Growing Out On A Limb


Happy Halloween!

Gone are the days of Halloween frat parties and adult-themed costumes.  These days Halloweens are all about making costumes for my handsome little boys and a bit of trick or treating.

This year’s costumes started with Oliver watching Toy Story (again and again).  He liked the idea of a Woody costume so Mr. Potato head seemed appropriate for Emery (especially since a Bullseye costume seemed too difficult and a Jesse costume seemed inappropriate).

And what a cute potato head he makes, don’t you think?  I want to take a bite right out of him!

The costume was made largely from an old robe I found at a second hand shop.  The other pieces were appliqued on and the ears stuffed and sewn into the seams.  The bowler hat adds the perfect touch!

Woody was a little harder than I anticipated, mostly because the yellow shirt was hard to find.  I ended up with a ladies small shirt, resized it, and drew the lines on with a marker.  The vest started out as a little girl’s dress that was cut down and resized as well, with cow spots appliqued on.  Neither of them were quite right (because I’ve never resized clothing before) but they did the trick.  The “boots” are basically leg warmers that just slipped onto his pant legs and were basted on.  

What a cute little cowboy butt!

We had the hardest time getting Oliver to wear his hat.  He loved it in theory but refused almost entirely to put it on his head.  That is, until Papa came home and put on his own.  Papa loves cowboys but I think this this one has a special place in his heart!
We trick or treat’ed to a few houses, a few close friends and family.  Oliver liked saying, “Twick oh Tweat!” and was very good at Thank Yous.  He seemed to forget about the candy as soon as it went into his bag but I’m sure he’ll appreciate the reminder tomorrow.



First snowfall

It didn’t turn out to be as much as predicted (at least in this area) but it was the first snowfall of the year and we were out in it.  There was something about my little boy looking out the window and yelling, “It’s snow outside!” that made me want to dress up and roll around in it myself.

Emery was with us too but he was in the backpack so there’s no sign of him in the photos.  Truthfully, he fell asleep, so was obviously not impressed with the snow and cold.

It was late morning by the time we got out so much of the snow had already melted.  We could still make the odd snowball though.

Snow or not, Oliver loves having Nelly along with us.  He laughs at her coming in and out of the woods, like she’s hiding from him.    

Despite the novelty of snow, Oliver was still most excited about running through the puddles.

Today he told me, “I think I love puddles!”.  I believe him!

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Pipe Cleaner Strainer

I love love love coming across the simplest of play ideas.

I’m happy when they involve cheap dollar store supplies and/or ordinary household items.

I’m even happier when they are successful and keep Oliver busy for a while.

I saw this one on pinterest recently (but didn’t actually pin it so not sure who to acknowledge it to, sorry).  It involves nothing more than a strainer and pipe cleaners and then just letting them go.  Free play.

When he was all done he proudly picked up the strainer and brought it to me like it was a piece of art.

And it was!


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Apple Cinnamon Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Glaze

My friend Shari forwarded this recipe on and just in time since we had just picked up a bag of apples the day before.

These cookies are so so good and a nice change from the usual recipes I tend to lean on.  They’re awesome on their own but the maple cinnamon glaze puts them over the top.  I admit that I cringed at the tablespoon of cinnamon going into the glaze but I continued on and was glad I didn’t change a thing.

See all the yummy apple in there??


1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

2 Tbsp sour cream (I didn’t have any on-hand so substituted heavy cream)

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

2-3 apples, chopped (I went with three)


1 Tbsp butter, melted

1 cup icing sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1-2 Tbsp water


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add egg and sour cream; combine.  Add remaining ingredients, except apple, and sitr to combine.  Gently fold in apples.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are dry (mine took 11 mins).  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Drizzle glaze over the cookies.  

For the glaze:  Whisk together all ingredients except water.  Add water until the glaze reaches the desired consistency.

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Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Fall means pumpkin and pumpkin means yummy!

I’ve had monkey bread on the brain for a while now and I’m not sure why.  I’m also not sure why monkey bread is called monkey bread but it ended up delicious so I’m not going to worry about it.

