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Staff Lunch – Salad Bar

Staff Lunch – Salad Bar

Summertime means I have two extra helpers for staff lunch!  Hooray!

Here’s what we had this month:

A huge pile of salad ingredients

Basil Orange Dressing

Buttermilk Rolls

Cracked Wheat Rolls

Apricots (Sprouts has good sales!)

Citrus Butter Cookies – This is a Pioneer Woman recipe, so you really just have to go to her blog to find it.  Partly because that is the kind, right, copyright-friendly thing to do.  And partly because she writes recipes way better than I do!!

If you only make one thing, make the dressing.  You won’t regret it, even if it takes a whole basil plant.  I promise.

Nathan’s Hero

Nathan’s Hero

One more “student work” post from Nathan…

Hero Project

My hero is my little sister, Katya. She is a charismatic person who loves acrobatics, art, and people. She is my hero because she proves that the best gifts come in small packages and she shows me an example of generosity. She is generous, creative, sweet, adorable, innocent and brilliant and she shows me how to have fun even when everything seems serious. She is very creative and adds new things to playtime every day. She is very responsible and she is similar to Aurelianus [a character in the book this pieces was an assignment for] because she loves dogs, she is a lover of harmony, and she loves magic. She also is very observant and knows lots of things. She is different than Aurelianus because she does not have a very conventional mind she has more of a creative one. (She also doesn’t have a fur coat that changes colors, wink, wink.) Katya helps so many people have love and joy in their lives. She gives gifts and smiles at what people say. She fills people’s lives with creative ideas. Katya and I are alike because we both love each other very much. We are different because she is very creative but I like orderly, conventional thinking.

Nathan’s Seasons

Nathan’s Seasons

Today’s “student work” is from Nathan.  Enjoy!

For the full effect, you should click on this PDF (SeasonsSm) so you can see the colors and photos that Nathan chose to go with his writing.


The field slept under the fresh blanket of snow. A cardinal twittered a few notes and then was silent. The church bells rang and the children shouted as snowballs were flung about. But the plants still slept on and on and on. This is winter.


The field sprung into spring as flowers burst into bloom and birds twittered among the trees. Church bells rang signaling the Easter service. Children romped in the spring sun. Easter eggs popped open and squeals came from the finders. This is spring.


Bright flowers twirled in the magenta sunset. People ran out with huge boxes of fireworks to light for the Fourth of July lighting. WHIZZ-POP there goes one rocket. PHEEE! a screaming one went! This is summer.


A football landed in front of a tree. Mr. Squirrel ran to his stash of nuts. A cool breeze wafted through the trees. Some childish laughter rang in Mrs. Bear’s ears. The world was slowing down again. This is autumn. (fall)

God made the seasons to help us enjoy his creation.


Spring Break (Catching Up)

Spring Break (Catching Up)

How did I miss posting about our spring break road trip?!!  We traveled to St. Louis (as we have done before) and took with us special guests Uncle Nate and Aunt Kerry (which we haven’t done before).  I suppose it is a bit late to write a long play-by-play of our visit, but it is worth noting that we went and were SO glad we did.  We visited some old favorite places and some new spots, but were especially happy about having rich times with so many different parts of our family.

A Modern Day Knight (Catching-Up)

A Modern Day Knight (Catching-Up)

I have a young man finishing sixth grade!  So many changes are on the horizon, and I am both nervous and excited about that.

One of the changes are are feeling right now is the shift from “elementary” to “junior high.”  It will happen this fall for school, but this spring it takes place at church.  This was Nathan’s final year to attend our Wednesday night clubs program, and he ended with the long-anticipated crest ceremony.  Each year the 6th grade boys select images and colors and create a wooden crest that represents things that are important to them.  They present their crest at the final night of clubs, talk about what they chose, and then hear words of blessing and a prayer from their parents.  It is really cool and really important!

Here is Nathan with his crest..

It is amazing to think that the boy who was a baby when this curriculum was designed is now graduating from the program.  I am so grateful for the men who worked with Than to put this together, and for all the godly leaders who have feed truth into my son during his years under their leadership.

Here is Nathan talking about his crest:

Recital (Catching-Up)

Recital (Catching-Up)

Baylor Music Studio Spring Recital–cookies, kids, parents, music–always somewhat the same, but always new too!

Nathan and Katya played a duet together for the first time, and Nathan’s clarinet teacher came for one of the performances to play a clarinet duet with him as well.  We sure heard some good music from so many students!

