October 11, 2011

A Busy Saturday

One event that I always looked forward to when we were waiting to go to China was a trip to a pumpkin patch with our polar cub.  Last year Z was sick so much during the month of October we never made it pumpkin picking.  This year we finally were able to make that dream a reality.

On Saturday we had a packed, fun-filled day starting with the pumpkin patch.


Hey Buddy!  Look through the other side!  ;o)

Daddy, YOU go through first.
At first Z did not want to go through the maze.  He was so funny. 
Eventually he did, though and he loved it!

Our pumpkins.
Daddy carried all of these pumpkins out of the field. 
It was all you could carry for $25.

Having a snack after all that pumpkin hunting.

After the pumpkin patch we drove just a little bit further north to Columbus, Ohio to a horse show.  Z's grandparents had been at the show all week long and we thought he would enjoy seeing them and the 'Joes'.  (Z still calls all horses Joe.) 

Z loves cows so we thought he would enjoy watching the cutters.

He enjoyed the popcorn more.

He did watch the 'moo-cows' for a while.

Then we went back to the big arena to watch more reining.

We walked back to the camper before dinner.  Z walked in and crashed on the sofa.
He was a tired boy.

After a full day and a full belly Z slept most of the way home.

October 6, 2011

Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Last week I saw several blogs posting about a Christmas Cookie Blog Hop.  For 12 weeks bloggers are going to post cookie and candy recipes in hopes of having a full freezer of goodies for the holiday season.

I LOVED the idea.  If you have read my blog in the past you know that Christmas cookies are my thing.  I love to make cookies for my family.  The problem I have is there are so many favorite cookies that have become tradition in the family that I never get a chance to try something new.

For the next 11 weeks I can try some new cookies.  Who knows maybe a new favorite will pop up.  Best of all I will have cookies in the freezer for when a last minute cookie tray is needed.

My first cookie for the Blog Hop is a Pumpkin Snickerdoodle.  I saw this cookie a couple of weeks ago on one of my favorite blogs Annie's Eats.  Z has loved snickerdoodles from day one.  If you add in some pumpkin how can you go wrong?  The only change I made to the recipe was to bump up the spices by at least half.  It was perfect.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Annie's Eats

3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar 1heaping tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
Dash of allspice
In a bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together; set aside.  Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy.  Mix in the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.  Don't over mix.  Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to350*.  Line cookies sheets with parchment paper.  Combine the remaining sugar and spices in a small bowl.    Roll approximately one tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll into sugar mixture.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool slightly on tray before moving them cooling rack.

Makes approximately four dozen cookies.

Please check out Annie's Eats for a well written recipe.

These are my new favorite cookies.
My little cookie monster LOVES them, too.  He calls them Mama's Cookies when he asks for one.  :o)
I'm looking forward to the next 10 weeks of baking.  I have some plans already.  Stay tuned.

Be sure to check out all of the other cookies and sweets others are sharing. 

October 3, 2011

Mid Autumn Harvest Festival ~ 2011

On September 12th we had a small Mid Autumn Harvest Festival party.  It's a Chinese celebration held every year on the 15th day of the eighth month according to the lunar calendar.  The festival coincides with what is supposed to be the largest and brightest full moon of the year.

In China it has become similar to our Thanksgiving.  Once I read that I knew this was one festival I wanted to celebrate every year.   There are a couple of Chinese celebrations that we plan to celebrate yearly with two other families who have adopted.  Our friends D & L have adopted from Taiwan, and our friends D & C are leaving on Tuesday for China to meet their sweet little girl, L.   We have decided that we will continue to celebrate until the kids say otherwise.  :o)

Z helping prepare the lanterns.

Here Z is helping me make our moon pumpkin cookies.
For the record, he doesn't usually sit on the counter.  

The best part of the evening was when C led a lantern parade around the house.
You can't tell in the picture, but these little lanterns light up.

Look at the moon!

The moon

October 2, 2011

Travel Group Reunion

Over Labor Day weekend the three of us traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to meet up with some of our travel group.  It was so much fun to meet up with everyone and see how all of the babies have grown.  They truly aren't babies anymore.  They are all adorable busy, busy toddlers.

Here are some pictures from our trip:
Thank Heavens for the iPad during the long drive.
At dinner the first night Z was not appreciative  of all the attention.  I bet that changes in
a few years.  
We stayed at the Wilderness in the Smokies Lodge.  They have a wonderful area perfect for toddlers.
Chillin' in the pool.

We had a pool party celebration one day and the hotel provided this amazing cake!
Our travel guides in China had a cake for us in China with one of these candles.
It was so much fun when Diana pulled two out candles for the cake!

Our Travel Group ~ May, 2010
They were not very happy at this moment.
September, 2011
They are still not very happy with group pictures. 

The Dads

October 1, 2011

Miscellaneous Pictures From August

I'm going to add a couple of different posts to catch up some of my favorite moments from the last few weeks.
Bear, Z, and Papa

Z with Tyler

This picture makes me giggle every time I look at it.  The look on Jordan's face is priceless.  You see, Jordan just got his driving permit and he was constantly asking me to drive.  :o)

Papa and Z.

Z and his new bike.  He still doesn't quite get the pedals yet.

One evening we were sitting out on the deck while Z was playing.  Suddenly we noticed that he had brought
 out and lined up all of his toys for a toy parade.  So cute!

My boys!