see this great website go here. It is really simple and it passed the "family" test. Cullen was the only one not too fond of it. Here is how she has the recipe on her website. This recipe is enough for me to purchase her new book coming out. Vegan Yum Yum cookbook!

"Hurry Up Alfredo
Makes 2-3 Servings

1 Cup Soymilk
1/3 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
3 Tbs Low-Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
1 Tbs Tahini
1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika (smoked is awesome!)
1 Pinch Nutmeg
2-4 Cloves of Garlic
optional Black pepper, to taste

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. This may work best in a high-speed blender (like a Vita-Mix), but you can definitely make it in a regular blender. Just blend extra-long, or perhaps strain if if you want it perfectly smooth. Tiny bits of cashews won’t hurt anyone though!"

I have a Vita-Mix so there were no cashew bits left and it was perfectly smooth and creamy! It was delicious. I used a LOT of garlic b/c we love it. I also used Shoyu instead of tamari b/c I did not have any. I sauteed brocoli and onions and then added that with the rice spiral noodles I used and the sauce. YUMMY!!! I wanted to share this with you guys. I LOVED alfredo and any creamy sauce and this passes the test! Give it a try!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Fun With Mama" Felt Giveaway

I wanted to share with you guys about this giveaway. Visit Fun With Mama's blog. She is doing a giveaway from Coco Loco's Felt Designs. These are the cutest things ever! Here is a picture of the Brown Bear, Brown Bear felt package. I thought these were too cute and had to share it with you all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Produce Coop and more school

Yesterday was our produce coop day. I organized an organic produce coop in our area. It is very difficult to find an array of organic produce in our area so this is a great opportunity. The produce is brought in by U-Haul every 2 weeks to our drop off house (Wendy's house). We have to keep a minimum of 20 people to make it worth the travel from Dallas. It has been an extra job to keep the coop organized and everything together but it is worth it for all the great produce.

Here is the first step. The produce arrives at 11 at Wendy's house in a U-Haul. We all work together to unload it.
Here is our gracious hostess, Wendy. The bins are all lined up ready to receive the great organic produce!

Here are some of the bins after we have sorted it all out. This week's bin had eggplant, cabbage, corn, zuchini, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, onions, plums, peaches, raspberries, bananas, grapefruit, tomatoes, avocadoes...I probably left something out. Then after delivery and sorting all the coop members have between 12:30 and 2:30 to come and pick up their bins and enjoy fresh organic produce for the next 2 weeks before the next time's coop. Our school day flowed pretty good through the coop time. I left Clara and Christian home. We left about 10:30 and he plays with her until daddy comes home for lunch. Then they all have lunch together and Daddy puts her down for a nap and goes back to work. Then Christan starts his school which has all been organized for him by me the night before. Cullen comes with me to the coop and we pack his school supplies. Cullen is a very big help with the coop. He helps unload and sort even with his hurt wrist. After we sorted we were able to get reading, spelling/vocab/poetry, grammar, and history done. He had done math before we left the house. So by the time we got home all school was finished. =D Cullen starts Science when it gets in...hopefully by Friday so we can start it next week.

Well, that does it for our coop days.

Today's school day went wonderfully smooth and I even managed to get their workboxes ready for tomorrow before starting dinner. The past 2 nights I have gone to bed well after 1 trying to get their workboxes ready. I am getting in the swing of things and it is getting easier. I have said a LOT of prayers and say them continually through the day for patience and nice/kind, supportive words and that I can be an encouragement to them. He is definitely answering the prayers and holding me up through the day. I just have to keep reminding myself that I don't do this on my own and when I try I fail miserably!

I even managed to try a new, more in depth recipe for tonight and it was a success. It was Moussaka. I found the recipe on I absolutely love this website for all my recipes. From what I read it is a Greek dish. It reminded us of a type of lasagna. I, of course, did not use the cheese or the egg. I used egg replacer and used nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy flavor. The whole casserole dish just has a bit left in it. So in my book...success!! Give it a try!

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day of School and then some....

