Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Emma Krumbees Orchard and Farm

For the last several autumns, our family has ventured out to an Apple Orchard and Pumpkin Patch for some Fall fun! This year, we drove out to Bella Plaine, MN to Emma Krumbees. We have been out there a couple of times before and really enjoyed it. Equipped with rows of bountiful apple trees, Emma Krumbees always entices us with not only the juicy, red fruits but also the fall experiences of a pumpkin and strawberry patch, vintage tractors that make for great photo opportunities, a quaint general store with seasonal finds and homemade edible goods (we had to take home some Caramel Puff Corn this year), a yummy restaurant that "brings back memories of sitting at Grandma's table" and so much more.

With us this year, we took home a couple of plump pumpkins and a beautiful set of mums for the front porch and a bag filled with delicious, sweet Honeycrisp apples.

So excited that Nana could join us for this special family outing!!! We even took the scenic route on the way home to catch a better glimpse of some of the leaves changing their colors for the season. The trip made for a relaxing and perfect Autumn adventure.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nesting, Nana and Never-ending playtime...

This little boy (well, maybe me just a little bit too! ;)) is getting spoiled rotten having our Nana in town.

It's less than 2 weeks from the baby's due date..YEA!!!...so what are we doing this week?

Me? Nesting, Nesting, nesting...deep cleaning around the house (again), playing lots with my busy little toddler, stocking up on everything from laundry products to cleaning supplies to diapers (it's like we don't have a Target or a store anywhere near our house! ha!), wrapping up some scrapbooking projects, shopping for Christmas presents, fitting our growing little boy with new fall clothes and shoes (Lord, help us; our 2 year old is growing way too fast!!), organizing coupons (anyone need Ziploc storage bag coupons...I only have about 30), decorating for fall, planning some meals, going to the bathroom every 20 minutes (or so it seems), burning my music cd's for the hospital, picking up a few things for "big brother" and for big brother to give to little Nolen, throwing out paper stuff, staying on top of insurance and hospital mistakes (so thankful for my little insurance background that I have) :)...basically, a little bit of anything and everything...continously adding to my list of to do's...ha ha! Most importantly, getting soooo excited!!!

Clay? Flying. Flying and more flying. (which is why our Nana has flown in to help us out a little bit and be here in case baby comes while hubby is traveling!) When Clay is home, he's marking chores off of his "Honey-do list"...bless him, it's never-ending. :)

Parker? Playing, keeping his mama and nana busy running to keep up with him, impressing us each day with all that he's learning, making everyone laugh with his silliness, getting excited about his new little brother/sister arriving soon, kissing mama's tummy daily...being a sweet (most of the time!) and very active little toddler!

Friday, September 17, 2010

a book about Parker

This afternoon I put together this little 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" book as a tool for Parker's new daycare provider. He will only be going one day a week, so this will help as an introduction to him. It will hopefully assist her as she gets to know him and his personality. Included in the small album are his likes, dislikes, emergency contact info, about his family, etc.

I would love to take credit for this great project, but I totally got the idea from Ali Edwards. I love how she documents everyday life as well as historical family memorabilia.

Below are a few of the pages from the album. I was thrilled to get to use paper from the "Zoom Collection"; I had used it on an older layout of Parker's, but was waiting for an opportunity to use it again. I love the distressed, solid colors and the fun, vintage print from this Crate Paper collection.

Paper: Crate Paper - Zoom Collection
Cover: Graphix Clear Craft Plastic
Binding: 7 Gypsies small binding rings


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

...embracing the last days of Summer and our first days of Fall

Now is the time of year (at least in Minnesota) where you truly embrace those last days of summer and prepare for the cold weather that you know is coming your way.

