Monday, October 27, 2008

Last week of October

Apparently my brain is in melt-down mode because I forgot to have Boo wear her fairy tiara, fairy ribbons and fairy wand. Don't worry...more Halloween festivities to come, maybe I will remember to get her completely dressed this time around.

Speaking of not all dressed, we had a near miss yesterday. In my distracted I-hope-I-remember-everything-I-need-to-do-during-the-Primary-program state, Boo almost went to church with no undies. Yikes.

And speaking of the program, big sigh of relief that it is over and went well. The microphones worked, kids sang beautifully and remembered where to stand for their solos (and the words to their solos), and I remembered how to lead the music...most of the time. J even went so far as to say it was excellent.

This week should be low key compared to the rest of October, so I am hoping to get everything back on schedule and in its place. We re-arranged parts of the house this weekend, and I am enjoying the new look. The guest room is looking better than ever, so if you've been putting off that visit to Indiana, now's the time. Most of the re-arranging involved bookcase transfers. Dang I have a lot of books. J once again tried to talk me into getting rid of some books. For the first time EVER, I agreed. And got rid of three books that I really dislike anyway.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


We had a fun trunk-or-treat this weekend. Boo was excited to get dressed up again, and even left her wings on the entire time. It was chilly, so she's a bundled up fairy.

Before we left the house.

Boo and Cannon.
Enjoying some cider (with marshmallows) by the fire.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chocolate dipped apples and McNugget toys

My little brother writes emails that make me crazy - he writes something like "I smashed my hand today" and omits all other details. I seem to have the same genetic flaw, so here are some answers to questions I've received.

1) The chicken McNugget toy in a witch costume: Unfortunately, not a new Happy Meal toy. It is the one I had growing up.

2) The chocolate dipped apples:
The first time I made the chocolate sauce, I added canola oil to melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. It made a nice smooth dip, but once it hardened, it easily chipped off the apples. So the next time I added butter instead of oil, which solved the chipping problem, but you do have to add a lot of butter to get a smooth dip. I really just made it up, you may be better off googling a chocolate dip recipe.

I used Braeburn apples, but only because that's what I had on hand.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I can't believe I forgot to blog this back in August, it was such an event. For Boo's birthday, our good friend took us to Build-A-Bear in the mall so Boo could, well, Build-A-Bear. You know how she is NUTS about her stuffed bears and dogs. She walked into the store, squealed with delight, and grabbed about five (unstuffed) animals from the bins, and hugged them as tight as she could. I've never seen her so happy. She really only wanted to carry around unstuffed animals, but Mary and Beth talked her into just one. And the panda has rarely been out of her sight since.

You can see in the pictures the puppy that is THE PUPPY of the world (thanks again Hamblins!) If you're keeping track, Boo's regular peeps include an elephant, a panda, a teddy bear, and a puppy. The monkey, cat, another teddy bear, and giraffe rotate in as needed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Autumn Dessert

I'm in love with apples, and what could be better than chocolate dipped apples sprinkled with pecans?? Try it, you'll be addicted. I make up a batch every few days. :) And for the above batch I dipped some bananas as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween package from Grandma

Included a pumpkin, Happy Meal chicken nugget in a witch costume, jingle bell spider, and plenty of Halloween stickers for the legs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

August, I mean October, at the Pumpkin Patch

We took a trip to the Pumpkin Patch again this year. Remember how much fun it was last year? Little rough this year. We got going a bit late, so it was too close to nap time when we got there. And then it was HOT. And there was this pumpkin eating dinosaur that nearly made Boo pee her pants.

After a lot of tears, we found a dog and some stray pumpkins, and all was right with the world.

And then we rode out the pumpkin patch, and searched the patch for the perfect pumpkin.

And with this face on the hayride out of the pumpkin patch, we decided to call it a day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Preview

Last weekend we had a great Halloween party. Boo was (surprisingly) very excited to get dressed up in her fairy costume. My talented mom made the skirt (AKA 'pity pity skit'), and friend Kim made the gorgeous fairy wings (AKA 'backpack'). We didn't get the perfect picture, but here are a couple shots.

We had a great time at the party. It was so hot, it didn't seem much like Halloween. But Boo loved the bouncy house, and there was so much great Halloween-themed food. My favorites: Monster Mash (7 layer dip), the "Vegetarian Chili - Cullen Style", and the witches hats (Hershey's kiss on a brown cookie). Click here to read more about the party of all parties.

We've been practicing 'trick-or-treat' and are ready for more Halloween fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apple Orchard

A couple of weeks ago we headed to the apple orchard with friends Hannah and Noah to pick some apples. We got our apple bags, and the kids were off and running. Noah took the lead, with Boo trying to keep up while shouting "Peek app-o, peek app-o!!" over and over. And over.
We found some trees that had branches low enough for kid-picking. But in the end the ground apples were just more fun.
Dead-beat mom here has not yet gotten Boo winter shoes, so she has to pick sticks out of her sandals every few minutes.
So the straw pile was fun for...not very long.

