Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Contest

Happy Halloween!

Ben has a pumpkin contest at school today!  The students were asked to decorate a pumpkin; however, no carving was allowed.  So here's what we did for Ben's pumpkin.  We used felt, scissors and a glue gun.

We started our project Sunday morning after breakfast...
notice they are still in their PJs :)
I used a small glue gun so that Ben can actually help with his project
Here it is!  Mr. Owl

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snow in October?!

Either the calendar seems wrong or the forecast, but it's really snowing in October! Ben's soccer game was canceled and he's now playing in the snow... I never thought I said this in October!

How are you enjoying the snow today?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Recipe Idea

The kids are so excited about Halloween! To add a little fun before trick or treating, last night we made Crescent Mummy Dogs. These were so easy and fun to make.

Emma is wearing her "Princess Pirate" costume
Not bad!

Crescent Mummy Dogs


1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
2 1/2 slices American cheese, quartered (2.5 oz)
10 large hot dogs
Cooking spray
Mustard or ketchup, if desired

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut into 4 rectangles.
  3. With knife or kitchen scissors, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough. Slice cheese slices into quarters (1/2 slice cheese, cut in half).
  4. Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like "bandages," stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate "bandages" so hot dog shows through for "face." On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down); spray dough lightly with cooking spray.
  5. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard, draw features on "face."
These are also perfect to take to a Halloween party!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Simple Solutions ~ Bow Organizer

If you have a little girl, chances are she has a lot of bows and hair accessories!  As you can imagine, my little one has lots of hair clippies/bows and this is how I keep them organized.  I made her a monogrammed bow holder!  You can put it in a closet, on a hanger, as a wall decoration, or just about anywhere.

This is one of her bow holders
At Patty's Collection, you can design your own!

How do you keep you child's hair accessories organized?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Walk with Nature

Saturday it was a perfect day to go hiking.  We found this place a couple years ago while driving off Jarrestville Pike.  Ben was three the last time we were there and even though he couldn't remember the trail, he did remember the small stream. We took the 1.5 mile trail and enjoyed our walk with nature.
They found their sticks, took a break, and spotted a caterpillar
Got a little help from daddy and stayed on the trail
At the end of our walk, Emma did need a little help from daddy

The temperature was perfect. Definitely feeling a bit cooler and there was not a cloud in the sky. The kids loved it so much, we will be coming back soon.

Hope your weekend was adventurous!

Monday, October 24, 2011

National Chili Month

Chili is one of our favorite meals for fall and winter. While looking for a new chili recipe I learned that October is National Chili Month, did you know that?  I would normally make it for football Sunday dinner, but the Ravens are playing on Monday, so guess what's for dinner tonight!

I found this recipe on Everyday With Rachel Ray magazine a couple years ago.  I tried it and it became another recipe for my magazine recipe binder.

Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
One 15-ounce can black beans
One 15-ounce can pinto beans
One 10-ounce can tomatoes with green chilies
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
12 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
One bag (about 10 ounces) corn chips, such as Fritos


In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for 7 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook over mediumlow heat for 5 minutes. Add the beans, with their liquid, and the tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the cilantro, then top with the cheese, cover and let stand until the cheese melts, 5 to 10 minutes. Place a handful of corn chips in each of 4 bowls. Top with the chili and serve.

Do you have a special chili recipe?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Memorable Moments

This picture was taken a couple years ago.  
Can't wait for Emma to join in the fun this year!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beautiful Sunrise

I woke up this morning only to see this out of my window!  It's going to be another gorgeous weekend! Emma is waking up so we're getting our hiking shoes ready.

Another Sunrise, Another New Beginning
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. 
- Abraham Lincoln

Have a great one!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Simple Solutions ~ USB Outlet

Happy Friday everyone!

One of my favorite sections on Real Simple magazine is the "Problem Solver of the Month."  One of the things that I am getting this month is a new USB outlet cover. I read that it's easier to install and it's made in the U.S.A.  You can get it at FastMac.

