Kid Scientist Party

March 19th, 2015 in Parties

Alright my friends, I organized this party well, real well. So I will write out a detailed post in case there is another mom out there trying to plan a science party for their kid. This party will be good for the boys or girls out there, this is not a gender specific party!

Kid Science Party

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Invitation:

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Decorations:

I’ll link to the places on Etsy where I got the cute posters, the shop owners customize them for you with your child’s name and age. The black backdrop below is from Sugar Sweet Printables shop on Etsy. The backdrop we used during the science demonstration below is from the is from Crackers Art shop on Etsy. We used some of her other products throughout the party as well.

I bought some beakers from Amazon and filled them with warm water, dry ice, and food coloring. The tables were covered in a science print paper and I bought some “retro” science posters online to put different places. The plates,napkins, and glasses are from The Land of Nod.

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Food:

A huge science cake to feed all that we invited and sugar cookies that they each took home as a party favor. We also had the pizza man stop by for lunch.

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Costumes:

Well not really costumes but my brothers who were the “scientists” I got their lab coats and wigs off of Oriental Trading. Abby’s lab coat was from there as well. The girls, I don’t know if you can see in the pictures had these super cute science shirts on. I found those at the NonFiction Tees Etsy shop.

Party Favors:

Party Favors are my favorite part of the party. This year we did glasses from Oriental Trading, disposable lab coats from Amazon, and scientist badges. Aren’t they adorable? They also went home with a party bag (bags from The Land of Nod) with a rock candy lollipop and sugar cookie. They also could take their lab coats, glasses, AND best part…their scientist badges & lanyard home.

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That was the back of the badges

 

Stations:

So my sweet daughter Abby has a lot of friends and she is over worried of leaving anyone out. With her parties I have to divide the guests up into teams. The badges they had were divided into 5 different colors of the fingerprints. That is the group they were in. Two years in a row I have asked our favorite babysitters to come help me with the parties. Each of them run a station. This year I picked very inexpensive science experiments. I had the helpers come early so they could practice outloud a few times the experiment and explaining a short “science” behind it. Then I also had them ready with a back up game if they finished early. Anything from bubble gum bubble gum in a dish to charades. All free things that no supplies were needed. But things that would keep the girls in place and not get them loud. These are the stations we did…

 #1 Static Electricity with a Balloon & Gelatin aka Electric Gelati

 

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#2 Invisible Ink with Lemon Juice 

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#3 Bouncing Bubbles with Cotton Gloves 

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 #4 Your Tastebuds & Smell! Potatoes vs Apples 

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#5 Mega Magnet Experiments with Paperclips & Water 

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Demonstration:

With these large groups I like to do the stations and then one big “demonstration” assembly style. My brothers came over the week before and we practiced these experiments for them to do in front of the kids. The five experiments I had them do, none of them made a mess and make me lose a deposit on the room we rented. Steve Spangler is a perfect place to get ideas for experiments and buy some kits. I also had printouts of my brothers to read to explain a bit of the science behind every experiment.

#1 Dry Ice Bubble

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#2 Cloud in a Bottle (the stopper was a tough one to find so I ended up buying this kit which is priced very fairly) 

#3 Blowing up a Balloon with a Bottle 

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#4 Fitting an Egg Into a Small Bottle magically. 

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#5 Film Canister, this is a fun one! Steve did it on the Ellen show. The girls as you can see from this picture loved the result…

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It just was such a fun fun party! Thank you to all those that helped me out.

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Little video of the party here.

Abby Rae Turns 9

March 19th, 2015 in About Me

Well I knew it, I just knew it. I did a joint baby shower for my two cousins two years back. While hanging up pictures of them on a long string from birth to engagement photos. I noticed something troublesome. I could see after their baptism picture that time sped up. I could see it in those pictures hanging on a string. That their aging just sped up after their baptism. Of course when Abby turned 9 on Sunday I said, “What what? That happened fast, like extra fast!” It did, next is 10, 10! Double digits! Then after that they are in Young Womens, then LEAVING YOU! My goodness, I am going to die, just die.

So this stunning girl turned 9, and has such a growth spurt this year. In many areas of her life. Just look:

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Actually a few minutes ago I put together a spotlight on Abby for her activity days activity tonight. So I will share that.

