Friday, September 28, 2012

Maddie's Ballet and Tap Class

Maddie is just loving her tap and ballet class at the Audrey Moore Rec Center. We're really thankful that a bunch of 4-year-old girlfriends from church have joined in the class, too.
Maddie is wearing pink with no tights (tights make her too hot :) 

All these movies are for the grandmas and grandpas :) I love watching these little cuties!

 Savannah wanted to join in!
 All the girls were thrilled to strap on the tap shoes!

The tap shoes were a bit louder!
We had a special surprise visitor today...Daddy! He showed up during class to watch Maddie!
(You can see him holding Savannah's hand). 
Brooke is holding Maddie's hand (she's a sweet friend from church).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fun Times

We had such fun with Grandma and Grandpa Robert this last week!
 We enjoyed ice cream in Old Town.
 I was thrilled to go on our first hike since moving to VA. We went to a place called Great Falls. The "hike" was easy enough for Maddie and Savannah to do most of it on their own. It was around 4 miles.
 What a beautiful day!
 We spotted a blue-eyed snake!

 Jesse and his mom!
 What a great day!
We miss you two already!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Grandma and Grandpa

We're excited to have Grandma and Grandpa here for the week!
 Here's Jesse and his mom on our walk to Green Springs this morning.
The girls are having so much fun with Grandma and Grandpa!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like...Fall!!!

Fall happens to be my favorite season. I just love the cooler weather, leaves changing colors, back to school prep, cooking, and getting ready for all the holidays.  I'm so thankful that Virginia actually has this season, we kinda missed it every year in Cali.
 A couple friends came over last week, and each of us made this wreath. Nothing like hot glue and felt to bring in the fall season :)

Here's another wreath I put up this week.

 Savannah and Maddie made some door hangers this week...we had fun crafting together.
 Daddy and Neal Dillard cut down the trees that had fallen recently from a storm. Now we have more fire wood for cold nights. 
Maddie and Savvy raked and cleaned up their play structure. There were tons of acorns and leaves all over it.
Maddie has started a couple "classes" this week. We went to Hidden Pond for a lesson on Butterflies. The kids learned about their lifecycle, went outside to catch butterflies, and made a craft. We also are starting ballet, and have a library story time on Thursday mornings.
Picture of Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini Recipe
Tonight I made Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crustinis. It was delish. 
Here's the recipe:



  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 to 8 cups)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/2 baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) grated fontina cheese
  • Kosher salt


In an 8-quart stockpot, add the butter and oil and melt together over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the squash and the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the sage. Continue to boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the soup warm over low heat.
For the crostini: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sage. Sprinkle the cheese on top and season with salt, to taste. Bake until the cheese has melted and the bread is light golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cheese crostini.
Cook's Note: The cooked vegetable mixture can also be pureed (after cooling for about 5 minutes) by ladling, in batches, into a food processor or blender and blended until smooth.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quality Kids Music and Books

I Love the Seeds Family Worship music. It's simply Scripture put to music. My girls love it and are beginning to hide God's Word in their hearts from singing and dancing to these songs.

The Donkey Who Carried a King

I also really like the children's books written by R.C. Sproul. It's deep theology and Biblical truths brought to a child's level. He's written quite a few books that you can find on Amazon. We only have this one. I think the others are geared to older kids.
Sammy and His ShepherdMaddie enjoys hearing this story as well. There are so many rich parallels between Sammy the sheep and his Shepherd and our relationship with God in this book. This has already encouraged some great conversations.
Great Elephant, The: An Illustrated AllegoryMy mom just read this book to Madison when we visited, and I was surprised how she understood the truth talked about.

I just thought I'd share some of the good books and music we've found for our kids. These are great gift ideas for Christmas coming up, too! Don't worry, I'm sure our kids will get more than books for Christmas! :) If you have more materials to share, I'd love to hear what they are!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Papa and Mimi's

We had a great time staying at my parents' house in Cali. It was just like when I was growing up!
 Papa makes the very BEST Mickey Mouse pancakes :)
 Beautiful Cali sky from the backyard. 
 Pool time!
 Aunt Dottie sweetly watched all the activity.
It was hard to say goodbye, but we're thankful for the time we had together!!
Thanks Mom and Dad for the fun times!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Horsing Around

One other place we visited in Cali was Griffith Park. It's a fun place for kids.
 I love the look on Savannah's face :)
 Maddie was able to gallop!
 Then we rode a little train with Mimi.
My train partner.
 Another day we went to the Valencia Mall to ride the carousel and have lunch.
Aunt Dottie was a trooper with all the walking!

Monday, September 10, 2012


We've had some crazy weather since living in Virginia! I'm a CA girl, and not used to weather, so the power outages and trees falling have been a big deal to me :) We had a pretty strong storm on Saturday afternoon. Several of our friends lost power, but we didn't this time. That night these two trees came down...what a sound they made!
 Here's Maddie checking it out the next morning.
 The shed is a bit crunched. We can't open the door right now.
 And the girls are taking a break from playing on the swings and slide :)
 We're really thankful the trees fell this way when no one was out there. We're also thankful they didn't hit our house!
The neighborhood kids were still all playing in our yard...thanks to the huge trampoline!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

California Dreamin'

We just got back from a trip in our old stomping grounds...sunny California!
Here's one of my favorite places that I've been going to since I was little: Paradise Cove
I love this Malibu view!

 Even Aunt Dottie came to the beach!
Ready for shell collecting!
 We found some fun tide pools.

Papa and Savannah walked the beach, too.
Savannah made "pie" for all of us!

My beach bum.
I think she looks pretty good for 100 years old!
The girls didn't want to stop playing together in the sand for dinner, so they just ate sand!
No, not really. We had a delicious fish dinner at the restaurant there.
More photos of CA to come!