October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Picking

After Snoqualmie Falls we headed north to Snohomish for pumpkins.  The kids roamed around in the pumpkin patch and found the perfect pumpkins. 


Natalie kept saying how pretty the sunflowers were, so Daniel pulled her aside and they walked to the edge of the patch where the sunflowers were.  Then Daniel picked a sunflower for his little sister and totally made her day.  I love those tender moments!!


October 24, 2010

Snoqualmie Falls

We are enjoying the company of grandma & grandpa pescar, so to treat them to some fall color, we headed first to snoqualmie falls for some beautiful scenery..


October 20, 2010

Computer Tables

After finishing the benches for the table, I was on to my next project.

I had hoped it would be a desk and hutch for the boys, but their was a great demand to get the boys computers out of boxes and set-up. More like three busy boys asking me at least ten times a day when I was going to build their computer tables.

I was determined not to pull out the long utility tables, and rather build something more custom to fit the area.  I chose to do and L shaped desk, but wanting to them to be multi-purpose I made two tables, that fit together to make an L shape.  I used pocket holes, so there were no screw holes to fill, and giving it a cleaner look.

These babies cost me less than thirty dollars, and we're put together and stained in one afternoon/evening.

I must mention that I'm married to a computer geek who has so many spare parts around that it was just a given to build a computer for each boy.  We also wanted them to be out in the open and visible, so we can always see what they're up to.

I give you my computer tables..


October 19, 2010

Dave's Chicago Trip

Dave spent last week in Chicago for work at the MTC (Micros0ft Technology Center).  Even though he was working hard, I made sure he snuck in some time to enjoy some good eats, see some sights, and take pictures so I could (live vicariously through him) enjoy them as well.



October 18, 2010

11 - 16 & Potato Soup

11 - Trick or Treat Bags
        I purchased some inexpensive bags at the craft store in both orange and black, along with some self-adhesive felt and a few paint pens.  I found some glitter glue in our personal stash, and invited the kiddos to the table. 

No rules, just decorate your bags. 

treat bags

Daniel went for candy decorations, since that what was going in them anyway, Josh freehanded a lizard, and Caleb chose to use some cookie cutters to draw pumpkins and ghosts.  Natalie was too busy checking out the boys handiwork, and wasn't interested in anything but strawberries (she's very into strawberries righ now!!)

The best past, we still have another side to decorate in the next few weeks, and it was fun to watch their personal creativity.

12 - Mummy Dogs  - fun little snack for the kiddos, except ours had red eyes, since no one likes mustard except daddy.

Directions: Cut crescent roll dough into thin strips and wrap around hot dogs. Bake according to crescent package directions and use ketchup or mustard for eyes. I cut my hot dogs in half to make them bite-sized.
(recipe and pic courtesy of Our Best Bites)

13 - Treasure Hunt  - I was silly and also feeling a little lazy, so I hid clues that had the kids go from room to room, at the end was a Halloweeny snack.

14 - Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies (super easy!!)
       1 - box Spice Cake Mix
       1 - 14oz can pumpkin
       1 - bag chocolate chips

Mix together and drop dough onto cookie sheet in rounded spoonfuls and bake...350degrees for 8-10 min.

15 - Pumpkin watercolor.  Have the kiddos draw pumpkin with pencil.  When finished outlinw with sharpie, and paint with watercolor.  Fun and quick decorations..

16 - Potato Soup (the best ever!!)
       My friend Rachelle had this recipe and the above picture on her blog, and I couldn't refuse trying it.  It's actually one of Dave's favorite soups and I don't think I've ever made it for him (at least I redeemed myself after making this)

It is so warm, hearty, and smells like a fully loaded baked pototo. So good!!

Best Ever Potato Soup

6 bacon strips, diced
3 c cubed potatoes
1 - 14.5oz can chicken broth (or 2 cups homemade broth)
1 small carrot
1/2 c chopped onion
1 T parsley flakes
1/2 tsp each of celery salt, salt and pepper
3 T flour
3 c milk
8 oz cheddar cheese (grated or cubed)

In large saucepan cook bacon until crisp; drain and reserve drippings.

