Pumpkin Patch

Fall would not be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch.

The last two years our trips to the pumpkin patch have been on days that were cold and windy. Even though we picked out pumpkins, we really did not enjoy our time at the pumpkin patch. It was a hurry up, pick out your pumpkin, and get in the car so we can warm up type of trip.

This year we ended up with a perfectly beautiful fall day. The sun was shining and there was just enough chill in the air to feel like fall.

On the suggestion of a neighbor, we tried a new pumpkin patch this year. We were not disappointed. They were very accommodating to our small homeschool group and had the trip tailored to older kids and younger kids.

For the older kids (grades 4 and up), we went through a corn maze that was in the shape of the state of Idaho. Along corn maze were facts about the lakes, rivers, and reservoirs in Idaho and each fact contained a clue needed to solve a word puzzle. This was great way to keep the kids engaged while going through the maze. They loved it!

For the younger kids they toured a smaller corn maze that was based on nursery rhymes and then were taken on a long hayride. Since I was weaving my way through a corn maze with the older kids, my sweet friend Barbie kept an eye on my two little ones and took pictures for me. Thanks Barbie!
While we waited for our turn to pick the pumpkins, the kids enjoyed petting the animals and running through the straw maze.
The part of the field trip the kids had been waiting for: picking out the perfect pumpkin!



The only thing my boy wanted for his birthday last spring was a basketball hoop.

After much discussion about where to place the basketball hoop (our subdivision does not allow it on the garage like the "good old days" and a portable one would have to be pulled in each evening), Lance came up with the idea to mount it on the wall of our garage.

Besides the constant thump, thump, thump on the wall, it has been a great place for the basketball hoop. Landon is able to shoot hoops anytime - rain, wind, snow, sleet, hail - he can still shoot hoops.

This fall, we signed Landon up to play organized basketball. We hit the jackpot when it comes to coaches. His coaches are two "grandpas" who love the game of basketball and love teaching young children about the game. They are patient, kind, and encouraging.

Last Saturday, Landon had his very first game. To say he was excited is an understatement.

His days of the week are currently defined by how many days until basketball practice and how many days until his basketball game. This has been a great way to reinforce learning the days of the week.

The orange basketball shirt they wear for games... well it has been worn every.single.day.

I wish I had video to show you of the game, but Lance was just as excited as Landon so we saw quite a bit of the gym floor. So for now a few photos:
Coach Jim giving the kids their instructions
I found my person (they wear wrist bands that match a person on the other team so they know who to guard)


Pumpkin Bars

One of my favorite things to make in the fall is pumpkin bars.

These pumpkin bars are moist with just the right mix of cinnamon and pumpkin topped with cream cheese frosting... melt in your mouth good.

The best part of these bars is that they are easy... really, really easy.

Pumpkin Bars
recipe from Mary Jantz

4 eggs
1 c oil
2 c sugar
1 can pumpkin

Mix in a large bowl

2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Pour into a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

recipe from Cindy Heuer

8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/4 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar

Mix together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth. If the frosting is too thick add milk by tablespoon until it is the desired consistency.



I love fountain soda.

Almost as much as I love chocolate chip cookies.

My fountain soda habit was really not a habit but a treat until about a year ago when they built a convenience store a half mile from my house.

Just a short walk on a nice day. There are many nice days in Idaho.

You know when your treat turns into a habit when the employees know you by name and give you your soda for free more often than they charge you!

I need to curb this habit. I don't want to give it up totally because... well fountain soda is goodness in a cup. It can turn gray skies blue.

So dear bloggy readers, any tips on cutting back? Have you kicked a soda habit or any other habit? what worked? any other suggestions of a drink of choice?
(i don't drink coffee - love the smell don't like the taste! i like water and drink lots of water every day)


We Did It!

It has taken twelve months, cutting back, and saying no or not this month to purchases and activities but we did it - we are now personally (lance still has two years left to finish the purchase of his business) DEBT FREE except for our house.

Looking back over the last year, it wasn't nearly as difficult as we thought it would be to make changes in order to become debt free. Living without cable and not going out to eat very often just became the new normal. We found that we spent more time playing games, playing outside, trying new recipes and enjoying meals at home.

