Friday, October 24, 2014

A Day In the Life With Our Toddler

It has been quite a while since I've done a "Day In the Life Of" post (I did one when Ben was about 7 months old, (that sure is a trip down memory lane!) and another one almost exactly one year later when Ben was about 19 months old). I really enjoy going back and reading these, and I think they will be something really special for us later on. I also love reading how other people organize and operate their days because it really gives mothers a new perspective and understanding about how working moms, moms of multiples, moms of one, stay at home moms, work form home moms, etc, spend their days. I just read my friend Whitney's post about the day in the life of a working mom, and I was so exhausted and at the same time amazed at the sacrifices she is making for her family. Even though it's highly dependent on our children's ages, our perspectives, and life situations, I'm sure my day seems 'easy' to a lot of working moms or moms with three children. :)

In the spirit of things, I wanted to document this snippet of time because in about three months our lives are about to be rocked again by baby girl, and our routines will definitely be changing. There are certainly days now when I feel like I'm surviving in the trenches...days where Ben has lots of tantrums, wants to be held constantly, I never pee without a toddler and a dog staring at me, and nothing gets accomplished other than meeting the needs of other people. Days where being a stay at home mom is really boring and the hours drag on like the never ending story. Afternoons where I count down the minutes until my husband gets home (single parents...shout out and fist bump to you!) There are seasons of motherhood where my hormones, Ben's emotions, our highs and lows oscillate and change hugely...two months ago was rough, but now we are going through a really fun time. I feel like the toddler years are really my jam, and while Ben was an adorable infant, I'm happy to see him growing into a young boy. No matter the day, I like to feel joyful, and overall, we are thriving and happy, and feel like every day just gets more and more fun with our boy. I miss working, but I'm still thankful every single day I get to be here with him...through all of the amazing, the boring, the exhausting, the fun, the lonely, the overwhelming, the joyful, and the confusing moments.

Most of our weekdays are somewhat the same. I try and do 3-4 social activities with him a week, and at least 1-2 days at home in a relaxed environment. Weekends are of course a whole different ballgame, since daddy is home and we are usually out doing fun activities or the guys are doing guy stuff together. Like most mamas, I often worry I'm not doing 'enough' or the 'right things'...I let other people get in my head about why he isn't in preschool, daycare, a co-op, or starting homeschool activities. My thoughts on this are that he is only two years old, and for US, being home with his mama at this point in his life is right where he needs to be. We do a lot of learning activities together, we read a lot of books, and we go outside to explore the world. I know I needn't worry because Ben is super smart, and loving, and even though he is a shy child, he is growing in his social nature. This time with my baby(s) is so sacred and special to me and I'm soaking it up before life changes again.