Add potatoes, onion, carrot, broth, parsley, celery seed, salt, and pepper.  Cover and simmer about 15-20 min until pototoes are soft.

Combine flour and bacon dripppings until smooth, then add milk.  Stir into potato mixture.

Bring soup to a boil and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add cheese, stir until until melted, and soup is heated through.  Top with cooked bacon.

October 12, 2010

Crab Festival in Port Angeles

Saturday morning we set off for another adventure.  We found out that they were having a Crab Festival in Port Angeles, and it gave us a great excuse to ride the ferry (a first for us), explore more of beautiful Washington, and eat some delicious fresh caught crab.




October 11, 2010

7,8,9 & 10 - Pumpkin Muffins

a quick catch up of our 31 days of Halloween crafts and goodies...

7 - Clothespin Bats  http://www.marthastewart.com/article/clothespin-bats

8 - Skeleton Brains
  So hubby was out of town and one of my kiddos favorite dinners is Alfredo Pasta.  We chose one from the pantry that looked like curly brains, and then added homemade alfredo to it.  They all enjoyed saying many times through dinner whose brains they were eating, and were so so silly.  (but all the plates were clean, so they must have enjoyed their brains!!)

9 - Ghost Jugs http://familyfun.go.com/halloween/halloween-crafts/ghost-crafts/spirit-jugs-673388/

  I would love to have enough of these to line the driveway up to our front door, but I'm not sure we'll go through 20 milk jugs between now and Halloween, I'll have to start earlier next year!!

10 - Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

I had these a few years ago, and they were so delicious, that I immediately called my friend's mom just to get the recipe.  We've been using it every fall since, and we sure do go through a lot of pumpkin around here.

We also like them without frosting, and chocolate chips inside the muffins.

Pumpkin Muffins

4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 15oz pumpkin
2 cup flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Beat together eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin
Mix dry ingredients together and then add to wet mixure above.
Place in muffin tins, and Bake at 350 for 25-30min, or until center is cooked.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz cream cheese
1/2 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup powdered sugar

Beat well with mixer

October 8, 2010

6 - Butterscotch Rice Krispie Treats

6 - A huge favorite of mine when I was growing up, peanut butter, butterscotch and rise krispies..yum!!

The original reipe calls for corn syrup and extra sugar, but I think they taste just as delicious with this simple recipe..

Butterscotch Rice Krispie Treats

1 bag Butterscotch Morsels
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies

Melt butterscotch and peanut butter, add in krispies.  Press into a 9x13 pan.  Cool and cut into squares.

October 7, 2010

5 - Haunted House

5 - Natalie pulled out one of the Halloween clearance crafts which happened to be a gigantic haunted house.  Dave called just as she did to tell me he was on his way home, and I told him about the gigantic pile of foam shapes on the table ready to be assembled. 

First off, he is not a fan of those foam stickers. Have you ever tried to remove one from the wood floor, or refrigerator, or toolbox?? So not fun.  They don't come off!! So when I mentioned the word foam craft, I think he got a little anxious, just thinking about where they would all end up, in fact we talked about his entire trip home.  Yes, we talk every day as he drives home from work, kind of our time before the kids pounce on him as he walks in the door, and I have to share him again. 

And as he walked in the door, he was met with a challenge, one he could walk away from and let me deal with, or he could conquer on his own.  He sat down on the bench, scooted up to table, and looked at Natalie, who was already beaming at his very presence.  "Let's build a scary house Natalie"  He was pleasantly suprised to find it was more of a 3D puzzle that needed to be assembled, with a only some decorative "foam" stickers.  Soon he was joined by Caleb, and then the other boys came up to see if Daddy was home.  I made dinner as I watched all the kids offer advice on where this piece might go, and "oh, daddy here's that piece".  When they were finished they all had smiles on their faces, and were excited to show me the finished result.

Sometimes it's the uncomfortable things that we tackle that we find the most joy from, we surprise ourselves and we please others.

(Photo is currently hiding on an SD card inside of a camera on a plane heading for a work trip, will post later!!)

