photo tottwit_zps3fd046ca.png  photo totbloglovin_zps5327f75d.png  photo totpin_zps7c5b9f89.png  photo totemail_zps6f656c15.png  photo totinsta_zps2338675c.png



Today is a gorgeous Monday! I plan on enjoying every second of this day because that Arctic blast or whatever the catch-phrase the news is calling it is on it's way. And it's going to get downright COLD.

I look forward to cooler weather during the hot months because I like my Fall and Winter wardrobe much better than my summer (I can't believe I actually typed that out) but when I say cooler weather I'm talking somewhere in the 60's. NOT THE THIRTIES. 

We are going to try and play outside a lot today and might even make a trip to the zoo. Eli has been asking to go for awhile now. This is one of those activities that was much easier without a baby, now with a nursing baby it's a little more inconvenient, but I need to take him before it gets cold.

Anyways all of that to say that the only thing that DOES excite me about really cold weather is cooking. I love cooking when it's cold outside, hot soups and yummy baked goods (although I guess I'll avoid pumpkin). I need to plan my menu this week! Also I'm going to one of those meal prep parties this week where we will make 8 meals to freeze to cook later. That sounds great!

Here is what was on our menu the past couple of weeks:

Monday: Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
My family absolutely LOVES this meal. It is one that even Eli gobbles up which is hard to find these days. We pair it with the Cilantro Lime Rice as suggested and it is all delicious. I also usually put some black beans with it or make some broccoli. 

Tuesday: Taco Soup
My go-to taco soup for the past couple of years has been Paula Deen's taco soup. It's easy, quick to put together and so filling. We have leftovers for days. 

Wednesday: {Leftovers}

Thursday: Poppy Seed Chicken
This is one of those classic meals. I grew up eating this and actually forgot about it until my grandma gave me a handwritten recipe book with this in it. I hadn't made it in awhile but I was glad I did cause Eli also liked this one. I'm noticing a trend of him enjoying the "creamy" meals. 

Friday: {Halloween - eat out} Five Guys. YUM.

Sunday: Bow Tie Fiesta Pasta
I got this recipe from Blue Eyed Bride several years ago. It was passed around the "blog world" for awhile and became a favorite here in our home. 

Monday: Baked Potatoes
We have small group in our home on Mondays and we always try and eat together. It's hard to think of meals that everybody would enjoy and that would make enough for all adults and kids. Someone in our group had the idea to do baked potatoes with all the toppings this week. It was a great idea!

Tuesday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sliders
 This is in Luke's top 5 favorite meals. I always serve it with corn and sometimes we eat some chips on the side.

Wednesday: Stuffed Pepper Soup
Oh man this is such an awesome soup recipe (but I'm a big soup fan). Make this soup this week when it gets cold. YOU WON'T BE SORRY. 

Thursday {Leftovers}

And the meals end there. I'm looking forward to lots of good meals this week!


Random Thoughts.

1. I've been doing a really good job of meal planning a keeping track of it all. And just today Luke and I marveled at the fact that we haven't eaten out in about two weeks. This is HUGE for us. Hopefully huge money saving also!

2.  I made THE most delicious pumpkin crunch cake this week for our small group. Almost every single person there declared that they don't like pumpkin (excuse me, what?) and my husband tries not to eat too many sweets so he didn't partake in it. So I was left with a HUGE pumpkin crunch cake for just myself. I will say I have enjoyed it immensely but nothing good can come from eating a whole cake by yourself so I took it to my playgroup today to share with the moms. If you like pumpkin you should try it! Recipe HERE.   I'm going to try and make it again at Thanksgiving. Surely somebody there will like pumpkin!

3. Last night we went and took our yearly family pictures. Back when I first had Annie I was already looking into the future excited about taking pictures in the Fall. I figured by then I would be back to my pre-pregnancy weight (wrong) and I also assumed I would give it a lot of thought and be really prepared (wrong again).

I decided to pick out what to wear right before we left to take pictures which resulted in me regretting what I wore. I think it was a bad choice. And yes, this is all one giant white girl problem.

