Pumpkin Patch 2010

Today was Jack’s first class trip.  Each parent brought their own child(ren) so it wasn’t as much of a teacher controlled group as it was parent controlled.  We headed to Hunt Club Farm for a hayride, petting zoo and to pick out a pumpkin.  Casey came along too.

Jack told me last night that we were going to have to get up early and eat our breakfast quickly and brush our teeth quickly so we could get to the pumpkin patch on time.  We did have to leave the house a little earlier than normal but with Casey waking up well before the hour of 7 lately (another post entirely) there was no fear of being late.  In fact, she watched a show, ate her breakfast and then went upstairs to wake up Jack despite directions to the contrary.  Even though I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to oversleep, I woke up 4 or 5 times during the night to check the time so we wouldn’t be late for Jack’s big pumpkin day.

Jack wanted to wear his cowboy hat to the farm.  I was a little reluctant to let him at first, mostly because I figured I would be carrying it around instead of him.  But, since we won’t be heading to the ranch any time soon, what better place to wear his cowboy hat than to the farm.

I was looking forward to seeing Jack interact with his classmates.  He’s been talking about his friend M. since school started and I thought they would have a great time together.  However, as we were gathering at the farm, the girls in Jack’s class all got together and started talking and running around and the boys clung to their mothers.

The hayride wasn’t so great for the kids.  We put most of the kids in the middle of the wagon and then realized that they couldn’t see anything because all the adults were sitting around them on the outside.  We were all squished in there so there wasn’t any room to switch places.  They got to see the horses and the lady who talked all about pumpkins and gourds so they were happy enough.

Then we were off to the petting zoo and playground.  First they ran to the top of the haystack and had a great time jumping around in there.  Then we went to visit some chickens and goats.  Jack loved the goats. He could pet them through the fence and he thought they really liked him.  He kept showing me the best way to pet them.  They all had cute little nametags on and the ones that Jack liked best were named Jack and Jill.  Yeah, the goats had cute nametags.  Anyway.

We did a class picture and a little more haystack climbing and it was off to pick a pumpkin.  Jack kept telling me how he was going to pick the best pumpkin and he had all sorts of criteria for the ultimate pumpkin.  As soon as we got to the pumpkin corner, he said, “That’s the one!”  I thought the search was going to take much longer than a quarter of a second, but I guess fate intervened to prevent a long, drawn out pumpkin selection process.

Most of the school left after picking pumpkins.  Casey was so cute and really wanted to show her pumpkin to Jack’s teacher so she went over and showed her.  I think Casey thinks Miss H. is her teacher too.  Casey had been begging to go on the playground back near the petting zoo so we headed over there for a little longer.  Jack wanted to hang out with the goats a little longer too.

We finished our trip with me telling the kids that we weren’t buying any big pumpkins today.  10 or so times.  I also told Jack that we could not plant his pumpkin seeds today.  5 or so times.  We wandered through the big pumpkins, tried to get some pictures with them and then headed home.

It was a fun trip but I might as well have taken them by myself for all that Jack interacted with his class.  At least he sat nicely for a picture with his class!

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Casey’s Play Time

Since Jack has started school, Casey and I have spent a little more time together at home.  It’s been interesting to see what she plays with without Jack’s influence.  She definitely likes her “babies.”  Even when Jack is around, she has been playing with her babies lately.

Half the time, I’m not even sure what she is doing and what she is saying, but she is taking care of baby and is very serious about it.  She has about 5 of them, but usually picks one or two to take care of per day.  She talks to them, pushes them around in strollers, puts blankets on them, gives them baths and feeds them.  I can’t even describe the noises she makes when she is talking to them but it so cute.

Today she had a friend over here playing and she pulled out three of her chairs and set them around the coffee table.  She pulled plates out of her kitchen and set them up.  She put baby in one chair and put food on  all the plates.  Then she yelled, “It’s dinner time!” to her friend.  She had to tell him a few times that it was time for dinner and convince him to come over and eat, but he eventually did.  They had a lovely meal.  I believe one of them had a carrot and the other had some asparagus.  Very healthy eaters.  Unfortunately it ended in a huge fight about who was doing the dishes.  Well, not really.  I think they moved on to play with a garbage truck.  I sat here watching them “eat” and I should have taken a picture.

I am a little disappointed that she’s not more interested in the dress I made for one of her naked dolls.  The dolls came with bath tub accessories, but no clothes.  She loves playing with the bathrobe and slippers, but has yet to be concerned that they have no clothes on when they are done bathing.  Santa was thinking of making some more clothes, but maybe he’ll wait until she’s more interested!

A Hike and the 200th Post!

Yesterday morning I took the kids on a hike.  We went to the Northwest River Park, almost in North Carolina.  Last November I took the kids there and took pictures for the Christmas card.  I had been wanting to go back and yesterday was a beautiful morning to go.

