Sunday, March 22, 2015

Guys Weekend Equals A Pizza Party And A GNO

The guys in our D Group from church do a yearly weekend away where they drive up to Silver Hill, AR and spend time floating the Buffalo, grilling out and just spending quality time together. As a wife, I'm so thankful that my husband has men in his life who are all trying to follow hard after God, to love their spouses and families well and who all try to be positive influences in their workplace. I 'm so grateful for the fact that iron sharpens iron and for the impact that each one of these friends has had on Adam.

So they left town mid afternoon on Friday and I think it's safe to say each one of them was more then ready to "get out of dodge". The first night they grilled out and made a bon fire.
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While they were grilling out and doing all sorts of manly things, us wives were keeping the children at bay. There were twenty-one kids, nineteen of which were six or younger. To say it was crazy loud at times is a slight understatement. They had fun chowing down on the pizza, throwing chair cushions off the deck, jumping in the bounce house and watching Peter Pan. To give you an idea of how "relaxing" it was for us Momma's, I was the only one who sat down the entire two and a half hours we were there (but that was just to feed some baby food to sweet baby boy).  We just stood around in the kitchen visiting, eating our pizza and responding to potty needs, dessert requests and a few cries for help. Why do life alone when you can do crazy together?  Togetherness makes life fun and bearable for sure. Thanks Carol for hosting all of us!
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Saturday morning the guys headed to the canoe rental.  I think that Montie, the owner of the rental shop, thought they were crazy when Adam told him they were wanting to do twenty-one miles in ONE day.  Montie was pretty hesitant saying that they'd probably need to just call them to come get all the guys and the three canoes whenever it got close to 5:30, meaning he didn't really think it was feasible to do that long of a trip all in one day.  Well, I'm here to tell you that Adam and the guys (even with stopping for potty breaks, a thirty minute lunch and for one wild man to take the plunge into the frigid waters) they still made it in record timing.  They ended up calling Montie to come get them at 2:00 in the afternoon, meaning they paddled twenty-one miles in five hours, they must've been hauling down the river!!
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I must say, this is how a true photographer gets a group shot.
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This man took the challenge to do the rope swing and landed in the freezing water.  In his own words (according to the video I saw) "that was foolish"…foolish but a memory maker for sure!!
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Again, as Adam told me about some of the weekend and I saw some of these pictures, I was yet again filled with gratitude that he has such great friends, and the fact that all of them and all of us wives get along so well is truly a gift, a total blessing from the Lord!
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Some of us ladies were able to get sitters and enjoyed a fun Girl Night Out.  We ate a delicious dinner from Local Lime, shopped around in the Promenade and topped it all off with a fun truffle and latte from Cafe Brunelle.  I too am encouraged by each one of these women and am grateful for uninterrupted times like these to share and just enjoy each others company.  Ladies-I love you and am thankful to live life along side each of you.
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Here's the link to their trip last year (2014) for some reason I can't find 2013, boo!









































Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Delicious New Recipes

With the beauty of the past few days, we took advantage of the opportunity to grill out since there was no snow or rain (at least in the past 48 hours.) I was wanting a good burger but not just any ole run of the mill burger.  

So, I chose to do Portobello Mushroom Burgers with Aioli Sauce. It was such a scrumptious choice! After drizzling both sides of the mushrooms with olive oil and seasoning with a little salt and pepper, Adam grilled them.  For the aioli sauce, I mixed 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic in a bowl until blended. To serve, I spread the aioli sauce on a toasted onion bun, arranged the mushrooms over the meat with a handful of arugula on top.  It was delicious!
Dinner: black bean burger, caramelized onions and mixed mushrooms, mesclun greens and chipotle aioli. #vegan #homemade

I didn't want to serve the regular, guacamole or cheese dip, so I found a recipe for Charred Corn Salad which sounded much more appetizing.  It was really easy, super fresh and tasty to boot. All you have to do is simply apply olive oil, cracked pepper and salt to the red onions and fresh corn and grill until slightly charred (8-10 minutes). After transferring the veggies to a cutting board, cut the corn off the cobb and chop the onion.  In a bowl, combine 2 chopped jalapeños, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, then salt and pepper to taste.  Add the corn and onions, 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, olive oil to coat then fold in chopped fresh cilantro.
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For our other side, I did sweet potato fries with a chipotle dipping sauce, it was zesty and flavorful.   I used paprika, ground cumin, dried oregano and sea salt to season the fries.  For the sauce I used 1 tsp of adobo sauce, 1/3 C of sour cream, 2 tablespoon of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.  There were hardly any fries left so I'm pretty sure it was a complete hit!

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So that's my recent take on an American classic.  I was truly pleased with the way it all turned out and have really grown to love trying new recipes and getting outside the box.  My taste buds certainly enjoyed it!

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Star Wars Birthday Party

Yesterday we celebrated Lawson's 6th birthday. Our boys are crazy about all things Star Wars (and when I say Star Wars, I mean the old movies, not the new, animated Star Wars Rebels TV series) they are hardcore about it these days.  So when I began thinking about a party for him, it was a no brainer to go with a theme that he is over the moon about…so Star Wars it was!

