Friday, September 30, 2011

Apple Orchard

Do you know how long I have wanted to go apple picking? Since before we had kids. I don't think I have ever been to an apple orchard. (If I have, I don't remember it!)

Last Saturday we packed up and drove about an hour to Kuiper's Farm. It rained on us for most of the time but we didn't care. We had so much fun! It started with a tractor ride out to the orchard.

I had no idea that apples grew in large clusters on the tree branches. They looked like enormous grapes. Because of the chilly, rainy day that it was, the apples we picked were cold, and they were the most amazing apples I've ever tasted. Honest. They were deep red Empire apples - sweet, juicy and crisp. I'm hooked. And after just re-reading what I wrote, I fear that many of you are now laughing at me. But it was fun to experience something for the first time with the kids (for whom everything is new!).

The guy who gave us instructions said that they encourage sampling while we picked apples... so we all took him up on it!

Ellie's new face when I tell her to say "cheese"...

Oh yeah... we did have one low point when Ellie refused to walk or follow us back to the tractor. This girl kills me - she protests like this frequently (most often when I am trying to haul all 3 kids into church to drop Robbie off for preschool). Is it possible that she already feels the need to assert herself as the middle child, so as not to be forgotten or pushed around!?

My little gal.

Daddy saved the day by luring her out with another shiny apple to eat, and we made our way back on the tractor again.

Doing things like this makes me want to live in a more rural area. It's so beautiful and you can see so much of the sky... I told Rob it feels like you can really breathe out there! (He laughed at me.)

Please note my attempt to get a picture with all 3 kids, and how uncooperative both kids were. Robbie refused to sit close to me, and Ellie, well... (bottom right corner).

At least the baby goes along with my attempts. :)

This little guy... my precious buddy.

My favorite from the whole day! (below)

We grabbed a dozen cider donuts and some apple cider on our way out, and wrapped up a pretty perfect Fall morning with hot ham sandwiches and football after putting the kids down for naps. I could go again already!


You are my sunshine...

my only sunshine.

You make me happy...

when skies are gray.

You'll never know, dear...

how much I love you.


don't take...

my sunshine


The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us.

Psalm 118: 27

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Favorites right now

Pumpkin Candle - cliche but makes my house smell like Fall

Dino Dan - 4pm is less painful because of this cute kid. The dinosaurs are CGI in this show so they are a little intimidating for Ellie but she loves it as much as Robbie does. I'm up for anything that's not Caillou.

I'm reading this book right now, and it's one of the best books I've ever read. Highly recommend.

This Haba toy is Maddie's favorite right now.

This Sea Moss Black Sand body scrub by H2O is changing my life. (Fine, I'm exaggerating.) I am so tempted to go buy 10 tubes of it because H2O is notorious for discontinuing something right when I decide I love it. I have rough skin on the back of my ams, and this is the only thing that has actually smoothed my skin without irritating it. Plus it smells amazing.

Hot cocoa. I've already discussed my love for Hershey's classic recipe on the side of the container, but please consider *my adaptation: In a pot on the stove, combine 1/2 C sugar, 1/4 C Hershey's unsweetened cocoa, *1 tsp cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Add 1/3 C hot water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly while boiling for a minute or two. Add 2 cups of milk and heat but do not boil. Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows. (*I omit the 3/4 tsp of vanilla, exchanging it for cinnamon which gives it depth as opposed to making it too sweet.)

This book "Humility" by C.J. Mahaney is really amazing. I've been reading it for a while - taking my time and trying to really absorb his words. This book totally surprised me and changed the way I think about humility, and is encouraging and inspiring and challenging all at once. A must read.

It's A 10 Miracle Hair Mask. Nothing will make your hair feel softer or healthier. It really is amazing.

Smashbox cream eyeliner in Sepia. I got tired of smudging my eyeliner, and this little pot came with its own liner brush. So much faster and much prettier on, too!

Tom's black canvas shoes. After very little convincing from my fashionista-friend, I got these for the fall to wear with leggings. I'm already in love.

This new sitcom, Up All Night, is brilliant. Probably entertaining most to those of us in this stage of life right now, but Will Arnette and Christina Applegate are hilarious. I'm glad it's already Wednesday and I have this to look forward to watching with Rob tonight. NBC @ 7pm (central).

