fall crafts

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I’m always looking for new ideas to keep my little ones busy. Whether it’s drawing, painting, baking or something alike, creating is something we always enjoy to do together and it’s a good way to keep little hands busy.  Madelyn is at the age where she is coming up with her own creations and I just love it. Autumn is such an inspirational time of year, I think. Last weekend, we spent most of the weekend at home and so we decided to use the cornstarch dough recipe we usually use for Christmas ornaments and made some fall leaf ornaments. We then used an old hanger and made a fall mobile. While we were in the spirit, we made some ghosts out of old fabric I had and Madelyn made some spooky drawings to decorate our front door. We turned on some Halloween tunes and crafted away. If you’re interested in the cornstarch dough recipe, it’s super simple:

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 cup baking soda

3/4 cup water

Mix ingredients in a medium pot on the stove over medium heat, stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken and has the texture of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and spoon the ball of dough into a bowl. Cover with a damp cloth until it is cool. Once it is cool, sprinkle the surface of a cutting board or table with some cornstarch and knead the dough, add additional cornstarch as necessary so that the dough is not sticky. Once your dough as a similar consistency to sugar cookie dough, roll it out and use cookie cutters to create your ornaments. Transfer ornaments to a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a straw to poke a hole at the top of each for hanging. Bake at 175 degrees (f) for one hour, turn them over after 30 minutes to bake evenly.

After we baked our ornaments and let them cool, we painted them with gouache paint (that’s what I had on hand). I have also used glitter to decorate in the past and that is also fun!

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creamy tomato + basil soup

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I must admit, cooking has never really been my strong suit. I love to bake, but cooking has always been a bit harder for me. I am learning, though – and I’ve grown more interested in it, so that helps too! Anyway, I’ve made this soup a couple of times and I must say it makes me proud. It’s yummy and creamy and not terribly difficult to make (so long as you have an immersion blender – using a regular blender is a MESS, let me tell ya!). Since it’s that time of year when soup just sounds so tasty, I thought I’d share this from when I made it the other day. The other good thing about soup is that you can make it ahead of time, it tastes just as yummy reheated and you usually have leftovers that you can either freeze or have for lunch the next day.

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Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 red onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced (I use the pre-minced Market Pantry garlic from Target!)

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

4 cups chicken stock

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1 cup heavy cream

1 bunch basil, torn or chopped into pieces (plus some extra for garnish if you like to pretty it up 😉 )

Parmesan cheese (to taste + for garnish – I like cheese, so I add some in the soup and also some on my bowl for garnish)

To make…

Heat olive oil over medium-low heat; once it is hot, add the chopped onions and cook until soft and starting to turn golden brown (stir occasionally). Add the garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute, stir to avoid burning.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes (or longer).

Puree the soup using an immersion blender.

Stir in the cream and basil and let simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Careful not to over-salt. Add parmesan cheese, stir.

Spoon into bowls and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and basil leaves.

I like to serve this with warm bread and caesar salad. Enjoy, friends!

 

 

baby caleb

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Last Saturday, I went into labor in the afternoon while taking these maternity photos of myself. I was getting ready to go to a movie with my husband, a date night that we figured would be our last for a while, and since I was getting dressed, I thought I should take some photos while I still had some energy. I was carrying very low and had very bad round ligament pain throughout most of my pregnancy, so my energy level was dipping more and more every day. I had my camera out and was going back and forth with my self-timer, checking the focus, etc. While I was doing this, I noticed that I started…leaking a little (sorry TMI!). I wasn’t sure what it really was because my due date was four weeks away and I had never actually had my water break with my two previous pregnancies. I had been told, though, that if your water breaks you need to get to the hospital. I googled “what happens when your water breaks” to see if that was what was happening and then I decided to call the nurse. They said I definitely needed to go in, so instead of going to a movie, my husband and I headed to the hospital. I was feeling very unsure, I kept thinking, no, it’s not happening yet. It’s probably nothing. But as we got closer to the hospital, I was like, ok, wait…I’m not ready yet – this was supposed to happen in another month! Well, my water did break, it was a slow “leak” you could say. It was a very long night. I felt 100% fine when I was admitted, so the labor was slow at first. We practically stayed up all night waiting for contractions and when they finally started, they came on pretty quickly. Caleb Michael was born at 6:33 am Sunday morning, he was four weeks early and weighed 7 lbs. 1.8 oz. He is so tiny to me! (My other two babies were 8 lbs., 9 oz. and 9 lbs., 11 oz.) The first thing the nurses called out when they were cleaning him off, was “he has dimples!” and he sure does. We had to stay in the hospital an extra day because he was late pre-term. He had a couple of issues, but overall was very healthy. When we left, he was still high-risk for jaundice, but the pediatrician assured me last week that as long as he is eating normally, he will be fine. He’s still pretty sleepy, but he’s starting to stay awake a little longer every day. We are so in love with our precious boy!

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And…he’s an October baby, so of course I had to get some photos of our pumpkin with our pumpkins! 😉

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angels: diy halloween costume inspiration

If you’re like me, you’ve been thinking about Halloween costumes since, uh…spring? I have been, though! I get so excited for this time of year and coming up with Halloween costumes is so fun and my girls love to dress up, so it’s a win-win. The good thing about costumes is that they can be re-used all year long for play-time! Since Halloween is approaching, I have teamed up with Skechers to share some costume inspiration for any of you that might be seeking out a practical, yet adorable costume. I say practical, because everything about this costume (other than the wings and star-garland) is literally just every-day clothing. Plus, the Skechers the girls have light up, which is not only fun for the them, but they’re also really great for trick-or-treating once the sun goes down! And most importantly, they’re comfortable for them to walk in (and if you’ve ever gotten “costume” shoes for your child to wear, you know how it might go if the shoes they’re trick-or-treating in are uncomfortable…not so fun!). 

Here’s all you need for this angel costume:

Star wire garland (Michael’s)

Angel wings (I got these on Amazon about three years ago)

White dress (the girls’ closets)

Skechers Twinkle Toes: Shuffles-Flutter Up

That’s it! So simple, so easy — still fun!

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