We are not huge clock-watchers, but toddlers do thrive on consistency/routine and we aim for the same general times each day with variation for flexibility. This was just a random Tuesday in October.
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Butt Crack of Dawn: My husband wakes up, and I get up with him today (this does NOT happen every day...trust me), and I make him a breakfast shake before sending him on his way. I go back to bed and read for a little bit and doze off and on before my alarm goes off, but baby girl is rolling and jabbing me and sleep was minimal.
7:00: I wake up to get showered and dressed (yoga pants and a hoodie), and then make the bed. I go let the dog out and wait forever for him to find the perfect place to do his business (thinking about how great it will be to finally have that fence built so I can just let his wandering heart out free). I feed him and leave him in the laundry room so he doesn't drive me nuts.
7:30: I hear Ben jabbering on the monitor and go in to get him up. I can always hear him saying "That Mama!!" before I open the door. My favorite part of the day is going into his room and seeing him standing at the edge of his crib with a huge smile on his face, so so happy to see me. I lift him up and he gives me two huge hugs and a big wet kiss (he's realllly into long kisses these days). He will tell me if he's "All wet" because he soaked through his diaper/jammies or not, but thankfully today he's dry so I don't have to change the sheets. We snuggle on the couch and read a few books about tractors, farm animals, and ocean creatures together. It's such a cozy, rainy morning and I try to be really intentional about remembering all these little moments...his voice, his morning eyes and hair, the weight of his body resting on mine, his enthusiasm for what we are reading about. I need to clip his nails, and usually he's agreeable about this but today he said "Nooooooooo". So I put a 10 minute Bob the Builder clip on my phone and he happily agreed to let me clip his nails. I let him finish watching that while I start breakfast.
8:00: I put on The Civil Wars radio station on pandora and start to make breakfast, which is usually a variation of eggs, oatmeal, or fruit (I never make separate meals and we always eat the same thing). Today however we had some old bread so I made French Toast. I use eggs, cinnamon, chia seeds for the mix and top the toast with butter (even pure organic maple syrup makes me too buzzed). Ben also gets some frozen blueberries (kid won't eat a fresh blueberry to save his soul, but frozen blueberries are his jam), and banana. When his movie clip is over he says "All Done" and asks for a "Train moooomie!" I tell him no and he has a fake whiney fit for about 30 seconds and moves on to reading more books before coming over to my legs to ask 'up pease!!' because he likes to sit on the counter and help me cook. I tell him 'no' since I'm all done and he has a mini fit and then heads over to his chair at the table and climbs in for breakfast.
8:40: We finish our breakfast together and Ben gets down and has free/independent playtime while I clean up the kitchen and put in some laundry. Independent playtime is really important to us, because it fosters a lot of creative and imaginative play, and allows Ben to grow in confidence alone without his mom hovering nearby being a constant source of entertainment. I used to do IP as a more structured time, but as Ben has gotten older it just fits loosely into the day whenever it works. Ben plays with a puzzle and some cars while I make muffins for our playdate today. He then comes over to help me unload the dishwasher, which can take forever because he likes to say the name of each item before giving it to me to put away, one at a time...but he loves it and it's good for him to help. He's also really into organizing and moving around our furniture right now (?) and pushes one of our end tables around in circles before terrorizing the dog and playing with a piece of plastic. Safety first here around here. Also, yes, our dog needs a bath.
9:00: I ask Ben if he had his morning poop but he keeps telling me, "No pooot! Just pee. Pee." He normally always poops after breakfast, but apparently not today. We go to his room to get a clean diaper and get dressed out of his jammies. He picks out his tractor shirt and wants to wear socks so his feet "not cold!" Let's be honest, 'getting dressed' is really only a borderline upgrade from pajamas since he is wearing sweatpants. But hey, he's comfy.
9:30: Today is our weekly playdate with friends, and it's our day to host. Our friends arrive, but since it's raining and Lena has her newborn, we stayed inside and chatted on the couch while the kids played. Ben and his friend Gabe both love trains and spent time driving trains on the track, and doing puzzles on the floor. Our boys love love love muffins and it's almost a thing we do now at playdates (plus a nursing mom and a pregnant mom love muffins too!) :) I love play time with friends because it really helps the morning go by faster and I get quality friend/adult interaction (oh and it's good for Ben too). Days when we don't have playdates Ben and I usually run errands, try library story time, or stay home and do play-doh, read books, practice colors and counting, build things, play outside, etc (fill that toddler tank!) 
