{oh hey Friday!}

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Happy Friday! It’s my last Friday before school starts, boo:(

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a busy, fun weekend and I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey Friday!

{one} Last weekend, Mimi and Grandaddy came for a visit (my in-laws). We had a great time playing outside, reading books, and going out for dinner. My mom is here today to visit, so the kids and I are going to have a fun day with Grammy! Soaking up the last few days of summer. 20140806-145438-53678447.jpg

{two} We have a tiny garden with a few pepper and tomato plants, along with some zucchini and basil. I checked the garden recently and picked these yummy cherry tomatoes and a pepper. Fresh veggies=the best!20140806-145437-53677904.jpg

{three} Goldfish+kids=successful Target trip. Ha! This is the only way I can keep both kids contained in a cart at Target lately-our first stop is to the food section where each kiddo gets their own goldfish container. It keeps them occupied and me able to shop at Target for approximately 18.3 minutes! And as you can see from the picture below, there was still lots of arguing about the placement of their feet.  20140806-145437-53677682.jpg

{four} Do you cook with quinoa? I have cooked with it several times but want to incorporate it into our meals more. I recently made a quinoa and black bean casserole, which turned out great. Of course, as is always the case, only one kiddo liked it. It’s really hard to find a recipe that both kids like. I think Harper ate enough to make up for what Will didn’t eat though, ha!

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{five} Look at these curls! Lately, Harper’s hair has become more curly. I love it! I wish it would stay this way! It’s getting so long, too. Love it! And the blond hair too, that can stay! I don’t want it to turn darker. Love my two blond-haired kiddos:)

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20140806-145437-53677469.jpgI hope you have a great, relaxing weekend!

 

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{weekend happenings}

What a fun weekend! My in-laws (Mimi and Grandaddy) came on Friday morning and spent part of the weekend with us! Will is always so excited when anyone spends the night because that means he gets to “camp out” in the bonus room (our play area) while our guests sleep in his room.

They brought us yummy homemade desserts (both with from scratch crusts!)-fudge pie and rhubarb pie (this happened to be rhubarb from my parents’ garden) and three bags of blueberries from a local farm.

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When they arrived on Friday, they took Will and Harper to a nearby park so I could have some “quiet time.”  It gave me the chance to organize our bonus room closet and sort items for a consignment sale and items to donate.

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Fresh blueberries! All three bags are all gone! My kids eat these like candy!

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Playing with Mimi’s phone and tablet. On Friday evening, they took the kids out to dinner while my husband and I went out for a nice, relaxing dinner sans kiddos.  We went to one of our favorite restaurants in town and had a great time! We called this our Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthday celebration all combined into one for us, ha! The last time we went on a “date” was back in December.

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On Saturday, I made breakfast and we headed out the door to our local farmer’s market.

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I gave Will the task of selecting some green beans for us.

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Petting the dogs at the market.

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We love to walk across an old bridge and up to a seating area that has great views of the town.  Will and Harper ran around for a while, splashing in puddles and burning off some energy!

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A trip downtown is never complete without a visit to Pufferbellies, our favorite toy store!IMG_5442

For lunch, we headed to a local pizza place for a quick bite to eat.  Harper was having a meltdown and refused to sit in her high chair for lunch.  Will was getting tired as well, so as soon as we were finished, we headed home for naps.

After naps, we played more with Mimi and Grandaddy and enjoyed a yummy beer can chicken and grilled vegetables for dinner.  The kids were sad when Mimi and Grandaddy had to leave that evening.  We had a blast! Happy summertime:)

Sheep Shearing and Sickness

On Saturday, I took Harper and Will to Nana’s (our babysitter) to watch Nana’s brother shear sheep.  They have over 400 sheep and spent most of the day shearing them.  Will and Harper were so excited to watch the sheep “get a hair cut!” I love that my kids get to spend time on a farm.  Nana’s parents, Maw and Grandaddy, live right next to Nana and own a farm.  They live in a cool old farmhouse and have several horses, plenty of barn cats, sheep, chickens, and cattle.  Nana’s brother, who basically runs the farm, lives on the other side of Maw and Grandaddy.

