Pumpkin Carving 2017

p-carving01Let the carving begin!  (Although, first let me say that I asked my beloved husband to bring out the Halloween bin which contained all of our pumpkin carving tools.  We’ve got pumpkin saws, pokers and edgers galore.  Rob brought out the bin and then went into the kitchen and gathered some of my kitchen knives and began stabbing away at his pumpkin.  I have no words.)p-carving02p-carving03p-carving04David S. Pumpkins; any questions???

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Monster Mash Meatloaves and Broccoli Swamp Fritters

monstermeatloaves13So I joined a kids cooking club, Raddish Kids, in another attempt to expand the girls’ self-limited diets.  Not sure what I was thinking; this has never gone well in the past.  In fact, I told a friend that when it comes to feeding my kids, I’m like that dumb little ant who thinks he can move a rubber tree plant; high hopes and all that.  I mentioned on Facebook the other day that neither of my children have even tasted a taco before and some people were aghast.  Yup.  Anyhow…  Raddish Kids will send us a box with 3 recipes each month, all very kid friendly and easy to read.  The box includes a kitchen tool, culinary skill, topics for fun dinner conversations, as well as other good info.  The premise is that kids are more likely to try/eat the foods which they have been involved in making.  Tonight I had the whole family join me in the kitchen for our first attempt at cooking dinner together.monstermealoaves01Holly and I worked on the meatloaf.  She was clearly nervous to stick her hands in there and get messy!monstermeatloaves02She could not quit laughing at how gross it felt.monstermeatloves03monstermeatloaves07Making the mini loaves.monstermeatloaves08monstermeatloaves09monstermeatloaves10Linlee and Rob worked on the swamp fritters.monstermeatloaves11Linlee was also a bit dubious about getting her hands messy, but she was a good sport.monstermeatloaves12monstermeatloaves14The mini meatloaves are topped with mashed sweet potatoes and the fritters are mixed with flour, parmesan, garlic and egg; both were really good.  The girls looked a little nervous to try out their work!monstermeatloaves18

And so what happened next?  Here is a picture of their plates after dinner:monstermeatloaves17Uh huh.  Gotta love my kids.  Holly’s plate is on the right.  You can see she ate a few bites of the meatloaf.  She did not like the broccoli or the sweet potatoes.  Linlee said she liked the olive eyes.  Ha!  After I put the camera away and started cleaning the kitchen, Rob actually got Linlee to eat a few bites of the meatloaf as well.  Linlee also did not like the sweet potatoes or the fritters (although she will happily eat raw broccoli).  The girls did a great job helping to prepare the meal, so that was fun.  Perhaps they will learn some solid cooking skills with these boxes even if they won’t eat the food.

Ya win some, ya lose some.

newboxspring01Oh, this picture cracks me up.  You can see Linlee’s true feelings about the new box spring which I put underneath her mattress.  Her bed did not need a box spring when we first got it.  She was just about four-years old and small for her age, so a low bed was perfect:

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But now she is approaching 13 and I felt the bed could use a bump in height; a little more age appropriate.  Linlee is not happy.  She does not like the change.  She does not like any change.  She wants me to get rid of the new box spring so that her bed can be low again.  Hmm.  I think I will give her time to adjust.newboxspring02Can’t believe I managed to get a smile out of her!

And then Penny, AKA Naughtiest Dog Alive…  Holly and I made cookies on Saturday.  That evening while out to dinner, Penny got the Tupperware container off of the kitchen counter, opened it (!) and ate every single cookie.  Sob!  Today I accidentally left my coffee mug on top of the piano.  Clearly Penny spotted my error:IMG_1953This is where I found the heavy mug when I came home.  So, so naughty.

Pumpkin Patch 2017

It’s that time of year again…pp2017_15We enjoyed another wonderful, Octobery trip to the pumpkin patch.pp2017_05pp2017_06pp2017_04pp2017_10pp2017_07pp2017_09pp2017_08pp2017_01The infamous zip line.pp2017_02pp2017_16Lunch included hot dogs, fresh corn on the cob and a bag of warm, pumpkin doughnuts!pp2017_11pp2017_24pp2017_17Wagon ride down to the pumpkins.pp2017_18pp2017_19Good haul!pp2017_23Holly adores getting her face painted.  (Linlee does not.)pp2017_22(The girls are coated in corn and hay dust in this picture.)

pp2017_13Above, Linlee this year, below, Linlee last year.pp201606And let’s not forget Linlee’s first trip:

ppatch11pp2017_25Above, Holly this year, below, Holly last year.pp201605And wee Holly…

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Rainbow Cake

Miss Holly brought home another cookbook called Cake My Day (all cake recipes!).  I told her she could earn her way to making one of the cakes.  Perhaps I’ll talk about what she is working on in another post, but I will say that she earned her reward and today we made a rainbow cake.rainbowcake01rainbowcake02Making the marshmallows clouds (which were supposed to be white, but Holly chose fruity flavored marshmallows which are the colored ones!).rainbowcake03And now it kind of looks like a car!  Ha ha.rainbowcake04It was a fun project; one I’d never have attempted without Holly pressuring me into it.  I did learn something new from the directions too.  If you cut a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan (and spray it with Pam) there will be no worries about the cake sticking to the bottom of the pan.  It worked like a charm.  How can I be middle aged and not have known this?!!

