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Toddler/Motherhood

Toddler/Motherhood
Toddler/Motherhood

Pumpkin Patch Fun

I'm just going to warn you, this post is going to include a lot of pictures. I mean, when you have kids as cute as K and her cousin, the photographer just cannot help herself.

Over the weekend we took K and my sweet nephew to Thornspring Farms' Pumpkin Patch and we all had a blast. I had previously mentioned how much I loved Thornspring Farms and their Pumpkin Patch festivities did not disappoint this year.

I have to say that going to a Pumpkin Patch is most definitely one of my favorite Fall activities. This was our third year going and we had so much fun!!!! This might be my favorite year because K was able to do everything this time! Thornspring Farms offers quite a lot of activities: a corn maze for the adults, a hay maze for the little ones, teeter-totters, tractor-train rides, cart racing, big slides, silly photo opps and the pièce de résistance: an air filled jumping mat. K and my nephew did not want to stop jumping, they were having a blast and it was pure joy just watching them laugh and jump and slide.(You will see a pumpkin patch time out photo below, that's what happens when a tantrum is thrown for having to get off the jumping mat.)

Enjoy the photos! (And Mom, next time we must get you in one!)


You're welcome world - everything just got a whole lot cuter!
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Leaf Jumping!

When I first entered the "real world" I realized quickly just how boring being an adult actually can be. I had my first big girl job and all we concentrated on was work (the nerve!). We didn't take time to celebrate all of the little holidays and season changes that were happening around us. There was no pumpkin carving contest, no Thanksgiving or Christmas break off from work (only vacation days I had to use if I wanted that time off) and certainly no craft project to savor the beauty of the changing leaves. The real world kept on going, regardless of what the calendar said.

But I missed all of the small little celebrations, I missed the breaks, the time spent acknowledging that a new season and holiday was fast approaching. Which is one of the joys I find in motherhood - I LOVE exploring new seasons with K and teaching her about holiday traditions. I love that we get to watch her experience so many things for the first time. Watching my child take in the season changes and seeing her explore new things is thrilling to me. 

Last week, Tolar raked all of our leaves into a HUGE pile in the yard and he showed K the true art of leaf jumping. At first all she wanted to do was pick the leaves up and let them come tumbling down (we had just sang "The Leaves On The Tree" earlier that day), but after a little prodding she realized just how much fun it is to run and jump into a big ol' pile of leaves. And in true 2 year old fashion, she has asked to jump in the leaves every day since.


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Peanut Butter Oreo Bark



Peanut Butter and Chocolate...could there be a more perfect combination? I think not!
I have my fabulous brother in law to thank for introducing me to this incredibly delicious and easy recipe full of peanut butter chocolate goodness.

Do you have a Halloween party coming up this weekend and you aren't sure what to make? Or are you short on time, but really want to wow your friends with a yummy treat? Well make this! Peanut Butter Oreo Bark is going to come to your rescue. Just don't expect there to be anything left over, because this stuff will go fast once word gets out how delicious it is! You might even want to make two batches.



Ingredients:

-12 Oreo Cookies
-1 package peanut butter chips



Instructions:

1.) Break up the Oreo cookies into small pieces. You can either use a food processor (just don't chop them too fine), a spoon to smash them or simply break them up with your hands. I prefer to use a spoon because I want them broken up, but not too tiny or too large.

2.) In a separate bowl, microwave the peanut butter chips for 90 seconds. Stir until creamy.

3.) Pour Oreo crumbles into creamed peanut butter.

4.) Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. The mixture will seem a bit sticky, but shouldn't be too hard to spread.

5.) Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so it can harden.

6.) Break up into bite size pieces and enjoy!




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High Five For Friday



Happy Friday friends!!! Life is getting pretty crazy lately and I am most definitely glad it is Friday. And today, I'm super excited to share that all of the fab hosts for High Five For Friday are featuring yours truly as this week's featured blogger! That sure made me smile! So be sure to check out the High Five For Friday link up on the fab blogs of Tif, Caitlin, Della and Katie.

1.) Tolar raked all of our leaves into a huge pile and we introduced Baby K to the fine art of jumping in them. She had a blast and has asked to jump in the leaves every day since.

2.) I watched my friend Liann's two daughters yesterday and all three girls had a blast together. They are sweet friends and I love watching K develop great relationships with them.

3.) On instagram, I found the cutest shop ever called Twinkle Twinkle Lil Jar. They have so many adorable mugs, cups and other accessories that are dipped in glitter/sparkles.

4.) Our Halloween decor is out in full force (you can see everything in this post here)! We are loving the witch legs sticking out of the ground!

5.) It was a late night for me and Baby K over the weekend and when we got home my little sweetie just collapsed on the floor because she was so tired. She looked adorable so of course I had to snap a picture.



I'm linking up this post with September Farm, Bright on a Budget and Meet @ the Barre.


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The Halloween Decor is Out!

