Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!


Yup…he wanted to be a root beer bottle. And Anna…the infamous “wer-maid”.

A few pictures from our fun trick-or-treat weekend….Saturday night we had our small group over for dinner and candy gobbling….Sunday we had to put on our costumes again (because they loved them) and just stopped by our friends’ neighborhood for a few homes with them as well.  Enjoy the spooktacular shots..  IMG_8041 IMG_8042 IMG_8046 IMG_8048 IMG_8051 

The crew…Harry, Root Beer, Luigi, Mario, Benaiah the Lion, Cinderella, Ariel the Mermaid and Caesar

IMG_8064 IMG_8074   IMG_3023 IMG_3029 IMG_3033 IMG_3036


little sisters will NOT be left behind…

what a good big brother….

what great friends and a fun time!  Thanks to everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

quotable quotes

Hudson:  I’m gonna be Root Beer for Halloween!

Anna:  Root Be-Beer?  I LOVE Root Be-Beer!

Hudson: You could be popcorn to go with my root beer, Anna…that’d be cool.

Anna:  Nope.  You be Root-Be-Beer, I’m gonna be a wermaid. (mermaid) :o)


Hudson:  Mom, how do people get married?  Like, why do names change when you get married and do boys ask girls to get married?

(Mommy answers this question to the best of her ability)

Hudson:  Well, don’t worry about Anna marrying anyone.  Cuz I’m gonna ask Anna to marry me because she’s my best friend, and we play together, and I love her very much.

(I hear the collective “ahhhhh!”)

Hudson praying at dinner last night….

Dear God,

     Thank you for this yummy food.  Thank you for my teacher Mrs. Smith because I love her.  Please help her daughter to feel better so I don’t have a substitute again.  Thank you for my substitute Mrs. H.  She was nice.  Thank you for Daddy and Mommy and Anna.  Amen.

Happy Hauntings

The not-too-far away wonderland park that we enjoy going to is having their annual October Happy Hauntings.  Last year we didn’t go, but this year’s activities made me wish we had.  As season pass holders, it cost nothing for us to attend, and the kids (and Daddy and Mommy) had a blast.


After Sunday afternoon naps all around, we quickly rummaged in our dress-up box and came up with some suitable costumes for trick-or-treating in the park.  It was really fun to see how many little ones (as the park is really targeted toward ages birth-8) recognized Woody and Princess Ariel.


This is Hugs and Banana’s favorite ride together – it goes in an oval and whips around the ends – they LOVE it.

 IMG_8015  IMG_8019  IMG_8024 IMG_8027 

Where the waterpark is during the summer, there is a trick or treat trail…the park is affiliated with Hershey’s, so there were GOOD candies on every one of these stops!


Mommy even got to ride the Frog Hopper with Hudson and Anna…only one adult can ride at a time, so I had never gotten a chance to do it – but this time I did.  Man, it was fun!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

random act of kindness

Last Friday we made our weekly trek to the local Farmer’s Market, which, I assure you, is in all its’ all treats and glory this time of year.  Apples, apple cider, home-grown gourds, pumpkin pies and pumpkin whoopie pies, and caramel apples.  Ahh.  The apple treat that is deceptively not so good for you – despite the word apple in it.


Hudson, Riley, Anna and I were awaiting Daddy’s return from his favorite stand to buy Amoroso rolls for lunch (a Philly delicacy – true hard and chewy roll that a cheesesteak must be eaten upon)…and we spied the above beauty.  We were marveling at it’s gooey goodness– but just window shopping.


You see the pictures, so you know that this is going somewhere good.  A lovely elderly lady saw the four of us admiring the treat and felt compelled to buy it for us.  She didn’t ask first, she bought it for us and then politely asked if she could gift it to us.  At first I refused – I mean, it was the last one.  She bought the last one – where would her Friday dessert be had if she passed it to us?


She insisted that I take it for my three children (that must’ve been it, she was overwhelmingly impressed with the 3 children I had with me that were 3, 5, and 6 that were behaving like angels at the moment) and that they enjoy it for lunch.  I love moments like that.  Moments that give you glimpses of Jesus in other people.

