Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pumpkin Picking, Goat Feeding

Every year we go to the same place to pick out our pumpkins.  I'm not even sure the place has a name, we just call it the little farmer's market up the street.  They sell produce, homemade jams and salsa's, pumpkins, gourds and even hay bails.  To top it off..they have goats, a baby calf and some pigs.  And if you pay 50 cents, you can feed the goats...pretty much the most exciting thing in Lilli's life.

Our girls have been begging to go pick out their pumpkins and feed the goat since the calendar turned October and this past weekend was finally the time.

I'll admit the selection was a bit lame this year, but the girls found some good ones.  A nice combination of tall and thin and short and fat...perfect for carving and displaying on the front steps.

Then it was time to feed the goats.  Lilli likes to savor the moment and feed the goats one oat at a time and Alexa will pretty much let them eat right out of her cup.

Lilli has that poor goat in a choke hold.  She insisted that he be in the picture with them.

We didn't buy anything other than pumpkins on this visit, but we stop there often for onions, tomatoes, peppers and other goodies when we need them.  It's only about a mile from our house, so it's pretty convenient. 

 The field behind this little market stand used to have a small corn maze for the kids and they'd build a hay bail maze as well and give the kids flashlights to navigate their way through.  So, it's definitely gotten to be a smaller attraction over the years, but it's still fun to visit every Fall to pick out our pumpkins!!  I couldn't imagine getting them anywhere else.

I overheard a conversation the other day where a lady said she just picked her pumpkins up at Target.  Now, I LOVE Target, but buying pumpkins from anywhere from the pumpkin patch itself or at least from a roadside farmer is just WRONG, right??  Where do you get your pumpkins??

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nature Placemats {Fall Camping}

It's become an annual Fall tradition in my family that we get together at the end of September for a fun-filled family camp-out.  The weather is really hit or miss this time of year, especially in Minnesota.  We could have weather like we did last year where it rained non stop, or we could have perfect weather like we did this year where we enjoyed sunshine and temps near 80!  Either way, we are together as a family and make the most of the circumstances. 

We are also the type of family who 'tent'.  I know that isn't appealing to most, but we absolutely love it.  The last 2 years we've gone to Glendalough State Park, which is a cart-in only park, meaning you park your vehicle and then use a large wheel-barrow type cart to walk all your belongings to the campsite.  There is no swimming pool, themed party nights or playgrounds....all the fun is created by you out in nature.  Besides the nice bathrooms and showers, we basically rough it to the max.

We had such great experience this time as we got to see so much of the Fall colors in full force.  Walking the hiking trails was pretty much breathtaking.

My mom always has the best ideas when it comes to crafts and working with kids.  Afterall, she was a daycare provider for 16+ years.  And camping and being out in nature is the perfect place to create some beautiful art.

While we were hiking we all picked up pretty leaves of all colors, flowers, small twigs and anything else that caught our eye and sparked some creativity.

Then when we got back to our campsite, my mom pulled out the contact paper that seems to be a staple at our camp-outs, so that we can all make our nature placemat for the weekend.

We all chose 10 of our favorite pieces (it can be more or less, depending on the look you're going for) and placed them on the sticky side of the contact paper.  

Once we had our design exactly how we wanted it, we put another piece of contact paper over the top so the sticky sides match up.  Press down firmly and work out any of the air bubbles and voila.... have a beautifully created nature placemat.

Making these has been a huge hit every time we camp, whether or not we actually use them as a placemat or just hang them up from a rope and clothespins to add a little decor to our campsite.  We all look forward to making them each year...because "it's tradition".

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lilli's 7th Birthday {Party}

Brelynn, Lucy, Lilli, Elly, Sydney
Kamryn, Maren, Addison (+ Javier), Lauren, Ashley

This Saturday Lilli celebrated her 7th birthday with 9 of her closest friends.  

The party was from 5 to 7, which nearly killed Lilli having to wait all day.  But, for me it was the perfect time.  I was able to spend all day getting ready, which was good because I had literally JUST started planning/preparing that morning.  It's so not like me to not have a 'plan' or even a theme picked out for that matter months ahead of time.  I kept telling myself that I was going to keep it low key and I did...and it was absolutely perfect.  Lilli was SO happy and judging by all the screaming and giggling going on, her friends had a pretty fun time, too.

When the girls arrived, they all ran out to the back yard and jumped on the trampoline.  

When they were jumping I realized that some of them may not know each other since it was a combination of Lilli's friends from school, preschool, dance..ect.  So, I had them all sit in a circle on the trampoline around Lilli and then take turns saying their names, how they knew Lilli and then something nice about Lilli or what they liked best about her.  Their answers were so sweet...mostly that she is really funny, caring and kind and they all love to play with her.

Then we head inside for pizza, doritos and juice boxes.

While Adam and I cleaned up the table, the girls went downstairs to dance on the girls' stage in their playroom.  When I went down there to take some pictures, I saw that they were all standing in a single file line, taking turns on the stage.  I was expecting complete chaos, but they figured out the best way to give everyone a chance all on their own.  So cute!
And those pictures??  All blurry, of course!! 

After the danced off their pizza they came back upstairs for ice-cream.  We decided to forgo a birthday cake/cupcakes this year and just go with a fun sundae bar with a bunch of Lilli's favorite toppings.  It was a huge hit with the kids and not a single one of them asked for cake.

