Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

I took this picture at the Vinton Fall Festival a couple of weeks ago.  This cute little dog dressed up as a koala caught my attention.

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween. 
Looking forward to some trick or treating this evening.
Hope the boys get me some Reeses cups!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cort's Dancing Debut

A couple of weeks ago, Cort had the opportunity to perform with his hip hop instructor at the Vinton Fall Festival.  

Not sure if you can see or not, but the stage was really rustic boarding with some raised nails.

As a result, Cort didn't get to do his breakdancing, which is his strength.

But he still got to do some fun moves.

High five at the end!
He had a great time and can't wait for his next dance performance.
Cort is doing hip hop and ballet this semester.
He sure loves dancing!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Do You Read the Comics?

When I was a kid, I loved to read the comics in the Sunday paper.  My Dad would save them for me.  Now, we save the comics from the paper for Pierce.  He loves to read books and funny stories. 

Picture taken at the Roanoke Farmer's Market

The other day, he told me that his favorite comic was Garfield.  This warmed my heart, because my favorite comic as a kid was Garfield too.  I used to have a stuffed Garfield.

How about you, readers?  Do you read the comics?  Do you have a favorite?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Behind the Fence

Francie, with her oddly twisted ears.
I've asked around, but I never did manage to find someone who had an idea of why her ears are tilted backwards on the tips.

Linked with RunARound Ranch's Good Fences link up. 
A happy 8th birthday today to Pierce!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Reid has a new saying he picked up in kindergarten.  He says it with just the right chirrupy tone at just the right moment, and it makes me smile every time. 
"You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit".  Indeed.
Cort, meanwhile, has had some sayings he brought home that aren't quite so cute.  In particular, I'm not happy with the repeated, "WHAT THE ?!?!" phrase.  He doesn't finish it, but we all know that the sorts of words that "What the _____" can end with are not so nice.  So I'm trying to get him to replace some of his new exclamations with old lady phrases.  He doesn't know they are old lady phrases.  I say them with the right amount of emphasis to make them sound cool.  And hopefully his teacher gets a chuckle when he shows up to school exclaiming "MERCIFUL HEAVENS!". 

Readers, have you heard any good phrases lately?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Francie Gets a New Feeding Paddock

Since Francie is small, and Phoenix is fat, I have to separate them when I feed Francie twice a day.  Phoenix would steal her food otherwise, and he definitely doesn't need extra calories.  For a while I've been tying her up to eat, but this isn't ideal.  I worried I would forget to turn off the power for the electric fence, as the place I was tying her had one electrified strand on top.  I worried I would get distracted by the boys and forget about her.  I worried that she would spook over something and somehow hurt herself.

So the other weekend we set about to create a small feeding paddock for Francie, so she would be safe even if I had to leave her for a bit (and I wouldn't have to worry about the electric fence).

This paddock is really handy too because I can run while she eats and digests, and by the time I get finished and changed into riding clothes, she is ready to go and I don't have to catch her again.  She still continues to be a little tricky to catch.
It would also be a handy place for a horse that needs to be closely monitored or that is recovering from sedation.  It's nice and flat.  And I feel much better about Francie eating in there than when I was having to tie her.

Hoping to complete a few more horse-related projects over the winter months.  I love getting things accomplished!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stick Maze

When we went to the NC Zoo back in August, they had this fabulous maze created from sticks.  The boys really liked it.
I'm not sure how they created this.  But I'm pretty sure we have enough sticks around the place to make one.  Anyone have a few spare hours to come over and make a stick maze?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do Elephants Get Sore Throats?

I had a run of illnesses last month that would've knocked me down for a few days, only I'm a mom, and I didn't have time to be knocked down.  Because if I don't pack lunches and do laundry and vacuum and go to doesn't get done. 

I hadn't been sick in ages, but in September I had to go to Urgent Care three times.  I've basically sworn off the whole PCP thing for illness.  Mostly because I have to get an appointment, then even with the appointment, I end up waiting for well over an hour to be seen.  Seems it's much easier to just show up at an Urgent Care, where I've had good success in being in and out within 30 minutes.  And I can go on weekends.  Plus, the cost is the same as for my PCP. 

I had strep throat.  Then 3 days later a raging ear infection, even though I was on antibiotics.  Then a week after that, inflammation (related to the first two illnesses) in my vocal cords which made it feel as though I was being strangled.  Two antibiotics, a lidocaine mouthwash, and some steroids later, I finally started feeling better, albeit exhausted.  It took a good 4 weeks before the scratchy throat finally started to alleviate.

Picture taken at the NC Zoo in August.

I wonder if elephant mothers get sore throats?  If so, I can't imagine they would crawl off into bed and refuse to tend to their calves.  You gotta like that about elephant mothers.  They are devoted to their young.  I have to say, though, that if they do get sore throats, I feel extra bad for them.  Because you know eating hay and straw has got to be killer swallowing! 

Hoping you, readers, have been well so far this Fall. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Last Laugh

The past two years the squash bugs desiccated my garden.  This year they were foiled by the radishes I planted around my squash.  I had squash galore!  I must've given away 100 squash this year to friends, family, and random people who showed up at my house to buy unrelated objects off Craigslist.  Even now, there are a few gargantuan squash in the garden that I never bothered to pick.