Yoga. I need more of it in my life. But we are working out some issues (ahem) right now as far as childcare goes, and I've had to take a short sabbatical from the gym. It's what I consider "Me Time" and I'm trying not to be selfish about it, but I miss it. I really hope certain little people decide that hitting and peeing their pants isn't all that fun. When we turn the corner, we'll get back there. I think it'll be soon.

Wisdom and Folly blog (found here).
This blog is written by a Taylor prof and his wife, and Rob and I really enjoy it. No picture - just go check it out!

Also, not to be forgotten...
I love it. I need more of it. If you are getting it? You should really appreciate it. :)

Hodge podge

Melt me - 1) the kids after bath time. 2) I like to stalk my kids while they sleep because they are C.U.T.E.! 3) Robbie crammed into the stroller during a trip to the outlet mall... he was so exhausted from skipping his nap that he cashed out after requesting that I make him a 'tent'. 4) Ellie now runs up to me nearly every hour of the day just to grab my leg with both arms and say "Awww, I love you Mama!", and then resumes playing. 5) The way Robbie and Ellie encourage one another on their own now. "Good job lining up the blocks, Ellie!" "Good job going pee pee on the potty, Robbie!" Not making this up. 6) How often my husband does the dishes for me, picks up the kids' toys at the end of the day, and watches shows on TV that crack me up but humor him very little. It's L.O.V.E.

Really? - 1) Madeline woke up 3 mornings in a row with one eye swollen shut last week. Still uncertain as to why, suspect some sort of allergic reaction. 2) Ellie's two year old tantrums are unlike anything I've ever seen, and have a tendency to erupt in public and at bedtime (waking everyone else up from peaceful slumber). It's a good thing she's so cute (and of course that I love her unconditionally!). 3) I drove 30 minutes to a battery store and brought in our old battery back up for the sump pump (um, those suckers are heavy btw) and asked for an exact replacement, only to be sold the wrong battery (discovered when I returned home, of course).

Pet peeves - 1) A perk to summer being over is not having to deal with people who take advantage of being on a bike by riding on the street (like a motorist) with total disregard for the rules of the road (like a pedestrian). PICK ONE. Am I right? It's not just annoying, it's dangerous. 2) How disorganized my closets get. I just purged and organized them a few months ago and they are complete disasters again. Boo. 3) Messy toothpaste caps or lids. 4) When someone rings my doorbell in the middle of dinner or bath time to sell me something. I'm talking about you, lawn guy. 5) The person at the drive thru or at the front of the line at the register who leisurely chats up the cashier about what they may want to order but is clearly not ready to make a decision yet. 6) Snotty noses and coughs that seem to stick around until spring. 7) The purse with an exposed zipper on the outside that catches on my shirt sleeve and causes a hundred little snags. 8) Smug librarians who look down their nose at you when you have to pay a fine. Don't they know that they are getting free money!? What do they really care if you keep a book for more than 3 weeks? Did THEY want to read it? I think they should just take my $1.50, say "Thanks, sucka!" and not act disappointed as if it's a personal offense. 9) The fact that the infant is our best sleeper right now. 10) How dark it is through the early morning hours.

Confessions - 1) During Glee last night, when Quinn revealed at the end she was going to try and get full custody of her daughter, I might have 'tsked' under my breath without realizing it until Rob looked over at me and said, "Did you just go 'tsk'?!". I have a hard time separating how I feel in real life from dramas I watch on TV. It's actually exhausting. (I'm such an old lady.) 2) I nearly burned brunch this morning when I turned the oven on to 350 but didn't realize the other dial was set to Broil. This happens frequently. Curse you, double dials.

Genius - 1) The show "Up All Night". 2) Jen Hatmaker's blog - found HERE. Her latest post "Fake Family" made me laugh so hard. 3) This recipe makes me feel like a culinary genius. Please overlook how simple it is and let me have my moment. I made it up myself!

Individual Egg Casseroles

10 eggs
2 cups 2% milk
12 oz shredded cheese
4 green onions
6-8 slices of deli ham, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 slices white bread, crustless and cubed
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of rosemary

Mix eggs in a large bowl. Add milk, cheese, onions and ham. Mix well. Add bread cubes and gently stir together. Season with salt, pepper, and rosemary.

Grease 2 muffin tins. With a large spoon, scoop egg mixture into muffin tins filling each about 2/3 full (you'll have enough egg mixture to fill both tins). Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until egg mixture is set in the middle and the edges are just starting to brown.