Abby loves: dogs, dance, baking, crafting, creating, reading, friends, sweet things, and traveling. She has traveled to quite a few fun places. She is homeschooled and a smart smart thing. Her new hobby is doing nails. She is a fantastic friend and is very helpful. Most of all she has a strong testimony and knows it is important to share it. She likes to serve others by being a good friend. She is a good friend by being kind, thoughtful, and assuming the best of her friends. She supports her friends. Abby dances in eight dance classes during the week. She dances when we are standing in line at the grocery store, picking out books at the library, watching tv. All day every day! Her biggest pet peeve is BELLY BUTTONS! Don’t talk about them or show them, makes her want to barf. The biggest goal she has right now is to raise money to build a well in Africa.

For her birthday we did a fun science party that I can’t wait to show off. Instead of gifts at her party she raised 800 bucks for a well! I did tell her that we would go to the mall, her and I, so she could pick out a couple of things. Those plans kept on getting ruined so we went as a family. Which ended up being one of my least favorite things we have ever done together. But Abby did get to pick out some beautiful things.

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Abby had her breakfast in bed, we went to church, she played minecraft after church, and opened her presents.

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I think my favorite thing, even more than our fun parties to celebrate birthdays is this. That on the night of the birthday they stay up very late hanging out with me. Abby and I went geocaching at night and cuddled watching Gilmore Girls.

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Things I Loved When My Sister Was Here

March 18th, 2015 in About Me

One day each of us won’t have 2 year olds that get very stressed out in new environments. The screaming will stop and also the throwing themselves on the floor like a rag dolls will end. UNTIL THEN, we will not have the most relaxing visits.

I loved the free days full of fun. Bean Museum, $1 snack at Sodalicious, and impromptu talent shows on the lawn.

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My nephews are sweeties, once they warm up to me, I get loads of love. The girls were so excited they go to have their cousins in both of their primary classes.

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And our annual sibling night was a smashing success! We copied a game from one of our favorite TV shows. It included gobbling grapes, speed walking with a very full bladder, trivia questions, and smashing New Kids on the Block barbies. It is a very confusing game.

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I was invited to Fashion Place Mall invited me out to the Lego Monuments Tour. Oh you guys the Legos! The Lego replicas of the White House, Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, + 9 other historic places are amazing. It is free to go to, very worth taking the time to see, but ends at Fashion Place Mall on the 22nd! Fashion Place Mall was so sweet to also allow me to bring my sister & her boys. They even gave her a very well put together gift bag. They took such great care of us, big thanks to them.

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My girls were so excited to go, don’t they look adorable in these Statley Type tees?

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Annual End of Harvest Dinner

March 17th, 2015 in Parties

Our last Annual End of Harvest Dinner was 3 months late and this year’s was 5 months early. Why am I referring to it as the “Annual End of Harvest Dinner” still? I don’t know. All I know is two sisters might be on their way to different states and different phases of their lives. So when Sarah came to visit we smashed it in. Two years I was in charge, then Sarah one year, and this year it was Winston & Laura. It is really hard to win on the years you are in charge. But now Laura & Winston and I are two for two. WHO WILL WIN IN 2016?!?!

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So yes I won, ahem, I won this contest again. Two years in a row baby.

I did not document it well because of this thing:

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Who since I got back from New Orleans is GLUED to me. It is very slowly getting better, very slowly.

The assignment was to make THE BEST BURGER, FRIES, AND SHAKE.  All votes were based 100% on taste this year. 

I didn’t document it well. I of course documented my genius plan very well:

Perfect a smashburger at home. Go buy smashburger buns, make the smashburger sauce, watch many youtube videos from the owner of smashburger own how to smash the smashburger. Buy local pickles and ketchup and cheese that taste better. BANG.

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Fries. Now I do know two things, #1 I like oven fries better and #2 yellow baby yukons soaked taste buttery, much better than regular potatoes. Then I just found a dip to go with that. It was a buttermilk bacon dip and I also used hickory smoked pepper to season my potatoes.

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Lastly my friends. Answer me what is the best ice cream out there? If you said Half Baked you answered correctly. Can you make Half Baked better? Of course you can you fools.

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Done, done you guys, done. All of those things are amazing, all of those things will make you win.

