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Friday, October 29, 2010

Washington Farms

This was our third year going to Washington Farms...but this year was by far the best. With a new set up and a couple of additions...we had an awesome time. In the order of what they liked best there was: 1) Pillow Jumper 2) Corn Box 3) Cow Train 4) Vortex 5) Ducky Races 6) Mega Slide 7) Petting Zoo 8) Hay Ride 9) Corn Maze 10) Picking Pumpkins (last only bc they were tired after everything else)
We all did the Pillow Jumper...that thing is a riot! It's like a party jumper for the whole family...plus a bunch of people you don't know.


Then there was the Vortex, which Laurel and I did first. All I knew was that it was a dark tunnel that spun around you. So she and I stepped into a black shed...maybe 15-20 feet in length. It's so dark you can barely see...then you notice spinning stars...and you're on a metal walkway. Then you start to get dizzy, and about halfway through I couldn't believe it but the walkway was tipping over. It was rotated nearly 90 degrees...and I couldn't figure out how the hell they expected children to get through this without falling off the walkway. But I had Laurel in my arms and I had no choice...so foot after foot I trudged forward and came out of the tunnel and into the light. Then my senses came back to me and I realized that the walkway never could have done that...it was all a trick played on my mind...or a trick my mind played on me. But it was SO real...it was THE VORTEX. Laurel went through 4 times. Jon twice, me twice, Luke Twice. I couldn't do it any more than that. It's been 3 hours and I still feel a little queasy. I got a lot of pictures and a lot of video.
The corn box was a huge hit again and I literally had to drag Laurel away.

They had so much fun and were so tired that Luke almost fell asleep on my shoulders while walking through the corn maze. (Though somehow they made it through the ride home, the pumpkin pizza and our Halloween movie) ((The pumpkin pizza wasn't actually pumpkin...just pepperoni shaped into a jack'o lantern.))

Locks for Love


My hair was getting so long.


And I just didn't have the time to do it anymore. And I had a 50% off coupon from a salon in town. So...maybe I should get it cut. Wait...what about Locks for Love? I think my hair is long enough...


It is...it was. It's all gone. Now my hair is on it's way to Locks for Love to become hair for a child with cancer. That's a pretty awesome use of my old hair.


(whoa...I have a neck?!?!)

Pictures are courtesy of Laurel Dorman

Fall Banners


I learned I don't like the feel of burlap. It's rough on your hands, and after sewing for a while you feel like you've been out working in the fields all day. Yuck. (But, there is something to be said for not having to finish the edges)
In the end I couldn't decide what to add to my Halloween banner, so I didn't. I stuck to the basics and hand cut and sewed the letters down. Simple and cute. I can really picture this hanging from a rustic farmhouse porch.

The fall one I wanted a little more color for, so I added the fall leaves and colors. I also changed to a square shape. Anyway, I like them both, but to be totally honest after the fall one was done I wished I had done more with the Halloween one.
Anyway...it's a quick easy project whether you paint the letters (most on ETSY I've seen are painted) or whether you sew them (I prefer the look better...but to each her own).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cupcakes with Chocolate Pudding Buttercream Frosting


I'm not one that normally cooks with pudding, jello or coolwhip (much to the chagrin of my husband who loves all three)...but yesterday while my husband was running errands I thought the kids and I could make a treat. At first I was thinking a cake, but I was lacking any ingredient that would make anything but a boring yellow cake.

(I didn't even have vanilla extract, lemon juice, or a single fruit or nut!)

((I think that means it's time to go shopping!))

Anyway...I realized I had pudding in the cabinet. Jon buys them on sale and we NEVER use them. So they sit and sit and sit. So...I decided to make a standard yellow cake, but then I dumped a box of powdered vanilla pudding mix in. (I had to thin out the batter a little with some more milk, and it was still a really thick batter)
Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled I decided to make buttercream icing with one of the chocolate pudding mixes. So my recipe called for 4 cups of powdered sugar to 1/2 cup butter...so I dumped in the pudding mix first and then measured up to 4 cups with the sugar. I started mixing, then set in to add the 1/4 cup of milk. Since I rarely measure, I just figured I'd pour until the consistency was right. This was fine until Luke wanted to help and dumped too much milk in. But as the mixer mixed...the pudding began to do it's pudding thing and thickened up the excess milk. (Of course!)
So here's the deal...these are totally awesome just as they are, and at room temperature taste like a pudding frosting. BUT...when you put them in the fridge and let them set up...different story altogether. The cake becomes almost custard like, and the frosting on top sets up like a smooth milk-chocolate fudge. A total keeper of a recipe. (ok so it's pushing it to call this a recipe...it's more like a vague idea of something tasty)
Hopefully I'll remember it for next time.


