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Monday, September 30, 2013

Hey there, October.

My favorite month of the year. 

Weather cools down, leaves change, soups start being slow-cooked, pumpkin flavored everything emerges. Jeans, boots, and sweaters come out from those bottom drawers. Ahhhh. 

It's our first October outside of the Midwest, and I'm sure it'll be slightly different, but I fully intend to enjoy it as I always do.

We drove through Spearfish Canyon over the weekend in hopes of seeing some color on the trees. The colors weren't as vivid as I'd hoped, but the canyon was still gorgeous, as it is year around. 

This month, I am going to try to do the photoaday challenge. I always start strong, then fall behind, and end up just scrapping the whole idea. It's possible this month could turn out the same. :) 

But I'm going to attempt it! 
 
 
Some health and fitness goals I have for this month are:
 
1) Drink no less than 128 ounces (1 gallon) of water a day, M-F.
 
2) Drink no less than 64 ounces of water a day, Saturday and Sunday.
 
3) 5 days of cardio and 5 or 6 days of weight training.
 
A goal around the house for this month is to spend 20 minutes a day, every day, doing general household chores in hopes of staying caught up on everything so that the weekends don't end up being spent doing hours of catch-up, as that's what normally happens.
 
 
Do you have big plans for this month?
 
What are some of your goals for October?
 
What's your favorite month?
 
Any fall traditions in your family?

Fall Family Weekend

We had a great weekend!  Friday was downright cold.  This was the temp as I drove home from work Friday afternoon.
 

 
Saturday was much better, with high temps in the upper 60's.  After Matt got home from working Saturday morning, we had a quick lunch and headed north to Spearfish to the Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze!  (We decided against going through the corn maze, as it was rumored to take about an hour.)
 
This young man - whenever we are out and about - just loves to run!

 
 
It didn't take the boys long to pick out their pumpkins.

 

 
 
Oh, this boy.  He had a couple mishaps.  First he fell and got a little spiky thorn in his hand (tragedy pictured below), then he fell into a gap between hay bales and had to be pulled free.  Such a rough day for him. :)
 

 
 
But, all was well, once tears were shed, of course.

 
 
Isn't that the prettiest blue sky in the background??

 
 
After picking out pumpkins and climbing on hay bales, it was time to play in the giant corn-box!


 
 
And then more climbing on the hay.  I was impressed with this family selfie.  Didn't turn out too bad for fitting 4 people in the picture, and both boys were smiling. 

 
After we finished up at the pumpkin patch, we drove through Spearfish Canyon, in hopes of seeing some color on the trees.  The color was far less vivid than I expected, but Spearfish Canyon is a place that's gorgeous all year long.  I only took a couple of pictures, because every time I looked at them, I got frustrated because they don't do the beauty justice.


 
Coming back up from the canyon, we went through Deadwood.  I've been wanting to see Mount Moriah Cemetery ever since we moved here, so we stopped by.  We checked out Wild Bill and Calamity Jane's graves, walked around a bit, and enjoyed the pretty fall weather.


 
 
I don't know who this 7 year old girl was, but there's just something fascinating about old cemeteries, no?

 
Once we got home, we had pizza for dinner and just relaxed.
 
Sunday involved a lot more relaxation.  Hendrix snuggled up next to me in the chair during nap time.  That's my hand sandwiched in between his.  Ahhhh I love that kid.  He doesn't snuggle very often, so this was super special.

 
After Jameson woke from his nap, we got down to business carving pumpkins!


 
 
This picture is super fuzzy, but the look on Jamers' face pretty much describes his attraction to the whole idea of pumpkin carving.

 
 
This was as close as he got to the "goo."




 
Over all, it was a great weekend with my guys.  The weather was beautiful, we had lots of fun, and also got in plenty of relaxation. 
 
Now, just to survive the work week.  This 40-hour-a-week thing is really cramping my style.
 
Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Out and About- Geocaching in Rapid!

We ushered in the first day of fall in Rapid City with temps in the lower 90's. Gross.

We decided to get out and do a little exploring before the heat hit on, and went out in search of some geocaches!

We found one of our three attempts, but we'll be back to avenge those DNF's (did not find's)!!!!

Our search for one of the caches took us on some pretty cool trails near Dinosaur Park. The trails were far from treacherous, but did provide a small level of difficulty due to the fact that we had a not-so-agile two year old with us!
 
 
 
 

In allowing Jameson to walk on the most level part of the trail while I walked on the drop-off side, I somehow rolled my ankle. Fantastic. Matt joked that I can run 5 miles, but when it comes to a little 1/2 mile hike, I injure myself. :)
 
 
 
Hydration break!

