Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Orchard, a Birthday and Trick or Treat

Last week, Hannah and I headed to a local apple orchard for some apple picking fun.  



When we got back home, we peeled, sliced and baked the apples in a homemade caramel sauce.  I’ve never made homemade caramel before, but it was quite easy.


And quite delicious!  Once the apples and caramel were in the oven, we couldn’t help ourselves from licking the remaining caramel.  Hannah was such a sticky mess that she got a bath immediately after.  The caramel kept getting in her hair, so I put her curls up into a quick up-do.  I thought she looked so cute and grow up!


With the remaining apples, I made a homemade housewarming fragrance.  I found the recipe on a blog, and I cannot remember where…
Anyways, you slice an apple, an orange and put them into a pan with water.  Add some cloves and a few cinnamon sticks.  Boil the mixture and then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer all day.  Your house will be filled with the most delicious fall scent!  You simply add more water throughout the day as it simmers down.  The oranges will fall apart and the apples get soggy, but I assure you the fragrance is incredible!


Last week was also Hannah’s 3rd birthday.  We have a party planned for her with family next weekend.  On the actual day of her birthday, Shawn and I took her to Chuck E. Cheese
for the first time.

We played a few games.


But we spent most of our time on the horse. 
Hannah is such a little cowgirl! 

And, speaking of cowgirls, here she is trick or treating.  It was no surprise when I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween and she said a cowgirl.
cowgirl6 cowgirl7
The costume was really easy and inexpensive to put together.  The vest was Shawn’s when he was little.  When Shawn’s mom gave it to me I almost started crying!  His grandmother had made it for him, and it was special that she saved it all these years and that Hannah wore it.  Shawn brought the pink bandana, sheriff badge and pink rope back from a recent trip to Houston.  I found the cowgirl hat for less than $5 at a party supply store.  I tried to attach a pink bow to the hat, but Hannah asked me to take it off.  I guess it took away from the authenticity…
She’s the rootinest, tootinest cowgirl I know!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Dear Hannah,

Today you are three years old!  Happy Birthday, sweet girl! 
So, what are you up to these days?

You are still tall and thin.  I recently bought you some pants for winter and they fit you in the length, but won’t stay up because your waist is so tiny!

We hit a little bit of a rough spot with potty training a few months ago, but you came through it and have been doing great with it for a while now.

You have developed a new love for all things cowgirl!  You are such a little country thing and we have no idea where you get it!  You love cowboys, cowgirls, horses, saddles and bandanas.  It is so cute that every day you like to put on your cowgirl hat, your pink bandana and your sheriff badge.  You ask us to get down on the floor and take you for horse rides around the living room.  You will even put a little blanket on us and say that it is a saddle. 

 One evening, we turned on the country music video channel and you saw a picture of Tim McGraw.  You pointed at him and said, “That’s a real cowboy!  Is he the sheriff?”


You love your Sunday School class and teacher!  I am so glad because it is so important to us that you are raised in church.  You have learned three Bible verses since summer and it is so sweet when you recite them.  I hope that you remember them your entire life.  Last weekend, we went for a hike on a trail near our church and you said, “Let’s go see my teacher.”  I told you that she wouldn’t be there because it isn’t Sunday.  You looked at me, completely serious and said, “But she lives here.”

One of my favorite things about this age is when you don’t fully get the right word and repeat things out of context.  It cracks me up!  One night after dinner, your dad and I were talking about the phone calls we have been getting from political candidates.  Daddy said something like, “Well, they want your vote.” I didn’t even think you were paying attention.  The next day, you said to Papa, “Papa, let’s talk about the Republicans.  They want Mommy’s boat.” 


You have become a little fickle about eating.  Generally, you will eat well for two meals each day, but won’t be interested in the other.  If we are at a family gathering or birthday party, you get so excited that it is hard to get you to eat.  I must say, though, you amaze me with the things that you like.  You still love anything Mexican and really like Spanish olives stuffed with blue cheese!  You will eat any fruit, but apples aren’t your favorite.  You love cucumbers and will eat a few slices for a snack each day.

In your three short years, you have traveled to Los Angeles and New York City with us.  You are a great little travel buddy.  You do amazing on airplanes and just go with the flow when away from home.  You had your first experience in NYC a few weeks ago and you talk about the “taxi crabs” all the time. 