There are so many options of party items to be found online so I took advantage of Oriental Trading Company and several other sites to help pull it off.
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I'll start with the food, you can't have a party without lots of fun munchies.  (I used cute food labels from an Etsy store and couldn't find Wookie cookies that I liked so I went with R2D2 cookies instead.)
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We started with a scavenger hunt, then moved into Jedi training and finally ended up knocking down the Death Star. They had little bags for their scavenger hunt items as well as for the candy that the Death Star dumped on them.
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We even had a visit from the Master Jedi himself. Yoda did a fantastic job teaching them about the use of light sabers as well as helping them with their agility and skill levels.   I think the boys thought that meeting Yoda was pretty cool.

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Each boy received a Jedi robe, light saber and then passed the Jedi training exercises with flying colors.  The agility test culminated with a light saber fight with none other then Yoda himself.


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Then everybody got in on the fight with Yoda.  I'm pretty sure they all had a terrific time!
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Here are my cute little Jedi's in training.  Even Theodore got in on the action, one light saber is never enough!
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Lawson enjoyed destroying the Death Star.  This was my first attempt at making a piñata and I must say it took a while to do (3 days in fact).  If I do it again, I'll know to start about 7 days earlier so that each layer has plenty of time to dry, I ended up having to rush it a bit but overall I think it turned out just fine.
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We sang "Happy Birthday" and opened presents.  I'm pretty sure its safe to say he had a thoroughly great time!! And definitely enjoyed his Yoda Soda…can you guess what Ava Jane enjoyed?
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I must say a BIG thank you to my Mom who helped me (through 2.5 snow days-with all 4 kids at home) make eleven adorable little Jedi robes, sized to fit each trainee.  I couldn't have done it without her help!!  I think it was a total hit!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Canyons: Ski Trip 2015

For several months Adam and I had been planning this ski trip.  It had been two years since we'd been out there so we were super excited to be going.  As I said in this post, getting out of town is always an adventure trying to get the kids all settled and the inclement weather added another layer of stress on our way out of town.

But once at the airport we began to relax and enjoy the trip.  Here we are taking off in Little Rock.  The boys were so kind to pull our carry-ons through the Houston airport; unfortunately we didn't have that direct flight we'd been hoping for and we ended up with a three hour layover, but without the kids, we enjoyed leisure conversations while awaiting our flight to the slopes.
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We landed in Utah on a beautiful afternoon. We easily got our bags, rental car and headed to Canyons Resort.  The ride truly was quick and easy from the airport to the mountain, which is a huge plus over the drive from Denver to the slopes.  Our first morning we were there started with a nice powdery snow.  The views were so pretty and some that I'd never seen before, like these gorgeous birch trees, I've never seen them in person and they dotted the mountains all over Utah.

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Canyons (a Vail property) was a really nice resort. At the base of the mountain they had musicians playing steel drums and guitars which was very entertaining and they passed out granola bars as we got on the lifts, overall, our experience there was terrific.  They even had an orange "bubble" lift that had heated seats and an orange "bubble" shield that kept us warm on the very long lift to the top; it quickly became my favorite one on the mountain.
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Each night we went into Park City for dinner (which was just a short 5-10 minute drive).  Main Street was lit up with whimsical lights and there were all kinds of fun local restaurants to choose from.  We ate at the Blue Iguana, Yuki Yami Sushi, Riverhorse and Fletchers which are all definite repeaters, you must try them if you go!
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I was reminded how much I truly enjoy snow skiing. It's something that Adam and I both really like to do and it's something, that as the kids get older, will be a fun experience to share as a family.  It's been two years now since we took the boys and both Adam and I, were inspired (as we saw all the little skiers) to get a trip planned for all of us to go next season.
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It was such a fun trip from start to finish.  We found a couple that we can snow ski with, talk to (with no lull in conversation), laugh and share with but let me not forget this--we vacationed with a couple who can dominate in Spades.  We had two nights of card playing and I must say my nature is quite competitive when it comes to cards.  Being brutally honest, there was one humbling moment when my attitude got the better of me.  I acted childishly and did in fact leave the table for a few minutes to calm down, then I returned to apologize thinking the game was certainly over for the night.  Poor Adam, Sarah and Chris had to endure my competitive nature and bad attitude.  They were all thoroughly gracious to me as we resumed the game.  Ross', hopefully I didn't scared you too badly, I do hope we can have a rematch here in Little Rock, I promise I won't leave the table next time!  It was brutal at times (as these cards show).  I often say, "I have a hand like a foot" which is what most of the rounds in Utah looked like..its still no excuse for bad behavior, so again, "I am so sorry for my bad behavior!"
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As we were trying to return all our gear it was snowing like crazy so our dear sweet husbands carried ALL the boots, poles, skies and helmets to the shop so that we didn't have to get out and ruin our hair before dinner.  How thoughtful are they?!!
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Our time away was refreshing and fun. I really enjoyed being with Adam and having friends along too, made it even better, we'll definitely have to do it again!  (I would say "TTFN"--tata for now-- to the snow and wintry weather, but Ole Man Winter seems to have followed us back to Arkansas.  We're now on our second day (for this week) of school closings….guess its an early start to the weekend, which I can't complain about!)
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