October 5, 2010

3- Crepes 4 - Foam Fun

3 - Crepes, delicious.  Spread with nutella, bananas and whip cream, one of my big favorites.  We decorated them like pumpkins, and did scary faces, before rolling up their goodness so we could enjoy them.  We tried apples and caramel, strawberries and whip cream, and some just did syrup and whip cream.  Either way delicious, easy and fun!!

4 -  As I opened up the Halloween Decorations (all 4 bins) this year, I became super impressed with myself.  Last year I purchased a slew of Halloween Crafts for 90% off, I did this sometime around the first of December as I recall, and I remember climbing through the garage to locate the Halloween boxes, only to find there was no room.  I had to create an additional box, just to fit all my new treasures.  The best part, I completely forgot about them, and what a huge surprise to me and the kiddos when we found them.

So we opened a few, and created scary pumpkins, and cute ghosts with foam shaped objects, googly eyes, and glitter glue (all included) 

October 2, 2010

Salmon Days & Fun with Friends

Today started Salmon Days in our nearby city.  Yes, salmon are a pretty big deal around here.  The parade started at 10, and we got our booties out of bed, breakfast eaten, everyone dressed and there before it all started, and on a Saturday no less.

The parade was great, tons of floats, lots of queens and pricesseses from nearby cities, and their own strawberry/daffodil/apple days (which we are sure to visit in the spring), amazing, amazing marching bands from both middle school and high school, the corvette club, dogs on parade, and many many more.

Afterwards we visited some of the over 150 vendors that were there, the Hatchery, where we fed some rainbow trout (that were secretly hoping to catch next spring while fishing) and watched salmon (which were over 2' long) as they tried to swim upstream (really quite an amazing feet).  We enjoyed food, and lots of people watching, and left with only one souvenir (Caleb spent his money on a wooden rifle, which we are going to stain and finish together)

We came home and got busy to work on other projects (while watching conference, of course).  Dave is finishing up building the boys computers, while I build an L shaped desk for him to put them on (both still not finished)

Then we got out of work clothes and drove down the street to visit with new friends.  We met them the first day of school at the bus stop, and they invited us to dinner by bringing by a peaches and cream pie last Sunday (an excellent invite, if I must say so!)

The kiddos had a great time being silly and playing together, and Dave and I enjoyed great conversation with some really wonderful people. (even if they are both smarter than us, they're both lawyers) We look forward to having them over soon, and doing more family activities together.

I must say I'm really loving this place..the small town atmosphere (that really isn't that small) the beautiful surroundings (I love trees) and the wonderful people that we continue to meet, that bless and enrich our lives.

***Check out what we did for day 2 below...

2 - Bat Tissue Paper Garland

picture from marthstewart.com

This was so simple and easy, and although that's not my mantle pictured above, hopefully it will soon be fully decorated and just as spooky, and festive.

Here are the simple directions found which I found at marthastewart.com along with lots of other fun ideas I will be doing throughout the month.  You just need one package of black tissue paper, a bat template/or cookie cutter, and scissors. 

October 1, 2010

1- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough BRAIN Cupcakes to be exact.

I saw an amazing idea for cookie dough cupcakes, where the inside has a soft cookie dough center, and a delicious cookie dough buttercream frosting, and thought this was the perfect time to try it.

We decorated them as brains to celebrate our first day of October and give them extra special spookiness.

Step 1 - Make your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough, substitute 2-3 tbsp of milk for the eggs. I used mini chocolate chips.

Step 2 - Roll dough in 24 small balls and freeze (bake, or eat the rest of the dough!)

Step 3 - Mix up your favorite cupcake recipe and place in cupcake liners (I just used a box mix)

Step 4 - Place frozen cookie balls in center of uncooked cupcake (see pic above)

Step 5 - Bake according to cupcake directions (20-25 min)

You can't even see the yummy soft cookie dough hiding inside...

Step 6 - Make this incredible Cookie Dough Buttercream Frosting
          3 sticks unsalted softened butter
          ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
          3½ cups powdered sugar
          1 cup all-purpose flour
          ¾ tsp. salt
          3 tbsp. milk
          2½ tsp. vanilla extract
          (recipe for frosting found here, along with a variation of the cookie dough cupcake)

Step 7 - Frost Cupcakes (We did brains to be spooky for Halloween)

Step 8 - Enjoy!!

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