Today was our first official day back to school. I felt wonderfully with how smoothly today went. I am so thankful that God guided us every step of the way. I had prayed that it would go smoothly and that he would help me be a good example and to exhibit patience with loving and caring words. I really felt like God held me up all day. We woke up pretty smoothly and got started on chores by picking up, getting laundry going, kitchen straightened, boys' chores, etc. We then started up. I stayed up last night until approximately 1 a.m. preparing for today. I got their workboxes organized and set up for their day. Here is a shot of Christian's workbox system set up for tomorrow.
This year Cullen is doing Grammar/Comp, Literature (all Abeka), math (Teaching Textbooks 5), history (Lifepacs) along with Drive-Thru History America with Chrisitan , Vocab/Spelling/Poetry (Abeka). I have ordered Switched-On Schoolhouse Science but it has not made it yet. We will start as soon as it gets here. I think that about covers Cullen. Here is a shot of Cullen working on his 5th grade math. He was so proud of starting 5th grade math as he is "officially" in 4th grade. Math is a strong point for him and he is proud to be moving up to a higher level math.

Christian is in 9th grade this year. I cannot believe it, really. Life just flies by so fast. He is doing pre-algebra with Teaching Textbooks, Abeka Grammar/Comp/Lit along with spelling/vocab/poetry also with Abeka, Drive-Thru History America. He is also attending The Potter's School (TPS) for the second year. We absolutely love it! He is taking Apologia Physical Science, Writer's Workshop, and Thinking Like a Christian through TPS. His Thinking Like A Christian class does not start until second semester. His classes are once a week for an hour and a half. He then has to keep up with assignments that are due. It is university based and is very rigorous. I definitely feel he will be prepared for college when he graduates by using TPS. It is definitely a keeper and worth every penny! Here is a pic of Christian doing some of his school work in his favorite position....curled up in a tight position with a blanket!

Clara started Tot school today too. =) She began the day by watching her Preschool Prep Meet the Letters DVD . She then moved on to some craft time. She used scrap construction paper, glue stick, crayons, and paint dot art. She worked on her ABC puzzle, and her shape puzzle, along with a new block stacker toy we got at Target. The pic is of a Melissa & Doug stacker but we got the Circo one...just like it but cheaper. Here is her day in pics.

Her final work of art. Cullen was the big helper with this project. He wrote on her paper that it was her first day of school. He then put it on the fridge and outlined it with all of our alphabet magnets like a frame. Clara has such GREAT big brothers!

Also I didn't mention that I forgot we also had a dental appointment for all 3 of us to get our teeth cleaned at noon. So we got all our schoolwork done, made a trip to the dentist, a trip to Target, and a trip to the local health food store for more bread. =) I also made dinner. So it was a very full and eventful day as are most of our days. =)

Here are a few shots of Clara's different sleeping positons in her new toddler bed. She is doing wonderfully in her new bed and loves it. She fell out of it for the first time tonight and all it took was for Daddy to go in there, love on her, and off to sleep she went. The first pic I think was in the could have been nap but it has been a few days and I forgot. She cracked me up sleeping half off the bed. It did not phase her one bit.

This one I think was a nap time. I came in to find her right by the baby gate. We put the baby gate up outside the door and then almost completely close the door. She was all wrapped up in her blanket as usual. The next couple pics of when I got down on the floor on the other side of the baby gate and started to talk to her to wake her up. Too Cute!!!

Prayerfully, our day tomorrow will be as smooth. We do have produce coop so Christian will be staying home helping with Clara (who will nap most of the time) while trying to do most of his schoolwork. Cullen will be going with me to help and we are taking his schoolwork. We only have coop every 2 weeks so we shall see how it goes. I will try to take pics of coop too b/c it is a pretty neat process to see how it gets here and delivered to people in our local area. I do feel really good about setting up the organic produce coop. I feel it is a ministry to serve those that want to make healthier options but b/c of our small town do not have the selection and variety that the coop offers. Hopefully I will make time to blog it all tomorrow.