You know when it's coming...The warm days cool off to have you trade in your shorts and t-shirts for long pants, a t-shirt and maybe a jacket, the air conditioner stays off consistently as you opt to open all the doors and windows instead (I actually love this part of it!), and of course, if you're my 2 1/2 year old, you say to mama and daddy, "It's snowing weather outside!" :)

Here are a few of our fun moments we've made this month as we transition from summer to fall:

"Storytime" on blankets outside in the backyard prior to his nap sounded like a great idea to Parker.

Leaf rubbing entertained Parker and mama a couple of weeks ago as we talked about the different colors of fall. Picking a variety of shaped leaves in the backyard to make these fun pictures for our refrigerator proved for an enjoyable time.

This is a great and easy activity to do during spring, summer or fall if you're needing a 20-30 minute filler. On this particular 3rd trimester day, my energy was beyond non-existent. :) I threw on our shoes and told Parker we were going for a walk around the yard to collect different shaped and sized leaves and asked if he would like to help me pick them. He, of course, was thrilled. We probably spent 5-10 minutes walking the area grabbing a bundle of foliage to take inside for our project. After getting back inside, we laid out our leaves, crayons and paper and started tracing.

Leaf Rubbing Instructions: First, place a leaf flat on the table. Then place a sheet of tracing paper over the leaf. Use a soft pencil or a crayon and gently rub over the tracing paper until the outline of the leaf shows through. Add additional leaves and use different colors for a nice effect. Make sure to take pictures to document the memory then display your artwork in a frame or on the fridge! :)

Parker loved a morning out at the zoo with his daddy while mama went to her doctor's appointment.

A bonfire complete with smores and hot chocolate on a chilly night...Parker just wanted to put the marshmallows on the sticks, so mama got to eat most of his yummy leftovers!!! ;)

Enjoying lunchtime with cut up fresh summer vegetables and fruits...

With the weather change means, for us, a transition from the nursery to a preschool classroom at church.      -Sniff, sniff- Parker was so excited about his new teachers, friends and classroom on Sunday morning.

I love our summer months and I embrace our short autumn months. Fall is actually my favorite time of the year; I just wished it lasted longer here in the North. :) The pumpins and fall colors are coming out of storage this week as I look forward to dressing the house in the warm colors...just in time for Baby to arrive. 

Until next year, dear Summer...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Third Trimester "cookies and pillow talk"

I recently read a humorous twitter post from CollinKartchner (one of my favorite bloggers' husband):

I'm so glad my wife reminds me daily she's pregnant. Besides the late night cravings, mood swings, and bulbous stomach, I'd probably forget.
10:04 PM Sep 2nd via web

I got a good laugh off of this as my husband can totally relate right now!! Here's for another chuckle...a typical evening (when he's home) of our "3rd trimester conversations."

September 7, 2010
Let's Talk about Cookies:
During the first commercial of Covert Affairs:

We had finally gotten Parker off to bed and were settling in on the couch to finish watching the season finale of White Collar and the next episode of Covert Affairs.

Clay: Where are you running off to?
Carrie: (as I'm sprinting up the stairs) To make a batch of Nanny's Cookies...come help me during the commercial...it won't take a second and will go so much faster if you help!
Clay: coming up the stairs to assist me...not very enthusiastically I might add
Why exactly are we doing this at 9:15 at night?
Carrie: (as I'm grabbing each of the ingredients as fast as I can and shoving them in Clay's arms and on the kitchen counter) Because I can't sleep tonight unless I have some...remember I was craving them yesterday
Clay: Oh yeah, along with the pancakes...
Carrie: Well, this won't take a second if you help me for 3 minutes and then I'll finish them up and you can fill me in on the show...you blend while I dump all the ingredients in the bowl

After about 3 min I told him he could resume his tv watching and I'd be down in a min. with some cookies...I ended up missing almost half of the show but it was totally worth it!!

9:45pm pulling first batch of cookies out of the oven...3 warm, gooey cookies went straight into my mouth...dished the others out onto a plate to take down to hubby with a tall glass of milk

Clay: So, how many did you inhale before you brought these down here? (as he's smiling)
Carrie: Only two (wink)

around 11:27 pm
A Conversation in between the Sheets:
I've been in the bed for a few minutes; Clay is just walking in the room.

