Saturday, June 28, 2008

the tale of book club

Last night after we got home from the trip, I hosted book club at my house. Chris took the children to a Tides baseball game, so I had a little time to make some fun food. We read "The Tale of Despereaux", by Kate DiCamillo. This is a wonderful children's book with themes for all ages. The story is about a mouse named Despereaux. He is an unlikely hero who goes on a quest to save the princess. The princess's mother, the Queen, loved soup. Her favorite was Chicken, Garlic and Watercress Soup. I thought that would be fun to make. Getting home as late as I did from the trip, I was unable to locate watercress, but decided Chicken, Garlic and Spinach would be an acceptable substitution. Here's the recipe:

Chicken, Garlic and Spinach Soup
2 small chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/3 cup Italian dressing

3 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced
2 medium white or gold potatoes, peeled, quartered, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
6 cups chicken broth, divided
2 TBSP. flour
5 oz. baby spinach, chopped
salt/freshly ground pepper

Combine chicken breast strips and dressing in ziploc bag, marinate for 30 min. to 1 hour. Drain and discard marinade. Thread strips onto skewers and grill or broil till just done. Don't overcook. Remove from heat. Cool. Dice.
In large saucepan, heat butter and oil. When butter has melted, add onions and cook over medium heat until almost translucent. Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. DO NOT let this burn! Add potatoes and thyme. Cook for another couple minutes, stirring to coat. Pour 5 cups of the broth into the soup, reserving the other cup of broth until later. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and allow it to cook until the potatoes are just tender. Add spinach and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Combine the remaining cup of broth with the flour and whisk till smooth. Slowly pour into the soup. Stir till smooth. Add the chicken and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste.

I made these cute little mice out of dried apricots dipped in melted chocolate. The eyes are mini M&M's. The ears are almonds. Despereaux had his tail chopped off, so these mice have a tiny tail made from a chocolate chip! I also served celery sticks and spinach dip. This was for the Threadmaster, who always smelled of celery. Confused? Read the book :)

we're back

Hello, again! We've made it home and we're happy to be back. The trip was nice. The funeral was a really good experience. It is always nice to reconnect with distant relatives; even under sad circumstances. We enjoyed the laughter and stories that celebrated the life that Archa lived. We stayed for three days at Fairy Stone Park cabins. The park is simply beautiful. Each morning we were greeted by deer right outside the door. They aren't afraid; they know they are protected. We spent the day of the funeral in Floyd, where Archa's farm is. As you'll see in the pictures, we walked around the land, played in the creek and climbed in the hay barn. The conversations with friends and family lasted till bedtime. It was a full day.

Harley became fast friends with her third cousin, Katelyn.

Marshall with cousins Landen and Austin.

The next day was spent at the Fairy Stone lake. They've made a nice beach for the children to play around. If you wonder where Marshall is in the beach pictures, he's off fishing. By himself. All day. That would be from 10:30-6:00. Yup, he's obsessed! The canoe ride with dad was after the beach was closed for the evening.

Monday, June 23, 2008

goodbye Archa...

Hello friends. I am writing with sad news. One of the dearest people I've ever known has passed away. His name is Archa Vaughan Jr. He is Marshall's namesake and Chris's mother's first cousin. Since Chris never knew his grandparents, Archa became his granddad, by proxy. Their relationship became closer during Chris's adult life. Archa's farm is where he would go hunting a few times each year. Archa was 89 years old and will be missed by everyone he ever knew.
We will be gone the rest of the week, traveling to the funeral. I won't be posting again till probably Saturday. Hope everyone is having a nice summer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Gracie has recently started picking out her outfits and fixing her hair. Today she discover the many benefits of gel and mousse. With a little hair product and a toothbrush to smooth it all out, you too can have this FABULOUS look:)

Can you handle this?

Sharpay has nothing on me!

only one year left?

