Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Halloween!

We wish you an extra spooky, bag 'o bones, rootin' tootin' Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Carving, and a Couple of Silly Boys!

There's something about this time of year that makes me want to bake and bake and bake and create delicious goodies in the kitchen.

And, there's nothing I love more than sugar cookies and spending time with my guys.  

So, the other night I whipped up some dough (and just about ate all of lie) and we got all floured up, rolled it out, and cut out some pumpkins, bats, ghosts, and more pumpkins, and we made some Halloween cookies.

{My super easy sugar cookie recipe is at the end of this post!!}

Parker was totally into it.  Andrew not so much.  But, that's okay.  It was the perfect moment of teaching my boys something I love (baking) and giving them a new memory for their Halloween tradition memory bank.  

Another tradition we've got goin' this Halloween - Carving Pumpkins.  Parker has been asking about this since August.  He's had carving on the, tonight, while the wind was howling, the moon was shining, and the feel of Halloween creeped in our garage, we carved some pumpkins.

I was totally impressed.  Parker had a design all planned out.  He took that black marker and he drew the design out on his pumpkin complete with crescent shaped eyes, a triangle nose, and a jig-jag mouth.  He knew exactly what he wanted his pumpkin to look like.

And, when it came time to make one for Andrew, Parker grabbed that marker up and drew one out for his little bro.  Andrew helped, of course, and what they got were two scary jack-o-lanterns.

Something these two boys weren't into - touching the pumpkin guts.  It was hilarious....they made their Momma do it!  Parker thought it smelled so bad, he wasn't about to stick his hand in it.  And, my Andrew, he would get up really close to the pumpkin guts and say 'ewwwwwwww!'  Seriously?!  Two little boys made their Mom clean out the ooey, gooey pumpkin guts?  Whatever.  I had fun and so did my silly boys.  

{Parker was trying to make the same face as his was cracking me up!}

I love these two traditions.  Know why?  Because I can remember at every holiday, my mom would flour up the counter top and we'd make ourselves some sugar cookies.  I love this memory from my childhood and this is something I am so thankful to have with my own kiddos.  Another reason?  I can remember sitting out on the back deck with my dad carving pumpkins.  I remember pulling the guts out, telling dad what I wanted it to look like, and when the carving was done, I remember going inside where there were roasted pumpkin seeds waiting to munch on.  Such sweet childhood memories.

Traditions make our family unique.  I love them all and this time of year, these traditions burst at the seams.  What are some of your family traditions?  Do you bake sugar cookies?  Do you make  trip to the pumpkin patch?  Do you roast pumpkin seeds (I was not that ambitious this year!)?  Do you go to football games?  Play in the leaves?  What makes this time of year special for your family?

Have a great Friday Friends! 

How to make the world's easiest sugar cookies:


1 Cup (or two sticks) of Unsalted Butter, Softened....I used margarine and it worked fine also.
1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
2 3/4 Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Salt

Plus some extra flour for rolling out the dough.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy (I never think mine is light and fluffy, so I just mix it until it's all mixed together).  Beat in egg and extracts.  Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition.  At this point, you can chill the dough or you can roll it out now, either way works fine.  Once cookies are rolled and cut out, place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 6 minutes or so.  This should make around 3 or 4 dozen cookies.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Under Lights

Parker had his last soccer game last week.  It was a rain make-up was freezing cold, misting, windy, and we only had four players show up to play {making us short a player on the field}.  But, my big guy.  Did he care?  Nope, he was so excited.  Why?

Because it was his first game under lights!

While the other team scored goal after goal after goal, the Orange Racers kept going...chasing that ball, diving to keep it from going in, kicking as hard as they could.  They were having fun!

Parker even scored a may have been their only goal of the night.

They got medals and cookies and life just doesn't get much better than that for a 5 year old.

I'm so glad that Parker loves soccer.  I love watching him run and laugh and be competitive and love something that is so good for him.

And, I think Andrew may just follow in his Big Bro's footsteps.  Man, can he kick that ball!  And, he's got some crazy soccer hair!

Something else I loved?  The weather.  Yep, it was super cold and rainy and pretty icky outside, but it felt like fall.  Have I mentioned that I love fall?  Have I mentioned how much I love this guy {and his little bubs}?

I've been telling people that I had a brief glimpse into my future at this game.  Sitting in my folding chair, with the nippy air biting at my cheeks, Andrew running around playing, Parker scoring goals, Brandon coaching.  Yep, I'm pretty sure I was cut out to be a soccer mom.  And, this night game's what big boys do.

Happy Wednesday! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Eight Years

Happy Anniversary!

Thank you for the past eight years and for forever that is yet to come.

I love you and I am so proud of us and our family!  You are an amazing husband and dad.  Thank you for everything you do for our family and our marriage.  I know we can't go celebrate today, but really, I can't think of a better place to be on our special day than parent's night at gymnastics.  Absolutely perfect.  And, I'm looking forward to tomorrow night when we will spend the evening together - enjoying each other!

