Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween readers!  We celebrated last weekend by going to a Trunk or Treat party at the twins' preschool.  This is our third year going, and it's very well organized with games and fun.  The twins wanted to wear their dragon costumes, and worked on their cornhole skills:

They tie donuts to a tree in the lawn, and kids have to try to eat the donuts off the tree hands free. 

My boys?  They are donut eating champs - hands or no hands!

I think Reid may have the whole entire donut in his mouth.

The kids got tickets for participating in games, and then could redeem them for a prize.

There was also bouncy house slide.

 Reid had his mouth full of popcorn in almost every picture I took.  It cracks me up. Note the big bag of popcorn in his arms.  In one picture (which I took with my cell and posted on Instagram) he looks popcorn drunk, with his head tilted back, eyes closed, and mouth stuffed full of popcorn.

In a trunk or treat, kids walk through a parking lot full of cars that are decorated for Halloween, and get treats.  One person always goes all out, filling up a truck bed with hay and burying treats in it.  Here, Cort digs through the  hay for a bag of Cheetos.

Last year, Reid was so horrified of this massive spider on the tailgate that he wouldn't trick or treat from this car.  This year he was able to overcome his spider fears.

The boys went home with bags full of loot, having had a great time trunk or treating. 
We appreciate this safe and fun opportunity to celebrate Halloween each year!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Thought He Was So Sweet

For Pierce's 7th birthday, I took him to the rollerskating rink for the first time, which was a lot of fun.  On the way home, we stopped by Barnes and Noble to get the free cupcake he received for being a member of their kid's club.

On the drive home, Pierce told me that he loved me so much, and thanked me for taking him skating.  He said he'd had the best birthday ever.  That kid sure knows how to butter up his mom.  Then, he announced that he was saving half of his cupcake for me.  I said, "That's really thoughtful and sweet of you, but it's your birthday, so you should eat it".  Oh no, he told me, he was saving it for me.

I drove home with warm thoughts of the kid who would save half of his birthday cupcake for his mother.  Until I got home.  And he handed me this:

Hmmm.  I guess it's the thought that counts, right?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

The twins had a blast during their field trip to Jeter Farm this year. 
They really loved petting the goats.  I still hope that one day we can have a milk goat.

The twins had fun climbing all over and running around the farm.

We also did the corn maze.  I love that their corn maze isn't too difficult.  I really hate being lost in the corn maze.

Course a big hit of the day is the slide.

You should've seen the drama that unfolded when all these four year olds discovered a daddy long legs in the middle of the slide.  Too funny.

Luckily, the teacher herded it to the other side, and sliding was resumed again.
Bittersweet, to realize this was our last year for a field trip to the pumpkin patch.  Next year the twins will be in kindergarten.  I suppose we'll try to visit on the weekend at some point. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Love Sunflowers

When the twins had their field trip to the pumpkin patch, I grabbed this shot of the red barn while we were on our hay ride.
You may recognize it, as it was featured on my blog last year, with Cort and Reid skulking along in their superhero capes.  I'll be sharing a couple more pictures of this same barn in the near future.  What can I say?  It's fun to photograph!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Do You See a Smile Today?

1.  When the twins took a field trip recently to the pumpkin patch, I spied something smiling at me from the sunflower patch on the hay ride.
2.  Pierce recently asked me if he looked like a bishop, as he slid back and forth across the kitchen tile.  Of course, I was slightly confused, thinking of the church when he said bishop, but eventually realized he meant the chess piece, as he switched directions and announced he was a rook.

3.  I've finished almost all of my Christmas shopping, except for my mom and Paul.

4.  I hate the crowds in the stores at Christmas, so for years now I've made it a habit to shop year round.  Plus, it helps spread out the expense over the year. 

5.  I've been seeing a lot of chocolate covered potato chips lately (and even tried some that my sister-in-law brought me).  I'm wondering how long it'll be until chocolate covered Cheetos make an appearance? 

Readers, do you do your shopping early, or do you wait until the last minute, like my husband?

