Trick or Treat Advent Calendar

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween!  This year I made a Trick or Treat Advent Calendar.  Each morning the kids will get a little treat to count down to Halloween.
It was so easy.  Hobby Lobby has felt squares that are 4 for a dollar.  Each square makes two bags.  I needed 8 of the little Halloween ribbons and used left over puffy paint for the numbers.  You can go crazy with all the cute little felt stickers to make each bag spooktacular.
I found a bat bowl to stick the treat bags in and set it out for the morning.  I figure I can send their treat with them to school for their lunch sweet.  If I had more time I would have printed off little notes that made them do a trick so some mornings they got a treat and others it was a trick.  There is always next year!

Apples of My Eye

 Yesterday was Johnny Appleseed day.  Luckily for me the kids had the day off.  One of the best things about being a stay at home mom is getting to turn an ordinary day into a special one.  I decided we would have an apple of a day to celebrate and emulate his spirit of caring for nature and animals!
For breakfast it was oatmeal with fried apples.
 We then got ready and headed to the zoo.  Kids and the zoo are just a good combination, even if the zoo isn't that great and it's too hot.  They love to run wild and see the animals.  The kids got a special education about the Galapagos Turtles.  We had lunch with applesauce, but as the thermometer reached a 100 this hot mama had to high tail it out of there.
The kids got to watch The Lorax during out drive.  I love its conservation theme and it got the kids excited about planting.  We are getting our garden ready for the fall planting season and hope to plant this weekend.  In honor of Johnny Appleseed we planted pepper seeds in a mini green house.  Unfortunately apples wouldn't work here, so peppers it is.
For desert we had this most sinful Apple and Pear Crisp.  I can't say enough about it.  But I will say a certain person that I will not name ate 2 and the kids' leftovers.  Move over apple pie...  It was a fun day doting on the apples of my eye using the spirit of Johnny Appleseed to make a regular Wednesday an extra sweet day together.

Price Performer

 We bought this sturdy desk off craigslist for $20 at Christmas time in 2007.
Max refinished into this sweet little girls desk for Hailey.
Then Hailey got a new bedroom set (from craigslist) in 2010 and the desk got handed down to Karlie where we touched it up and changed the seat fabric.
Karlie recently got a desk set from one of Max's  coworkers and handed the desk down to Hank since Kaitlin had already gotten one for Christmas.
$14 later Hank has a very blue, Batman boy desk!
 This desk is the little desk that just keeps on giving.  It has been a real price performer and has given the kids a place to store their treasures, create masterpieces and do homework.  It is fun to imagine all the lives this old desk has touched and what it has seen and stored in its time of desk duty.

Quite The Character

Hank is quite the character.  He LOVES to dress-up.  Everyday he role plays one of his favorite characters.  Hmmm.  Hope this isn't an early sign of multiple personalities. :)
 Don't mess with this cowboy!
 Peter Parker
 Beloved Batman
 The Olympian Michael Phelps
 Gladiator.  Yes, we brought this all the way from Italy for our little actor.
 Ahoy Matey!
 Boy Wonder costume made by Karlie with my costume from last year and Hank's clothes.
Bad Spidey
Captain Underpants with his special weapon belt that contains lightsabers, swords, pistols and blasters.   I love his imagination and he is always good for few laughs. 

First Day of Fall

With yesterday being the first day fall we had to try our best to trick ourselves into thinking it is fall.
   The K buddies and Hank started the morning out making fall themed crafts while Hailey was at a slumber party.
 By the middle of the day it was 107, so we had to swim.  The pool is getting pretty chili with the overnight lows getting in the mid 70s.  It seems the first day of fall maybe the signal that weekends poolside are about to be over.
We made chili for dinner and put in this adorable pumpkin pot.
Hank and Kaitlin helped me make Eggless Pumpkin Muffins.  The house smelled of all those yummy fall spices.  While it didn't feel like fall, we tried to smell, taste and see fall as much as we could.  In case you need an excuse to bring fall to your house, here is the recipe.

Eggless Pumpkin Muffins
1 can pumpkin
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 and 1/2 cup flour
1/4tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 milk
1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In mixing bowl combine the pumpkin, sugar, yogurt and butter in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the flour through cloves and then add to the pumpkin mixture until combined.  Add the milk and vanilla and mix well.  At this point you can fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins or chopped walnuts.  We left ours plain.

Fill muffin cups 2/3s full and bake for 18-20 minutes.  Makes about 18 muffins.  Enjoy this fall treat!

Maritime Museum

For our final morning in San Diego I took the kids to the Maritime Museum.
 They LOVED going on the ships.  The first ship we boarded was the Star of India.  It is the oldest active merchant sailing ship in the world.  It has had many uses since she took to sea in 1863.
 We learned about the lives of some of the emigrants that traveled from England to New Zealand.
The next ship we visited was the Surprise which is a replica of the 1700s British frigate.
 She was recently used in the movie The Pirates of the Caribbean.  
The kids thought it was especially neat to be on a pirate ship.  Hailey exclaimed, "I am on the same ship that Johnny Depp was on!!"
 They had so much fun with all the interactive parts like dressing up as emigrants.
They played on a mini ship and acted like pirates.  We had the ships virtually to ourselves so they were able to explore and play as long as they wanted.
 We then saw the Soviet Navy submarine B-39.  I had never been on a submarine and think I will be OK if I don't go on one again.  I got claustrophobic pretty quickly.
 The kids felt bad for the soldiers that had to sleep on wire cots, with no windows and narrow passage ways.  Our hats are off to those who serve and work in those conditions.
 There were still 6 more ships to see but we were running out of time and had to walk back to the hotel to pick up Max to head home. 
 Hank was very disappointed that we didn't have time to go on the Optimus Prime ship, otherwise known as the USS Midway.  We still have so much to see in San Diego on our next trip.
The ride home was great.  The kids watched the Lorax and were happy daytime travelers.  Max learned a lot at his conference and we got a chance to see a beautiful place and spend time with family.  Doesn't get much better!

Sea World

 On Monday I took the kids to Sea World.  Pops and Nana were nice enough to join me for the ride.  We have never done the amusement park deal and I thought we could get our feet wet at Sea World.  They have a handful of rides that we could all ride except one that Hank wasn't quite big enough for.

I went to Sea World when I was around Hailey's age and still remember being awed by all the animals.
 Everyone loved being able to pet the Bat Rays.  Hank liked that they were BAT rays.  It was like they were dogs.  They willing came to the side and would raise their heads out of the water for you to pet them.
The underwater views were spectacular.
We all agreed the most impressive display is of course the killer whale performances.
 Shamu and friends did not disappoint.  It was amazing to see these incredible animals leaping in the air.  
Although to me it was sad too.  It just doesn't seem right for them to be in such a small place.  They are such majestic creatures.
 The kids wanted to sit in the soak zone, so get soaked we did!
 It felt nice to get cooled off!

 We were looking at the flamingos when one of the caretakers asked us if we wanted to go in and see them up close.
She took just our family behind the gate and let each of us pet one!
 They were so soft.

 He is as big as Hank!
 As we went through the park we rode the rides.  Hailey's favorite ride was the Manta Ray roller coaster.  Karlie loved the Shipwreck water ride that absolutely drenches us.  It was like we went swimming in our clothes.  Kaitlin's favorite ride was the gondola like Bayside Sky ride.

Hank loved the Journey to Atlantis and wanted to ride it over and over.  We were all able to ride together and it was a perfect combination of roller coaster and water ride.  I love this picture!!
Watching Shamu fly, kids giggle with glee, and grandparents act like kids was worth the admission price.