You know what...I kind of miss old fashioned cupcakes. Like the kind your grandmother would make...not these new fangled cupcakes that look good enough to be a wedding cake. (With so much icing on them you can't find the cake)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Carving Number 1


This is going to be a BUSY week of Halloween fun for us. We have two festivals, two parties and one trip to the pumpkin patch planned. We will be carving pumpkins three times...Sunday with Grandma's church party, Friday with Daddy since he won't be there the other days, and Saturday at Hallie and Abby's party.

This was round one...Kids 2, Pumpkins 0. (Suck on that pumpkins!)










(RELAX...it's a butter knife)

Overboard

No...not like Goldie Hawn. But I've gone a little nutso this past week making Halloween stuff. (A more prepared person might have started making this stuff weeks ago...oh well, I am what I am) So far this week; Laurel's PJs, Luke's PJs, Luke's pillow, Laurel's skirt and shirt, Luke's jeans and shirt.







The next (and last) Halloween project is a burlap Halloween banner. Sort of like this from bumbleshop on ETSY.

I've seen others I liked better, but they're all basically the same. I want one that says Halloween for outside, and another more generic one that says Fall or Harvest for the fireplace. I might do a Give Thanks one for Thanksgiving.
(Mostly it depends on how much burlap I have left over)

But I like these, they are simple and cute. And maybe after I finish the banners I can decide what I'm making for the ETSY shop and reopen. (or maybe I'll just start being nutso about Thanksgiving crafts...tempting...)

It says JOSH


So the votes are in, and apparently my use of alien parts to spell the name was too obscure for people to get unless they were told it spelled out a name. What a shame, I really put some thought into this one! It's still cute...but it stinks that you have to point out your cleverness...it sort of defeats the point of being clever.



In retrospect I shouldn't have mentioned that it said Josh...because when you know, it changes everything. Try to look at it with an unknowing eye...and you'll think "what a cute alien, I wonder why there is a sideways J there."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Can't Breath...literally

I just completed day 1 of week 1 of the couch-to-5k program. I've done this program 2-3 times now...but it seems I get to the end, run a 5k (REALLY slowly) and then taper off again. So here I am 2 years after my last "run" through the program, starting from square one. Again.
It was a perfect fall evening. I was alone with nothing to do (kids were with grandma and I didn't have enough time to go home to do anything) and at first I started to do NOTHING. Then suddenly, I decided I could do nothing or I could start something. So I got up, put on my running shoes and went to the closest park.
The weather was perfect, the leaves were stunning and I completed the first day without a problem. Though...there was a moment after the 5th run where the narrator of the podcast says "by now you should be feeling good; not tired or out of breath." Wait...what?!?! I'm NOT supposed to be tired or out of breath? What about dying and breathless, does that count? Seriously...WHAT?!?! Was there a pre-training program for the training program that I missed?
No matter, after some strange gestures and looks to myself I kept on trucking. I made it through the last 3 runs, even sprinting through the last 20 seconds of the last run. (But it took me the entire 5 minute cool down to cool down.)
My sister proposed that we run a half marathon together in one year, she's even picked it out. So with the completion of this run I'm like 1000th of the way there.

You gotta start somewhere.

Complete PJ Set


Here is the complete set...if you look not-so-hard you will see that the fabric is upside down (go me). This is part of why I don't use patterns (I did here) because I seem to go into robot mode and just follow the directions instead of using my brain. It's sad I know...but it wasn't worth scrapping the fabric and cutting again...I figured she'd never notice...so who cares?
In the end it's not my favorite pattern...but it was a 99 cent easy-sew Simplicity, so what did I expect? The neck lays a little funny and in the end I got lazy and I just sewed the elastic directly to the fabric. But I did make the pants and shirt big enough to fit for next year...so that's cool. Now I have to finish the Luker's pants.

And hey...if you accidentally cut a hole in your fabric...just patch it with a little love.
(why does this always seem to happen to me?)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dreaming of the Simple Life


We met the trailer at the new house yesterday. It got there only moments after I did...which was unfortunate because I didn't have the key to get in the gate. (Jon had it) So I had to pop the kids over the fence, then climb the fence myself...run to the front door to get the spare out of the lockbox, then run back and unlock the gate...pull the car in and then act like I wasn't totally out of breath and looking like an idiot.


After it was dropped off and the dust settled, the kids started playing...as if this were somewhere we usually stopped and played. It felt great. The kids traced each other with chalk, and tried to climb the little unknown tree in the front yard. Laurel collected the fruit off of it so that we could try and figure out what it is. It's always good to have an already-established edible fruiting tree...not so good if it's poisonous. So come on tree people....can anyone identify? The closest I can get is a Lychee...but I'm wondering if we aren't too far north? And it's fruiting in October so it doesn't seem to match what I see online. Cutting it open you can see the three seeds and creamy peach/orange flesh. And I would say it smells like a cross between a pumpkin and a peach. (Or like a spicy peach) Anyone?!?!