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On the farm…

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Checking things out…

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Will loves Grandaddy’s horses.

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Picking buttercups with our neighbor’s son…

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After watching the sheep shearing for a little and wandering around the farm, checking out the seven newborn kittens in the barn and petting the horses, we popped in to Maw’s house to say hi.  Will and Harper walk to Maw’s house a few times a week to visit.  Her house is full of fun, old toys from when my neighbor and her brother were little (my neighbor’s mom is Nana).  On their visits to Maw’s, they usually go to the horse barn to visit the animals.  Love, love, love that they get this opportunity to be on a farm and to become close to Nana and her husband (who we consider Will and Harper’s third set of grandparents) as well as Maw and Grandaddy.  So much can be learned from this wonderful generation of people!

On Sunday, Will woke up with a fever:( We had planned on going to church and to a lunch, but those plans were cancelled.  We stayed at home all day and chilled.  I took Harper to the doctor earlier in the week and found out she had a respiratory virus.  Will ended up getting it this morning.  No fun…but at least it was the weekend and I didn’t have to go to work.  I spent extra cuddle times with Will and Harper today:)

I hope y’all had a great weekend!

Down on the Farm

We have lived out in the “country” for almost seven years. My husband and I built our house in May 2007 and moved from the “city” to the country. I use these terms loosely since the “city” we lived in was very small and now that we are out in the county, it’s not that far from the nearest grocery store.  I grew up out in the boonies, about 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store (which was located in a small town with a population of approximately 5,000), so where we currently live isn’t very rural at all. But we love it here! Our property is next to a small dairy farm owned by a very nice Mennonite family.  The brother and his wife and family live on the main farm and the brother’s sister, M. lives in a small house on the same farm.  She’s the one I text whenever there’s a cow out, ha!

The other week, M. invited us to come watch them milk the cows. It happened to be the same weekend that my husband’s parents were visiting, so we took Mimi and Grandaddy along.  Miss H. was particularly fasciated by the farm dog, Hope, who gave Harper lots of kisses.  Will was a little more hesitant of Hope, which suprised me, since he usually loves dogs.

 

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M. gave us the run-down of how the dairy operations work (we had visited several years ago and watched them milk, but this was the first time that Will and Harper had been there). Below are Will and Harper, along with M’s nephew and nieces. They are the sweetest children, so polite and kind.

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Harper took off her coat and wanted to stay awhile. She literally took it off and was about to throw it on the ground…thank goodness I caught it!

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Then, M. put Will and Harper up to pet the cows while they were being milked.  They loved it!  We got to taste some whole milk and some whole chocolate milk-both were so rich and delicious!  They also sell eggs, so we picked up a dozen of their fresh farm eggs.

The kiddos took us to see the calves, who stay in a nearby barn.  They were so, so white! While in the barn, a mouse ran across the ground and terrified me. I absolutely cannot stand mice.  Yuck.  We also got to see Chubbs, the pig that they’re raising to eat.  When it was time to go, Harper had a meltdown and wanted to stay.  I think we might have a little farm hand in our future, ha!

M. and her brother and family have been great neighbors.  They plow us out any time we get lots of snow, like this past week. Otherwise, we would still be trapped at home.  We help them out by watching out for runaway cows, and we often herd the cows back in the field when we can.  I’m so glad for the opportunity to live near them and for my kiddos to see what farm life is like.

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Five on Friday!

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m linking up with Darci and friends for Five on Friday!

I started writing this post before I saw the Five on Friday blogger challenge to post about baby Teddy and to raise awareness about Menkes Syndrome.  Click here for more information and to see how you can help raise awareness.  Social media is a very powerful tool. I hadn’t heard about Menkes Syndrome until recently, after reading a story about Teddy.

{1} Banana bread French toast! Yum! I have been wanting to make French toast using banana bread or pumpkin bread, but by the time I think about it, the bread is all gone! I finally had some leftover banana bread made with mini chocolate chips, so I decided to make French toast out of it. You use the regular egg, milk, cinnamon, vanilla mixture and let the bread soak for a minute or two. Then put it in a frying pan and cook.  So delicious!

