Operation Christmas Child

I’m sure you have heard of Operation Christmas Child before. If not, it’s a charity organization that provides boxes of gifts to children around the world. We have participated in the past and this year my Mom wanted to take all of the boys out to pick items to each fill a shoe box. You can view the pictures of our shopping process by checking out my Instagram, but here are few of our filling session:

IMG_3918 IMG_3920We weren’t sure exactly how it would go taking all four boys through Target to pick out gifts that were not for them, but they were so excited to be together and to pick out gifts for other kids. They definitely had opinions about what we should and should not get (they were rooting for a very large car and a big imaginext set, but we informed them that would not fit in the boxes), and are excited to track their boxes to see where they go.

It may have taken four hours on a very cold Saturday, but it was very much worth the experience!

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Breakfast for dinner

Happy afternoon everyone! After a rainy morning and afternoon, we decided to do a bit of baking last night and make breakfast for dinner. On our menu were bagels and the muffins I mentioned on Friday. I use this recipe for the bagels, it’s my favorite. A and B have requested a cinnamon crunch bagel for Christmas, so I’m going to start figuring out how to create that. The bagels were of course excellent as usual. The muffins were delicious. You should go make them right now.

Here is a little photo journey of our baking process.

IMG_3841 IMG_3843 The boys’ favorite part is watching the bagels boil.


And asking if they are ready yet.


I always thought that making bagels would be very difficult, but it is quite simple! It takes a bit of time, but it is well worth it.


Then of course, we made the muffins as well. I was a little worried that the pears would all sink to the bottom, but they were distributed really well, and the combination of the regular flour and whole wheat flour was excellent.


And lastly I had to share J’s new word: Pumpkin!

IMG_3864He’s ready for Thanksgiving now!

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Time warp

time changeFor some, the transition of daylight savings time means an extra hour of sleep. For us, it means the longest day, ever. Despite J being on his second round of having a cold in the past three weeks, he woke up promptly at 6:30 (now 5:30) and took a less than stellar nap.

In addition, A is recouping from a sinus infection, and we were avoiding going outside for the day to shield him from the many allergens that are circling the south right now. A devised a game (because J kept snuggling up everywhere), where A and J snuggled on the couch under his sleeping bag, and pretended to sleep. I grabbed my camera and got a quick picture of B joining in the game. I love the look on J’s face! He cannot resist an opportunity to say “cheese” (or in his case it sounds more like “chaaezze”). This perfectly captures the essence of J, when everybody else wants to nap, he is still up and ready to go.

After some serious Curious George watching, train playing, coloring, and Clone Trooper action, it was finally time for baths and bed. Another time change well spent.

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A lion and a clone trooper

We attended a fall festival on Friday. I was grateful that we had the opportunity to go because a) I have to work on Halloween, and b) it is supposed to rain on Halloween.

A lived out his dream of being Alexander the Clone Trooper (no this is not a character from Star Wars, well the clone trooper part is):

IMG_3707 IMG_3708

And I relished in my most likely last year of J not having an opinion about his costume:


You may remember I posted this tutorial to my Friday Favorites about a month ago, which was where I got the instructions for the hood. I bought thinner yarn than I realized, but honestly it was so hilarious by the time I was done we went with it.

IMG_3716 J loves his hat so much, that I thought he would like the hood, but he did not. He kept saying “hat, hat” and patting his head after he took off the hood. So obviously I should have made a lion’s mane out of a newsboy cap. HA!

IMG_3717And one final shot. I definitely think George Lucas should have added lions to Star Wars. Although with the right clothes J could have rocked an Ewok look for sure.

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A trip to the botanical gardens

So we decided to take a little trip to our local botanical gardens this weekend. It’s not far from us, but with J any trip that takes longer than twenty minutes (round trip) is a toss up right now if he is going to start screaming and mutiny being in the car.

After A’s soccer game Saturday morning we decided on a whim to go and literally just swung by our house and grabbed snacks, sunblock and changed A into play clothes. I wanted to go this past weekend because they had already put out their scarecrow trail exhibit (on A and I’s fall things to do list), and they still had out (for the last weekend) their little me/giant garden exhibit (which is filled with water features, which J loves).

We set out with no time limit and just let the boys wander and switched off who was following whom. I posted quite a few pictures on instagram, but saved a few for the blog to share today.

botanical gardens photo1 photo2 photo3And yes we survived being in nature for an extended period of time…ha!