Promised Pajama Pants


I've been promising my kids pants for weeks. I've told them since Novemeber of 2008 that I would make them PJ pants out of Halloween fabric that I picked up for 25 cents a yard. (By the way if you ever see fabric for 25 cents a yard...buy it.) I don't care if you even like it...use it for stuff that doesn't matter, or in my case for prototypes. It saves you from having to use good fabric on not-good projects. I bought yards and yards of these fabrics...and now it was time to pay the piper. I made Laurel's first and she didn't like them. Not for any special reason, she just felt like being cranky. So then I put eyes on them and magically she loved them.

Honestly, I liked them a lot better at that point too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Three Dates

It's hard to imagine that my youngest siblings are old enough to date...and yet...here they all are. Three dates, three kids...one weekend. While Co and I are floating somewhere between thirty and forty...and Erik at 21 is floating around China...my youngest three siblings still seem like children to me. But alas, it doesn't last forever. Cody had homecoming, Hallie had a father/daughter dance (ok so there are a few more years yet to wait for her...but she doesn't look like it here!), and Abigail had a non-date date (meaning she and a boy had plans to go to this thing together...but neither is allowed to call it a date) Here they are...growing up faster than I can keep up.




Incidentally Jon and I went on a date last week to see You Again, and realized at our current entertainment budget we can no longer afford to go to the movies at full price. (Not that we've ever gone often...maybe 3 times a year) But this was a wake up call...tickets for 2 $23. One shared soda $5. Then there was the candy we snuck in ($2) and the coffee and snack we had after the movie ($10). Forty bucks and we didn't even get a meal!

Baby Boy and Little Man


This was a totally unplanned outing...Jon's friend called us up and invited us. We immediately said yes, and then realized this wasn't a free (or cheap) thing. At $7 per person to get in, $20 for 20 tickets and more money for other rides, food, games, etc...this wasn't our typical Sunday afternoon. But...it made us realize that sometimes you need to spend some money to have some fun. (I stress sometimes...it's easy to go crazy and then go into debt!) But, in that afternoon I watched my kids get older before my eyes...though thankfully my baby boy still showed he was a little bit of a baby. (though not for long)

First was the petting zoo...turkey, zebra, camel, goats...the kids loved that. Then came the first ride. Bumblebees that spin around in a circle and go up and down. Laurel and Ellie went together, then Luke threw a fit. So I said he could go with Jon...but suddenly I turn around and Luke is strapped into the bee with the girls. I started to panic...I know...ME...she who never panics. (not never, but it is rare) I started to snap at Jon...then the feeling went out of my legs...and all I could do was watch and think about trauma statistics as my children went spinning by. Then the ride stopped...the kids were happy...the feeling came back to my legs. And Luke was relegated to younger rides. Whew. (In retrospect this ride was pretty slow...but if you had asked me while it was spinning I would have told you it was a death trap) After that the big girls headed for the kiddie roller coaster and the "big" boy went with daddy to the kiddie motorcycle ride. (which he LOVED)

Then came the shark slide. This was an additional $1 a piece...such a rip off...but the kids wanted to slide. So we paid our $2 and sent them up. We asked Laurel to climb up behind Luke to help him out, but somewhere along the way she got distracted. Down came Laurel...no Luke. We waited and waited. No Luke. We paid another dollar for Laurel to go back up. Down came Laurel but no Luke. I asked her why she didn't get her brother...she said she was showing him how to slide. (I guess I should have been more specific) Thankfully the man didn't make Jon pay a dollar, and up he went. Suddenly down came Luke, backwards on his belly. I assumed Jon had convinced him...but no Jon came down the slide. Hmmm. Finally Jon came, and it turns out that in standing there all by himself my frightened little baby (who never cried) mustered up the courage to go down that slide. He's my little baby and little man all rolled into one right now. It's amazing to watch him grow. He never mentioned that he was scared...I guess maybe he was just figuring it all out. And Jon said the climb up was insane, he couldn't imagine how his little legs made it.


Then there was the crown jewel in the festival. The pink dolphin. Laurel has talked about Jessie's pink dolphin for YEARS, and asked for it for every holiday. But where do you get an inflatable pink dolphin? The Country Fair. Thankfully they don't actually make you win it (though she thinks she did...so that's cool). You pay your money, the kid plays and they get the prize of their choice. Luke got a Scooby Doo and Laurel got the famous-inflatable-Jessie-pink-dolphin. Both kids tucked them in last night. Sometimes it's ok to spend a little money. (look at those smiles!)

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