Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall craftiness

We have been feeling all sorts of crafty over here lately.  Here's a quick recap of what we've been craftin'...
Wax dipped leaves.  We took a quick walk through our 'hood to collect leaves and then we dipped them in melted paraffin wax so that they won't get dried up.  Waxing them was fun (Poppy especially loved doing that) but stringing them up was a pain.  

Next up is our monster garland.  I did most of the cutting and Poppy did the gluing and we both love the way it turned out!  Idea from here.

 We made our famous caramel chocolate apples.  I love that Poppy can really help make these now, and she loves being able to tell everyone that she made them.  We give these to all of her teachers and we bring them as treats to any Halloween parties we go to.  Recipe for the best caramel can be found here.

 I got out the acrylic paints and Poppy and I went to town on a few small pumpkins.  Super fun!

And then for tonight's dinner, we had Jack-o-lantern pie (aka chicken pot pie).  Kinda gross, kinda cute, right?  Poppy loved it.  (Well she loved the way it looked, but she didn't love having to eat the veggies that were in it, of course.)  And I'm so bummed that I forgot to snap a pic of the mummy dogs I made for lunch yesterday!

Friday, October 28, 2011

piano update

Poppy has been taking piano lessons for about 3 weeks now.  She is blowing me away with how fast she is picking this up.  I mean, blowing me away.  And she absolutely loves it.  We are taking lessons at Buffalo Suzuki Strings and the suzuki method is very unique.  The first part of the process is that Poppy has a cd of all the songs she will be learning and they encourage her to listen to the cd daily.  So I put it on her ipod and we have a copy in the car and surprisingly, she asks to listen to it all day long.  And it's so peaceful that it calms Sam down if he starts crying in the car.  I can't even remember the last time we had to listen to her princess songs - she really prefers to listen to the piano music.  And then  as soon she realized the songs on the cd were the same songs she was learning to play, it made her want to practice even more.   She has already learned how to play 4 variations of twinkle, twinkle and her first real song, Honey Bee.

Between her daily practices (which she unbelievably has yet to protest about) and weekly lessons and music classes, this is all very time consuming.  But seeing the results so quickly and to see how passionate she is about it makes it all worth it.  

And as promised, here are all the rats we have in our house.  A rather unusual amount of rats, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkins & The Lion King

Last weekend, we picked a nice freezing cold, rainy day to head to the pumpkin farm.  The rain stopped for all of 10 minutes, so we ran out of the car, picked out our pumpkins as fast as we could, and then ran right back to the car before we got drenched...
{This poor kid literally had about 10 layers on.}


Then later in the week it was off to see The Lion King!  We stopped at Poppy's favorite restaurant, Chef's, for dinner.  This was Sammy's first time here (I think he liked it!)...
Can you see that nice family sitting behind us?  When we first sat down, Sam would not stop turning around to stare and point at their food, until they finally offered him some.  Super embarrassing.  Have I mentioned how much Sam loves to eat?

After dropping Sam off at home, we were able to catch the train that took us to the theater.  Poppy was so excited to see that her cousins were on the same train and even got to sit with us at the show.  But she still can't believe that Amelia fell asleep during the second half of the musical...
It was a great musical, we all absolutely loved it.  Poppy was a little scared of Scar at first, but she loved the music so much that she was able to uncover her eyes and keep watching.  And she still can't believe Amelia fell asleep.

Monday, October 24, 2011

water adventures

For the past few years, Marc and I have been dying to buy our own kayaks.  After spending both weeks up at the cottage searching for kayaks to rent and never being able to find any available, we decided to finally take the plunge and buy our own.  We waited all summer for the best sale and finally at the end of September we went for it.  Luckily for us, my parents also really wanted to get into kayaking, so we struck a deal with them where we bought 1 kayak and they bought the other so that between us, we have 2.

We weren't sure if we would be able to use them this year, but a few weeks ago we lucked out with a bunch of really nice days, so we were able to take them out for a quick paddle in the Niagara River.

{Sammy trying to be a stow-away.}

{Uma & Upa out for their first paddle.}

{And then Upa came back to pick up Carter.}
 {We couldn't believe how gorgeous the weather was that night.}

 After Uma & Upa came back, Marc and I took Poppy for a quick paddle.  By the time we came back to the shore it was dark already.  And now it looks like we probably will have to wait until next year to use them again...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pizza Thursday

This picture was taken last Thursday at my parents house.  Swimming in the middle of October is unheard of in Buffalo, so I had to snap a pic...

