Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas in Idaho

We're still in Idaho and I have some fantastic photos of the kids playing in the snow this morning but first I want to share our Christmas photos. Christmas in Idaho is always a whirlwind of activity and this year wasn't any different. Christmas Eve found us at David's Opa and Oma's house with all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins. It's a zoo. It's also a lot of fun and always involves plenty of yummy food! Part of the celebration includes a gift exchange. Since there are 22 of us we draw names after Thanksgiving and thankfully only have to shop for four presents. This year we drew three of David's younger cousins and one of his aunts. We open presents starting with the youngest, which is Ethan, and end with Opa and Oma. We started earlier then usual this year and were home by 9:30pm which was pretty good for Christmas Eve. I attempted to put the kids down to bed though I doubt Grace did much sleeping that night. After we got the kids to sleep we helped Santa out by putting out the shoe stuffers (remember we do wooden shoes!) and the Big Santa Presents. This year Santa left Grace a Princess Tiana doll which is what she has been talking about all month. Good thing that Santa remembered to include it in the sleigh because it nearly got forgot! Santa left Ethan a marble run because he knows how much he enjoys the one in the toy store by Grandma's house. That Santa sure is clever.

We actually woke up before the kids Christmas morning but they were stirring by 7:30am so we didn't have to wait long. Grace was ecstatic to find Princess Tiana by her shoe and Ethan was enthralled with his marbles. We spent a few hours opening presents and it was so much fun to watch Grace. Every present was met with such exclamations as "what a wonderful bracelet!" and gasps of delight. She was a very lucky girl. Ethan was slower in opening presents because he likes to enjoy each gift a bit before moving on to the next. He seemed mostly thrilled with a Diego bat and baseball I scored on clearance at Kmart for $1.49 last August. Just goes to show that it's not always the spendiest present that gets the most love! After all the presents were opened we enjoyed our traditional Christmas breakfast of Butterscotch Rolls (two pans worth because David and Sam inhale one all by themselves!) and Breakfast Egg Casserole.

Grandpa and Grandma came over to join us in time for an early Christmas dinner. They both received a Snuggie as a gift (as did my Mother in Law...though hers was tainted with BSU paraphernalia) which I had to get photos of. I still don't get the point of those things. Wouldn't wearing a fleece robe be about the same thing?

Oma helped Grace get beautiful before going to the Christmas Eve gathering. She curled her hair and helped her put on lip gloss which is a super cool thing when you're four. She looked beautiful!

Here's Grace in her Christmas dress on Christmas Eve.

And here is Ethan on Christmas wearing his brand new basketball pajamas and holding onto the new $1.49 baseball bats. He's one happy camper!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa Made a House Call!

We made the long drive to Idaho on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning a special visitor arrived at the front door. Santa made a house call because he heard that Grace and Ethan would be spending Christmas at Opa and Oma's house and he wanted to be sure he could find them on Christmas Eve. Grace was delighted to see Santa and Ethan wasn't very sure. But Santa brought candy and presents which calmed Ethan down pretty quick, and he even smiled at him...from a distance. Before Santa had to leave he got a hug from both kids. They're pretty lucky kids to get a visit from Santa!

If you can't tell from the photos (and the kids didn't catch on either!) Santa is my father in law in disguise. David about died laughing when he asked his Dad how he was going to disguise himself and he said he'd take off his glasses. Now we know that not only does it work for Superman, but also for Santa Claus!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Painted Cookies Recipe

I've been making Painted Cookies for Christmas for as long as I can remember. Of course when I first started making Painted Cookies my job was to paint. These days my job is roll out the cookies so my kids can do the painting! It's a great recipe to make with little kids. Our cookies turned out beautiful this year thanks to both Grace and Ethan's artistic touch. Grace's cookies were mostly done in solid colors while Ethan was into swirls of color.

Painted Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and then chill dough. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Decorate with Egg Yolk Paint and then bake at 375 degrees for 5-6 minutes.

Egg Yolk Paint
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp water
food coloring

I do the same four colors we've always done but you can use as many colors as you want. Make the Egg Yolk Paint recipe for as many colors as you plan to use. I bought cheap paint brushes from the Dollar Store several years ago for this recipe. It's definitely a kid pleaser!

Holiday Happenings

It's been a busy week and I'm sure you all can relate. We've been busy trying to keep up with our regular schedule while adding in fun holiday activities and unsuccessfully dodging the stomach bug. Every family has their own holiday traditions and we're no exception. Some traditions started out very purposefully and others just sort of happen on their own accord. Here's how we're doing on my list of "Christmas Stuff I Hope Will Happen This Year".

