Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hiking South Mountain | Spring 2014

On Sunday I went hiking up South Mountain with my mom.  We took in all of what spring has to offer in the desert and boy was it beautiful.  I just LOVE that my mom is into photography like me.  We both brought our cameras and got a little snap happy.

Hiking with my Nikon...  It goes just about everywhere with me.

My mom waiting for me while I lagged behind taking pictures. Can you see her?

The ocotillos are in full bloom and oh so beautiful.

Almost to the top...

Looking northwest over the trail behind me.

She's on "top of the world"...

"We must become the change we want to see" 

~ Gandhi

Before we headed back down, my mom took this video of the coyotes howling below us.  I always love to hear the coyotes, but it is kind of an eerie sound.

Looking over downtown Phoenix, on our way back.  It was getting dark out... We couldn't stop taking pictures of the gorgeous sunset.

This gorgeous shot was taken by my mom...

Desert Sunset 
(prints available for purchase)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dancing with the Saints | Vineyard Ward

 Last night the girls performed at our church dance show called "Dancing with the Saints".  They danced to the song "Dancing in the Show Tonight" from last spring's dance recital at Tempe Dance West.  Four of the six girls performed the dance in the show last year and two of them joined us to do it this year.

L to R: Clara, Mylah, Tyler, Gemma & Aiyana (missing Seyla)

Dana performed a Native American grass dance as well.

Dana, Aiyana & Clara...

The girls did pretty good considering they only practiced once, all together, and the song was a longer version of what they did last year... hence the confusion at the end.  I couldn't figure out how to shorten the song and get the up note at the end for their cue to end the dance so I left it long.  I probably should have figured out how to shorten it so they weren't all over the place a the end... ha, ha.  They are cute!

I was proud of Dana, he hasn't done any Native American dancing in over two years plus he had a kink in his neck last night, but he still performed and did well.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

School Stuff | March 2014

The school celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday by doing Dr. Seuss book reports this month.  Aiyana's book was "Hop on Pop".  The kindergartners had to make a prop, a poster or a costume to display in a parade.  Aiyana's prop represented her favorite part of the book.

...and she got a %100.  I'm so proud of her, she's really good at her book reports.

Another great subject for her is spelling.  They take a spelling pre-test on Thursdays and if they get all of the words right, they don't have to take Friday's test. Another %100...

Clara just loves preschool.  She is so talkative at times. I wanted to capture her talking about an incident that happened at preschool, but she wasn't telling me the story like she did off camera so I asked her what her favorite part about preschool is and her answer melted my heart...

Newport Beach Spring 2014

Aiyana had Spring Break from school last week so we headed for Newport Beach.  I attended three days of the WSET (Western Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technology) meeting while Dana took the girls to the pool and the beach.

The many moods of my tee... er... uh five year old.

The first picture was actually her expression right after asking me "what are we going to do now?"  Mind you... it was almost 10:00 pm and we had just arrived at our hotel.

Clara with her beloved Mini...

I love that we can bring some comforts from home to keep them entertained.

Aiyana, posing for me before we headed out for dinner...

Naturally... I had to capture Clara's photos while she danced and twirled about.

This is her "I won't dare give you a smile" look.

I made it to the beach on one of the evenings...

We were there after the sun had already set so I was bummed, but I managed to get a few shots of the girls anyway... 

Playing with texture on some of Clara's photos...

The girls loved these swinging hotel chairs.

Fish at the Fashion Island outdoor Mall.

My gluten free dinner was so yummy...

The largest game of chess that I ever did see...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls Get a D-

I won't even give you this D- recipe, but I wanted to show that I attempted to make gluten free cinnamon rolls and it all looked promising.  I am on a quest to find, or come up with, a good recipe.  When I find one, I will definitely share it.

What I did learn is that the dough will most likely be very sticky with whatever recipe I use.  Maybe that's the nature of most gluten free dough?  I really don't know the answer to that.  I also learned to use the powdery flour mix that I used to make the cinnamon rolls for rolling out the dough as opposed to an all purpose gluten free flour.  The powdery flour prevented the dough from sticking better than the other flour.

Nothing wrong with this sugary, cinnamony, buttery goodness.  I was ready to eat it right then and there, but I reasoned with myself.

Cute right?  I had to let them rise and... rise they did not.  I knew something wasn't right when they didn't rise.

My children were very anxious to taste test...

Tada... As you can see, they were a tad over cooked which sucks because I set the timer for the lesser amount of time suggested.  Beyond that, the texture was definitely off.  So although they tasted good, they were NOT what I was hoping for.  Needless to say, I am still on a quest to make the perfect gluten free cinnamon roll.  Until next time.