Halloween School 2012

Halloween week is one of my favorite weeks of the year!  Here are a few of our Halloween fun school projects, thanks mostly to Pinterest!

“Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate”

Halloween school snack: caramel apple bites with fancy toothpicks!

Fact/ opinion spiders

Pumpkin fruit leather; just 4 ingredients!

“Roll a pumpkin”  This game was a huge hit, and may have to become a tradition… you can find it here.

Sourdough mummy pizzas for lunch

Fun with paint chips!

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Pumpkin Patch 2012

I know you can’t “do it all” every year.  But, there are certain things that I just have to make time for; even if we have to squeeze them into a busy weekend!  The pumpkin patch is one of those things!

It’s been our tradition to do the Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Patch out in Yucaipa.  So, that is what we did!  Our first stop was the “hayless” hay ride. (Should be called a tractor pull! 🙂 )

Next, the girls did their favorite petting zoo.  I’m amazed that they never grow tired of these things.  (Neither does my husband!)  We really should live on a farm!

The main reason we come to this pumpkin patch is the pony rides.  Sierra still remembers Cookie Monster and Oats from last year.  This girl LOVES her ponies!  If only we could get a horse… **sigh**

Our final tromp through the pumpkin patch brought us to the corn field.  The girls were so excited to do the corn maze!  Let me tell you, if I were the one who took them through by myself, we would still be in there!  Luckily, their father has a much better sense of direction and an actual plan that got us through!

Corn mazes hold a special place in my heart.  I may have had my first kiss with my husband the night we went to a corn maze.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t get goose bumps walking into the maze!

We had to find 4 posts, each with a number, to give us a code to get us through the first door.  Then we had to find another 4 posts to give us yet another code to get us through the final door and out of the maze.  I was 0 for 8 on finding posts and 3 for 3 on finding a dead end.  Hmmm….

We made it out in 25 minutes; just in time to head out and back to church for Malachi’s dedication.  Stay tuned for the next post…

Yikes!

 

So, why did I say yikes?  Here’s the deal… I had an appointment to go to first thing Friday morning.  I woke-up absolutely elated that this was the start of my “break;” (husband home 4 days, and parents visiting for a week!)  I grabbed my cup of coffee and paper work and left my substitute teacher with his plans for school that morning; I had the day off!  (Funny how a doctor appointment can feel like a mini-vacation, but sometimes you just need a break!  :))

I drove to my appointment, and was super excited to discover that it was located right next to one of my favorite cupcake places.  I hadn’t been there in a couple of years because it’s not that close or convenient, but I knew I had to stop after my appointment for a treat!

I walked-in, and smiled from ear-to-ear.  I was like a kid in a candy shop, only I was a mom in a cupcake shop!  They had so many fun Halloween cupcakes, and I am a huge fan of all things fall.  I couldn’t decide what to get, so the nice gentleman behind the counter suggested I get a variety of minis to take home.  Perfect.  I began pointing and asking and changing my mind until finally, I had the perfect selection.  Alas, he rings me up.  Here’s where the “yikes,” comes in.  Silly me had not been calculating the price, nor realizing that these special “Halloween” varieties were $0.50 more a piece.  He gave me my total.  My jaw dropped.  I couldn’t help it — I just blurted out, “For tiny cupcakes?”  ($19, folks!)  These are literally about 3 bites big.  “Oh, but these are SO good,” he responded.  What could I do?  I handed him my credit card.

I came home and showed my girls.  They were busy playing Farkle Frenzy with their substitute teacher.  But, when they were finished they were quite excited about these little bites of gold!  They were fun; and yummy; and we enjoyed them; but, I will never, ever again pay almost $20 for a few bites of cupcakes!

Thankful Thursday

 

So, a precedent has been set.  Originally, I did not intend to make a special treat to go with every tea time on Thursdays, but now I wonder – why not?  It gives me an excuse to bake, try new recipes, and enjoy yummy food!  (Ok, so perhaps my figure may oppose all this yumminess, but I’m just going to go with it!  :))  Today during tea time, the girls asked if “Miss Savannah” could join them.  Sometimes I throw on a little southern accent and teach as Miss Savannah, and the girls LOVE it.  Turns out Sierra loves it, too.  At first, she was a little confused.  But, it didn’t take her long to catch-on, and then she kept asking for Miss Savannah long after the tea party was over!