Oh, and in case you are wondering, the cookie selections included…


Coconut Macaroons

Sugar Cookie Sandwiches with Strawberry Icing

Pecan Brownies

Raspberry Oatmeal Squares

Toffee Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Orange Ricotta Cookies

Almond Cream Cheese Bars

Classic Chocolate Chippers with Walnuts

Easter (Catching-Up)

Easter (Catching-Up)

Wow, I haven’t downloaded pictures from my phone or posted on the blog in 3 months.  What happened?!!

I suppose there are plenty of explanations–life happened, work and church and school and family and whatever else.  The kids are bigger, they aren’t here doing cute stuff every 5 minutes all day long, and there are so many good things to spend time on.

However, for my faithful followers there are still some fun photos and seasonal events to share.  I’ll try to get caught up and break the silence so it isn’t so daunting to post over the summer!

Here is Catching-Up #1–Easter pics.  I’m not sure they need much explanation, they are what they are!


Pasta with Sausage and Fennel

Pasta with Sausage and Fennel

Another random holiday photo share, and another recipe at the end.  Today’s pictures feature our gingerbread construction.  First, the gingerbread items arrive in the mail.  They are safely stored away until the ideal moment arrives.

On a calm afternoon, it’s time to pair off and go to work.  Two teams, two gingerbread projects, and the last of the coloring tablecloth to catch all the crumbs!

The finished products are proudly displayed for quite a while (although the jelly beans start disappearing remarkably quickly…)

Good work, builders!

Print Recipe
Pasta with Sausage and Fennel
This pasta recipe isn't that hard to assemble, and the fennel and fun pasta shapes make it a good meal for entertaining guests. Don't be afraid of fennel's licorice-y reputation. Its flavor mellows nicely when cooked, and no one at our table was bothered by it. This dish is also surprisingly good as a leftover, which is unusual for pasta.
Course Main Dish
Course Main Dish
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet or electric frying pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and brown, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon.
  3. Cut thick stalks off the fennel bulb (reserving leafy fronds for garnish). Remove the core of the fennel bulb and slice the rest into thin strips. Slice the onion half thinly as well. Halve the cherry tomatoes or chop regular tomatoes.
  4. Add fennel and onion to sausage. Cook 6 minutes and reduce heat to medium.
  5. Stir in chopped tomatoes. Cook 3 minutes or just until warmed. Garnish with fennel fronds if desired.
  6. Serve immediately with plenty of Parmesan cheese.
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Twas the Night Before School Started…

Twas the Night Before School Started…

After titling this post, I briefly considered writing it in the style of Clement Moore’s famous poem, and then quickly discarded the idea as involving entirely too much thinking.  Sorry, my creativity didn’t make it past the title!  But, now that my “children are nestled all snug in their beds” I decided to take a quick moment to share some Christmas memories before life lurches back to full swing in the morning.

Our break has been delightfully full of an excellent mix of events and relaxation (and sometimes both at the same moment.)  The first week was more crowded with holiday festivities including various groups of family and friends, while the second week was more laid back with lots of game playing, playdates, and hanging around home.  Here are a few of my favorite pics:

Nathan and Katya are now professional Christmas card assemblers.  Keep them in mind for next year’s holiday mailings!

One child was Gabriel in the annual Christmas pageant, and the other was a sheep.  Can you tell which was which?  (We will be hosting private viewings of the DVD for any and all interested parties, popcorn and hot tea included in the price of admission)

Our annual light-looking drive is always a highlight.  Eating drive-through fast food in the car while roaming in search of some of the best lights Than can find is always an evening I look forward to 🙂  We enjoyed sharing the trip with a few extra guests, and by the end Katya just had to give up and go to sleep beside me.

SO MANY kind boxes arrived in the mail from various loved family members, and we spread out the fun by opening each one at a separate time.  Love it!!

Our Christmas Day gathering was a simple and cozy one, featuring baked potato soup, yummy extras brought by my aunt and cousin, and good time with various people from both sides of the family.  I am so grateful for each year I get to celebrate with these beloved people.

Our holiday time has been a season of joy, family, warmth, and hope.  There is so much to be grateful for, and all of it is God’s rich and undeserved grace.

Annual Cookie Review

Annual Cookie Review

In case you haven’t noticed, the last twelve posts have been a very brief monthly wrap-up combined with a cookie recipe.  Here is a list of all the posts:

January-Hot Cocoa Cookies

February-Raspberry Almond Thumbprints

March-Cream Cheese Almond Bars

April-Sugar Cookie Bears

May-Peppermint Swirls

June-Candy Cane Thumbprints

July-Orange Shortbread

August-Mexican Wedding Cakes

September-Peanut Butter Pretzels

October-Citrus Gumdrops

November-Chocolate Crinkles


There are several other holiday treats that didn’t make this year’s list, so if you ate something at my house and I didn’t share the recipe, let me know and I’ll put it up!