Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Flower & the Chicken...

... wish you a very spooky Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pigtails

video
The little Miss has hair long enough now to put into semi-pigtails. I tried unsuccessfully to take pictures of her with them in her hair but the little bugger wouldn't sit still long enough for me to get any good pics. That's when I decided to video her running around with her new do. Video quality is not great but it will do for now. Pretty cute, I think!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Guts!!!

Let's just say she enjoyed herself...a lot! She was all about taking the seeds out and then putting them back in. I was by myself with her while she was *cleaning* the pumpkins because we realized that we didn't have any pumpkin carving knives. Steve and Lexi ran to the store to buy some appropriate tools. I was trying to clean 3 pumpkins, watch Ava, and take pictures the entire time. Ava loved squishing the guts. She even smelled them and then looked at me and said, "Yuck!" However she kept right on smelling them. She's such a goofball. By the time Steve and Lexi got back with the tools, Ava was beat. I had to put her to bed and then the real carving began. Maybe next year Ava will make it through the entire pumpkin carving process. This year, though, she was pretty content just playing with all the pumpkin guts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gooey Ghosts

After a great morning at the fantabulous Pumpkinland on Saturday, we ate lunch at Subway and headed home with Lexi along for the ride. Ava needed a nap, so she was down for a few hours which bummed Lexi out. To make up for the Avaless afternoon, I decided to teach her how to make popcorn balls. Get the recipe here. Lexi loves to help and I thought this was the perfect activity for her to help with. I borrowed an old school air popper from my dad and we popped the corn and you could actually see it popping in the popper. We are so used to just throwing a bag in the microwave, I thought it was neat to pop it a different way. If you don't have an air popper just use 3 bags of microwave popcorn. Make sure to pick out all the unpopped kernels because those are killers on your teeth!! I dealt with the stove but Lex helped with the measuring and of course the best part of all...forming the gooey ghosts (her name). If you make these, don't dump the entire sugary mess on the popcorn. Dump a little and stir, then a little more and stir. If you don't have a humongous bowl, then make them in 2 batches which is much more manageable. I sprayed Lexi's hands with Pam and she was off and running with her ghosts. It would be fun to add M&Ms or other candys if you have them. The gooey ghosts occupied Lexi's time and we ended up with a tasty treat too!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkinland

I've been feeling under the weather since Friday but I'm determined not to get sick. My husband says I'm sick but I'm choosing not to agree. We had plans to visit Thies' Pumpkinland on Saturday with my niece and dad, and I did not want to miss that. I loaded up on DayQuil, dressed warmly and headed out for lots of pumpkin fun. Pumpkinland did not disappoint! Lexi who's 7, had a blast. There were so many things for her to do and climb and wonder through. There was a hay pirate ship with buried treasure, a tower of terror, slides, mazes, zip lines and a ton more. They never had stuff like this when I was her age. Ava had a great time too. There were mini tractors throughout the area and she got the biggest kick out of pushing them all around. There were pigs, goats, and lamas. Animals are always a crowd pleaser in our house. Lexi decorated a pumpkin, too. We will be making Theis' Pumpkinland a yearly event for sure. We bought 3 decent sized pumpkins for about 12 bucks which seemed good to me. The girls loved it and so did the 3 adults. Only down side was my dad and I wanted coffee and there was none to be found. I would have settled for hot cider but they didn't have that either...bummer. Overall, Saturday was a very successful day and that was just the first half. I'll tell you all about the gooey ghosts and pumpkin carving that happened later in the day in a later post. For now, I have to go wrangle my little pumpkin into taking a nap. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spooky Spiders

The great thing about reading blogs is finding new resources which I love! I say read but really I am a visual person so I look at the pictures. There are a few really well written blogs that I do read but most that a peruse daily are more for visual ideas. I can't remember whose blog I was browsing but they mentioned a website that they found, so naturally I clicked to check it out. I was so glad I did because it has so many ideas!! The website is called Bright Ideas and contains so many cute and creative ideas using candy. How fun, right? Most of the fun recipes call for the good stuff too. You know like Twix, Snickers, M&Ms, etc. All candy that is easy to find and not hard to eat the left overs. I made these adorable spider cupcakes for the soup party which seemed to be a big hit with the kiddos. This was my first little guy and I goofed on his eyes. The M is facing out when it shouldn't be...oops! I'm sure the kids didn't notice my one eyeball goof. I'm trying to come up with a reason to make the cute pumpkin cookies on the front of the website now. Just too cute!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soup for the Soul