*Nightly Devotional & lit candle with dinner
*Christmas Tree set up with lights
*Bake Painted Cookies
*Bake Candy Cane Cookies
*Attend our small town's tree lighting ceremony and visit with Santa
*Decorate the house & put up the nativity
*Attend Indoor Park Christmas Party

Yet to Be Accomplished or Just Plain Not Happening This Year:
*Putting up Christmas lights outside (decided against it this year)
*Putting ornaments on the tree (supposed to happen's hard to get the four of us at home at the same time!)
*Bake Egg Nog Cookies, Gingerbread Boys, and Sugar Cookies
*Bake a rum cake for David
*Finish Christmas shopping (I'm probably 10% done....eeeeek!)
*Wrap all of the gifts
*Christmas Cards...not sure I have the energy to do them this year. Can I just do one on the blog or is that tacky?)
*Attend the Salem Festival of Lights Parade (it's tonight but the weather forecast is looking a little iffy)
*Watch Christmas Vacation
*Take my Mom and Grace to see The Nutcracker (we go next weekend!)

I'm sure there's more to add to both lists but you get the idea. This weekend we're hoping to finally put the ornaments on the tree, take Grace to see the new Disney Princess movie, go to Salem's Festival of Lights parade (depending on weather of course), go to our Church's Christmas Cantata (Grace is singing O Little Town of Bethlehem), and possibly go to our church's Community Christmas Carol Sing. I may need to bake some more Christmas cookies to bring to church on Sunday to share for fellowship time as well. Hmmmm. Maybe we're too ambitious.

This is the only decent picture I have from when we got our tree last Monday. It was FREEZING cold so we were fast. We got our tree from our favorite tree farm in town owned by a couple that attend our church. We found them before we realized they went to our church and were super impressed and will be repeat customers as long as we live in the area!

I almost forgot my camera in our haste to get to Indoor Park Friday morning for our Christmas party. We had a last minute scramble to find a Santa and wound up with a junior high aged Santa. The kids didn't seem to care, and Ethan was super happy to get a candy cane.

I took Grace outside to brave the cold for two minutes to take some pictures because she looked so cute in her Christmas outfit yesterday. Afterwards she bundled up to play on the swingset for 5 minutes before I got too cold and made her come back inside.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Grace just finished up her second round of swimming lessons today and I have to say she has really improved from her first round of lessons last spring. Such a change in maturity in such a short span of time! At the end of her first round of Pre-Level 1 lessons her greatest improvement was confidence (she has that in spades!) and she needed to practice floating and listening. Funny how that listening part hasn't changed. Hmmmm. Today's report card listed her greatest improvement as putting her face in the water and she needs to practice her floats. Her swim instructor said she's doing really well and showed a lot of improvement which I heartily agree with. I think finally being brave enough to put her face in the water the last few weeks has really helped and I'm hoping that the next swim class she does she'll get even more confident in the water.

One of the reasons I think Grace did so well this time around is that she had a lot of individual attention. The very first time the class met there were four kids (the max. number per class). Two kids dropped out after that class the other little girl in her class missed the class a few times which meant Grace had individual instruction for a half hour. I think the reason our class was so small was because we had the worst time slot available...12:25 to 12:55pm. That's right. After lunch and at the start of most kids' nap times. While that doesn't matter to Grace since she refuses to nap these days, it does matter to Ethan who desperately needs his after lunch nap. After the first session when Ethan and I sat and watched from the bleachers and he very obviously let me know that he wanted to be in the water too I started bringing his swim diaper and letting him "swim" in the infant pool while Grace had her lesson. Ethan loved playing in the water and "swimming like a fishie" and playing with the purple plastic toys. Swim lessons start at 3 so he's got another year before he can take lessons too.

I asked Grace if she wanted to sign up for gymnastics or swim lessons after Christmas and she wants to do swim lessons again so I'll probably sign up for the same crappy time slot in the hopes that everyone else will avoid it and get another small class. Or maybe not. Today Ethan refused to nap once we got home from swimming and that might have changed my mind. A toddler who misses his nap is not a fun toddler to spend time with.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our WinterFest Santa Visit

Tonight our family froze outside for an hour of good fun at our small town's WinterFest. The party started at 5pm but we showed up at 6:15 and got front row parking. As in we literally couldn't have parked any closer to the event. Then we walked the half a block to find the end of what appeared to be the Santa Visit line. It's not hard to miss with a zillion kids, strollers, and babies. We waited 15 minutes in the cold before Santa arrived via motorcycle accomapanied by another 45 bikes. We were in the front row and got a great view and it was really cute to watch Grace light up at the sight of Santa. Ethan was much more impressed by the bikes then the big guy in red. After Santa turned the lights on the big tree in front of the courthouse he was ready to begin the onslaught of children eager to ply him with their toy requests.

