Memory Keeper: This Week In September

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This is how we spent out last days of summer vacay…PJ’s into the afternoon, fruit snacks and good books

Oh goodness gosh, again I’ve been such a posting slacker! I got a new phone and had to get all the set ups done…I think most of the kinks are worked out and I’m ready to do a better job of getting my photos organized. I have also been plugging away at getting all our family photos organized and published in a family photo book. That project has been on my to-do list for way too long now! One of my summer goals was to collect all our photos and catch the books up to date. Hooray, that’s done!

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Our summer has been pretty chilled and low key. Other than last month’s short overnighter to the Grand Canyon and one night camping near Lake Casitas, and a couple day trips here and there, we have stuck pretty close to home. Therefore our little monkeys have done A LOT of swimming. Pretty much daily

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This goofy is SO difficult to photograph with a normal face

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This little handsome is getting too big! Brecks left his floaties behind this summer as he had his heart set on diving for toys and just couldn’t do it with the life jacket on. He is now a very happy swimming fish and I’m so glad he mastered this new skill this summer

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Pool party every day

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Cheering big brother Alvin on at his cross country meet…we only got footage of him running, sorry Grandparents

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L: These two got SO much time together over the summer, we were all happy when it was time for school to start R: While shopping Brecks grabbed a bag of sugar snap peas and asked to get them, which was funny cause he’s a picky eater and hadn’t really wanted to eat them before. This time he pretty much ate the entire bag singlehandedly. Yeigh, another veggie to add to the ‘likes’ list

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I seem to post a picture of my sleeping babies every month 🙂

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A kindly soul that wanted to regain control of his overgrown blackberry patch gave me 30 twigs and roots, after planting them in pots and lovingly tending them, 20 or so have grown nice green growth

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L: Juice Inspiration: Apple Kale Celery Juice with fresh Spinach and a couple frozen Bananas

R: Smoothie Inspiration: Acai Juice, frozen Peach Strawberry Banana

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L: Smoothie Inspiration: Frozen Strawberries Banana Peach with Almond milk (or yogurt)

R: Juice Inspiration: Pineapple Apple Carrot Juice with Almond milk

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L: Salad Inspiration: Romaine Lettuce with Orange slices, slivered Almonds, dried Cranberries and a Homemade Honey Balsamic Vinegar

R: Meal Inspiration: Grilled Chicken strips with Avo on a bed of lightly sautéed Asparagus

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A couple of photo’s we took at the local museum at the dedication of their new children’s garden

L: Azure inside a recreated Chumash Ap constructed by local Eagle Scout and troop

R: Azure trying his hand at pounding corn

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L: Brecks doing the corn pounding thing

R: Visiting with the desert tortoises. He was in LOVE with these guys and so excited to watch, pet and feed them. This guy desperately needs a pet

Until next time Lovelies. Hope your summer was an amazing memory

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Memory Keeper: This Week In August

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First day of Second Grade!

This is my 100th post guys. It’s exciting to know I’ve stuck with it this long.

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L: Pizza Party. These two topped the pizzas for dinner R: Sleeping children are the best!

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 A new backpack and a couple of goofs at the doctor getting ready for back to school. Its funny how I start out summer with all these great ideas of fun things to do and we barely get to a quarter of the list 🙂 Huff puff, not gonna lie summer wore me out! Trying to entertain the kids in the house is becoming increasingly difficult. Praying for a new house with outdoor run around space.  The big boys took some extra summer classes, read a ton of fiction and did A LOT of sleeping in and playing of computer games! The littles had play dates, simple school and reading practice, watched too many movies and went swimming nearly everyday. I’m ready for school to start

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L: Azure asked for waffles. So homemade waffles and peach jam for dinner it is R: Coconut Chocolate Cherry Muffins greeted the kids when they got home from first day of school

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L: Selfie king in our house R: He does other things too, like bring his mama breakfast and coffee in bed.  Thoughtful boy

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We had a short, but very special visit with this tiny boy…Canadian cousin Hudson! aka Mr. Bacon

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Cousins posing. There are those goofs again

Memory Keeper: This Week In July

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All BOYS trip with Dad and Uncle to the Grand Canyon

Boy, I sure have a lot to catch up on in the Memory Keeper posts! I’ve been increasingly using the Hubbs phone for pictures and then I have to wait to upload them when he’s home and I remember…so yeah, its a slower process. Anyhoo… here are some of our family photos from July

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Since I didn’t go on this trip, I won’t have any Family Fun Adventure comments to make. A fast moving preschooler + dangerous heights and cliffs = a huge ball of stress for mom, so we kept each other company at home. I will just be sharing a few pictures from the trip

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A morning hike

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Azure has talked about wanting to visit the Grand Canyon off and on before. However when told about this trip, he wasn’t too interested. After packing his own bag he got excited and had a great time

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A rare picture of all the kids. The big boys don’t like being photographed (which is the reason for my overwhelming photos of the littles most of the time) and of course it’s impossible to have everyone making a normal face! Can you tell who are the goofy ones?

