Friday, September 30, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

No, I'm not talking about Christmas, although I LOVE Christmas! But, my favorite season by far is FALL!  I wait for it all year and at the first scent of pumpkin or a wisp of a cool breeze, I am in heaven. There is something so refreshing about it. It's like new life gets breathed into me. Maybe it's the fact that I am no longer forced to stay inside with the kids for fear that we will all melt into sugar puddles (oh yea....we're that sweet). I used to get excited that it was fair season. There is something about riding the ferris wheel snuggled up next to the one you love while there is a slight nip in the air. And, I can't deny that fair corn dogs have to be one of the unhealthiest yummiest foods. Once the kids get a little older, fair season will have to come back in full swing!

 By September 1st, I am dying to put out my fall decor, but with temps in the 90's, I force myself to at least wait until the official first day of fall despite the temps. We are still in the 80's, but the decor is up and I am in the mood. With fall comes a few musts for me: hot chai (aka fall in a cup), decorating (lots of time spent at Hobby Lobby), crafts, a spicy pumpkin scent burning in my Scentsy warmer and cooking soups and pumpkin desserts.

The other day I bought some mini pumpkins and let Dixie paint them. She had fun and got some good fine motor skill practice with the paint brush. Her pumpkins (yes, she decided that she should be the one to paint her brother's too) were looking really bright and colorful, but after 30 minutes of mixing paint, turned into a lovely shade of blah gray. She was proud of her work and even more proud when we displayed them on the porch beneath the scarecrow. Here she is working on her masterpieces

Now onto the FOOD! Since using pinterest, I think my cravings have grown even more. There are so many amazing recipes on there and when they are accompanied with a picture..oh boy! If you are not on pinterest, you need to be...GREAT inspiration! I have yet to make one from there, but it will be in the works this week. Here are a few that caught my eye (somehow they are all desserts):

Pumpkin caramel cookies

Pumpkin crunch cake

Pumpkin parfaits

Pumpkin butter (might make this for neighbors)

Pumpkin cinammon rolls

Pumpkin cream cheese

I made chicken enchilada soup this past week and chili is in order for this weekend. Next week cauliflower soup is on the menu and I must take the time to make my mother-in-law's chicken and dumplings. Soups...soups and more soups!!! Do you have any good soup recipes???

Now if only the weather would get in the fall mood too!!! Happy Fall Y'all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cut Short Camping

So the big camping day had arrived and Evan tells me, "I don't think I am going to take Dixie camping." I ask why and he tells me that he just had this feeling that she wasn't going to do well. They would get out there, set up and when it was time to go to sleep, she would freak out, screaming her head off. He would have to drive off with a screaming 2 year old in the middle of the night and people would think he was a kidnapper.

I have to admit, I have had thoughts similar to his fear before too. Like if my children start acting up in the store and I have to storm out with them, someone is going to call the cops because it looks suspicious. While, I understood his concern, I was so excited about their camping trip and insisted that he had to take her and she would be fine. My main reasoning..I had already blogged about it. I couldn't let down the people who were waiting for an update:) No really, I was pumped for them to share the experience and I truly believed she would do great.

So, he decided to go through with it (what a good Daddy). They packed up and Dixie was so excited to ride in her Daddy's truck to go camping in the tent. I texted with them several times throughout the evening getting mini updates on how she was doing. I talked to her once and with much enthusiasm she said "I'm camping!" in her little 2 year old munchkin voice.  I was so relived to hear it was going well. They went on a bike ride, played some outdoor games, saw deer, rode down to the beach, roasted hot dogs and made Smore's. He would take her fishing with her brand new fishing pole the next day and go on a nature walk.

At about 9:00 he sent me a text saying that they were in the tent watching Tinkerbell (smart man, he brought a movie to settle her down). I thought it was funny when he said that he could hear the chants and cheers of everyone in the campsite around them watching the LSU game and here he was watching Tinkerbell's Great Adventure. Like I said, he's a great dad. He told me she was wide awake and he was about to crash any second. I assured him that she would fall asleep soon.

