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All Hallows Eve

Is there anything more adorable than group costumes?! My kids are probably much too old to really believe that, but I might have done some superb convincing in the form of, “Group costumes always get tonsssss of candy.” They bought it. Ironically, Ruby, Quin, Jeremy and Katie (accidentally) dressed up as characters from Peter Pan. Also, please avert your eyes from my brother’s thighs and if you find yourself thinking, “Why would he wear that?” know–he has suffered more than enough. If the windchill factor doesn’t satisfy you as a form of punishment, because he was literally freezing, then maybe being hit on by every old lady on the island will. It’s a cruel world out there guys.

And least you think my brothers might have been the worst costume on the scene – I was pretty enthralled with this guy. I mean, dressing like a man and showing your legs is one thing, but it takes some real guts to go for Tooth Fairy.

Katie Campos - The tooth fairy?!!!!! Oh boy. I just have to say my favorite part of your kids costumes and all these adorable pictures is Ever’s feet. The way she’s standing with one of her big tiger paws rolled over in each picture says something about her personality.

Fancy Food Thoughts: Vegan And Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

*This recipe was recently feature on Disney’s cooking website Spoonful!

All my closest friends would tell you I’m a food addict. They might also use the word “snob” in place of addict, but what do they know?! I just like good food.

So that leads us to today. I’m so excited to start sharing recipes with you here on the blog and even more that my sister will be taking part in this fun venture!  I hadn’t had much experience with sharing recipes until I shared one of my own with Popsugar last year. I couldn’t believe the response I got from it – or that it got a five star rating! Lindsay and I started brainstorming and decided we would need to have the perfect balance of our favorite recipes, clear directions and pretty pictures if we were even going to attempt this. (We have seven kids between us, so setting such a high standard wasn’t the most logical thing to do.)  Then, this past weekend, Lindsay’s entire downstairs of her house flooded. She was homeless, so she called and said, “Guess what?! I’m coming to your house!” and we cooked the whole weekend. You’ll get to see all the recipes over time, but for now, here are the most delicious Vegan, Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies you will EVER eat. (Actually, these are better than any peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had – so even if you don’t have food restrictions, you must try these!) xxoo -Ashley

VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES BY FANCY FOOD THOUGHTS

I absolutely love peanut butter cookies. More than I should. These are vegan, gluten free and very simple.  They have a slightly crunchy exterior, but on the inside the texture is ever so chewy, exactly how it should be! Part of the trick to this recipe is blending the mixture in a food processor. This is the model I have and I can’t say enough good things about it!

1 cup almond flour (Note, almond flour is more finely ground than almond meal. However, if you have a hard time finding flour I have used either type in this recipe. If you do use almond meal, the cookies will not have as nice of a texture.)

1 tablespoon oat flour (omit if completely grain free)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar (plus extra for rolling the cookies in)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

4 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer prepared (Add 6 tablespoons of water and blend in blender until frothy. This is important!)

1 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of a food processor combine: almond flour, oat flour, baking soda, brown sugar and sugar pulsing a few times to blend.

Add peanut butter and process until completely combined.

Next add prepared egg replacer (see above) and vanilla. Let the food processor run for a about 20 seconds until dough has formed.

Roll dough into golf ball sized balls, roll in sugar, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-9 minutes at 350 F (oven should be preheated).

Amber Dunstan - YUM! Gotta try this!

Candace Wingo - Peanut Butter and milk is always a good combination. (:

The Israel Collection

I have wanted to share these images for a long time and just now, in the process of getting my laptop organized post a hectic editing season, am I actually sitting down to make it happen. My husband teaches at a private Christian college and had the privilege of traveling to Israel in 2010 to teach a course for students on The Life of Christ. Part of the course included traveling to the locations they were studying. I don’t know how exciting that sounds to some of you, but I have to say I am more then jealous (I was home with the babies).  I can’t post all the images as there are too many, but these can’t remain hidden any longer!

Images are film and include scenes from Jerusalem, Nazareth, and just above, sunrise on the Lake of Galilee.

Laura Wingo Tyler - Wow these are beautiful.

School Pictures 2013

We always try to do “official” school pictures each year because we love a little dry humor. School pictures are just about the most comical event in existence. (The kids love to laugh at themselves afterward and then I forward them to my parents so they can laugh too.)

We are nearing the end of week two of school here at home. Yes, homeschooling again. Yes, delighted to be doing so! Cruz is in Kindergarten this year and has been amped to be “really in school.” Ever was so jealous that I had to buy her all the same books and she is also attempting K. She whips him in Language Arts and he her in Math. I think they believe school is a competition, or some sort of race.

School has also started for my husband, and I’m hoping that the fall brings a little downtime. What I really need is some cool weather and a couple free hours to bake some pumpkin pies.  Oh, and we are already planning our Halloween costumes. I think we’ll be keeping in a secret until the holiday, but I had to get started early to make up for not planning at all last year!

Isabelle Smith - Cuteness overload! My computer almost shut off!!! ;)
Love and blessings to you and your family!

Ronald Ruiz - Grampa and Gramma think these are the most beautiful kids in the world, heck the universe.

Joel Bear Ross - these are so great!

Rachel Kokash - How amazing is Ever’s dress? I love it!

The Weekender: Hello August!

We are half way through August and school is about to begin! The kids are ecstatic and I actually have a 2013-14 school year post in the works, we are still very much homeschooling, and still very much loving it. Almost as much as we love this photo…

We recently acquired a Costco membership because I got so tired of grocery shopping 4 times a week. When I say, “These kids can eat.” I mean it. Jude and Ever inherited the skinny-bones-jones-metabolism-from-another-world. They eat all day long and never gain any weight. My mom had this highly coveted disease as a kid, my sister and I had it as children, and now these two. Legs for miles, guys. Costco became a must, and I have actually been really happy with them – even eating organic and offbeat like we do, I’m still able to shop at Costco! (This is not an advertisement, seriously just in love with Costco right now.) So while I was buying bulk bags of organic spinach enough to feed an army, I spotted these adorable solar system jammies, that happened to also be organic. I think it was fate, or too many taste tests, and I was sold. I drove straight home,  immediately washed them, and have made the kids wear them every night since. Which wasn’t hard since they are as obsessed as I am.

Joel’s parents came to visit this past weekend and we did several fun things, one of which was the OC fair. I have a serious love for the fair, mainly centered around food. It is so wrong and so right, I’m like a fly to sticky paper. (Can we not talk about how sick, I mean absolutely ill to my stomach I was for the two days following? I am going to have to rethink my capabilities for the fair in 2014.) Photo booths will have to be my new drive.

After the fair we stopped off in Corona Del Mar to look at the tide pools. Of all the days for the water to be black balled for high bacteria count! We were pretty disappointed, but we got to see these two beauties (and a rock fish, dolphins and a few anemones.)  Zara looks like my mother in this photo.

In LA we were able to hit my fave vegan spot and kids store, plus the Natural History Museum!

So proud of this kids love for gem stones and precious metals. His future wife will be so thankful for the education we’re giving him.

And I have been slack in posting any of our WTAWW photos because I kinda felt like maybe that type of post is over played and coming unraveled, but I really do miss it because I like to have the sequence of the kids each week. I think maybe it just needs a new name or something? I need to work on that for sure, these kids are too much dramatic cute, I don’t want to forget any of it!