11:30: Our friends leave and I get ready to make Ben some lunch. I pull out leftovers from last night (turkey spaghetti and steamed vegetables) and heat some of that up for us to share. Easy lunch day.
11:45: We eat lunch at the table together. He's really into putting "Peppa, not salt," on all of his food right now. When he's done, I let him know he has about 30 minutes of playtime before night night/nap. I sit at the computer and finish my lunch and read a few blogs.
12:00-12:20: I clean up the kitchen while Ben plays and poops before nap (he's a predictable pooper, that kid...well, except for this morning).
12:25: Ben helps clean up toys and then runs to his room to read books and get ready for nap. I change him, close his blinds, he grabs his "Bebe" (stinky blue guy) from his crib and we read one book together.
12:30: Ben climbs up to his crib, I put him in and he gives me a kiss. He says 'night night,' 'no crying, mama!' I tell him I love him and leave the room after turning on his sound machine. He jabbers and talks (it's hard to understand him through the monitor, but I think he's talking about his daddy) for about 15 minutes before falling asleep.
12:30-2:45: I take our dog out for a quick walk in the yard and come back inside and continue working on sorting through the baby boy clothes project I started yesterday. I'm sorting out things I want to keep, just in case of a hypothetical third child, things that baby girl can re-use/wear, and things that are going into bags to be sold in lots. I also move the laundry around and fold a few things that are piled up on the bed. I check my email and respond to a Craiglist post (don't people ask the weirdest questions!?), and confirm a guest teaching job in November.
2:55 Ben wakes up and I get him a snack of hummus and apple slices, and a cup of milk. He does puzzles next to me on the couch (have you noticed he really loves puzzles right now?) Ben asks to do a puzzle probably 20 times a day. I'm not exaggerating. He's GOOD at it too. He doesn't need much help and he loves to do it on his own, saying "Not quite!" when a piece doesn't fit, telling himself "Good job Ben!" when he finishes, and then dumps it out to start again. After snack and puzzle, he then runs off to find my chap stick and spends about 20 minutes applying some generous doses of that to his lips (and to my cheeks as well). He plays with his tractor on the floor for a while, and I decide since it isn't raining we need to get our outdoor time in and get him ready for that.
3:20: I change his diaper, put on his shoes/jacket/grab the dog, etc, and we head outdoors. We walk down the road to the mailbox and back, and spend some time at our garden bins pulling out my old tomato plants and watching some potato bugs in the dirt. Ben finds one last ripe tomato and thinks it's hilarious to play chase with our dog (since the dog wants the tomato)...he says it's "for Daddy, not mama, not Jet Jet!" and carries it around the rest of the afternoon. We head out back to his play set where he spends a lot of time watching a caterpillar, playing with the rain water that accumulated in a bin, and climbing up into his fort and sliding down. I even make a valiant effort at being a good dog owner today by playing fetch!
4:30: It started getting really windy and cold so we headed inside and we heard daddy's truck coming down the road (early today, yay!) Ben takes him the tomato and gives daddy big hugs and kisses. We sit down on the couch together and chat about how our days went and what we did. Ben is sitting on the floor doing his puzzle again.
5:00: I get up to start dinner while the boys go downstairs to the daylight basement to run around and play.
5:45: We sit down to eat dinner together. Ben gets in trouble once because he puts a bunch of pepper in his water and deliberately dumps it on his dinner. He mostly finishes eating it anyway and then is excused. Justin starts to clean up the kitchen while I make his lunch for tomorrow and set up the Vitamix for him to make his breakfast shake when he gets up. I give Ben some magnets and a cookie sheet to play with and this occupies him for quite some time.
6:30: Family time, we sit together and the guys build some towers with blocks. They also play with the poor neglected dog and then chase one another around the house while I have some tea. Okay maybe it wasn't family time per say since I mostly watched the activities and relaxed. :-)
7:00: Ben helps clean up all of his toys and the guys head off to start bath time. I vacuum up all the dog hair (a daily chore), sweep in the kitchen, and take the garbage out.
7:30: Ben comes to say 'night night' and give me kisses. I change into workout clothes and go downstairs and do a 30 minute Total Body Cardio workout video (21DayFix) and then 35 minutes of spin on the bike. Plus, I want to finish watching the latest Vampire Diaries (don't judge me), and I always feel less guilty if I do this while exercising. Justin joins me around 7:45 after putting Ben to bed (bless that man...every night he does bedtime) and he lifts some weights and jogs for 30 minutes.
9:00: We take quick showers and climb in bed together to watch our favorite show, Castle. We don't have hulu+ or cable, so we are always a week behind on shows we enjoy and have to wait the next day after a new one airs to watch the one from the week before. It's almost sad how much I look forward to Tuesday nights.