Who’s got spirit?!

cheerleading05This little one got to cheer at the high school football game (during halftime) last night!  She and bestie, Zoey, signed up for a cheerleading clinic for the week and had a blast learning to cheer.  Holly definitely has the bug and wants to continue to take cheer classes.  She was nervous at first with the idea of cheering in front of the crowds on Friday, but was totally pumped up by the time it was her turn (with about 50 other elementary students) to get out and show her stuff.  And she did so well!  It was a really fun evening.cheerleading06cheerleading04cheerleading03cheerleading02cheerleading01cheerleading07cheerleading08Getting excited!cheerleading09cheerleading10cheerleading11cheerleading12Getting ready to go out on the field.

cheerleading13This shot shows only about half of the junior cheerleaders.  Holly is in there somewhere.cheerleading14cheerleading15cheerleading16cheerleading19Holly is to the left of the cheerleader (in black) in the back row.  Zoey is next to Holly.

cheerleading17cheerleading18This was their coach, a “real” high school cheerleader.  Holly was in awe.

20170928_1917511And this was the girls the night before at practice.  Who knows where their interests will lead them as they grow, but I think it would be really fun if they ended up cheering in high school and I had these pictures of them back in second grade!

Treat time!

treat02Linlee has been grooving on our homemade ice creams all summer long, but her most recent request was dedicated to fall; pumpkin!

treat03Miss Holly checks out cookbooks from the school library which are usually focused on making something sweet (no surprise).  Today we made a chocolate mousse pie from the Hershey’s Kisses cookbook and it was delish.treat01(Not sure when the “peace sign” poses started, but it kind of cracks me up.)

So far, so good!

School is going great for both girls.  Linlee has a new teacher, but remains in the same fantastic life skills program at her middle school.  So far I’ve gotten all positive feedback from both Linlee and her teacher.  Holly received a happy surprise when she learned that her first grade teacher is now teaching second grade and she gets to remain with her for another year.  I am pleased for both girls.

This year Holly’s neighborhood friend, Sybella, is in her class and is also spending time with us after school several days a week.  Little Miss Social Butterfly could not be more thrilled with having a regular playmate.  I am thrilled at how these little girls go out in the backyard for hours at a time and let their imaginations run wild.  It’s so healthy!  (The picture below was taken at Sybella’s house.)21761736_10209970909815347_277240453443221619_n

HollyboxLastly, it wouldn’t be a real childhood without playing in a box!

Shout Out to My High School Bestie!

highschool2Kathleen and I met at age sixteen and our friendship has endured.  We were in drama club together.  Sometimes after school we’d go get a milkshake and discuss how eager we were for college where there might be some “mature” boys to date.  What a hoot!  Then we became roommates in college while we figured out career paths and dating and being grown up.  There is probably no one in this world who I have laughed harder with than Kathleen.  After college our lives took us to different cities and states, but our connection remained.  We both married, we both adopted two children (that was an unexpected coincidence), and we both left our careers to raise our families.  Through the wonders of email, we keep up with each other regularly.  The last time we were able to visit in person was eight years ago.  Today we got to sit over coffee (much more adult than milkshakes) and make the most of our two-hour window to talk face-to-face.  The time went by in a blink.  It’s pretty awesome to have a friend you’ve known forever.  FullSizeRender-11I think what I love most about this picture is that we didn’t know where to look.  Kathleen said that some nearby youth were probably laughing at the old ladies trying to take a selfie.  That gave us the giggles while we tried to get the shot.  Old ladies?  Aren’t we still sixteen???

First Day of School 2017!

FirstDay02My seventh grader.

FirstDay04My second grader.

FirstDay01The girls chose to wear the same outfit on their first day.  How cute is that?!

Holly’s friend, Sybella, from our neighborhood is in Holly’s class this year.  The girls are thrilled!FirstDay0521317602_10209910250378899_4144009885126890133_nNow it’s time for me to pour a cup of coffee and enjoy the peace & quiet.  Yes!