Friday, October 31, 2014

Five Things Friday 10.31.14

It's been all things Halloween this week! I love this time of year, just sad it passes by so quickly! I'll fill you in on all of our Halloween happenings in the next couple days so let's see what I can come up with that's not of the Halloween variety! :)

1. Kaydin and I are spending the day with this little peanut tomorrow. I'm wishing it wasn't going to be so cold so we could hit up the park. Instead, our plan may be altered to hit up the library. And maybe Home Goods to find a few things I'm in search of.

2. Speaking of Home Goods and my search, I want to find a lamp for my office. It's time I do some more decorating in my space and one thing I want to find is a fun (but not too trendy, i.e.- chevron patterned) but homey/cozy, smallish lamp! I'm hoping to get lucky at Home Goods!

3. I bought a sewing machine on NoMoreRack,com the other day. Just a small beginner one but I'm hoping it will satisfy our needs and help me learn a few basic skills. I think I'll be begging this crafty lady to teach me a few things though!

4. How well do you do at sticking to a budget? I usually do fairly well, I've always been ok with money, but I never knew where it all went. I only get paid once per month so it's important that I pay all bills up front and spend wisely so I have enough to last me all month. I've been tracking and budgeting for a few years now, but I finally started using cash and the envelope system. And just this month I tracked diligently where every dollar was going and spent only cash for the most part. It was actually fun and made me more aware and careful about my spending. I even had a good sized surplus on this last day of October! Now to keep up this for all future months, too!

5. Now that Halloween is passing us by, it's time to turn our thoughts to Thanksgiving! Need to start planning the menu! Although, it doesn't change much from year to year. I've done the majority of the cooking (except the bird) for the last couple years and it's been so fun to take on that role for my family. Last year Josh even said my escalloped corn was as good as Mom's. Now that's a serious compliment coming from him as escalloped corn is mandatory on our holiday tables according to him.

Linking up with Clare at 5 Things Friday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy National Chocolate Day {+Balance Bar Giveaway}

It's National Chocolate Day!

Balance Bar was kind enough to send me this big box of chocolate goodness to celebrate this year! I was so excited to open up the box and see these beauties inside!

Now who wants to win some!?!?

Not familiar with Balance Bars? They are a much healthier alternative to candy bars! Totally delicious energy bars with a fairly short list of ingredients and nothing too crazy on that list. All easily pronounceable- a definite plus when it comes to bars in our house! 

Plus a hefty amount of protein in each bar. 14 grams for both the brownie and chocolate craze flavors! And over 20 vitamins and minerals in each bar, too! There's lots of flavors to choose from. S'mores, anyone?? :) I'm especially excited to try their new line, Bare.

Want to win this box of chocolate goodness for yourself? Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given a box of Chocolate Craze and Double Chocolate Brownie balance bars in exchange for hosting a giveaway. No other compensation was offered. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

This Weekend I...

got so much accomplished and had a great time partaking in some fun Halloween activities.

made a new side dish. Roasted butternut squash with onions, garlic, and sage. Oh, yeah. And bacon too. Make it! So good!

paired with a spinach salad with feta, chicken, and tilapia.

made some tea for all of us to sip on while watching a movie, Captain America.

worked on the finishing touches of Kaydin's peacock costume.

washed my car since it was such a beautiful day!

finally processed the drawer full of apples in the fridge.

and turned them into apple sauce with some pears mixed in.

and a rectangle apple pie since the filling wouldn't all fit in my round pie dish.

made the trip to the zoo for Night Eyes on Saturday night.

and then to Terrace Hill for their Halloween event on Sunday.

And finished off the weekend with a warm bowl of chili.

A great weekend! The thing we didn't fit in was carving our pumpkins but that's on the agenda for tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Apple Orchard and Pumpkin Patch 2014 {Wills Family Orchard}

A couple weekends ago we made our annual trip to one of the local orchards. 

We try to rotate and pick a different place every year, but this time we hit up the same spot we did last year. Apples were not of the "u-pick" variety this year due to some hail earlier in the year, but we still had a great time! 

First, we checked out the animals on site. Some very curious hens and very friendly goats greeted us as soon as we walked up.

This guy wanted to get real close! I thought I was gonna end up with a licked cell phone!