 

During the competition I heard rumblings of Amish cheese, 92% of this or that kind of meat, that budgets should be used from here on out, special bacon, special mustard. My friends, I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING. Who knew what these people were doing:

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All I know is I won. And I was presented with a gold ninja knife at the end. And I’ll see you in 2016 suckaaaaaaaaas!

2014 Contest here
2013 Contest here
2012 Contest here
2011 Contest here

New Orleans Part 3 of 3

March 17th, 2015 in Our Travels Worldwide

My inlaws left in the morning and we had the rest of the day to wander around. It was so fun and relaxing to spend time with my Brown mom and dad. They are such kind people. We will be thankful for a long time for this trip and the time we got to spend with them. Love you two.

But of course since we are both still 14 years old in our hearts we went to the places mom and dad told us not to. A cemetery that they said lots of muggings happen. And to go walk around the streets of Treme. I had to! It was actually the last day you could tour this very old cemetery. And by tour I mean you were supposed to go with a tour guide but I snuck in and looked down. Why do I love cemeteries so much? I always have. Boy see? New Orleans and Vanessa go perfectly together. Now you have to prove you are a relative of someone buried there or pay a 4 grand fee to go into the cemetery. I guess really awful things were happening with the bodies there by people, and robbers, and by some tour groups.

Isn’t is a beautiful cemetery though?

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Treme was interesting to walk through as well. Actually we stopped in this little photography place where the assistant was there. She told us really what is hurting New Orleans right now, the people of New Orleans. And more about really what the flood did to everyone.

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We walked down Frenchmen street which I was sad my in laws missed. So many more fun shops to go through and designs to see.

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Can someone transplant a New Orleans house to Daybreak for me?

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and jazz in the streets. I’ll take that too.

It was a wonderful trip. Tyler & I had a lot of fun together and didn’t squabble once. I did pinch him really hard in the movies one day. Other than that, its nice to go exploring a new town with your best friend.

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New Orleans Trip Part 2 of 3

March 17th, 2015 in Our Travels Worldwide

Friends! The street performers. When I go back I will bring a lawn chair and sit and watch street performers. Want to join me?

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While in Louisiana we went on a plantation tour. I have aways wanted to tour one of those. It was funny though all I ended up wanting to look at and spend time with was the trees. Trees, food, and buildings. Oh and the street performers. That is what makes me happy.

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I miss big old trees. I think that is why I love parts of Salt Lake & Sugarhouse so much. Those old big trees are a comfortable companion.

Well we also went on a Bayou tour on an air boat. Tyler and I checked that off our list. Why we both wanted to go on an airboat I am not sure but we did it. It was so cold, so cold that week. I think not normal cold so the air boat made our bones cold. It took us awhile to feel warm after that. Boy are those swamps just cool. Ok so add nature to the list, I can sit and listen about nature all day too. Can you tell New Orleans is perfect for me yet?

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All the alligators were burrowed deep and asleep from the cold. Which is fine for me because I’ve seen a lot of creepy large reptile things in my life. I was just happy to air boat through a bayou. THROUGH A BAYOU! Now I need to go watch Princess and the Frog.

We can leave out the voodoo shops, we are ok to skip those forever and ever. Ask my Father in law how much he liked those. Creepy eeebie jeeebies!

 

New Orleans Trip Part 1 of 3

March 17th, 2015 in Our Travels Worldwide

Tyler’s parents invited us to New Orleans, how fun is that? Wow is that a fun city. The different cultures shine through in the accents, architecture, food, and traditions. You can see it in the tile pieces and the stones on the sidewalk. That place you will want to walk and walk through, the same streets over and over. That is what we did, our last day there actually was spent 100% walking.

I was very ready for a trip without our kids, very ready. We also had/have a lot of high stress things going on in our life. That time, that February, was the highest of them all. The stress and problems I had to deal with didn’t go away as soon as we got on that plane. Actually I dealt with many of them every time our plane hit the ground and while walking onto the New Orleans streets for the first time. The New Orleans air met me a screaming, ranting, wound very tight, very hurt and stressed individual. Thankfully New Orleans did not reject me and gave me a free pass. I can say though that just showing up to a city not having to do one ounce of planning was perfect for me. My in laws are planners, I knew we were going to be taken very cared of. I remember one day clicking on the link of the hotel they sent us but that is it. I showed up and had a blast. My girls were well taken care of by aunts and grandma. And voxing me non stop through our cells. I was sad to say goodbye to them but not sad to say hello alone to New Orleans.

