Friday, September 30, 2011

Pre-Birthday Celebration

In order to 'celebrate' Alex's birthday properly, it is a multi-day event. Today Justin and I took her to the Mall of America to do a little shopping (she picked out a new pair of patent teal shoes.. and yes- she's wearing a peacock tutu and long underwear shirt. She's taking great pride in dressing herself these days) and gelato-tasting. If I haven't posted it before, Paciugo is our favorite stop whenever we're at the MOA-- we always try about six different flavors before settling on the ones to buy! But our day wasn't done yet... Brad took us all out to Joe's Crab Shack. Despite the loud music (which normally bothers our sensitive girl), Alex had a fantastic time. The waitstaff dances and sings, they have a sand playground, and Alex got to eat her weight in crab legs! We came home, the kids collapsed into bed, and Dave and I got to get everything set up for Alex's birthday morning.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall prep!

We've received more winter squash from our CSA than anyone could ever we're freezing it! (I know it would stay good for months, but this way it's already cooked and ready to go when we want to throw it in a soup or casserole). So...while I spent the morning in the kitchen with this-- Alex and Justin played in their tent. It's so fun to watch them interact (minus the times that I have to take the 'leash' off of the baby....yep- multiple times). Alex absolutely loves having someone to play with, and Justin couldn't be happier to be manhandled and told what to do. A match made in heaven.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Nature Table

With Dave being gone (and home again....and gone again...and home again-- this time for good), I've been on 'single parent' mode, and fell WAAAY behind on the blog (which is now caught up, thank you very much). Between the end-of-the-summer vacations, school starting up, all these harvested fruits and veggies to store, my quilt business and Alex's upcoming birthday it seems like Fall snuck up on us! I finally had some time to set up our fall nature table this evening, after the kiddos were tucked in. We're looking forward to a great Birthday hike this I'm sure my 'pristine' table will be filled with goodies from that excursion soon. For now we have a mama-made fall 'elf', a corn doll and beeswax pumpkin made by Alexandra, and some fall delights we've collected-- a crabapple, some grasses (in a 'boquet' for Mama), and some felted acorns made by MWS 7th graders. Happy Fall!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dirndl Day

So....this is what Alex chose to wear to school this morning. She was a BIT excited to have a real "German girl dress" (complete with long-sleeve underlayer...authentic, huh?). I figure that it will only fit for a while, so why not make use of it? She also got to deliver the Ostheimer toys that Daddy picked up for her classroom to Miss Brenda. Joy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Daddy's Back! (kind of)

So....Dave got in last night (after dinner), and we have to bring him BACK to the airport this evening! Can you belive it!!! (He's only going to be gone for one night this time...something about an important meeting at the White House....really!)
His timing worked out, though. We had Justin's 9 month photos scheduled for this morning, so he was able to come to those. Then we went to Edinborough Park for a little bit before we dropped him back at MSP International. He left lots of 'goodies' with us, though (Ostheimer toys, a dirndl for Alex and chocolates for me), so I guess that will keep us entertained until he comes back tomorrow.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Princess Alex and Princess Emma

We've had our 'rough days' with Dave gone (think 40 minute 'power-struggles' in the parking lot at school, tears and sadness), but he comes home tonight!! To keep our minds busy, we asked the Mulders if they'd mind us tagging along on their family Renaissance Festival visit.

We arrived at just the right time. The King and Queen were holding Court inside the entrance. Alex was asked to come and meet the Queen and receive a very special gift (a gold coin!) She was awestruck.After their session at Court, the princesses got 'matching' unicorns.....I was not too impressed with the artistry, but you have to hand it to the face-painting lady....she has a way with globs of glitter!

I think Justin is REALLY longing for some 'Guy Time'. He was Joel's little buddy from this moment on! (I told Dave this photo would make him horribly jealous!)

The princesses visit the 'farm'.

And ride an elephant.....I don't know....Elephants are 'very' Renaissance, right? :-)

They watched the Warhorses in the arena for a while.And then decided to try their hand at riding as well.We attended a Children's Drama presentation, led by 'Fauna', a storyteller extraordinaire. At the end of the show the children got to participate in a 'quest'. Guess who was first and second in line? ;-)

Alex remembered visiting the Fairy Garden last year, so we took a nice little hike through the 'backcountry'.

And then rehydrated with a 'smoothie'.

What a fantastic day-- we love the Ren Fest... Thanks for a fun outing, Mulders!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Independent Guy

For the past week or so, Justin has been showing us that while he is happy to have us help him do things, he is actually quite competent on his own. For example: bottles. It is so nice to be able to hand him his bottle and have him take care of it on his own! (He still gets plenty of snuggle-time, too.... how could you not hug that little guy every chance you get!?). What a big 9 month old!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fischer's Apple Orchard: A Photo-Heavy Blog

I'm not exactly sure what constitutes a photojournal, but we have a lot of photos for today, so let's give it a whirl: We met some of our friends from Waldorf School at Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard (in our neck of the woods!) for an apple-picking playdate today.

We packed a picnic lunch to bring with. Alex made a lovely fruit salad to share with her friends. She was totally in charge of cutting everything. What a lovely fall day-- crisp enough for light jackets and hats, but sunny and beautiful!

Mmmm.....what will you become?

We were excited to actually get to pick the apples. Last year the apple orchards in the St. Croix River Valley were all but decimated by an early hail storm. They did not have any pickable apples! This year was much happier for orchard owners!