Why didn't I think of this :)

It's supposed to be a gorgeous weekend in Maryland!  Have a great one!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Today is October 20th which means there are exactly 65 days until Christmas! We have started the countdown at Patty's Collection. What's on your kids Santa’s “Nice List” this year?

At Patty's Collection, we have some new designs on our list:

Have you started looking for the perfect Holiday outfits yet?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It Never Fails...

I guess like a lot of other people, I am usually thinking by early afternoon, "what's for dinner tonight?"

My kids are so great about eating everything; however, if they love it one day, sometimes they won't eat it the next. They love fresh meals and variety. One dish that I can make every week is Giada DeLaurentiis' Farfalle with Turkey Sausage, Peas and Mushrooms! It's so easy to make and everyone loves it.


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground turkey sausage, removed from casing
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted slightly
1 pound dried farfalle pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese - I use Parmigiano-Reggiano


In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil.

In a large saute pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Add turkey and saute breaking any large lumps until golden brown. Remove meat from pan and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan and heat. Add chopped mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and saute for 4 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

When the pot of water has come to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain in acolander. Return pasta to the pot and add the meat mixture. Combine thoroughly and gently cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Drizzle in remaining olive oil. If the mixture is dry, do not hesitate to use more olive oil if necessary. Check the seasoning. Turn off the heat and add the grated cheese. Stir well and serve in large bowl.

I own some of Giada's books. Two of my favorite:

This recipe was on our menu last night!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Colors

The leaves are very slowly changing colors here and today was one of the first days it really seemed noticeable.
Beautiful day... not a cloud in the sky
With days like this... we surely enjoy a walk in 
our neighborhood
Our neighbor's tree... how pretty is that?
This is what my kids call a tree tunnel

We're off to another soccer game.  Happy Saturday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I ♥ Soup

On days like this, I love having a warm bowl of soup.  So, what's on the menu for tonight? I am making my favorite soup from Epicurious. Quick, simple and delicious.

Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup

Stay warm and dry today!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Laundry Day is Everyday

Laundry day is more like laundry week! Where does all this laundry come from? It used to be three times a week now it seems to be everyday.  What works best for me is to do laundry every other day. Even so, I realized it will never go away!

When it comes to folding clothes, Emma is my little helper.  She helps me most of the time; however, the other day, as soon as I went to the kitchen to make coffee, I heard "Mommy, I am helping with laundry." Of course, she did by throwing it all over the floor!
Caught in the act
I took a deep breath and laughed, what else could I do... but start all over again!

I wish I could wave a magic wand and poof make all the laundry disappear! Do you have a routine that works for you?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Candy Corn Pumpkin

We picked our pumpkins and we looked for decorating ideas.  We (I) didn't feel like carving this year, so I found this idea online and it was so easy to make.

These are the things that you'll need a little bit of patience :)
1. One nice size pumpkin, candy corn, and glue gun
2. Draw the eyes and mouth
3. I am keeping this pumpkin inside so I didn't carve it, I just peeled one layer
4. Glued the candy corn around the eyes first
then proceeded to glue the entire pumpkin
5. Ta-Da! my kids think it looks scary!  Now this is my kitchen's center piece

Did you know that on average 9 billion kernels (weighing 35 million pounds) are produced each year? We certainly used quite a few on this pumpkin!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Picking Fun

Halloween is almost here! Yesterday, we went to a local farm to pick our pumpkins.  It was lots of fun and a beautiful day.

Running on the hay maze
No Ravens game today, but he's wearing his purple
My sweet niece.  Love those pigtails
Best buddies
Emma found her perfect pumpkin
The tooth fairy visited us twice last week :)
Leading the way

 Have you picked your pumpkin yet?

Quote for the Day ~ 10.10.11

In light of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Autumn Bliss

The nights are getting cooler, and the days are getting shorter as we move into my favorite time of year.  My fall decorating started...

From a tall vase to a small one... 
I trimmed the stems and I have another week of fresh flowers
I bought these hurricanes glasses at Michael's and filled them up with dry leaves 
Love tall branches

I am not a decorator, but these are just another activities that the kids and I have fun doing together! 

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