Friday, October 29, 2010

Gooey Pumpkin Guts

The family pics were postponed until next week which only gives me another week to fret over find something more flattering to wear.  It was really windy here and cold so we didn't want to take Ava out and chance getting her sick before Halloween.  Since we had our evening free, we decided to carve our pumpkins.  Ava was super excited and talked about gooey pumpkins guts for 30 minutes straight while we cleaned/carved pumpkins and roasted seeds.  She requested a scary pumpkin from me so the above left was the result.  Steve went a little more kid friendly with his on the right.  I'll try to post a pic of the wee one and the furball in their costumes before Monday.  If I don't get around to it then I hope everyone has a safe and spooky Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is she pregnant or just fat?

We have family pictures tonight which I am very excited about.  At least I was excited until I tried to figure out what I was going to wear.  Ava and Steve look great.  I made this little flower headband for her to wear in some of the pictures and she loves it.  She prances around the house swinging her hair from side to side.  Occasionally she will run to get her stool and look at her flower in the mirror.  She's such a girl!  Steve looks great in anything especially blue which is what color he is wearing tonight.

Then there's me.

The six month pregnant lady who's trying to look fashionable and cute with a baby bump that just kinda looks like I ate too much Halloween candy at this point.  Let's just say I'm less than thrilled with my look and I hope Steve and Ava standout waaaaaay more than I do.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recipe: Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

Light, fluffy, soft, irresistible.  All words to describe these melt-in-your-mouth cookies from Better Homes and Gardens Recipe site.I made these for our soup party last weekend and they were so yummy.  I made the cookies several days ahead of time and layered them between wax paper to freeze until I needed them.  The day of the party I made the frosting and frosted my little heart out.  This recipe makes a lot of cookies!  It would be very easy to half this recipe though and enjoy only 30 of these yummy little cookies.  

  • 2  cups  butter, softened
  • 2  cups  granulated sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 2  teaspoons  baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 2    eggs
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla
  • 1  15-ounce can  pumpkin
  • 4  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  butter
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  milk
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla
  • 2-3/4  cups  powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat 2 cups butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.
2. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
3. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on cookies. (I let the frosting set up a bit before frosting the cookies.)
*Makes about 60 cookies.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Printable Freebie From Vale Design

*Image from Vale Design

My wee one loves these coloring pages from Vale Design.  Break out those crayons, markers and colored pencils and let the creativity start to flow!  

I've been busy putting the finishing touches on Ava and Simon's Halloween costumes.  Yes, the rabbit has a costume but will I be able to get the two of them in a photo together with their costumes on?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Club: Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

I'm a little behind on reviewing this one by about a week.  Let me start by saying that I am the type of person that finishes what I start.  I have finished some books that I really did not enjoy in the past.  For me something just feels wrong about not finishing the book.  This book is the first book I have EVER not finished.  It wasn't a horrible book.  It wasn't an uninteresting book.  The main theme throughout the book is immortality.  Sounds like it might be a good one.  Especially for a book club to discuss.  Well, for me it fell flat.  Throughout the book the lives of several people are told.  One is of a king who was born thousands of years ago and was still living in the 1960s when I stopped reading the book.  There is a common thread of perfume throughout the story as well.  I think this book would have been perfect for me to read when I was getting my undergrad in English.  To sit and ponder what the symbolism of different aspects of the story meant with a handful of my peers would have been fun.  Reading it now as a mom with plenty of other things on my mind was just not fun.  I knew as I was reading it that I wasn't giving it the time I should to really think about what the story was saying.  The reviews of this book on Amazon are great.  Let's just say my review is less than stellar.  Then again, I didn't finish it so take that with a grain of salt.

I did however read The Hunger Games in 2 days.  I was bummed after not finishing Jitterbug Perfume and this had been sitting on my shelf waiting for me to pick it up.  I loved it.  It had great characters, kept my interest and had me turning pages late into the night.  I ordered the next one and can't wait to read it!  It made me look forward reading our next book club book which is Little Bee.  

I'm always looking for something new to read or suggest to my book club.  What have you read lately??