Just another beautiful, ordinary day in the Laughery household. Thankful for our blessings and health everyday.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Baby Bump: 25 Weeks

We need to stop meeting in the bathroom like this. Maybe next update I'll have something better to show than bathroom mirror selfies. Sigh. Okay, these posts really should be called mama updates. Baby is just kickin' it in the womb....sleeping, rolling around, and getting fed a constant stream of nutrients.

Emotionally, I just can't state enough how amazing I feel this pregnancy! There is zero fear or apprehension. I have such a greater sense of perspective and peace of what's to come, and that feels amazing. I'm not battling or fighting doctors and insurance companies, I am fully aware and trusting of my body, and we have such an amazing support team. I couldn't ask for anything more. I've been reading, journaling, and only letting positive thoughts in and sharing my heart with authentic people.

I mentioned in my fitness post last week that I made some changes to my diet in regard to sugar and carbs, and I have an exercise routine in full-gear again. Physically I'm feeling much better than I did a few weeks ago, and I feel so great after a workout. I'm going through the 21Day Fix workouts again (modifying where need be), and my goal is to hit 15-20 miles a week on the treadmill, + weight lifting. I'm still not sleeping very well, with all the pee wake-ups and husband-snoring, but I figure that must be nature's way of slowly acclimating my body to getting less sleep again. :) A couple times a week I lay down and take a nap when Ben is napping, but I'm just a horrid napper. My husband can fall asleep in 30 seconds and wake up perky 10 minutes later. Me? It takes me forever to fall asleep, and  I'm a cranky nap waker-upper. Don't cross me. I'm groggy and grouchy and sluggish. I think it runs in the family because my Dad is the same way...no one really wants to be around either of us when we wake up from naps. I can't decide if taking naps really helps my energy/brain power at all, or if it's better to power through until bedtime. I'm also working out during most nap days and/or in the evenings...I just can't decide how best to spend my time!
I've found myself getting so excited about this little girl's nursery! Our little Laughery babies actually do sleep in their own cribs/rooms pretty early on, so I think having a special space for baby is important for us. With Ben, we lived in our tiny trailer and there wasn't much room (literally) for creative inspiration in his nursery, so it's been so much fun decorating for baby E! Up until last weekend, her room still had a huge pile of baby boy clothes in boxes, an air mattress, a crib sitting in a box, and a ton of Ben's books all over the place. I got my rear in gear and did some serious cleaning and organizing. Justin even got the crib put together. We had semi-hoped that Ben would be ready to transition out of his crib before baby came, but he hasn't shown the slightest inkling of climbing out or needing a change, so we will happily keep him there as long as he needs. In our old trailer we had built in dressers, and so we've also had to invest in a dresser/changing table (I say 'we' but really I mean my parents gifted us that, thanks ma and pa!). Anyway, I'm really excited to share photos of this nursery when it all comes together.

Other than my daily eating habits, exercising, decorating the nursery, thinking about potty training Ben, taking care of Ben, meal-planning, keeping the house clean, etc (okay you get the idea...mind of a mom). So other than all of that, I've been really meditating and thinking about labor and birth, and those early days with a newborn. With Ben, those days were rough...rough rough rough rough rough. I'm praying for a different birth outcome for starters (but keeping ourselves flexible to change if need be) and brainstorming ways to make this transition to two children 'easier' on our family. I've also started thinking about newborn sleep habits/routines, getting the breast pump out of storage, and building up a new cloth diaper stash. I'm just really really excited to have another new baby in the house who we will grow to love and cherish. I can't wait to see who she is.

The next baby bump date will probably be happening in the third trimester. THIRD TRIMESTER. What!? How did that happen? I have my glucose test coming up, so I'll be sure to report back about that joyful experience too. :)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Workin' On My Fitness


First of all, can someone please tell me why I never invested in maternity workout clothes!? (Oh that's right, because I didn't work out during my last pregnancy). Hahaha! Seriously though, I was getting agitated through every workout trying to keep my pants up and my shirts from hiking up over my belly (super cute look, by the way). I finally found some full panel workout pants and a maternity racerback top, and I felt like I could have walked 10 miles on the treadmill with a smile on my face. Genius. Let's not talk about the fact that since I only own the one pair I haven't been washing them very much. Hardly ever.

Moving on. I want to talk bit (you know, an entire post's worth) about fitness during pregnancy. It took me a long time to lose the 'baby weight' and get back in shape after Ben was born. You can read about that journey here. This time around, I knew how important it was for me to focus on healthier food choices and daily activity. Aside from simply surviving that first trimester, I've done pretty well and I'm fairly happy with the few pounds I've gained so far. I still stand by my mantra that it isn't necessarily about the weight, but rather about the health and overall feeling of fitness. But HELLO, let's do a quick comparison of my pregnancies thus far so I can make you a believer of exercise too.

When I was TWO MONTHS pregnant with Ben, I weighed MORE THAN I DO NOW!!!! And I'm almost six months pregnant right now. Did you hear that? Crazy. I know this info because the first go around I went to a doctor's clinic that tracked all of my vitals online so I can joyously go and see what my blood pressure and weight was on any specific date. Lovely. Anyway...when I got pregnant with Ben I weighed more than I do now...so obviously working hard to exercise and get in better shape before getting pregnant this go around had a huge impact. My belly is still bigger, because my uterus already knows what's up, but my overall body and health is much improved. I've only gained ten pounds this pregnancy, which for me is a huge huge huge deal. While looking at my old chart I was shocked to see that when I was 5 months pregnant with Ben I already weighed what my total goal weight is for this entire pregnancy. Let's take a little side by side look and compare my first pregnancy vs. my second pregnancy at similar gestation.
Being physically active throughout pregnancy is so important. Here are two photo examples of lovely ladies who exercised regularly and had great labor and deliveries, and postpartum periods. Mal (who taught fitness classes up until her due date) and Lena (who had a home birth). This isn't to say we ALL should look/feel this way before or after giving birth. Female bodies are all created differently and we should never feel ashamed of the skin we live in. We all know I didn't look super lovely after Ben was born (click here for a shot of my 3 month postpartum belly), and I'm not ashamed of that whatsoever, and those stretch marks will never ever make me feel badly. However, I do wish I would have put a bigger emphasis on fitness during my first pregnancy, it might have made a big difference in how our labor and delivery turned out. I'm really focused on doing everything in my power to have a positive birth outcome this time, and I'm so focused on achieving my vbac that it makes clear cut sense to have the physical stamina to endure a natural labor.

