Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We are beyond excited over here and ready to start one of our very favorite holidays. I love looking back at old pictures of Halloweens past. We love to dress-up and of course Lyla adores this holiday. This is her first year celebrating it as a Kindergartner and her school has some really fun activities planned for today. Here is a look back at Halloween…

Pre-baby – October 2008

I got pregnant with Lyla in November so this was our last hurrah as non-parents out on the town for Halloween or at a house party. We went as Princess and Mario and had so much fun.

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1st Halloween – October 2008

Lyla was only three months old for her first Halloween and, of course, she had to go as a our little pumpkin!

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2nd Halloween – October 2010

Pottery Barn Kids had the cutest cat costume and I couldn’t resist! We are actually reusing the costume for Sophie this year. I can’t wait to take pictures of her tonight and compare them to Lyla. We had a blast visiting my work at the time for a party.

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3rd Halloween – October 2011

Lyla went through an obsession with the Monsters Inc. movie so when she saw this costume in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, she had to have it. She called herself, Wazowski, as in Mike Wazowski and wanted John to go as Sully and myself to go as Boo, and how could we say no to her? This year was especially fun, I loved that we coordinated as a family. And I have to give myself a little shout-out on the bangs. I did not have bangs at the time and I watched a YouTube video on how to make fake bangs and I was really impressed at how they came out.

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4th Halloween – October 2012

This year Lyla was obsessed with Jake and the Never Land Pirates on the Disney Channel so she went as Izzy. John and I didn’t really dress-up this year. I reused my ears from a couple years prior and went as a cat.

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5th Halloween – October 2013

I was thrilled to pieces with Lyla’s Halloween costume choice last year. She saw this in the Chasing Fireflies catalog and after a few weeks of going back and forth, she decided on the Fab 50’s girl costume. John and I coordinated with her and I loved out it turned out. These costumes were super fun to wear and I think Lyla just looked fabulous, Fabulous 50’s! I was pregnant with Sophie at the time (due in December) so this costumer worked well with my pregnant belly.

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I can’t wait to post a weekend recap to share what we all went as this year. It’s also Sophie’s first Halloween so it makes this holiday extra special – Happy Halloween!

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Halloween decorations.

Happy Halloween Eve! In honor of this awesome holiday, I thought I’d put together a quick post of our Halloween decorations.

Here’s a look at our front porch area. I wish I’d done more here but it’s been a really busy month. We carved and painted pumpkins tonight (I took these pictures earlier today) so I’ll have to post a picture of the finished products later.

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I love this candle guy. He is sitting on the side table in our front room. He used to light up (he no longer does) but he has the most funny face and I still love him.

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Our small entry way table has some old Halloween pictures in fun frames, a small glittery haunted house and some really cute LED glitter candles I found at Target in the dollar section – score!

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My favorite area of the house, by far, to decorate is the area behind the sink. I found another great free printable online and filled the area with skulls, eyeballs and black and orange pumpkins – s0 fun!

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This little guy sits on the stove and he matches my Halloween kitchen towel perfectly. I spared you the picture of the towel because, well, it’s a towel.

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Lyla made this spider at Michael’s one Saturday. I found out online (I had no idea before this) that Michael’s does crafts on Saturday mornings for only $2. And you can go and shop around while your child does their craft. She really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see what they have planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Here is our mantel. The banner is actually made of wood. I found it at HomeGoods for only $8. I was going back and forth on buying it and I’m so glad I decided to get it. The colors go perfectly with the pumpkins I already had out for my Fall decorations and I feel it just completed the  mantel perfectly.

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I had to get a close-up of the candle holder. My mom got it for me from Bath & Body Works and it is so beautiful. I’m not sure this picture does it justice because the detail on it is really, really pretty. And I believe it was really affordable. Looking at it I thought it would cost way a lot more than it actually did. I think it was just around or under $10.

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Lyla picked out this candy corn candle because she absolutely loves candy corn. Next to it is my little candy corn dish. It’s really cute. You can’t see the colors but it looks just like a candy corn and I filled it with, you guessed it, candy corn!

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There you have it, our Halloween decor. I forgot to take pictures of the decorations in the girls rooms and they are both asleep now so unfortunately I won’t be able to show those. They both have a few things up in their rooms which they love and make them happy, which makes me happy 🙂 I think that may be the best part of all this decorating. I love to walk around my house and see all the fun decor but the girls, well only Lyla because Sophie is too little to realize, but Lyla really loves it and these are the types of special memories I love to create for her.

