More ways to celebrate fall…

Tonight or tomorrow or the next day, I plan to do a kid update.  The little ones been busy making us laugh and ticking milestones off their lists.  I’ve even got some videos.  For now, I wanted to add to my list of autumnal affairs.  I have been so into fall this time around, and I thought I would share all the big and little ways we’ve been making the most of the season.

1.  Two ingredient pumpkin cake.  Cake mix and pumpkin.  That’s it.  It was so good that Riley wants to make some for her teachers.

2.  Pumpkin dump cake.  I found this recipe on Pinterest (from Cookies and Cups) , and I decided we had to try it.  My mom ended up making it to for her and Alli and CE.  Rave reviews across the board – except from Riley and Adrian.  The pumpkin part was too pumpkiny for their tastes.  But that worked out for the best.  More for Shawn and me.

3.  Pumpkin swirl coffee from Dunkin Donuts.  Yes, I know I mentioned this last time but it needs to be brought up again.

3.  Sweet potato pie from McDonald’s.

(Image from

4.  Crockpot corn chowder.  I consulted my mom for a recipe she had used recently, but then I ended up just going with what we had on hand.  Two cans of corn, lots of potato chunks, two yellow squash cut into chunks and slices, milk, water, one packet of onion soup mix, some flour, salt, and pepper.  In the crockpot all day.  The note was just right for fall.

5.  S’mores campfire nights in the backyard.  I am so, so glad I splurged on our fire pit back in August.  We have spent the past two Saturday nights on the back porch with our new fire pit.  This past Saturday, Adrian and Sidney played in the pack and play (well, Adrian dove in, threw all the toys out, threw the toys back in, then dove in again, then repeat) while Riley chilled in a lounge chair, Shawn started up the fire, and I prepared s’more stuff.  And because we were thinking about camp, I asked everyone to share something they were thankful for.  Shawn was thankful his long week of conferences was over.  Riley and I were really thankful, for everything from golden brown marshmallows to Adrian not breaking his neck to winning a poster at book fair night.  I love that we get to have nights like these, the five of us, singing the bear song and licking sticky marshmallow gobs off our fingers.

6.  Acorn sweeping afternoons.  Shawn has swept our driveway completely clean every weekend.  By the next weekend, the acorn field is continuous, devastating.  He sweeps again.  Adrian, with a mini push-broom, helps.

7.  Scarves.

8.  Slippers and hooded sweatshirts at home.  

9.  Fleece sleepers for the baby.

10.  Glitter top pumpkins.  Riley has been obsessed with glitter, so using some Pinspiration, we set out a tarp and glittered the pumpkins the kids got with grandpa and grandma.  They look amazing.  And the project was so much easier than carving.

(Idea and image from

11.  Cookie butter from Trader Joe’s.

Why I love March Madness…

We paid our 3.99 to watch unlimited coverage of March Madness on our computers around 12:30 this afternoon.  Since then, we’ve had at least one computer playing a game.  Meanwhile, I typed four pages of an essay on my other computer, made dinner, packed for a conference in Mississippi, bathed three kids, fed Sidney twice, pumped once, and did a little birthday party research on Pinterest.  All while watching game after game.  We even let the kids have a picnic in front of Elmo in the playroom so we could keep watching over dinner.

For me with sports, it’s feast or famine during the year.  In these first few days and throughout the tourney, I watch more basketball, more sports even, than I do for the rest of the year.  Of course, this year it might end up being a little less depending on what work I can accomplish with the games on…

Why do I love March Madness?  Oh, let me count the ways…

1.  The Boss Button.  If I have access to the games online, you know what I’m talking about.

2.  The Toyota commercials.  So good.

3.  Belmont, Baby!  Yes, I picked them into the final four.  I’m tired of Georgetown killing my bracket with their early exits.  This year I decided to take a stand.

4.  It’s anybody’s game!  Well, unless you are a 16 seed…

5.  The energy of it all: so many games back to back to back.  What a thrill!

6.  There’s always a Cinderella who comes to the Big Dance.

7.  The alliteration: Selection Sunday…Tip-off Thursday…March Madness.  That makes me happy.

8.  No matter how much time I put into perfecting my bracket (just twenty minutes this year), I still stink it up!

9.  But not as bad as Shawn or my dad…:)

10.  The drives, the threes, the boards, the blocks, the stops, the moves.  There’s no better reason to throw a fist pump than a slashing drive through the paint: spin, lay-up, two points, done.  Count it.  Boom.