Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

This year is a big birthday for my mom. I'm going to let you in on a little secret of hers--before she got married, she was a successful model. I swiped one of her old portfolios years ago and decided to dig it out for this joyous occasion.

She used to be a big party-girl. Here she is at a bar in Mt. Adams:

She was quite the intellectual, she could type 88 words per minute, and graduated at the top of her IS class at University of Cincinnati:

It's funny how trends come back, this looks like it could be in a magazine today, the hair, the jacket, etc:

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
~Washington Irving

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."
~Mark Twain

"What the heart gives away is never gone ... It is kept in the hearts of others."
~Robin St. John

Thank you for always holding me when my heart aches, for giving me perspective when I need it, loving me unconditionally, and spoiling my babies rotten. Happy Birthday Mom, I'm so blessed and thankful to have you in my life.
I love you, Sonya

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are you ready for Halloween?

We're a very casual household. I can't imagine living in a home where sticky fingers can't touch anything. In our house the kids jump on the couches, use decorative pillows as torpedos, and make artwork to be hung in the kitchen. I love it when the kids compliment my decorating, it makes my heart smile. Decorating makes our house a home, not just for me, but the kids too.
So, here's our version of Halloween.
"Drumroll please" says Tom-tom:

Spray-painted pumpkins:

Festive pennant garland:

Felt pumpkins stuck on the lampshade:

Painted windows with goblins on the porch:

Witches, funkins, and more:

Halloween Pez:

Scary Chalk Drawings:


Stay tuned for pictures from this coming weekend, the kids are still widdling down their list on who they want to be for Halloween.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fireman's Festival and More

Inevitably each day on the way to preschool one of the girls asks me if they can go to Grandma and Papi's house after lunch and spend the a couple Fridays ago their wish was granted. They love the fact that they can do, watch, and eat whatever they want, and I love the break my alone time with T-man.

Elle drew herself into an artist's coma:

Khera is becoming quite the artiste, here's a close-up of my favorite work of hers to date:

Can you guess who that is? Tinkerbell??!! I was shocked at how she captured the poofy bangs, paneled skirt, blue eyes and slippers, way to go K-bear!
Meanwhile back at the roost, Tommy had a love-fest with his "woobie"...

His French twin "toh-MAHS" also made an appearance smoking his pipe and even pitched in with the housework:

The next day the girls came home and we all went to the Fireman's Festival. Khera got a tattoo, as you can see she was VERY proud:

One of the things I love most about Elle, is her unpredictability. She was too shy to get a tattoo, here she is hiding behind me:

Just when you think you know your child, they just go and surprise you. A year ago, I would have said the opposite would have happened, Khera would have been too shy and Elle would have been front and center. She eventually warmed up and cracked a few smiles:

We all had a great time, Tommy must have been admiring the heavy machinery nearby and was too busy to say "cheese":

Khera bounced:

She met Sparky the fire dog:

She climbed:

She must be wondering mid-climb how she can convince Mom and Dad to let her spend another night at Grandma and Papi's house.
Tommy had a blast too:

Stay tuned for more posts about the fun we've been having, Halloween, and fall decorating, but right now I'm going to go catch some Zzzzz's. Until next time!

Fall Decor and Pumpkin Muffins

I LOVE FALL. I love the leaves turning, fall festivals, apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, campfires, jacket weather, sweaters and of course Halloween and Thanksgiving. Most of the above are possible if you live in Florida, except the leaves turning and blankets of golden leaves on your lawn. Oh how I miss that.

This photo was taken 3 years ago in Ohio, Khera was almost 2 and Elle 6 months. Sometimes I wish I could freeze time and they would stay like this forever.

These were taken at GJ's when we were in town for Thanksgiving. I just love her patio, the aged brick and iron work remind me of Charleston, SC. We have so many happy memories out on that patio, crisp cool fall mornings sipping coffee, late fall nights with a campfires provided by Uncle Kit, late night partying in the summers sipping spiked Arnold Palmer's with Aunt Brooke, hot-dog fest, wine and cheese parties, appetizer-fest...breaking up underage parties hosted by Uncle Rob.

What's your favorite patio memory? Leave a comment at the end of the post!!
I love decorating for fall, it helps me imagine that outside our windows actually looks and feels like an Ohio fall too. I changed up the accents to reflect the season. Here's Tommy in time-out, it's like he's saying "what did I do, Mom?":

Behind him you can see some of the fall accessories.

I saw in a magazine where they put mini Indian corn in a vase and loved it, this might be making an appearance on my Thanksgiving table, maybe 3 of these down the center of the table with scattered mini pumpkins and gourds, and ball jars with tea lights in them.
Here's the mantel:

A hurricane filled with mini gourds:

OK, and lastly here's my favorite recipe for pumpkin bread, I like to make muffins because they're easier to grab and go. This recipe makes a lot of muffins, usually 24 plus 2 mini loaves, so make sure you freeze some to pop out the next time you have company.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
3 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2/3 cup water
1 c chocolate chips/chunks

Beat first 11 ingredients until blended. Add 2/3 cup water, beating until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into:
-2 greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans; Bake 350 for 75 minutes, check with toothpick
-24 muffins, I use paper liners; Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes, check with toothpick

Make sure you eat them while they're warm! I leave what I think we'll eat in a sealed container for the next day and freeze the rest, they stay moist and fresh that way. They taste great with coffee, tea or milk. A great treat to look forward to while watching your favorite TV show.
Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nana and GJ's visit

This past weekend Grammy Jane (GJ) and Nana flew down for a quick visit. The girls couldn't have been more thrilled. It's been 4 years since Nana came down and GJ's last visit was this spring. Friday night we had a dinner picnic with the kids out back.

The kids ate:

And the adults had happy hour:
Here's Nana kickin' it, if the Reds were playing there would be a transistor radio in this shot:

Even Tom-tom loved the picnic. He's a baked bean and sweet potato fry addict.

Because we live in the tropics, we're used to the Florida wildlife: lizards, geccos, palmetto bugs cockroaches, snakes, and...monkeys:

One even let me get close enough to snap this:

Here's Kher-bear filing away GJ's pearls for future use:

And mama's BIG HELPER Elle-belly putting Tom-T's bib back on for the 57th time:

The tourguides thought it would be a great idea to take GJ and Nana on the downtown looper to give them a glimpse of Saint Petersburg's finer areas, being that it's air conditioned and there was little walking involved...

Wait, what's that? The weather is so nice they decided to make it open-air? You can only imagine what Nana's saying here while worrying about who is going to back-comb her hair afterwards:

Cloud 9 with GJ, I can't stop looking at the confused lad and lass behind them:

We all had such a great time and wish we could have had a few more days together. Here are links to some of the recipes we cooked up:
Almond Spinach Salad
Barefoot Contessa's Engagement Chicken
Croque Monsieur

And lastly, I'll leave you with this shot of the sillies:

Love to all!!!