Thank you Lyndsey Johnston Photography for capturing our family so well.  You are an amazing photographer!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brother Quarrels

Not so long ago I wrote about the brotherly bond between my two boys.  When it's great, it is awesome!  But, then there are these little moments.  Moments between these boys that drive me crazy.  They have quarrels.  Parker takes a toy from Andrew and he gets mad at him.  Andrew decides he doesn't want Parker anywhere near him so he pushes him away.  Parker lays on Andrews pillow and Andrew doesn't want him to.  Andrew won't let go of Parker's Kai Ninjago lego man {Andrew's favorite...that Parker always seems to want}.  Parker eats some of Andrew's Goldfish.  Andrew destroys Parker's Lego jet.  Parker pushes Andrew out of the way to get up the ladder faster to go down the slide first.  Andrew wants to watch Blue's Clues.  Parker wants to watch He-Man {don't ask}.

{These boys were just fighting over who got to wear the roller skates.  Parker was feeling nice and said Andrew could have them...only to snatch up Andrew's tricycle which Parker is way too big for and he knows will drive Andrew bonkers.}

{I think this is Parker's victory face.  I can see his tonsils.  My weird boy.}

And it goes on and on and on and on.

The consequence from all of these actions: A Brother Quarrel.

A shove.  Crying.  A shout of 'That's not FAIR!'  A hit.  Even a bite sometimes {Andrew's favorite form of defense these days}.  Grabbing toys from each other.  A yell to Mom and Dad.  An 'I hate Blue's Clues!'  'That's mine!' 'No!'

Right now it seems almost comical.  And, as much as I know these boys need to work through these issues, I have to be honest, most of the time, I feel like I'm playing the role of referee more than loving, caring, mother.  Do I let them duke it out?  Do I let them push and shove and take toys from one another?

{Parker finally picked something of his own to play with.}

{And, then Andrew decided he wanted the Razor scooter.}

For some reason, I can't.  I always step in.  I smooth things over.  I make it seem like they are both getting what they want - it's this magic I have.  I have this ability to make them both believe they have won.  Now, stop right here.

Don't think I always give my kiddos what they want.  That's not how it works.  My magic - it is teaching them to think things through.  I stop them from taking, biting, hitting, shoving, throwing a WAF, and I ask them to think of who had the toy to begin with...who got to choose the movie last time...what other Ninja's are there to play with...what is something they could both do together where there wouldn't be a quarrel involved?

The outcome.

Sharing, caring, hugs, and yes, even sometimes there's an apology.  There's two little boys who are learning to play together, think of the other's feelings, and smooth things over.  One day they will have this same magic {although the cause of this magic makes me want to pull my hair out some days, ignore the situation, and let Andrew and Parker waller on each other}.

{Reading books together before bed.}

Brother quarrels are normal.  They get crazy sometimes.  But, I know that these brother quarrels are simply a part of the brotherly bond they share.  I'm just here to help them work through those days where they can't seem to get a long for more than five minutes...oh, and I make the best snacks.

I love these brothers.  Quarrels and all.

**This is what works for my boys.  I know that others have different view points and opinions on how to help kids learn to cope with one another and getting along with their siblings.  What works for your family?  It's always interesting {and encouraging} for me to know how other moms and dads handle these types of issues with their kids.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Basement Wars

So this is what happens while I'm at church meetings...

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Big 3-2 and a Pumpkin Patch

Yep, that's right.  I turned 32 yesterday.  I feel great, but man, does that number sound kinda old.

The thing about getting older is that I find myself growing more into myself.  Every gets better and better.  I won't go into details, but I think you know what I'm sayin'.

What I will go into details about is what I wanted to do for my big day.  I wanted to go to the pumpkin patch.  And, not just any pumpkin patch, but the one we go to every year: Pome on the Range.

It's a family tradition.  Four years in the running.


 It's not fancy.  There's no big corn maze.  No fancy games.  Just a pumpkin patch.  Oh, and a really fun slide.  And, some ducks you can feed.  And, a mule drawn cart that takes you out to the real pumpkin patch.

I may be old-fashioned, but that's what I prefer.  Simple.  Fun for the kids.  Not crazy and super busy.  Not expensive.  Just what I needed on my birthday.  Simple time with my family and friends.

"Mom, get over here!  I found the Great Pumpkin!" 

Andrew loved to throw the pumpkins.  He kept saying, "Ball!" and then he'd pick one up and chuck it. 

Parker and our friend Quinn

It was perfect.

I have the sweetest boys.

So, there was one part about this day that wasn't so great.  And, as much as I don't want to write about it, I think my feelings about it are a huge example of how comfortable I am in life.  How thankful I am for everything we have.  And, as I mentioned, every year I feel even more satisfied with life.

Here's the not-so-great part: We lost the house that we really wanted.  Someone else fell in love with it and has the capability to buy it right now.  We got this news yesterday afternoon.

We were sad for a few minutes and felt like we'd been blown away.  I think we were just surprised.  We didn't think this was going to happen and we had dreams of moving out there and we were so so so excited about this change in our life.  But, then we remembered something - that house isn't what makes our home so great.  It's us.

We love our current home and neighborhood and we are fine with where we are at.

So, the not-so-great news made us feel sad for a while, but then we perked up and decided to call it quits on this whole 'new house' thing.  So, now, I've got a list.  Some might call it a 'honey-do' list, but it's more of a 'make it what we want' list.  And, we are going to have fun with it!

We are so thankful for everything that we've got.

I think this year of being 32 is going to be wonderful.  It may not be what we 'planned' it to be, but it's going to be great - maybe a different kind of great from what we've been talking about for the past 6 months, but great nonetheless.

Happy Brooketober!