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We took a day trip to the Oceano Sand Dunes in Pismo Beach, which are miles of sand dunes by the ocean. It was a sunny windy day and the dunes are made up of gorgeous fine sand. All the climbing and jumping made for some hungry thirsty peeps.  If you are ever in the area, have lunch at the Rock & Roll Diner which is in a couple of converted train cars. How fun is that! They have a huge menu, including great burgers, which is what the kids had

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A couple of summer snuggles

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L: A bowlful of watermelon to start Sunday off right R: I started brewing kombucha again, I place it in a tapped jar after its made so the kids can easily serve themselves. Oddly enough, picky eater Brecks is the biggest fan of the stuff

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L: I add some frozen berries to mine and let it sit for a day to infuse in the kombucha. Perfect summery drink R: Dinner Idea: Homemade Lamb and Vegetable Curry over a bed of Basmati rice

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And lastly a really rare one of me and the Hubbs. Hope you had an awesome summer All!

Memory Keeper: This Week In May

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Happy Spring All! And Happy 2nd year Blog Anniversary to this blog!!! We have been enjoying some cooler rainy weather here in Cali. Admittedly, its a little strange, but we are oh so thankful for the extra bits of rain during our long drought. Again, we have been sticking pretty close to home these days. The kids are all focused on year end testing and getting their grades up and Azure is practicing for his spring play of Peter Pan coming up next week. Here are a few family pictures and some more salad and smoothie inspiration for you

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I found this fun magnetic sand at the .99 cent store (it was $1.99 for a two lb. bag) It’s been a fun hit with the little kids. Yes, its still very messy, but one cool thing is it doesn’t dry out like playdoh and you don’t need to add water like regular sand to make castles, etc.

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L: We tried a pinterest project of making ‘Dinosaur eggs’ It didn’t turn out the best and was super crumbly, but we had fun making them together

Link to project we tried: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/04/dinosaur-activities-for-kids-eggs.html

R: Brecks chilling with his orange snack while waiting for Dad to pick us up from shopping

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L: Brecks is continuing with his school journey. For some reason he only likes writing with capital manuscript letters. I guess all the youtube shows/songs he likes features capital letters

R: Got my craft on quite a bit this month with birthday gifts for loved ones

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Salad Inspirations

L: Pork and Avocado over greens with a sprinkle of dried Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds

R: Beef, Avocado and Strawberries on a bed of Mixed Greens

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Smoothie Inspiration

L: Blueberry Banana Kale, Kombucha and Orange Juice

R: Sweet Potato (baked and frozen) Banana Kombucha Orange Juice

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L: Banana Pear Sweet Potato (baked and frozen) Kale, Kombucha and Orange Juice

R: Blueberry Banana Sweet Potato Kombucha and Orange Juice

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L: Did some face painting for Azure’s school Carnival

R: The Easter pail was Brecks solution to not having an umbrella when it rained. This funny boy is mesmerized by the rain, to be sure it IS a rarity in Cali

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L: A pretty blossoming tree and a large monkey that couldn’t resist climbing it. He hopped out real quick once he saw my phone out 🙂 hehe

R: I have noticed I take a lot of pictures of the two little guys sleeping, I think the idea of them growing up too quick is hitting me. Thankfully, they aren’t too old for stories and snuggles

Well, that’s all folks. Have a wonderful week

Memory Keeper: This Week In March and April

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Hello. Hello. Sorry its been awhile. Busy, busy as is goes. Here’s some snaps of our lives from last month

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L: Azure dancin’ up a storm at his school’s sock hop dance R: Playing ‘guitar’ on the Mindstorm lego the big boys got for Christmas

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L: A smart little turkey that lines up numbers 20-100 all by himself. For.Fun! In fact this is how he keeps himself busy while I have breakfast R: A lovely little reminder note posted by one of the big boys in their bathroom 🙂 Hehehe, we parents had a good laugh

