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With the new Star Wars movie just around the corner, the family voted on a theme this year. We've done it before, but it's hard to keep the Force at bay.
Our friends, Julie and Bob have the Best Halloween party every year, before everyone Trick-or-Treats.
Then to a haunted house the kids love to brave.
It was a night fit for a Jedi with sweet dreams of sugary fun. Happy Halloween to you and yours! XOXO
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'Twas the night before Halloween and all through the house, a thousand creatures were stirring, and even one mouse (ummm, hamster). The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of past costumes, danced in their heads.
Years of pea pods and cowboys,
...of Woody and Buzz,
Lions and tigers and bears were a fright,
Until Superheroes came in the night.
Captain Hook had his croc and Peter Pan had Tinker Bell,
While yellow brick roads replaced streets all too well.
The Force became strong as the Monster Mash played...
...and the children slept in wonder, how they would dress the next day.
Happy Halloween! We can't wait to show what costumes come tomorrow! :)
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Nothing says cool Fall and Winter weather like a delicious cobbler baking in the oven. The sweet smell fills your soul with warmth and love.
A girlfriend at work named, Sarah, is from Georgia. People from Georgia know their peaches - and when we're lucky, she'll bring her Peach Cobbler in - making even the longest of workdays seem so much better.
Sarah shared the recipe with me and I can't even wait to try it...
Sarah's Peach Cobbler
1 Cup of Self Rising Flour
1 Cup of Sugar (Plus 3/4 cup for top)
1 Cup of Evaporated Milk
1 Stick of Butter
2 Cups of Fruit
Melt the stick of butter in a 9 x 13 dish.
Mix flour, sugar and evaporated milk together, then pour over butter. Do not combine with butter - just pour it over.
Put 2 cups of fruit on top of batter, again, not mixing in. Sarah uses peaches, but says apples, cherries, blueberries...work well. You can even add cinnamon with apples if desired.
Sprinkle 3/4 cup of sugar over fruit, then bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes.
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and if that doesn't make you want to curl up next to a fire, I don't know what will.
Thank you for the recipe, Sarah! It will be a yummy winter because of you!
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I have a friend who swears by Epsom salt baths. What's Epsom salt you might ask? It's surprisingly easy to find, especially if you're in a store with a pharmacy.
My friend pours about a cup into a warm bath - adamantly promising that it helps ease her headaches, soothes muscles, aches and pains and pulls toxins out of her body.
Sounds amazing, so I grabbed a bag at the grocery store.
Things couldn't be more crazy in our house, so the idea of sneaking 20 minutes in for a hot bath, seemed too good to be true.
And that it was.
I decided if I was going to soak in a bath, I might as well load it with bubbles. As the tub began to fill, I poured (entirely too much) Epsom salt into the water and shooshed it around. Finding an old bottle of bubble bath I bought about hundred years ago when the idea sounded romantic, I poured a ten year supply into the water next.
To go completely all out, I lit a candle. It was the closest thing to a spa day, this side of Texas.
Shutting the door, I told my husband I was taking a bath, hoping he would keep the kids at bay.
"Yes. A bath."
"Are you sick? Do you have a fever?"
"No, I'm not sick. Just a bath.
Looking at me like I had three heads, he shrugged his shoulders and told me he'd get some Tylenol if I needed it.
Climbing into the tub, I suddenly remembered how nice it was (gasp) to sit and relax. It's such a foreign concept anymore and I instantly regretted the fact that I didn't think of playing soft music for the perfect mix. Next time.
The Epsom salt really did feel good. Wondering if it was a placebo effect or in fact, possibly true, I actually think my aches and pains felt better. Birds were singing. A light hint of lavender warmed through dancing bubbles that were as high as my chin.
bam, bam, bam, bam...."MOM!"
"Mommy? Are you in there?!"
Our little girl rivaled any screeching record as her little fists pounded through the door.
Flinging it open, she stopped in her tracks, "Mom? Why are you in the bathtub?"
My three minutes were up, and I sighed.
"Are you sick? Does Daddy know?"
Running out as fast as she'd come in, her voiced boomed, "DADDY! MOMMY'S SICK! SHE'S IN THE BATHTUB!"
