Ninja Cookies

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For Christmas, my friend gave me a set of ninja cookie cutters. As soon as we saw them we knew we’d have to use them to make cookies for a belt graduation at taekwondo.

Ninja Cookies

We made two batches of gluten free sugar cookies using a recipe I found on Momables (and by “we” I mean I told Cameron what the ingredients and measurements were and he mixed up the dough). We used Namaste gluten free flour from Costco.

While Jamie and the big kids were at taekwondo, I rolled out the dough and baked the cookies. We ended up with 54 cookies! When they got home, Ani and Cameron decorated all our little ninja people.

Ninja Cookies

I was nervous both because it’s been years since I’ve made cut out cookies and because it was my first time making gluten free cookies. I needn’t have worried. They turned out adorable AND they tasted delicious. In fact, just today someone told me she tried one and was pleasantly surprised how good it was because all gluten free cookies she’s had before have been dry and crunchy. She said these were nice and soft and moist and she thought even better than “regular” cookies. So that was pretty awesome.

The kids made 6 specific cookies into our family. Three of them usually wear their black leadership uniforms to class so they spread chocolate frosting on those. They put the correct color belts on each of us and Ani even put on the yellow leadership stripe on the ones she did and the regular black stripe on Adrian’s like is on his belt (when he eventually tests again and moves up a belt, he’ll get a leadership belt like the rest of us).

Ninja Cookies

I’m kinda obsessed with food

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Sometimes I feel like I am obsessed with food. I’m always thinking ahead a day or two to determine if I need to do something special for our meals. Do I need to make tortillas? Do I need to make bread? What flours do I need? Do I have them already? It’s pretty crazy (but I am getting the hang of cooking gluten free and my oldest, rather picky, son even said our meals aren’t so bad after all… though he does miss pasta!).

Writing With Skill

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The single best curriculum choice for this school year is definitely Writing With Skill. Cameron is doing level 1 this year. It is amazing.

For most of the year so far, Cameron’s been narrating or outlining one day, writing one day, learning writing skills one day, and putting writing topics into practice one day. This week he started literary analysis/criticism, which he will continue through most of the rest of the school year (the last few weeks will focus on research and research reports). For that, he reads on day one, we discussed using literary terms day two, he wrote an essay answering specific questions day three, and day four is focused on literary language.

I really wavered on whether to get Writing With Skill for Cameron given his writing issues. Boy am I glad I did! It is hard. He has to really work. But what he is producing is utterly amazing. His writing skills have improved dramatically over the course of this year. Writing With Skill is truly the best middle grade writing program I have found (I like IEW, too, but, as the teacher, find WWS to be much easier to use and the quality of writing produced by most kids using WWS to be better).

I did it!

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I utterly failed once at making gluten free tortillas. The second time I tried soft paleo tortillas and, though I made them too thick, they tasted very good. Today I made Gluten Free on a Shoestring’s tortillas. I followed the instructions exactly including using Better Batter flour (I wanted to give myself every possible chance to be successful this time around.

I did it!

I used the bottom of a mixing bowl as a template for making them circular. I ended up with 16 tortillas about 4″ in diameter. A bit small, but they worked just fine. And they tasted good! I used them to make avocado hummus quesadillas much to Ani’s delight (that was one her favorite lunches pre-gluten free).

I did it!

Cameron said they were really good. That’s truly high praise since Cameron thinks very few things I make are really good. I’ll call this one a complete win!

Utah Randomness

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1. When you come upon a big open space while walking around an airport, it simply begs for you to use it as a place to do your form and some kicks.
Utah Randomness

2. Waking up at 5:30 almost every morning to walk nearly 3 miles in the freezing cold is a bit insane, but also means you will come home a pound lighter than when you left.

3. Climbing 4 1/2 feet up a wall does not mean you almost died even if it feels like you did. Climbing is hard. My best friend is amazing to watch climb. I’m pretty sure she’s SpiderWoman. (Ani made it up significantly farther than the 4 1/2 feet I did.)
Utah Randomness

4. I did not need to worry about feeding Ani in the airport or in Utah. Many restaurants are glad to accommodate someone who needs to be gluten free and/or have gluten free options right on their menu.

5. Seeing the Salt Lake Temple up close for the first time is rather anti-climactic. Even though I know it is huge, it looks so small stuck in the middle of downtown with skyscrapers surrounding it.
Utah Randomness

6. At night and from the right angle, the Salt Lake Temple is absolutely gorgeous and amazing, however.
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7. I like the Christus in the DC Temple’s Visitor’s Center better than the one in Salt Lake. The DC one has a hint of a smile while the Salt Lake one looks like he is a bit mad. Getting to the one in Salt Lake is way cooler, though.

8. The acoustics in the Tabernacle are fabulous.

9. Taking a tour of the Conference Center is absolutely worth it. Just being in the auditorium, where so many general authorities sit at least twice a year, is incredible. Plus the view from the roof can’t be beat.
Utah Randomness

10. Witnessing a 9 year old be touched by the Spirit of Elijah while at the Family History Library is very cool.

11. The Logan Temple looks like a castle.
Utah Randomness

12. I have trouble filling my lungs at 4300 feet.

13. The people across from the Bountiful Temple who have a TARDIS in their driveway are, clearly, awesome.
Utah Randomness

14. Seeing old friends (my young women president when I was a Laurel and her daughters who are close to my age) makes me happy. Meeting old friends in person for the first time (I’ve known them on-line for about a decade) is so much fun.

15. Temple hunting is a most excellent pastime. I have now gone from going inside of two temples (DC and San Antonio) and seeing one from very, very far away (Salt Lake) to going inside of three temples (added Logan), seeing one from far away (Ogden), seeing one from the not so far away road (Brigham City), touching two (Salt Lake and Oquirrh Mountain), and seeing three more up close (Bountiful, Jordan River, and Draper).
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16. I never dreamed I’d go to Utah in February and not take my winter coat.

17. Even when you’re only able to get together every 2 1/2 to 3 years, it’s so nice to have such a wonderful best friend.
Utah Randomness