On today’s menu: apple cider for Sierra, Chamomile for Allison, Chai for Natalie, and pumpkin spice coffee for me.  The cookies were a pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, and they were awesome!  The recipe has you brown butter — never done that before, but it adds such a wonderful flavor!  It came from Bakers Royale.  These were a huge hit with me.  (As are most pumpkin items)  Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 48 11/2 inch cookies | Preparation: Heat oven to 350 degrees and line bake sheet with parchment paper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼  cup old fashion oats (I used all old fashion oats)
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, browned
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Add-ins:

  • ¾ cup mini chocolate chips (I used regular, and skipped the other 2 because I didn’t have them)
  • ¾ cup almonds, toasted
  • ½ toffee bits

Instructions:

  1. Add old fashion oats, quick oats and flour into a bowl and mix to combine; set aside.
  2. Place butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook until butter starts to turn brown and is nutty in aroma. (To minimize the foaming, whisk continuously). Set aside.
  3. Add sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and egg into a bowl and mix to combine. Add in cooled browned butter and mix to combine. Add in baking soda and mix to combine. Then fold in flour and oat mixture until combined.
  4. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (I did about 13 – 14 minutes)

Thoughts on the Week and Pictures of my Little Monster

It’s been a long six days.  My husband has been gone 5 of the 6, which always makes it a little harder.  The kids are all tired and have slight colds.  I am still trying to catch-up on laundry since our trip!

But, you know what?  It’s ok.  I’m ok with it.  In fact, I have really had a lot of joy and peace.  In the grand scheme of things, we have had an incredibly blessed week.  I look into these precious faces and I know I am blessed beyond words.

The fall weather has been perfect, and we’ve spent every afternoon outside.  We’ve spent much of each morning outside, too.  The kids think it’s for them.  I watch them ride bikes, play with magnolia seeds and daisy petals, get covered in chalk, and push them on swings.  But, it’s for me, too… I need that fresh air to reflect and be reminded of how blessed I am.  With the kids extra tired, my temper has been short.  I even told my number 2 I needed a time out for myself!

I hate typing that.  I hate admitting I have a short-temper at times.  Whenever I’m told by a loving friend that I am the most patient person ever, I tell them they need to talk to my kids more!

But, there’s grace.  And there are times I do have inexplicable patience.  It’s when I feel God’s Spirit helping me.  I am learning.  I am learning to listen to Him… to stop and move outside for some fresh air and a change of scenery.  Sometimes I feel Him nudging me to laugh instead of discipline.  Sometimes I have to force myself to say something encouraging when I am totally frustrated with one of my children doing something they know they’re not suppose to.  And, sometimes I just have to turn-up the worship music and ask my kids to dance to try to change my own mood.  It’s a battle at times.  I am so thankful when I make the right choice, and so frustrated at myself when I don’t.  Again.. I am so grateful for grace!

The kids are all in bed now.  In fact, I’ve had quiet time to myself the last 3 nights.  What a blessing!  We’ve moved all the girls into one room, and it seems to be working out well.  Tomorrow my husband will be home.  The next day my parents are coming for a visit.  I am so, so excited!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Bagels

It’s always a bit tricky getting back into the swing of things after a vacation.  (Not-to-mention, all my little people caught a slight cold.)  For me, it helps to be a little spontaneous and to throw in some fun things.  As I was browsing Pinterest Sunday evening, I came across a bagel recipe that looked pretty simple.  Our lunches have become somewhat boring around here lately, so we decided to make the bagels for our lunch, yesterday.  Oh, fresh bagels… I could have written a poem about you!  (Come to think of it, I should make my girls write a poem about you!)

If you haven’t had a sandwich with turkey, cream cheese, cucumbers, and spinach on a fresh bagel, I highly recommend it!  (My girls prefer just cucumbers and cream cheese!)  You can find the simple recipe HERE. Go make them… you won’t be sorry!