All Aboard – Madden is One!

Saturday, June 18th, our littlest man turned one year old!  We started his celebration with blueberry pancakes and would you believe he ate five of them?!  Kevin had to be out of town on Saturday and Sunday, so we planned his party for Monday evening.  At first, I was just thinking cake and ice cream.  But then it dawned on me that this will probably be my last time to throw a “first” birthday bash, so I decided to make it a good one!  Kevin and I found this neat Wilton train cake pan and the party evolved from there.  I found the most adorable party kit from Parties by Hardie and when my mom arrived to help, Madden’s 1st birthday turned into a complete production!  I love planning events and it was fun to put in some extra work to make his first birthday a special evening of celebrating this wonderful little guy and how the Lord has blessed us with his life.  I definitely think Madden enjoyed the party and he especially loves his new toys!  I apologize for so many pictures…Aunt Amy couldn’t be with us for obvious reasons so I wanted to capture all the details for her!  Enjoy!

Happy 1st Birthday Madden!
Madden's month-by-month picture banner (part 1)!
Madden's picture banner (part 2)!
A banner to welcome guests!
And one more banner...just because!
Bubbles for the big kids!
Keeping the theme, even outdoors!
More outdoor decorating!
Drinks for everyone!
The kids had lots of fun with these straws!
I personally loved these napkin rings the most!
Six hours to ice this cake, but the end result was worth it!  Especially when Molly Kate said "Mom, that cake is awesome...you did a great job!"
Six hours to ice this cake, but the end result was worth it! Especially when Molly Kate said "Mom, that cake is awesome...you did a great job!"
The table is set!
The best family shot we could get...too much excitement for everyone to cooperate for a pic!
Ready to party!
Two of my closest friends (and women I regularly thank God for!) with their sweet babies!
Two of my closest friends (and women I regularly thank God for!) with their sweet babies!
Singing "Happy Birthday" to Madden!
Wonder what they are thinking about?!?!
Dig in!
My favorite picture of the evening...isn't my mom beautiful?!
Madden checking out his new laptop...thanks Pop and Nanoo!
Favor candy bags with thanks from Madden!
Madden ended the evening by enjoying his new choo-choo train...and with it, took his first steps!
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The Finish Line

Tuesday wrapped up my first official year as a home school mom.  I’m surprised by the sense of accomplishment…I really had no idea what this first year would entail, and I certainly wasn’t in the easiest set of circumstances to begin such an undertaking.  Nevertheless, I feel like our schooling went better than I anticipated and with my first year under my belt, I am actually excited about next year.  It definitely takes a while to work our the kinks, to figure out the ways your child(ren) learn best, to multi-task between helping multiple children learn different things while all sitting at the same table, and to get in a rhythm of a daily school time.  Then, you’ve got to figure out how to squeeze everything else you’re responsible for into the remaining hours of the day!!  But I’m amazed how it all began to fall into place during the year…I’m so glad I didn’t give up after those first few months!

I wanted our last official day of school to be special and we ended up having a blast.  We finished Mikias’ last math lesson and then pulled out our goals that we set at the beginning of the year.  I laughed at what under-achievers we were when we set our goals…both kids (Mikias and Molly Kate) far surpassed their goals.  For example, Molly Kate set the goal to recognize all the letters of the alphabet by the end of the year.  She is three (almost four) and she actually began reading a few weeks ago!  So, she can recognize the letters, knows all of their sounds and can now put the sounds together!  Mikias had the goal of counting to 100, but he can now count to 1000 and finished first grade math this year though we were only doing kindergarten work.  They were super excited to see how far they had come!  After reviewing our goals, we headed to the backyard for a bit of a field day (think water balloon toss, kick ball and an obstacle course).  They had so much fun and there was plenty of laughter!  Our day ended with a pizza/ice cream party where I let the oldest two make our pizzas.  Maybe not our most tasty dinner this week, but they loved it!  Now we’re fully enjoying our summer break…Molly Kate has listed out multiple activities for me now that I’m not so consumed with teaching (play baby dolls with her, have a tea party, paint, etc.).  And I’m really looking forward to a few weeks of just playing with my children and having the freedom to spend our days however we so desire!

Ready for Field Day
Easy with those water balloons!
Making up their own game/obstacle course when we were finished!
Madden wanting to help with the pizzas!
My two little chefs!

Mango Rice Salad with Grilled Shrimp

 

Summertime equals new dinner menus in the Cuthbertson home! I love the variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs available in the summer months and I take full advantage of them in my kitchen! Now that school is winding down (tomorrow is our last day…hooray!), I have some free time to peruse recipes and try out some new dishes. Saturday night we gave this shrimp recipe a whirl and it definitely pleased everyone at the table. I think Mikias ate as much shrimp as Kevin and I combined! Other than the time to chop and dice the ingredients in the rice salad, this recipe is pretty simple and looks beautiful on the table!

Photo Credit

 

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 36 shrimp)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 cups diced peeled mango (about 2 mangoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)
Preparation
  • Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  • Bring water and coconut milk to a boil in a medium saucepan; add rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Add carrot and next 7 ingredients (through salt); toss gently to combine.
  • Prepare grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  • Thread 3 shrimp onto each of 12 (6-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill rack or grill pan coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done. Serve skewers over salad. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Memorial Day at the Lake

My kids are pretty spoiled when it comes to grandparents.  My parents have a condo at the beach and Kevin’s mom lives on a beautiful lake.  For now, we’ll never have to pay for a vacation!  We always spend Memorial Day at Gramma’s and the kids had such a fun time riding the sea doo, swimming, fishing and taking Gramma’s golf cart for a few spins!  Kevin’s mom always shows our family the sweetest hospitality and this trip, she even treated me to a mani/pedi after we returned from being with Amy and Hardy.  One of the best parts of the trip for me was just watching our children have fun together…they really do enjoy being with each other more than anyone else and I could never thank God enough for the friendships He is knitting together between our little people.

Pa's old tractor...I can't imagine Molly Kate's life without Mikias...she adores him!
Posing on the sea doo for Gramma!
Madden was a bit of a grumpy bear...he's cutting more teeth (not his favorite past time!).

 

In his own little world!
Mikias caught his first fish (with a little help from Daddy!)!!
Happy Memorial Day!

I’m in Love

The sweetest, most adorable baby boy made his way into the world this morning (at 10:14 am to be exact )and oh, the deep deep love I have for this little boy.  His name is Hardy James Cole and he’s my dear sister’s firstborn son and my precious nephew.  In God’s goodness, He allowed me to actually be in the delivery room to coach Amy through labor, cheer her on through pushing and take a million and one pictures!!  I’m sure Amy will post all the details of her delivery and the millions of pictures on her blog, so I’ll later post the link if you want to know more.  But for now, my lips are praising the Lord for a beautiful, healthy 8 lbs., 2 oz. baby boy and the gift of being able to celebrate with my best friend in person as she welcomed her long-awaited son.