I mentioned the soup party in the previous post, so I thought I would share the recipe I made for the party. It's one of those super easy but makes you feel so warm inside kind of soups. The list of ingredients is short and chances are you have most of it in your fridge or pantry already. It's nothing fancy but a crowd pleaser none the less. My family has made this soup for as long as I can remember and I'm going to keep making it. Kind of a funny name but trust me it's yummy!

Chicken Soup with Rivels


3 ½ -4 lb. chicken
1 large onion, chopped
6 cups hot water (enough water to cover the chicken)
3 cups sliced carrots
Salt
Pepper
1 cup flour
1 egg
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup celery, chopped




1. In large dutch oven, heat on high the chicken, onion, water, carrots, salt, and pepper until it boils. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until chicken is fork tender.


2. Remove chicken and allow to cool.


3. To prepare rivels, in medium bowl stir flour, egg, pinch of salt, and milk to create a crumbly mixture.


4. With spoon (I use my hands), sprinkle rivels into simmering soup. Add celery; cook 20 minutes or until tender.


5. Cut chicken meat from the bone into bite sized pieces. Stir in meat and heat through.


It's a great soup and perfect for this dreary weather that has set upon us. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shaved Ice in October


We have been soaking up the warmer weather here in the STL. Yesterday was in the mid 70s and today and tomorrow seem to be the same too! It's been great and the whole neighborhood has been out and about.


We were sitting at the dinner table last night when we heard very loud tropical music being blared from somewhere. We had the windows open, so it was hard to ignore. We were nearing the end of dinner, just chatting and laughing at our goofball daughter. Steve all of a sudden says, "It's the ice cream man!" Well that was it. Dinner was over, and he was rushing around trying to find Ava's shoes to take her outside to get ice cream. Well, it wasn't the ice cream man after all! It was the shaved ice man. Big diff you know! I cleared the table of all the dinner remnants and then grabbed the camera and headed outside. How often to you eat freezing cold shaved ice at the end of October? Ava was in love. She already had a super full tummy from dinner but she managed to make room for her new love, shaved ice. The little piggy couldn't open her mouth wide enough and then half of it ended up running down her chin and onto her shirt. She and her daddy enjoyed the small reminder of summer. I enjoyed watching the two of them too.

Monday, October 19, 2009

5th Annual Soup Party

Every year we host a soup party at our house in October for family and friends. This past Saturday, we had our annual soup-for-all and boy was it yummy! I don't remember how I got the idea but I know it started with my love of soup. I look forward to the air getting chilly just so I can make all my favorite soups. The idea behind the party is that everyone brings their favorite soups. It's a lot of fun because there is always such a wide variety of soups to try. Everyone goes around and fills their mugs with what soup looks enticing to them. It's so fun to walk around and hear everyone tell each other, "Have you tried the chicken tortilla soup? Oh, it's really good go try that one next." The mugs work out perfect because they are smaller portions and people can stand around and talk while eating their yummy soup. This year we had about 40 people and 12 different soups. The soups are always unique and so tasty. Just a few from this year were: Buffalo Chicken, Gringo Chicken, Potato Cream Cheese, Broccoli Cheddar, Butternut Squash, Chili, White Chili, and the list goes on! I also make lots of yummy desserts which I rarely get to do but love so much. Not everyone is good at making soup, so they offer to bring other goodies for the party. It all works out in the end. One of my favorite parts of the evening (after gorging on soup) is heading out back by the fire pit to make s'mores and drink hot cider. There's something so perfect about eating a gooey s'more, holding a cup of hot cider, and talking with friends around a fire on a crisp night. It's...perfect.


