Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's The Little Things: Apple Picking

Last week when I shared my Dutch Apple Pie Bread recipe I mentioned having more apples than I knew what to do with. I never shared the story of how we came across those apples so today I am sharing the details of the very first time I took the girls apple picking.

When my mom called me up and said the apples were ready, we were ready to go. I had told her I wanted to take the girls to help this year with hopes that they would enjoy the experience.

We started out picking pears.

Marissa immediately seemed a bit nervous/ unsure and I wasn't sure how "into this" she was going to get. 

Emily was Emily. Often oblivious or aimlessly drifting along plucking the occasional pear from the tree.

We quickly finished and moved onto the apple tree.

We picked and picked and picked.
I was pretty sure it was going to take us all day.

The girls were helpful, but not as helpful and I expected them to be.

See how happy they look posing for this photo ;).

Finally I ended up climbing up into the tree branches on a ladder so I could shake the tree.
Definitely not the best way to pick an apple tree, but it was pretty effective.
*Note to self next time take bicycle helmets.

The end results were well worth it.

And those little girls may not have been the best apple pickers but they did help out and have fun.

"Look Mom!"

They know I love creative thinking and team work.

We ended up with 30 jars of applesauce 10 loaves of apple bread and enough apple pie filling to make 10 pies and around 20 jars of pear butter. And that was just what we did with our share!

About a week later all stocked up on apple goodies I probably would've cried if I had to peel another apple. 

But when life gives you apples....

Linking up with Jess

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Guy Behind The Blog {September}

Some of my favorite posts around here have quickly became my "The Guy Behind The Blog " posts. We skipped last months link-up but I am glad to say we are back for September. I love how "expressive" these posts are. Packed full of Russ' trademark sighs and groans if there was ever time for me to try out doing a Vlog post, it would be for one of these interviews.


1 // What's the silliest thing you and your significant other have needed to compromise on?

I don't know, we don't ever fight because we have the perfect relationship.
Me: What about the word ginormous?
*Big sigh*
I still don't think it's a word. 

2 // If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 must haves would you bring with you?

Why are you asking me this?
Me: Dude! Just answer.
*Throws his hands in there air*
Is there water there?
Me: Well.... ummm?
There's a well? (real clever Mr.)
Me: Let's assume there is water.
Hmmmm? I guess a fire starter so I could cook whatever it is that I strangled.
Are there coconuts?
Me: Probably
I guess you can drink from coconuts.
I'd need a Bible to help keep my sanity and a knife.

3 // Talents aside, what is your dream job?

Does working for myself count?
Me: There's no wrong answer. Doing what?

Building old cars or driving a race car would be fun. 

4 // What are three things on your bucket list?

Pay the house off and live debt free.
*LONG pause*
Learn how to tig weld stainless

5 // What kind of date is your favorite to go on with your significant other? (Romantic, fun, spontaneous, etc.)

What's a date? (I told you Whitney ;) )
One without kids.
I don't know. Informal/spontaneous where there's food.

Me: Look we're done, that wasn't so bad?!
That was terrible! *big sigh while walking away*.

Well that's a wrap until next month.... maybe.

Linking up with Heavens To Betsy.

Now it's your turn to link up with Tuesday Talk!

Becky from BYBMG, Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls, Whitney from Polka-Dotty Place, Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things, Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims, Keri from Living In This Season, Sarah from Abiding In Grace, Lauren from Simply Free , Emily from Morning Motivated Mom, and Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little OnesChristina from Waltzing In Beauty, Amy from Go Forth and Mother & Michelle from Grammie Time

Grab the button in my sidebar and link up!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekend Recap: Bargains, Balloons, Bonfires & More

The weekend always seems to be over as soon as it began and before I know it, it's Monday again.
I really don't like Mondays #sadface.

Since this weekend worked out to be an exciting one I thought it would be fun to do a recap.
Friday afternoon I dropped the girls off to spend the night with my parents and went do to some shopping with the BFF. She was wanting to buy some athletic wear and I knew I was clearly the best person to go with her because let's be honest, I have a bit of a problem. Good thing I am a wise shopper who never pays full price ;). 

Speaking of active wear has anyone watched this video?

And I may or may not have picked up a new jacket.

Friday night was a bonfire with new and old friends.

Then we hung out in the garage until I couldn't stay awake any longer.

Saturday morning I made pumpkin scones.

Picked up the the girls after breakfast and sat around the house most of the morning doing a whole lot of nothing. I did put together a new camera strap with a scarf that I grabbed out of a free pile at co-op on Friday. 

Later that evening we headed out to Joplin's first ever Balloon Days Festival.
We hung out with friends and I snapped some pretty cool photos too. 

Sunday was church.

Catching up on some blogging and an afternoon Bible study with Sarah.

