Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday Night Dinner Challenge

Tonight we had this for dinner...!
Chicken and Biscuits!
Mmmm.....comfort food.
"Who," might you ask, "made it?"
Good Question...Dominic made dinner tonight!
Tonight marked the first night of our official
Wednesday Night Dinner Challenge!
Here's how it works.
Every Wednesday night (maybe every other...not sure yet)
it's Dominic's responsibility to make dinner.
He finds a recipe that he'd like to try out.
He has a budget...this week it was $25.
He does the grocery shopping for the meal.
(He's allowed to use any ingredients we already have in the house.)
And he cooks it for the whole family.
The only other rules are that dinner has to be ready by 6:00 and
it has to include a vegetable!

How'd he do his first night?
It was yummy and we all had "second's."
It was ready at 6:30 but it was his first time.
And he came in under budget with $20 spent!
I am so excited about our new challenge.
Dominic has always showed an interest in cooking.
And he will be leaving for college in a year and a half!
I am suddenly feeling a rush to teach him the many things he should know before leaving home.
Things to help him live on his own, be a better roommate, boyfriend, and yes, eventually...
Things like...
Doing laundry.
Sewing a button back on his shirt. Or pants.
Living on a budget.
Doing his own grocery shopping.
Yes, the list goes on!
But for now I'll focus on the cooking.
I have to admit Jeff and I enjoyed coming home from work tonight 
 not having to worry about dinner ;)
And I think Dominic was pretty proud!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Halloween 2012

I know, I know...Halloween was a couple weeks ago already!
I'm a little behind.
But, you see, the flu ran it's course through our house hard and strong.
It all began with me the night before Halloween.
During the night I tossed and turned with an upset tummy, not sure if I was really getting sick or I was just really worried I was getting sick.
When I got out of bed that morning, it hit me.
I know when I can't drink my morning coffee...
Fortunately I had the day off work.
Unfortunately it was Halloween and Halloween was not going to sit around and wait for me to get better.
Jeff took off for work and I mustered everything inside me to make Connor's lunch and get everyone ready for the day.
After I dropped Connor off I headed over to my parents' place for some help with Emmers and maybe a little down time.
Not much of a success.
And not long before it was time to head back to school for Connor's costume parade.
PLEASE GOD...don't let me throw up in front of hundreds of children!
( I seriously took a Ziploc Bag just in case!)
I made it through, but Emma wanted to just climb all over me as I sat on the asphault, watching the kids. I really just wanted to go home to bed, in the dark...ALONE!
But these kids were pretty darn cute.
I just loved the series of shots I got of Connor and some of his buddies.
(I know...Super Mom...ehhh? I got pictures too!)
I did call J to come home early from work.
Thank God he got home in time to pick Connor up from school.
And I rested a little before it was time to head to Nick and Beck's for our annual Trick or Treating with the cousins.
I managed to remember all the pieces to the kids' costumes..
We have Darth Vader... 
And Ariel... 
I did forget their really cute treat bags. Fortunately family has a way of coming through with back-up's.
Now for more costumes...
Cale was Darth also!
And Corben...
well he was also going to be Darth Vader but at the last minute he whipped out
his doctor dress up outfit...
I love that kid! 
All the kids, including neighbors, and C&C's cousins from the other side of the family... 
Libby, AKA "Pumpkin," got in on the action too. 
I know this next picture is blurry, but I love how it shows Emma Kate's excitement.
She was INTO IT this year!
It was so fun to watch the kids. I think I enjoyed this year the most so far...
and that's saying a lot considering I wanted to hurl my guts into the bushes.
(Sorry for the visual, but that's reality folks.)

Emma's little tushy was pretty stinkin' hilarious in that Ariel costume, I couldn't pass up a picture of the back of her.

It was a very, very successful night.
The kids were super happy with their loot at the end of the evening. 
We left their house and stopped by church for the tail end of their Harvest Carnival too.
I know, we're a little crazy.
And I think the kids got as much candy there in 30 minutes as they collected the whole rest of the night!
Oh, BTW Dom ditched us for his friends.
Shocker...we are so exciting!
Side Note: Dominic wore his Nachum costume from his "beggar" part in Fiddler on the Roof  to school the day after Halloween so he could wear it to his favorite classes.
He was actually called into the Principal's Office for "not being sensitive to homeless people."
Dominic was both completely freaked out, having never been called into The Office before, and mortified that anyone had thought he was making fun of the homeless.
And on a Side, Side note...if you thought anything you saw on Halloween was scary, be glad you were NOT at my house the following week!
One by one, we were all knocked down by the flu.
On a positive note...I got it first so the whole time I was caring for everyone else, I wasn't worried I would catch it!
We were followed by Scott's family...and my dad got it too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pumpkin Carving 2012

Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE carving pumpkins?
*Insert as much sarcasm as you can possibly imagine here.*
Usually I do the carving "with" the kids without any hubby help.
He is not a fan either.
And it takes FOREVER!
This year I guess I probably complained enough about not wanting to do it, that Jeff offered to get the tops off and get them all cleaned out.
Things are lookin' up!
I also used some new tactical maneuvers. Usually I have all those fun templates for carving...
you know, for Cars themed pumpkins, or super scary...and detailed carvings.
This year I had them, but I didn't even take them out of the storage bin.
There was no mention of anything fancy and no one asked!
Connor set to work immediately after Jeff had his cleaned out.

