Friday, October 29, 2010

Emma's Princess Pumpkin

Today we carved our pumpkins.  Drew's was really easy.  He just wanted a Cookie Monster pumpkin which came with one of those little sets where you just poke the pieces into the pumpkin.  Can't complain with that one.
Emma on the other hand is a different story.  She picked out the princess pumpkin kit.  She's already so girlie when it comes to some things.
So we worked on our pumpkins today and tonight we will make candied pumpkin seeds.  Really it's a recipe for Pumpkin Seed Brittle, but it takes hulled pumpkin seeds and I'm just not willing to do that and I want to use our pumpkin seeds (I'm all about authenticity (;  and a good deal).  So I'll take the crystals that the hulls will cause and deal with it.
And here it is.......

.....the Princess Pumpkin.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bitten By The Bug

Time to get the bug spray out y'all.  We've got the stomach bug at our house.  I think this is the first time I've sat down in 2 days (nights included).
It is the most pitiful thing in the world to see your children sick.
It all began at 3:45 Sunday morning with Emma.  We heard her in her bed and I went and checked on her and didn't at all like what I saw, let's put it that way.
After a load of laundry went into the machine while Daddy rocked her, I settled into the chair letting Daddy go to bed and I rocked her, she was back sleeping and content.
Later in the morning, when everyone was waking up, we realized that it wasn't over.  Poor baby didn't keep anything down all day.
But she woke up this morning with quite the appetite.  After eating a gentle breakfast, she was exhausted.  She was so pitiful that when Drew and I were working on his "schoolwork" she fell asleep on the floor next to us.
That is so not like our full-of-energy Emma
Then, Daddy started.  He's got the bug.
Drew and I went to the grocery to stock the house with the sickie essentials.  You know the ones: soup, ginger-ale, saltine crackers, etc.
I also prepped everything in anticipation of my getting this bug.  Veggies and fruit are chopped and ready to just hand the kids for snacks when I don't feel like preparing something.  Sandwich fixings are on hand so I won't have to cook.  All blankets, sheets, towels, and pajamas are fluffed and ready for use.  I'm as ready as I can be.
Then after the preparations have been made, Drew starts.  He has been so big about the whole thing.  He's such a strong boy.  No whining or whimpering other than at the moment of being sick.  He just asks, "why did I spit like that?"  I told him that he got the germs that we talked about from Emma and they will make him "spit" for a little while.  But he'll be done soon.  He just shrugs his shoulders and says, "I'll be ok.  I feel pretty good right now."  What a guy!
Here is Drew laying in his "designated area" He's set laying on his Lightning McQueen pillow in his Lightning McQueen pajamas, under his Lightning McQueen blanket and eating ice chips out of a Lightning McQueen ziplock bag.

So that takes us to now.  We are relaxing, watching some football.  I'll go to bed (and probably get my first chance to read for a bit) after the game so I can be ready for whatever tomorrow brings.
So if anyone would like to get us some bug spray to keep this bug at bay, we'll gladly accept!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Biltmore House

After waking up, we enjoyed a quick breakfast and headed over to the Biltmore Estate.
First we went to the house.  There are such beautiful views and the home itself is so amazing.
Even the approach to the home is scenic
We didn't actually go in this time.  This is the first time that I've visited the home and not gone in, but there was so much else to do and we've toured it quite a few times, that we decided to forego the tour.
We toured the gardens though.  They were amazingly immaculate!

Back to the parking lot.  Even that was gorgeous.  
The estate is so big that it was a 2 1/2 mile drive to get to the winery.

After touring the gardens we went to the winery which now has the new Antler Hill Village, aka my new favorite area of the Biltmore Estates.
We had a wonderful time there.  The winery, as always, is beautiful on its own.  But now there is a whole little village of shops, restaurants, a sports center where you can rent equipment and bicycles to ride around the estate, and even a little creamery for an ice cream treat.
We went over to the barn area where we ate lunch at the charming little Smokehouse.  This was an area where they posted there menu of Carolina BBQ on a chalk board and a lady behind a half door took your order.  It was so cute!  Charming enough that we passed up some rather nice restaurants for it.
The biggest plus was enjoying our BBQ outdoors while the kids played in the courtyard. 
The kids are playing farm games while we eat our lunch
Emma stops to smell the flowers outside of the Smokehouse
Games for the children were set up in baskets and at benches all along the perimeter of the farm.

Drew and Emma found these little horses to gallop around on.

Emma playing on the chalkboard

There were simple yet beautiful fall arrangements everywhere you turned.