Grace was very excited to see Santa. She already visited him last weekend but we didn't get any photos because that Santa was charging $5 for me to take my own photos. I really don't think so. He was a very good Santa though and Grace liked talking to him. This Santa was less of a talker but he still did a good job. Ethan got pretty nervous about the whole thing when he got up close and got the gist of what we wanted him to do. I was almost sure that I was only going to get photos of Ethan crying (observe the upper right photo of the two kids with Santa below) when Santa whipped out the candy canes. That did it. Ethan's cries stopped and he craned his neck around to get a better look at the scary guy that handed out candy. Handing out candy made Santa much more interesting. Grace made sure to tell Santa about the Princess Tiana doll she wants for Christmas (which I'm still trying to hunt down...I refuse to pay 2x-3x the retail price to the idiots on Amazon!) and Ethan asked for a basketball.

After the short visit with Santa was done we headed back to our primo parking spot with a very cranky boy and a very excited girl. I think Ethan was cranky because his hands were cold but that was his own fault for refusing to wear the mittens I just got for him. At least I was able to force the hat to stay on. Hopefully he learned his lesson and will keep the dang mittens on next weekend for the Festival of Lights Parade! Our entire WinterFest experience lasted one hour from start to finish. A lot shorter then last year when we arrived too late and at the end of the line!

I used a seventies action on the photos from tonight for fun. The photos are pretty grainy because I didn't use a flash and instead cranked up my ISO to 1600 and used my f/2.8 50mm lens. I did shoot in RAW which helped quite a bit. So since I knew my photos were going to be grainy I figured I could have fun with it! The lighting by Santa was a lot better so I moved my ISO down to 800. I only had about 30 seconds to work so I moved FAST! All in all I don't think they came out too bad considering the lack of available light and my disinterest in flashing the bejezuz out of everyone.

Thanksgiving 2009

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with my Mom and brother this year. It was low key and relaxing, a perfect holiday! Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday. Any holiday that is about good food and enjoying time with friends and family is right up my alley. Plus it features my favorite foods...mashed potatoes and pie! David thought that making four pies for four adults and two kids was excessive but obviously he doesn't know any better. If anything it wasn't enough. Since we were left to our own devices this year we decided to eat at noon so we could put Ethan down for a nap at a reasonable time and also so we could chow down on Thanksgiving dinner all day long. Definitely a bonus! The kids loaded up on veggies and dip (more dip then veggies in Ethan's case, but Grace did eat her fair share of carrots) before eating the cran-raspberry salad and a bite of sweet potato casserole. They wouldn't touch the mashed potatoes, turkey, or cornbread stuffing. I really don't know what's wrong my kids but they don't see to like potatoes. Of course they both share my love of pie, Ethan especially so!

Mom and I set out for our Black Friday shopping fun at 6am with a goal of hitting up Target for the $3 appliances before heading to Fred Meyers. Target was a war zone and the $3 appliances were cleaned out (probably in the first 30 seconds the store was open at 5am) and the lines wrapped around to the back of the store. We were there all of five minutes before we left. Fred Meyers was a much better stop. We were there for an hour and a half and found several good deals. Not only were they well stocked but when we went to check out at 8:30am we didn't even have to stand in line. It was fantastic. We also hit up a really cool toy store near my Mom's place before we got back home at 9:30. A record for us! I was battling a cold and didn't have the energy to hit up the mall, plus I'm not sure it would have been worth it anyways.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Parry Family Gives Thanks

Our family kept up our Thankfulness Bowl tradition this year and I thought I'd share a selection from the bowl this year...

  • Basketballs (Ethan was thankful for basketballs 99% of the time)
  • Princesses
  • Home
  • The Washing Machine
  • Beautiful Autumn Leaves
  • The Fireplace
  • My Wife
  • Books
  • Trees
  • Oma
  • Peaches
  • Uncle B
  • Footballs (The one night that Ethan wasn't thankful for basketballs!)
  • The Beauty of Nature
  • Flowers
  • Playing Games on the Xbox with Friends
  • Dress Up Clothes

The Best Sugar Cookies EVER!

