Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Party of the Century!

We found ourselves lucky to be invited to an awesome Halloween party thrown by our good friends over the weekend.  There wasn't a detail they didn't overlook and the result was a good time with some great people!

Our couple's costume...

(That's a fake check.)  

The food was delicious and the presentation was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Loved all of the spooky food names (and labels!)  

Many many thanks to Steve and Mickey for hosting!
(And thank you for the pictures, Jessica!)  

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Favorites from Halloweens Past

With Halloween 24 hours away, I'm sharing some of our favorite (and easy) decorations from previous years...

The trick-or-treaters really liked these last year!  
(And I liked them because they eliminated the mess of pumpkin carving!!!)

More importantly, today we are praying for the safety of those affected by Sandy.      

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gram's Best Brown Sugar Cake

My mom introduced us to this cake and it is delicious.  It tastes a bit sweeter than a coffee cake...maybe the amount of brown sugar has something to do with that!

Gram's Best Brown Sugar Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (optional) 

Mix first six ingredients in a mixing bowl for 3 minutes.
Add brown sugar and (optional) nuts.
Pour into greased bundt cake pan.  
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes.
Invert onto a plate and dust with powdered sugar.  


Linking here.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Clare!

Dear Clare,

Happy 7th Birthday!

We can't believe you are turning 7 today!  You bring much joy to everyone around you.  Here are some things we love about you...

You have your own little sense of humor, that is pretty funny.  You are a good friend.  It is so neat to listen to you read each night and it is exciting to watch you read bigger words on your own every day.  You love watching Arthur.  It was fun to see you compete on swim team this summer and get better each week.  You are a sweet big sister.  I love the notes and drawings you make for us.  A piece of gum is one of your favorite "snacks."  You love learning about animals.  You are slightly addicted to the iphones around here...

Happy Birthday to you!

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Monday, October 22, 2012


Wishing a very Happy Anniversary today to my Mom and Dad!  

35 years and 6 kids later, they are a wonderful example to my siblings and me of how important it is to live with faith...and a good sense of humor, too. 

Enjoy your day!  We love you!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pre-K Pumpkin Patch

Last week Ellen and I accompanied Jude's preschool class to the pumpkin patch. 

Ellen LOVED the hay maze!   

Both kiddos really enjoyed the petting zoo.  

Horse tire swings.  

Not so sure about the tractors.  

And since this was the same pumpkin patch Clare went to last year with her kindergarten class, Jude was very excited to find the "Dum Dum" statue and get his own picture with it!

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Low-Fat Pumpkin Oatmeal Bites

In an effort to avoid too many extra calories before October 31, I made these the other day as a low-fat-pumpkin-flavored treat and have been enjoying them as a temporary alternative to other sweets...  

1 cup pumpkin
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups oats
1 cup raisins

This is easy direction-wise...  Combine wet ingredients.  Combine dry ingredients.  Mix the two together.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Prayer

Jude brought this "pumpkin prayer" home in his backpack last week and I thought I would share:

Dear Jesus,

As I carve my pumpkin, help me pray this prayer:

Open my mind so I can learn about You.  (Cut the top off the pumpkin.)

Take all my sin and forgive the wrong that I do.  (Clean out the inside.)

Open my eye so Your love I will see.  (Cut eyes shaped like hearts.)

I'm sorry for the times I've turned up y nose at what You've given me.  
(Cut a nose in the shape of a cross.) 

Open my ears so Your word I will hear.  (Cut ears shaped like the Bible.)

Open my mouth to tell others You're near.  (Cut the mouth in the shape of a fish.)

Let Your light shine in all I say and do!  (Place a candle inside the pumpkin and light it.)  


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10 on the 10th

Linking up with A Bit of Sunshine for a later than usual post today.  
Ten pictures that captured the beauty of today...

Unloading the dishwasher this morning and noticed dishes were in a "ROY G BIV" arrangement of sorts.  

