Monday, October 24, 2016

Farm Field Trip!

Recently, James' class went on a field trip to a local farm. We went for the pumpkins, but there were a TON of really fun things to do as well! The weather was PERFECT because it was a little cool when we left to go. I love fall weather!

For James, the fun began the minute the day started because he got to ride a SCHOOL BUS for the first time ever! He's a car rider (we live about 2.5 minutes from his school) and he missed his field trip last year because we were at Disney World. So this was his first trip. I got so tickled at him the morning of. I mentioned that he needed to please stay sitting down the whole time because school buses don't have seat belts and he was just FLOORED. When we arrived at the farm the first thing he said to me was, "MOM. I didn't have a seat belt and we WENT ON THE INTERSTATE!" Ha! I do enjoy him being so safe.

I had a HARD time with photos on this trip. I accidentally left my cell phone at Mom's house that morning, my big camera was on the fritz (someone had just messed with the dial at the viewfinder so it was blurry but at the time I wasn't sure what the problem was...), and Mom's phone was dying so we have very few pictures. Will and I are going to the same place this week so I hope to get some fun pictures of him.

First up for James' class was the wagon ride. This was my favorite part of the day. It was about 30 minutes and we saw all kinds of animals. LOTS of alligators, catfish, turtles, various horses and ponies, goats and sheep, buffalo, cows, longhorn. It was so neat!

Those teeth crack me up! Let's all pray that they straighten up a little bit.

After the hay ride I gave up on my camera, but we had plenty more to do. We watched a pig race, went into their barn, played corn hole, went through a corn maze, learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin and picked pumpkins out, drank lemonade, ate lunch, and played on the playground. It was just a super fun field trip! I can't wait to go back with Will!

I throughly enjoyed my day with my big boy and wound up checking him out and taking him on home with me because it was already 1pm by the time we were done. I love a good field trip and this one was a great one!

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Dear James,

Seven years old. SEVEN. How is that even possible? I feel like the years are just FLYING BY. Especially since you've started school.

This morning you requested a PopTart for breakfast and I obliged because it's your birthday. You are excited that it's your big day.

You've done some major growing and changing over the past year. You seem to have grown about a foot. Your feet have grown two sizes. You got glasses. You're reading on a  3rd grade reading level. You played your last season of t-ball and started Cub Scouts (which you LOVE). You are the. smartest. kid. And you still LOVE to talk. Holy cow. You don't ever stop talking! You are bold and confident and I hope you keep that forever. You dance like everyone is watching and you don't even care!

Your favorite thing right now is football. Playing football. Watching football. Tossing that darn football up in the air over and over and over again. I even saw you yesterday lay back on a chair in the den and toss an invisible football. Seriously. It's your favorite.

You LOVE the cafeteria food. I cannot wrap my mind around this. I only ate on pizza days when I was in elementary school. You'll eat almost every day.

We had a parent-teacher conference yesterday and your teacher sang your praises. We've experienced some growing pains with you since you started first grade. Your teacher isn't seeing ANY of the things we're seeing with you. Thank goodness! She said you're a motivated learner, you love working hard, you're kind and generous and HUMBLE. (You're not so humble around us! Ha!) 

We have partied with you all morning at school and will have a birthday dinner for you tonight. Saturday you're having a real party. We skipped partying last year and to say that I was NOT in party mode is an understatement. I have been VERY late getting this one planned. I kept hoping you'd decide to GO somewhere instead of having a party. Disney World again? Sign me up! But no. A camping/hunting/fishing party it is!

We are so proud of the young man you are growing to be. We love almost every single minute of parenting you (but please stop drawing on your clothes at school...). Here's to another year with you! We love you big!


Friday, October 14, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Playdough!

Back in Ye Olden Days when I didn't work and was a real stay-at-home mom I did really cool, fun things with my kids and we basically had homeschool time every day. Nowadays, poor Will doesn't get any "schooling" at home, but every once in a while I'll pull something fun out of my back pocket that is just the coolest for my boys.

Enter Pumpkin Pie Playdough!

We made this YEARS ago when James was little and it was a hit then, so I thought it was time to make it with Will. I'm not sure where I got the original recipe, but I have posted it before. It smells delicious and I had everything I needed on hand. After I made it, I let them play to their hearts' content and then we stored it in plastic bowls with lids so that we can play again later!


5.5 c flour
2 c salt
8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 c oil
1.5 oz pumpkin pie spice (I didn't put this much...)
2 tsp cinnamon
orange food coloring (2 parts yellow to 1 part red)
4 c water

Mix over medium-high heat until lumps disappear and it has a play dough consistency. Turn out on parchment paper and kneed until smooth. Store up to two weeks in an airtight container.
*** This makes a LOT of play dough. Both boys had a huge bowl full. I may half it next time! ***

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Around the House.

Come on inside! I mentioned that I have quite the collection of Halloween decorations. Every year I say that I'm not getting anything else and then I do. I don't feel like I put everything out this year, but I did contain it mostly to the porch, den, and dining room. Today, I'll share the dining room and den with you!

I need to take pictures of our home more often. I can see alllll kinds of things I need to do!

The birdhouse was one that I had from my old Willow House days. It was cream and green and while it was pretty, it wasn't really my style. I painted it black the other day and my plan is to sand it down and rough it up a little and then head to the dollhouse section at Hobby Lobby to turn it into a Haunted House! I'm really excited! I'll share the step-by-steps when I'm done. Stay tuned.