And to celebrate all that hard work (and Hannah & Noah's birthday) - a Frosty!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another try at curlers

We finally had a curler victory. Thanks to Finding Nemo and lots of gel, we got sponge curlers in and ended up with a head full of curls.

Santa Cruz shirts

Boo and I got Santa Cruz shirts from my brother and his wife yesterday. They are super cute, and made us feel like hitting the beach. Thanks James and Sabs!

Maybe the best pumpkin pie ever

I tried this last night and it. was. awesome. It was actually an emergency substitution - sweetened condensed milk for part of the evaporated milk and the sugar. But it turned out great.

1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin (15 oz.)
1 small can evaporated milk (5 oz.)
1 small can sweetened condensed milk (7 oz)
1 unbaked 9" deep dish pie crust

Mix the spices and set aside. Beat the eggs, add the pumpkin and spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into pie shell and cook at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and cook for 45-50 minutes more.

Veggie Stir Fry

Here's a link to the stir fry I tried last night. Really I just used the recipe for the sauce, which was excellent. For the rest of the stir fry, I cooked chicken with minced garlic and set it aside. Then I sauteed a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables in olive oil, then added the sauce and chicken and sauteed it altogether for a couple of minutes.

We had Brazilian fried rice to go with it - saute the brown rice in olive oil before cooking it, then cook it in a rice cooker (or stove top) as you usually would, adding some chicken bouillon to the water.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sweet Cornbread

I love chili and cornbread. Here's my favorite cornbread recipe. It is awesome baked in a cast iron skillet.

1 1/2 cups flour (you can do all wheat, but 1 cup wheat and 1/2 cup white is good too)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 TB baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
3 TB melted butter
(you could throw a couple TB of ground flaxseed in too if you want)
2 TB butter for the skillet

Combine dry ingredients, then combine wet ingredients in separate bowl.

Add wet mixture to flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Melt 2 TB butter in a 8 or 9 inch cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. Don't allow the butter to smoke.

Pour batter into hot skillet and allow batter to cook until bubbles around the edge of the batter begin to look a little dry 30-60 seconds).

Remove from burner and put into preheated 400 degree oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven, loosen edges and remove the cornbread from the skillet.

Cut and serve immediately.

Pour into 8" square baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Pour into muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fruit Bouquet

I finally found an excuse to visit Edible Arrangements last week. I'm sure that heaven smells just like that store. It was even better than the smell of Jamba Juice. I was disappointed in the cost of their arrangements, but after salivating over their brochure all afternoon, I decided I could make my own.

So I did, thanks to this great site. I had a great time prepping my fruit...dipping the strawberries and apples, sprinkling them with coconut and pecans (wasn't that a brilliant idea??), cutting stars and hearts out of pineapple rounds. But then I sliced my index finger open while cutting fabric right before it was time to put it all together. So that part ended up not being so fun as I had to keep rinsing the juice out of my cut (owwa). And then the finished product...

So it wasn't the knock-out arrangement I had envisioned. But it was just a first try. So what would I do differently next time:

- Make the sticks shorter.
- Make the pineapple rounds thicker (the sticks kept poking through the front).
- Make the apple slices thicker (same problem).
- Refrigerate the play-doh that I used to put the sticks in (I made it the day before and by the time I used it, it had gotten sticky again).
- Make the arrangement more organized. I thought I could be artsy and just arrange as I went, but I'm just not that talented.

A great thing I discovered: chocolate dipped apples sprinkled with pecans. Great autumn dessert. I think I will make a plate arrangement just of those.

Speaking of edible arrangements, I once saw this great vegetable arrangement at a wedding reception. There were five colorful veggies on each stick, and the sticks were stuck into a head of cauliflower, which made a great base. The sticks were stuck into the cauliflower spiraling inward, it was really pretty.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


After some heavy duty bribing, I got Boo to sit still long enough for a couple of braids. I gooped her pony tails before braiding and they stayed put most of the day.

I took Boo and our little friend Brooks to the mall playground yesterday. I tell ya, it was a confusing morning with Brooks and Boo. But we had a great time. We ran into friends Hannah and Noah, and after we got tired of the mall playground, we walked to Barnes and Noble and played at the train table in the kid section. I never noticed that B&N had stuffed animals, but Boo did. We got back to the kid section and I turned around to find Boo with her arms full of stuffed animals she had lifted from displays along the way. But she discarded the Halloween cats and witches for an armful of Cookie Monsters.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A few pictures from September...

Boo got a package in the mail from Grandma. There were some 'pitty pitty bows' and she had to wear them ALL. And a Care Bear water paint book, the favorite art project these days.

Getting ready to leave for brunch.

Brunch with all the kiddies. Boo rejected the quiche, but was all about the cinnamon rolls.