Saying Goodbye to Fall

Fall is one of my favorite times of year, but I have to say goodbye to it early this year.

We’re heading out in a few days to head down South to visit with my sweet new niece. I’m so excited to finally meeting her and kissing her cheeks… catching up with Chels, too, of course. But I’m also sad that my Fall has been cut short.

I dragged the boys out, very briefly, for a walk today. Just to grab a few pics.

First, we went back to Young Conservation to snap a few more pictures of the seed pods that no one can identify.

The woods were so pretty! The leaves are just starting to fade and when that happens there are a few days where everything looks golden. I love it!

Next, we hopped over to the Glassberg Conservation Area. I really wanted to hike to the look-out point, but Gabe was really tired and so we headed back. He was tired and feeling just a smidge under the weather yesterday so I didn’t want to push my luck.

 

The trees were so pretty on the way home. I tried to get a picture, but they just don’t do it justice. 

I know it’s silly. I’m supposed to be packing and cleaning out the fridge and finishing up the last day of school FOR THE MONTH, but all I really want to do is look at trees and take pictures.

Anyway, logging off now to go and get myself in gear. Lots to be done between now and Saturday. Goodbye, Autumn, until next year!

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Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Citrus Cumin Chicken

I’m loving my new cookbooks and have tried a couple new recipes:

This recipe actually called for peaches, and I though I still had a jar downstairs, but I didn’t so I improvised. Turned out great and it’s nice to know the recipe is versatile.

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

 

I love cumin, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to give it a chance. It turned out really well. I did end up with a lot of marinade left over so I reduced it on the stovetop and then poured it over the chicken about 10 minutes before pulling it out of the oven. Yum!

 

Citrus Cumin Chicken Legs

I really don’t enjoy cooking, but I like (usually) the results!

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Young Conservation Center

We’ve had some really cold weather here lately. First freeze and all. So when we found out it was going to be 75, I knew I had to get the boys out and about.

Young Conservation Center is nearby so we went over there for an hour. We didn’t stay long because hunting is allowed in the area and I totally forgot about that so we weren’t wearing any orange.

There was still plenty to see.

 

Pond

My hiking buddies.

Gabe

Luke

 

This is by far the coolest seed pod I’ve ever seen. It’s like a perfect little filing cabinet! Each flat seed fits in it’s spot perfectly and there are several compartments in each pod. So cool!

Seed Pod

Autumn isn’t as showy this year as in years past, but I’m always amazed at how the light can hit the grass just right and it looks like everything has been cast in gold. So beautiful.

Field of Gold

There are two 2.5 mile trails here. We just did a short loop around the pod and through the field. I look forward to going back soon though!

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Happy Halloween 2017

Oh Halloween. The boys agonize over their costumes every year and it makes me want to pull my hair out and say, “Enough!” Then I start thinking about how it won’t be long and they won’t care about Halloween anymore and that makes me sad and I try to treasure where we’re at here and now and not try to rush past or through things.

After much debate and two Halloween stores, here’s what they ended up with:

I don’t know where Gabe gets his ideas, honestly. Until he decided on this, he was going to be “paper bag man” and just wear a paper bag on his head. No joke. This boys certainly has a creative streak!

Fancy Man

Luke is at that age where he still wants to dress up, but finds most of the costumes childish. We don’t celebrate the dark, scary side of the holiday so he really struggled. I happened to stumble upon this and he loved it. Bonus: he can wear the sweats as pjs!

Stick Man

As in years past, we met up with a family and had dinner and trick-or-treated around their neighborhood. The bigger kids went off on their own and the younger kids went with the moms. After everyone meets back up, the kids all settle in the basement to dig through their stash and trade candy while the adults chat around the fire pit outside. It was cold this year, but no rain so we were grateful for that!

 

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Valley View Glade Conservation Area

We’ve lived in this house for over 6 years now, but we really don’t know the area well. In the past year, we’ve made friends with people who live a bit further out and they’ve opened our eyes to several new places.

One of those new places being Valley View Glade. I’d never heard of it until a friend mentioned that she was taking her son there and I invited myself along. Another friend jumped on the bandwagon and before we knew it there was a group of 10 of us!

