{soaking up summer // it’s the little things}

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Hello! I’m linking up with Jess and Ashley for a quick “It’s the Little Things” post. 

We are soaking up every minute of summer…school starts in less than three weeks, boo. I know we still have many more days of fun before school starts, but the countdown has begun:( This summer has flown by-it seems like summers fly by even more as the kiddos get bigger. I suppose part of it is because we are so busy and have had so much fun this summer doing all kinds of activities. 

However, while I don’t want the summer to be over, there’s something fun about back to school and the newness of things.  Plus, it means that my favorite season is coming soon: fall! I love all our fun traditions of fall.  But now it’s back to summer and some recent scenes around our house.

Harper and Will love playing outside, especially on our neighbor’s gym set and in their sand box. Here they are setting up a restaurant and serving lunch to mommy. 

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Will is showing off his new talent of swinging standing up.  Of course, Miss Harper has to try to copy exactly what he does.20140721-201336-72816731.jpg

Story time at one of our local libraries. We switch it up and go to one of three libraries for story time since each one is quite different. 20140721-201337-72817147.jpg

Checking out the hydrangeas outside. My little gardeners:)20140721-201337-72817621.jpg

Sliding and running around outside. 20140721-201337-72817866.jpg

At the local park after story time. We typically go to the park after the story time at the city library. 20140721-201337-72817378.jpgMore summer fun to come…a trip to the state fair, lots of time at the park, possibly going to a splash park, summer walks, and just plain ole fun outside!

 

Fall Fun List Recap!

Now that it’s December (wow, how the time flies by!), I figured I better write a recap of our fun fall and see how much we accomplished on our fall fun list!

This was the original list I made a few months ago.

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We went to our local farmer’s market several times this fall. The kiddos loved walking around the market, looking at all the fresh veggies and baked goods.

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As a family, we drove up the road a few minutes to a fun pumpkin patch where you pick all the pumpkins you want (and that fit into the wagon) for $25! It was lots of fun wandering through the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin to carve! Will and I went to a second pumpkin patch with his preschool class. I took the day off work and spent the morning with him and his preschool friends.

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Our family continued our third annual trip to a local apple orchard with my parents. We spent a (hot) fall morning picking apples and eating apple cider donuts. Fun times!

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Again, since my computer isn’t working, I have limited access to pics (I found as many iPhone pics from our fall adventures as possible). We carved a pumpkin, drank apple cider (it was cold cider that we had made at a friend’s house), jumped and played in the leaves at Grammy and Granddaddy’s house, Grammy made a pumpkin pie (I didn’t get around to making one), attended a local food festival, made a thankful tree, bought items to donate to our food bank (we are going to take them this week), went on several fall hikes, and thoroughly enjoyed our fall! The only thing on the list we didn’t get to was making caramel apples…maybe next year!

Five on Friday!

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Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Darci and friends for Five on Friday, my favorite link-up!  It’s hard to believe that it’s already November 8th! The time is flying by!

{1}  For an upcoming Pinterest project (these are weekly projects I where I attempt a craft, new recipe, or something else I have pinned on Pinterest; see here and here for a few Pinterest projects that I’ve completed), I decided to start crocheting again.  I crocheted when I was younger but haven’t really done much with it in the past few years.  My mom and I are going to make some crocheted dishcloths over Thanksgiving, and I thought I’d start practicing crocheting again by making an infinity scarf.  Here’s my work in progress (which, by the way, hasn’t made much progress this week-I’m just too tired in the evenings to pick it up; all I want to do late in the evenings after the kiddos are in bed is visit with my hubby and read blogs).  Hopefully, I will have the scarf completed in a few weeks and will share it on one of my Pinterest project posts:)

crochet

{2} This whole time change thing is not fun when you have kiddos.  We are still adjusting to our new sleep schedules.  The kiddos have been waking up super early and are ready to go to bed early…plus, their nap schedules are all messed up.  I’m not liking how dark it is when we come home from work.  We’re trying to get outside as much as possible.  Here’s Miss H enjoying the outdoors, or the “fresh air,” as Will calls it.  He always says, “Mommy, we need to go out and get some fresh air.”

