Monday, January 31, 2011

Princess Violet

To say Violet is a morning person is an understatement.  Regardless of what time she goes to bed, she is always up going full throttle by 6:00 a.m.  Not only is her personality exuberant, but so are her choices of clothes and accessories.  She is always fully clothed when she greets me in the morning, albeit in dress-up clothes.
 Don't forget the always popular but short-lived lipstick (chapstick).
 Oh Violet Grace, you color our world!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dark Chocolate Cherry Clusters




These may look like No Bake Cookies.  But don't be fooled. They are actually dark chocolate crunch-a-liciousness with bursts of dried cherries.  Pure heaven.  I had to be sure to make these the day before we were having friends over so that I didn't single-handedly polish them all off myself. 
This is based on this recipe by Meal Makeover Moms.  Since it came from this website, it somehow makes me feel better about the nutritional value.  We started by melting some dark chocolate with double chocolate bittersweet chips:
 
Violet was my sous chef of the day.  She enjoyed putting the dried cherries in the bowl and mixing everything together.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Clusters

-3 cups cornflakes

-1/2 cup dried cherries

-1/4 cup lightly toasted pecans, coarsely chopped 

-10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1¾ cups)

1. In a large bowl, break the cornflakes into small pieces with your fingers. Add the raisins and pecans and toss together.

2. Place 2/3 cup chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add remaining chocolate, stirring until melted. Pour over cornflake mixture and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold just until cereal, cherries, and pecans are completely coated.

3. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto two parchment-lined baking sheets and let set in a cool, dry place, 1 hour.

Performances

This year, the girls have been studying American history.  I taught them the Fifty States that Rhyme song that I learned in grade school.  Today they sang it for their friends at homeschool coop:



Violet was dismayed that her sisters were in the spotlight so she wanted an impromptu performance.  By this time they had a microphone and that put a little bit of stage fright in the child.  This video clip was after she had stood up front for about 20 seconds and finally decided to try a few phrases of Twinkle Twinkle:


Not to be outdone by her sisters, she also volunteered to hold one of the posters for our flag salutes this morning.  In case you were wondering, Violet's shoes and usually socks also come off within 5 minutes of arrival at coop.  Sometimes you just have to pick your battles.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Mimi

Mommy, Aliah, Violet and I got to go on vacation to the lake to celebrate Mimi's birthday the past few days.  My favorite part was seeing my other dog, Tony.  Mommy says he is Mimi's dog, but Mimi says she will share with me:

We took our snow suits and spent a lot of time rolling big snow balls down the hill.  Then Grandpa figured out that we could help clear off the drive way by making snowballs in the driveway.  That Grandpa Mike, he is pretty smart. 

 Here's a picture of him, but he walked away before my, I mean Mommy's camera, clicked.
Here's Mimi with her pet owl.  It is supposed to scare away the woodpeckers, but I don't think it works because it's not real.  It looks a lot like the owl picture I drew for Mimi for her birthday.  I also wrote her a $1,000 check because it was her birthday.  (We wanted to do a treasure hunt for Mimi with a surprise at the end.  I asked Grandpa what Mimi liked and he said "diamonds".  I asked Mommy if she had any diamonds I could hide for Mimi's birthday treasure hunt.  She said she only had one and she wouldn't let me have it.)
Here's a frog on a rocking chair at the lakehouse.  He has his own chair that is just his size.  Mimi has red chairs that are just my size too.  She also has lots of toys for us there too.  Violet spent all of her time down in the toy room while we were there.

My Mommy after her and Tony took a walk by the lake:
Speaking of walks, we asked Grandpa Mike to take us for a hike.  I got really tired about half way.  The snow was pretty deep.  We walked down to the dock.  
Here I am on the stairs to the dock.  
The dock is pulled out of the water for the winter.  We checked it to make sure it was okay.  This summer we can jump off of it and go swimming.




We had a really good time.  I think we should celebrate everyone's birthday this way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Move Over Rover


Here's is one of Aliah's favorite Christmas gifts, a RC Snap Rover.  It is similar to her other snap circuit set, but this is actually a remote control car.
She can build several different types of cars that all function differently.  Lots of fun, especially for little girls who have and engineer Daddy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cheesy Spinach Bites


Our Aunt Rita made spinach balls for Christmas and they were very good.  In my efforts to eat a dark leafy green everyday, I have looked for new ways to serve spinach (not all of us can stomach a spinach salad every single day, like my husband).  I found this recipe over on Meal Makeover Moms website:


These balls come out crispy and delicious.  I even froze half of the recipe, thawed them and they reheated beautifully.  I added this recipe to my list of freezer recipes.  
  • Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (we like Pepperidge Farm made with white & whole wheat bread)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (I also threw in some wheat germ)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two large, rimmed baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Drain the spinach well by pressing in a colander and using paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  3. Crush enough herb stuffing to make 2 cups of crumbs. In a large bowl, combine with the spinach, stuffing mix, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, eggs, flaxseed, oil, butter, onion powder, thyme, and pepper and mix very well.
  4. Roll the mixture into 48 balls (about 1 to 1 ¼-inches in diameter) and place on the prepared sheets. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 10 minutes.