Adam came flying in to get her out, as all four kids scurried behind.
Sinking lower in the bubbles, I wanted nothing more than to go completely under.
"Mom? Are you sick?" The boys echoed as Adam tried to shuffle them out.
"Sorry, Hon." He smiled as he corralled them through the door. The kids looked back as though I was an animal in an exhibit they'd never seen.
"Why is she in a bath? She's never taken a bath. What's with the candle?" I heard them question as though they were holding balloons and eating popcorn.
So, to be honest, I can't really tell you if Epsom salt baths are as wonderful as they're claimed to be. I think they are and someday...some wonderful, magical, rainbow and pony filled day...I hope to tell you about it.
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For the past however many years, I've taken our little girl to her dental check-ups.
This usually goes pretty well, in an exorcism kind of way. We've never actually had a full-on head spin, projectile vomiting episode to date, but we've come pretty close.
You can imagine my delight then, when the dentist presented the wonderful news that she needed a filling. What could be better?
My husband and I went back and forth on how to handle this. The dentist felt that Lauren Elizabeth was so (ahem) wonderful to have as a patient, he needed to knock her flat out to be able to work on her. I mean like, going to the hospital kind of knocked out.
This would cost thousands of dollars by the time we paid for the operating room, anesthesiologist, recovery room, not to mention, the actual dental bill.
Round and round we went on what to do. I felt the hospital was the best route, since I'd been to the dark side of her toothy nightmares, and knew how awful they were. I didn't want this to traumatize her even more. Adam continued to dispute my fears, saying that if he took her, everything would be fine.
Regardless of knowing he was crazy, I ultimately decided to cry Uncle. It wouldn't hurt to give it a try and besides, he could finally see what that tiny glimpse of the depths of hell actually felt like.
Preparing himself for the day, he loaded the car with one very nervous six year old as they went on their way.
Within no time, I got this...
Frantically texting, I wondered how things were. He wrote back, simply stating that she was doing, "Great".
A strange dichotomy of happiness and hurt filled my heart. She was doing better with him than she'd EVER done with me. How could this be?
When her appointment was over, Adam brought her by my work so I could give her hugs and kisses.
She was as proud as a peacock. Throwing her arms around my neck she smiled, "I did it, Mommy!"
"You did! You are so Great, Baby! Did you have fun with Daddy?"
"Yes." She nodded, "He held my hand so everything was okay."
And there it was.
She felt safe with him, so much so, that the exorcism ceased to exist.
I could either let this sting my pride or embrace it, loving the fact that she adores him. To know that he keeps her safe and protected in the scariest of places, warmed my soul.
I can try all I want to calm her from the storm and usually, it works well enough. Sometimes though, I need to remember, a girl just needs her dad. Even if it's only to hold her hand so everything will be okay, she needs him with all her heart...and fillings.
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We've all been there. If your kids have played sports, you know exactly what I mean.
After three different football games this weekend, it was easy to see, following all three losses. The kids were down, coaches were down and the parents...well that was a whole different beast altogether.
Over the years, from what I've seen, parents often fall into two different categories. The first being the ones who hash out the whole game on their kids, attacking them from the minute the game's over. Then there are the parents who support their kids, win or lose, unconditionally.
I read a study once, where college and professional athletes were asked what their worst memories of childhood and high school sports were. Number one answer?
The car rides home.
It's hard to know the root of why parents feel the need to yell at their kids in sports. Sometimes they're trying to live through their children. Sometimes they think their kids should simply be doing better, trying harder.
There's a time and place to go over their performance though and that's not right after a game when emotions are high.
Athletes get yelled at, by their coaches. That's what coaches are for. Not to say that parents don't have the right to guide and direct their son or daughter in what they think is right, there's just a way a parent should do it.
I remember a friend who had a dad who was a perfectionist. No matter what she did, win or lose, he was there at the end of every sporting event to yell at her...and I mean, yell.
She didn't run fast enough, play hard enough, do well enough. No matter what she did, it wasn't her best, according to him.