miss a

{3}   Out with the pumpkin, in with the peppermint!  It seems like we just started pumpkin flavor season, but in the stores, it’s time already for peppermint.  I made these pumpkin pancakes from Trader Joe’s last weekend.  We loved them, especially the kiddos!  I found a chocolate peppermint loaf mix at Trader Joe’s but haven’t tried it yet. Peppermint is another of my favorite flavors, but I’m not quite ready to give up pumpkin yet:(  Actually, what am I saying?  I make pumpkin breads and other pumpkin recipes through the winter, ha!

pumpkin peppermint

{4} I’m a huge fan of Burt’s Bees lip balm but I came across this EOS lip balm the other week at Target.  I have the pomegranate raspberry and sweet mint flavor and love them both! They are in such a cute container and are 100% natural.  I happened to see a huge package of the EOS lip balm at Costco the other week and had to resist the urge to buy it!

lip balm

{5} In our family, we love Crocs! I have several different styles that I wear to work and my hubby even has a pair (his don’t leave the house, though!).  I recently bought Will and Harper each a new pair of Crocs.  Harper is finally outgrowing her pink size 2/3 Crocs (so tiny!).  The new purple Crocs are size 4 but are slightly big on her.

crocs

Have a great weekend:)

Five on Friday!

20131025-194607.jpgHappy Friday! I’m linking up again with Darci and friends for 5 on Friday!  So glad it’s the weekend:)  Here’s what’s been happening lately…

{1} My parents visited briefly last weekend on their way back home from Pennsylvania, where they had been for the past few days visiting relatives.  Here’s my mom looking at a photo album with Will and Harper.  They love spending time with their grandparents:)  I’m looking forward to the holidays and spending lots more time with family!

visiting with grammy

{2} Once again on a pumpkin kick, I made some pumpkin cream cheese bars from the blog, The Girl Who Ate Everything.  It only took her ten minutes to whip up this recipe.  Me, on the other hand…it only took me 20 minutes. Not too bad, considering it was a pumpkin bread/muffin base from scratch and a separate cream cheese topping from scratch.  They turned out super yummy!  It’s kind of like a pumpkin roll, except much easier!

pumpkin cheesecake bars

{3} Will and Harper helped me carve a pumpkin last weekend.  Well, Will kind of supervised and Harper colored her mini pumpkin while I carved the pumpkin.  Will enjoyed scooping out the seeds and pumpkin goop.  Here are the kiddos playing with the jack o’lantern.  pumpkin carving

{4} I love the Young House Love blog!  It’s one of my favorite home blogs.  If you’ve never checked out their blog, you must!  Anyway, the other day on Facebook they posted info about sending them pics of design dilemmas.  So, I immediately jumped on this and emailed them.  We have a very open floor plan in our living room.  In the original house plans, there was a wall separating the more formal, front living room and the family room (where our tv is).  However, we wanted to have a more open space and opted not to include the wall.  We love the openness but I’m not pleased with the division between the two rooms.  I emailed them this pic (and several others) with the hopes that they will give me some advice (I even pointed out that I have a copy of their book on my bookshelf in the pic!).  I’m not getting my hopes up, though (they have so many people who email them for tips), so anyone else have advice?  I would love to have this as one big open space rather than two separate areas.  We never use the more formal part (at the front of the house, where the fireplace is), so I feel that it’s just wasted space.  living room-yhl

{5} I absolutely love this recipe for a super easy chicken parmesan bake.  Instead of breading and frying the chicken (I hate dealing with raw chicken, so this is an easy way to cook chicken without the mess), you put the chicken in a casserole dish with chopped garlic and olive oil.  Cover the chicken with spaghetti sauce and top with croutons (we love the Trader Joe’s croutons) and cheese.  Bake and voila, you have an easy chicken parmesan.  It makes great leftovers and freezes well, too. chicken parm

Five on Friday!

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Happy Friday! I’m linking up again with Darci and friends for 5 on Friday!  It’s been a long week and I’m so glad Friday is here:)  Here’s what’s new with us recently.