I also scoured Pinterest before our pics looking for cute/fun poses. Does anybody know who the robots on Pinterest are? I mean HOW do they get those poses to work and look so perfect?

I thought this particular pose would be cute:

I still have buises on my neck where Eli pretty much strangled me while I tried to hold a squirmy Annie in my arms. I can promise you it looks nothing like the picture.

As long as we got ONE good shot for the Christmas card it will be fine. Even if I don't like my outfit.  Again, major white girl problem.

4. I'm going to do a blog post about Babywearing. I've really gotten into it this time around and I've been able to answer questions that some friends have had about it. It doesn't take an expert obviously but I had no idea what I was doing the first time around with Eli. I wrote a post about my favorite carrier when he was a baby but I feel much more educated now so I'm going to do a follow-up to that post.

5. The November Warmer and Scent of the month are pretty great!

I've been warming that scent since I got it. It totally smells like Christmas in my house!

6. I spent some precious time this week and organized my pantry thanks to some $3 bins in the $1 spot at Target (it's confusing I know). I feel so much better about my life now that the pantry is organized.

7. I started watching Gilmore Girls. The verdict is still out on whether I like it or not, but for now I'm going to continue to watch.

8. If anybody has a baby Eli let me know cause I have some shirts to sell from when he was a baby. I sold a couple on a FB site but I have a few more size 12 months to sell!

9. My contacts feel like they are going to pop out of my eyeballs so I'm going to end this right here.


Halloween 2014

The holidays really are so much more fun with kids. I've always heard that but it's one of those things that you can't really understand until you do have those kids with you on the holidays.

Since graduating from junior high (is that too old to trick or treat?) Halloween has always just been another day, no big deal made about it, no dressing up, just October 31st.

But this year it was SO fun. Although I had no idea that Halloween festivities would take up the whole week of Halloween! Seems like we had something everyday. What will Christmas be like? Something everyday for the whole month??

Anyways, back in September I asked Eli what he wanted to be for Halloween and he said a gorilla. Well....ok. Thinking that he didn't understand the question I waited a couple of days to ask him..... and he said he wanted to be a gorilla again. He was very insistent on this, so I sought out for a gorilla costume

And lo and behold I found one at TJ Maxx of all places. And it was the perfect gorilla costume! Because of Eli's costume choice, Annie's costume came naturally; a banana.

As could be expected Annie was not a fan of the banana costume,  but she was a trooper each time she wore it.

Halloween morning we woke up and went to our favorite donut shop. They were giving a free Halloween donut to all kiddos dressed in a costume. We will never pass up a free donut.

The donut shop is close to Luke's work so we took a box of donuts to his office which allowed us to show them Eli and Annie in their costumes. Everybody is a fan of a gorilla and banana.

That evening we had our annual Trunk or Treat at church. Each car is responsible for coming up with a game. This year we did a banana toss game - I was very proud of myself for sticking to a theme, something I'm not usually good at. I usually throw something together at the last minute. Actually I did throw this together at the last minute, it was just an easy theme to stick with. 

 And our game sounds a lot more put together than it actually was. I noticed a couple of days before Halloween that my trunk would slowly close on it's own ending with a big BANG as it picked up momentum and slammed shut. I noticed this when it almost took off my head once or five times.

I then forgot about it. Until we were at trunk or treat. An event that requires us to leave our trunk open for two hours. So we spent the next two hours wrestling our children while dealing with several hundred kids stopping by our trunk, and holding open the trunk door. And by we I mean mainly Luke. He has now asked me to mention all car problems to him in a timely manner.

We came home and were exhuasted but I wanted Eli to trick or treat at a couple of houses. I like the trunk or treat and think it's fun, but I grew up going door to door trick or treating and I wanted Eli to experience it, I knew he would love it.

And he did! We stopped by a few of our friend's houses and each time we left he would say "Ok let's go to another house that was fun!". Luke and Annie stayed at home so it was just me and Eli, and it was so special.

Then we came home, ate dinner and went to bed. We were all so tired!

It was such a great day and night. I can't believe October is already over, looking forward to November!