When the radishes died off, the squash bugs did make their appearance.  But it was too late.  The squash was already played out.
I am, however, considering torching my garden so these suckers aren't alive for next year....

Friday, October 10, 2014

One Watermelon

Last April I picked up a pack of free watermelon seeds at a festival.  I planted them.  They didn't come up.  For months. 

Then in August I noticed a little watermelon vine.  It sprouted a tiny fruit.  I didn't think it had time to do much.

It got a little bigger.  But was still small.  And then one day stopped growing.

Once it stopped growing over a few weeks, I figured I'd better pick it.  Overnight frosts were looming closer.  Well, guess what?  It was ripe!  It had a lot of seeds I had to pick out, but was sweet and tasty.  The boys just loved it!
It was a happy garden surprise.  I have plenty of lettuce, carrots, and kale growing, which I hope will last a while longer. 

Readers, do you grow any fall crops?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pumpkin Harvest Cake with #Idelight #Pumpkindelight

Last month I alluded to creating a fabulous pumpkin desert with International Delight's pumpkin creamer. I came up with a wonderful cake that is a cross between pumpkin pie and cake. It was a huge hit with everyone in the family.  We all think it would make such a fantastic finale to Thanksgiving dinner - a fun way to jazz up the standard pumpkin pie.

Crust Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix (minus 1 cup)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg

Filling Ingredients:
2 cans pumpkin (not the large cans)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup International Delight Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

1 cup reserved cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped walnuts

Remove 1 cup of cake mix and set aside. Mix crust ingredients and press into bottom of pan. Beat filling ingredients and spoon on top of crust. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350* for 60 minutes, or until knife comes out clean when put in the middle.

This is my favorite recipe I have made using International Delight's coffee creamer. It is truly a fun medley of pumpkin pie and cake. For more inspiring fall recipes and coupons, check out International Delight and join their community!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Not All Moms are Competitive

I'm really busy lately with the jobs and everything else, so I don't have as much time to make cute lunches for the boys anymore.  Often, it's just sandwiches and fruit and chips or something simple like that.  Once in a while, I see a really awesome lunch idea and take a few extra minutes from my day to incorporate it into the boys' lunch.  I do this for one reason:  I love my boys, and I want to make their day a little more special.

Which is why I'm frustrated by all the snippy blog posts lately about bento lunches.  Moms ragging on other moms for their lunch efforts.  Saying that they're creating these lunches just so they can out-do other moms and be "supermoms".  It's hateful, it's judgmental, and it's just plain snarky.

I don't know why these moms are so angered when other moms make their child a cute lunch.  First of all, I don't see why it is their business what another mom packs her kid for lunch.  And secondly, don't you think it's probably a very rare instance that a mom would be motivated to go through all that trouble just to try to put another mom to shame?  Please

These happy little faces?  That's what motivates a mom to go through a little extra trouble to make lunch fun:

The other day, I packed the boys some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from apples and cheese (which I saw on a Facebook post).  A friend who works in the school cafeteria was really sweet and texted me this picture.  It made me feel so happy - to see my boys' smiling in the middle of the day, and to know that I'd brought them a little extra joy during lunchtime. 

Being a mom is hard enough.  What moms don't need is criticism and hatred from other moms over their hard work in raising their children.  Try supporting each other instead.  It would make the life of that mom a lot happier. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Three Monkeys

The boys are doing a month of swim lessons on Saturdays.  We requested this as a birthday gift from their grandparents. 

We switched locations, mostly because this place was 20 minutes closer.  I feel like I spend so much time shuttling from place to place right now.  Anywhere I can save time is a bonus.

I was really impressed with the way the lessons are handled in the new location.  Very efficient, more instructors, and a lot less time waiting along the wall for a turn.  After the lessons are done, we are going to take a month off (due to some upcoming weekend obligations) but then do another month on after that.  The boys don't want to leave when they're done - they enjoy it so much.
This picture taken at the NC Zoo back in August.  This chimp was giving the boys fist bumps through the glass. 

Readers, did you ever take swim lessons?  I can remember as a kid when they threw pennies in the pool, and we had to dive to the bottom to get them.  We got to keep any pennies we grabbed.  That's all I remember from swim lessons!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NuNaturals Stevia Giveaway - 4 Winners!

NuNaturals has a new syrup out - cocoa mint.  It is calorie free, and made from Stevia. 

I tested it out on breakfast one morning.  I made some basic crepes, and then made a filling from cream cheese, vanilla extract, a little milk, and a little cocoa mint syrup (it only takes a tad).  I sprinkled the top with cocoa powder.
The boys really enjoyed them.  This was the first time I ever made crepes.
I think the cocoa mint syrup would be great in hot chocolate this winter! 

NuNaturals is offering four lucky readers a bottle of the Cocoa Mint Syrup, the Cocoa Syrup, a box of 50 count white powder stevia packets, and a bottle of cherry vanilla liquid stevia.  To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Disclaimer:  I was sent several NuNaturals products for review purposes.  The opinions above are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway