Oh what do you do in the Autumn time?

When most of your world is hot?

1. Spend an afternoon playing on toys at the mall:
I did not encourage the Pioneer's Next Top Model pose. This was all her: 2. Wilt under the heat. This was my pumpkin the morning after we carved them. Okay, it was mostly bad infrastructure, but I'd like to think the 95 degree temperature had something to do with it:
3. Try going to the park in the morning when it's still sort of cool:
Lucy found a great dog to play with:And Owen learned to jump through hoops. I was semi-responsible enough to put my camera down when he actually tumbled through head-first.
4. Turn on the sprinklers and run around with friends! (on October 28th) Here are big Owen and Paige:
Lucy and Grace acted like perfect girls and decided not to get wet but just enjoyed being in their bathing suits....and eating Otter Pops:
Impossible to get everyone looking at the same time. Big Owen's smile here is too great:
Little Owen had fun crawling around:
Megan, her boys, and big Owen:
Sherri and Eliza:
Karla had a fabulous idea to put Oats in a bucket and let the kids play. Lucy and Caden thought it was great fun:
To me this picture says, "don't ever make me play with little girl toys ever again."
5. Go to the library for Story Time. Here are: Chloe dressed as Alice in Wonderland, Lucy in her normal clothes that actually match well with the Alice costume, and June as the cutest little black cat:
Good friends, reading books:
6. Spend time hanging out with your pumpkin. Lucy finished off the evening watching TV with her tiny Jack 'O Lantern. Too bad he's all moldy now. Time to hit the trash little guy:

I never thought I'd say this....

but I kind of miss American Idol.

Casey did ask me my Top Three shows the other day and they are:
Friday Night Lights
30 Rock (Premiering tonight! Yay!)
24 and Project Runway (I can't pick just three).
Phew. Good thing a guilty pleasure didn't make my Top Three list.


RECIPE: Very simple Fajitas and Cilantro Rice

I used to buy those Fajita flavor packets whenever making this dish because I didn't want to mess with adding random spices myself. Then I found this recipe. EASY and very yummy. My husband is pleased every time.
I usually make our fajitas with chicken (using about 8 of the boneless chicken tenders), a red and green bell pepper, and an onion. But since you know I don't actually like eating onions, I pull most of them out of the dish right before serving. They do add nice flavor though.
And to pay homage to my favorite up-scale fast-food place (Chipotle), here's my version of their cilantro rice. It never tastes quite as good as theirs (since I probably don't add enough butter) but it's still yummy!
Here are the details...

Juice of 1 Lime
1 Tbl Rice Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
* optional: Tbl finely chopped jalepeno pepper

Appx 8 boneless chicken tenders or 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces.
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 onion (or less if preferred), cut into rings/strips

I make the above recipe twice. Mix everything together in a bowl and pour each recipe into two separate bags. In one bag add the chicken. In the other bag add the peppers and chicken.
Shake the bags around and allow the mixtures to marinade in the fridge for at least a 1/2 hour or up to 8 hours.

When ready to cook, heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and pour in the pepper/onion mixture. Cook 5-6 minutes. Remove mixture, add more oil and cook the chicken. When chicken is done add peppers and onion back in. You're ready to eat! (after you've made the rice recipe below, that is). Serve on a tortilla with cilantro rice, cheese, low-fat sour cream, salsa, and a chopped lettuce/cabbage mixture. The cabbage adds a nice crunch. I prefer the snack size Diana's brand tortillas, found at Food 4 Less.

CILANTRO RICE 1 cup medium-grain white rice (you can use long-grain but I prefer medium)
2 cups water
1 Tbl butter
Juice of 1/2 of a lime
2-3 Tbl chopped cilantro
Salt/Pepper to taste

Bring water, rice, and butter to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Do not take off the lid while the rice cooks. When 15 minutes is over, turn off heat, keep lid on and allow rice to sit for a few minutes. Then add the juice of a lime, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to eat my rice inside my tacos. But it works as a delicious side dish as well. If you are not a cilantro person, just leave it out!


