Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Baseball {2012}


Another season of baseball comes to a close ... fall baseball always seems to be over before it starts. Devin had a great season with huge improvements in his pitching. He is looking forward to some downtime in the off season but, he will continue with his private pitching coach and work on improving his speed in running.

Devin celebrating his double.


Celebrating the win!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our Christmas Wish

I know what you are thinking ... it is not even Halloween, why are we talking about Christmas. Hang in there friends, let me explain. You know how much our family enjoys being outwardly focused at Christmas. Last year we spent 24 days doing Random Acts of Kindness - surprising strangers with some Christmas cheer. I was all prepared to do that again this year.

Then, a few weeks ago an opportunity for hosting an orphan from Latvia for 4 - 5 weeks over the Christmas season was brought to my attention through a post by a friend on Facebook. I immediately went to the website and spent over an hour learning about this amazing program. Later that evening, when my husband came home from work I shared with him what I had found. He immediately, without hesitation, said "let's do it".

A week or two went by and we prayed ... and I kept trying to put this all out of my mind. Yet, I was continually awoken during the middle of the night with this opportunity on my mind. I know it was God's way of saying "trust me". So it is with great trust in God and a huge leap of faith that I agreed we should move forward with the process. My husband and I prayed some more and poured through the page of children and their bios. It was so hard to choose just one - we narrowed it down and went with who we felt God was leading us to.  Her name is Miranda and she will turn 15 on November 1st. In Miranda's bio she stated she really wants to learn ballet, loves working on computers, has won awards for cross-country running, and does not like to eat meat. We think she will be a good fit for our family.

We have just told our kids about what our plans are and they are so excited. They understand completely the financial sacrifices we will need to make.

If everything works out, Miranda will arrive sometime at the beginning to mid- December. She will come here with just the clothes on her back. Miranda is cleared for adoption so we will be praying while she is here for God to reveal to us if that is His plan or maybe, that we introduce her to someone who would consider adopting. And, that may not be God's plan at all, it may just be for us to open our home and hearts to this orphan over Christmas. We have no expectations other than doing our best to love on this child. And that is our Christmas wish.

Most importantly right now, we have until just November 1st to complete all of our paperwork and begin work on fundraising {nothing like waiting until the very last moment to get everything done}. Would you all join us in praying and, if you feel lead, help with a donation.

Click here to be taken to our fundraising site.

Thank you friends for your prayers!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apple Picking {2012}

This weekend we took a day trip to the North Georgia Mountains for some apple picking. The drive up and back were beautiful with all the changing leaves.

Pumpkins in the apple orchard.

After sampling a few varieties of apples, we soon found our favorite and decided to fill our bags.

Ava Mae insisted on finding the smallest apples because, they looked cute.

After picking two bags of apples, we headed back to the orchard store to pick out some more goodies.
It was such a fun day trip! Love spending beautiful days like this with my husband and kids. We came home with lots of farm finds ... 30+ pounds of apples, 2 pumpkins, cherry apple cider, apple cider donuts, and two fudge covered apples. I am off now to find some apple recipes on Pinterest. I guess it is safe to say I am over my pumpkin obsession and moving on now to apples.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pinterest Project : Chalkboard Dresser

This dresser has a story behind it ... many years ago my good friend, Christi, and I were yard saling when we came across this dresser. My friend saw it first and got the dresser for a great price. She had plans for new paint and cute knobs to update it but, it did not happen. Fast forward several years, and the dresser needed to find a new home. I was more than happy to help, especially because I had recently pinned this cute project below on Pinterest - involving a dresser and chalkboard paint.

Source: via Alicia on Pinterest

I was so excited to get started on this project I had to convince my husband to join me on a fun trip to Home Depot for the supplies. Yes, that was our date night a week ago - so fun. :)

My girls could not wait to be a part of the redo - so I put them to work on painting drawers while I worked on the main dresser. One coat of Rustoleum's Black Chalkboard Paint was all we needed. I followed the directions on the paint can to wipe down the dresser with a damp cloth and let dry before starting. I bought a roller brush for the best coverage and we used small sponge brushes for detailed areas.

I am so happy with the finished project {and the cost, just $15 for all supplies}. A new piece of furniture for our entry way that I can decorate seasonally both on top, and with cute sayings with chalk. I already have several ideas for the Thanksgiving and Advent for what I can write on the dresser.

Linking this post up with ...


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Field Trip : Carlton Farms

We enjoy visiting a farm every fall as one of our field trips. Last year it was Burt's Pumpkin Farm - this year we headed back to Carlton Farms - a working dairy farm about an hour from our home. The weather was perfect with high's only in the 60's.

One of the highlights of this field trip is the hay ride out to one of their pastures. They put premium hay on the ride so the cows come running to eat. They are not shy at all about sticking their heads into the wagon and eating away. We also got the opportunity to see a baby calf {less than 24 hours old} up close.

Ava Mae with the farm cat she wanted to take home.

My friend's son guarding the exit from the corn maze.

Girls were so happy to have made it through the maze and they found all of the 12 checkpoints.

No field trip would be complete without a picnic lunch with friends.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week in Review : Enjoying Fall

Another busy week ... we had fun getting out all of our fall decor and placing it around the house. We bought our first two pumpkins {hope to pick up some more tomorrow on our field trip}. Ava Mae insisted on this little white one. Love all the colors and shapes that pumpkins come in now.

In co-op this week we finished out our study of the United States. The kids all took a quiz on labeling a map of the US. Devin took it one step further and was able to label all 50 states, plus major landmarks which earned him a special prize. Our little greenhouses from science are growing our seeds into seedlings. The kids have enjoyed racing to the kitchen window each morning to check on them. 

Devin, Lexi and Ava Mae are staying busy with extra-curricular activities. Lexi was given a speaking role in the upcoming Christmas musical at our church. She really wanted the part of Emily and landed it - making her so happy! {Pictured above, Lexi has been working so hard on her flexibility since summer intensive and it has paid off.} Devin was also happy to be awarded a singing part in the Christmas musical. Both kids start practices this week.

This week, besides our normal Saturday game, we also had a Thursday night game. Love fall baseball and the nice temps we can enjoy - big improvement over the summer! Devin is pitching great! He has turned a corner with his speed, pitching now over 50 mph.

We wrapped up our week watching the Braves in their, shall we call it, "Wild Call Game". We won't soon forget what happened during that playoff game. Our History lesson called for eating an All-American meal for dinner to end our study of the US - so we cooked everything on the menu they planned out - hot dogs, mini-burgers, potato salad, chips and apple pie with ice cream.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Recipe : Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

We had new neighbors move into the home across the street two weeks ago and I wanted to bake them something to welcome them to the neighborhood. I remembered this great recipe from The Picky Palate that I had pinned last year {Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Spiced Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting}. I pinned it because, I thought it was a great recipe to easily pack up and give and bonus - it had pumpkin in it.

I followed the recipe from The Picky Palate with these modifications - I took out the box of pudding called for in the cake recipe. I have made recipes in the past with the pudding and found it makes for a really dense and heavy cake. I felt the pumpkin alone would make this cake heavy without that addition and I was right. Also, I sprinkled the chocolate chips on top of the cake batter after pouring into two pans rather than incorporating into the batter during the mixing process.

For the icing my modifications were - adding 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice rather than the 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon the recipe calls for. The recipe was a huge hit. My family devoured our pan and our neighbors loved it too. I received a thank you card telling us how super yummy it was and asking for the recipe.

Pictured below is the cake all dressed up ready to go to our new neighbors.