Marshall and Nate...what can I say? These boys have been best buds since they were born. They claim to be brothers because Marshall's middle name is the same as Nate's last name. Makes it pretty convenient for adoption, huh? Unfortunately, his parents would never agree to give him up. We've been lucky; most medical student families only stick around for 4 years. We got to have them around for residency, too. They will be moving to St. George next summer, leaving us to ask, "Where has all the time gone?"
Nate came over today and the boys had a great time playing. It's funny to hear them reminisce about when they were little. The things they remember would never cross my radar at the time; they seem hilarious now.
So, here's to my boys and here's to one more year of making memories for a lifetime.

Monday, June 16, 2008

the sweet taste of success

IHOP was the reward for a job well done! Harley and Marshall put a lot of effort into their piano lessons. Today was the "Guild Auditions" which is a pretty big deal. It is an national honor society for the piano. They must perform their songs by memory in front of a judge. Harley had 10 songs, plus scales. Marshall had 6 songs. They work all year for this event. They both received Superior ratings, with Harley receiving a Superior Plus. It doesn't get much better than that. I don't know what was the better reward: their incredibly high scores, the tasty lunch at IHOP or having a day off from practicing the piano. What do you think???

Hey Gracie, is this lunch or dessert?

baseball cookout

Marshall had a fantastic baseball season and it's finally over. To celebrate, the coaches threw a cookout party on Friday evening. There was swimming, dinner and a trophy ceremony. The weather couldn't have been nicer and the party was a blast, or should we say "a splash"!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

piano recital

Harley and Marshall had their piano recital last night. It was at Salem United Methodist church in VA Beach. They practice everyday, and are very determined to do their best. We are all so proud of their efforts. Marshall played "Ode to Joy" and "Russian Sailor Dance", a duet with Chris. Harley played "Fiesta Days". Here's the video of the recital... (Sorry, the edited version wouldn't upload. You get the version straight from the camera.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

did i mention i have 4 children?

Meet the newest Robertson child. (She is also the oldest) Confusing? Not if you are the mother of a "tween" girl :) Harley and Alison are inseparable. They ride to and from school together and are within bike-riding distance from each other's house. Alison will be moving on to 6th grade in the fall, leaving Harley in 5th...good thing Ghent School is K-8th:)
If you keep up with our blog throughout the summer, you'll be seeing a lot of these two!

i spy something sweet

Have you seen those "I Spy" books or maybe the old "Where's Waldo" series? That's how I felt yesterday looking at Gracie crashed out in her room. I came in to see what all the silence was about, and had to really focus to pick her out from all the "girl mania" on her floor! That's the life of a four-year-old...go, go, go until you can't possibly go any more.

"stories are light"

That's a quote from "The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo. Marshall just finished reading this novel. If you haven't read it, you should. It's a children's story about "forgiveness, light, love and soup". At 270 pages, this is the longest book Marshall's read independently:) The girls in my book club are reading it this month and my children couldn't resist.
Looking for to a great summertime read-aloud? Or maybe a book for the older children to read on their own? This is definitely a winner! **Bonus** The movie will be released in December:)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

hello everyone!

So...welcome to our blog. Look around a bit. Not much to see?? Well, I've got a lot to learn. I thought I could keep this blog to myself till I was ready to unveil it, but many of you have discovered it on your own. I hope I can fill it with fun pictures, stories and recipes to give you a glimpse into our lives.
Well.., even moms get time off for good behavior every once in awhile. I just made it back from a great weekend trip to Education Conference at Southern Virginia University. My friends Teresa, Brooke and Jenna came. too. We were privileged to hear former LDS general presidents, Ardeth G. Kapp and Chieko Okaski, journalist Jeff Benedict ("the Mormon Way of Doing Business"), author James Ferrell ("The Peacegiver"), and many others. The students of the university put on the play"Guys and Dolls" on Friday night. The weekend was relaxing and tons of fun. I would love to invite you all to come next year. I just might do that!