My buffalo check table cloth is one of my favorites. I bought it on Amazon and I use it fairly often! My table has seen better days.

I need to replace the apples in my containers with pumpkins but I completely forgot! 

My Trick-or-Treaters are my VERY FAVORITE THINGS. They're the best of all my Halloween decorations. Dad and Laura gave me a few and I've bought a few in the past few years. I can find them on Zulily every once in a while.

That's our den and dining room for this year. Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Front Porch Sitting.

Over the past year, I've tried to make our front porch a little friendlier and welcoming. Slowly, but surely it's coming together. I need a few more things to cozy it up a little, but overall I'm pleased with how it looks.

If you know me, you know that I like to redress my door (and now porch) and my Happy Everything tray for every holiday or celebration. Halloween is definitely no exception and I have LOTS of Halloween decor. I usually stick with pumpkins and witches. I don't like anything gory or overtly scary.

Welcome to our home!

(You know how you don't see things until you look at pictures? HELLO. Move the extra doormat. Pressure wash your ceiling! I already knew about the pine straw. We need pine straw something serious!)

A few months ago we were looking for a bench for the front porch and Eddie's mama suggested we use the pew that she had stored in her shed. It came from her home church in South Carolina. She had it refinished for us and it's GORGEOUS in person. I've loved changing the pillows on it every month. Eddie rolls his eyes every time I get new pillow cases.

Thanks for stopping by! I'll give you the grand tour next time!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Caramel Apple Bites!

I'm playing catch-up so these are technically not in order, but you'll get the gist of our month. We're still celebrating fall at our house with movies, shows, books, fun foods, etc.

Recently, we made caramel apples...but we turned them into caramel apple BITES because they were easier to eat and less messy. Oh my goodness, these were FUN! The boys LOVED it.

We just bought the bags of individually wrapped caramels from the grocery store and followed the directions on the back of the bag for melting. The boys unwrapped all the caramels in record time and while I was heating it they washed and dried their apples.

When the caramel was done, I rolled out parchment paper on our countertops and sliced the boys apples. I drizzled caramel on and then they topped their apples however they wanted them (sprinkles + chocolate chips!).

These were SUCH A HIT. They loooooooved them. Definitely not the best way to get your fruit in, but it was a fun treat!

I even ate one! I topped mine with caramel, cinnamon, sugar, and chocolate chips. You can skip the sugar. It had plenty!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Favorite Halloween Books for Kids

Over the past few years we have collected quite the assortment of Halloween- and fall-themed books. I have picked them up here and there for SEVEN years now. Although we have a TON of them, I do have several that are my favorites that are just timeless. I also added some chapter books to our collection this year to encourage James to read books with a little more rigor. (He tends to like to stick to grade-level books even though he reads two to three grade levels higher.)

My VERY favorite Halloween book for kiddos is Room on the Broom. It is a PRECIOUS little rhyming story about a witch. It is just the cutest book and I have the sweetest memories of reading it to James and Will when they were tiny. I think we got it at Will's first Halloween.

I also really love The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. James and I had this one memorized when he was three. Again, it just has the sweetest memories tied up with it. It's a cute story about a little old lady who is walking through the woods when things start following her.

I love ANY Berenstain Bears book. We have four fall Berenstain Bears books at our house. The Spooky Old Tree, The Berenstain Bears Go On a Ghostwalk, Trick or Treat, and Harvest Festival. I love that the books gently teach lessons. They're also Christian based so they share our ideas and morals about how we should treat others. The fact that they're seasonal is a bonus for me!

I Spy A Pumpkin is one I picked up from our Scholastic flier several years ago and it (and others like it) are really fun to me! I also really enjoy these in the car. These keep the boys interest for a good while. AND they list a word and picture so even Will, who isn't reading yet, can "read" them by himself.

I added Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe to our collection this year. I remember it as a child and thought James would get a kick out of it. Santa brought it last year so I stuck it up in our Halloween bin and just recently pulled it out.

The Witches by Roald Dahl is one that I hope James will discover soon and LOVE. He has thoroughly enjoyed Roald Dahl in the past and I don't think this will be any different. We even have the movie version of this to watch at some point over the next month.

The Worst Best Halloween Ever is new to our collection (but we've read it before!) this year. Barbara Robinson brings the Herdman kids back to life in this chapter book. (Remember The Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever?)  Hopefully this one will be a hit!

Little Blue Truck has been a favorite in our house for several years so I picked up Little Blue Truck's Halloween for the boys this year. It's a lift-a-flap book so it's a little young for us, but I couldn't resist. I think this is the fourth book that we have in the series. They are SO cute.

I grabbed a Halloween-themed AND a Thanksgiving-themed Magic Tree House for James. Those are really cute, easy readers and I hope that he loves them. If your child hasn't discovered this series but they're an early reader, pick up a few. This is one series that James has read quite a few from. He has gotten bored with reading a little faster than I've liked so we put the series down after about 15 books, but I hope he'll enjoy these two new ones!

I also picked up a Halloween Geronimo Stilton book this year. I have had people recommend Geronimo Stilton over and over to me so this was a fun way to see what all the fuss is about! They're a little more advanced than our Magic Tree House series, but still look perfect for a 2nd or 3rd grader.

One of the boys' favorites is another oldie but goodie and that's the Scary Storybook Collection of Disney stories. I've found James reading through this one several times. It's a collection of short stories of our favorite characters (and villains!) in one large book.

We have TONS more books, but those are our most favorite titles and our newest selections. What are your kids reading for Halloween? We'd love to hear your favorites!