I enjoyed my night of peace, since Knox goes down fairly early at night. I was just hitting a deep sleep when at 10:30 my cell phone rings with Evan's ringtone. I jumped up so fast knowing that something wasn't right for him to be calling me so late. He proceeds to tell me that he is on his way home with Dixie Jean. Once the movie was over, she insisted that they go out of the tent and go "inside." I think that she assumed that they could just come into the house and see mommy and bubba at any point. Evan tried to explain to her that there was no inside and they were sleeping in the tent. Well, she LOST IT! Here it is 10:15 at night, everyone is curled up in their sleeping bags listening to the sound of crickets and a peaceful night and suddenly they are jolted by the screams and cries of my 2 year old. What can I say....EVAN WAS RIGHT!

So, at 11:30 Evan comes in the door with a little girl wanting her mommy, but doesn't want to go to bed. Evan has to head back to the campsite because he left in such a rush as not to make the other campers more frustrated than they probably already were. He had to camp there that night alone and pack up in the morning. In the mean time, Dixie did not get to bed until midnight and once her Daddy left to head back, she cried for him. It was a frustrating night for all of us! I know that Evan was bummed. He didn't even get to take her fishing.

So, it looks like we will be waiting a while before trying camping in a tent again. I was proud of Evan for attempting and they did have fun the evening that they were there. Here are a few pictures from their time and a video clip (I realize this video will not be interesting to most of you..I am putting it up for family).

 She actually did lay in the sleeping bag for a minute.

 Watching Tinkerbell

And here is the video clip:

The next day we did go back to the park as a family and had a picnic and took a bike ride.

They look thrilled huh???


Friday, September 23, 2011

A Weekend Surprise for Dixie

Evan has been dying to take Dixie on her first Daddy/Daughter camping trip. Weather pending, they will hit up a local state park tomorrow afternoon and camp overnight. I have to say, I am a little jealous! I LOVE camping (especially in a tent). But, I am super excited for them to share this fun experience together and hear all about it when they get home. Plus, this belly does not allow for comfortable sleep in a bed much less a tent on the ground.

Side Note: I am so thankful that I married a man who LOVES being a Dad. He adores his children and makes sure to be very involved with them. Dixie has him wrapped around her little finger, and he knows it. When you ask her who's girl she is, she always says "Daddy's girl," no matter how much I try to trick her to say "Mommy's girl." The father daughter relationship is such an important one and one that can affect a girl/woman years down the road. I know that Dixie is going to grow up knowing what a husband and father should look like because of the amazing example that her Daddy is setting. He takes her on Daddy/Daughter dates, tells her she's beautiful and MAKES time for her even when he's exhausted. She's only 2, but I really look forward to seeing how their relationship grows over the years.


As preparation, Evan set out the tent in our backyard a few weekends ago so that Dixie would be familiar with it. She LOVED it, mainly just going in and out and peeking through the mesh windows. Ever since then, she has talked about going camping with Daddy. I can't wait to tell her tomorrow and help her pack her sleeping bag. I'm praying that she sleeps well, continues to use the potty (oh yes Daddy, you will have the Mac Daddy tent,  complete with a Princess Potty) and enjoys her one on one time with him.

So what's on the agenda: smore's (ok, now I'm really jealous), nature walk, the playground, a Daddy concert (complete with guitar and singing duet with Dixie), maybe a bike ride, and sleeping in a tent of course.  I am hoping he will take lots of pictures that I can share on here when they return. In the mean time, here are a couple from the backyard tent trial.

and speaking of being a great dad, I am looking forward to seeing this movie, which is coming out soon:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Much Needed Weekend Away

I got stuck in a mom rut. For all of you moms out there, do you know what I am talking about? When you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends and getting no time for yourself (you're lucky if you get a shower in?) Throw that on top of pregnancy hormones and you get a meltdown (my first one with this pregnancy, might I add). I was feeling overwhelmed and really just needed a break. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade my job of being a stay at home mom for anything. I adore my babies and am so thankful that God has provided a way through my hard working husband to allow me to do that. However, if I get to use the bathroom without the pitter patter of little feet following me to ask me what I am doing, I let out a sigh of relief! Oh, and throw potty training on top of all that (which we have been doing for 4 weeks now...ugh!). I am convinced that potty training is the DEVIL! But we are slowly working our way through it. Needless to say, I was feeling like this:

Wow, that just sounded like a rant of complaints. I just had to let you know why I was feeling so completely overwhelmed. So, one full day and night, I cried and I cried, just releasing some emotion. I am not a hormonal and emotional pregnant woman, but the flood gates opened. My wonderful husband listened and sympathized (or acted like he, he actually does listen) as I spilled my heart out and confessed that I needed a little break.

