Monday, October 28, 2013

$50 and 5 M&Ms

Back in the early part of the summer, my brother and his girlfriend came by to spend a Saturday with us and we decided to go to Cabela's. While there, I spotted a really cute raincoat, with trucks and tractors all over it. When I flipped over the price tag and saw that it was $40, I stated that that was simply too much to pay for a kids' raincoat. Heck, I would be hard-pressed to spend it on a raincoat for myself.

Fast forward to our trip to Maine this summer, and a stop at a fantastic little fabric shop. They had on display the cutest kids' poncho, and a great selection of laminated fabrics. I decided, in an uncharacteristically impulsive moment, that I was going to get the pattern, the laminated fabric and some fabric for a lining and make Colter a poncho. Well, apparently I cannot do mental math in these impulsive moments and did not realize until all the fabric was cut and everything was rung up that this poncho was going to cost me just shy of $50. Plus I would still have to make it. Suddenly that $40 raincoat seemed pretty reasonable.

Once home with all my supplies, I was a bit gun-shy to start cutting into my pricey fabric, fearing I would make a mistake and would waste all that money. So I waited until my mom was here to hold my hand through the whole project, and eventually I ended up with a really adorable poncho. A really adorable poncho that my really independent toddler refused to wear. He told me at random times as I was finishing it up, "I do not like the poncho." Finally, when it was all done, I told him I would give him three M&Ms to put it on. He agreed, but when I told him he had to wear it long enough for me to take a picture, he replied, "Five M&Ms."

Could he look less thrilled about his whale poncho?

This is what I got when I said, "Show me how many M&Ms you got for wearing your poncho!"

I am hoping that being allowed to go out and play in the rain on occasion will be enough to make the poncho more enticing!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Random Wreath

Forging ahead with the informal fall decor series...

In trying to keep my hands and mind busy while waiting for Elliott, I put together a little fall wreath for the front door. I wish I could give you step by step instructions, or at least tell you what little seed pods I used, but I didn't take pictures of anything but the finished project and I picked up the seed pods off street a couple years ago and don't know what they are.

I simply wrapped a styrofoam wreath with some strips of fabric leftover from Colter's quilt, covering about 3/4 of the wreath. Then I stuck the little pods, which had a stem, into the wreath, tucking moss in between to hide the styrofoam. It needed a little something else, and my mom took one look at it, glanced around the yard (I was working on the back steps) and nabbed a few dried pieces off the cornstalks in the garden to tuck in.  (I've since pinned them on so they didn't flop forward so much.)

Anybody know what these pods are? They came off a big tree down the street from our house.

And that's it. My random, thrown together, autumnal wreath. Happy fall, y'all.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Carving

It's a good thing Keith is around, otherwise there would be no pumpkin carving around these parts. I have never liked the slimy insides, and would probably forget about squishy jack-o-lanterns on the front porch until I had to scoop them up with a shovel to dispose of them.

Keith found a little roadside stand on the way home from work with nice sized pumpkins for $3, and he and Colter carved them. I actually got my hands in the slime to pull out all the pumpkin seeds to roast.

What follows is a ridiculous number of photos of us and a traditional jack-o-lantern...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Go Make a Scarecrow!

Shortly after we brought Elliott home, I was weeding through my email and came across a newsletter from the local garden center about their fall festivities. They were having family fun days on Saturdays into October, and for $10, you could build a life-size scarecrow and paint a pumpkin. So when a friend came to visit that next Saturday and stayed with me and Elliott, Colter and Keith headed off to make a scarecrow. Keith grabbed a couple pictures with his phone while they worked, and then we snapped a few once our new friend "Charlie" settled in on the porch.

Keith said the garden center employees told him that they spent the summer scouring yard sales for flannel shirts and jeans, then picked up hats and supplies for the faces at the dollar store.

Charlie scared the bejeezus out of me the first time I stepped out to get the mail and thought there was a person sitting on our porch!

So we are looking a bit more festive out there on the front porch...

The next installment of the fall decorating will be pumpkin carving!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumpkin Recipes, from Before the Lil' Pumpkin Arrived

Back before the new little man arrived, I was on a baking kick. And being as fall had begun (even if we had some 85˚ days), pumpkin was on my mind. So, pumpkin bread it was. And you should be able to guess how good it was, considering that the loaf was half gone before I was able to get a picture of it!

Pumpkin Bread
Real Simple, October 2013

1/2 c. canola oil, plus more for pan
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. fine salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. pure pumpkin puree
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350˚. Lightly oil loaf pan. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (do not over mix). Pour into loaf pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

If you want, you can make an icing to drizzle on the top by combining the following:
3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
(I skipped the icing but I'm sure it would be really tasty without being as heavy as a cream cheese icing.)

Now that you've got that can of pumpkin open, try this out.

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
(My own reworking of a recipe!)

Remainder of can of pumpkin after making recipe above (about 3/4 c. – this replaces the 1/2 c. oil in the original recipe)
2 beaten eggs
1 c. sugar
3 c. oatmeal (1 c. quick oats, 2 c. rolled oats)
2 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or more if you want more flavor)

Combine all ingredients and bake in a greased glass baking dish for 25 to 30 minutes at 350˚. Serve any way you like – I like it warm with some milk poured over it but it can be eaten cold as is.

Happy fall!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Life Lately

First off, there is a new link at the top of the page for the weekly photos of Elliott. And then for your viewing pleasure, here's a bit of what life has looked like this past week...

Bert has been very amused by all the baby toys...

and the iPad.

And emptying the rain barrel.

Elliott was very calm and relaxed throughout his first bath. And looks just like his brother in this photo!

Bert being helpful and holding the towel ready.

I swear I look more tired than I feel!

Visiting with Grammy and Pop-pop.

Meeting Popper for the first time.

Snuggling with Great-Grammy.

Completely relaxed with Memere.

Goggles, he says!

Watching football with Daddy.

Bert loves to see Elliott in the swing, but has to be reminded he doesn't need a push like the swings at the park!

Nope, Mom, you may not have five minutes to yourself!

Trying out the sling...

and not so sure we've got it figured out yet!

All in all, it has been a good week and I feel like we have a decent handle on the two-kid thing. I'm sure that feeling won't last for long though...
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