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Tyler and I dove headfirst into the city by sitting down to eat alligator.

Alligator. I grabbed a bite and thought it was very good, tasted just like fried fish. No one else thought it tasted like fried fish. My second bite did not taste like fried fish. I think a piece of fried fish accidentally made it into the basket.

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The hotel we stayed in was a true reflection of New Orleans, man I love this city.

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The next day we took care of some very important business first thing. Getting beignets. We did learn through the trip where you really need to go to get beignets. Of course we tried the three main places. Of course we were not sad to eat any of them from any of the places. You will be fine wherever you go but my vote is going to Cafe Beignet.

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Save all your birthday and holiday shopping for New Orleans. Bring empty suitcases. Know that you will find something charming and perfect for everyone on your list in all of the shops. You will, trust me. Window shopping in New Orleans is affordable, unique, and actually fun. Even for my husband. Yes he had fun doing it.

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It was so fun to see the Mississippi River, I ran right down to it to stick my finger in it. I am proud of Linda for following me. These things need to be done. I still have shells jiggling around in my purse from the Mississippi River.

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Oh goodness the buildings, the building with depth. With history. With sadness, tiredness, hopefulness, family, and knowing. I could fly to New Orleans to just walk around and take pictures of buildings.

But listen if you take one little piece of travel advice from these New Orleans posts here it is: take the local food tour on your first day in town. The Tastedbud New Orleans Food Tour to be exactThis way you will know where to eat throughout the whole trip. Where the locals eat. Where the families from hundreds of years eat, work and own the joints. You will learn the history of the food, what groups of people brought it, or why the needed that food  & what it turned into.

I will give you a short list of where we went : Laura Candies for the pralines (6 different kinds of pralines) and Mississippi Mud. Johnnys Po Boys for a Roast Beef Po Boy. Serio’s Deli for a Muffaletta. Go back a second time for a Muffaletta. Then when waiting for your flight get ANOTHER Muffaletta to eat while waiting. I did all of those things. THEN try to make it at home, I am still waiting to do that thing. They also took us to get gumbo and jambalaya that somehow was so much better than the other places we had it. I am not sure how because the other places were delicious. I wish I could remember the name of the place. 

You will learn a lot of history, the cultures that are there, the people who settled there, everything. You will learn about some of the buildings and even signs. Do that, do it.

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Since I am on the food path let me give a shoutout to two other places we dined and has superb meals.

Felix, for Char Broiled Garlic Butter Oysters.

EAT, boy oh boy if that place was in Salt Lake I would take it over The Copper Onion and From Scratch. Which is saying a lot because those are my two go to, everything tastes so good, places. Everything everyone got. Boy that was a fantastic meal.

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pssst this is the beignet place we liked the best:

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Food heaven my friends, absolute food heaven. A food heaven that thankfully only dipped into working with our nutrtionist 1 pound. Just 1 pound, we got lucky friends.

Things I Loved This Winter

March 17th, 2015 in About Me

hello world!! my family journal is so behind. what will all of my future great grandchildren read off of their ipads installed in their eyeballs?

I loved realizing that my third child, that for in a phase of my life would never happen, wore this dress. During the years of trying to have kids and it not happening I bought baby stuff. All of the boy things my four nephews I see wearing around. All of the girls things I have put to use. This dress I bought in tears, it was the last baby thing I bought before finding out I was pregnant. Miss Abby finally wore it on this day. And Miss Cameron on this day. My heart hurts for anyone who is going through this 10 seconds longer than I had to or 30 million seconds shorter than I had to deal with it. Also Shae is an angel. One day her and I will go on a long trip together and I will do nothing but pay attention to her.

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Tyler and I realized before going on our first TRIP WITHOUT KIDS (ahhh!! can’t wait to show you where we went) that Reagan was fun! She is still busy, tiring, high energy, and a lot of work. But she does not scream all day like she did for the first at least 18 months of her life. She cut that out! And then leaving her messed all of that up but she will phase back out of it. Do we look alike at all? Someone say yes.

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Shae is a sunbeam! She did not have any stress about going to sunbeams. Shae wanted (why do all my girls feel the need to sign up for every talk they possible can?) to give a talk in Primary. For FHE when Grandpa Brown was in town we all gave her a line for her talk. She practiced it throughout the week into a spatula. She was not nervous to go up and give it but also gave it in the tiniest whisper.

