Friday, September 30, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday ~ A look back at Apple Picking

I was in the mood to look back. This was taken in September 2008, Abigail was just 16 months old. She was a late bloomer and was just getting the hang of walking. Don't you just love looking at pictures of your babies? You know I just want to be back there for a minute having her walk to me and catching her up in my arms. I'm not sure how much pickin she did that day; I'm sure she left it up to her 5 year old big sister who could fill all of the baskets in just minutes!

abi apple picking

the long road

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesdays

Our school district gets out an hour and twenty minutes early every Wednesday so that the teachers can have professional development.  When I was a teacher I loved Wednesdays.  A little bit of a shorter day with my class and some time to learn more with my colleagues. 

Now I love Wednesdays even more.  Wednesdays are one of the few days that the girls don't have any special activities.  I didn't do that on purpose but an so happy with how our schedule turned out this year.  I've decided to keep Wednesdays all to ourselves.  Shh... don't tell anyone.  No play dates, no activities, nothing.  Abigail and I pick up Anna at 2:00 and the rest of the afternoon til dinner (which I cook at 9:30am so that I don't have to later) is all ours.  It's glorious!

Today we went to a little farm close to our house.  Abigail's preschool is close by so we see it each time she goes.  Today she noticed it and wanted to go with Anna after school.  It was the perfect mini field trip for our short Wednesday. 

barn

girls at fence

I wonder how many times I've stood by this fence, walked through their barn.  A hundred maybe?  Long before Anna could even walk we were there.   

anna on arms

While the magic still exists for the girls at the farm they love now even more to "explore" the little gardens.  Today we found a ton of butterflies.  So cool! 

butterfly 1

And I couldn't stop taking pictures of them!
butterfly 2

butterfly3

butterfly 4

This one below is my favorite!  Anna thinks it's her long lost butterfly from when she was just five.  "Baby"
butterfly 5

on bench anna looking

All I can say once again is that I'm so grateful to be able to be with my girls...
Abigail on bench

And just so I remember years from now... Abigail with her sneakers on (allergic to grass) on the wrong feet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

This recipe is from Gooseberry Patch, Celebrate Autumn

muffins 3

1 1/2 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 C shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c milk
1 c. Granny Smith apples, diced

Topping:
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. walnuts (we left these out)
1/2 t cinnamon

Mix these ingredients together to make topping.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in mixing bowl. but in shortening until fine crumbs form. Combine milk and egg. Add to dry ingredients along with apples. Stir just to moisten. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Sprinkle with brown sugar topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 12

muffins 1

muffins 2

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend

fall dec 2

It was a....

tennis lesson friday,
homemade pizza and game night,
anna art lesson saturday morning,
retirement party attending,
apple crisp making,
religious ed teaching,
warmer than usual,
no picture taking,
having to clean for 3 hours on Monday to undo the weekend,
weekend.

And it was a good one because it was with my little family!

fall dec 1

Friday, September 23, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday ~ Blue Eyes

I know this has been on the blog before but I thought it was perfect for my Favorite Photo Friday. It was Abigail's first day of preschool and I love her eyes in this one. They came out so sharp without needing any retouching. I've learned more than I can imagine from Lisa, and am still so thrilled that I found her blog.   She is a gifted photography and Editing teacher.  She is patient, detailed, organized, and supportive (long after the class ends)  I admire her dedication to her beautiful family and to those babies still in need of loving homes.  Thanks Lisa

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the long road

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One More Thing

Just a tip I forgot to add:

I measure out the dry ingredients (1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt) the night before and then just add the 3 eggs, 2 T butter, 1/2 milk 1/4 t vanilla in the morning.  And whisk.  It's in the oven  in no time!  The hard part is remembering to turn on the oven to preheat early enough to give them 20-25 minutes to cook. 
Also, I do remove them from the ramekin cups to serve since the cups are so hot.  And I cut them up into bites and add syrup.  Yum!

Breakfast: Pancake Puffs

This is a quick to make, easy to impress, yummy to eat, protein packed breakfast. 

pancake puff

We call it a Pancake puff but it's really an egg breakfast with very little flour in it and 3 eggs. 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425
2.  Get out 3 ramekin cups (those little cups that can go in the oven, I got mine at Marshalls years ago)
3.  Spray them with whatever pan spray you use.
4.   Spray them.
5.  Did I say spray them?  Seriously, if you don't they're too hard to get out.
6.  Melt 2 T butter or margarine in micro
7.  Whisk together melted butter, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.  Whisk til light and fluffy.
8.  Pour into cups.
9.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Marry Me

This Saturday, September 17th was a little anniversary for Scott and I.  We don't celebrate it but I always remember the day he asked me to marry him.  It was September 17, 1994.  Seventeen years ago. 

We went for a hike, something we loved doing.  And at the top of an overlook I looked over at him and he was on one knee with a ring (that I still adore) in his hand. 