Last year, we just did a little bit of hiking and ended up at a playground instead.  This year they wanted nothing to do with the playground.  The sign said the hike was 1.5 miles, so I decided to go for it.  I figured it would take about an hour and if the kids can play on a playground for an hour they could probably walk for an hour.

So, we hiked.  We found all the trail markers.  We found many many acorns to put in treasure bags.  We found bridges and Jack tested them out to make sure they weren’t bouncy.  He had to cross each one first and then would give me the okay to come across.  There were 4 frogs along the way.  Maybe they were toads because they were all brown and lumpy but we called them frogs.  We looked through hollowed out trees.  We found a bench and had a snack.  We listened to birds and things crunching in the forest.

Unfortunately when we got to the end of the 1.5 mile trail, we weren’t quite back where we had started.  We were on an access road to the river and had another half mile to go.  At this point, the kids were getting a little tired.  I was too.  Mostly I was getting a little tired of being patient.  Although I enjoyed pointing out all the wonderful nature around us and seeing the kids get excited about acorns and sticks and frogs, there were a lot of moments requiring patience.

Casey wanted to hold my hand the whole time.  Kind of cute, but not as easy to take a hike like that.  Then she would just stop walking and whine when we walked ahead of her.  Walking at their pace was also hard for me, especially when Jack would walk right in front of me.  Trying to explain (multiple times) how I knew where the path was when we were between markers was…trying.  Stopping for every group of acorns we saw got a little old.

Overall though, it was a great experience and the kids seemed to like it.  They really didn’t even whine much about being tired until we were almost back to the car…and I didn’t blame them at that point.  Even though we’d only been there once, Jack remembered that there were boats and a mini golf course and several other details that even I had forgotten.  For Halloween, there is a Northwest River Ghost Train that takes people on a scary ride to the river.  We got to walk past some of the scary things and check them out in the daylight.

And, we now have a nice decoration to show for our hike.  Jack collected quite a bag of acorns and wanted to come home and immediately make an acorn wreath.  I cut out a cardboard wreath for him, put some wood glue on it and he went to town putting the acorns on.  He’s pretty proud of his work.  

My Kitchen

Last year, I joined Kelly’s (of Kelly’s Korner) Show Us Your Home blog tour by posting about a few of the rooms in my house.  This fall, Kelly started the tour of homes again and I am joining in for Kitchen Week.  You can go to her blog to visit hundreds of other kitchens.

First of all, my kitchen never looks this good, but I was inspired to clean a little this morning and try to make it ready for this afternoon’s “photo shoot.”  The family room is beyond the sink and the dining room is through the doorway on the right.  This shot is from the breakfast area.  I think a backsplash could bring a nice pop of color to the kitchen but so far I haven’t made the decision to actually go through with that.  I know exactly what I want from a picture in a Crate & Barrel magazine but in my small amount of searching I haven’t found that specific combination of tile anywhere.

I don’t have a lot of decorative items in the kitchen…my countertops are decorated with a plethora of small appliances.  With the exception of my KitchenAid mixer, I use them all often enough that it’s annoying for me to pull them in and out of a cupboard.  

On the side of the fridge I have a magnetic board that I love.  You can’t see how cute it is because it’s covered with wedding invitations, save the dates and notes from Jack’s school.

To the right of the magnetic board is the door that opens from the garage.  I try to keep the car in there most of the time so that is where we enter the house.  Unfortunately, there’s no mudroom or closet when you enter from there.  We’ve had a bench in the breakfast area since we moved in and it has some drawers for storage but there hasn’t been a good place to hang jackets and coats.  I have been drooling over storage solutions from Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Ballard Designs for two years.  I just wasn’t willing to pay that much money, especially when our little bench only cost $12 and was perfectly useful.

Last month, my parents were in town for a week.  My dad likes to have little projects to work on around the house, so we decided to head to Home Depot one afternoon and put some beadboard up in the breakfast area to help make it a little more functional.  Here is the before picture:

The shelves were there when we moved in and I turned it into my Maine corner.  I really liked how they looked and I was reluctant to pull them down, but they didn’t provide any hooks.  My dad installed the beadboard and trim and I did some painting and now we have this:

I still have my Maine shelf (decorated for the season) and now I have hooks.  This has been done for about 3 weeks except for the hooks.  The Kitchen Tour and a morning at home was just what I needed to get those hung.  In the storage bench, Jack and Casey each have a drawer for their hats, mittens, shoes, etc but that basket on the floor just beside the bench has kept that area a lot less cluttered and kept me a little more sane.  I was trying to line up their most often used shoes beside the bench every day and finally I just threw a basket there one day.  Now they can come in the house and throw their shoes in there and it’s a lot easier for them (and for me).