Oh my goodness!
I helped a little bit, but this kid knocked it out of the ballpark!
Finally he can carve his own. *Sigh*
And he was so proud.
(Unfortuantely this is the best picture we got of final shots.
We didn't even get them lit this year, for reasons that deserve a post of their own.)

What, might you ask, was Emma Kate doing while this was going on?
Stabbing her pumpkin over and over again.
I gave her a couple tools and she went at it!
I have never seen a child so enthralled! 
Finally Jeff decided to cut hers open as well.
But...she wouldn't let him clean it out.
SHE wanted to do it herself.
Ahhh...the independence of a girl!

She was so intent. She literally pulled all the seeds out, dumping handfuls into a bowl. Then she would shove them back into her pumpkin, only to repeat the process over and over again.
LOVE this next picture!
They were so busy:) 
Good thing we decided to carve outside.
It was a mess!
Might I mention that Emma's pumpkin never even got carved.
She was totally content with what she had done:)
What did I do during all of this?
Take pictures.
And enjoy my kids.
Dom didn't get to his till the next evening.
He was super fast!
This is what he came up with...!

I so wish I had a picture of it glowing.
It was so pretty!
So I have to admit that this mom is changing her
Pumpkin Carving Tune...
And still learning that simplicity is often better.
Let go.
Let the kids have fun just doing it on their own.
And nothing has to be perfect:)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Good-Bye Mr. Bones

A few Halloween's ago we added a new member to our family.
We decided Mr. Bones would hang out for the month of October in the tree in front of our house every year.
Connor was hesitant at first. (I've mentioned before that he is my fearful child.)
But he got to choose the name for our new family member and Connor soon learned to tolerate his presence.
This year after a few days of Mr. Bones hangin' in the tree, Emma Kate asked if we could take him down to play.
I obliged.
At first Connor looked at her like she was crazy.
"Why do you want to PLAY with him?!?"
Little did we know how fond of  Mr. Bones Emma would become!
Soon he was hangin' out on the couch instead of outside in the tree.
He began playing dress up.
And others joined in on the fun too. 
Emma Kate thought he should try out out her Ariel wig. 
And of course he has to do his daily exercises!
He's lookin' a little thin these days;) 
Mr. Bones went on car rides and shopping trips with the family, and often went with us to take Connor to school.
Emmy likes to ride in the stroller in the morning as we walk Connor to his classroom and many mornings she has insisted Mr. Bones ride along.
Now let me just say here that 2 children ago I would never have let something like this happen.
It's October right?!?!
Of course a sweet little 2 year old girl is going to carry a skeleton around with her!
She got lots of interesting looks and some fun comments over the last few weeks.
All the while I just shook my head and giggled. That girl cracks me up!
(She did draw the line at bedtime. He could not sleep in her room with her. Ha! Every girl has her limits right?!?!)
But it's now time I put my foot down.
It is no longer October and now I'm thinkin' it's time Mr. Bones goes to sleep till next year.
One last story time for Mr. Bones...
Wish me luck!
Maybe we can find her a turkey this month;)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Back to Larry's!

Last December we set out on a new adventure for our Christmas tree and tried Larry's Produce in Fairfield. We had heard that it was a great place to go to for pumpkins as well.
So this year we abandoned our usual Pumpkin Farm and drove out to Larry's.

As far as pumpkins go, it did not disappoint!

So many great photo-ops.
And the pumpkins were so cheap!
All of the big pumpkins, except the very large, long stem ones, were $5!
That's right...FIVE DOLLARS! Even for the really fun, different kinds.
Jeff's parents met us there to see what Larry's was like in the Fall.

They not only had pumpkins...and every other type of produce you can possible imagine...they had a huge hay pyramid for the "kids" to climb on, with a tunnel winding through underneath.

They also had huge "pools" of Indian Corn for the kids to play in and tractor rides...all for FREE!
The kids had fun searching for their pumpkins.
Originally I had told Connor that he couldn't get another one, since he had picked a fairly large one out recently at a school field trip.
But when I saw that they were so cheap, I gave in and let him get another one:)
I know, I'm so nice, aren't I?!?!

We got some silly pics of the kids...

And a pretty nice one too!!

YAY! A family photo as well!

I have to admit that I was a little sad that we didn't go to our traditional Pumpkin Farm and especially that we didn't get pictures in front of the big pumpkin man holding the measuring tape for growth comparisons of the kids every year.
And Connor had a meltdown when we first arrived because he realized we weren't where we usually go. (Ahhh...he's a traditionalist like his Momma!)
But we got over it...especially when the bill for all of this plus 5 waters was only $35!

LOVE Larry's! Not sure if we'll go every year, but it's nice to mix it up once in a while:)
Jeff had to talk me out of driving out to our other farm just to get pics of the kids in front of the pumpkin man. (I'm lucky to have a man of reason in my life.)