10.29.2013

Spookfest 2013


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Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been a favorite around here. 

The girls get so into it! 

And frankly I do too. 

I love the smell of candles burning in pumpkins, seeing kids traipsing around the neighborhood, the squeals and the laughter, and the guaranteed overdose of sugar. 

This year we recycled the witch and kitty costumes. GM got a new vampire dress and we homemade Ava's gypsy outfit - our first "non-spooky" costume to date. 

This year Uncle Chad is coming to trick-or-treat with our girls and Easy. I will get to pass out treats and hopefully scare a lot of little children. 

HA! HA! HA!



10.25.2013

HBD Roo!

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Last week we celebrated a birthday for our little Roo.

She turned FOUR!

Can you believe it?

It's been 4 years since that little bundle surprised us all with her dramatic delivery into the world (the doctor didn't make it).

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We kept it pretty simple with a few friends over to play, then cake, ice cream, and presents as a family.

Miss Roo -

has the very best little giggle

loves her sisters more than anything
doesn't eat wheat because it give her "bad poops"
has a very thick shell - she doesn't trust easily

entertains herself well
is super super super stubborn
often "forgets" to put her shoes on when we are going out - i usually don't notice until we are there
loves ponies, polly pockets, playing dress up, and coloring
can be very sneaky
has an interesting little accent
hates changing clothing - for bedtime or to get ready for the day the next morning
can melt you with her big brown eyes


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My friend Summer posted her birthday cake a few months ago on Instagram. It was beautiful, chocolatey, and grain free. I stored the images in the back of my brain for when Roo's birthday came around. 

This little girl was sooooo excited to have her very own gluten free chocolate cake! And I must say that even all the flour lovers in this house gobbled that cake up. :)


Shhh - it's also only sweetened with dates and honey!! 


German Chocolate Coconut Cake - from The Blog of Summer Harms
grain free. makes one 9-inch round or 2 smaller rounds.

6 T. coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)
5 eggs (room temp, if you can)
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or butter)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup crushed dates

Combine dry ingredients and chocolate chips in a small bowl and sift well. Using a hand mixer, blend eggs, vanilla, oil, honey and dates. Add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and blend well. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or 2 smaller round baking dishes. I used some 4-cup glass pyrex dishes that we usually put leftovers in. Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until center is just set (it will still be a bit loose/wiggly). Do not over bake. Allow cake to cool, then remove from pan and pile the coconut pecan topping on top of cooled cake. If you're really look for the lap of luxury, feel free to make the chocolate sauce to drizzle on top of cake, or use as a garnish when serving individual pieces.

Coconut Pecan Topping 
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup crushed dates*
2-3 T. coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
In a small bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine dates with coconut and pecans and a bit of coconut oil and salt. Feel free to play around with the amounts to fit the taste and texture you're looking for.
*To make the crushed dates, here's what I do: put a 4 or 5 ounce package of dates into a small pot with about 1/2 inch of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. It doesn't really matter how long, just gets them a bit soft. Put into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.


** Summer's Dairy-Free Chocolate Sauce, optional
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 T. cocoa
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla
2 T. honey or maple syrup
While cakes are cooling, combine chocolate sauce ingredients in a 1 or 2 cup measuring glass and place in a pot of simmering water. Heat, stirring, until everything is melted and well combined. Spoon sauce over cooled cakes, with lots of poked holes.



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10.21.2013

BFF's take New Mexico

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Last winter we made a plans with some of our dearest friends from AZ to meet in NM for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. You have to plan about that far in advance to get a hotel room as the city quickly fills up with tourists from all over the world.

The drive south through CO was beautiful. Then we hit NM and it reminded me so much of AZ - flat, brown, dry - only missing the big beautiful Saguaro Cacti. 



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After the initial shock wore off from seeing their "significant other" in person the girls embraced and didn't leave each other's side until it was time to go home. 