Sammy, cruising around in his pizza t-shirt, handed down to him from his cousing Louie...
Sammy is always the first one to start eating and always the last to finish.  This kid can EAT.

 {The two littlest littles of the family, looking for some mischief.}

My parents have been having all of their grandkids over every Thursday for pizza for the past few years.  Every week, we all descend upon their house, pretty much trash the place, eat all of their food and leave within a few hours.  I know that sometimes my parents get a little overwhelmed by the chaos (even though they would never tell us), but I hope they always know how grateful we are for these weekly get togethers.  Poppy and Sam have been able to develop such close relationships with their cousins, to the point where they are almost like siblings with them all.  And I get to stay in the loop with the goings-on of my brothers and SIL's as well.  And it means one less dinner I have to cook each week. :) 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


This past weekend we packed up and headed to Toronto to meet up with some friends.  Poppy had a blast catching up with her Korean buddies and Marc and I had fun catching up with our grown up friends.  Unfortunately, we decided not to bring Sam with us because we knew that we would be on the go non-stop and Sammy doesn't do so well when he doesn't get to take his naps every day.  (next time Sam, I promise!)

We did some research and found a bunch of kid-friendly parts of TO that were new to us.  This funky boardwalk is called the Simcoe Wavedeck.  It was even cooler in person.  Poppy loved running up and down the waves...
 You couldn't have asked for more perfect weather - sunny and warm every day!

{Poppy and Colin chillin' on a giant dog}

{during one of our quick stops at the hotel for a "rest" Poppy decided to put her ratty flashlights on her toes}

 {Poppy trying to teach Colin how to toss a penny over his shoulder into the fountain}
 {photo-op with the daddies after our sushi dinner}

We found this cool wavy bench on a playground...
{Colin, Alex, Brendan & Poppy}

My pictures don't even do our weekend justice.  We really had such a great time exploring the city with friends and even meeting new friends for the first time.  We're already thinking that this should be an annual event - can't wait til next year!

Monday, October 3, 2011

apple picking

A few weeks ago, we met up with some of Poppy's best friends from school and went apple picking...

As we were walking along the rows of apple trees, we kept hearing mooing cows in the distance.   We were all surprised to see this at the end of the orchard...

{Poppy, Maggie & Ty - the three amigos}

How cute are they?!

 Sam just wanted to pick out our Thanksgiving turkey.

This was our first time going to the Blackman Farms and we absolutely loved it.  We'll definitely be going back again!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

summer photo dump (pt. 2)

At some point over the summer, we spent the day at Old Fort Niagara.  I haven't been there since I was in elementary school!  It was actually really neat and we would absolutely go back again.

 Sam had fun crawling all over the grass, and Poppy had fun picking the "flowers".

 These 3 got scolded by a uniformed officer for climbing this hill...

After we explored all of the buildings, we were able to watch a re-enactment of a battle.  It was really neat (except for the fact that Poppy had nightmares from the people pretending to be shot during battle).


Here's a picture from one of the 5k's I ran this summer.  Poppy is my biggest fan...
Speaking of running, here is my sad update:  after a summer of having fun running 5k's, I decided my next goal should be to run a half-marathon at the end of October.  I found a 12 week training program and I was amazed that I could actually keep up with it.  I made it to the half way point of my training and during my first 7 mile run, I felt a sharp pain in my ankle.  The next day the pain was significantly worse, so I gave my PT a call and she said she could treat it.  I'm still not sure what exactly the injury is, but I haven't been able to run at all over the past month.  I'm finally at a point where my ankle doesn't hurt to walk on it, but it's so frustrating that the pain instantly comes back when I try to run.  So needless to say, my chances of running the October half-marathon are gone.  I definitely plan on getting back on track asap and setting a goal for the spring.


One morning, I took Poppy and Sam blueberry picking...
  I think Poppy picked about 100 blueberries and ate about 95 of them.
And I had Sammy in the baby carrier.  It took him about 2 minutes to catch onto what was going on before he was picking and eating himself...

 Needless to say, we didn't leave with too many blueberries in our baskets, but at least our tummies were full!

And then there were tons of carnivals and fairs...
 Sam loved seeing the animals at the Erie County fair...
 and Poppy had a blast going on the all the rides.

So, we definitely had lots of busy, fun-filled days this summer.  Today was our first cold fall day and I'm already looking forward to the fun things we have in store this season.
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