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L: Homemade peanut butter in the new food processor. Just peanuts and salt! R: My version of Chile Rellenos stuffed with fresh queso, sweet potatoes, corn and garlic

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L: Azure attending his school’s science fair night. R: Holding ‘Rosie’ the 5 year old tarantula

Science Fair night is an absolute highlight of the year for this boy. The demonstrators are the older elementary students from his school conducting experiments and the other tables are staffed by local college students passing along their love of science. As soon as he saw the DNA strand model (pictured above) he ran right over and said ‘Oh it’s DNA! Like Cole’s model.’ Cole recently made a small version out of pipe cleaner, beads and tinker toys for his science class project

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L: Checking out the shark jaws and teeth R: Watching an electrocuted pickle light up. Very cool…until it starts stinking 🙂

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A couple of smoothie inspirations for you…PS I always freeze the fruit first, so I don’t need to add ice

L: Pineapple Banana Orange Juice Smoothie R: Cole’s creation: Yogurt Banana Pineapple Smoothie

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And some fresh salad inspiration too

L: Baby greens Blue Cheese Red Grapes Pecans and a tangy Honey Dressing

R: Cucumber Tomato Red Onion Pork and Pineapple with Honey Lemon Dressing in a Cabbage Leaf Boat

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L: Not sure what’s up with the silly tongue lately R: Posing with paper kitties they made during Spring Break

And that, my friends and family is where we leave off tonight. Hope you had some awesome spring adventures

xo

Memory Keeper: This Week In January

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Posing in front of the Seattle Space Needle

This Memory Keeper post is a few snaps returning home to sunny weather

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Going up to the top of the Space Needle would have cost our family $146.oo  (Ages 13+ $26.oo, Youth age 4-12 $16.oo, Under 4 Free) and parking was $12.oo. Double yikes!!! Since we were just passing through on the drive down and still needed to get back on the road, we opted to just pay parking at $12.oo which was good for a couple hours  (though I did see less expensive parking later for $4.oo, though not sure how long it was for) and just take a quick stroll.

I’m pretty sure I would never pay that much to take the whole family up there just to take in the scenery, unless it was something they were all super into and they were desperate to see. Though one day I may save up and go for dinner with Hubbs. The dinner IS expensive in itself, but at least you would have the entire meal time to enjoy the view.

It was a nice sunny day and there were tons of people visiting and walking around. There is also the Pacific Science Center and Children’s Science Center in the area. In the photo on the left, was an outdoor skating area they had just closed for the season

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L: For some funny reason this circle was THE place to take a pic R: Drive through San Fran and across the Golden Gate Bridge on the way home

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Ahhhh, we’re HOME

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Goofys enjoying Christmas gifts

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I am enjoying the beautiful blanket Grammy knitted (she also knitted and sewed 4 more for all of us! She is AWESOME!) and gifted to me and the pretty trees

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L: Pina Colada Smoothie: Frozen Pineapple & a can of coconut milk R: Cucumber Pear Banana with Chia Seeds

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L: Strawberry Orange Pear with Chia Seeds R: Zucchini muffins topped with walnuts…Back-to-School

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And one happy face that’s missing a couple of chompers. Hope your Winter Break was fantastic!

Memory Keeper: This Week in November

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Our Memory Keeper for November begins with these two happy faces at the park on the beach

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I must admit I’ve been a bit of a slacker when it comes to the pumpkin carving scene in recent years. This year I decided to set that right, take the plunge and give into the mess. The trouble with carving pumpkins with little kids is that I end up doing all the work! I cut off the tops and made them scoop out the insides. Who knew they would hate it! Azure pretty much made a gross face the whole time he was getting the seeds out and Brecks refused to scoop his out. So, yup, more of Mom’s help. And then I had to cut the faces, at least Azure got to design his own face and tell me how he wanted it. Maybe, this isn’t as high on the Autumn fun list as I thought and we should skip a few years

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And we finally made it to a pumpkin patch as well. I haven’t really found any awesome ones around here for free, so we haven’t been since we’ve lived here. This year I really wanted to try one. Which we did and it was so-so in the fun/interesting department with very expensive pumpkins. But, the  kids had a few minutes of fun wandering around and fighting over pulling the wagon

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Such pretty colors!