You are such a sweet, funny little girl and we love you more than you will ever know!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crafting with Kids: A Fall Project

I love fall.  I especially love fall in my neighborhood.  This is what I see when I drive down my street in October. 
A few weeks ago, a friend hipped me to a great website packed with creative ideas of ways to craft, create, cook and spend quality time with your kids.  When I saw the idea for making a fall placemat, I knew this one was right up our alley.
First, we took a long walk down our street and gathered up all the pretty leaves we could fit into our bag.  We talked about how God made each leaf different and beautiful – just like He made us different from each other.
After our bag was filled with red, orange, yellow and brown leaves, we headed home to start our project. 
All you need for this one is clear contact paper.  I already had some on hand, left over from lining the bottom of the cabinet under my kitchen sink.
Cut two pieces of contact paper and peel the backing off.  This part can be tricky because the contact paper wants to roll back up and stick to itself.  Place the leaves onto the sticky side of one of the pieces of contact paper.  This is the fun part!  Hannah was very serious about getting her leaves placed in just the right spot.
When finished, stick the other sheet directly on top.  It’s so simple and a great project for toddlers who tend to lose interest in activities quickly.
You can use this as a placemat or hung in a window as a sun catcher. 
I love how proud Hannah was of her finished project. 
But even more, I love the time we spent together in creating it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Every Cowgirl Needs…

A cowgirl hat,


and a sheriff’s badge.


Her trusty horse… 


 And a lasso made from a pink feather boa, of course.


Friday, October 8, 2010

A New York Minute

My husband travels a lot for work.  A lot. 
While I miss him terribly when he is gone, over the years, I have come to love two things about his traveling.
1. Less cooking when he is gone.
2. Tagging along with him on trips!

Last week Shawn sent me a text that he had to go to New York City for a few days and thought it would be fun for us to all go together.  So, at the absolute last minute, Hannah and I booked a flight, packed our bags and headed to the airport with him.

In the last 10 years, Shawn and I have visited New York City over a dozen times.  We love that city and have lots of memories there.  This trip was the best yet, however, because it was Hannah’s first time.  I was so excited to introduce her to
The Big Apple!

Hannah’s first cab ride was obviously very exciting because she fell asleep within minutes.  We flew during her normal nap time, but she stayed awake the entire flight.



I let Hannah jump on the bed (supervised, of course!) at hotels.  We don’t allow her to do this at home, so it is a special treat!  I love how much it wears her out!

nyc3    nyc4

On our first evening in the city, we ate some of our favorite NYC pizza.  Yum!


Then we headed to Times Square to see the lights.  Times Square is not my favorite area of NYC, and I told Shawn that I was kind of glad to get it out of the way early on.


After walking around Times Square, we went to Toys R Us and rode the Ferris Wheel. 


Each time we went on the subway,  Shawn carried Hannah in her stroller down into the station.  Every single time she giggled and said, “Daddy, you’re carrying me like a princess!”



We spent an afternoon in Central Park.


And learned about dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History.  One of the funniest things that Hannah said  was, “Mommy, does God love the dinosaurs?”


We went to the Empire State Building.


And rode the elevator all the way to the top.  It was chilly and very windy!

One of the highlights of our weekend was meeting up with my good friend and her sweet little girl for a visit to the Central Park Zoo and a late lunch.  We joked about how before we had children we were able to talk and visit over lunches!


Hannah and I returned home on Monday night, but Shawn had to stay for a few additional days for work.  When we got to the airport, our flight had been delayed by almost three hours.  Fortunately, Shawn had ridden in the cab with us was able to stay and keep us company for a while.  By the time our flight finally boarded, it was 10PM, which is well past bedtime.  Hannah was such a trooper and didn’t complain once.  She was tired, but fortunately she was in a calm tired, (rather than crazy tired) state, so she played quietly and rested while we waited and then dozed on the plane.

Our spontaneous weekend away was a complete success!  I am happy to report that this sweet girl loves NYC
as much as her parents do!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How do I know it’s fall?

There are pumpkins that are as big as toddlers.


Flip flops are being replaced by Ugg boots.

It’s still nice outside but the sun is going down way too early.  I’ve changed up my evening routine of tucking Hannah into bed and going for a run to tucking Hannah into bed and going to the living room to meet Jillian.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back at Starbucks.  Honestly, this is the only time this mama ever goes to Starbucks.  I’m much more of a sweet tea girl, but the Pumpkin Spice Latte just tastes like fall.

The Browns are already 0-3.  Sigh. 

My crockpot is getting revved up.  I definitely to use it more in the fall and winter.  Starting in October, I use it at least twice per week.  “Crock Pot Sunday” is popular in our house.


Decorating for fall is my favorite. 


fall6 I decorated our front door by simply using a plain twine wreath that I had on hand.  I added some faux fall leaves and personalized it.  I bought the wooden “P” at JoAnn Fabrics, traced it onto fall print paper and Mod Podged the paper on.  I then tied it to the top of the wreath using a yellowish ribbon from a previous Amazon purchase. 
In total, I spent about $2 for this project. 


  Happy Fall!