{1} Last weekend, we went home to visit my parents.  While we were home, we made sure to jump and play in a big pile of leaves!  It’s one of the activities listed on our fall fun list!  It was so much fun playing in the leaves, though they were wet.  We ended up being so dirty after playing in the leaves that we changed clothes before heading back to our house.  Lots.of.fun!

playing in leaves

{2} Growing up, my family and I made apple cider at a neighbor’s house.  We would pick apples in their orchard, wash them, and send them through the apple cider chopper/press to make delicious cider.  It took all day, but we would end up with gallons of yummy juice that we could drink all winter (we froze most of it).  It’s been several years since I’ve made apple cider, but last weekend when we were home visiting my parents, we were invited to another neighbor’s home to pick apples and make cider.  Although I use the word, “neighbor,” they live about thirty minutes from us (not that far in terms of miles but it takes a while back the narrow gravel roads).  Where I grew up, we were out in the middle of nowhere!  So sometimes your neighbors were more than several minutes away from your home, ha!  Anyway, my mom and I decided to take Will and Harper to pick apples and make cider, at least as much as we could do with two young kiddos!  My husband and dad were on a biking trip that afternoon, so it was just my mom, the kiddos, and me.  Will and Harper loved collecting apples from the orchard in their own little buckets!  In fact, little Miss H. was so insistent on picking her own apples that she threw a tantrum when we tried to help her.  Below is a pic of my mom and Will watching the apples turn into cider.  We got to drink the end result fresh off of the press, ha! It was very yummy!

apple cider

{3} Will loves to help me in the kitchen!  He helped me make a yummy pumpkin bread recipe, which contains vanilla pudding.  The flavor combos in this recipe are delish!  I was tempted to try this recipe for pumpkin French toast, which uses pieces of pumpkin bread instead of regular bread, but the bread is almost gone!  How yummy would that be?!  Pumpkin bread French toast!!  I had a wonderful banana bread French toast at a restaurant once and have always wanted to make a similar dish using pumpkin bread.

pumpkin bread mommy

{4} I saw this neat way to organize fruit into a candy corn shape on the blog, Little Baby Garvin.  Will and Harper both loved it!  Such a fun way to present food to kiddos!  I love that blog, too!  She has lots of neat ideas.  I need to try these fruit and donut skewers sometime!

candy corn fruit

{5}  Miss H. cracks me up!  She is so particular about wearing shoes (and socks-she hates having anything on her feet!).  On this particular day, she had a huge fit because she didn’t want to wear her shoes outside.  I had bought her this pair of red boots at a consignment sale but had forgotten about them.  She decided she wanted to wear the boots, so we went outside to play.  The boots are almost as big as she is, ha!  The only other pair of shoes she will wear is a pair of pink crocs.  Every.single.day.  It’s going to be a very sad day when she outgrows them.

boots

Fun Fall Family Weekend!

Happy October!  We had a super busy and fun weekend.  On Saturday, my in-laws came for the day.  We decided to take them to the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville (they had never been there before!).  A friend of theirs was in the hospital at UVA, so my mother-in-law, Mimi, and I took Harper and Will to the Virginia Discovery Museum while my husband and father-in-law, Grandaddy, headed to the hospital.  This was the first time going to this museum; we have been to another local children’s museum, but this one was much cooler!  Harper and Will especially liked the little town, which included a post office, movie theater, and Panera Bread.  Miss H. played in the post office for the majority of the time (standing up on a stool to reach the cash register).  When other kiddos came over, she put her hand out to push them away.  So bossy!  She is always around kiddos (primarily boys) who are older than she is and has to stand up for herself, so she has a feisty little attitude about her.  When she gets in her moods, she will stomp her foot and say, “No!”  She cracks me up!

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Anyway, we met back up with Daddy and Grandaddy for lunch at a restaurant called The Nook.  It was yummy, but I was slightly stressed out since the kiddos were very hungry and tired.

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We went to Old Navy where I found a Halloween costume for Will and Miss H.  Will picked out a fox costume and I decided on a cute owl outfit for Miss H (she was sleeping in the car and was unable to select her costume! I hope she likes it!).  Grandaddy hung out in the car while she slept.  Before heading back home, we stopped by the mall and picked up a scarf and shirt for our fall pictures (they are coming up soon!).