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How was your weekend?

A raised the roof for some Popsicles…

Popsicles A played in an extremely hot soccer game on Saturday…

soccer gameBut he ran! And he participated! He looks so big here.

I made the lemon poppy seed bread I talked about on Friday…

lemon poppy seed breadIt was so good! I didn’t have the pan size it called for, so I just used a standard 5×9 and cooked it an extra five minutes. It turned out great!

And B smoked his first whole chicken:

smoked chickenAnd it was really tasty. Can’t beat smoked chicken and Auburn football on a Saturday. 🙂

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Movie night

Sunday night has become movie night at our house. Last weekend the boys watched Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel. This weekend my husband picked Cinderella (an odd choice in my opinion, but that’s neither here nor there). Anyway, obviously my husband knew what he was picking because the boys were completely entranced by it.

So here’s a bit of the play by play:

CookiesNot even a fresh chocolate chip cookie could divert J’s attention.

IMG_2985This is how I find the boys “sitting” a good deal of the time.

IMG_2989This is B’s shocked expression as the stepmother locks Cinderella in her room.

IMG_2992J loved the horses and the mice the best. If he could see them around the HUGE advertisements for the network on the bottom of the screen.

IMG_2997A gave it two hands up! Although we did have a lengthy discussion about why Cinderella “stole” the necklaces from her step-sisters. He couldn’t quite get over the fact that the mice took them even if the step-sisters didn’t want them. “Stealing is stealing, Mommy”. Geez. As if Cinderella didn’t have a hard enough time as it is!

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Before back to school adventure

Thankfully we arrived at this past weekend with no illness (though not for J’s lack of trying!), and took the boys on a last hurrah trip before school begins. On a side note, J still does not like riding in the car. At all. Luckily our trip to the aquarium and children’s museum in Chattanooga was only about 2 hours each way, which limited the amount of times we had to restart Elmo the Musical and play Carly Rae Jepsen songs.

A was just as enamored with the butterflies as he was the first time we went, and that’s where we spent most of the time when we were at the aquarium.

IMG_2921His favorite was a big blue butterfly that kept swooping around him, which he ducked for cover each time, but then excitedly went looking for it again.

IMG_2930He also was excited about the flowers that he found that were similar to the ones he had picked out earlier this summer. “Yup, smells tasty” he stated.

The most hilarious part of the aquarium trip, my husband told me about after. While in the jellyfish area (which is dark), A and I were wandering around together and B was wandering around with J. J likes to pat things (like he will come over and give your shoulder a pat if you are sitting down, or he will pat the fridge to tell you he wants something), so naturally he was going around patting each of the large cylinder jellyfish containers to tell B he wanted up to see them. Apparently, J in his hurry ran up and patted a large man on the booty and then realized it was not a jellyfish container and ran off. The man whirled around and B said he pointed at J, saying “it was him not me, dude”. Seriously, hilarious. I really am disappointed I missed that!

IMG_2932J was pretty subdued overall at the aquarium, especially when he was in the stroller.

J’s favorite part of our trip was the water tables and cooking area at the children’s museum.

IMG_2943I honestly think he could have spent all day right here. Scooping water. Obviously I just need a big water tub and a fish net scoop for outside play.

I was so glad we got to make this trip before we returned to the hustle of work, school, and soccer. A was excited to have stories to tell about his adventures when he returned to school!

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On Friday we mentioned to A that we were going to take a surprise trip to the aquarium. So of course within eight hours of that mention he started running a weird fever with no other symptoms besides a headache. Unfortunately we had to postpone our trip and I spent Saturday morning with A at the doctor to make sure it wasn’t a sinus or ear infection (it wasn’t, huzzah!).

A was quite disappointed, until a pair of visitors showed up in our yard that pretty much made his day:

IMG_2835-001Meet Carrot and Pickles (A chose their names), two wriggly rabbits who made their way into our yard during the rain on Saturday.

IMG_2836J wasn’t quite sure what the fuss was all about, but he figured knocking on window would make them come closer (not so much).

IMG_2840A watched them for quite a while and then decided to go play Legos, while asking me to keep an eye on them.

IMG_2843Eventually Pickles moved on to the neighbors’ house, but Carrot stayed and nibbled on the grass awhile longer. Eventually he hopped on to greener pastures as well, but the boys loved seeing them! Rarely have we seen rabbits quite this big in the neighborhood, so it was quite a sight.

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