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Perfectly Cozy

Aren't these adorable?  Knit Storm over on Etsy has these little lovelies.  Perfect for all those nights you want to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea.  She'll personalize the labels to say whatever you desire too.  So, so cute!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Now that the weather is finally starting to get chilly here, it's the perfect time for a great pot roast that is super simple. I throw this together in the morning and it simmers on low all day and makes the house smell fantastic.  When we sat down to eat this the other night, my husband said that he hated this growing up but now he looks forward to when I make it.  I think that's a compliment?  I serve it with crusty bread to soak up all the yummy gravy.

  • 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water or a can of beef broth
  • Up to a 5 lb. pot roast ( I use a chuck roast)
  • 6 carrots peeled and cut into 2 inches pieces
  • 1 lb. new potatoes

  • In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water (or broth). Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture.  Cook on  low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

The last 2 or 3 hours of cooking add the carrots and potatoes.  I always add them the last 3 hours just to make sure they cook all the way through.

*Recipe slightly adapted from

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Tuesday Morning

Don't let that cute twitchy nose or the velvety soft ears fool you.  When it comes time to trim his nails, Simon is a nervous Nelly who will try to bite me (which he never does any other time).  I have to wrap him in a towel and let him nervously chew his little heart out while I attempt to trim his front nails.  I can't even do his back nails by myself.  I get to share that experience with Steve when he gets home tonight.  I know he'll be thrilled to find that out.  I love you honey and so does Simon even if he can't tell you ;o)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Soup Party Madness

Well there wasn't really madness but it was a lot of fun.  What is a soup party?  Well, we invite all our friends and family and ask them to bring a crock pot full of their favorite soup to share with everyone.  We provide all the drinks, crusty bread for dipping, desserts and the fire pit.  Although this year we really didn't need the fire pit because it was in the 70s.  Every year there is plenty of soup and everyone leaves stuffed.  

Did I take any pictures of all the wonderful soups?  Of course not because we were all too busy filling our tummies.  Trust me though, they were all so good!  This year we had about 10 different soups and all that I tried were super yummy.  There was clam chowder, squash, cream of mushroom, taco, chicken curry, potato, chili and the list goes on.  There were plenty of desserts in case the soup wasn't enough for you.  S'mores, caramel apples, brownies, witches hats, eyeball cupcakes, pumpkin cookies (recipe coming later this week) were just a few of the sweets.  I know the kiddos at the party ate their fair share of sweets.  A caramel apple with chopped pecans hit the spot for this preggo lady that night.  It's a great time to relax with friends and family and just enjoy the weather.  I'm already plotting next years party and all the soupy madness.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spookin' Up the House

Me and my mini-me have been cutting, gluing, glittering and baking up a storm for our annual soup party coming up this weekend.  The house is starting to look spooky and smell really yummy.  We're looking forward to all the soups, friends and fun this Saturday.  Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


There is just something about your kiddo laughing that makes almost anything better.  Once Ava starts laughing it's hard to not laugh right along with her. So I laugh.  A lot.  Even when it's something that I shouldn't laugh at because a 2 year old shouldn't say or know what just popped out of her mouth.  I just turn my head and make sure she can't see that I'm laughing with her.  Then I tell her not to say it again or do that again.  I know.  People are lining up to give me mother of the year awards :o)

I hope your day is filled with laughter with someone you love.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes

It's that time of year when you start to see pumpkin recipes everywhere and I love it!  Ava adores pancakes and I thought these pancakes would be right up her alley and add a little fallishness to our breakfast.  She loves to cook and these are easy for her to mix and help out with.  She loved them and so did the rest of the family.

Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or more if you like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (plus a little more to thin out batter if needed)
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

  1. In a medium sized bowl combine milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar.  Mix until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. (Don't taste the batter now because it is not very yummy until it cooks.)  If the batter seems thick then add a little milk to thin it out so it is more the consistency of normal pancake batter
  4. Cook on a griddle or skillet until golden brown on both sides.  These take longer than normal pancakes to cook but are sooooo worth it.
  5. Serve warm with syrup and chopped walnuts.

This makes a lot of pancakes for our little family but they freeze or refrigerate well for later.