Let me just say that I have the most amazing husband in the world. He is extremely hands on with the kids. As soon as he walks in the door he jumps in full swing to help with whatever I need (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc) and plays with his babies. He doesn't stop until we go to bed. I know what you're thinking, "So why are you whining?" I am beyond blessed, but I needed to get out of the house and step away from  non-stop mommy mode for a little bit.

Once again, my awesome husband came to my rescue and said, "Tell me what you want to do and where you want to go, and we'll make it happen." (yes ladies, be jealous). It had to be something reasonable and I didn't want to be far away from my kids. After much thought, I decided that a weekend trip to New Orleans with my mom would do the trick. It was just what I needed!

We stayed at the Drury Inn on Poydras (every hotel was booked since it was the Saint's first home game). It wasn't my first choice of hotel, but I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived. Big clean room and GREAT pillows on the bed. Oh my own bed!!! The thought was enough to put a smile on my face. I am getting to the uncomfortable stage of pregnancy, so I flip and turn all night. Plus, the free breakfast and 5:30 kickback (complete with nacho bar) didn't hurt. Evan claims we will be staying at this hotel from now on since there are free nachos:) I won't argue.

Friday night we ate at Domenica which is located in the Roosevelt hotel. It's a John Besh restaurant and they have really interesting and yummy Italian food.

Mom got the lasagna Bolognese which was amazing!

I opted for a pizza with speck, pears, pecans and Gorgonzola cheese..yummy!

This dessert was to die for...Banna Zuppa Inglese in the cutest little mason jar. Banana cake, butterscoth, cream, and peanut brittle.

Saturday we hit up the free breakfast bar and jumped on the street car to head to Magazine street for a day of shopping. I am ASHAMED to admit that I have lived near New Orleans my entire life and have never ridden the street car or shopped on Magazine street. Neither had my mom, so we really enjoyed it! It was lots of walking and this baby bump made it a little more difficult, but with as much food as we were eating this weekend, I needed every bit of walking I could get. We had a nice lunch at Cafe Rani and topped it off with some delicious gelato from Sucre (you have got to check that place out). It was a beautiful day and I was glad to spend some time with my mom just soaking in the sun and shopping (or window shopping).

These next pictures were at a fun vintage consignment store called The Funky Monkey

My mom actually considered buying this get up..hehe..just kidding!

Had to represent for my baby girl! Dixie is actually a Louisiana beer, but we just covered that up:)

That night we went to dinner at The Crescent City Brew House and listened to some great live music. I had the most amazing steak, cooked to perfection (my mouth is still watering over it). We finished the night out at the Canal Place theatre watching The Help. I finished reading the book about a month ago and have been dying to see it. I cried of course, and by 1:00 a.m. this momma was whooped ( I just can't hang anymore). We drug ourselves back to the hotel and crashed.

Canal Place theatre is actually a dinner theatre, but since we had already eaten, we just got soft drinks and expensive popcorn...good grief, I spent $25 on snacks at the theater. It was insane!

Sunday we ended our trip with Brunch at Palace Cafe and headed home. By this point I was so tired from eating and walking all weekend that I was ready to get back. I missed my babies and my husband (the 5 text messages and calls a day wasn't sufficient). I got home exhausted, but also refreshed. It is so nice to be able to take a little time away every once in a blue moon. I think it's good for us moms to recharge and I am thankful for a husband who recognizes the importance of it too:) Thanks babe for treating us to a great weekend!

Are you noticing a food theme here..when you go to New Orleans, you EAT a lot!!!! I came back 5 pounds heavier, but I will just pretend that the baby decided to grow that much.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Move over Lance comes Knox Armstrong!

Last week right after Tropical Storm Lee, we had the most fabulous weather. I actually thought Fall might be on it's way, but to my dismay, we are back to 90 something degree days:( While the weather was nice, Evan took Knox for his first bike ride in the big kid seat. Technically, he is still too young, but he held his own and had a blast looking at everything. My little guy was all smiles when Daddy put him the seat (isn't he the cutest munchkin ever!) We are definitely looking forward to some family bike rides when Mother Nature decides to be kind.