Along with regular exercise, I've cleaned up my diet quite a bit in the past year. Admittedly, I didn't eat most fabulously during the first trimester. I was all about the carbs. The only thing that kept that pesky nausea at bay was bread, cereal, and...bread. Past those first few weeks I got back into my regular habits. We eat a lot of eggs, nuts, vegetables, and lean meats. It's definitely made a difference in the amount of weight I've gained in this pregnancy versus with Ben (I'm also not teaching 60+hours a week and eating all the break room goodies!) In this pregnancy I also started to notice how awful I would feel (rapid heart rate/palpitations/gut aches/headaches) when I ate much of anything processed, anything with sugar, or foods that transferred into sugar. I've cut down to mostly protein, fats, and fruits/veggies low on the glycemic index. It's helped tremendously! Even though I KNOW the facts about food, I'm always amazed at how much food=life and how simple changes in our diet can make a world of difference for our overall wellness.
The biggest ways I've been staying on top of my health, wellness, and fitness this time around are fairly straight forward. I recognize the mistakes I made last time. This time, I was mostly healthy going into my pregnancy. I had already changed my eating habits (but that doesn't mean I don't indulge from time to time, obviously). I weigh myself every other day or so, because for ME, that's how I stay on top of where I'm at and where I'm going. I work out about 5 times a week, and I stay on track of my diet. All of this isn't to say I feel perfect. I'm not exactly where I visualized myself to be in this pregnancy and it's taken some mental work to get over that block. I wanted to weigh less before getting pregnant (but I also wasn't willing to let that number on a scale decide when we would grow our family). I'm not fond of beating myself up over past decisions. All I can do is focus on where I am in this moment, and go from there. I hope this helps give you a glimpse of what I'm focused on right now and what I'm striving for.

Here's a 'typical' day of food and exercise (also, Ben eats what I eat but I usually add more fats to his meals like butter, or toast, or extra cheese slices, etc):

Breakfast: 3-4 scrambled eggs with half an avocado/mineral salt, and berries. 20 ounces of water with Vitamin D supplement, Vit.C, prenatal, probiotic, DHA/Omega 3.

Mid-Morning Snack: Tea, banana, green smoothie, shake, or muffin made with coconut flour/chia.

Lunch: Salad of fresh spinach, seeds, cucumber, green onion, avocado, black beans, hard-boiled egg or chicken, tomatoes with drizzle of avocado oil. A few cheese slices and an apple. Prenatal vitamin. Or if we have leftovers from dinner I eat those.

Afternoon Snack: Glass of milk, pistachios, hummus and carrots.

Dinner: Chicken kabobs, salmon patties, tuna melts, farm raised beef...with broccoli/asparagus/salad/steamed carrots/brussel sprouts...and quinoa/rice, etc. Prenatal vitamin and Vit.C. (Basically dinner is usually a pretty boring combination of protein and vegetables).

Evening Snack: I only eat an evening snack a few nights a week, and it's usually a small rice cake with peanut butter, or a mandarin orange, maybe a handful of cinnamon almonds. Nothing big.

Total water consumption per day is around 80 to 100 ounces.

Exercise: I wish I could change my ways, but night time seems to be my prime zone for working out. Ideally I would get up when my husband wakes up early for work and get it in, but I really like sleeping until my son gets up. Nap time seems to be a lull where I just need to either rest or do stuff I can't get accomplished when Ben is awake. So, usually, but not always, I workout in the evening when my husband puts Ben to bed.