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Speaking of Grandpa BRown we now get to see him once in a month because of his new job. The girls love spending time with him. We even got him on his birthday!

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Christmas jammies all winter long make me smile. It also makes Shae think her stocking will be full when she wakes up every time she wears them.

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11 am church is not something I am loving this year. Reagan had such a meltdown this past Sunday that Tyler recorded it out on the church lawn. 30 minutes of video. Her diaper was full of dry leaves from throwing her body all over the place in the grass.

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Shae’s baking obsession has been contained. I put stars two times of the month on the calendar and those are the only days we bake her treats. When she can bake without help I will weigh 457 pounds, I am pretty sure of it.

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The girls for New Years Eve all got to pick a treat to make for the family. It was….it was quite a bit of sugar.

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The girls worked really hard on their aprons with their Grandma. And by that I mean my mom worked really hard on dealing with super silly girls getting them to sew their aprons.

 

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Abby’s skills in dance have really soared. This year has been a huge one of growth and hard work. She dances & stretches all day every day. If we are on a walk, grocery shopping, in the library, in line, it is crazy. And quite impressive.

 

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We had a sweet & simple Valentines day. If I can remember what happened…oh we went and bought ourselves chocolates like every year. Because my girls can learn that if they want something they deserve it and to buy it for themselves. I stayed home on Vday so Tyler could take the girls to a magic show and a fancy restaurant. I put the babies to bed and watched hours of Gilmore Girls. Which was my MASTER PLAN!!

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CAMERON LIKES THINGS! Listen this a big deal, she is very particular girl. From the texture, flavor, and temperature of her food to the textiles of her clothes. Shoes…oh my don’t get me started on shoes. I have a system that to other moms looks quite heartless. On most occasions I throw her into new things and turn my back. She cannot be bribed, talked into, coddled into, whatever you want to say, into anything. It has to come all from her. So I proud to say she adores her dance team, I mean ADORES it. Still don’t ask her about her Monday tech class that poor Grandma drives them to and I am sure gets an earful. But ask her about her dance team classes and watch her in them. Oh that girl is beaming. Also she found more books she likes. She loves to read but all books must be all of her picking and approval. Library trips lots of times end in fights and someone acting like a baby. Which is me, I’m the tizzy throwing fit baby.

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Lastly what I have loved this winter and now am very fearful of from this winter is the warmth. Maybe all of April can just be rain? Even May, take both of those months to rain, I support that. I like to buy the girls all SPRING dresses on the first Sunday it is warm enough to wear them. The first Sunday this year was I think February 15th. Which is crazy. And nice. And I guilty for saying it is nice because I know it is only causing problems.

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Abby’s Healthy Lunch & Snack Ideas

January 26th, 2015 in recipes

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Abby did a project on showing how you can run into a grocery store really fast and pick up items instead of sitting in a drive thru line. Things you can pick up for an energy boost, or snack, or lunch meal.

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Fig, Prosciutto, Fontina Crostinis with a Honey, Fig, Balsamic, Sugar Drizzle

January 26th, 2015 in recipes

Here is a more detailed how to on the Fig, Prosciutto, Fontina Crostinis that won first place in the family cooking contest last year. Boy, these are good! And I thought them up on my own, which makes me pretty proud in this Pinterest world.

Fig, Prosciutto, Fontina Crostinis with a Honey, Fig, Balsamic, Sugar Drizzle

makes about 35

Ingredients 

For the Crostinis:

Package of Crostinis from your favorite bakery (I like to get them at Harmons, you can always make them on your own too)

1/2 lb of proscuitto sliced very thin (ask the deli to do it for you)

Wedge of fontina cheese

1 jar of fig jam (you can find this near the speciality cheese case)

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For the Drizzle:

1 T. Fig Jam

1 T. Balsamic Vinegar

1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup of sugar

Directions

1. Spread a thin layer of fig jam on the crostinis, place a half or a third of a single slice of prosciutto on, then a slice of fontina on top of that.

2. To make the balsamic reduction/glaze put the vinegar and sugar in a pot. Let it come to a boil, then reduce. Add in the honey and balsamic and let the reduction thicken on a lower heat till it coats the back of the spoon.

3. Drizzle the glaze on top and eat!

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