I'll spare you the boring details of that day but I just wanted to remember it here. 

We recently visited the park.  And although we didn't hike to the top it was beautiful to sit together and look up.  So much has changed for us in those seventeen years.  My life is so much more wonderful than I could have imagined back that day.  One thing I know for sure is that my "yes" seventeen years ago was the greatest decision I could ever make. 

I didn't know this song, "Marry Me" back then of course  (Michael W Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman were our favorites, and still are)  but I sure do love this song.

meriden

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dear Anna

Dear Anna,

I just got home from "Curriculum Night".  And boy, oh boy did it give me some perspective on your day.  I feel like I should have known how I'm feeling right now, I was a third grade teacher for three years as well as a first and second.  But somehow in the past 7 years home I forgot.

I got so busy being your mom that I forgot the high expectations that those teachers have for you.  I'm not complaining; I know they're right.  And, by the way, I'm happy that they push you all so hard.  You go to an awesome school with the best teachers.  I had just forgotten to think about YOUR DAY and what YOUR DAY must feel like sometimes. 

Like when you have to write a story for an hour and try to have all of those "juicy words" and parts that your teachers want. Okay, well maybe you're thinking, "I like to write stories."  But sometimes, there must be some times, that you don't feel like sitting and quietly working.  But you do.

Or how about learning all of those math facts, hard stuff those multiplication ones!  And how about solving all of those open ended math word problems and having to write about how you got your answer.

And then there's the reading.  I know you LOVE to read, LOVE to.  But the stories that you have to read and the nonfiction pieces.  Having to write and write and write about them, that's GOT to be hard to do day after day.  Right?

Please know Anna that I'm grateful for the hard work that school is.  I want you to grow and be ALL that you can be.  And writing all of those prompts not only makes you a better writer but gives you confidence.  And that is just as important. 

It's hard work being a third grader and I plan on recognizing it more.  You amaze me, really.  You come out of that school each and every day with a smile on your face.  You're happy and eager to start homework, play with your sister, and enjoy the rest of your day.  Boy, I was thinking tonight, if I had to do what you just did in school, I'd be doggone tired! 

Good for you for working so hard and learning so much.  Good for you for trying new things and stretching your mind.  Good for you for doing it day in and day out.  I plan on doing less thinking about my tasks that need to be done, my lists, and thinking about the nuts and bolts of your day.  I plan on doing a whole lot less complaining about the messes that I clean up around here and thinking about how hard you work each day.  I plan on making a conscious effort to make your transition back into home a softer one.  Not just with the cookies and milk but with the tone of my voice and the extra hugs. 

I'm so proud of you and all that you do each and every day.  Keep it up third grader, keep it up! 

Love, mommy

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookeis

After preschool today Abigail and I made Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The recipe is from Deceptively Delicious.  Such a great cookbook for getting in extra veggies without your kids knowing. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup trans fat free soft tub margarine spread
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray

2.  In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and margarine with a wooden spoon or on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in the egg whites and vanilla, then the chickpeas and chocolate chips.  Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed until a thick dough forms.

3.  Drop the dough by tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.  Press gently with a fork to flatten.  Bake until the cookies are golden brown and just set, 11 to 13 minutes; do not over bake.  Transfer to a rack to cool. 

4.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

abi cookies
check out her bugbite under her eye... yikes!
These cookies have a cake-like feeling. They are soooo good and much better than regular chocolate chip cookies. Try them!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dancing with Daddy, Summer Kitchen, and Colds

I caught some sweet moments of Abigail dancing with Daddy the other day. These might be my new favorite pictures.  The light was harsh and I didn't want to miss the moment by putting down shades so I just soaked it in and shot away.  The song was 'Cinderella' by Steven Curtis Chapman.  (our all time favorite singer)

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ohh, that look on Abigail's face, love it! 

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love her little hand in daddy's here and her hair.
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big, stong, arms, twirling her around

I'm packing away my 'summer kitchen' and bringing out all of the fall.  I might say this at the beginning of every season but fall is my favorite.  All of the cookbooks have heavy, harvest recipes.  The colors I fill my house with make me feel warm and cozy.  I look forward to jean and sweaters, really I do.  Here are just a few pictures of my summer kitchen that I packed away today. 

kitchen 1

kitchen 2

kitchen 3

kitchen 4

kitchen 5

kitchen 6

kitchen 7

Colds are running through our family.  It started  with Anna this weekend.

anna sick 1

anna sick 2

And now Abigail has it... so she's back to napping. 

I'm getting into the swing of September around here.  This is the week that all of Anna's after school programs are up and running, and Abigail's Kindermusik class started as well.  Routine is good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Field Trip

A fun, family day at the zoo last weekend.

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It's just so nice to be outside still. I plan on getting out and about each weekend as much as we can before it gets cold.
I love my family and being together!

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