Farmer Drew about to take the tractor out

Farmer Emma had her turn too
"That Pumpkin is this big," says Drew
All of the scarecrows.... wait, something's not right here...
Biltmore would never have just your ordinary scarecrows.  I loved the romantic, victorian styled scarecrow
The family takes a moment to pose on "The Biltmore School Bus"  This really was a recreation of the school bus they used.
This was the view as you approached Antler Hill Village

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Drive On The Parkway

My favorite time of year in the Carolinas is fall.  
We headed up to the mountains for a weekend get-away.  It was beautiful!
The first day of our trip was just driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Colin drove his motorcycle and me and the kids lived the cush-cush life in the Jeep.  
It was beautiful!!  We stopped at several overlooks to let the kids stretch their legs, and in some cases to even run up and down hills.
The kids and I at "The Lump Overlook"
Climbing "The Lump" (I'm not making this up.  It really is called "The Lump"  (:
Emma and I after coming down, you guessed it, "The Lump"
Drew being silly at one of the look outs.

We took a walk down the hill to stretch our legs
Drew was telling Daddy how much he likes his motorcycle.
Next time we plan a mountain trip, I think what we'll do is plan to get on the parkway at the NC state line and drive to Blowing Rock and spend the night there.
See, the problem with this trip was that I love Blowing Rock way too much.  We stopped to visit our favorite little spot to eat, and we ended up staying too long.  This made for a long drive to Asheville, our final destination.
But alas, we made it.  We cozied up for the night for some sleep.... or so we thought.  
Ok, another lesson learned.  We've always had suites when traveling with the kids before so the kids could have their own little space to sleep.  
Well, brilliant me thought, "we'll just all stay in the same room this time, It'll be fine." ... famous last words, right.
Well, after a night of silly kids that didn't know how to handle being in the room with us, we finally got some sleep... at about 2am!!!!!!!!  Or at least that's when I woke up and realized that Emma was sound asleep in my arms in our bed!
For the first time ever in their lives, the kids slept in our bed.

The next morning came way too soon, but we were excited to get our day started and explore The Biltmore Estate.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chad And The County Fair

It's been a while, but last month our family took a trip to the county fair with the Cole's.  This family can't pass up a good ol' county fair!

There's something about corn dogs and funnel cakes with lemonade under blinking lights that I just can't pass up.  Find me some pig races and I'm in "hog heaven." (for the record, there were no hog races... but it would have been so cool if there were)
I don't know why, but I love the county fair.  It just makes me smile.  And to share the whole people watching, junk food extravaganza with our friends, the Coles, was icing on the cake.

We had a great time.

Now you know me, there's always a little story in there somewhere, so here it is.....

While we were at the fair, our friend Chad called Colin.  He made a little joke about Colin winning a goldfish for him.  Well what did Colin go off and do but....
And now we have our little goldfish, Chad, named after our friend who put this little idea in my husband's head.  Thanks Chad!
Now somehow, I have fallen in love with this little fishy of ours (probably because I'm the one who is now taking care of him.  Drew is learning though.  By the way, do you know how high maintenance gold fish are.  Apparently they are very pollutive little things.)  
Chad went through a little bit of a rough time right after we got him home.  His fins turned black and he was a little under-the-weather.  After a little bit of research I found out it was from ammonia poisoning and we fixed him right up.  The fair is certainly not the best place to get a fish if you are looking for healthy ones.  After my little bit of research, I have found out just how bad it is to keep so many goldfish in such a small place.  
But I like to think that it just made Chad stronger.  Our tough little guy (or girl... who knows) now has "a story to tell."  Chad pulled through it all and now is living the plush life in a tank with a castle and some plastic plants that sits in Drew's room.  

As for the fair, I spent a good part of my week there.  Along with visiting for fun, I also volunteered at the GOP booth to support our candidates in our very important upcoming election.  It was interesting to "talk turkey" with some good folks and to receive and share fresh perspectives about some of our current issues.
All in all, the fair was so fun and fantastic.  Here's another picture that sums it all up.  Me and Drew in a monster truck.  Love!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leaves And Their Deadlines

We planned a trip to the mountains this fall.
I hope we've booked the right weekend for a beautiful fall trip.
Leaves have their deadlines whether we make it there in time or not, so I didn't want to book it too late.  I want to see the beauty before the flurry of leaves falling to the ground.  I want to see the fiery reds and glowing oranges, the cautionary yellows in contrast to the cool greens.
What I don't want is to get up there and see the aftermath... the remnants.  The litter of leaves laying there like ground-in confetti after a good party.  
I don't want to be late, but will we be too early?  Only time will tell.  Here's where I've tried to keep up with the fall color reports, but regardless of what they say, the appointment has been booked, so it is what it is.
We have our own little fall going on in our backyard, so today Drew and I gathered up some of fall's bringings and made a little warrior to watch over "Sticky Forest" for us.
What are  you doing to celebrate fall?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Emby Taylor

So I've been piddling around on another blog I've created.  I found that I wanted to write more about things that I loved and that inspired me.  I want to share ideas and photography that doesn't necessarily have much to do with the kids sometimes.
But I don't want to stop making my books for the kids.  So my goal is to maintain both blogs.
I will be posting some stuff to both (like the tailgating post).  If I feel like there is something I'd like to share that I've created (recipes, decorating ideas, shopping finds, etc) I'll post it to the other blog.  And if it's something that involves the kids and family I'll post it to this one (so you can see where they will overlap sometimes)
Please stop by Emby Taylor, my other blog, and take a look around.  You know I love comments and I want to invite everyone to "follow" the new blog.
Thanks y'all for all of your support and making me feel so loved in my new venture!

