Pumpkin Carving and Painting

Growing up every year we had the tradition of carving pumpkins. I loved when we made cute jack-o-laterns, Free handing our carving and made whatever. As we got older we got the stencils and it got more difficult and time consuming, but still fun. We have passed this wonderful tradition on to our children, making lots of memories while we go.
Ella decided to help clean out the pumpkins guts, She actually got made when we tried to help.

She requested Minnie Mouse for the one pumpkin. Brian got the wonderful task of carving that one. She also wanted to make a smiley face. Ella drew the face and I cut it out. She then got to cut the ears, hair, and whatever else she wanted on the pumpkin. She was very creative. She was so happy and excited she got to use a knife. (with proper supervision)

On the other hand. Austin is not a fan of pumpkin guts. We put him on the table so he can squish it between his fingers. He wanted nothing to do with it,

Our finished carved pumpkins.

A few years ago when Ella was to young to carve pumpkins, I started the tradition with her of painting a pumpkin. This year we decided to continue the tradition with Austin. He had other plans. He didn't like having paint on his fingers. He did good at the beginning then noticed the mess on his hands. That was the end of that. He started crying and looking at his hands. Instead it turned into bath time. 

The finished product of the painted pumpkins


Friday Favorites

It's Friday again. Where has the week gone? I am joining in on Friday Favorites with Erika, Andrea, and Narci, sharing with you some of my favorite of the week. 
Halloween is next week already. Ella has a Halloween party at school on Monday where they pass out candy bangs. Last year I sent her with just a piece of candy for each kid, she came home with treat bags that other parents game out. This year I am keeping up with the Jones'. She is going with cute candy bags, spider rings, vampire teeth, and ghost suckers. (I thought everything but the suckers last year on clearance) I love that I prepared.

A few months ago in my Influenster box. I got this Mumsie daily facial moisturizer. I was skeptical at first since when you put the moisturizer on your face, it leaves it white looking until it dries. I am actually very happy with it. It is a great daily moisturizer without leaving my skin feeling to oily and leaves my make-up lasting throughout the day. I also love that it is affordable and found at Target. 

I am a sucker for catalogs. I love all the ideas they give me (that I normally never do anything with) and they have some great Christmas present ideas and items I would love for my house. 

Last year for Christmas Brian got me a subscription to Celebrations, a printed Disney magazine. I love a present that keeps on giving. The magazine gave me great ideas and helped with planning out Disney vacation this last September. 

I love Cleveland. We are Believeland and doing amazing in 2016. From the Lake Erie Monsters to the Cavs and now the Indians. We are in it to win it and going to rock the World Series. 

Look at these 3. They melt my heart when I receive pictures like these while I am at work. It makes me realize how special I am to have found a man to not only love me, but also love my daughter like she was his own, and be an amazing father to our son. 

Last with Halloween right around the corner we carved pumpkins last night. Ella decided she wanted the Minnie one, which Brian carved and she carved the smiley face one all by herself. I also made lightly salted pumpkin seeds. 


What's Up Wednesday

I found another awesome blog hop, What's UP Wednesday brought to you by Mel, Shay, and Sheaffer. The last Wednesday of every month these wonderful ladies link up to catch up with What's up with everyone.

What are we eating this week?
Monday- Honey Lime chicken with cinnamon roasted butternut squash and pumpkin risotto 
Tuesday- dinner at my parents
Wednesday- Fend For YourSelf (I have to work, Brian gets to figure it out for himself and the kids)
Thursday- Sausage stuffed acorn squash with mash potatoes
Friday- FFYS
Saturday- grilled cheese and veggies

What I am reminiscing about?
2 years ago we went to Boo at the Zoo, at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for the first time. It started the tradition. We are going back this weekend. I don't know who is more excited Ella or myself. 

What am I loving?
This fall in Cleveland has been amazing. The weather had been gorgeous. I have had the opportunity to take the kids outside for walks, to the park, drive with the windows done, etc.  Unfortunately it is starting to take a turn. Today has been rainy and only in the lower 40's, and slushy mix.

What we've been up to?
Fall festivities. Here are two fall activities I have talked about: Halloween Fair, and Trick or Treating

What I'm dreading?

What I'm working on?
We have started remodeling the bathroom. Brian says little by little it will get done. We replaced the shower head a few weeks ago. This past weekend Brian rechalked the tub. We want to redo the floor, walls, get a new mirror, come up with some shelf ideas, etc. One day it will get done, hopefully before we have everyone over for Christmas Eve. 

What I'm excited about?
The Cleveland Indians are in the World Series. Lets win it for Believeland.

What I am watching/reading?
I am a slow reader per say. Really I don't read as often as I want to and I have started reading 5 different books and haven't finished any of them. This is my most recent one that I am almost done with. I really need to get back to reading. 

Having two wild little ones doesn't give me much tv time. I do however have an obsession with Rachael Ray. Her show gets dvr'd every day.

What I am listening to?
I am a country girl at heart and listen to the radio when the kids are in the car with me. If I am alone it is all about podcasts. I love different Disney podcasts and listened to the weekly National Wakeup Call for Beachbody. I have just started listening to these 2 great mommy podcasts: 

What I am wearing?
As soon as fall was here it meant it was time for flannel and cowgirl boats.

What am I doing this weekend?
Saturday morning is Beachbody's quarterly event, Super Saturday. There is a live workout, inspiring speakers, business building tips, etc. I love their events. If you want more info on Cleveland's Events check this out.
Saturday evening we are Boo at the Zoo.
Sunday I have to work. 