I promised I'd share my super sugar cookie recipe and here it is! These taste just like the yummy ones from Safeway. You know the ones I'm talking about. Thick, soft, chewy, and with that fantastic frosting! Now you can make your own at home and not spend $4.99 a dozen.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg lightly beaten
3 Tbsp cream (I've used both whole milk and coffee creamer as substitutes with no problem)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Over large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in lightly beaten egg, cream, and vanilla. Blend well and roll out to desired thickness. I like mine thick so I roll them out to about half an inch.

After you roll out your beautifully non-sticky dough you can use your chosen cookie cutters because unlike all the other sugar recipes I've tried these actually retain their shape. Such a far cry from last Christmas's amoeba-like blobs that originally started out as stars and angels. For this batch I tried to talk Grace into selecting fall leaves but she insisted on trying out the new princess crown cookie cutter I found in Ashland last summer. So princess crowns it is. If you know my daughter I'm sure you're not surprised.

Look at that beautiful cookie. Yum. After baking the cookies about 6-8 minutes (or 10-12 if you roll them thick like me) and letting them cool I had the kids help me decorate them. I cheated this time and used some Betty Crocker frosting in a can because I scored a bunch for practically free a few weeks ago. This is the first time I've bought it and this variety is cherry and tastes okay. I took on the frosting job and let the kids take turns decorating the cookies with sprinkles. Half the cookies have purple sprinkles because that was what Ethan chose every time. The boy likes purple.

Afterwards we all had a cookie. Well, the kids split one because they were pretty big and they'd already had a piece of candy after dinner. We're still working on Halloween candy and probably will be until after Christmas. Notice how Grace is very clean eating her cookie. She's my clean eater. She's also wearing a puple silk cape. They are princess cookies after all!

And here's Ethan. He's a little messier. I guess that goes with the territory when you're a little boy. He managed to wipe pink frosting all over the tablecloth as well. What you can't tell from this photo is that he's wearing underwear and no pants. He found the stash of underwear I have saved for him and pleaded to wear them. So we're attempting Potty Training Round One. He's pretty gung ho about wearing the underwear but hasn't figured out the potty quite yet. At least the desire is there so that's something to work with. I'm not pushing him real hard at this point because he's still pretty young. I'm definitely excited for the day Ethan is done with diapers, we have a No More Diapers party planned and everything!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Celebrating Friday the 13th with Halloween Photos

I finally got our Halloween photos off the camera yesterday and even edited a couple. I didn't realize until after looking at the photos that I have very few of Ethan in his costume so I may have to stage some pics of him on the next non-rainy day that I have free time. Surely he'll forgive me if that doesn't happen!

Anyways, here is Grace all dressed up for Dress Like A Bible Character night at AWANAS the week of Halloween. She originally wanted to be an angel (probably because she wanted to wear her pink fairy wings) but decided against it at the last minute because she wanted a girl costume and apparently angels aren't girly enough. So she settled on Mary since there is no doubt that she's a girl. I was all for the Mary idea since I could put that costume together easily and in a hurry. She's wearing her pink princess robe, a pink play silk with a soft pink headband holding it in place, and holding Baby Boy in the monkey receiving blanket my Mom made for Ethan. She was quite pleased with her costume. I thought the Pink Mary costume was pretty cute myself!

These are the sugar cookies I made for Halloween night. Aren't they cute? I'll share the recipe very soon. They are soooooooooooooooo good and taste just like the ones you buy at Safeway. They will be my undoing.

We carved our pumpkins Halloween afternoon and I think they turned out pretty good! Sorry the pic is a little blurry, I took it on the way out the door to go trick-or-treating and had to dodge trick-or-treaters descending upon our house. We were pretty popular this year, probably because I had a ton of candy so we didn't run out!

This is the fairy pumpkin I carved for Grace. She really wanted a fairy pumpkin and I had no idea where to start. I found the pattern for an undead girl online which I used as a template and then tried to make her less scary and more fairy. I added the wings which really did the trick. Grace was very happy with her fairy pumpkin!

Here's the kids before trick-or-treating. The girls look excited and the boys look confused. Don't worry, they caught on really quick! You'll notice that Grace is wearing a makeshift costume for trick-or-treating. I forgot how difficult it was to take off by herself to go potty and she had an accident at the church's Halloween Party earlier that afternoon. Luckily they had an extra costume on hand and Grace wasn't traumatized. Good thing we have MORE then enough costumes in the dress up box!