Mixing, before adding the eggs:

balls before they went into the oven:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Day!


What does a snow day mean at the Haigh House?  A day off of school- nope!  A morning of school then an afternoon of playing in the snow.  I took the girls to the big hill in town and it was a total blast.  Haven't had that much fun sledding since I was in junior high sledding down the big hill by the high school. 
 



 Violet walked up the big hill numerous times without any helpl- she runs with the big kids now!


Voilet after she face-planted at the bottom of the hill (I was on the back of her sled and together we go pretty fast).  She was trying to hold herself together and not cry.  She was such a good sport.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blessings


Today I am counting my blessings.  First off, my incredibly talented daughter whom unbeknownst to me created a new crocheted necklace design just for me.  This is what she does in her down-time.  I love the new necklace!  It has four different necklaces of different lengths with small glass seed beads of purple, green, and bronze.  Thanks Aliah!

Secondly, I am thankful for my friend Heather and her encouragement to join an accountability group.  We are using the website Good Morning Girls as a springboard and embarking on a scriptural study together.  We are using Facebook to share our thoughts about the passage we read each day and to offer each other encouragement in our daily lives.  I am in a group with a few other homeschooling Mamas who face many of the same challenges.    We are studying James, one of my favorite books in the Bible:

James 1: 2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its
 work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Out and About

We have been making up for all of that time being cooped up at home.  First it was the Topeka Symphony:


The girls were impressed with what they could someday be a part of if they stick to the violin and cello.  Turns out my old orchestra instructor, Bretta Bloomberg was in the symphony.
Annabelle, who is a lot silly, sitting with her best bud Dawson, who is a little camera shy.

Aliah hanging with her best bud Liam.


We ditched the Punkettes with my Sister and Ricky and I hit the Plaza for a romantic night to celebrate our 15th anniversary.  First up, the Melting Pot (us in our private room):
One of the four courses.

We used our iPhone's stopwatch feature to time how long we cooked our meat.  Self-admitted geeks, that's what we are.

Then a night at the bed and breakfast Southmoreland on the Plaza.  It was beautiful snow-covered with Christmas lights (the Plaza lights were up through the weekend), but I forgot to take a picture so this spring one will have to do.

Ricky starting the fire in our room:
 

We got home and we were tired.  The girls had spent the morning at Monkey Buziness with their Aunt and Uncle and were physically exhausted.  Then my good friend Rebecca called and said she had free tickets to Sesame Street Live.  Couldn't pass that up, so we loaded up and headed back to KC:
 


Obviously Sesame Street is not one of the shows we DVR for the kids.  Violet knew the characters Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster, but that was about all.  I have deprived them.  :(

Despite being very tired, my three little grouches enjoyed the show. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Annabelle's Love Letters


Annabelle loves to express her affections through drawings and pictures.
Here's a pictures she made of her Aunt Caylyn.  Notice her head is the shape of a heart.
 The inside of the card reads, "Do you know you're special to God Caylyn?  You are very special.  Love, Annabelle."

 Since Annabelle was spending the night at her Aunt and Uncles', she wanted to bring all the members of the family something.  This Wild Pig picture was for their dog Thumper.
 
and a picture for Uncle Chad, who interestingly resembles Spongebob:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Violet School

This weekend on my hit-the-Dollar Store-before-it-snows shopping trip, I picked up a few extra dollar items.  One was a foam puzzle for Violet.  Since we use a similar lower-case version of the same puzzle with Annabelle to work on blending, Violet was very excited to have her own letter puzzle.
 When I got home, I noticed it was the Spanish alphabet:

Kids often are most motivated to learn the letters in their own name first.  To work on letter recognition, Violet and I take out the letters in her name:

Then I lay the letters out in order, pointing to them while we spell her name (she has been able to say the letters in her name for about 6 months now).  After that I show her how to trace each letter while we say it.  Then I have her trace each letter with her finger:

Before expecting her to identify the letters in her name by naming them, we are tackling identifying them receptively.  I lay out two letters and ask her to give me one "Violet, give me the O (and look cute for the camera)"
Then after she can select the correct letters from pairs, I move on to include all of the letters of her name, out of order.  After a few weeks of this, I expect she will be recognizing and even naming the letters in her name.