Adam got Lilli a little piece of chocolate brownie so that we could sing happy birthday and she could blow out her candle, but it's actually still in the fridge waiting to be eaten.

After ice-cream, Lilli opened her presents.  She received so many fun gifts from her friends.  What a great group of girls.

After presents, we played Happy Birthday BINGO and got about 4 games in before parents started arriving to pick up their girls.

Overall, the party was a huge success.  Lilli was happy and is so grateful to all her sweet friends for coming to help share in her special day.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Garden Variety Kids Review {+ Giveaway}

You guys, I hate to say this but the girls are making it clear to me that they are old enough and independent enough and far more fashionable than I am to be picking out their clothes anymore.  Sad, right?  But, the one thing that all three of us can agree on is a good quality handmade piece.  They know what feels good, fits good and what's made well.  When I think of the clothes that I like to wear, it's a lot of comfort over style and the girls are the same way, but they prefer both - comfort & style.

Sarah at Garden Variety Kids creates clothing that's not only fun and playful, but stylish and appealing to a child's fashion sense.  She sent Lilli's this amazing chevron maxi-halter dress and let me tell you, my little girl can't get enough of it.  It's the perfect length and size, the fabric is chic and trendy and the design is simply adorable.

The ruffles on the bottom and around the neckline at character to the dress and even tho the dress is long and there is a lot of fabric, it's not bulky or heavy.  Lilli as been seen riding her scooter and jumping on the trampoline in this dress.  So, it's not only perfect for play but the perfect dress for all special occasions.

Sarah is a proud mommy of an energetic 3 year old who gave her the inspiration to create fun, bold and sophisticated clothing and accessories for children.
She works from her home in central Missouri and is constantly working on offering new designs and style options that are practical and fun enough for every day while styled for the most special occasions.

I'm holding on to every day that goes by that Alexa and Lillian let me help them get dressed in the morning and I know that when I suggest a special piece like this one from Garden Variety Kids, it's a shoo in!

Sarah is super sweet to offer one of my lucky readers a $25 shop credit to her Etsy Boutique.

Garden Variety Kids :: Etsy :: Facebook

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday Thoughts {Vol.4}

Alexa turned TEN on Oct. 1st and Lilli celebrated her 7th birthday on Oct. 4th.  Needless to say, October is filled with all things birthday.  The girls are really good about celebrating together being their birthdays are so close, but we try our best to make each of their days extra special. They each have 'friend' parties coming up.

Alexa's birthday was on a Wednesday, which was perfect for her.  She always loves having her birthday on a school day so that she gets all the attention in class and gets to pick an activity for the day.

She also has dance on Wednesdays, so in between Lilli's and her classes we met up with our friends Chad and Amy and their girls Sydney and Macy at Dairy Queen for dinner and a birthday ice-cream treat.  They were so sweet and brought her a little gift of nail polish, a journal and a friendship necklace that she split with Macy.  After that Macy got to join Alexa for her Leaps and Turns class, as it was 'bring a friend to dance week'.  She brought cookies for her whole class to enjoy afterward.  I still can't believe my big girl is already 10!!  

Lilli's birthday was on Saturday, so she celebrated on Friday with her friends in school and we took her bowling Saturday afternoon.  She was quick to point out that it was her 7th birthday and we got put on lane 7!  We had so much fun as a family celebrating the birth of our girls.  We ate pizza at the bowling alley and then went out for ice-cream.  I'm not sure what feels weirder...Alexa being 10 or my BABY being 7.  

The girls participated in all the dress up days during Homecoming week at their school.  The first day was Disney day, so they wore some of their dance costumes from last year and then there was tie-dye day, wear all pink day, Hawaiian day and then of course, school spirit day where they wore their school colors, orange and black.

The girls had team pictures at their dance studio! It was so fun getting them all dolled up.  I can't wait to see how they turn out.  They put up the panoramic pics in the hallway at the studio.  Alexa and Lillian are so excited to be apart of it this year.  

{Kaylee, Alexa, Jillian & Rachel}

The girls had 'bring a friend to dance' week and each got to bring friends to 2 of their classes.  Alexa had her friend Hannah N. and Macy join her and Lilli chose her friend Sydney for both classes.

Last weekend our friend and neighbor, Meghan, was home from college and offered to take pictures of their girls for their birthdays.  I couldn't turn down the offer!!  Meghan is just the sweetest girl and is so so talented.  I've gotten a sneak peek of some of the pictures and can't wait to see more and then of course share them with you.  We had an absolute blast.  The girls were in such good moods and giggled the entire time.  Meghan has amazing patience and is so good with kids.  We just love her.  

We had parent/teacher conferences this week and I was almost brought to tears by the stellar reports my girls received.  Conferences were a nightmare last year for Lillian, not because she was a bad student, but because her teacher was very negative and it just brought our spirits way down.  She focused a lot on poor behavior when in reality I think her negative personality reflected onto the students.  Anyways, Lilli's teachers are AMAZING this year and had such wonderful things to say about our sweet girl.  Alexa is doing fabulous, too, and loving her leadership role in the multiage classroom.  She still adores her teacher and from the sounds of it, the feelings are mutual.  We are so proud of both of our girls !!!  I could sense from the beginning of the year that this was going to be a great year, and so far it's proven to be.