gag-gle noun \ˈga-gəl\ : a group, aggregation, or cluster lacking organization, which is exactly how I feel about my family every day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Reese's Birthday Party

Reese had a party a week and a half early this year so she could have it before school starts. It was Harry Potter themed.




We started out by getting everyone a wand. If you know Harry Potter, you know that the wand chooses the wizard. We had five questions that each represented a feature of a wand (such as long/short, thin handle/chunky, natural wood/ colored accents, etc). Each girl was asked 3 of the 5 questions (chosen randomly) and the wand chose each girl. 


In the end we admitted that the wand and the witch needed to choose each other, and gave the girls the option to trade their wand with the ones left over.


Next, we led the girls into an escape room experience!

" Professor Aesop Dollos is a new Hogwarts teacher this year, though he did attend as a Hufflepuff student many years ago. He teaches the subject of Magical Mendacity, (the study of riddles and deceptions) An optional upper-division course for students interested in careers as Aurors, certain Ministry jobs, or jobs with lots Muggle contact.

Unfortunately, he is rather strict, and he confiscated a huge amount of Bertie Botts Every Flavor beans from one of your classmates during class. You’ve come up with a clever solution: you created a spell that bewitches this hourglass to tell you when he will return, so you know exactly how long you have to search his office.  Right now, it shows that he will not return for a whole hour.

When you get into Professor Dollos’ office, you will discover that he has set riddles and puzzles to prevent anyone from recovering the stolen candies, but you are clever enough to figure them all out!" 




There were puzzles and clues


That led to opening of locks


That led to more puzzles and clues


That led to more puzzles, locks, and rune translations


Shout out to Aunt Shelly who decorated the room and helped me plan the puzzles and riddles!


Some of the puzzles led to using spells to summon keys for locks.



This included ciphers, invisible ink, magic mirrors, secret codes and more!






In the end, they found the stash of Every Flavor Beans with about 6 minutes to spare!
We then dared the girls to try the beans, some of which had terrible taste! We used the Jelly Belly Beanboozled game for this part. 


Then we had cake and butterbeer (thanks for helping, mom!)



And opened gifts


And then the girls went back into the Professor's office to play Harry Potter until it was time to go



Happy Birthday, Reese!

Reese turns TEN YEARS OLD today!  I can't believe it. How did this happen? I sure love this girl! Here are some things about her:


Loves cats . practices her piano . reads all the time - some books, like Harry Potter, many times . likes Minecraft . rides the bus to school this year . still gets bloody noses and ear infections a lot . loves to draw and be creative . kind to others . silly . shy . started attending Fox Hills advanced learner program this year . sets goals . likes to write letters . likes Pokemon . picky eater . likes church Activity Days . likes to play soccer and is a pretty smart player . generally cheerful . find things chores to do around the house without being reminded. Thoughtful and purposeful in the choices she makes

Happy Birthday, Reese!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Liam's Birthday

We had Liam's birthday part on his birthday, but unfortunately I didn't get many pictures.  I was too busy running around trying to get a gaggle of boys to pay attention enough to tell them the rules of each game.

We had bunches of targets. Everyone got a small Nerf Jolt gun and a few bullets

We played games like Capture the Flag and tried to shoot balloons across the other team's line.

We let the kids build forts out of boxes to be their base



He had doughnuts instead of cake and we served ice cream sandwiches n stuff.

Earlier that day, Liam opened gifts







And later that day we went to Liam' favorite restaurant, McDonald's, for dinner, where all the kids feet became black as soot on the play place.
(also, it was the worst experience at McDonald's we've had. Three different families with us and they got every single one of our orders wrong, some multiple times, and some major things. Then they have this new thing where you have to go to the counter to ask for the bathrooms to be unlocked, which was a nightmare with so many kids, and poor Adam got his finger slammed in the bathroom door so I quickly walked over to the Walmart to get him some pain medicine.  At least I think Liam had fun!)

Happy birthday to my big eight-year-old boy!

Liam's Baptism

Last month, Liam was able to be baptized while his out-of-state cousins were in town. We are proud of him for wanting to do what we believe God wants him to do.