P.S. The pics from this not are not good :o( I am always so busy that I forget to take any pictures! Steve did take a few so these are his handy work. I must say that I love our camera but for indoor shots at night, it is not good at all. Either that or I just don't know what I'm doing. There's a very good possibility that it is user error! Thus the crumby pics.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All Too Quiet

I was cleaning the hall bathroom today when I noticed I didn't have Ava glued to my side as usual. I stopped what I was doing and listened. I didn't hear a thing which is very unusual for my child because she has the tendency to chatter to me, her animals, Sweet Pea, and even herself at times. I went into slight panic mode because it is never good when it is too quiet. There were only 2 places for her to be and that was the playroom/TV room right outside the bathroom I was cleaning or her room which is also right next to the bathroom. The rest of the house was blocked off to her. I darted out of the bathroom and didn't see her in the playroom, so I was in her room in about 3 giant steps. I rounded the corner to see her sitting in her little butterfly chair reading a book. A book! My heart had stopped for a few seconds over a book! She casually looked up at me with a look like, "Calm down, Mom. Where's the fire?" She continued to point and read and turn pages. My daughter the little bookworm!

I can't say I'm surprised though because I have always had a love for books. When I was younger I would head to the store with my allowance and buy whatever book sounded good to me. I was the teenager who bought books with her allowance instead of worrying about clothes. My middle school and high school years were not pretty...AT ALL! Good thing there weren't digital cameras in those days otherwise there would be all too many pictures to destroy! I'm glad to pass down a love to books to Ava. I just hope she keeps it up!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Christmas on the Brain

I keep a list of all my family members on my computer and throughout the year when I think of something that would be great for a Christmas gift I jump on my computer and add to my list. I've never really put anything in stockings before. Now that we have Ava, I feel the need to fill her little stocking with small goodies she will love. She's at the age where she loves to draw, write, and color...on everything! Thank goodness so far that has only applied to paper goods. All my lists, magazines, coupons, etc. now have Ava's "signature" on them. It's really quite cute but I do get some odd looks from people at Target when my coupons are scribbled on. Anyway, I have been looking for something to throw in my purse or diaper bag that will keep her busy when we are out at restaurants, doctors appts, and anywhere else she might have to sit for bit. That's when I stumbled across these gals at Pink Gasoline. I love the design of this crayon roll. I have seen others similar to this but in order to close them you have to tie a ribbon. This has a button closure that when Ava gets a little bigger she will be able to do herself. I already bought her a little Sesame Street coloring book for her stocking that fits perfectly in my mini diaper bag so now my little lady will be ready to create her masterpieces!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sweetopia

Seriously...how adorable are these? I love all things baking, and cookie decorating seems right up my alley. I've never tried it before but it combines two of my loves, baking and creating. Marian, of Sweetopia, has an amazing site that is dedicated to helping others learn how to decorate cookies the way she does. She also talks about all other things sweet such as cupcakes, cakes, gingerbread, etc. It's a well organized site that is easy to navigate and find her wonderful tutorials for decorating. I spent quite a bit of time just drooling over her amazing cookie designs. This site will definitely serve as inspiration for me over the holidays. What a talented lady!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Traditions

When the leaves start turning and the weather turns chilly, we always head over to Illinois to Eckert's to pick our own apples. The tradition started with my niece, Lexi, who is now 7. Every year we would take her to pick apples. Now that we have our own little one the tradition continues with her too. Last year Ava went with us but she was only 2 months old. I actually had to nurse her in the orchard last year. Not the ideal situation! I had to trek over several row of apples to find some privacy. Looking back I can't believe that I took her there so young! I must have felt really brave that day. This year was a lot more fun for me because Ava could walk around and pick up apples herself. She really enjoyed eating the apples. I taught her one sign as a baby and that was the sign for *more*. I didn't want her grunting or whining or yelling for more of something so instead she does the sign. In the orchard, whenever someone eating an apple was out of site she would do the more sign so that someone would give her more apple. Of course everyone was more that happy to give her more apple. She even weaseled some funnel cake out of us. It really was quite cute. I can only imagine that each year we go will be more and more fun for Ava (and us too)!