Melissa Madeline and Brooke's Graduation Dinner Menu

I cried for the entire last month of school.  I can't believe my baby girl grew up so quickly.  18 years went by in a blink.  I'm proud beyond words of all that she accomplished.
Photography Amy Albertson

Melissa Madeline and her cousin, Brooke, were born only 3 weeks apart.  My sister and I 
were pregnant together but at the time never imagined our children would be in 
school and graduating together.
Photography Amy Albertson

My gorgeous girls!
Photography Amy Albertson

Each of the graduates had their own cake (in each of their favorite flavors!)  My mom made a banner of photos from when they were little.
Photography Amy Albertson

Class of 2016 Graduation Cap Cookies from The Solvang Bakery
Photography Amy Albertson

College logo cookies.  We had all the schools of the future graduates
Photography Amy Albertson

18 years ago my sister and I were pregnant together and our daughters were born three weeks apart.  At the time I lived in Hawaii and she lived in California so we never imaged that one day our girls would be in High School together.  I cried for the entire last month of school.  I could not stop crying.  I cried at the final FFA banquet.  I cried at every ceremony and event.  How did 18 years sneak up on me so quickly.  I thought we were just trying to figure out kindergarten.  How did it go by so fast.  

I'm proud beyond words of all that Melissa Madeline has accomplished.  Melissa Madeline is a genius and gifted with so many talents and abilities.  Sometimes when you are gifted in one way it also comes with a downside.  For her that downside was Dyslexia.  Dyslexia is more than just someone who struggles with reading.  It is usually someone who has the ability to see in 3-D instead which makes it challenging to see word two-dementionally on a flat page.  That is why so many dyslexics are architects, engineers, and movie makers.  They see more, not less.   Because Melissa can memorize almost word-for-word anything she hears orally, she was given the accommodation of having all of her tests given to her orally.  She would easily get an A on the test this way.  However, Melissa's history teacher her sophomore year was also dyslexic.  He told her that if she worked four times as hard as anyone else, she would be able to get to point of reading and writing on the level of her classmates.  She took that challenge on.  We would spend six hours every Sunday just doing her history homework together.  First I would read the history outloud to her so she could memorize and understand it.  Then I would write detailed history notes and read those to her.  Then she would painstakingly copy the pages and pages of notes I had written.  It was this process for history as well as her biology homework that helped her tremendously.  So much so, that in her senior year, she no longer needed my help.  We had a saint of tutor, Dawn Frederickson, all through high school.  Dawn helped her with Math and English.  By Melissa's senior year she was writing some of the best English papers I've ever read.  Melissa had the best four years in high school that you can possibly have.  I'm crying as I'm writing this.  She raised a pig every year for the County Fair as part of the FFA program, she was on the Vine Pruning Team and went to the State Finals in Vine Pruning (don't you love a state that has so many grapes from wine, table grapes and raisins that we actually have Vine Pruning Teams and Championships!)  She joined the aeronautical team to take flying lessons at our local airport.  She was on the cross-country team and swim team and has four of the very best friends a girl could ask for.  I know they will be close forever.  

So when I say I cried for a month it was because I remember the day that Melissa was diagnosed.  You never imagine that when your baby is born that there is going to be something wrong.  You are holding them in your arms and you want everything to be perfect.  And then you get this diagnosis (in our case it was Asperger's and Dyslexia) and you wonder how she will make it in life.  And you cry because you only want the best for your child.  And you want her to be okay.  And then she surprises you.  Then she keeps surprising you with how amazing she is.  And you cry because you know she is going to be able to make it in life.  You know she will be able to survive almost anything from all that she has overcome.  You know that she has the perseverance to make it!  I am so proud of her and I can't wait to see what is next.

I know this is a blog of recipes so I'll share the Menu with recipe links for the food from Melissa and Brooke's party.  

Menu for Melissa and Brooke's Graduation Party

hors d'oeuvres

Carrots and Hummus

Guacamole (recipe below), Chips and Salsa

Cucumbers with Yogurt Mint Dip


Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce


Fruit Platter

Dessert - All from The Solvang Bakery

Individual Chocolate, Carrot, Lemon and Butter Cakes

Butter Cookies

Lemon Bars

Sarah Bernhardts

Mini Brownies


Iced Tea

Beer, Wine and Sparkling Water

As I'm posting all the links to the recipes I'm realizing that somehow my super easy Guacamole recipe never made it onto the blog.  I've given it out in printed form many times, but need to put it on the site.  Once I photograph it, I'll put up a post.  In the meantime here is the recipe:



I don't think I've ever made guacamole where I haven't also made salsa.  Because I always have the salsa on hand, it is super quick and easy just to put two tablespoons of the salsa in the recipe.  If you don't have salsa on hand you could sprinkle in some cayenne pepper.  Be sure to only add a little cayenne at a time because it will make it really hot really fast.  

6 ripe Haas Avocadoes
1 Lemon or Lime (squeeze for at least 1 tablespoon of juice)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa 

Halve the avocados and remove the pits and skin.  (Save one pit if you aren't going to serve it immediately.)

Squeeze lemon juice (or lime juice) over the avocados and mash with a fork until you get the chunky texture you want.  Add kosher salt and 2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa.  (If you do't have salsa on hand then sprinkle it with a little cayenne pepper.)

Guacamole must be prepared the same day you serve it.  If you plan to make it earlier in the day, before your guests arrive, be sure to keep the pit in with the guacamole.  The pit will prevent it from turning brown.  Air will also turn the guacamole brown so press plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole and then wrap it again with additional plastic wrap to make it as air-tight as possible.

Serve with your favorite Tortilla Chips.  


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