Made four "make and take" freezer meals at my MOPS meeting this morning.  Nothing is more beautiful than dinner ready to go!  
(I'll share favorite recipes from this later...and they're all crock pot ones no less!)

My cooler stocked to go home with potato soup, chicken teriyaki, beef stroganoff, and honey glazed pork chops.  

Ellen put the lunch dishes the shoe basket in the laundry room.

Tunnel slide.  My body now hurts just looking at this...

Beautiful fall decor.  

Waiting for Clare in style.

A 2 year-old here is obsessed with My Little Ponies.  And her purple pumpkin.  

Pigtails + Oatmeal Cream Pie = Love 

Bedtime reading.  

Hope you had a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Deja Vu

Clare, age 2, helping me in the kitchen.  

Ellen, age 2, wearing the same outfit and helping me in the kitchen.

PS - Ellen and I were making our favorite pumpkin yummy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conversations with my Kids...

I feel like I'm repeating myself when talking to 75% of my housemates lately...

Last year, two of my sisters got married and the term "fiance"entered Clare's vocabulary.  Somehow Clare and her kindergarten crush "Lucas P." became each others' fiances.  The other day Lucas' family announced they are moving to Atlanta.  Clare acted cool about the announcement, but since then there have been a lot of questions about the weather, time of day, current season, and distance to Atlanta, Georgia.      

Jude's recent bedtime routine involves telling us that his bed is too thin, or sometimes too fat.  (Don't worry, we're not sure what he means by that, either.)  Other bed issues involve it being too hard or too soft.  The end result is always that he simply can't sleep in it.  So he ends up on the couch in the loft or in his sleeping bag on the floor in his room.  Both so much more comfortable than an actual bed.
And a certain 2 year-old has been repeating the phrase: "Of course I can!"  Although this is more of a monologue than a dialogue...

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Balloon Glow

Awhile back we went to our first ever balloon glow with friends.  It was the first time we had ever been to such an event and the kids had a ball!  (It must have had something to do with staying up late with friends and getting glow sticks.  And seeing the balloons of course!)  I have to admit it was really neat!  

Filling them up.  

Dusk setting in.  

Ellen loved seeing them lit up!

Beautiful at night.  

And everyone's favorite, the Energizer Bunny!  

Hope you have an enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's Fall Y'all

I forced myself wait until it was actually October to put out our pumpkins and other fall decor.
(I've been ready for fall for awhile...)  

My two favorites are the felt leaf garland that I made last year for the banister upstairs...  

...and the fall wreath I made for the front door 2 years ago.  

I'm also loving my new Walmart $2.99 festive plate in my plate rack.  

Jude especially likes the acorns this year and has us all repeating after him how to pronounce "acorn:"
"Say 'a.' "  
"Say 'corn.' " 
He's a genius!   

Ellen was v-e-r-y quiet the other day and I went upstairs to find that she had pretty much murdered a scarecrow...  

And Clare is happy with her TP pumpkin she made in pre-k.
(Displayed high in her room, refer to scarecrow above for reasoning why.)  

I even stocked up on candy for trick-or-treaters while we were grocery shopping the other day.  Jude, Ellen, and I each enjoyed a piece and then I hid the stash in the basement.  Although I figure the flight of stairs I'm running up and down to fix my afternoon chocolate craving is burning off eating said chocolate, right??    

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baked Potato Soup

Almost 6 years ago we spent the night before Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house.  My aunt made this amazing potato soup for dinner that night, Ryan fell in love with it, and we've been enjoying it ever since.  Anyone I make this soup for always asks for the recipe.  (It must have something to do with the heavy whipping cream!)  I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!  

6 - 8 bacon slices, fried and crumbled
1 cup yellow onion
2/3 cup flour
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
2 cups heavy cream

Cook onions in bacon droppings until soft.  Add flour, cook for 1 minute.  Add some of chicken stock to pan and stir.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cook on low for 1 hour, stirring every once in awhile.

We like our soup with some warm bread.  Enjoy!

Linking here.