The two fairies, dragon, and frog hauling in the candy. Last year the boys only went up to one house. This year they RAN to keep up with the girls! What a difference a year makes.

Here's Grace in her pink fairy costume. The only thing we bought for it was the pink wings for $6 shipped off Ebay. The pink leotard is from gymnastics last year and I made the tutu a few years ago for her. The fairy tights match her very favorite pink fairy dress and the pink flower shoes I got for almost free off Ebay last summer. I used iridescent curly ribbon I raided from my bow/ribbon box in her hair. Super cheap costume equals Super Cute!

Ethan in his dragon costume. It was a little on the small side but it was the best looking one I found in my consignment store search the week before Halloween. I wanted a costume that involved a roar because his roar is absolutely adorable. He didn't like the hood up at first, but then he realized he got more candy when it was on so it stayed on through most of the trick-or-treating. He could have worn a paper sack and been happy. All he cared about was the "nandy!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Photography & Apology

I can't believe it's November 12th and I just got around to getting the Halloween photos off my camera today. I haven't even opened them to begin editing them. I've been too busy lately and then this morning I got to practice photographing a newborn which was soooo much fun and of course I had to see how the photos turned out. You can see them here on my photography blog. So next up is the Halloween photos. And changing my blog layout to a non-Halloween theme.


I promise that soon enough I'll be back in the blogging swing of things and you'll be asking me to stop!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Hunt

Yesterday after church we ran out to Perrydale real quick to pick up two more big pumpkins for carving and also wound up with a bunch of itty bitty pumpkins that look very nice on my mantle. We went with some friends from church and the kids had a great time piling pumpkins into the wheelbarrow (especially the little ones!) and taking turns riding in the wheelbarrow on top of the pumpkin pile. I'm definitely excited about the pumpkin I picked to carve, it's got a great flat wide spot which I think is going to be easy to work with.

The two gourds in the middle of my pumpkin row are actually from Freddies and not from our generous church friends who own the pumpkin patch. I just thought they were neat looking and it will all get incorporated into my Thanksgiving decor next month as well.

Kids Room Remodel Progress

We started to redo the kids' room this past spring and we're almost finished. The new wall decor is a huge help. Now all that's left is replacing the crib! That's definitely on the Need To Do list.

Last week I finally got the wooden frames of the two cork boards I bought for the kids' room painted. I took down the quilt we've had hanging in that room for over three years and patched up the wall. And then my most fantastic husband put the two cork boards up for me and I love them! It's soooo nice to have somewhere to display the bazillion crafts, colorings, and schoolwork that we have laying around here. Ethan's board is a little bare, but I'm sure it won't take too long before his is covered in stuff too. In fact he's got a black bean cat craft to hang up that he made at Indoor Park this morning (it's drying...lots of glue!).

I think I'm still going to put their names in wooden letters by their boards, but I need to buy the letters for Grace's name and paint them. Perhaps that will be a project for another time. Another time when I have the energy to drive out to Michael's with a coupon. Could be awhile. Ethan's name is currently sitting on the built in shelves.

Here's what the wall looked like before. The bunny quilt is really pretty but doesn't match the rainbow room we have now. I'm trying to make the room less girly and more unisex, plus we really did need somewhere to display the kids' artwork so the cork boards are a practical solution.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Photography

Yesterday afternoon I spent 30 minutes with my camera in the yard enjoying some fall foliage and the pumpkins on our front steps. I sat down to edit some of them tonight and couldn't decide what look I liked best. My brother and my husband had no opinion either (other then David liked the color versions better since he likes the color orange). So I thought I'd ask for some opinions from the general public. Which do you like? Voice your opinion in the poll on the sidebar and/or leave a comment.

Option #1 Soft and Bright

Option #2 Barely Touched

Option #3 Moody Sepia

Option #4 Color Burst

And just for fun, some more fun fall bokeh courtesy of our side yard bushes:

Swine Flu Vaccine

Yesterday Polk County hosted a free Swine Flu Vaccine Clinic at the fairgrounds from 2-6pm. We were there by 2:45 after picking Grace up from preschool. We stood in line for 1 hour and 45 minutes before we even got inside the building. Once we got inside the building we were given a form to fill out for each person receiving the vax and then we got into another line. We were in that line for about 20 minutes before we were given the vax info and sent to the Nasal Spray vax line. We were in that line for 20 minutes before we finally had our turn.