Donuts and Pumpkins

Our Saturday mornings often seem to come and go by "lounging" around, Owen taking his morning nap, getting ready for the day. But this past Saturday we got up and out of the house by 8:30am and headed for a Donut shop Casey had heard great things about:
Lucy was all too thrilled to have something that sort of looked like a cupcake and tasted just as yummy. Sprinkles of course: I like this picture of her and me. I feel just like her: a little kid sitting on the curb eating treats.
The donuts were actually really good. Not sure it's worth a 20 min drive but still a tasty treat. It's hard to tell in the photo but these two donuts are HUGE. I'm glad Casey didn't eat-it-all. In fact, he wishes there was a donut shop that sold donuts 1/4 the size of these. Hmmm....a lovely idea!
Chilling with dad. Great Saturday morning outing!
We spent our afternoon playing with toys and taking naps. I bought some blocks for the kids and they seem to be a hit!
And in the evening we celebrated pumpkins. We headed to the Kidspace Pumpkin festival (which really wasn't all that great but made for a nice photo backdrop of pumpkins and kids) .Lucy sported a new Fall Leave hairclip. I was surprised these didn't sell too well at the boutique last month. But everyone's into cupcakes! Oh well, now Lucy gets to enjoy it...in every color...
We ran into friends there but the Fackrells are the only ones we got a picture of. Love this shot; Max doing whatever and Mia posing just long enough from tears to look at the camera. Great stuff! And cute family:The highlight of our outing was just hanging out in the pumpkin patch playing with pumpkins. Owen's expression makes me smile:
Owen wanted to drum on each one:
And Lucy wanted to pick them all up:It was hard to catch them both smiling but these turned out kind of cute:
And to finish the evening - dinner at one of our favorite establishments. Our drinks of preference:
Sunday, we continued with the pumpkin theme by heading to my parent's house.
How adorable is this picture? A little blurry on Ava. But such cute cousins together. The little girls love Jeremy. And how old does he look here? He's growing up!
But he still loves to play their silly games (or they love to play his...). Here they are jumping from the coffee table to the couch as we parents look on, until Gram came around and asked us to stop. Sorry! (but hurry, do it one more time so I can take a picture) The dinner table looked so festive and cute. One half of the group:
And the other end of the table. Can you find Ava?
These pictures also make me smile. How cute is this little guy getting all messy with pasta noodles?
After dinner, we spread out newspaper and carved pumpkins. Since Lucy loves to watch us color these days (instead of actually coloring herself) I had a feeling she'd be into this. And she was! She carefully watched Casey draw a face and carve out the pieces on her very cute and tiny pumpkin:While Casey pulled out all the stringy insides from the pumpkin, Lucy exclaimed over and over "there's the honey! the honey!" She thought the little pumpkin was a honey pot just like Whinnie the Pooh carries around. And the stinging insides were strings of honey. Pretty funny.
Once we put a candle inside and lit it up, she exclaimed, "Happy Birthday!" Then she blew out the candle and wanted to do it seven more times. Funny girl. Jeremy was so funny when I took this picture. At the last moment he posed his hand next to the pumpkin to pretend that he was in-action. He's learned from his aunts and uncles! And this picture is awesome. Ava did not want to participate, but dang it! Eric was going to make sure she had fun:
I guess Ava won. She went back in the garage to play with the Little People.
Here are the pumpkins, all lined up. Eric and Laura even carved some turnips (which are what was originally used on Halloween, LONG ago). They're the little ones in front. From left to right the pumpkins are: Bryan's cartoon face, Jeremy's classic jack 'o lantern, my pumpkin cage, Lucy's mini pumpkin, and Eric's "this did not work out at all" random cutting job. Lucy and her pumpkin. It's hard for me to see myself in my kids sometimes but this picture looks a lot like me when I was her age:
Time to get cracking on the Halloween costumes. Only a few days left!