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GM and Ellie couldn't keep their hands to themselves. They were constantly hugging, holding hands, and linking up arms. It really was like Christmas for these girls. 

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Ada and Roo have been forced on each other since birth to be best buddies like their older sisters.

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It took them a little while to warm up (typical for Roo) but soon enough they were also in their own little world. 

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Saturday morning we got up suuuuper early to head over to the Fiesta - just in time for the first launch. 

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It was freezing! F-rrr-eeeee-zzzz-ing!

But the sky was clear and the balloons were beautiful. 

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We tried to keep moving to keep our toes and bodies warm but it had to have been in the 20's on that field.

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And just as the sun started to thaw us out the darn wind picked up and they didn't put anymore balloons in the air. 

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We maybe saw only 1/4 of what would have gone up.

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We went back to the hotel took naps/showers and headed out for some REAL Mexican Food - Easy and I have been a little disappointed with our selection in CO.

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We got a tip from my friend who grea up in ABQ to go to El Pinto and it did not disappoint - especially with the multiple wood fireplaces throughout, the rustic beautiful grounds, and the man out front roasting green chilies.

If you are ever in Albuquerque go to El Pinto!!!

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Perfect, right?

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Seeing how happy the girls were together made us all vow again to keep these friendships alive. It's funny how at even at such a young age they just click. They Facetime, send letters, talk on the phone and just love each other.

The next morning we headed to church before saying our goodbyes. Since we left AZ 3 years ago we have met up with our twin family every summer. They came to Arkansas, we drove through AZ last summer, and now we have met in the middle.

We have fun plans to take it to the mountains next summer :)

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And of course it was awesome seeing my dear friend Jordan - who after having 3 girls went ahead and got pregnant with a BOY on us! She is a true true friend and I love her dearly. 

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10.08.2013

Our CO Anniversary

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Last week we hit our 1 year mark in Colorado. I have been reminding myself for a year to not get too down, to endure, to make the best of it. It has always taken about a year (on average) for us to fully adjust to a move. 

And just like that, the sun breaks through and we suddenly feel like we are "home." 

It's been a wonderful/hard year of making new friends, experiencing 4 seasons, buying a home, a new job and company for E, me being a stay-at-home-mom again, and the girls thriving in the change. 

Almost daily I look over at the Front Range of the Rockies and I feel blessed to live near such majesty. The air is so clear, and sky is just as vast as it should be in the west. The mountains and the beautiful changing seasons have been a constant reminder of how blessed we are to be here. 

Our home is more and more resembling who we are. My daughters love their school, friends, and our new traditions. We are driving distance to our families again and have loved seeing them more. 

We don't know how long we will be here or what our next steps are, but I am relishing in this time right now where we feel a little more rooted. Our relationships are growing stronger and we tend to invest more into them as we find friends that will stay with us wherever we go - just like our dear friends from AZ and AR.


10.01.2013

Autumn Days

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chalkboard art stolen from my brilliant sis-in-law

All the sudden it's October. 

And I love it. 

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I have caught a baking bug and put my fall attire into rotation. Cable knit tights, jeans, boots, and button up shirts are the new norm.


In the mornings it is too cool out to ride bikes so I have been driving the girls to school then picking them up on my bike (with the littles in the trailer) and bringing along their scooters to ride home in the afternoon.


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When we walk in the door it's always a bit of chaos with snack, homework, piano practice, and dinner.

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It makes me appreciate the calm mornings and early afternoons with just these two at home. They have turned into the best little friends lately. They follow each other around all day giggling and teasing one another. 

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Speaking of the littles -- Rosie is almost 2 and acts every bit the age. She is demanding, stubborn, pseudo-independent, and at the same time incredibly sweet and snuggly. After breakfast she mopes around the kitchen until I get her applesauce or chocolate milk. She tugs at the handles of the fridge and hangs like a rag doll with her head back and moaning until I give in. Man I love that little rascal. 




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