Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Halloween Family Fun Weekend, Part 1

That's what I officially named this past weekend as I asked Chris not to make any plans for the weekend.

It seems like we've had something planned every weekend for a while now. While we've enjoyed every minute of the fall activities, birthday celebrations, and quality time with friends, it was nice to have an "off" weekend and to try out a few of the great recipes and projects that I've pinned on my pinterest board and just relax:)

We started the day with a Haunted Brunch (Chris would laugh every time I said this)! As I mentioned, we were relaxing this weekend, so we slept-in as long as our little hearts desired...and we didn't wake up in time for breakfast.

I found this Baked Eyeball Eggs Casserole recipe on the Betty Crocker website {here}.

It was delicious. Although, to get the effect of blood-shot veins, I may try using a ketchup bottle with a narrower opening next time.

We also carried on our weekend's theme to the dining room table. (Please ignore the paper plates. They were shrink-wrapped so tight that they warped.) I gave the kids their trick-or-treat baskets and just a small gift from the Dollar Tree (Love that store!). Evan got a Halloween Pooh Bear paint set and Chloe got a Disney Princess set.

The kids couldn't wait to use their paint sets, so after brunch, they painted on the front porch.

 And then, Chris and I were entertained by a very emotional performance!

After a little more resting:), the Littles and I made caramel apples. I cheated and bought an easy Caramel Apple Kit from the grocery store. Although, I did find a simple "recipe" for making Dipping Caramel {here}.

Here was a quick picture of Chloe and I before making the apples.

And here was a little of the process.

If I had to do over again, I would have made the caramel. The kit caramel wasn't really made for adding toppings and I had to work to get our toppings to stick.

The Littles with our final creations! They snuck toppings the entire time we were making the apples. The evidence is all over their faces:)

And a close-up

One good choice that I did make was choosing Granny Smith Apples. I loved the tartness of the apples with the caramel!

Chris took a silly picture of us munching on our apples!

I really enjoyed our day at home and being able to actually try a few of the recipes/projects that I've wanted to do! We have more pictures to come from our weekend, so stay tuned!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Patch: A Phone Camera's Perspective

I love visiting the Pumpkin Patch each fall, not only for the fun family time, but for the great photo ops! One of our best family photos was taken at a pumpkin patch.

(Cue in big disappointment.)

Well, I didn't forget my camera before our thirty minute drive to the Dreamfield Farms Pumpkin Patch, but, I did forget to check and see if the battery was charged:( Luckily, we met a small group of friends from church at the pumpkin patch and they were gracious enough to snap a few family shots for us with their battery-charged cameras.

Of course, I did have my phone, so I took a few pictures with my phone's camera. They aren't quality photos by any stretch of the imagination (yet another argument for why I should get the iPhone 5 with its 8-megapixel camera;)), but they would have to do.

I liked this particular pumpkin patch because all the activities were included in the price of admission, and with a 50% off deal on the Deal Chicken website, the price could not be beat!

Our first stop was the inflatables. This first picture makes me laugh! She reminds me a little of Cindy Lou Who, with her striped tights and pigtails flying in the wind.

While attempting to take some pictures of Chris and the Littles, a kind lady offered to take a picture of the family. Score!

The scenery out at the farm was beautiful with lots of flowers and butterflies. I snapped this photo next to the snack bar.

There were tons of other activities for the kids to enjoy, including riding mini tractors...

Playing in the corn...

Water-pump rubber ducky races (You would have to see it to understand:))...

and playing in the haystacks/maze! This was my favorite photo of the day!

Of course, we rode the hay ride to the actual Pumpkin Patch. (A friend took a really cute family photo on the hayride. Once I get a few of the pictures taken by friends, I'll post them!)

Chloe and Evan picked out bigger pumpkins that we will carve this weekend, but they insisted on taking a picture with the small pumpkins. Chloe even convinced me to let her use her birthday money to buy the smallest pumpkin that she could find.

After the hayride, we had time for a few more activities. We fed the goats.

And, we talked to turkeys. This little turkey was so brave. He would come right up to fence. He also answered back to Chris' and the Littles' gobbles.

We had such a good time at the pumpkin patch! I can't wait for our visit again next year! ("Next year" is always the answer that we give Chloe when she asks when we are going to do something again.)

For someone who was disappointed about my camera being dead, I sure did manage to get quite a few pictures! And here are a couple of more to end my blog post:)

USO Sesame Street with Lola

Earlier today, Lola brought the Littles to a special live performance of Sesame Street.