This post linked with Random Friday at A Rural Journal. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

He Wanted a Road Cake

Guess who is the big 7 years old today?
Pierce loves roads, and requested a 'road cake'.  He is slightly obsessed with roads and maps.  I made my chocolate sheet cake, and went from there, using a buttercream frosting to do the roads and grass.
 He was thrilled with his construction style cake, full of roads for driving, and chocolate rocks (which I found at Dollar Tree).
May year 7 be full of fun and adventure for him!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The twins can be so competitive.  About every thing.  Some days we start the day with tears, "He woke up before me and I wanted to wake up FIRST!".  Other days, we end the day in tears, "But I wanted to finish my dinner first!" 

Thankfully, in between all that competition, there are many moments when they are side by side, heads bent together in whispered secrets, the best of friends.  I love those moments.
It must be nice to have a twin.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Craft Fair Bust

I promised to give a recap of the craft fair I attended two weekends ago, and unfortunately it was sort of a bust.  The fair was outside, and it rained  We were under a deck, but my soaps collected the moisture and mist in the air and got gooey.  And although the booth fee was fairly high, the people who put it on did not do a good job of advertising.  The 40+ vendors there were all rather disappointed that there wasn't much traffic.
 That said, I learned a lot which was good.  And I had good company all day - my mom came with me and sold some of her knitting.

 My mom brought with her Irene.  Irene is her model.  She did a great job, as the sweater and one of the scarves she was wearing both sold.
I sold a couple of painted birdhouse gourds, a couple of pencil cases, some soaps, a lot of peanut butter fudge, and some bookmarks.  It wasn't a total loss.  I am going to give it another try.  I've signed up for another one in early November.  And this time?  It's INDOORS.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Visit to Thee Red Barn

Pierce asked a couple of weeks to visit Thee Red Barn.  I had never been before, and decided it was worth an outing, as we needed to pick out our pumpkins anyhow.

I bought tickets for the train ride, and the boys loved weaving in and out of the rows of corn. 

I had to laugh, watching, as the driver kept blowing a train whistle....while driving his lawn mower.  Very cute.

There was a big slide on top of stacked bales of hay.

I bought the boys each a little rubber duckie (they had all sorts, at $1 a piece) so they could do the water races.

 The combine/tractor/slide was a huge hit.

What kid doesn't dream of a huge John Deere slide in the yard?

There was a tennis ball bucket toss.

And a rope pulley that made skeletons dance.

Did I mention?  This kid.....he's missing a top tooth.  Kind of charming, isn't it?

 A bit of cow milking
and we were ready to go grab some pumpkins. 
It was a fun morning, and the boys really enjoyed it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Mum that Got Away

1.  A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the mum that was devoured by the spider's corpse.  This week, I'm showing you the mum that got away.  This mum has returned for over five years.  It seems to like us.
2.  I have written over 1200 blog posts, and sometimes I worry that I am posting something I've already posted.  Especially when it comes to recipe.  Last week I did a search on my blog to make sure I hadn't already posted a particular recipe.  Fortunately, I hadn't.  It's probably only a matter of time though...

3.  October is a really busy month for me each year.  Maybe even busier than December.  I typically volunteer for fall parties for the boys at their schools, plus there is Pierce's birthday, Paul's birthday, and then various fall festivals we tend to attend.  It's all a lot of fun, but it's not easy fitting in all the baking for these events - particularly now that I'm working too, even if it is only part time!  Hopefully it'll all come together.

4.  I watched the new version of The Great Gatsby the other night (checked it out of the library).  I know it got poor reviews - and honestly, whenever a movie is made from a book it can't exactly compare.  However, I really liked it.  The cinematography was incredible. 

5.  Related to The Great Gatsby - I went through a phase a few years ago where I was reading books about Zelda Fitzgerald.  Interesting stuff.

Readers, are there any movies based off books that you really like?

