First Week

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My big, handsome boys have conquered their first week back at school, the first week of THIRD GRADE!! (how are they in third grade??!!!)

We have had the same routine for the past four years so even on the first day of school they woke up and began to get ready for their morning. Since we had a short summer, they really didn’t lose that which I am thankful for. I can’t do tears first thing in the morning, ya’ll.

Flashback: First day of second grade.

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They were so little then. I guess I’m going to say that every year when I look at old photos. I’m so proud of my little guys and so glad they had a good week.

Do you still get excited when it’s back to school time, even if it’s been years since you were in school? I do!!

School’s Out for the Summer!

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Last Friday was the final day of 2nd grade for my big littles. The year went by pretty quickly, and I felt like this by the end, but since I am on the PTO board it was a huge final push to pull off the biggest party we had all year–The End of Year Bash!

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We did silly huge projects like candy balls and staying at the school all night to pop corn and make hundreds of bags of cotton candy. (so many that the machine conked out, hopefully not permanently) Even though we were all tired, it was so amazing to come together to make something fun and awesome happen for our kids. I love being a part of the community that we are building.

We had face painting, a dance party, a really amazing photo booth, sno-cones, plus the aforementioned cotton candy and popcorn. The kids were pretty amped up all day, and so was I after drinking a giant coffee:

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I had such a fun time volunteering and seeing how much fun the kids were having, and getting to hang out with my guys:

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I was so energized by the party and the caffeine that I decided to drive alone with all 3 boys to Dallas for my family’s memorial. I am so glad I went, but on the drive home after school to pack I was definitely wondering if I had lost my mind.

I had to stop by Target to get my guys some dressy-ish attire, all of their black pants and polos are pretty tired after being worn to school all year. That required another huge coffee.

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And then we were ready to hit the road.

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The service was lovely and my boys were not as weirded out by it as I had thought they might be. They were both very sweet and said they were happy to learn so much about family members that were such awesome people. It felt really good to hear them say that.

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Dealing with another loss kicked off a huge wave of processing things I have gone through in my life and really evaluate where I am at and who I am. It’s intense when things like that happen suddenly, especially if/when the circumstances were very tragic, like they were in this case.

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After our quick trip I dropped my boys off at their dad’s house to start his summer visitation with them. It was very jarring to be on this hurried trip, then have to say goodbye for a couple of weeks suddenly. I didn’t really get a good chance to work up to it in my mind, so it still feels weird to not hear their sweet little chipmunk voices at home.

In some ways I am thankful for the chance to get to regroup and plan our summer activities. I definitely feel like I am scrambling to get back to normal life, to work, to the whole balancing act. If I had to try and plan a fun (yet educational!) summer break right now I may actually fail miserably.

I definitely want to do this, then make a list of things I hope to do when the guys return. I’m looking forward to a summer filled with love, laughter, swimming, exploring, learning, crafting and relaxing.

I hope you are planning a summer filled with love and family too!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

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I was looking forward to making these all week. I had plans to surprise my honey with breakfast before I had to go to work for a bit.

My plans were thrown off first by my sweetie getting sick mid-week, then by a surprising and very weird tragedy that happened to my extended family on Friday.

I almost didn’t make these at all.

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I’m so glad I did take the time out for this project, I was a complete nervous wreck and pretty much just pacing around my house.

Cooking soothes my soul.

I had to slow down and breathe to measure, whisk and mix. Midway through the process (which I was taking my time with since Baby G was down for a nap) I felt stress and tension melt away.

As each element of the recipe came together I felt my thoughts slowing down for the first time all day.

I decide to give making my own butter a try, something I have always wanted to do but had put off because I thought it would be a pain.

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It was so hard to keep mixing the heavy cream after it became gorgeous, perfect whipped cream. I had already added vanilla and some lemon simple syrup (leftover from the candied lemon peel I made for the Lemon Drop cake) and it was heavenly. I bit the bullet and kept mixing.

I was surprised to hear sloshing in the mixing bowl!

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It made exactly one cup of buttermilk, enough for the griddlecakes!

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The cakes cooked up quickly and beautifully. The edges crisped up but the centers were fluffy and not at all gritty or heavy like I was imagining. They were perfect. Even my poor sick husband enjoyed them.

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I topped them with chopped pecans and maple syrup. The recipe made about ten, I used slightly more batter than 1/4 cup.

We at half of them and I’m freezing the other half for school day breakfast for my littles.

I would definitely make these again! (Even though some sizzling hot butter jumped out of the pan and burned my hand when I was cooking the last griddle cake!)

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Head on over for the recipe and to see how everyone else fared!

Duke of Earl Cookies: The Sugar Cube

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I love tea. I really do. You wouldn’t know it to talk to me because all I talk about is my love affair with the dark mistress, coffee. But there was a time when I didn’t drink any coffee at all but instead had a nice, steamy mug of Earl Grey tea each morning instead.

I love the idea of incorporating tea into baked goods, and if I’m not mistaken, I’ve attempted to make chai cookies before, to not-so-great results.

But I am loving this cook book so far so I have a good feeling that the recipe would turn out well. I have a few projects on the list first, but I love having small treats to nibble in the mornings when I am drinking coffee and who knows, this could inspire me to go back to tea…

So which side are you on? Team Coffee or Team Tea?