Halloween_Home_Decor


Tolar's absolute favorite holiday is Halloween, hands down. He LOVES to be scared and he loves to dress up in silly costumes, so it's perfect. I, however, hate to be scared and have never been a fan of going to haunted houses (his favorite!). Poor thing, got me to go to haunted houses with him one year (right after we got engaged) and I have never wanted to go again. I was so scared, just thinking about our visit to the Haunted Forest makes me nervous. And I am sad to say, that because I immediately associate haunted houses with Halloween, I haven't really gotten into decorating. Until this year!!!!

I started to think how many sacrifices Tolar makes for us me and realized I wanted to Halloween-ize our house! I wanted to see him smile BIG around his favorite holiday. So Michael's, the Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart became my best friends (Hint to those still wanting to decorate: Michael's is STILL running a HUGE sale on their Halloween decor so get over there pronto!). And I'm really glad I decided to decorate because everything is so fun!!! When I first started decor shopping, I showed my friend Liann the types of things I really wanted to buy and she told me I wanted a classy Halloween and she was right! So sticking with my "classy Halloween" theme, I present to you our Halloween decorated house.

A few tips/thoughts:
-Look around your house to see what you already have. I was able to use ribbons, a few pumpkins and jars that I already owned to add to my decor.
-Search online for easy DIY decor (you WILL want to check out this Halloween Luminary blog post)
-For the easiest Halloween decor tip ever, go to the Dollar Tree and buy their tiny Christmas houses (which are already out) and spray paint them black for an eerie look.
-Levels are your best friend when decorating (for anything!). Having items with different heights helps add a little something extra to your final look.
-My all time favorite way to decorate is to fill a glass jar with ornaments, I do this at Christmas all the time.

Halloween_Table_Decor
And for outside...












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High Five For Friday



Wow! Now this has been a week full of things to do and one tired mama. But I made it through and still had a lot of fun with my sweet little family. Here are the top moments from our week.


1.) The leaves are changing and offering up plenty of fun opportunities for me to practice taking photos with my camera.

2.) A tree fell down on my parent's property (far away from the house!). Here is K in front of the tree, which is more than 100 years old! Pretty neat.

3.) I got all of our Halloween decor put out and I'm really getting into the Halloween spirit. It definitely helped that Michael's was having a major sale (and still is!) on all of their Halloween decor.

4,) K decided that she wanted to be like Daddy and wear his headphones. Such a cutie!

5.) We had some rainy/dreary days over the weekend, so I made some GAK for K to play with. I'm not sure who loved it more; me, Tolar or her! Don't worry, the recipe will be coming to the blog very soon.



I hope you had a great week!




I'm linking up with Bright on a Budget, Meet @ the Barre and September Farm.



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Trying to Workout With Your Child in the Room



I love working out while K is awake (and even in the room) for multiple reasons. The most important reason is that I want her to grow up knowing that working out is "what you do" to take care of yourself. I also hope that by her seeing me work out, she will be inclined to do so herself (at a later age of course). But another reason I like working out in front of her is for the sheer entertainment value that I receive.

Yesterday, I set K up with some puzzles in her room and told her that if she needed me I would be working out. Well, she saw me swipe her chair to use for my workouts and she got curious - obviously Mom playing with her stuff is way more interesting than playing by herself. So K joined me in my room for the majority of my workout. Here is just a sample of the fun that we had:

-I was serenaded! K sang her versions of "Its Bitty Pider" and "Hot Cross Funs" several times, trying to keep me motivated with her sweet tunes (no spelling mistakes there, that's how she sings them).

-When I did squat jumps or X jumps, K thought both moves looked like fun so she joined me. The best part? Hearing her interpretation of me - heavy breathing!

-She decided that during my workout was the perfect time to "do a magic sell." She grabbed her magic wand and kept saying "pocus, pocus" over and over again. If only her magic "sell" would make me lose weight instantly.

-I received lots of praise! K told me over and over "you can do it Mommy!" and "good job Mommy!" I'm going to keep her around for the constant encouragement. (Thanks for working with her on that, Tolar)

-A sampling of a conversation we had:
K: "What's that on your face?"
Me: "It's sweat, I'm hot from working out."
K: "Are you crying?"
Me: No, sweetie. I'm sweating.
K: "You're a sweater?" (she meant the piece of clothing)





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Book Review: Priscilla Shirer's Fervent



Prayer. It works. I've seen it happen time and time again - in my own life and in the lives of others. But I know all too well that sometimes prayer becomes something that we should do and something that we don't usually do. Yes, life gets in the way, things get messy. But you know what can fix the mess and help you take control of your life? PRAYER!

