Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treating

 It's pretty safe to say that my animals loathe Halloween.  That is all.

 My two Dalmatian puppies were very excited to go trick-or-treating.  Auntie Carrie came over to help out (THANK YOU CARRIE!!!!), and we stuck a "Please Take One" sign on our big basket of pretzels and gluten-free cheez balls in order to all enjoy a little door-to-door action.  
Kolachi is now convinced that Halloween means chicken.  Chicken when she saw people dressed up in masks- chicken when she was brave enough to let them pet her- chicken when she waited patiently at the end of a driveway for her kids to come back from a 'scary neighbor's house.  It was a socialization success!  Plus, who doesn't love a German Shepherd Puppy in a pumpkin costume?

We started at 5:45-ish, finished by 6:30, put out our candy for the Pumpkin Fairy, and were tucked into bed by 7.  Done and done! True Confessions: Then Mama put her feet up, watched a little Netflix and ate a scandalous amount of non gluten-free candy.  
(The Pumpkin Fairy left "REAL playdoh", two vinyl records, and an amber necklace for Alex)

What did YOU do before 8:30am this morning?

Poor Daddy has to jump on a flight to New Haven this afternoon, so he's going to miss out on all of our *super fun* (insert irony) Halloween traditions.  Namely, carving pumpkins.
I don't know what happened to me.  I used to love carving pumpkins.  At least I think I did.  Now it's just messy....and somewhat frustrating.  Give me a paintbrush any day..... but I digress.
Dave tackled the task with all the energy of a new day-- being that it was 6:30am when we started, I think these guys did a fantastic job.
It was Alex's first year of completely gutting, designing, AND cutting her own pumpkin.  She did a great job with the knife and only needed a tiny, teeny bit of help figuring out how to section off the larger pieces she was cutting.
Justin, not to be outdone by Big Sister, insisted on weilding his own knife as well.  I am happy to report that Dave still has all of his fingers.
All in all, they turned out to be quite darling, and we didn't have to forego the pumpkin carving tradition.  And I managed to make a vat of homemade applesauce whilst my carvers whittled away at their giant fruits.  Success!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boo Bash-- practice run!

Our local grocery store (Kowalski's Market) has an annual "Boo Bash" that they hold every Halloween-time.  It's a great dry-run for the big night, and, as the treats are a tad more 'Mama-approved' -- string cheese, apples, milk WITH a few candies thrown in,  we love it!
Last year we ended up waiting in a line while it was sleeting.  This year we got there bright and early (15 minutes before the doors opened) and were #8 and #9 in line.  Thanks, Mom, for instilling in me the value of arriving early.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Funday Part Deux

After playing at Afton Apple Orchard,  we headed to Carpenter Nature Center to a) show Daddy the ravine we found a few weeks back and b) actually purchase apples from their apple shack (we just like supporting the little guy a bit better-- plus their integrated pest management system is our choice for apples we'll be eating).

The kids hiked a ways down the ravine- navigating over mossy rocks and fallen branches until we decided to "climb a mountain" and scramble up the banks.  Justin was VERY proud of his strong two year old legs-- they got him all the way to the top! 

Sunday Funday Part 1

Since Daddy was home this weekend, we decided it was high time to do a little orchard-ing.  Afton Apple Orchard is dog-friendly, so we packed up the crew and headed out for a wonderful afternoon of hayrides (yep-- even Kolachi rode on the trailer!), petting zoo, playtime and apple-eating.
The kids had a great time, Kolachi encountered her first livestock (she knew that she was supposed to do something with those sheep, but couldn't figure out what), she met a lot of new and different people (socialization score!), and we all enjoyed apple cider donuts (it was a gluten-free experimental cheat day.....every so often we 'check' to see if their reactions are still there-- Alex is getting much less reactive, and I'll let you know how it goes for Justin).


Friday, October 25, 2013

Kolachi and the Kids

Life with a puppy:
Alex leads her through a barrage of tricks and commands every day, and loves playing tug with her.
  Justin has trained her to "give kisses"...and his favorite place to get kisses is his head!
She is such a sweetheart-girl....we're all a bit smitten (at least, until the 'puppy crazies' start and she gets too amped up-- but at least those are getting farther and farther apart in our day!)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Leaf Rubbings

I feel like this year, with the puppy and all, my normal fall crafts have gotten pushed to the side.  Luckily, Justin's ECFE teacher always has something set up in his classroom that reminds me of some simple art projects to do at home.  The kids were excited to gather leaves on our walk today in order to do some fall leaf rubbings at the kitchen table.  We had a new tip this year, too-- if you tape the LEAF down (and perhaps the paper too), it is SO much easier! :-)


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Planting her bulb babies

GranMama gave Alex a very special birthday present earlier this month-- a sack-full of bulb babies-- and it's a mystery as to what they are!  The weather was just right for planting them today, so we found the perfect place to make a bulb garden in the front of the house and Alex got to work.

sleep tight through the winter, Bulb Babies!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My kitchen guy

Just one photo -  my best kitchen helper EVER!  We keep busy while sister is at school-- today we decided to make Pumpkin Spice Chex Mix-- yum!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sever's Corn Maze-- or 'throngs of humanity descend upon a field outside of Minneapolis'

Dave's work gave us tickets to go to Sever's Corn Maze this weekend.  Who can pass up free tickets and some 'corn bucks' to use on rides and food?  Even though this was not a pet-friendly place (we called to check-- poor Kolachi :-( , we had a nice time.
It WAS extremely crowded.  Masses of humanity were out 'experiencing the country'-- or something. It was a bit too much for me, so we didn't stay nearly as long as we could have.
We played in the giant corn pit, saw a magic show (which Alex really enjoyed), took a very truncated hike in the corn maze, enjoyed a hayride for Justin and then headed home.
We missed the petting zoo (which apparently had an ostrich, baby giraffe and zebras), the pony rides, the pig races, the camel rides and all the other craziness that the other thousands of people were doing.  Sometimes I don't feel cut out for city living at ALL! (And this was in Shakopee-- the outskirts of the Twin Cities!)
Corn bucks- thanks, Surescripts, for funding our family outing! :-)
 This was a 'no-photo' type of day for Justin.  But I couldn't resist!
 Someone else was more than willing to pose!

Friday, October 11, 2013

See Her Run!

We've finally gotten the "bring" command under our belts.  I think this little herding dog does a pretty darn good job of retrieving, if I do say so myself!  (Thanks for the drop-in surprise visit today, Brad!  We all enjoyed the respite :-)

Quick Zoo Visit

Before I realized that I'd scheduled a freezer repairman to come by the house, the kids and I headed out to the Minnesota Zoo for a morning outdoors.  Luckily, the GE Repair shop that we called has an ingenious text service to let you know when the serviceman is 'on his way'.  We managed to make it home before he arrived, but were sad to call a perfect morning's outing short.
 The new baby Tapir was our favorite today-- SOOO cute, and just starting to change her coloring from stripes and spots to the blocked black and white of her Mama.
 Other than the quick trip on the Rainforest Trail, we spent the rest of the morning outside.
 Justin is convinced he has a wiggly tooth...
 Playing with our favorite sculptures- the Tiger family!