Sunday, July 15, 2018

Liam turns 8

Liam turned 8 years old yesterday!  Here are some things about him:





favorite food is mashed potatoes and gravy . favorite subject in school is math . Currently likes to read Roald Dahl books . likes to play Minecraft and fortnight Video games . good at imaginative, interactive play . messy room . learning to play the piano . favorite color is pink . favorite show to watch is YouTube videos of nerf guns . Likes to dress up and look dapper in vests, ties and sweaters . going in to 3rd grade . likes swimming lessons . getting better at doing hard things . likes to dance and is taking a break dancing class . picks the lint out of his toes at night when he takes off his socks before bed . motivated by rewards and punishments . Gets distracted easily . likes getting tucked in at night by Mama . Wants to do well and do good.

Happy birthday, my Little Man!  I love you!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Almond Thumbprint Dough

Our #EatTheDough cookie this week was an almond thumbprint cookie. It turned out like a fancy gourmet cookie dough, but it was the worst to make. Don't do it. I wanted to add a gluten-free, dairy-free dough to our offerings, so when we adapted this recipe we used a mix of rice-based flour and ground almonds instead of regular wheat flour, and replaced the butter with coconut oil. If you make this dough, don't do that.


The oil was too firm when refrigerated and too loose when room temperature which made these hard to work with. Thumbprint cookies are so named because before you bake them you push a depression into the cookie with your thumb and fill it with jam. Because we were not going to be baking these, we froze small dollops of jam to roll inside a ball of dough instead. But the dough consistency made this a nightmare, and in order to make these less messy when eating, we made the determination to dip them in white chocolate. The result is pretty, tasty, and very rich.

I won't be making this recipe again.


But here it is anyway, in case I want to refer back to it and make an adaptation in the future.


Anna's Almond Thumbprint Cookie Dough

Ingredients:
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 cup coconut oil, solid but not hard (cool but not cold)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup ground almonds (or almond flour)
1 cup gluten-free flour (I used King Aurthur brand)
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 cups white chocolate melting candies or white chocolate chips

Method:
1. Using a piping bag with a round tip, pipe 18-20 dollops about the volume of 1/2 tsp of raspberry jam onto wax paper or silicon mat-lined baking sheet. Alternately, drop by small spoonfuls on to the baking sheet. Freeze.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the coconut oil, granulated sugar, and almond extract with an electric mixer. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine ground almonds, gluten-free flour and salt.
4. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a mixer until well combined. Refrigerate until chilled but not too firm, about 20-30 minutes.
5. Scoop small scoops of dough onto a cookie sheet and press thumb into each scoop to form a bowl-shape. Drop a frozen dollop of jam into each scoop and roll by hand into a ball. Refrigerate until firm, about 40-50 minutes. (Jam will thaw quickly. If it becomes too warm to work with, pop it back in the freezer for about 10 minutes before continuing.)
6. Melt the white chocolate in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir with a spatula. Heat for 30 more seconds, stir for at least 10 seconds, and repeat just until completely melted.
7. Using a fork, dip dough in white chocolate to cover and allow to cool on a wax paper or silicon-lined baking sheet. Optional, use remaining white chocolate to drizzle a design over the top. Refrigerate until set, about 5-10 minutes.
Store refrigerated in an airtight container.






Sunday, June 24, 2018

Red Velvet "Crinkle" Cookies

We made these a few weeks ago. The recipe is called "Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies" because you roll them in powdered sugar which shows off the cracks when you bake them. However, we are not baking them, so I just call them "Powder Cookies". And they have chocolate chips in them (that was the kids' idea).


The recipe is adapted from the Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet blog.

Red Velvet Powder Cookeis

Ingredients
1 3/4 Cup Flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tsp red food coloring
3/4 Cup Chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 Cup powdered sugar

Instructions
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour and cocoa powder.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla and mix well.
4. Add food coloring and milk and mix well.
5. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chips just until incorporated. The dough will be soft.
6. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop scoops of the dough onto powder sugar and roll the dough into balls.