Carrie: Clay, before you get in the bed would you please grab a pillow out of the guest room or the little green one from Parker's top bunk...
Clay interrupts with a very aggravated tone
Clay: What could you possibly need another pillow for? There's not room for another pillow in this bed; you already use three. I'm going to have to sleep in the guest room. Besides, there's already not room enough for me as it is since you insist on sticking your butt out all the way to my side of the bed when you sleep.
Carrie: Well, you can either buy us a bigger bed...
Clay: we can't fit a bigger bed in this room; besides, we don't need a bigger bed. You would just move to my side of the bed anyway...no matter how big the bed was...
Carrie: ...or, you are welcome to sleep in the guest bed if you'd like.

Clay: leaves the room. comes back with the little green pillow...tosses it on the bed and hops in.

Carrie: I'm moving all the way to the edge of the bed with my pillows; there is plenty of room for you if you sleep on your side. Don't be grouchy and fuss at me; I need a pillow for my back tonight.
Clay: Why? What could it possibly do to help your back? Other pregnant ladies don't need this many pillows to sleep at night.
Carrie: First of all, A. How would you know what other pregnant use or don't use for their aching backs and bodies? B. You are totally wrong on that one. Most pregnant women do use extra pillows...maybe not 4, but a lot have those body pillows that serve as at least 2. I dare you to go up to a 3rd trimester pregnant lady on the street and question her on how many pillows she sleeps with and tell her that that's ridiculous and she doesn't need those...that would be an interesting moment (one that I would enjoy seeing actually.) and C. It shouldn't matter what other people do anyway...if it makes your uncomfortable wife happy and comfortable, you should be happy.

Clay: (exasperated at this point) Ok. I hope you sleep good. Love you.
Carrie: (very tired and groggy feeling, but happy to have my pillow) you too. Love you. sleep tight.

I might feel a little for him....a little. ;)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

a picture of his personality

Photo taken on September 3, 2010 just before leaving for his half day of daycare. Parker was so excited to be going to play at Kindercare with his friends for a few hours. (First chilly morning of fall.)
I love this picture because it shows his true personality of an excited, busy, always-up-for-an-adventure, fun little boy.
I love you Parker.
Thank you for your daily smiles and loves.
You make your daddy's and my life more entertaining each and every day. We are so very proud of you. :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

an evening outside with a boy and his froggy boots

What can make for a more magical evening than
 a homemade orange popsicle,
froggy boots,
a little rain,
a glowing sunset
and a full spirited,
little boy of the age of two and a half?
I can't think of a thing...can you? :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Saturday: State Fair, a Bday Party, and Dinner with Friends

Saturday morning, Clay, Parker and I headed out bright and early for the MN State Fair. We were excited to take Parker again this year knowing that he would be into everything that he set his little eyes on. The excitement started with the bus ride from HealthPartners to the State Fairgrounds...you would think he had never ridden on a bus before. He would look out the window and then look over at me with this big grin and sparkling eyes. That face alone was worth every minute of the day.

When we first arrived around 9:15am we were able to explore the Agriculture and Horticulture buildings. I think one of our favorites was the bee exhibit. It was fascinating watching the bees at work and learning more about these busy little creatures.

Fun Bee Facts:
-A colony can contain upwards of 45,000-60,000 bees when at full strength.
-Honeybees stroke their wings 11,400 beats per minute...that's 190 times per second.
-Bees may have to fly 55,000 miles and visit 2 million flowers just to make one pound of honey. Now we know where the saying, "Busy as a bee!" comes from.