So, THANK YOU to the beautiful grandma at Friday’s market.  We enjoyed our caramelly-oreo crumbly-icingy-sprinkly treat.  And we’ll pay it forward.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

to touch…

Have you ever really contemplated the reality, the meaningfulness of human touch?  I mean really, can you imagine going a whole day without touching another human being?  My days would not be complete – well, there are some days when I wish I wasn’t being touched so much by little hands ;o) 

Touch to the human encourages physical and emotional growth.  Scientific studies have shown that human touch is so important that without touch, infants’ growth is slowed and stunted.  Other studies have shown that the power of human touch, just the gentle touch, encourages the body to heal!

This morning I meant to read all of 1 John, but got stuck on the first chapter, first verse.  I think it is AMAZING....this part anyway....

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.   (1 John 1:1)

John wasn't just reporting.  He wasn't just doing the job of a journalist.  He saw it...yea, ok – he was a firsthand eyewitness.  He looked at Him...yea, ok – I can look at the President if I stand on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue long enough.  BUT HIS HANDS TOUCHED?  I got this overwhelming sense of longing to touch Jesus...longing and wishing I could've been there too to touch, to see, to hear.  It's coming.  But may my heart yearn - for that is when I will remember to seek after Him whole-heartedly….and be grateful for His touch on my life daily.

Monday, October 18, 2010

2 kickin’ soups for cold days

How does this….

and this….

turn into this?

Butternut Squash Soup

(This recipe is a version, adapted by me, of one that I found in a Woman’s Day Magazine)

    • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 large Gala apples, peeled, cored and chopped
    • 3 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed (8 cups)
    • 1 1⁄2-in. piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced OR 1 1/2 T. of dry ground ginger
    • ground dry curry (to taste – we like a lot!)
    • 1 box (32 oz) chicken broth
    • 1 cup apple cider or juice
    • 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
    • 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1⁄2 cup fat free half-halfRecipe Preparation
    • cilantro to top if you like it
    • light sour cream for finishing touches and a nice cool bite.
    1. Melt butter in a 5-qt pot over medium-high heat. Stir in onion and apples; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
    2. Add butternut squash, ginger, chicken broth, cider, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are very soft. Let cool for 5 minutes.
    3.  Process soup in very small batches in a blender until smooth (alternately, use an immersion blender to purée). Return soup to pot and add cream. Season with salt to taste. Warm over low heat, if necessary.  Top with sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Asagio Basil Tomato Soup

(this one is all my experimental-type-cooking-let’s-see-if-this-tastes-good-together….it did :)

  • 1 can of condensed tomato soup + 1 can of water
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • 16 oz. diced tomatoes (don’t drain it if you use a can or jar!)
  • 1/2 cup of Asagio/Mexican Blend cheese (or whatever you prefer)
    1. Heat tomato soup and 1 can of water and stir until incorporated.
    2. Add diced tomatoes and basil.  Heat through.
    3. Cool slightly and place in blender with cheese.
    4. Blend and return to pot to warm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Summer’s last HURRAH

This past Monday was summer’s last hurrah I believe.  It was incredible.  Words can’t describe the beauty of this day.  The leaves changing, cool breezes, but an air temperature of mid-70s.  Ahh, friends, to my Arizona adjusted body, that is what fall and winter should really feel like! :)IMG_2961 Aunt Dana and I took our yungins on an outdoor adventure to enjoy the creation around us.  The park we went to has ponds, nature trails, creeks for splashing, education stations, bridges and plenty of wildlife. The shot above  is one of my favorite shots of the day.  They were taking a break after hiking and were admiring the pond – looking for turtles sunning on logs.IMG_2953

Playing in the creek – their feet were COLD, but they didn’t care!


Hudson really wanted to move this rock.


BFFs….just like mommies.


After the adventures in the forest, the five of us went to a local farmer’s market and gorged ourselves on yummy fresh and healthy local delicacies (like egg and olive sandwiches, sweet bologna and local cheese, veggies and fruit).  We loaded up on Pumpkin Spice Coffee Beans for Daddy as a treat and headed out to the orchard to pick our own treasures.  What a perfect fall day!