We hit up the country store before we hopped on the hayride. Their fresh apple cider donuts are a must try! Kaydin and I split one, but I definitely could've used one more half! :)

Also purchased from the store was a large bag of honeycrisp apples destined to be paired with some almond butter, a jar of apple butter, and a jar of tart cherry jam (so good!).

The majority of our visit was spent in the pumpkin patch, weaving in and out of the vines searching for just the right ones. Perfectly round ones, small ones, Cinderella varieties, ones that were green but not too green, one that was bumpy with just the right amount of black. So many types to choose from!

A quick hop on the tractor before we headed home was definitely necessary!

We got there not long after opening time on a Sunday and I'm glad we did. It kept getting busier and busier during the almost 1 1/2 hours we were there.

Wills Family Orchard
33130 Panther Creek Road
Adel, IA 50003

Did you make it to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch this fall?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Things I'm Pinning...

We're all Pinterest junkies, right?

Well, I thought it would be fun to share some things I'm pinning every once in a while. Yes, I know some people may think it's a cop-out post. But I always enjoy reading them! And yes, I admit, it's easy. Sometimes it's fun (and needed) to take the easy route with blog posts. They take a whole lotta time, dear friends, and on weekdays the name of the game is easy!

So here's some things I've pinned lately and wanted to share with you all!

Buttery pecan pumpkin spice cookies. We have a dessert potluck coming up at work. I think I may have found what I'll be bringing!
Buttery Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies - Buttery soft dough with big chunky pecans in every bite! Salty-and-sweet and so hard to resist!!

Kids Chore Chart. We've started using this at home. Kaydin struggles with keeping on things that we want to make a habit. I think she may get this from me. but I'm determined to make chores just a part of her everyday life. This chart should help!
Chore Charts

Cheese Baked Egg Toast. Wow! So Yum! And so easy!
Cheesy Baked Egg Toast | | #breakfast #eggs #cheese

How-To Compost. I have a compost barrel that I started this spring. I never even added it to the garden, never made it that far but I made compost!! So easy. It actually started to smell realllllly bad when we were getting all that rain this summer, but I just added a bunch of shredded newspaper and it corrected itself. I had been adding too much green (food scraps) and not enought brown (leaves or newspaper) I use this one and love it!
How to Compost - Magnificent Garden Soil

Peacock Costume. Kaydin decided on a peacock as her Halloween costume this year. I envision my creation to look like this. Hoping I can make it work!
Peacock Tutu Kostüm Pageant Party PortraitKleid von BlissyCouture, $155.00

Peacock Fanned Tail. And she is determined to have a fan tail like this. I'm less confident about this becoming a reality but I think we're gonna try!
closeup of makeup and hair clip

Hairstyle I'm Loving! If I ever decide to chop my hair off again in the near future, this'll be what I show my stylist.
love it!

Umm, Yum!This pumpkin hot chocolate with vanilla coconut milk whipped cream sounds AH-mazing!
Pumpkin hot chocolate with vanilla coconut whipped cream.

And to keep up with all the other random everything I'm pinning, follow me!

Happy pinning!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Musselman's Applesauce {The perfect go-to snack + Giveaway}

Ok, weird tidbit of information about me...

Whenever I see individual applesauce cups it makes me think of back to school time.

Why? Well, I don't really know. I don't think I took applesauce cups in my lunch much as a kid. Maybe every now and again, but they definitely weren't a staple. Just a pair that my brain ties together. Like sweatshirts and football games, mini candy bars and trick-or-treating.

When Musselman's offered to send me some of their Big Cup individual applesauce cups, I immediately thought of Kaydin and her school snack time. This year at her new school, we have to take a daily snack. These Big Cup applesauce cups are perfect!

And they fit in well at my office too! ;) Applesauce isn't just a perfect snack for kids, but adults, also!

This is the perfect time of year to get your apple and applesauce snacking on! Apples are in abundance right now! And follow one of my favorite recipes to create your own homemade applesauce. A fall staple if you ask me!


Search for your own Mussleman's applesauce in a grocery store near you! I was excited when I saw this coupon in my local store ad. Apparently so was everyone else, though, because when I made it to Hy-Vee the Musselman's applesauce shelf was bare!


Want to try out the new Big Cups from Musselman's for your own snacktime? Enter below for a chance to win a pack of Big Cup applesauce cups and a pack of recipe cards!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given Mussleman's products to try. I was not offered any other compensation. All opinions are my own.