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Headband: Target, Sweater: BabyGap (little side note about this sweater – this is a size 0-3 months and Sophie is now 10 months. It is actually a dress but now it makes a perfect three-quarter sleeve length sweater for Fall – score! I’m so happy I kept this), Jeans: Joe’s Jeans via Nordstrom Rack, Shoes: Freshly Picked Moccasins, color platinum via Nordstrom.

I have to say I absolutely adore this outfit. I am a leopard fanatic, I mean its a neutral right? She looks cozy, stylish and ready for Fall 🙂

Sophie Gray: 10 month update.

We’ve hit the double digits. 10 months old. Wow. I know parents say this all the time but it really does go too fast. And I swear it goes faster the second time around. Here is the 10 month update for our sweet Sophie girl.

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Weight/height: Like I said last month, Sophie doesn’t see her pediatrician again until she is 12 months old so (again) I’ll have to go with her 6 month weight/height because we don’t own a scale at home. At 6 months (her appointment was back in July), she was 17 lbs, 1.7 oz, which puts her in the 62nd percentile. Her height was 2’3″ which puts her in the 81st percentile. Honestly doing these updates has made me really curious about her weight and height right now. I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait until December to find out. Maybe her pediatrician will let me swing by to do a quick weight/height check, the curiousty is killing me!

Hair: Sophie still has crazy hair. It’s a lot lighter than Lyla’s, but very fine and thin, just like Lyla’s. Actually, I saw a picture of Sophie the other day and her bangs reminded me of how Lyla’s used to be when she was little.

Diapers: Still in size 3 Huggies Little Movers. It’s funny to me just how much I love Huggies now. Back when Lyla was a baby, I would buy nothing but Pampers. We tried other brands back then, we actually tried Huggies but I just didn’t like them four years ago, now? Now, they are awesome.

Clothing: Sophie wears size 6-12 months or if they don’t have that size, I’ve been buying 12 months. In some leggings and jeggings, I’ve been going bigger, like 12-18 months because some of those are just so tight! I’m still looking to purchase more fall/winter clothing for her and shoes, shoes! I don’t know why but lately I’m having a hard time getting both girls shoes. Lyla has just become super picky with her shoes and Sophie, well nothing seems to fit her except for her new Freshly Picked moccasins. I must say, I absolutely love these. They are so soft and look so cute with everything. I got her the platinum color but I’m thinking I may be buying another pair, they are that cute.

Favorite things: I felt we’ve been in a toy slump with Sophie lately so we ordered her a couple of new things that will be arriving soon. She still loves to play with her toy fruits and she really loves Lyla’s American Girl dolls. Lyla has two and Sophie loves to play with them. Another favorite thing is our EOS lip gloss. They fit perfectly in her hand and she loves the different colors.

Likes: She likes to say Dada all the time. She says it different ways, with different sounds, she whispers it, she yells it, she basically says it all the time. Its really cute though and I know my hubby loves it. She like to chew on my keys (ehhhh), my wallet, her pacifiers, anything she finds, she will put in her mouth so we are extra careful with what we leave out. She likes to pull open her cabinets in the kitchen and play with whatever is in there. I moved all the breakable stuff out to other drawers/cabinets and left her things in the drawers she was able to open/reach and she really enjoys that. She loves to play, “where’s Lyla,” – its a game where we try to find her older sister and she just loves it. She yells, “Lyla, Lyla,” and we go from room to room looking for her.

Dislikes: She still hates getting her clothes or diaper changed. Its so hard to get her dressed. She hates it no matter when I do it so I’ve learned to try and distract her in any way I can. I give her something to play with or chew on and it helps a bit but man, I truly dislike changing her diaper or clothes these days!

Favorite foods: I bought some YoBaby yogurt squeeze packs for her on a whim and whoa, she really, I mean really likes them. Like so much so that she started screaming when one pouch was gone and I had to give her another one just to calm her down. That is by far her favorite food right now. We are also starting to incorporate more of what we eat, ground turkey, pasta, etc. because it just seems like she wants something different than the purees she has been getting. I was so hesitant to give her a lot of foods because she didn’t have any teeth yet but as of this week, she finally broke a tooth! Just one, you can feel it coming through her gum.

Milestones: Sophie can clap now and its the cutest thing ever. She has also learned to wave and is adding more words to her vocabulary. She likes to say “uh oh” when she drops something from her stroller. She is standing all the time and many times on her own. I know she will be starting to take steps soon. And big news, like I said above, she finally has a tooth! The other night she woke up at 12 and 3 and was just upset. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong but the next morning, I felt a little tooth on her bottom gum.

Reflections: I always say this age is the best but then it just keeps getting better. Every age is the best right now. It’s just so amazing to watch her discovering everything around her, seeing her learn something new every day is a gift that I do not take for granted. I feel so grateful that I get to be home with her every day. It is something I wished for when Lyla was younger and I feel so happy that my wish came true but also so guilty that I wasn’t able to be with Lyla like this. That is motherhood for ya, a tidal wave of every emotion in the book but I would ride this wave forever if I could, I just love it.

 

 

The pumpkin patch.

We love us a good pumpkin patch but I can’t remember going before I had kids. Did I go to a pumpkin patch growing up in Florida? I mean I’m sure I did but I have no idea! I’ll have to ask my mom. Anyways, since Lyla was born, we’ve visited a pumpkin patch every October and it’s a trip I look forward to every year. I love the colors, sights and sounds of a pumpkin patch and it seems that Northern California has some pretty amazing patches or farms rather. We have plans on Saturday to visit Dell’ Osso Farms to check out their pumpkin patch. In honor of that, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at our pumpkin patch visits.

Our first official pumpkin patch visit was in October of 2010. In 2009, we went to the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin festival when Lyla was only three months old. I think that counted for our pumpkin patch visit that year. We decided to head back to Half Moon Bay for our first real visit because on our drive up the year prior, we saw several farms along the way and knew we had to come back to check them out. We went to Pastorino and Lemos Farms and they were awesome. I love the weather up in Half Moon Bay. October is usually one of the hottest months in the Bay Area so its nice to get away from that and it just makes it feel more like “Fall” – plus you can wear cute sweaters and boots, you know the important stuff.

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In October 2011, we headed back to Half Moon Bay and went to the same two farms, Lemos and Pastorino. We had such a great experience the year before and again this time around. Our baby was getting a little bigger making it a lot harder to get her to stand still for pictures, check out our family pic, what a great memory!

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In October 2012, we thought it might be fun to check out a new farm. Plus, the idea of driving to Half Moon Bay with a toddler didn’t sound all that appealing (it can be a long drive). We decided on Uesugi Farms pumpkin patch and it was amazing. The weather was a tad warm for my ideal (meaning the idea in my head) pumpkin patch outing but it was beautiful none the less. Now we were dealing with the terrible three’s this go round and boy can you can tell from the pictures. Lyla threw a little temper tantrum for the first half of the visit and wouldn’t smile for any pictures. I actually love her little pouty face in these pics, that’s a typical three year old for ya! She came around after being there for about an hour and we had a blast. This place was awesome!

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In October 2013, I was very pregnant and Lyla was in preschool. When I saw that she had a field trip to Uesugi Farms in October I was so excited. I immediately volunteered to chaperone and that counted for our trip last year. I didn’t take many pictures – I actually can’t even find the two I did take as I write this post – but we had so much fun. It was her first offical field trip. We rode the bus together, had lunch together, it was a great day.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. This will count as Sophie’s first official pumpkin patch trip and I can’t wait to see her reaction to all of it. Of course, I have two cute outfits already picked out and ready to go for my girls, remember, the important stuff 🙂 Happy Friday!

Quick salmon cakes.

We have salmon once a week, every week. It’s one of my favorite types of fish. We had quite a bit leftover the other night and I saved it so I could have a salmon salad the next day. Well the next day came and I wasn’t quite in the mood for a salmon salad. I love crab cakes so I thought, why not try the same method with my leftover salmon?

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These cakes were super easy to make and clean-up was a breeze because I prepared them in just one bowl. All I did was flake up the salmon with a fork, add one egg, sprinkle in a bit of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese until the mixture wasn’t too wet or too dry, add some seasonings (minced garlic, sea salt and pepper), shape into patties, cook in a skillet, and that was it, done.

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I couldn’t decide if I wanted a salmon cake sandwich or salad so I made both – I was taste testing my recipe 🙂 In the end, I preferred the sandwich. I made a simple aioli using mayo and seasonings and added lettuce and tomato. Typically, I do not eat big lunches or things that take long to prepare so this was a nice break from my standard lunch fare.

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My Italian pot roast.

I am extremely proud of this recipe because I sort of created all by myself. That is a big deal for me. A little background on meal time in our house – I haven’t always been the one doing the cooking. When we were both working, and for years prior, my husband cooked dinner every single night. The deal was, he would cook and I would clean up because a) he is an amazing cook, seriously, I’m not just saying that. His mother is Italian and he can cook, period. He doesn’t really ever use recipes, and everything he makes comes out so good. He kills it on the grill and can cook for large groups of people (like 30) and have everything done at the same time and serve it hot, to me that’s an art, sorry I digress… and b) I can clean and I love to do it. It just worked for us.