*Recipe adapted slightly from

Monday, October 11, 2010

Big Girl Bed

We're starting to gear up for the new little guy coming in a few months.  We want Ava to be in a full sized bed by then so the baby will get Ava's old crib.  In order to start the transition, I took the front off her crib and introduced her to her new "big girl" bed.  She was super excited and wanted to play on her bed all day Friday.  

She went to bed great at 8:00 Friday night.  I checked on her at 10:30 and she was still snoozing soundly.  Steve checked on her at 12:30 and he came to get me.  This is what we saw.  She apparently rolled out of the bed and sprawled out on the floor and fell right back to sleep.  I was glad I left her bumper on the floor in front of the bed to soften the landing a little.  We haven't had any more rolling incidents so I think one time was all she needed.  Good thing she's a quick learner!

On a side note, the kid looks like a giant in this picture.  It's a good thing she is getting a bigger bed soon because she fills up her little crib bed as it is now!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Library Time

Ava and I recently started visiting our local library.  I don't really know what took me so long because the kid loves books (as does her momma).  She also loves trains so the fact that our library has tons and tons of books and a Thomas Train table means at least an hour of fun for her.

Photo from Aunt Jane

Since we've been checking out so many books and the little bookmark stamped with the date doesn't work for me I found this printable list that I'm going to try out for the new year.  It's super cute and I won't lose it like the little bookmarks.  Go check out the Etsy story, Aunt Jane.  She even makes great totes for lugging all those library books around.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where are you Fall?

This past weekend we had all these outdoor plans for Saturday and it was windy and cold.  We went to Strassenfest in Chesterfield and it was so chilly we didn't even stay for a brat.  You know that street fairs are all about the food, so I was bummed that we didn't stay for any all! After Strassenfest we were going to head downtown to the Taste of St. Louis Fair.  Due to all the wind and cold, we opted for a warm Bread Co. lunch of soup and bread.  

This week has been gorgeous weather wise.  The next few days will be in the low 80s which is great for some outdoor fun.  Yesterday we spent a few hours at MOBot with some friends and enjoyed all the sun and slides and flowers.  We even fed the huge ugly coy fish in the Japanese Garden.  We have plans to go pumpkin picking this weekend but it just seems wrong to pick pumpkins in 80 degree weather.  Very un-fall like to say the least.  I'm not complaining about the weather because I hate being cooped up all winter with no outdoor playtime but I just don't want mother nature to skip right to winter.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Recipe: Fall Harvest Salad

Whenever I ask an aunt, my MIL, or friends, "So what do you want me to bring to your house?"  I get the same answer almost every time.  "A green salad."  I think I have now become the unofficial salad queen among friends and family.  I like using a variety of ingredients in salads and they are so versatile you can go the the store or market and just see what looks good.  Here's my latest salad creation that was a hit with the fam.

8 oz. spring mix or spinach well rinsed
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup Crasins
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado diced
1/2 small red onion thinly sliced

3 Tbsp. red raspberry jam (no seeds)
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 C. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a small bowl whisk together all the dressing ingredients.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl toss spring mix, walnuts, Crasins, blue cheese, grape tomatoes, avocado and red onion.
  3. Right before serving toss with dressing.
I love this salad because of the slightly sweet dressing with the tang of the blue cheese and crisp flavor of the red onion.  If there is something that you don't like then leave it out.  If you don't have Crasins then chop up a apple and throw that in.  Swap out the walnuts for pecans.  Go salad crazy folks!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Look Out World

We found out Thursday that we'll be welcoming a new little guy into our family in February.  We're super excited and now I can shop on the other side of the stores now too.  Steve's excited because the balance in the house will be restored.  I told him that Simon has always been on his side but he insists the furball doesn't count.

The funny thing is whenever we tell people the response is something like, "Ohhhhhh, well he definitely will keep you busy and you should get your rest now."  The tone is never in a good way either.  It's that you're-in-for-it-now kind of tone.  I don't think people are trying to make me nervous but it's starting to creep into my thinking.  It can't though!  It's just a little boy.  I know we have been extremely lucky with Ava who is a super sweet and good little girl but come on.  He's still our kiddo and he's going to be fun no matter how spunky and full of energy he is.  Let the little boy things start to invade our house!!  We're ready!