Even Justin got in on the apple goodness. The problem is that he has too many teeth to just be content to suck the juice. I had to watch him very closely, as he was taking huge chunks of the apple off!

After apple-picking the kids played and played....and played and played some more on the haybales and wooden train. They would take breaks to feed/pet some animals and then got back to work playing. This orchard was just right for kindergarteners (and their younger siblings) to explore. Not too big!

Determined to join the 'big kids'.

Home with some of our bounty.

The rest of our bounty-- Crabapples (a sweet variety). We washed them all, saved a quarter for snacking on and then got busy making crabapple jelly with the rest.

At the end of the day:

(what you don't see in this photo is that two days later I had to re-process the entire batch. I read online that crabapples often have enough natural pectin to not need Sure Jell in order to make jelly. Not these crabapples. All is well, though-- we have some lovely jellies to present as gifts this winter!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Auntie Carrie

Auntie Carrie has been hanging out, trying to a) be a fun-loving auntie to Alex and Justin and b) entertain me with adult conversation during Dave's absence. She's much appreciated in both areas!

It was rainy out today, so we decided to try and play a board game.....I think Alex and Carrie made it through the entire game, but I was too busy trying to keep Jus-Zilla out of the way to be sure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


At Justin's 9 month appointment, he was deemed a 'phenomenal' baby. He was so excited to explore the paper-covered table that the doctor had to move very quickly to get his vitals.

30" (90-97%), 21 lbs (50-75%), 18" head circumference (50-75%).

(Thanks for your help corralling The Boy, Auntie Carrie! Hope your first baby doctor appointment was a memorable one)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cat Girl

Justin was napping and I was working in the other room when I realized it had been too quiet for too long. I peeked around the corner to find my daughter deeply engrossed in some imaginary play. She had transformed into a cat. She and Percy were 'sharing' a bowl of water. Yum.

Out to Eat

Since Daddy's been in Germany, I've been a bit lax about actually cooking. It just doesn't seem worth it when I am the only one who really appreciates it! So, today, after our first day of Sunday School [which went very well for Alex (preschool class) and me (1st grade) both, thank you!] we headed to a new little cafe in Woodbury. I was nonplussed by the food, but at least I didn't have to prepare it myself! Alex has started ordering off the 'grown-up' menu, something that I was very thankful for, as there are much healthier options than the ubiqutous mac n'cheese or chicken fingers. In fact, she ordered a grilled chicken sandwich on a pretzel roll. Justin enjoyed his "Yukon Gold Parmesan Potatoes with Zucchini" (love Sprout organic food) and then snacked on some of my pasta as we enjoyed lunch out. Looking back, it was my first foray out to eat as a solo parent. They did a fantastic job!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Exploring the Arb

Since we had to be in Chanhassen this afternoon to pick up our year's supply of meat (I got a new freezer a few days ago, because out meat supplier,Painted Hill Farms, is going out of business), we were lucky to be able to line up a playdate with the Mulders at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We've always visited in the early spring, for the pancake breakfast, so this was an exciting trip where we were able to explore and hike. Besides us, there were about four wedding parties either having ceremonies, receptions or photos around, so the girls were very excited to see all the beautiful brides. Thanks for a great playdate, guys! Don't ask. I didn't. I just told her it was 'ok' to carry-- I wanted to see how far she'd drag it. I'd estimate she dragged this log about 200 feet or so, until she said she'd place it by the side of the trail and get it the next time we came. I think she wanted to use it for a 'project'.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bike Trip!

Alex amazed me this morning....she rode her Skuut bike all the way to the Spiderman Park (about 1.5 miles). She was absolutely DONE with riding afterwards, and we threw the bike in the back of the Burley for the trip back! This bodes well for a 'real' big-girl pedal bike (withOUT training wheels) in the spring....maybe the Easter Bunny will bring something like that!

Daddy left for a week in Germany early this morning (he's travelling for fun, so don't feel bad for Mr. Oktoberfest!), so the three of us are on our own for a while. I foresee lots of park dates during the next week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Early Harvest

You know how a few days ago I wrote that it was not chilly enough for a sweater vest.... Minnesota changed her mind. It was a high of 50 today- not that I mind a bit! There is a frost forecasted tonight, however, so I decided to harvest our tomatoes and let them ripen inside (thanks for the tip, Great-Auntie Robyn!). Alex and I picked while Justin 'helped' by repeatedly trying to shove tiny cherry tomatoes in his mouth.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fievel goes Wool

Due to my copious amounts of "free" morning naptime today, I was able to whip up this little wool hat for Justin. I think he looks a bit like Fievel (from An American Tale), so that's his latest nickname. He has his 9 month pictures coming up this weekend, so he needed a dapper 'new' cap. I'd been looking for a newsboy-style one for a while, but none of the ones I found were *just right*. Enter Butterfly Tree- a great little Etsy store that has fantastic patterns for 'beginning' sewers. I did this in one day! The material is from one of Dave's old wool sweaters, and lined (poorly-- but who's looking) with one of his old button-down work shirts. Can't beat that!

Establishing our Weekly Rhythm

Ah.... fall.... the summer 'craziness' is over, and we can get back to establishing our family rhythms. Last year (before baby J came), we had a great meal schedule going. I can't say that I've stuck with it since our family grew, but now I'm feeling like I have a good handle on things. Tuesday will be our baking and soup day. There's nothing better than a slice of fresh bread with a bowl of hearty soup.
Alex readying the veggies for 'stone soup'. Yep....we actually cook the stone, too! Here's to fall schedules!