Both kiddos slept on the ride back and were grouchy when we arrived home.  I had to pick up my unsold clothes from a consignment sale and swung by a local pizza place to pick up stromboli and salad for dinner.  Mimi and Grandaddy left shortly after dinner, but we had a great time visiting with them.

On Sunday, we went to a local pumpkin patch.  I know, we got pumpkins before Oct. 1st!! Gasp!  The horror!  I was determined to go to a pumpkin patch this year before all the pumpkins were sold out, which happened the past two years.  There’s a fun pumpkin patch up the road from us where you pay $25 for as many pumpkins as you can load into the wagon.  Some of the people had pumpkins piled up so high in their wagons!  We didn’t go that crazy over the pumpkins, but we did end up with about 8 nice sized ones.  Harper and WIll had tons of fun exploring the pumpkin patch, trying to find the best pumpkin.  It’s so cool that the pumpkin patch has an honor system-you put your money in the mailbox-no one is there monitoring the pumpkin patch.

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We got our pumpkins set up outside, along with our pretty red mum that our neighbor gave us.  It looks very fall-ish out on our front porch and sidewalk now!

Such a fun, family oriented fall weekend!  Looking forward to spending next weekend doing exciting things with my parents:)

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Weekly Pinterest Project: Week 8-Fall Rosette Wreath

Hello!  Welcome to my eighth installment of my weekly Pinterest project! If you follow me on Pinterest, you will find that I’m a little obsessed with pinning things! I was one of those people pre-Pintetest who had binders full of torn out magazine pages with pics of beautiful home decor and yummy recipes.  Ha!  Anyway, I thought I would attempt a craft this time and created a fall wreath.  There are so many out there on blogs and Pinterest, it was hard to decide what to make!  Check out these diy fall wreaths!  I have always wanted to make rosettes and came across several wreaths that included felt rosettes.  I followed the directions from this blog but adapted it slightly.  Here’s my step by step on how to make a rosette wreath:

1) Go to a craft store and purchase the following supplies (or gather them from your house, depending on how crafty you are, ha!):

Glue gun (how am I 33 years old and have not owned a glue gun?!! What?! We had one growing up but I never purchased one as an adult.)

Sheets of felt.  I used one sheet per color but that’s because I didn’t want many rosettes on my wreath.  If you want the entire wreath covered, you will need a bunch of sheets.  Sidenote: my husband and kiddos were with me in Michaels and helped me pick out the rosette colors.  I wanted to go with  navy and off white felt for the wreath (even though it wasn’t very fall-ish) but my husband convinced me to get some earthy, fall colors.  I thought about going with a yellow, navy, and off white, but that was too much like WVU football colors.  Then I suggested orange and burgundy, which was like VT.  Every color combo was shot down by my husband because of how much it looked like specific football teams! So, I ended up with orange, yellow, and off white (though that’s probably some football team’s colors, ha!).  As I am writing this, my husband informed me that the colors we selected were not that close to any specific teams.

A blank CD

Pins

Velcro adhesive

Fabric scissors

Grapevine wreath

Ribbon for hanging the wreath

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2) Use the CD to trace felt circles.  Cut the felt circles into a spiral.  I pinned the rosettes together until  I finished the 12 rosettes.  One sheet of felt equaled four rosettes.

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3) Glue the rosettes at the end (with a glue gun).

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4) After thinking more about the colors I used for the wreath, I didn’t want the wreath to be so permanent.  I looked around Pinterest and found several ways to create an interchangeable wreath.  I glued velcro on the wreath and on the back of the rosettes so I can swap out rosettes depending on the season.  I really want those dark blue rosettes that I originally picked out, ha! Maybe I could make a navy blue and coral wreath for the spring or summer…hmm.

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5) Attach a ribbon and hang on your door!  This project took me about an hour and fifteen minutes, which wasn’t too bad since it was the first time I made the rosettes.  I was able to complete this project while Harper and Will napped!

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