Is It Still a Pumpkin Patch If The Pumpkins Are All On Pallets?

So, I started this post eleven days ago. ELEVEN. I gave up on it once because the pictures wouldn’t upload properly. I guess that in the craziness of last week, I never got back to it.
I took the girls to a pumpkin patch back before Halloween to take our annual pumpkin patch pictures. There is a lovely little pumpkin patch (or do you call it a stand?) in town which I love to visit. It is at a church and they use the money raised for mission work. What’s not to love, right? They have beautiful pumpkins, squash and gourds. It’s right on our way to church, so we stopped by to take a few shots.
Poor girls! The lighting was terrible, so they had to squint into the sun. I still couldn’t get a very good shot.
I love the texture of the knobby pumpkins.
Hello?
If I have taken one picture of Pitter Patter NOT looking at the camera, I have taken 10,000. The little stinkbug will not look at my camera on demand. In fact, she doesn’t do many things in life on demand. We’re (ahem) working on that. 🙂
I’m glad I found this post before it was too late to post it. Darcy is once again hosting Sweet Shot Tuesday on Life with My Three Boybarians, so I’m linking up. If you’re visiting from there, please leave a comment to let me know. I’ll be sure to visit your blog as well.
Sweet Shot Day
Happy Tuesday to y’all!

Where Did I Leave Off?

Sorry to have left you hanging out there in Blogland! I didn’t intend to take a blogging hiatus, but I have been away from my computer enjoying the cu-ray-zee fall schedule my cowgirls and I have.
It seems that this year our Halloween festivities lasted all week, and it was a really fun week. The littles were cowgirls this year, which actually turned out to be an easy costume. Yea for Mom! I am usually the one running all over town the week of Halloween paying an ungodly fortune for costume pieces that we really don’t like and will never ever wear again. Or, even worse, staying up all night sewing together some kind of foolishness that is going to start falling apart the moment we head out the door trick-or-treating, only to have my children cry the whole time that their costume is coming apart. So this year, they had the denim skirts and cowboy boots (although MA’s were too small to wear for very long). I found the vests at Target for $20, which I was happy to pay because they will wear them all winter. Add a cowboy hat from the Dollar Tree and kerchiefs from our dress-up stash, and we were on our way to trick-or-treat!
Our Halloween week started on Wednesday with a trip to an assisted living facility in town to do our music class with the residents and trick-or-treat with them. It’s really fun to take about 35 preschoolers dressed up as cheerleaders and bunnies and Buzz Light Year and lambs to visit with a bunch of sweet senior citizens who don’t get to see children very often. They were good to our kiddos. They clapped along and oohed and aahed over them,  and I hope we were able to entertain them for a little while.
The last few years we have spent Halloween night with Jonathan’s sister and her family, and it has become one o our favorite traditions. They have a fabulous neighborhood block-party sort of event in which they block off a street and most houses on that street go ALL OUT for Halloween. They decorate their houses, don fabulous costumes and have hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people trick-or-treating. People are EVERYWHERE and it is just a good, fun kind of chaos. You can see all kinds of costumes. Some are funny, some are scary, some are just really, really creepy. For some, I have to distract my kiddos from seeing them so that they don’t have nightmares for weeks. But it’s all good fun and the girls get to hang out with their cousins for a little while. That cute little pirate you se is my nephew Tucker.
For the first time, I’m participating in the Trendy Treehouse’s Shutter Love Tuesday. Look around at some other great photos on the participating sites. If you are visiting from the Trendy Treehouse, welcome! Please feel free to look around and leave a comment to let me know you’ve been here. I’ll do my best to return the favor. Thanks for stopping by!

Allow Me To Introduce Myself…

My name is Ashley and I write this blog. I haven’t been around to write in a while for one reason or another. Life and life abundant has kept me away from my computer lately, mostly hauling kiddos to their various activities and such. I’ll be back soon to update you on all our outragelously exciting happenings. 🙂

Autumn Cooking: A Few Links

Although the weather is not really what you would call “fall-ish” in our town, we are in the mood for some cooler weather. We keep thinking that if we wear our fall clothes and cook fall foods that the weather will cooperate. So far, we’re just melting and eating a lot of heavy food!

But this weekend, I am determined to do a little autumn cooking, cool weather or no.

Here’s what I’m gonna make:

Chipotle Pumpkin Barley Soup with Chicken from Edie at www.LifeInGraceBlog.com. Doesn’t that look DIVINE?!? Can’t wait to try it!

This San Francisco Sourdough Bread recipe that I got from www.Allrecipes.com. We’re going to top it with this Pumpkin Apple Butter that came from the same site. I’m hoping the apple butter will be good enough to can a few jars.

I’m not sure we will need a dessert after eating the pumpkin apple butter, but why not go all out? Look at this Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce from http://www.marthastewart.com/. Oh, my! Can you go into some kind of sugar coma from eating a meal like this? Because I think  might.

I can’t wait to try these fabulous looking recipes. If the weather doesn’t cooperate any better than it has been, we might be sitting around in our swimsuits eating it all.

Please, call before you drop by.

Y’all have a good Tuesday!

Thrift Store Find

I am in the market for a new desk or table to put in our schoolroom, so I headed out Saturday for the thrift store. While I didn’t have any luck on the table, I did find this beauty…
I know she might not look like much right now, but pretty soon she will have a makeover and find a new home in our playroom. I look forward to sitting in her and reading a good book.

Is It Friday Already?

Now there’s a question you don’t hear very often! Maybe “Is it Monday already?” or “Isn’t it Friday yet?” is more common, but I have to say that this week has flown by for us. We have school-ed and ballet-ed and gymnastic-ed and soccer-ed and church-ed so much this week that Friday sort of took us by surprise. Not that we are complaining, mind you.

