Monday, September 26, 2016

Squash Recipes

Ahh!  Fall is officially here and although I really wasn't ready for it, I'm embracing it now!  There's nothing like fall to make one slow down, smell the crisp air, and stop to notice the ever changing leaves.  Thanks to the lovely gift I got from hubby, I've even been able to enjoy a few of my most favourite drink...Pumpkin Spice Latte! 
Fall is also the time to use up all the various squash that grew in my garden.  Here are a few of our favourite recipes!
Zucchini Pizza
I love this recipe because it's so super simple and it's perfect for those super size zucchini that aren't good for anything else (other than relish)!  Simply grab all your favourite pizza toppings.  Wash the zucchini and scoop out all the seeds. I like to peel the zucchini first as a few of our kids have such difficulty chewing the tough skin.  I then sprinkle the zucchini with a bit of salt and some Epicure Pizza seasoning and place it on a tin foil lined baking sheet and bake at 375 F for about 20 mins. 
Then I add all of our favourite toppings and bake for an additional 20 mins or until the zucchini is cooked.  The time will vary, depending on the size of the zucchini.

This next recipe is my own creation.  The inspiration was a typical Ratatouille dish.  It's supper easy!
Simply slice and layer zucchini, other squash, peppers of any color, and tomatoes.  After each layer of zucchini, sprinkle on a little salt and Epicure's Balsamic Dressing spice. Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 350 F for about 30-45 mins.  Enjoy! 


Monday, September 12, 2016

Wren's 12th Birthday!

It's been a month since Wren's 12th birthday and I'm finally writing about it!  I really did have the best of intentions of posting the day after her birthday...but then real life happened! 
Like tonight during bath time the girls managed to use so much soap, that it filled the bathroom sink after they drained the tub!  :0
But I'm here now!  And it's not because there aren't a million things that need to be done.  Like processing the piles of tomatoes, or squash, or pumpkins; or doing laundry.  But alas, I've been instructed to put my feet up.  Literally!  Doctors orders!
I broke my little toe yesterday!  You may think I must have been doing some sort of physical activity like playing soccer.  But no!  It was the silliest of incidences!  I broke it stepping into the tub!  Bahahaha!  After the initial yelp of pain as I heard a snap, I took one look at my distorted toe and burst out laughing!  Marty and the kids took one look at my toe and their eyes popped.  But my hysterical laughing soon had them in a fit too!  Honestly!  Who breaks their toe stepping into the tub?!?!  And not only breaks it, but in such a freakishly ugly way too!?!  I couldn't stop giggling!  Not even at minor emergency!  I'm sure the doctors and nurses thought I had lost my mind!  It still makes me laugh! 
Anyhow...on to Wren's birthday!
Planning this sweet girls birthday was hard.  Fun, but hard.  Initially we struggled to know how to celebrate.  On the one hand we wanted to celebrate for all the lost birthdays...all 11 of them!  But on the other hand, we knew it would be overwhelming and it would set a precedent that we could never repeat.  We also wanted Wren to know how very valued and loved she is.  So we settled for a happy medium.  We did all the things we normally would do, and added a few extras.  For example, our kids get helium balloons and a piƱata once in their early years.  So we did both.
Wren's day started with breakfast in bed.  She about burst at the seams when presented with her very ordinary (for the most part) breakfast of  strawberries, toast with butter, and hot chocolate. Yes, she enjoys hot chocolate with marshmallows!  Something she wouldn't have seen as a treat when she first arrived at home.
Wren couldn't decide what kind of cake she wanted.  A princess one?  Yes!  A flower one? Yes!  A butterfly one? Yes!  A tinkerbell one? Yes!  We finally settled on a simple ombre flower cake.

We decorated the night before her big day so that she awoke to balloons and a birthday banner.  Of coarse by the time supper rolled around and the real celebrations began, we had to blow up more balloons as the helium had escaped most of the balloons!

We set out our finest china, added some candles, "diamonds" and flowers! I forgot to add the pretty pink napkins before I snapped the pics.  Oops!

 We added a China candle to the cake and sang happy birthday!  She loved this candle.  It pops open and a plays the "Happy Birthday" song.
I LOVE this pic! Such a silly goose!


And then we added a sparkly candle.  She kinda freaked at first but then giggled and giggled!

The kids each picked out a small gift for Wren.

Alex will hate me for posting this pic!  I think he had inhaled too much helium and couldn't stop smiling!  We had soooo much fun sucking in helium!  Oh the things we do for entertainment!

And Wren's very favourite gift! The one she kept begging for!  A horse of her own just like the other girls have!

There's so much I want to say about Wren.   She's about 4' 5", and weighs roughly 62 lbs. She's hit a plateau in physical growth.
In other aspects, she has grown in leaps and bounds!  Her language is amazing!  She still doesn't hear all the words correctly, but she's easier to understand and has more confidence in putting words into sentences.  She's learning about rules, what's appropriate, and what's not.  She's learning that when mom and dad say something...they mean it!  Like every 12 year old, she does constantly test the boundaries! And like any 12 year old, she can be super annoying and demanding.  Some days you'd think the first years of her life were rather high class!  She has an eye for beautiful things and popular things and wants all of the items! 
Wren is also incredibly sweet!  I know I use that word a lot to describe her, but it really is who she is!  She'll annoy us and then melt our hearts with her big grin, her constant "thank you mama!", "thank you daddy!" for every little thing we do! 
Wren loves the colors purple and pink.  She loves horse back riding and horses.  She loves coloring and cuddles.  She loves pretty dresses and her long hair.  She loves being outside and spends hours with our dog Pepper.  She absolutely LOVES swimming! She has learned to put her face in the water AND blow bubbles.  She has learned to move about quite efficiently in the water.  She plays with all 3 of her younger siblings.  Wren is beginning to connect more with Malia and slowly they are becoming very good friends.  Wren is currently in grade one and is doing well.  She has a very good sense of numbers, but struggles more with language related tasks.  I think it's more of a confidence/ESL issue than a cognitive delay.  Her goals are to walk and be like her mama!  (What a freaky thought! lol!)
I stand amazed at where we are today.  How God has brought this incredibly beautiful child into our lives, when it really was not in our plans.  How He is helping us deal with all the hard.  How He is slowly helping us bond and become family in more than just the legal form.  Trust me, one does not simply "fall in love" with a child.  Nor does a child simply "fall in love" with you.  Sure a part of you does, but love is so complicated in so many ways, even though it so super simple.  We continue to consciously work hard to bond and grow as a family.  Often that means missing out on things, and taking a step back from our normal activities.  But experience has taught us it will be well worth it in the long run!  There are so many incredible moments.  Moments where Marty and I look at each other and wonder "how did we get so lucky?!?"  Moments where I want to shout for joy that "my cup runneth over!"
I am so very grateful to call Wren my daughter!  And we couldn't be prouder of her!  I can't wait to see where we will be a year from now!