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Haha, he saw the cow cut out and ran straight to ‘milk’ it and thought it was hilarious. Thankfully Daddy snapped a picture

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For Halloween Azure went as a fireman and Brecks refused to dress up and wear his little dragon outfit, though he did put it on for Daddy a couple days later

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And my latest homemade project…kombucha. Which is a fermented tea that is filled with probiotics that is good for gut health L: A picture of when I first started it R: A week into the brewing process and it looks great! and weird! But, its awesome good for your health. I decided to let my batch continue brewing for a month as I wanted it to have a really good thick layer of jelly, called a scoby, its currently on week 2 so I will have an update at a later date. This is my first time making this, so not sure how it will turn out, I’ll keep ya’ll posted

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L: My little helper when all the big kids are at school, making pumpkin muffins for breakfast R: This year we made a ‘Thankfulness tree’. Super simply its a bunch of branches in a container with little tags of things you are thankful for written down and hung on the tree.

In the last few years I’ve tried adding more and more to our family traditions. Some of them stick and some don’t, but I’ve tried to be more intentional with them. I want my kids to think back years from now and say, ‘Remember when we use to do that’ A couple we’ve done in case you’re interested are: a Celebration of our family, we chose mid way through the year between Dad and Mom’s birthdays, so far we’ve just celebrated with a cookout for this, Valentine’s Day special breakfast, yearly trips to spend with family out of state, Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve, I never liked having the gift giving on the same day as all the cooking. We end the day with opening stockings, which are pretty much just snacky treats in our family. This year I added/will add a ‘Thankfulness tree’ and unwrapping a Christmas book every evening instead of an advent calendar. I started collecting this right after Christmas last year and within 3 trips to thrift stores and using paperbackswap (online book trading site) easily came up with the 24 books needed. I love the idea of Elf on a Shelf too, but don’t know if I have the commitment to get it done every evening. Though I bet my big boys would love to help out with it. I can imagine the silly things they will come up with

Here are some inspiration links for thankfulness trees: http://jonesdesigncompany.com/holiday/start-today-thankful-tree-printable-tags/ (we did this one)

http://www.thehandmadehome.net/2014/11/thankful-tree/ (and a fancier one)

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After visiting the Ostrich farm (see here: https://juggling5monkeys.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/family-fun-adventure-ostrich-farm-solvang-ca/) Azure and I wandered around downtown Solvang, California for a few hours. Solvang is a little town that’s set up like a European village where they sell European treats, merchandise and baked goods among all the regular shops. It’s a super expensive touristy area, but since we were in the area we enjoyed a nice stroll around town.

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Of course he sweet talked a treat out of me… a chocolate chip croissant

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He was kinda of a funny bunny about the rare light rain we had that day. He kept complaining about it and wanted to take cover. Being a Vancouverite myself, uhuh didn’t hardly notice the drizzle. Ok, at some point it was a coming down a bit hard and we didn’t have proper jackets on. Anyway, we spent some time at a little park with a bandstand and a statue of Hans Christian Andersen waiting for Daddy to come get us

Hope you all are enjoying a wonderful season of Thanksgiving

 

Memory Keeper: This Week In September

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Hi there Lovelies!

I hope you are comfortably back in the swing of school and enjoying the summery weather. We have all been sick with weirdly timed coughs this year and are just starting to get over them now. I blame back to school! Azure got it first and spread it right along. As a result the kids have greatly missed out on the unseasonably hot weather to use for swimming. Hopefully we’ll get a few more weeks of this weather in before it cools down for the year. We have been taking it easy on the activities and have been focusing on getting everyone better, so not much to share this month in way of photos and adventures. Here are some of the few I did take.

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This little turkey has been getting consistent learning time nearly every morning due to me having to take him with me to drop off Azure, therefore he is awake, fed and ready for a bit of preschool learning first thing in the morning. And he also takes selfies 🙂

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Smiley here, has been doing well at his scholastics in first grade and is adjusting to his new class. He still adores his kindergarten teacher and hugs and says hi to her when leaving school. His reading has greatly improved as well over the summer. Hooray! And thank God, he LOVES books (like the rest of his big brothers) and is MAD about science! Every week he brings home science books from his classroom and the library. Yesterday he tells me, ‘Anything with the word science in it makes me happy’! Any hands on science activities or resource ideas parents, please pass them along

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Glad these two are friends…most of the time anyways

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L: Taking advantage of Daddy being away to get extra snuggles by sleeping with Mom R: Spending a lot more time with Mom since all the brothers started school

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L: First house he built all on his own R: First time he wrote his name on his own, I told him the letters though

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This guy is at such a fun age. We can do activities together, enjoy story time and he can entertain himself! That is HUGE! He also is starting to be a big brother by tidying up, reading to and playing nicely (ok, sometimes) with littlest brother