IMG_2979 IMG_2980

Thursday, October 14, 2010

corn, hay, pumpkins, cider

Can you get more “fall” than that?  Well, maybe throw an apple or two in that mix, and then fall would be complete!  A beautiful fall day here in the North East Corridor beckoned our blood to enjoy the last few days of warmth.  What better way to spend an October Friday than together as a family at a local farm?

 IMG_2919  IMG_2922Anna really enjoyed the corn-box, complete with toys and buckets to dump and pile corn kernels.  It made me flash-back to a time when Tracy would work with her eldest E in a makeshift sandbox to work on touching and accepting.  After that activity, I now know that she certainly has no sensory-integration issues ~ she loved it! 


While Anna played, Daddy and Hudson explored the Hay Maze.


Hudson was in a hurry to pick his pumpkin – and with gusto.  He wanted the biggest, baddest pumkin – but we made a rule that he had to be able to lift it…and Daddy gave guidelines to a good jack-o-lantern making gourd.  The littlest Smith was happy to pick out a pumpkin that was “just my size” and fit comfortably in her arms like a baby doll.IMG_2927

Thursday, October 7, 2010

what’s for dinner?

We had this delicious, easy, scrum-diddly-umptious part from scratch, part prepackaged chicken pot pie.  I’m hard to please when it comes to pot pies.  Just so you know.  I have an issue with crust in general.  Add that to soggy bready crust and I can’t even touch it (hence my adverse reaction to chicken and dumplings as a child).

Oooooohhhhh, it was good.

interesting conversations…

Mom, look at all those statues over there.  That musta taken a long time to make all those statues.

That’s a graveyard, Hudson.  Those are grave markers.

What’s a graveyard?

It’s where they bury bodies after people die.

Mom, how do they fit big guy bodies under the grave?

Mom, are those big guys heavy when they are dead or are they lighter?  (at this point I think he was trying to reconcile how he knows that when we die and our hearts go to heaven that God gives us a new body….)

They have family members carry the boxes together so they aren’t so heavy, bud.

Ok, but would you carry me?

I don’t want to think about that at all.  I love you too much.

What if I die?

I am hoping Jesus comes to get us before that happens.

But what if I die before that…will you carry my box?

Not thinking about it, Hudson.  My heart would break in a million pieces because I love you too much.

Mom, if you died, my heart would break in a million pieces too. (a few seconds pass….)  Will I get to live with you and daddy in heaven?

If not with us, surely in the same neighborhood and on the same street!


Mom, how do they get ink in feathers to write with?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

sweet smell of finishing

Ok….well, maybe not a sweet smell while finishing – that was more, well, sweat smell.  Body odor mixed with the wafting scents from the chocolate factory.  My lil bro and I completed the 13.1 miles on Sunday in the inaugural Hershey Half Marathon.  His first race – my challenge to him – and kids, I think he’s hooked too. :o)


Mile 8 – Cousin Kendra, “niece” Dana, Grandmom, Hudson and Anna were there to cheer us on – in the cold. 

I must also tell the truth in the fact that it was not much of a run for him.  His long body (yes, longer than mine by 4 inches) was not extremely challenged by my trudge-worthy pace.  We enjoyed the scenery, reminisced as we passed family-only-meaningful places (our dad grew up in Hershey – actually, the new plant stands on the land where my dad’s farmhouse was), and chatted.  Oh, and we laughed at things spectators said to us. 

Nearing the finish at mile 12 was the last aid station.  This was the announcement of the volunteers as you ran up to the station:

Water to the left.  Chocolate to the right.”

They weren’t kidding.  They were passing out chocolate bars for energy.  Right now it sounds appealing.  THEN?  It made me want to vomit – especially after I saw a guy trying to eat one and it was smeared all over his teeth because he didn’t have enough saliva to melt it down and swallow it.  (I can hear your gag-reflexes.)


Holding hands to cross the finish line.  I think he would’ve carried me if I asked him to.


Juanita (my big cuz's BF), Bryan, Me, Cousin Kim

We crossed the finish line and found our adoring fans in the stands – holding an ELMO balloon so we could find the (that’s a tip for other future racers – get a balloon) – and stretched.  After loading a bit on water, protein chocolate replacement beverages, pineapple and some cheese, we cooled down and got a few precious pics…this one is too good not to share.


Yup, it was a sweet race, with a rockin’ friend and brother.