All along I told Grace that she wouldn't get a shot but instead they would spray medicine in her nose. She is super scared of shots after getting her 4 year shots in August and the flu shot 2 weeks ago. I knew she'd be a challenge and she was. As soon as she saw the syringe looking thing she freaked out so I had to hold her in a headlock so the guy could administer the vaccine. Ethan watched this whole thing without pause. He sat on my lap and let the guy do his nose with a bit of a fuss but I didn't even have to hold him still. So much easier. The guy gave me the regular shot in the arm which I prefer (although my children definitely wouldn't!) and we were on our way home.

We got there at 2:45 and left at 5:20pm. As a treat I got a DQ Blizzard for the kids and I to share (Cherry Cheesequake was what Grace really wanted...probably because it's pink) and then we rushed dinner to get Grace to AWANAS by 6:30.

I'm glad we got the vax yesterday even though it was a long wait. I have to take the kids back for a second dose in a month and I'm hoping that the line for that won't be as bad. Apparently kids under 10 have to have two doses. I'll have to start thinking of a bribe for Grace since I know she's not going to be a fan!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grace's Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Last Wednesday was Grace's very first field trip with her preschool class and it happened to be to the Pumpkin Patch. All the kids were supposed to bring at least one adult with them (can you imagine taking 16 preschoolers to the pumpkin patch with only 2 adults? Yikes!) and siblings were welcome so Ethan and I came along as well. The weather forecast called for rain so we dressed in rain coats and boots and I decided to brave bringing my camera along. The rain didn't happen until the last five minutes we were there. Instead we were nearly blown away by some seriously strong wind! At least I didn't have to figure out how to keep my camera dry.

Once everybody was more or less assembled we got to take a hay ride to the pumpkin patch. Ethan wasn't too sure about the hay ride, but once we went by some cows both kids got pretty excited. They didn't even notice the huge field of pumpkins until after they couldn't see the cows anymore!

Grace excited on the hay ride!

Once we got to the pumpkin patch each child was given a plastic bag to put their pumpkin in and we were set loose. Grace wanted a small pumpkin and found hers really fast. Ethan spent more time watching everybody else and couldn't figure out what we were all doing with pumpkins. Grace showed him how to hold them and he looked so confused. I don't think he liked all the dirt!

Grace holding her prized pumpkin

Ethan wondering why on earth I wanted him to hold a dirty "ball" with a stem

After the kids had all chosen a pumpkin we piled the pumpkins back on the truck and then walked over to the apple orchard nearby. The farmer gathered the kids around him and talked about apples and how to grow them. At the end of his speech he said that everybody could pick one apple each. The kids thought that was super fun and immediately tried to bite their apples. I managed to get them back fairly quick so we could enjoy them (washed!) later.

Grace listening to the farmer with the rest of her class. She was very interested in how the trees got a "haircut" and kept trying to tell the farmer about how her Mommy takes her to get her haircut too!

Ethan found his apple first

Grace showing me her apple

Next we got to go through the corn maze. The corn maze was in the shape of a covered wagon and was a lot easier to navigate then I anticipated. Of course I let Grace decide our course and maybe she just has a better sense of direction then I do! In the middle of the corn maze there was a tall pipe slide and stack of hay bales. Grace went down the slide a few times and I attempted very unsuccessfully to take a photo of both kids together. I couldn't get them looking at me at the same time, and if they did they were sitting two feet apart. After a zillion tries I got one where at least they're both looking the same direction. Maybe I'll try again sometime.

Trying to keep up with the kids through the corn maze

Grace loved the pipe slide!

As pathetic as this picture is, it's actually the best one I have of the two of them together.

After we found the exit from the corn maze we went by the petting zoo area. Grace didn't want to touch the animals but liked to look at them. I didn't get any pictures of Ethan with the animals because I couldn't peel him off of my legs. Apparently farm animals are scary in real life. They're fine in books, but the real noises they make are not for him!

Hello Sheep!

Our last stop was at the donut and cider tent. We got in line for a dixie cup of really tasty apple cider and an apple cider donut. The kids slurped the cider down pretty quick before they attacked their donuts. As we were finishing up the rain started so I hurried them along and we jumped in the car. The whole trip lasted about two hours, and all during Ethan's usual nap time. He fell asleep before we even left the parking lot and Grace fell asleep somewhere between Salem and Dallas. It was a fun trip.

Grace enjoying her donut. I noticed that Grace had outgrown her pink rain coat only after I put it on her when we arrived. Ethan's still fits from last spring though!

Poor Ethan getting blasted by the wind...look at his hair!

What we all looked like by the end of two hours of heavy winds and the start of a downpour. Notice there are no pictures of me!