There are two things in my life that really increased my prayer time:
-becoming a mother
-Priscilla Shirer's book FerVent

First, I need to back up and tell you that if you have not heard of Priscilla Shirer, then you need to google her and watch some you tube videos. This lady is passionate and KNOWS HER STUFF. She is one of the most inspirational people I have ever had the privilege of hearing. She and God are tight! And one thing that I love about Priscilla is that she isn't a neat and clean and quiet Christian. No, this girl gets in the mess with others and she prays BIG. She believes our God for Big things and expects Him to deliver because He has promised us that He would.

So let me tell you about her new book FerVent. What immediately caught my attention was a list she included at the very beginning of the book. She listed strategies that the enemy uses to attack you and your character in your daily life and you may not even know it. Some of these things I am experiencing right now, and seeing her include this list has made me more aware of what was coming up against me. Just having this simple knowledge has helped me seek out scripture when forces are battling and helped me pinpoint what I need to be praying.

Here is the list of the enemy's strategies against you:
-Against your passion
-Against your focus
-Against your identity
-Against your family
-Against your confidence
-Against your calling
-Against your purity
-Against your rest and contentment
-Against your heart
-Against your relationships

Through the book, she focuses on each of those strategies and uses a ton of scripture to show you the truth. To show you exactly what it should be and not what the enemy wants you to think. Sometimes (and I am guilty of this myself), we are so quick to get mad at God because things aren't going our way. Or we even get mad at ourselves. But what about the enemy? Do we get mad at him? We should!

Here is an excerpt from her book that I had to share:
But what makes you think it's somehow all God's fault? Or your fault? Or everybody else's fault? But never the enemy's fault? Why aren't we equally as quick to recognize the telltale marks of his darkened ideas and initiative?"
Priscilla is quick to remind us that God convicts us, the enemy condemns us. She uses scripture to point us to the grace and empowering mercy of Christ, all throughout her book. And after she has walked us through each strategy that the enemy uses against us, she gives us a guide to start writing our prayers to overcome all of the strategies. She instructs us to have our prayers include part Praise, part Repentance, part Asking and a whole lot of Yes.

FerVent teaches us the truth and helps us put our words and thoughts into prayerful action. I've often found myself saying a quick prayer ("God please fix this situation") whenever I'm in need and letting that be it. Thanks to FerVent, I'm given practical ways to create my strategy and have my words mean something when I'm talking to God. I'm partnering with God like never before.
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Fall Activities Galore!



Fall has quickly become my favorite season of the year because there is so much to do! Pumpkin patches are my favorite, but I love that communities all over the U.S. are getting creative and adding more activities. I recently blogged about fun fall activities local to me (New River Valley, SW Virginia), but now I am so happy to share a HUGE list of fun fall activities all over the U.S., Canada and the U,K.

Taking a trip sometime this month? Be sure to check out this insane list of fun things to do!




USA

Arizona
California
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Massachusetts
  • Boston - Feathers and Stripes
Michigan
Minnesota
Nebraska
  • Omaha - Mom on the Side
New Hampshire
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
CANADA

London, Ontario - Creative Cynchronicity

Toronto, Ontario - Teddy Out-Ready

UK

Yorkshire - JuggleMum

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High Five For Friday


1.) The cheesy grin on my child's face when she gets her picture taken is priceless. We've been working on getting her to say "cheese" and actually smile at the camera and it's apparently working.

2.) Fall is here and the pumpkins are out in our house!

3.) K decided she wanted to comb my hair after her bath one night. She actually didn't pull my hair at all! I love that she is interested in doing girly things.

4.) It has only happened one other time, but I totally dominated Tolar when we played You Don't Know Jack this week. (Yes, Hot Wings is me!)

5.) The only person excited about all of the rain we are getting is K - that means she gets to wear her boots and rain jacket all the time!

How was your week?


I'm linking up with September Farm, Bright on a Budget and Meet @ the Barre.
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Homemade Pumpkin Muffins



Hello October! I know that the first official day of Fall was September 23, but now that October is here Fall is officially official!

And with Fall comes my love of yummy pumpkin foods and my want to make as many as I can. Starting with pumpkin muffins. Having a muffin with my morning coffee sounds like an absolute perfect morning, so I whipped some of my muffins up over the weekend for us to have for breakfasts this week. Well it is now Thursday and I just made our second batch for the week! They are scrumptious!

I love these muffins because they are very easy to make and don't require insane ingredients. I had everything on hand  in my pantry to make these! And the muffins are so fluffy. They were all gobbled up pretty fast, even Baby K enjoyed them and asked for more.


Ingredients:


-1 1/2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 heaping tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 heaping tsp ground nutmeg
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-2 eggs
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
-3/4 cup oil


Instructions:


1.) Preheat over to 400 degrees.
2.) Combine the first 7 dry ingredients (do not include the sugar) in a medium bowl and mix together.
3.) In a separate bowl combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil and mix together until smooth.
4.) Pour the dry ingredients into the pumpkin and blend everything together.
5.) Pour into a greased muffin tin. Yields 12 big muffins.
6.) Bake for 16 minutes.


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