Linked today with Nancy's Random Friday at A Rural Journal

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Case of the Missing Pencil Case

Most of you know I make pencil cases and sell them in my Etsy shop.  One of the first cases I made was for Pierce, an outer space case.  He picked out the material.  He took it to kindergarten, and loved it.  This year, he wanted to use the same case in first grade.  All was going well until about six weeks in, when the pencil case disappeared, even though it had his name on it.  The teacher sent home a note in everyone's backpack, but the pencil case never showed up.

I hate to assume....but I can imagine what happened to his beloved pencil case.  It's somewhat surprising to me that thievery happens at such a young age.  Fortunately, I was able to make a new pencil case for Pierce.  I told him he could pick out any material in the store.  You know what he wanted?  Another outer space pencil case.  And so it was.

Here's his pencil case, stuffed to the gills and bulging with newly purchased crayons and scissors and erasers - Pierce really likes to fill his case up!
Let's hope that this one makes it through to the end of the year!

Readers, have you ever had someone take something dear to you? 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Charlotte Russe - Not Just a Store in the Mall

I always thought Charlotte Russe was a store for teenagers in the mall.  Until I was flipping through my vintage Virginia Hospitality cookbook and found a recipe titled Charlotte Russe.  According to Wikipedia, Charlotte Russe is a dessert created by French Chef Marie-Antoine Careme who named it in honor of his former employer George IV's child, Princess Charlotte, and his current employer Czar Alexander I (russe in this case being the French word for Russian) A dessert I'd never tried?  Well, then, I had to make it.

 Of course this dessert had all the elements of cooking I don't like.  The use of a double broiler, gelatin, heavy cream and raw egg.  Yuck!  But I wasn't going to let that stop me.

My first obstacle arose when I couldn't get the custard to set up.  Seems I cooked that custard for hours (not really - maybe 20 minutes).  Finally I took it off the heat and let it cool.  It still wasn't thick like a normal custard.

I got my heavy cream whipped up no problem, but I ran into an issue with the egg white.  It just wouldn't stiffen up.  I even got the boys ready for bed - all while whipping that white.  Nada.  Then I realized - I was supposed to put that raw egg white into the dessert and it would never be cooked.  Now I am a champion raw egg eater in the form of cookie dough, brownie batter, and cake batter.  I rationalized that the alcohol in the sherry (which also would not be cooked) might kill the salmonella in the egg white, but in the end, since it would not firm up anyhow, I just left it out. 

I mixed my concoctions together and they really didn't look very appetizing.  I didn't have much hope as I poured it over the ladyfingers and stuck it in the fridge for the night.  Overnight, a miracle happened.  The darn thing set up!
I'll be honest here.  It's not my favorite dessert.  If you love sherry (I do have an appreciation for sherry in food, thanks, Dad!) and you love heavy whipped cream, you'll enjoy this.  As for me - it's edible and not bad, but this is one recipe I won't be making again.  At least now, though, I can say I've tried it!

Readers, have you ever had Charlotte Russe?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why I Couldn't Be a Fireman errr....Firewoman

I'm taking a few pictures for the twins' preschool again this year, and recently I snapped a ridiculous number of photos during community helpers week, when the firetruck came.  These kids were SO excited.  What is it about that big red truck that brings children such joy? 

The main message the firemen were teaching was that firemen aren't scary - they are there to help.  The children seemed awestruck.  But I don't think anything impressed them more than when that ladder started going up on the truck.

As I watched a lone fireman climb that ladder, my skin started to tingle.  I'm not exactly afraid of heights, but I sure wouldn't want to climb up that ladder.  Even the other fireman seemed impressed.

I could probably climb up that ladder, if I had to.  But I couldn't just scale it like that fireman did.  He got right up to the top and clipped himself in with his harness.

It would take me a really, really long time to get to the top.  Pretty sure a fire could consume a whole building by the time I dragged myself up there.   And then, if I got to the top?  I'm not sure I'd be able to let go, and do a double wave, like this.
Because I'd be much too busy holding on for dear life. 

How about you, readers?  Do you have the bravery it takes to be a fireman?