Now I’m thinking about painting the well above the shelf and the other two walls of the breakfast room.  I have a green picked out that reminds me of Charleston/southern plantations but then I look at that shelf and see all the blue up there and wonder if they will look good together.  So that project hasn’t happened.

Here is the view from the kitchen into the breakfast area.

The picture below is the craft corner.  I originally bought these drawers at Michael’s to store my scrapbook supplies, but when I was looking for somewhere to store crayons, markers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, construction paper, scissors, etc., I was happy to give these up for a little more organization and to keep all those things in one easily accessible place.  Jack is always working on some special project or craft and pulling things out of the drawers.  You can see him in the picture above doing just that.
Here’s one last view of/from the kitchen.  I left two big piles of paper on my counter to keep it real.  I try so hard to keep the ledge above the sink clutter free but it’s a never-ending battle.  One of those piles is the pile of paper I have gotten from Jack since he started school a month ago.  I haven’t quite figured out what I’m going to do with it all yet so I just keep stacking it up.

Thanks for stopping by!

A Picnic & A Sales Pitch

It was a beautiful fall day here.  At lunchtime the kids wanted snacky food to eat so I suggested that we have a picnic outside.  I was just thinking we would sit at the table that’s already out there, but Jack insisted that I go upstairs and get a picnic blanket.  And then he decided that it was too hot out and he was going to have his picnic inside.  Casey and I ate our lunches outside on the blanket, while Jack dined with some of his stuffed animals on a floor mat just inside the door.  It was a pretty unorthodox picnic lunch…with blackberries and apples being the main course and a slice of cheese being the appetizer.  Also, the attire was a little “dressed down.”  But the scene was so entertaining.

While I was making dinner, Jack asked if he could take his toy bin outside for a “stand”.  I didn’t know what he meant by a stand except  I knew I didn’t want him standing on it.  He explained that a stand is “something where people give you money and you give them things.”  By which I deduced that he wanted it to be a lemonade stand.  Or in this case, an apple stand.  He went to the fridge and got only the best apples out of the bag, asked for a plastic cup for the money and went out to sell.  There weren’t too many potential buyers wandering around in our backyard so Casey and I both bought one from him.  When I asked him the price, he said five dollars, which I think is a little pricey for an apple.  He seemed to be content with the 5 coins that I gave him.  Casey also set up a stand and she sold an apple to Jack and to me.  Essentially they sold each other apples for dinner.  By the time Pat came home, the price of an apple was only one dollar.  I’m not sure if I looked like a sucker or he had slashed prices to get rid of his inventory.

Bits & Pieces Tuesday

Random Thoughts on a Tuesday

1.  I feel like I’m constantly saying “Stop!” to my children.  When they start arguing, I don’t know what else to say.  The argument usually involves one of them asking “What did you say?” over and over and the other one saying something that doesn’t make sense.  They just get louder and louder.  Every time I say, “Stop!” I feel like Kelly from the Real Housewives of NY when she argues with Bethenny…I say it in a whiny voice just like she does.

2.  Casey is doing okay without her gunkles.  She is sleeping fine at night but naptime is a bit of a struggle.  She only sleeps for an hour and she won’t put herself back to sleep.  The bus that comes by at 2:30 also doesn’t help her stay asleep.  It seems to wake her up every time.

3.  We tried a frozen PF Changs dinner tonight on the recommendation of Pat’s mom and it was delicious.  Easy and delicious.

4.  After 6 months of not being able to eat correctly on the left side of my mouth due to issues with fillings, re-fillings and re-fillings, I think it is finally fixed!  Thank goodness I went to see another dentist and didn’t end up having a crown or a root canal.

5.  I have a bazillion crafty projects that I want to work on between now and Christmas and it’s taking me away from my blogging a little bit.

6.  The funniest thing I saw today – Jack and Casey were playing on their tricycles out on the street corner and I guess they decided to come back up to the garage by going through the grass.  Jack gave Casey a push for about 5 seconds and then she pushed herself over to the driveway.  He then called her over to return the favor and give him a push.  The difference being that he got her to push him all the way across the grass while he basically enjoyed the ride.  At one point, she was down on her hands and knees, in her dress, trying to get more traction and pushing as hard as she could.  What a good little sister!

7.  The travelling is finally over for a bit.  We went to a wedding this weekend in Pittsburgh and had a great time with the exception of the last 3 hours in the car, in the rain with an overtired two year old in the back.  If there had been a gunkle in the car, I might have given in.  She finally dozed but when we got home she was so hysterical and tired and contrary.  I finally had to put her in the crib and leave her because nothing would make her happy.

8.  Casey has a new tactic for when she doesn’t get what she wants.  Three little words.  I want Daddy!  Jack never went through that, but as soon as I tell her no, that’s her new response.  If she’s with Daddy she’ll switch it up and say she wants Mommy.  So far it hasn’t really helped her cause.