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L: Waiting to spar R: He won first place in his school tournament

Last week Cole participated in a multi school tournament and entered sparring. He didn’t end up winning a trophy, but we were proud of him for trying something new and he has more experience for next time

Alvin has taken up cross country running at school and has been training everyday with his team. Sorry, no pictures as he does this at school

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L: I adapted these lentil cookies, using half the sugar, adding a few butterscotch chips, dried fruit, coconut and nuts. These cookies are really tasty with the added protein punch coming from the lentil puree, they make a perfect addition to kids lunch boxes. Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/lentil-cookies-recipe.html

R: There was a killer deal on pears and apples this week so I made Spiced Pear Jam and Apple Peach Jam

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I’ve missed my green smoothies and whipped up this new combo of Cucumber Lettuce juice with frozen Bananas and Peaches. Delightful! Enjoy the last of summer weather everyone and Happy Fall!

 

Memory Keeper: This Week In July

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Above: Celebrating America’s Birthday this year with a lovely cake covered in summer berries

Here is my Memory Keeper post for July. Let’s start off with some foodie pics.

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Left: Cole made a couple giant Chocolate Chip cookies Right: And he brought me breakfast in bed

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Left: Lime Blueberry loaf with Cream Cheese frosting Right: Homemade Hummus

 

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Left: Orange Pineapple Strawberry Nectarine Smoothie Right: Blueberry Mango Banana Kale Yogurt Smoothie

Now is the time of year to stock up on those fruit sales. Produce prices are always on the rise, but its worth it to buy a bit extra and freeze it to enjoy as smoothies in months to come

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Left: The summer fun continues in the pool Right: Splashing in plastic storage containers on the patio with big brother overseeing the fun

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Left: More train time Right: This boy is all about lego creating these days

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Left: Azure grew a couple of sunflowers from seed as a kindergarten take home project

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Left: All this summer fun is tiring me out! Right: These two little monkeys decided to take over juicing for me

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Left: A rare day out with just Azure. He requested a Subway sandwich Right: Ninja boy posing

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As a rare and treasured treat, I got to hang out with Rachel, Carolina and their friends at Rincon beach for a girlie evening of gabbing and watching the sunset. I finally got to see the dolphins swimming less than two hundred feet from shore! Such a cool experience. Thanks for the great stories and company Rachel!

And that raps up July! Is summer flying or dragging by for you?

 

Recipe: Orange Cranberry Chia Muffins with a toasted Coconut topping (Vegan)

 

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Ok People, I am seriously excited about these wonderful vegan adapted muffins. The smell and taste are amazing and the texture is perfect! Now we aren’t vegan, though when I have the opportunity to try out a new vegan recipe or I vegan adapt and it turns out really well, I’m so pleased. This recipe came about due to not having the called for ingredients on hand and since I’m not one to run out and grab grocery items all throughout the week I tried to adapt it and it was magical. Yes, I’m a little nutsy about these babies.

So without further ado…enter Orange Cranberry Chia Muffins with a toasted Coconut topping.

Ingredients: (Makes 24 muffins, half the recipe if you want less)

2 cups fresh frozen cranberries (I stocked my freezer after the holidays and sadly I’m on my last bag)

zest of 1 orange (optional)

1 tsp. orange flavor

2 1/3 cups of orange juice (I used 7 medium oranges)

1 1/2 cup of sugar + 2 tbsp.

4 heaped tbsp. of chia seeds

1 cup oil (coconut oil would probably be amazing as well)

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4-1/3 cup of sweetened shredded coconut (could probably go with unsweetened as well)

Instructions:

1. Get a pan on the heat with your frozen berries and add the 2 tbsp. of sugar. You don’t need to add any water as juices will come out of the cooking berries. Stir every now and again. When berries pop and soften, turn off the heat and leave to cool down.

2. Juice your oranges and just get everything into a big mixing bowl. I always sift baking powder into the mix with a small hand held strainer to avoid the dreaded clumps of powder in the final product. Other than that, it’s pretty much a one bowl dump. Add the cooled berries and prepare your muffin tray or baking dish of choice. I used silicone baking cups which I sprayed with my misto can of olive oil and measured out the batter into the cups. As an after thought I sprinkled some shredded coconut on the tops, really good idea if you have it on hand as it adds a wonderful toasty crunch.

Bake in a 350 degrees oven until toothpick comes out clean and muffins are lightly browned. Turn down your oven if they look toasty but aren’t quite done. Eat immediately for the full yummy effect.