But now that I am home full-time, I do all of the cooking. Mainly during the week because on the weekends my hubby still loves to cook. He really enjoys making good food and seeing people enjoy it. I, on the other hand, have learned to love it. I never really cooked at all and if I did, I HAD to follow a recipe. Now I find that I’m really starting to love it. I love to plan out our weekly menu, I love to grocery shop and I really love to cook. I had a bit of a learning curve in the beginning but now I’m really starting to get into a groove in the kitchen and this recipe is proof of that. This roast came out so good and I made it using items I had on hand in my pantry or fridge. Before, I never would have been able to think of a meal based on what we had lying around and just wing it! I don’t have exact portions or measurements, I kind of just used what I thought would work. I got lucky this time because it came out amazing.

Italian Pot Roast

Ingredients:

1 (2-to-3 lb) boneless chuck roast

4 large garlic cloves

1 white onion (I used less than half)

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Pinch or two basil

2 Roma tomatoes

1 can beef broth

1 can tomato sauce

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and pepper

Directions:

Finely chop garlic, onion and fresh rosemary, and transfer to small bowl. Add olive oil (maybe a couple tablespoons) and basil. Set aside.

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Chop tomatoes and set aside as well.

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Next, season the roast generously with sea salt and black pepper. Place into a lightly oiled, hot skillet and brown on both sides. This takes about five minutes on each side.

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My little assistant was hanging out right near me while I was prepping the roast. She even brought me some groceries, how sweet!

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Back to the recipe…

Place the browned roast in the crock pot and pour/rub the garlic, onion, rosemary and basil oil all over it. FYI – this was my first time using a slow cooker liner and, let me tell you, clean-up was a breeze. I got this tip from an awesome blogger whose blog I read daily, and I’ve learned that as a full-time stay-at-home mom, I need everything to be done quick and fast, including clean-up. So thank you, Mix Match Mama for the great tip.

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Then add the beef broth, tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes and you are ready to cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The smell throughout the house is amazing – enjoy!

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Fall decorations.

Tomorrow is October 1st. Lyla is so excited about this. I love that she gets so happy about the seasons and holidays and all of that. I love to make a big deal out of holidays and I think being in Kindergarten intensifies it for her since they make a big deal of it too – so much fun!

This weekend we’ll be hauling out our Halloween decorations so I thought it would be fun to take a look at what I put up for Fall. I put these decorations out in September, and this year we did it on September 22nd, the first day of Fall. Some of this will stay up during October for Halloween and some it will be put away and then put back out again in November. To me, the Fall season spans three months: September (Harvest), October (Halloween) and November (Thanksgiving), and I like to decorate for all of it! Some pieces can go all three months while some are more specific. I truly hope you enjoy this little home tour of my Fall decorations. This may not seem like much to some but to me its beautiful. Now it may have come out a little differently if I was rolling in the dough but I do what I can on a budget and I love how everything looks. Nothing makes me happier than walking through my home and loving what I see – Happy Fall Y’all!

Welcome to my home.

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This is our entryway table. I love that I can change out each piece here – the flowers, sign, picture, candy bowl – to match the other seasons.

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I would like to make a burlap runner to go on our dining table, its needs a little something more.

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This pumpkin sits on the side table in our sitting area.

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This ceramic pumpkin is one of my favorite decorations. We have a built-in office area and I was hesitant to put it there because its kind of out of sight but this is its home for now. I love this pumpkin.

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I love how the mantle turned out. I only had the pumpkins out and it felt like something was missing. Then I found the golden wheat. It’s hard to tell how beautiful it is in the picture but it is so pretty. And it glistens when the light shines through the window behind the mantle, so pretty.

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I absolutely love this little area behind the sink. It’s the best place for decorations and I’ll be able to easily customize the area for each holiday, the possibilities are endless! The best part is that the Hello Fall print was free! I found it online by googling free fall printables, so easy and hello, free!

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Here are more of decorations from around the kitchen including the best pumpkin spice candle there ever was.

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This cute scarecrow welcomes you into Lyla’s room. She has two small Fall decorations in her room.

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And of course pumpkin soap in her bathroom.

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I only added one thing to our bathroom and that is a tiny sweet cinnamon pumpkin candle from Bath & Body Works. OMG that smell. I could take a bath in it and I do… I have the body wash too. I love this candle so much because it’s the favor we gave out at Sophie’s baby shower. It always makes me think of my sweet girl.

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And there you have it, my Fall decorations. I honestly enjoy decorating my house for each season so much. It makes me so happy to make my house into a home and the best part is that my family truly loves and appreciates all the effort that I put in to doing this. That is what makes it all worthwhile, making my family happy, and the older Lyla gets, the more she gets into it and its so fun so go shopping with her. I can’t wait until Sophie can partake too. Now on to Halloween!