I have a confession. My mom, A.K.A. Lola, celebrated another year of life earlier this week. I've been so preoccupied with Chloe's birthday party and work that it slipped my mind. My brother, Jose, had to remind me (after the fact). My mom is such a special person to me, and Chloe and Evan absolutely adore her. I was a little distraught when I realized that I didn't do anything on her birthday to let her know how special she is to us, EACH and EVERY day!

I saw that the Air Force Base was having a special Sesame Street performance in the Touch N' Go magazine a few weeks ago and had asked my mom to take the Littles. Lola called to tell me that she would be happy to take them. I figured that this was my opportunity to do a little something for her. I bought a little cake and card and as she walked through our front door the Littles and I sang Happy Birthday with piano accompaniment by Chloe:)

Before Lola arrived, the kids took a picture in their Elmo attire.

And when Lola arrived, they took another picture:)

Then off they went to watch Sesame Street with Lola and Uncle Jose!

They got these complimentary Elmo light toys at the show (and bandannas, not pictured). One thing that I do like about going to military events for kids is the freebies! You aren't nickled and dimed for the experience.

From the photos, it looked like they really enjoyed the show! Thanks Uncle Jose for taking these photos.

Evan's favorite Sesame Street character is Elmo. Here was the "man"of the hour.

Chloe's favorites are Abby and Zoe. Abby wasn't at this performance, but Zoe was!

I asked Chloe about the story (line), but she wasn't sure about what it was. It may be a little over her head at this age, but she and Evan loved the singing and dancing! I had read a little write-up prior to the show and it was about a military "brat," like me:), that was relocating. I thought it was the perfect show for military families, especially with young children.

Lola and the Littles took one more picture after the show.

Thank you Lola and Uncle Jose for taking Chloe and Evan on a little excursion today. It was nice to be able to get some work done without feeling guilty that the kids were at home itching for something to do. We love you Lola, each and every day! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A "Sweet" Birthday Celebration!

Chloe had a sweet vintage Strawberry Shortcake birthday party this past Saturday!

Since Chloe has a bit of a creative spark in her, we decided to celebrate her birthday at a local art studio/gift shop. The owner and operator of the store, Barb, is so talented and works so well with children.

We invited Chloe's girlfriends and a just few family members to the party. I wanted the party to be very girly, just like my Chloe.

The Littles spent the night with their Nana and Granddaddy, so I would have time to prepare for the party the following day, interruption free:) Their grandparents are always so accommodating and willing to watch the Littles whenever we need them. We are so grateful!

They arrived that day, giving me the perfect amount of time to get Chloe and Evan dressed and ready for the party before running out the door to set up the party. Aunt Sara also joined in on the pre-party AND she brought an awesome birthday surprise, a PINK baby grand piano, or as Chloe likes to call it, "pian-to."

After a quick set up, the birthday and party girls arrived.

The party started with a painting activity instructed by Barb!

(I had so many great party photos to choose from, thanks in large part to my dear brother, who has been deemed the official party photographer of my children's birthday parties. His work is wonderful!)

I made the cute party hats and many of the party decorations using strawberry printables that can be found on etsy, {here}.

Of course, we couldn't leave out little brother, even if he was a boy! He may have gotten just a little more attention from Barb and I:)

I decided on pumpkins for our painting project over strawberries since we were in the middle of October. I figured that the mothers could incorporate the paintings into their fall decor. Chloe's and Evan's are sitting on our mantle as I type.

Afterwards, we enjoyed some sweets, treats, and cake!

I didn't take any shots of the party spread prior to the party, but here are a few shots of the party table. We had mini strawberry cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry bars, shortbread cookies, strawberry cookies, strawberry twizzlers, strawberry candies, strawberry lemonade, and just plain ol' strawberries! Do you recognize a theme?! I found the vintage strawberry shortcake trays on ebay for a steal and used a few of my milk glass pieces (wish I had more!) to keep with the vintage feel.

Oh, and the cake was to die for! Carol of Girl Meets Cake did an awesome job and the cake far exceeded my expectations.

Chloe later told me that her favorite part of the day was sitting on the porch eating and talking with her little girlfriends. She is such a little social butterfly!

We opened presents and Chloe got the Auburn Collegiate Barbie from Chris and I . These barbies have become my  favorite go-to gift!

We almost forgot, but with the party girls (and Evan) that still remained, we took a quick group shot of the pumpkin paintings. The sun was blaring at this point and this was honestly the best picture of the bunch.

It was an awesome day. Chloe and the family are so blessed in so many ways by our friends, family, and Him. We couldn't have asked for a better party!

Happy 4th Birthday to my sweet, smart, creative, social, and beautiful girl!