This morning I packed the kids and the stroller into my car and we went to the park. I have felt so defeated from the heat of summer, now that fall is here I am so excited to get out again. We had a nice walk and then spent some time at the playground.
Zac loved every moment. He explored and climbed. Mia has always loved to swing, but Zac is more of a mover. He is my little travelin' man! Such a great morning!
With the arrival of fall comes the return of Starbuck's Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. I very much adore this drink and today I found a copycat recipe! Super simple :) Can't wait to try some!
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe
Ingredients: 3 tablespoons Caramel syrup, heated to luke warm (recipe follows) Hot Chocolate (4 tablespoons of ganache plus 6 oz. of milk, heated) Canned Whipped Cream Pinch of Medium Coarse Sea Salt
Directions: Pour 2 Tablespoons of caramel syrup into a mug so the inside of the mug is coated well. Add hot chocolate and stir everything. Top off with with cream, drizzle with remaining caramel, and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy!
Simple Caramel Sauce Recipe
Makes 2 cups INGREDIENTS: 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated to luke warm in microwave (30 seconds) 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup heavy cream, heated to luke warm in microwave (30 seconds)
DIRECTIONS: In a medium sauce pan, add sugar and water . Stir and cook on medium-high heat until the sugar syrup starts to change colors around the outer edge to an amber-brownish color, or if using a candy thermometer – 350 degrees. Remove from heat immediately and using a wooden spoon or whisk, quickly stir everything to keep the sugar water from burning. Your simple syrup should be a golden ale brown. As you continue to stir, pour in 1/2 cup of warm heavy cream and pats of butter. When the cream makes contact with the sugar water it will start bubbling violently. Continue to stir until the sugar crystallization dissolves. Finally, add 1/4 cup of additional warm heavy cream until caramel sauce is nice and smooth.
Note: *As caramel sauce cools, it will thicken. Before serving, re-heat in the microwave for 30 seconds for 1 cup.
Another pumpkin recipe! I found this Streusel Topped Pumpkin Bread recipe over on the Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen blog and I am going to make it ASAP! http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/breads/streusel-topped-pumpkin-bread/ As always, Happy Baking :)
Mia and I made this little countdown board this morning. With the leftover candies we did a little math and counting, and then it was Mia's job to put all of the candies into the candy jar. She did a great job and as a reward she got to pick a piece for herself. I can't believe October will be here before the end of the week! I think this will give Max and Mia something to look forward to each day :) Now we just have to work on our costumes!
It was the perfect day for pumpkin to make it's debut! Fall has arrived :) We had the missionaries over for a big chili supper and then, Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes for dessert!
1 1/2 sticks butter 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 3 cups cake flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon cloves 3/4 teaspoon salt 3 eggs 3/4 cup buttermilk 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners 2. Beat the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a bowl and set aside. 3. Add the eggs to the butter mixture. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures. Scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake for 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting. I frosted these cupcakes with cinnamon sugar buttercream, but I think different flavors could work just as well: caramel, maple, chocolate, vanilla. Oh the possibilities!
Our friend Connor turned 5! To celebrate, his parents threw him an awesome carnival themed birthday party. There were carnival games like the ring toss, bean-bag throw, a sack race, and a pinata. Carnival goodies like hot-dogs, popcorn, and.....
.....Caramel Apples! These were most divine. I hadn't had a caramel apple in ages and it was just perfect :)
Mia couldn't commit to being photographed. She refused to smile so I took this one while she wasn't paying attention. She was all dressed up for the party and really very cute!
Max got into the spirit of things. He had a great time!
The little clowns all in a row. Happy Birthday Connor :)
My mom is in town for the week. We are having a great time. The kids are getting spoiled and I am loving the company. Today we went down to West End. We spent some time touring the Whole Foods. It is such a fun store! We bought some fresh ground honey roasted peanut butter, real maple syrup, and some yummy bread. Next we stopped by the mall and visited the Pottery Barn Kids store. Mia loves looking at the dolls and sitting at the little table and chairs. I had to stop by William Sonoma and show my mom everything that I wanted. We went to Stride-Rite to buy Zac some birthday shoes for his chubby little feet! We had to buy a 6 1/2. Just a few months ago we bought him a pair of 5 1/2. Hopefully this new pair will last him until Christmas! After playing at the book store we had some lunch at Kalamata's. They have delicious greek food. My mom and I had salads while Zac and Mia ate roasted potatoes and pita bread. Very delish :) The kids were exhausted and fell asleep on the drive home. I made the birthday cake for Zackary's 1st birthday tomorrow. I decided to keep it simple. I made a chocolate banana sheet cake with milk chocolate frosting. I can't wait to watch Zac make a mess of it tomorrow night! (Happy early birthday Zac! I love you!) It was a great day.....and to top it off!!! My mom watched the kids for us so we could go out on a little dinner date :) We went to Texas Roadhouse for some ribs. They were very meaty. I felt very carnivorous. Ty and I talked and laughed. I just love that man! Looking forward to celebrating tomorrow!