A sweaty 1.5 mile mid-afternoon run with Marissa.

And we wrapped things up by staying up way to late trying to catch a glimpse of the eclipse. 

It was a great weekend!
...Now to survive this thing called Monday.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Highlights 9.25.15

Hello Friday!

Happy Friday friends it is finally the weekend and I am EXCITED! So many fun things are going on this weekend including shopping dates, bonfires and hot air balloons to name a few. I can't wait to share it all with you in a recap on Monday.

How about we waste no time today and jump right on into this weeks Friday highlights!

{ONE} Blog Highlights

This week I shared about my exercise journey over the past couple years.
Recently my eyes were finally opened and I realized something I thought I was doing for myself wasn't really for me after all.

I finally posted the apple bread recipe I promised on Facebook a few weeks ago.

And I added another post to my Girl Mom series featuring Morna from Awesome Austerity.

{TWO} New Boots

On Sunday I went to get my "new'ish" brown boots out of the closet for the first time this season when I discovered they had met their doom. Apparently they didn't like the corner of the closet where I have always stored every pair of boots I have ever owned over winter.

I could've cried...
But instead I bought some new boots ;). Thank goodness for some recent extra income via the old blog.
I picked these and I couldn't be more excited. 

I found such a good deal on my boots that I even ordered a pair for the oldest. She chose to go the cowgirl boot route and I think it is going to be adorable.

Sale + an extra 25% off and a $15 off shoe perk (thanks mom) meant I snagged these for about $12

Needless to say we are both pretty excited about our upcoming arrivals

{THREE} Teaching Together Blog Hop

I am pretty excited about a new monthly blog hop I announced yesterday.

Our hope is that it will be a great place where we can teach and learn together by sharing our educational posts in a linkup and checking out what others are doing.

The hop will be the first Thursday of every month and that means we start this coming week!
Check out yesterdays post for more details or feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments.

{FOUR} Pallet Pumpkins

It was about this time last year that I was working on my pallet pumpkins

Realizing how terrible my photos were back then I recently updated this post and thought what better time of the year to share it again.

This DIY project is pretty easy and inexpensive.
We all know the worst part of any pallet project is dismantling the pallet.

{FIVE} Insta Say What?!

Did anyone know that you can do this?!

(Now if I could only figure out how to get it centered!)

So I may be the last person in "Blogland" to realize that you can do that but I don't care, I still think it's awesome. Plus look at that sweet face. That girl has been so happy with that caterpillar that she has been sleeping with it. Too stinking cute!

You can check out this post by Crystal from Hall Around Texas to get the details and some tips on how to use Instagram, the best social media platform EVER!

Speaking of IG if we're not friends over there you can find me here

 Friday Linkup Parties

To see where I am linking up check out my link-up tab.

Have a great weekend!
We will see you back here soon.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Teaching Together {Blog Hop Announcement}

There are two things about me that you have probably figured out if you've spent much time around here.

#1) I love educating my children at home. I will never pass up a chance to talk about home school and share our journey with anyone who has questions or cares to listen.

#2) I love a good blog hop or link up.

When Whitney from Work it Mommy started talking to me about what a monthly educational blog hop might look like I instantly knew I wanted to be involved. 

I am so excited to announce the Teaching Together Blog Hop!

Hosted by: Work It Mommy, Tickled Pink,
Sweet Turtle Soup, A + Life & Our Pretty Little Girls

The Teaching Together Blog hop will be on the First Thursday of every month. 
Starting in one week, October 1st, 2015 5:00 a.m. CST

You are welcome to Share new posts or link older posts as well.
You can do crafts, books, resources, lesson plans, art projects theme units the possibilities are endless.   

Our hope is that we can share ideas, encourage each other and teach our children together.

 Mark your calendars now! 
The dates for the first 6 hops are:
October 1st
November 5th
December 3rd
January 7th
February 4th
March 3rd

Grab the button, add your links and check out what others have been working.
Our Pretty Little Girls

We can't wait to see what you have to share and hope you'll make plans to join us!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Girl Mom Series: Morna, Awesome Austerity

Don't worry, I know it's not Thursday ;). 

Typically I share my girl mom posts on Thursdays but tomorrow I have a pretty special announcement lined up. Morna was sweet enough to change dates and share her post today. I hope you love learning more about her life in Scotland and her girls.

Take it away Morna...

I applied to be part of the Girl Moms series several months ago when I was a new blogger. The series has been so popular that I've waited months to write this post. During this time I've read through lots of the other Girl Mom posts and I feel humbled. So many of the mothers in this series have overcome adversary of one type or another either to become a mother in the first place or in bringing up their kids. I feel so lucky to have what I have, and that it has come to me with relative ease.