LSU Tailgating In NC

Wahoo!  LSU continues their undefeated season past Florida!
One things that separates a good LSU tailgate party from any other team's is our food (there's a reason Louisiana / Cajun restaurants pop up all over the country).
One of my best friends and I are LSU alumni.  Funny that it took us moving to the Carolinas to meet.
And we love LSU tailgating parties!
The kids were decked out in their tiger-wear.  

Emma also enjoyed playing some LSU Cornhole

Emma looked like a little cheerleader.  Even after the sun went down and the temperature dropped, she looked like a cheerleader with her little LSU windbreaker on.
Notice my little girl is front and center watching the game at this tailgating party in the Siscoe's backyard.  

It really was cute.  Granted, I'm biased, but she was really adorable.
Drew also looked the part in his LSU jersey.

The food was incredible (of course... it's Louisiana fare which everyone knows is some of the best)

My contribution was the muffulettas.  Now if you've never had a muffuletta and you like those strong flavored deli sandwiches, you MUST make these!
(from bottom to top)
Provolone Cheese
Olive Mix *
On a Kiser roll topped with melted butter and Garlic powder
heated in a 350 degree oven until golden brown

*Olive Mix
jar of kalamata Olives
jar of queen green olives
jar of black olives
jar of mixed pickled vegetables
1 Tbls olive oil
chop olives and vegetables in food processor 
mix in oil and oregano

I cut them into quarters and serve them on my oversized LSU plate.  The plate was empty soon after they were served so I didn't get a picture.... but that's a good problem to have (:


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fight Like A Tiger With Mike

Karen got some time with Mike today.  They arranged to meet since she was his big supporter in the Capital One Mascot Bowl (Geaux Vote For Mike!!!!)
And you know about The Little Shirt That Could.
So she's combined the two for the most fantastic merging EVER!!!!!!!
I know to you non- LSU people this seems cool, but really, so what?

It's so everything, I actually teared up when I saw the picture!!!!!

The FIGHT LIKE A TIGER t-shirt made it onto Mike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Geaux Karen!  You've pulled it all off!  I'm so in awe!
She hired a photographer for the even, so I'll have better pictures later, but for now here it is:
Don't forget to hop on over to Karen's to see what's going on in the Mascot Challenge.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Papasan Friends

Just a cute picture of our little Tigers playing in Sadie's papasan chair together.  Melinda was quite brave... that's PlayDough they're playing with!!!!

Snack-O-Lanterns and Mummy Pizzas

Ghoulish ghosts, beastly bats, creepy critters.... they are all invited to my house this year for Halloween.
I love Halloween.  I think because I love anything in the fantasy genre.  If I get to go crazy decorating... I'm all in!
What will we infest our entrance with this year?  I don't know, but it will be startling for our trick-or-treaters.
I also love to go crazy with haunting treats in October.  Witchy pancakes are green (and pumpkin spice are for Mama and Daddy), pizzas look like mummies

and oranges are transferred into jack-o-lantern serving dishes for fruit snacks.

I got these ideas from Family Fun
This year we have costume ideas organized and started. 
Drew was easy.  He's been wanting to be a truck for a while, so I found a monster truck costume that we'll spruce up with details.
Emma, well, her's is a bit of a funny story.  A couple of weekends ago, when we were at Beautiful People Eat Pork IV, Emma was being a fussy eater.  The only thing that perked her up were cookies.  She shunned away from BBQ, beans, potato salad and even apple pie.  Cookies were her only interest.  She would grumble and fuss, "cookie" and sounded just like Cookie Monster.  So that's it.  She's Cookie Monster.
I'm making that one, so you'll see pictures when I finish.
Well, I'm off to do more decorating.  I love to hear about fun Halloween ideas.
What are some of your favorite Halloween ideas?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Playing In Sticky Woods

Drew and Emma love to play in the backyard.  It's also a nice time for me to get some fresh air.
I love to step back and watch them together.  They are so sweet to each other (sometimes.... most of the time, really).
It warms my heart.
Talking to Rascal, the neighbor's dog
Drew is pushing Emma along on his motorcycle

Emma tries to return the favor

But can't quite keep up

And off he goes