I remember my college years. I wore tight jeans. I wore tight shirts. I bought almost everything I wore in size small. I bought expensive boots and jackets. I loved my closet and I spent a lot of time and money on my wardrobe. Fast forward; 10 years and 3 babies later. I like stretchy pants. I look for shirts with room to move. Size means nothing. I look in my closet in the morning and hope to find something clean and comfortable. I don't spend much time on my wardrobe. I still like to get dressed up when the occasion permits, but for now yoga pants are calling my name :)
Today we had a little lesson about seasons. We focused on fall. We talked about the weather getting cooler, the sun setting sooner, and the leaves changing colors. Mia used Halloween m&m candies to make her fall tree. We sang "It's Autumn Time" from the primary song book. We now feel very ready for fall :)
Zackary is always very excited to pick Max up from school. Mostly because he can't wait to get his hands on Max's spiderman backpack. I don't know why, but he loves it! He was carrying it around after we got home today and I decided to help him put it on. He has been wearing it ever since. He does enjoy watching Dora and Diego. The two of them both have backpacks. He just wants to be like his heroes. I just adore him!
We enjoyed a wonderful weekend. On Saturday we were up bright and early to join the youth for a temple trip. I have never been on a youth temple trip as a leader. it was a new experience for me and I really enjoyed it. We have some beautiful young women in our ward and I was very proud of them. After the temple we had brunch at the Golden Corral in Franklin. I have never seen so many strange food combinations. Ty ate fried chicken, steak, an omelette, hashbrowns, and a few grapefruit slices. Quite the morning meal. We spent the rest of the day at home with the kiddos getting ready for Sunday. Sunday was our anniversary. I wanted to make the day as fun and special as it could be. I served Ty his favorite breakfast in bed. It's actually everyone's favorite breakfast. It makes Father's Day, Mother's Day, and birthdays very easy. Crepes with strawberries and nutella. Happiness all around. After church we enjoyed the afternoon together. I sure do love that Ty of mine :) This morning was cool and beautiful. Fall is such a welcome season! I am dreaming of baking up something pumpkin, but there is a canned pumpkin shortage this year! I am not giving up and hoping to find some soon! Hoping for a wonderful week.
This morning the sky was dark gray. I was sure the storm was on it's way. It started drizzling as we were taking Max to school, and by the time we got home it had really started raining. Soon it was pouring! We had a plan for our rainy day. Mia and Zac have been in the apartment with a sick mommy all week and today was their day for fun. We went to Peek-A-Boo Playtown! I think it was perfect for a 3 and one year old. They both had a great time and we ended up staying three hours before Zac showed desperate need of a nap.
We arrived early so there were just a few other children playing. This was ideal for Zac, because he could play with the trains and do things that the big kids normally don't let him do.
Mia loved it. It was perfect for her little creative self. There was a little grocery store with carts and food, a playhouse with dolls and a kitchen, a firehouse with a firetruck and a firedog, a dollhouse, dress-up, and plenty of space to run.
Zac spent most of the time pushing around this little car. He is easily amused.
It was really nice to be out of the house and spend such a happy fun time together. I love to play with the kids away from the laundry and dishes. It seems like so much more fun!
I am jumping on the bandwagon and doing a little home preschooling with Mia while Max is at school. This morning we had our first lesson: Apples and the letter A. First I set out the different apples and Mia counted them. There were 4. One Gala, one Braeburn, one Sonya, and one Fuji. We talked about where apples come from. We talked about different ways to eat apples and different ways to cook apples. We discussed the letter "A" and the sounds that it makes.
Next we read an apple themed story book. This one is actually one of our favorites to read anytime, "Apple Farmer Annie".
Finally we had a little taste test. Mia wanted to dive right in and eat a whole apple without cutting it into slices. She picked the Braeburn and the verdict was: delicious :)
We spent our Labor Day morning out in the Tennessee "boondocks". Our friends Rob and Lisa were going shooting and invited us to tag along. Blake and Chantelle came too. This same little group got together last year on Labor Day to go shooting. We have made some fun traditions here in Nashville.
Rob's uncle owns some land out in the country. That is where we were headed. The weather was beautiful. It has been all weekend!
Ty checked out the lay of the land.
The kids and I set up a blanket in the shade. I sprayed everyone down with insect repellent to try and keep the chiggers away!
Everyone had earplugs, because guns make a lot of loud noise :) The kids drank juice and we all ate cookies.
The men set up the "shooting station". It looked so professional this year.
The little people were very curious. We had them watch from a safe distance, but it was still loud!
Cute little sideline watchers.
My incredibly sexy husband showed no mercy to the clay pigeons. Rob, who Lisa thinks is very sexy, manned the pigeon thrower (I know that is not the technical term, but you get the idea!)
I really did not plan on my five year old joining in on the fun, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.
This is just the beginning of what I am sure will become a lifelong love. I am glad he had fun and avoided shooting his eye out.
Even I took a shot at a clay pigeon. I blew it away. I am just that amazing! On the way home we picked up a deep dish Jet's Pizza! Seriously the best pizza ever! We ate it and watched "The Great Food Truck Race". My kind of show! This afternoon I am baking the Pioneer Womans' chocolate sheet cake for our FHE treat tonight! It's been an awesome weekend!