 
The one cache we found was hidden under a group of rocks in the middle of a circle of 6 trees. It was pretty cool.
 


 

Hendrix with the cache.

We left the red snake as our swag.
 
After our trail adventure, we headed home for the afternoon to stay cool and watch some football.

 
Despite the heat, I lit some fall scented candles!

 
I tried a new recipe from Pinterest last evening and it. was. amazing.  The picture below is the only photo I got of it, because once it was on our plates, it was devoured immediately!  That being said, I don't have enough pictures of the meal or the process to justify a blog post about it, but it's on my Pinterest board entitled "Food!"  If you would like the recipe, I HIGHLY recommend trying this!

 
Overall we had a pretty good weekend!  We've got fun fall plans for the upcoming weekend as well, so if all goes according to plan, I'll have another fun weekend recap for you next week!
 
Until then, I hope you all have a productive and positive week!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - Things you didn't know about me

Remember those old notes and "quizzes" people used to do on Facebook and MySpace (what's MySpace???)?  I've been seeing them pop up on Instagram lately.
 
I think I'll do something along those lines and share random facts about myself that you may or may not know.  Fun, right?
 
 
 I wish I would have been born around 1930 and could have lived during the 1950's.  I love everything about that era.
 
 I have a problem with not finishing projects that I start, and before I know it, I've got about 7 things going at once, I get overwhelmed, and scrap them all.
 
 I'm not a seafood lover.  I've recently tried to acquire a taste for fish, and just can't do it.
 
 I am attempting to highly reduce the amount of dairy I consume.  Giving up cheese is the problem here, guys.  Oh, I love cheese.
 
I'm now officially a landlord.  Weird.

I enjoy doing housework.  I just wish I had more energy to do it!!

 I push myself too hard.

I tend not to ask for help if/when I need it, then get frustrated that I'm not getting help.

 I spend entirely too much time on social networking and on my iphone.  I plan to take a break from all social networking this weekend and live completely in the real world.  You know, like people used to do. :)

I now love a lot of foods that I used to hate.  A few examples:  coconut, dark chocolate, pickles, and onions.  (How's that for random?)

 I Love Lucy always has been and always will be my favorite TV show.  I watch it every morning during my cardio, and I could easily sit down and watch the entire series at once, if time allowed.  She always makes me laugh!

Along the same lines as I Love Lucy, I also really enjoy listening to oldies music.

Thursdays are meal planning days, and Fridays are grocery days.  I try to do our shopping once a week.  I tried once a month and twice a month, and both of those methods resulted in random trips to the store that ended up costing us more that necessary!

What's something I don't know about you?

 

Recipe Time: Caramel Pumpkin Bars!

Oh, sweet fall - it's finally arrived.  Sunday was downright chilly, with a high of about 62 degrees.  The boys and I tried to play outside in the morning, and I ended up making us go inside because I couldn't shake the goosebumps!  But oh, how I love this time of year.
 
The cool weather, football on TV, and soup in the crockpot, put me in the fall mood even more, so what better way to celebrate than to bake something with pumpkin???  I got the recipe for this delicious Caramel Drizzle Pumpkin Cake here.

 
Ready to try this out for yourself?  Of course you are, they're fabulous!  First, gather your supplies.  You'll need:
 
3 eggs
1/2 cup of fat free yogurt (I used regular, but you can use greek for an extra protein boost!)
1 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. caramel bits
Plus, caramel for the topping
 
First, combine the eggs, yogurt, and brown sugar, and whisk until smooth.
 

 
Next, add the pumpkin and vanilla, and whisk until smooth again.

 
Then, add your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

 
Mix it up!
 
Once your wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, add 1 cup of caramel bits.

 
Mix it up again!
 
Then, using a flexible spatula to scrape the sides, spread it into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

 
If it's your kind of thing, you might consider enjoying a treat or two similar to the following while this fall, pumpkin goodness is baking......


 
 
Once the bars are fully baked, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, put the remainder of the bag of caramels in a glass bowl with a little bit of milk and melt in the microwave, stirring after each 20-25 seconds.  (Careful, the bowl is hot!)
 
 


 
Then, drizzle over the pumpkin bars.  You can poke holes in the bars to allow the caramel drizzle to soak in even more if you want.  I did this and I'm pretty sure it was a great idea.



 
If you're drooling, you should be.  This was so tasty!  And what's so awesome about it (in my humble little opinion, of course), is that with the caramel drizzle, each piece was only about 140 calories!  (I cut the whole thing into 21 pieces.)
 
Caramel pairs so well with the fall flavor of the pumpkin to make this just a party in your mouth.  It's definitely an explosion of deliciousness.
 
Try it for yourself, you won't regret it!
 
Happy fall, friends!