A couple of things…

I took the girls to the McWane Center (our children’s science museum) this morning. We ran into some of Mary Anneliese’s friends that were in her ballet class last year. They don’t take ballet this year, and we have missed having them in class so much. It was a great treat to get to spend the morning with Zoe and Lexi.

We ran by the nursing home to see my little grandmother this morning. She is 88 years old and because of a major stroke a few months ago, she is not able to live at home or with her children any longer. It was a heartbreaking decision for my parents and my dad’s family to put her in a nursing home, but they were just unable to care for her at home. That being said, I was so pleased when I saw her today! She looked and felt great. Her physical therapists are on the ball with her. They felt like she was not responding to therapy very well because she was over-medicated. They worked with her doctor to pull back on some of her meds, and she is so much better. She was able to feed herself her entire breakfast this morning, which she hasn’t done in many months. She is not able to talk, but she was still able to comminucate today. It’s amazing how she doesn’t have to use words to get her message across. Such an improvement for her! We hate that she is not able to live at home, but are so incredible grateful hat she does have a nursing and therapy staff who love her and look out for her best interest. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have a facility available where we trust the people taking care of her!

My big girl and her Daddy have a date tonight to a Samford University girls soccer game. They love to go see the big girls play and then strategize how they can work some of those moves into her game. So funny!

Friday night is eating-out night at our house.  We’d rather try a new place than eat somewhere we’ve been a thousand times. Any suggestions on where to go tonight?

Happy weekend to you and yours!

Jesus Calling Winner

According to the random number generator at http://www.random.org/, the winner of the Jesus Calling devotional book for children is #2 Cynthia Moss! Congrats! I’ll get your book to you at church.

Thanks for playing, everyone!

Pitter Patter’s Fall Trees

We do lots of preschool art projects around our house. While Big Sister does her school work, little Pitter Patter gets to do school work of her own. Today, since the fall weather has been oh so fabulous, we had a little discussion about fall. We talked about cool weather, leaves changing colors, pumpkins, Halloween and Thanksgiving. We thanked God for the cooler weather and how creative He is to think about seasons. And then we did a little art project. It was easy peasy, required absolutely no preparation, and it is something you could easily modify to use whatever supplies you have on hand.  We used construction paper, scissors, glue, and tissue paper.

We started by tracing Pitter Patter’s hand and arm onto brown construction paper to use as the trunk of our tree.

Next we tore squares of fall-ish colored tissue paper and crumpled them a bit.

Then we glued them onto our tree trunk.
Ta-da!! She’s so proud of her creation. And apparently our next lesson needs to be about how leaves grow, in fact, on the limbs of trees and not on the trunk.  That’s another lesson for another day.

I realize that this art project required absolutely no creativity. Any monkey could come up with something so simple. That’s not the point… or maybe it is. The thing is, kids just love for their parents to be involved with them. They want your full attention. They crave time with you when you are not distracted by cleaning or cooking or talking to someone else. They want YOU. If our children do not get the attention they need from us, they will look for it elsewhere. And “elsewhere” can provide a dangerous brand of attention. This simple are project is really less about the finished product and more about the fun we had creating it together. Come on, get involved with your children. You will both love it!

Coming Full Circle (Or At Least Half-Circle. Or Something.)

Last weekend was a treat! I got to spend it with ten of my best high school girlfriends! I have been through two high school reunions in Dothan, Alabama, with these girls and we left each one saying, “We have GOT to get together. I can’t believe we haven’t gotten together in all these years!” You know, the usual chatter that almost never comes to pass. But Bloggies, we did it! We actually put a date on the calendar a year in advance and stuck to it. I am so impressed that we actually pulled it off! Go us!
Anyhoo, the trip was fabulous. We stayed at our friend’s beach house where we used to hang out growing up. It was nostalgic and loaded with memories. We caught up with where we are in life now and told all about our families. We made our way over to a FABULOUS restaurant in Alys Beach called Calize. Of course, the food was to die for, but the company was even better. It was incredible to hear about these ladies’ journeys over the last twenty years. Some of it was incredibly good, and some was heartbreaking, but they have all grown into the most amazing women! I am so privileged to have them as my friends and confidants and counselors and fun-makers and story-tellers and girls that I get to do life with! I sooo wish I get to see them all more often, but I will take what I can get.
After a nice, casual, beautiful, delicious dinner, we headed back to the beach house where we shared more of our life stories. Eventually the long trip caught up with us, and we all were ready for bed a about 10:30. We are old and it is sad. What can I say?
But we made up for it on Saturday as we all sat around on the beach telling old stories and laughing. The weather was beautiful, but it wouldn’t have mattered if it wasn’t. The water was gorgeous, but no one was paying attention. Normal people would have faced their chairs toward the ocean and the sun. We sat under umbrellas in a circle so we could see each other. And hear the stories. And laugh.

Of course, a trip like this is never long enough. Before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye and head back to reality (not that reality is all that bad; we just would have liked to stay longer.) I am so thankful to these ladies who made the sacrifice to be there. They each brought their own flavor and layer to the incredible group.
It was interesting to see how much we still have in common after twenty years. Our lives may seem different on the surface,but our core values and priorities are still the same. We are all trying to raise our children and build our marriages in the same way. Though we don’t see each other as often as we would like, we are still so inter-woven. I wouldn’t trade these girls for anything in the world!
Today I am linking up with
 Sweet Shot Day
and
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

The History Princess

Doesn’t every student wear a tiara to take a history test?