30-45 minutes of cardio on the treadmill (usually equates to 2-3.5 miles)
Leg press (working a lot on lower body strength)
Chest press, bicep curls
Push-ups alternated with pelvic rocks, leg kicks
Kegels on the exercise ball alternated with squats and lunges
Back stretches, deep breathing, self-mediatting on positivity

**I am currently doing two weeks of the 21 Day Fix workouts in combination with the treadmill. I obviously modify a lot of the moves, or do kegels on my ball if there is hard ab work going on (too much core work puts strain on my ligaments and causes my scar tissue/nerves to bother me big time). Beside, what isn't motivating about working out with a bunch of gorgeous, ab laden women? (She said with sarcasm). Ha!
Writing this all down makes me feel kind of exhausted. Ha! But really I am feeling so so good. My exercise has been kind of hit or miss in terms of getting into a good groove and routine, but for the past three weeks I've been steady and strong. I can't believe I am going to be in my third trimester in less than 3 weeks. The time is zipping by! Phew. Thanks for reading along, I think this might be one of those posts that is more for me to look back at in the future (if you made it this far, high fives!)

What are or were your pregnancy health, wellness, and fitness goals? What are some of the things you did that contributed to your success?
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Currently

Finally (finally) got around to linking up with the lovely Hannah for the Currently link-up. Here's what's up with the laugh clan lately.
| Thinking | 
I can't stop thinking (as a funny, auto correct just made that 'thinking' a 'tinkling', which also would have been appropriate. I seriously can't stop tinkling all the time). Hahahaha...okay but I really do drink nearly 100 oz of water a day. Anyway, moving on from my bathroom habits. I can't stop THINKING about how much I love and adore my midwife. I feel so blessed that she exists and treats me with so much care and respect. It's such a drastically different experience than with my Ben and I couldn't be more overjoyed, and at peace looking forward to our labor and birth of baby girl.

| Making | 
I've been cooking and baking a lot of really fun things lately. Check out my fall favorites post from earlier this week for some yummy ideas. Other than that, I've been making the opposite of money. As in, I'm planning a new nursery for baby and the funds at this point are definitely going out, not in. I did guest teach 6th grade this week and definitely brought in enough to cover 1/38th of the new dresser. :-P

We also made our pumpkins this weekend. Ben thought it was great fun! We gave him an orange dry erase marker to scribble on his pumpkin while we carved, and coincidently, we now have orange marker on our dining room table.
| Wearing | 
A smile, and a 24 week baby bump. Okay, but not to be too cliche, I'm mostly wearing maternity jeans (basically denim sweatpants), and the same maternity shirts day in and day out. It's perfect. Although I DID just happen to order some maternity workout pants that I'm excited to try out tonight (and feature in an upcoming fitness post)!
| Anticipating |
This is the time of year full of delightful things! Next week we get to see my Dad, celebrate our anniversary, and we might go camping if it's not raining. At the end of the month we are headed to North Carolina to see family. In November of course there is weekend trips to see friends, I hit the third trimester, and Thanksgiving being hosted by us in our new home! I can't think past November.

| Thankful For |
Women. There are amazing, strong, giving, kind, supportive women everywhere if you seek them out. I reached out asking for breast milk donations for a friend tonight, and within moments had someone willing to give 600 ounces to a new baby in need. This community of mothers, of women...brings me to tears sometimes.

As always, I continue to be thankful and blessed by this magical piece of earth we call home. Oh Northwest, I love you so.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Favorites

This year, I am so jazzed about fall! It's just that dreamy month before it gets wet and soggy here in the Northwest, when the sky is blue and the trees are orange. The mornings dewey, the afternoons crisp, and the sunsets extraordinary.
I'm probably busy doing the same things the rest of you are doing...pumpkin everything, soups, books, fires, walks in the leaves, and afternoons at the pumpkin patch.
It's just truly such a wonderful time of year! In the spirit of the season, here are some very favorite fall recipes from the archives here at Hand and the Heart and my other favorite blogs around the internet! Enjoy!

| Apple Cider Doughnut Holes |
These were a fun treat to make at home, and super delicious. And terrible for your health. But oh so good.

| Banana Pumpkin Bread |
I love banana bread! Add some cinnamon and pumpkin and voila-autum in a loaf.

This one is from my grandma, and it's delicious. What better way to use up all those fall apples?


You read that right. Pie...IN a cupcake. My friend Lena is baker extraordinare (did I just make that word up? Spell check thinks I did).

I only wish the Pioneer Woman and I were friends in real life. In the meantime, I'll delightfully consume her soup. It's amazing. Our toddler had two huge bowls. I'm in love.

I'm sure I've shared this here before. It's my all time favorite. Favorite! My SIL made it a few years ago at Thanksgiving and I've been a fan ever since. I use pine nuts instead of chestnuts, and it's basically the best thing ever. 

My friend Whitney posted these last year and they are still one of my faves. Can you just imagine the smell wafting through your house right now? 


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