Here are some websites of interest regarding bees and honey that I thought were fun:
http://www.honey.com/ (general honey info and suggestions including resources for teachers, fun recipes, free clipart and much, much more!)
http://www.backyardbeekeepers.com/facts.html (this site is has great bee facts)

Parker was excited for Eleanor and her parents to join us at the Fair for food and more fun around lunchtime! We found a great shady spot in front of the Grandstand where Lauren, Eleanor, Parker and I sat down and rested while the guys went to grab all the food. It was the perfect hour of rest and relaxation for all of us! The weather had been terrific until about 1pm and that's when the temps spiked. From that point on, it was a bit more crowded, a bit hotter, and a bit more uncomfortable. :) We still had a fun time though, stopping for food all along the way...homemade ice cream, the infamous Sweet Martha's Cookie's (I even talked my hubby into getting me "the bucket"...I totally took advantage of the preggo thing!), 2 jumbo corn dogs, a few french fries...and then Clay had a burrito with Spanish rice and shared a funnel cake with Parker! Yes, I did eat a good bit more than my hubby and two year old son...Baby Nolen and mama were both quite happy! Just for the record though, I did share a little ice cream and a cookie or two. :)

Tried several yummy honey sticks earlier that morning: peach, wildflower, strawberry and orange blossom. (Wildflower and orange blossom were my favs!) I had the great idea to pick up a few for "delivery day." Clay laughed and handed over some money when I said that having a few in the hospital with me would probably help with the delivery if this one turns out to be as long as Parker's was. ;)

We had a great morning and afternoon at the fair. Of course, the food was fantastic...glad friends Lauren, Jonathan and baby Eleanor could come join us...loved seeing the animals (Parker was able to pet the sheep, cows, horses and enjoyed seeing so many more animals like bunny rabbits, goats, and pigs.) We watched a presentation on "the process of milking cows"; Parker then got to practice milking a plastic cow...the whole experience was impressive though.

This year was spent mostly viewing and learning about the animals, which we thought was fun, and eating the famous "fair food." I told my doctor when I come into my next appt weighing 5 pounds more than last week, not to worry, but just to know that we went to the fair. He nodded in understanding and said, he'd take note. :) Surely we walked off half of the calories though with all the walking we did! I was glad we did the animal barns and such in the early morning; it was cleaner, cooler and smelled nicer. As we walked, we caught quite a bit of the 2pm parade which made a nice ending to a fun-filled day at the fair.

This little fellow was tuckered out when we got back to the car around 3:30pm. He was asleep before we were out of the parking lot.
From the Fair, we left and drove to friends, Jimmy and Sharise's home, for James' 4th Birthday party. By the time we arrived, Parker had been able to fit in a 45 min snooze and was ready for more playtime! The party was "pirate-themed" and adorable in every way. Check out the cool cake that Sharise made from scratch for the event. Everything down to the letters, flag, sticks, and bird were completely edible. This girl is unbelievably talented when it comes to "cake making." 

A giant bouncy gym was set up in the backyard for the kids to play in, and after some fun free time, all the kiddos set off on a backyard treasure hunt complete with clues and a treasure box filled with candies, a pirate's eye patch, a telescope and a balloon for each of the children. Parker loved showing off his best pirate expression during the party.
About mid-way through the party, I jetted off to St. Paul for dinner with friends who were in from out of town. Cristie, our fourth friend in the group couldn't attend, so Kyle (tressa's husband) took her place. :) We missed you Cristie. We went to our typical restaurant of choice, Kincaids, in downtown St. Paul. Loved the laughs with each of you and can't for our next visit!
Because it's usually later when we get together for our "girlfriend dinners," it's rare that we get out and walk a bit afterwards (which is a shame, because I think that this part of downtown St. Paul is absolutely breathtaking and tranquil in the evenings.) Since we ate an earlier dinner this particular Saturday, we spent a few minutes outside goofing off and enjoying the cool evening after eating.
Thank you so much again for the delicious dinner Tressa and Kyle.

Note: it has taken me 3 days to get this post out and now my son just woke up from his nap after only one hour, so there will be no proofing on this thing...I'm posting... ;) Enjoy the rest of your day!!