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{2} I love the Pioneer Woman, and here’s a great recipe from her! This is a bagel and cream cheese French toast that I made last weekend when my in-laws were visiting.  So yummy and easy but very rich-full of bagels, cream cheese, milk, and cheese.

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{3} Riding bikes in the house! We’re so ready for springtime! It’s been a long, long winter!

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{4} Snow, snow, and more snow! I hope this is the last snow this winter. We have more than a foot of snow and will be snowed in for a few days! Luckily, our farmer neighbors plowed our driveway for us yesterday (after this pic was taken). We were off school yesterday and are off again today. That means we will be going to school on Memorial Day and adding another day on to our school year in June.  Boo:(

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{5} What a thoughtful Valentine’s gift from Mimi and Grandaddy! A package arrived from Amazon the other day, and we were trying to hold out until today to open it, but we had major cabin fever yesterday and decided to see what was in it! So fun! Two great books and some animal stampers and paper.  Thanks, Mimi and Grandaddy!

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Five on Friday:)

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Hello and Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Darci and friends for Five on Friday:)

{1} This year, we decided to put together two boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  My original plan was to have Harper fill a box for a girl around her age and for Will to create a box for a boy his age.  However, after reading more about Operation Christmas Child, I realized that the most needed boxes were for boys ages 10-14.  As a result, we compiled two identical boxes for boys in this age range.  This was such a fun project for the kiddos!  Will and Harper loved sorting the items and filling the boxes.  At first, Will said, “Mommy, this ball won’t fit in the box, so we will just keep it.”  Ha!  We plan on making this a yearly tradition.

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{2} I decided to go through my closet and get rid of some old clothes that I haven’t worn in years.  My friend recently sent some of her clothes to thredUP and received a decent amount of money.  I bought some nice children’s clothing from thredUP but did not have a good experience when I sent them a huge bag of kids’ clothes.  However, I was planning on donating my old clothes and thought it would be worth it to see if any of them would sell.  We’ll see how much I get!

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{3} My first Stitch Fix came this week!   Here’s my little helper digging into my box:)  I loved the experience of Stitch Fix and plan on getting another “fix” in the future, even though I ended up keeping only one of the five items.  More about my experience with Stitch Fix will be in an upcoming post, hopefully sometime next week if I can get my blogging act together.  Work has been so busy lately, and after the kiddos are in bed in the evenings, all I want to do is read blogs and relax, not write blog posts:(

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{4}  My parents came last weekend and spent the night.  Will loves it when they visit (and Harper, too), especially since he gets to camp out in our bonus/play room.  Will’s bedroom serves as the guest bedroom, so he gets booted out of his room when company visits.  Here are my parents playing with the kiddos:)  While they were visiting, we went to downtown to an event called Sparkles and Sweets.  It’s a holiday kick-off open house where many stores are open until 9pm, including our favorite toy store.  We did a little Christmas shopping and walked around in the freezing cold!  But not too cold to stop at our favorite gelato shop and share some ice cream (I actually had some yummy hot chocolate instead, since I was really COLD!)!

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{5}  Christmas cards, check!  I’m trying to do some holiday prep in advance so it doesn’t become so overwhelming. We had our fall pics taken several weeks ago, and I had been waiting for a good deal on Christmas cards. I typically use Shutterfly for our cards, but the quality isn’t the greatest.  I happened to find a great deal on cards at Minted from The Mom Creative.  I’ve heard great things about the quality of cards from Minted, so I was excited when I purchased 25 Christmas postcards for $8 (including shipping and tax!).  What a great deal! Plus, it will save on postage!  Here’s the front of the Christmas postcards; the back has our address (already printed!) and a pic of Will and Harper.  The cards are made of nice quality, thick paper.  Now all I need to do is narrow down our Christmas list to 25 people!  Ha! I plan on buying a few additional Christmas cards to send to some family members (since I will include copies of our fall pics for them).

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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!

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{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!

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{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