I always go searching for pumpkin recipes this time of year and came across this one.  I didn’t get any pictures of the finished product but I did get a few of my little helper coating the dough in sugar.

He loves to help and looks so proud when he sees the finished product and relates it back to us making them.


1/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup warm milk

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp melted butter

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Approx. 3 cups flour


For coating

1/3 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon


For glaze

1 cup icing sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp half & half (or milk)

1/8 tsp vanilla



Stir milk, water, sugar, and yeast together.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to proof yeast.

Stir in salt, egg, butter, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and half the flour.  Mix.  Continue to add remaining flour bit by bit until dough pulls away from the sides and is sticky to touch but doesn’t stick to hands.  At this stage turn mixer on for 4-5 minutes to knead.  Lightly grease dough and bowl and cover to rise for 1 hour.

Lightly grease a pan and set aside.

For coating:  Put melted butter in one bowl.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.  Once the dough is risen, coat it by rolling about 1 Tbsp of dough into a ball, coating with butter and then rolling in sugar.   Place it in the pan.  Continue until the dough is gone.  Cover with plastic wrap and let raise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 25 minutes or until browned slightly.  Remove from over and cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze by mixing icing sugar, maple syrup, cream, and vanilla together until smooth.  Drizzle over monkey bread.

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I see so many really neat craft ideas for kids online but I find it a little difficult to find ones that are appropriate for Oliver’s age.  At this point he really just scribbles (cutely) or dumps the glitter glue instead of drawing with it (very cutely) or mixes all of the paint colors together so his pictures always end up that gag-me color of brown/purple/gray (which is still done very cutely).

But I figure that whether it’s scribbling or a masterpiece, he’s practicing important motor skills and creativity and, most importantly, we’re spending time together.

This time it was foam pumpkins.  I hot-glued the googly eyes on them (cause everything’s better with googly eyes) and we let loose with markers and glitter glue.

He wanted to go through all of the colors once he figured out how to squeeze the bottle and get some out.

I think he likes figuring out how to screw the caps on and off as much as he likes decorating the pumpkins.  Yup, we’re well into the “I want to do it!” stage.   I like this picture of his hands at work.

In the end I punched holes in every pumpkin and strung them as garland in our living room window.  I don’t usually decorate for fall or Halloween but I’m a sucker for homemade art.

And Oliver seems proud to see them hung.  It surprises me every time how a few scribbles or globs of glue can make this momma’s heart melt a little.  They’re all masterpieces to me!    

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Emery at (almost) 11 months

Emery is almost 11 months old and I wonder where the time has gone.  I know it’s terribly cliche but when you start measuring time by the growth and development of your young child, it somehow starts flying by at an unthinkable speed (and with no regard to mommy at all!).

Emery’s personality shines a little bit more every day.  He loves to make us laugh, to try everything his brother does, and to throw himself on anything soft (like the dog bed, cushions, etc).

Right now he seems to love these little nylon buckets.  I think he saw Oliver put one on his head once so now, several times a day, he will pull one clear over his head and then peek out of it with a big ole smile on his face.  I’ve even caught him bending over at the waist to put his head in one sitting on the floor.  What a clown.

Earlier tonight Oliver was doing somersaults on the floor.  He moved onto something else quickly (as Oliver tends to do) but a minute later Emery was bent over with his head on the floor and pushing forward like his was trying to roll over.  He’s constantly amazing me with what he takes in.  I guess I still think of him as my little baby and not yet as the little sponge he is.

He walks all around the house clapping and also loves to high-five.  At dinner he’ll throw his arms in the air just because he knows we’ll do it too (because who can resist playing baby games, especially when Oliver is laughing wildly at him and telling us to play along?!).  Ya, we all look like dorks but I can’t help but pause in those moments and think of how special they are.

So now we have this eleven-month-old who is extremely friendly, easy going, and just slightly tired of being pushed around by his big brother.  He’s a little more of a momma’s boy than Oliver is (this momma’s not complaining, by the way).  He is active to the point where I wonder if he’ll be even more active than Oliver was/is/continues to be.  It is hilarious to watch him toddle around the house on his little bowlegged legs.

I love this little face so much.