My name is Morna and I live just outside Edinburgh, Scotland. I work full-time as a doctor and I am lucky to be a mother to my beautiful little girls Helen who is five and Sally who is four. I have been blogging over at Awesome Austerity for around six months now. It started out as a money-saving blog and somehow morphed into a parenting and lifestyle blog with the odd bit of money-saving thrown in!


I've wanted to be a doctor since I was around nine, but I've wanted to be a mother for my entire life, and I've always dreamed of having a little girl. When I found out I was pregnant we decided not to find out what we were having. We wanted to experience the surprise. Thinking back I don't know why I subjected myself to such trauma, perhaps it was so I could secretly keep hoping for a girl for a little longer. I spent my entire pregnancy convincing myself I was having a boy. By the time I went into labor I had given up on any idea of having a girl. I'd even bought some boy clothes in preparation for the arrival of 'Little William'. I still remember my first view of Helen, I thought the cord was a penis and it took me several seconds to realize that it was a little girl they had placed on my chest and not a little boy. I was over the moon.


 When I fell pregnant again I didn't even really dare to hope for another girl. I knew that all the dreams I'd had of having a little girl had been realized with Helen so I would be happy with whatever I got and I know if I'd had a boy I would have loved him just as much. I didn't have a boy though, another precious little girl was placed on my chest, I felt like the luckiest woman alive.


 What surprised me the most about the arrival of Sally into our lives was that despite her having the same chromosomal makeup as her sister she was completely different. Who knew two genetically similar little girls would be entirely opposite in almost every way? Where Helen is dreamy and thoughtful, living more in her own fantasy land than in the real world Sally is honest and stubborn, strong and athletic. Parenting Helen gave us no clues as to how to manage Sally!


 The first couple of years of parenthood are just about keeping your child alive really. It's exhausting often thankless work adjusting to the massive change in your circumstances and learning to put someone else's needs before your own every single time. Then you get to the stage we're at, the stage where your kids really start to develop as people and all of a sudden it's your job to make sure they turn into decent human beings.

 "Sisters do everything together"

I had an amazing childhood. My sister and I grew up on a small island off the West Coast of Scotland. We were part of a tight-knit community, living in a safe and nurturing environment. We played outside, swam in the sea and had our own ponies. We also had wonderful parents who we could talk to about everything and a mum who stayed at home to look after us until we were in secondary school. I knew I wanted to give my children as wonderful a childhood as I enjoyed but it's not as easy as I thought it would be. We moved to Colonsay from Edinburgh just before Sally was born but after a couple of years we moved back to the city.

Sally playing on the beach on Colonsay  
 "Sally playing on the beach on Colonsay"

Although I loved living on Colonsay as a child I didn't enjoy it as an adult. I missed my career and my friends on the mainland and I could see that my children were missing out on certain things. Things like swimming lessons and ballet which have become important to them since we left Colonsay and which I longed to do as a child. Their social network on Colonsay was limited. Now they have so many school friends I can't keep up with all their names. I can see that they have a good life living where we do. I've had to learn to accept that there can be more than one perfect childhood. Just because something was ideal for my parents doesn't mean it is ideal for me. My children still spend a lot of time on Colonsay. Most of our holidays are spent there. They know so many people on the island and are definitely part of the community. But they are part of a separate community on the mainland too. 

 I try so hard to talk to my girls the way my parents spoke to me. As though they are sensible, sentient human beings whose opinions are worth seeking. I don't always find it easy though. My parents are so patient - me less so. I feel so cross with myself sometimes when I grump at my girls, I work full-time and my time with them is precious. It's not fair to spend that time being at cross with them because I'm tired or because the house isn't tidy enough. Because I work so much and because we have chosen to live on the mainland I sometimes feel that I should give in to every request and whim my children express. They should be having gymnastics and Highland dancing lessons along with the ballet and tap that they already have. They should be having piano and recorder and martial arts lessons, we should say yes to every play date and party invitation, to every request for new toys or sweets. Of course that's not practical. I also want my girls to know that resources are finite. That sometimes you have to work for things and that ultimately you can't have everything you want. 

 I'm so proud of my little girls. They are inquisitive, intelligent, kind and thoughtful. They both have amazing imaginations and they are learning to play together and forming a bond that I hope they will carry with them into adulthood. I'm growing to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect childhood, nor a perfect parent. All we can do is our best. If we treat our children with love and respect, set them clear boundaries and appreciate their concerns then hopefully they will turn into happy young woman who look back as fondly on their childhood as I do mine.

Girl Moms

Thank you so much Morna for sharing your story with us today. It was so fun to read about your life so many hours away from us in Scotland and be able to identify with you as a mother.

Be sure to stop by Awesome Austerity to learn more about Morna and her family 

You can also find her on:

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