It was a fairly grueling hike in that we had two little ones with us. They were such troopers, but little legs can only go so far! Despite being tired by the end, I think everyone had a good time!

The bigger boys certainly enjoyed themselves. I lost count of how many trees they climbed!

Monkeys in a tree

Bleached trunk

Not a single boy between the 3 of us. (Two of the boys aren’t even pictured here.)

So many boys

Autumn Beauty

Seed pods

My boys don’t get many opportunities to spend time with little ones. Gabe really enjoys these two.

Teaching the little guys

I’m always on the lookout for a heart rock!

Heart rock!

Tired

 

Mushroom on tree

Part of the hike was out in the open, and part of the hike was wooded. Both areas were pretty and I can only imagine how beautiful this hike is in the spring.

Path

Purple berries

Red Berry Clluster

 

Rocky Path

Fall Fuzzy

Stream

Overlook

Waterfall potential

Yellow beauty

It was so much more fun to hike with friends. I don’t know why we don’t do that more often! We had a great time.

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19th Anniversary

We celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary!

I’ve been married for over half my life! Weird!

I wish we could say we did something big, but we just didn’t put any effort into it. That sounds bad, but we have a trip coming up and the the holidays will be in full swing. Next year is the big 2-0 so we’ll definitely do something big then!

I was surprised by these:

Pretty flowers. Purple theme!

and I made him Paleo Twix Bars:

Yum!

Then we locked ourselves in the bedroom……and watched Friends. Hahahahaha. So romantic.

I wish I could say that marriage is always easy and perfect, but anyone who’s married knows better than that. Social media always makes things look good, but the reality is that we’re just blessed to celebrate another year together. We both know that there aren’t any guarantees in this life. We’ll keep doing the best we can and hope that God’s grace covers us and we make it and most days that’s about all that carries us through.

Here’s looking forward to many more!

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October Catch-Up

This Fall has been pleasantly busy.

We started fostering a cat for some good friends. He’s only a year old, but he’s 16lbs, and so very active. He’s kept us on his toes and is totally hilarious.

His name is Knight and he loves to go out on the deck, run and play with our other cats, wrestle with our other cats, jump on and off of everything, and can make anything you drop onto the floor into the best toy ever. We call him “Gallumpus” because he’s so incredibly clumsy and when he runs through the house, you’d swear a herd of elephants was on the loose.

Such a snuggle bug

Cat party in the kitchen.

Buddies

I did something I didn’t think I’d ever do again: buy a cookbook. Actually, I went a little crazy and bought TWO cookbooks! I’ve been feeling like we’re in a food rut and needed to get out of the funk. I’ve been over to againstallgrains.com and have tried several recipes there and have loved them all.  So I bought these two:

I made the pumpkin bread this morning, but that’s a whole ‘nuther post.

There’s something about Fall that makes even a non-cook like me feel like cooking a bit. Even I have to grudgingly admit that there’s just something so cozy about something simmering on the stove.

 

Chili!

This paleo naan has become a staple. I basically use it as a soft taco shell. They are pretty quick and easy and a heck of a lot cheaper than the other gluten-free alternatives at the store.

Ben had a few friends out to shoot.

Take that, pumpkin!

Our church hosted a bonfire. We went and had such a good time. There’s a huge lot behind the church that includes a community garden and a wide open space perfect for a bonfire and kids running amok…

…and volleyball apparently. You can’t see it from here, but Ben actually played volleyball! Who is this man?

Ben and the boys visited a pumpkin patch which sounded amazing. So many of the pumpkin patches are really geared to little ones, but this had a ton for the older kids. Ben had a great time, too.

I stayed behind and worked on my garden area. We’d originally planned to meet up with some friends in Branson, but Gabe and Ben got sick. They weren’t sick for long, but the weekend got cancelled. I decided to take the opportunity to get some plants in the ground. Yet another thing I need to blog about because it’s come a long way!

The boys have made some good friends and I’m so grateful. I think it’s no coincidence that two of those friends just moved here and one is a newer homeschooler. Luke, especially, struggled with not having any close friends since moving to our current location. I just didn’t know what to tell him. But it worked out so well because now there are these three other boys who were in the same situation and now they all have each other. It’s a blessing for all involved!