Thank you Dave Ramsey for your ministry! We like our new normal.


Dressing Up the Cat

I always had a cat as a pet. I grew up in the country so not only did we have house cats but we had those strays that made themselves part of our "farm".

As a little girl, I didn't play much with dolls. I didn't need a doll when I had any number of cats to play the roll of baby.

Cats who let you dress them up in doll clothes, carry them on your hip, and p
ush them in doll strollers. They were so patient with us.

(I am not kidding. My mom has pictures as proof)

Now I am finding my animal lover Mauryn may be following in my who needs a doll when you have a cat footsteps. I have found her trying to dress the cat and she is daily trying to wrap him up in a blanket.

There might be a little hope for dear old Chloe (yes our male cat's name is Chloe - long story) since Mauryn actually likes dolls, no let me rephrase that, LOVES her dolls as much or more than the cat.
Only time will tell if our cat is safe from the being used in place of a doll.


Sticky Situations

I had been looking for a devotional that I could use with my children each morning during breakfast. I wanted something that would be appropriate for all of my kids, but especially Morgan and Landon.

As I was searching for a devotional, I remembered some friends had told us about a book they were using with their kids. We had the book and have used it sporadically over the last two years.

This year, I wanted our time at breakfast to set the tone for our school day. This devotional has been wonderful.

The book is set up with a devotional for each day. There is a short story where a "sticky situation" is described. The "sticky situation" is not resolved. There are four different resolutions listed as well as a bible verse to reference to guide the children in finding the correct resolution. In the back of the book the answer for the "sticky situation" is given as well as three or four questions to discuss with your children and a short statement about why the correct resolution is what God would want from His children.

My kids are enjoying this book and look forward to our devotional time each day. It is a great way to start conversations about some "sticky situations" and it is interesting to see how my kids would respond in those situations. I am loving this time with my kids each day.


Seattle Part II

We couldn't be in the Seattle area without spending time around the water.

We started the day at the Seattle Aquarium. It was incredible. The aquarium was hands on and very kid friendly. I was impressed with all the volunteers who were extremely knowledgeable, answered our questions, and encouraged the kids to interact with the animals in the pools.

The highlights at the aquarium were touching the sea stars and the sea anemones, seeing the octopus, sea horses, and jelly fish, and watching the feeding of the sharks and fish.

After a full morning at the aquarium we had a picnic lunch in an open area next to the aquarium on the water.
Once we finished lunch we ventured to the World Famous Pikes Place Market. The market was amazing but it was definitely a bit overwhelming. The flower and produce stands were incredible.
As part of our tour of the market we had to go to the fish stand to watch the fish flying through the air. The kids loved it! One of the workers pulled the kids out of the crowd and let them touch a fish and then gave them a squid. Lovely! The squid was promptly returned to the fish bin. Of course we had to see the original Starbucks in honor of my brother-in-law who works for Starbucks.
Once we finished at the market, we did a drive by of the Space Needle on our way to
Fisherman's Terminal where we went to an outdoor festival. There were booths that contained craft projects, games, and activities for the kids... all for FREE! The kids had a great time and it might have been one of their favorite parts of the entire day.

These pictures are for you Denise. She told me before I went to Seattle I needed to hug something in Seattle... maybe a fish. I am not a fan of fish but I found one to hug just not a real one.


Seattle Part I

For part of our fall break this year we decided to travel to Seattle to visit Lance's sister, his cousin and their families.

We made a list of things we wanted to try to do while in Seattle. One of the places I wanted to visit was IKEA (aka Disneyland for mommies as named by Denise). Over the years we have heard about this store and wanted to see what all the hype was for ourselves. We enjoyed looking at all the room set ups and I loved all the containers/systems for organizing.

One of the reasons we traveled to Seattle was so that Morgan and I could go see the musical Wicked. It was fantastic!! We loved every minute of it. It was so fun to see how excited Morgan was to see her first "big" show.

the paramount theater in downtown seattle

the ladies before the show

morgan - so excited
morgan and i waiting to go into the show
morgan just as the show was starting