What I am looking forward to next month?
Next month I am doing a No Excuses November accountability and support group. Along with working out, and eating healthy, we are also going to be focusing on "Happiness" and gratification. I have been in a little bit of a sour puss mood lately, and with the holidays coming this will be great. 


Healthy Pancakes

OMG these healthy homemade pancakes are a new family addiction. Ella requests them at least once a week, plus loves to help me make them. It happened as a fluke a few weeks ago. She asked to have pancakes for breakfast the next day and I agreed, but didn't realize we were out of store bought pancake mix. To pinterest I went to find an easy recipe and hoped I had all the ingredients I needed. Luckily I found a photo recipe posted by Fitwirr. I did modify the recipe to our family liking. 

Kid Requested Pancakes:
1 banana
1 egg
1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
2 Tbsp flour ( we use coconut flour)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1- Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl
2- Drop a scoop on a medium-to-hot skillet. Flip when bottom is golden brown.
3- Serve with your favorite syrup.

I decided to switch it up for my own pancakes. I have heard of people using protein powder or Shakeology in their pancakes so I decided to give it a try. It is so delicious. I could honestly eat it every day if I didn't love eggs so much.

Shakeology Pancakes
1 banana
1 egg
1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 scoop Shakeology (I prefer vegan chocolate)

1- Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl
2- Drop a scoop on a medium-to-hot skillet. Flip when bottom is golden brown.
3- Serve with your favorite syrup or natural nut butter


Christmas Lists- Ella Edition

Its becoming the "Most Wonderful Time Of the Year" (make sure when you re-read that you sing it.) Everywhere you turn it is starting to look like Christmas. From stores already having up decorations and trees, Hallmark Channel starting holiday movies next weekend (before Halloween), commericals calling the kids names, and the Toy R Us toy book came in the mail. Before you know it the music will start.
We actually started Ella's list for Santa a few weeks ago. When planning our Disney vacation I had read an article about taking a picture of what your child wants throughout the day and then going back through the pictures at the end of the day or vacation to determine what item you will buy. We did not do this while at Disney but I thought we could use this for Christmas. (it has also helped with mommy buy me this) Now every time we go to the store we take pictures of what Ella wants to put on her list for Santa. 

There isn't any sort of trend of what she wants. Her price range varies from small shopkins, or happy house, all those little things I don't understand. 

To a doll house that is $200 and we really don't have any room for. 

She also wants some legos but is very picky on which ones she wants and doesn't want. I am surprised that she doesn't want the Disney princesses, which I want. 

She also wants random games, but that are Dory, Frozen, or Trolls. She doesn't want the classic originals. 

Now I could go on and on about everything she wants for Christmas. I have at least 50 photos on my phone, but more on her actual Christmas will come in the next few weeks when we start finalizing it. Today however when I asked her what she wanted the most it was the power wheels princess carriage. Walmart had it on display on the group where kids could sit in it. Shockingly Ella fit in it, had room to spare and plenty of room for her brother next to her. Now only if Santa was rich to afford a $400 power wheels. 

Now she even has a longer list of toys out of the Toy R Us book. She knows the difference between toys that she is to big for but not toys that she isn't big enough for. She will tell you that is for a boy, and this is for a girl. (even though Austin plays with 75% girl toys) I just keep reminding her that she doesn't get everything she wants. But I love her excitement to pick out items for Santa to get her for Christmas 


Halloween Fair Carlisle

Saturday evening after going to Berea for trick or treating during the day we went to Lorain County Metroparks Halloween Fair at Carlisle Reservation. This is another tradition we try to do every year with the kids. It is a affordable family friendly Halloween event. 
The cost is only $2 per person, and Austin was free. It is only open on certain Friday and Saturday nights October. It is family friendly from 5-7 then is for adults after 7 for the haunted Halloween walk, which is similar to a haunted house. 
We arrived right when it opened at 5pm, to make sure we were able to get close parking and not have to be shuttled. This guaranteed that we would be able to get everything done during the family time frame. After 7pm many of the activities close. 
The first thing we did was get in line to ride either a green choo choo train or a hayride. We chose the hayride since the line was only 5 minutes compared to 20 minutes for the train, plus we rode the train last year. 

One thing I liked about the hayride, I was able to sit down without having to take my sleeping prince off my back. He was content there and it isn't the easiest to take him on and off.

Along the path there are a bunch of blow-ups, some plastic skeletons, and wooden Halloween carve outs. Here are a few of the blow-ups.

There is a great paved walking trail that they decorate and have haunted house stops along the way. As we were starting to walk down the walking trail my prince charming decided to wake up. This was the first time I had worn him on my back. He seemed to enjoy it, plus it didn't hurt my back and was very comfortable.

Along the walking trail there are pumpkins, which at night are lite up.

Plus this year they included a story along the way. Ella didn't want to read the story. 

Along the path there was a few photo opportunities. 

Plus haunted areas. At night for adults it is like a haunted house. I can't imagine how scary this really is at night.

Carlisle is known for the water field of carved pumpkins. They also get lite up at night. 

One of the last things along the train is a tunnel the spins. Ella and Brian went through it together as Austin and I walked around it. One of these years we keep saying we are going to come back without the kids and experience the adult walk in the dark with the "haunts"

Throughout the whole park there are different wooden carved photo opportunities. Ella just had to take pictures at all the ones we came across. 

There are other activies besides the train, hayride, and walking trail. There is also a balloon maker (which is free), face painting (at a minimal charge), a dj bubble dance party, typical fair food trucks, and different kids games that take tickets that cost money. We have always avoided the games since it has always been a long line. 
We had so much fun this year. Ella is already asking to come back. 

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