She was a star athlete to everyone else but all she wanted from him, her own father, was to hear just once, "I'm proud of you. You are wonderful".
It never happened.
Parents have to know the effect this has. Parents should be the safest place for their child to land, following the greatest win or the toughest loss.
That's hard to do sometimes, but important to try.
There's something so much more meaningful than the game, and that's the integrity of the team and the heart of each player. Their character and direction will be largely guided by you.
So, take a deep breath and try to remember the next time your keys tighten in your hand, as you walk away from the game. There are only so many car rides home for your child to look back upon.
How do you want yours to feel when they remember the ones they had with you?
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I'm a bit of a Halloween nerd. I don't know why this is, but it seems the older I get, or maybe the older the kids get, there's more excitement every year.
I find we're decorating more of the inside and out of our house with pumpkins and witch's hats, tucked into spooky cobwebs galore.
There's something fun about Halloween that sparks the annual starting block of the holiday season. As much as it pains me to see stores hang Christmas decorations at the same time as their Halloween décor, there is a festive warmth of knowing Trick-or-Treating, turkey and sleigh bells are right around the corner. tuuuuuuurkey...
One trick that helps to accrue holiday decorations - is to scoot out the day following Halloween to find goodies on sale. It's surprising how many things you can grab, just one day after they cost so much more.
As our Haunting house returned this year, the kids had fun putting sparkly pumpkins and scary ghosts throughout. Their favorite being, Anita.
Why is her name, Anita? Because if you listen carefully, you can hear her whisper, "Anita heart, Anita lung, Anita skin".
We hope you're having a Happy Fall Season and having fun with your little Pumpkins, too. Trick-or-Treat! XOXO
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When you get a note from the teacher that your child is acting up in class, what do you do?
I think many people now, take the side of the child. It's hard for them to imagine their son or daughter doing anything wrong, and they'll defend their child until the end.
While this in fact at times is necessary, I'm from an "old school" frame of mind that says listen to the teacher. Nine out of ten times, they're going to be right.
Sure, there are exceptions to the rule and sure, there are some inept teachers or wrongful situations where the child is misunderstood, but for the most part, that's not usually the case.
My undergraduate work was in education and I was able to see this firsthand. It never ceased to amaze me that the kids who caused the most trouble, usually had the parents who came in right after them, screaming at the school. NOT the kids, but the school.
We got a note from a teacher yesterday and the first thing we did was question our child, getting his side of the story to be clear. We then had him write an apology letter to his teacher, saying it wouldn't happen again.
We'll keep tabs with the school, knowing our son's best interest is in mind...even though that's hard for him to understand at his age.
It's a tough gig raising kids. Sometimes the easiest thing to do, doesn't always mean it's right. It's hard to discipline and it's definitely not a lot of fun to do.
Hopefully, at the end of the day, it will all be worth it though. One school year (and teacher's note) at a time.
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When your day is cold and miserably rainy, it makes you want to go out and enjoy the next time it's sunny and perfect. There's a farm here that has the best Fall fun. Lately, it's been hard to find a day to go, but when we did, we welcomed it.
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You can double or triple this recipe. As is, it makes 3-4 servings.
3 Tablespoons of melted butter
1/2 Medium chopped onion
1/4 Cup of melted butter
1/4 Cup of flour
2 Cups of half-and-half cream
2 Cups of chicken stock
1/2 lb of fresh broccoli (chopped into bite sized pieces)
1 Cup of cubed potatoes
8 Ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onion and potatoes in butter and set aside.
Cook melted butter and flour using whisk over medium heat for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the chicken stock and the half-and-half, then simmer for 20 minutes while checking/stirring occasionally.
Add the broccoli, potatoes and onions, cook over low heat for an additional 20-25 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
OPTIONAL- You can puree entire amount or partial amount, then add back to the pot. You don't have to puree anything if you'd rather have a chunkier soup.
Stir in cheese until melted and blended.
Serve with crackers or baked bread.
So good in the cool weather months! Enjoy! XO
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Adam and Bea live in North Carolina with their three boys and a girl, Christian 14, Ethan 13, Preston 10 and Lauren Elizabeth 9 years old.