So that’s my catch-up for now. I hate that I haven’t been blogging much. I only have a few weeks left until co-op and my class up at church are over and I’ll have a bit more time. I’ve been enjoying both, though, so wrapping them up will be bittersweet.

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Glassberg Hike

There’s a conservation area in nearby Eureka. We went there once, but did’t spend much time there for some reason. Another volunteer at the thrift store mentioned it to me and encouraged me to go back and spend more time.

So we did just that.

Berries

Luke’s friend had joined us and of course they ran up ahead of the group. We heard a shout and when we caught up to them we saw this guy:

Copperhead on the trail!

Of all of the places we’ve hiked, all over the U.S., we’ve been cautioned about snakes, but we’ve never actually seen one until now! Apparently, Luke walked within a foot of him! Hence the defensive posture.

Through the field. Look at all of the goldenrod!

Dry lake

The overlook was really neat, but it started to sprinkle and we had a ways back to the car still. I did’t have anything to protect my camera and didn’t want to be caught in a downpour so we hustled on.

Overlook

Thistle

I’m not sure where all the snails came from or what happened to them, but there were tons of these shells all over the place!

We also found three turtles! They weren’t thrilled to see us so we snapped a few pics and let them be.

I’m so glad Fall is almost here. Most of the days are still really hot, but you can tell a change is coming. I cannot wait. Summer is by far my least favorite season. I cannot stand to be hot and I don’t enjoy the crowds everywhere. I end up hunkering down in summer as much as most people do when it’s cold. Fall is the time when we really get out and about and do and explore. I cannot wait!

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Chelsea’s Baby Shower

We had such a wonderful time celebrating Chelsea and baby Isla!

I hosted the shower here at the house and went with a woodland theme.

Karen’s boyfriend, Don, made all these cool wooden bowls and was kind enough to let me use them for the party.

Woodland animals.

We had a nice turnout. Our family isn’t huge, but just about everyone was able to make it and we got some nice pictures.

Me, Chelsea and Anna

Chelsea’s good friend and mentor.

The girls. Paul’s wife, Amanda, Chelsea, me, Jacob’s wife, Jhamie, and Anna.

Chelsea’s mother in law.

Nate and Chels

Beautiful mama-to-be.

Momma and Chels

Amanda, Mom, Chels, me, Jhamie, Anna, with Tiza and Alycin in front.

Karen and Chels

Family friend, Julie, with Chelsea.

Chelsea and Jhamie.

Sisters!

The boys were thrilled to see that Chelsea was still there when they got home.

Chels and Anna

Amanda and Chels

We had a nice time. I accepted my limits and purchased lots of finger foods from Trader Joe’s.  I usually try and make a bunch of stuff, but cooking isn’t my strong suit and I just plain don’t enjoy it. Instead of a cake, I asked Paul to make his famous cheesecake. He didn’t disappoint!

Chelsea was blessed with so many awesome gifts. Little Isla will be well provided for!

How cute is that quilt!!!

I can’t believe I’m getting another niece! It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that my little sister is going to be a mom. The years really fly by. I’m so excited for her and Nate and cannot wait to meet sweet little Isla.

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Down for the Count

My last post was about how the boys were at camp/day camp. A month ago. So what happened to blogging between then and now? The flu.

Luke returned home from camp exhausted and hoarse. Two days later he was achy, feverish, and complaining of a sore throat. It took him a solid week to recover. Then Gabe got sick with the same thing. I rejoiced when he felt better in only 4 days. Until I got sick.

I. Was. Miserable. I couldn’t do anything for about 3 days and then it took me a good 5 days more to really feel normal. By that time, Gabe had a stomach bug that knocked him out for 3 days. I had a head cold during that time. We got better only for Ben to get the head cold and Luke to get the stomach bug.

It was my chiro who suggested that it was all the same bug – the flu. That makes sense because my “head cold’ ended up coming and going and I had some upset stomach at two different points.  Luke also had head cold symptoms pop up and then go away.

We were all over the place. It was no fun, to say the least.

FINALLY, I think I can say we are all good except I have the last bit of chest congestion/cough, but otherwise I’m doing well and ready to put all of this behind us!

I can’t believe that we wasted our last month of summer being sick, but I’m hoping that means we’re free and clear for the Fall and Winter up ahead. Right? Right. 🙂

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