Saturday, October 29, 2011


What is more fun than dressing up in mommy's clothes?  Okay, maybe emptying out the baskets of belts, purses, and scarves is more fun...but either's a fun rainy day activity!

Pre-Halloween Tricks and Treats

Halloween is still a couple of days away, but I feel like we've been celebrating for a while now!  Maybe it's the fact that it's cold enough to snow today, and that doesn't usually happen until much later than October 29th.  Or, maybe it's because we've had so many fun opportunities to don our Halloween best---

LB's "famous" pic, featured on the WJLA News Channel 7 website.  Yeah, she's a pretty big deal!
On this past Monday, we attended a "Trunk-or-Treat" party with our MOMS club (as I've said before, they have these clubs in basically every town in America, so it's something to look in to, no matter where you live)!  It was a great time.  We had a whole parking lot full of cars with decorated trunks, and the kids basically "trick-or-treated" at each car.  Here's my little piggy gathering treats (or, running around the parking lot laughing and screaming)---
Our trunk

On Wednesday, we headed to the Trick-or-Treat event at Wakefield Farmer's Market with our friends Isobel and Laura.  It was very cute!  Each stand had a treat for the kids, including some candy, but also gourds (because we needed more, haha) and a giant peacock feather.  It was a little drizzly, but still a lot of fun and different.  Something to keep in mind for next year!

Chloe and Isobel sharing their treats

Well, the best part of trick-or-treating is putting your treat in your bag, or holding your treats.

Checking out the tomatoes!

There were so many fun outdoor activities scheduled around the area for today, but unfortunately, many were canceled because of rain/snow.  We still have a few more days of Halloween fun, though! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Autumn Amusement (Fall Fun?)

Things can get pretty busy activity-wise at this time of year.  Don't forget to slow down and enjoy the kind of fun you can only have in fall...LEAVES!

Halloween Carnival

As I mentioned in the post about the homecoming parade, your local high schools can be a great resource for kids' activities.  A lot of clubs/ sports teams will put on events for children as fundraisers throughout the year, and it's especially big around the fall/winter holidays. 

This past weekend, the Woodson Drama Club presented a little Halloween carnival.  It was very cute; all student-run, with activities such as paint-a-pumpkin, meet a princess, duck grab, hula-hooping, and face-painting. And if you're LB, you also enjoy picking up leaves and sticks in the courtyard where the carnival is taking place! You could tell the students worked hard and they were very determined to entertain.  I would expect nothing less from the drama club!  Here's a couple of pics; special thanks to our friend Meghan for coming along!

Checking out the hula hoops

LB painted the hair!

Dame of the Deal

I LOVE a good deal.  It makes shopping like a game: what can you get (that you need of course) for a good price?  And, let me tell you, it's a whole new level of finding deals when you have kids.  They grow SO fast out of their clothes, it's ridiculous. 

A few friends told me about the Spring Mar Preschool Children's Consignment Sale, and they said that it was well-worth a trip to find some things in great condition for some great prices.  The sale happens twice a year and it was on this past Saturday, so I decided to check it out!  I paid $40 and here's what I came away with:
A jumper set, 4 pairs of Baby Gap pants, a Polo sweatsuit, Baby Gap shirt, Janie and Jack sweater, a pair of Carter's snowpants...

...and this awesome (near-perfect condition) Fisher Price basketball hoop!  I'm not sure who loves it more...LB or Daddy...

Amazing!  I couldn't have even bought half of this for $40.00 at the mall.  From what I've heard, many towns have these sales; definitely check them out in your area! 

Go Bruins!

It's a fact: parades are exciting when you're one (or thirty-one, forty-one, what have you)!  And what better way to show a little hometown pride is there than to attend your local highschool's homecoming parade?  That's what we did one Friday with our friend Cate and her mommy, Ali. 

The little ladies waiting for the parade to being

In awe of the marching band

Let's go Bruins!

Crafty Girl

Since I was a little girl, I've always loved crafty-activities.  One of my favorite Christmas gifts ever was a box my mom put together that had glitter, beads, pom-poms, glue, pipe-cleaners, etc.  I'm not sure if anything I ever made or currently might make is any good, but I do enjoy the creativity!  I think Chloe has been bitten by the craft bug lately as well.  She has started to love "coloring" (I saw this in quotes because it really just involves a lot of piling crayons and maybe making a few marks on the paper), using stickers, and make collages.  I'm happy about this development, what with winter approaching and all.  And I love coming up with projects. 

The other day, I decided to take her over to Michaels to see what we could find.  I definitely recommend hitting up the craft stores toward the "end of the season" (NOTE: Fall is in full swing, I in no way consider this the "end of the season" but retail does) because you can get some great deals!  We came away with a few little projects, construction paper and pipe cleaners for under $9.00! 

Here's what we did with our pipe cleaners:

They also had another use when Daddy got a hold of them:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Couple of Freezer "Yums"

It's been a minute since I posted some recipes that we enjoy in our house, so I thought I'd catch up on a couple that I've made to be frozen and pulled out on those nights when dinner isn't ready and LB is ready, or for a quick and healthy lunch!  I love having a few healthy meal ideas ready in the freezer.  They're so easy to pull out and heat up and I don't have to feel badly about feeding LB the ingredients that are in many of the "freezer meals" you'd buy in the store!  So here you go!  (Unfortunately, I'm without pictures of these'll have to use your imagination)

Turkey Meatballs:

1 lb. ground turkey (I got a great price at Trader Joe's)
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup water or milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning
(I've also read recipes that mention a couple of Tbs. of Ketchup; haven't tried it but I bet it's yummy)

Combine ingredients and shape into meatballs, placing onto lightly sprayed baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (internal temperature should be 165 degrees).  I froze these in a ziploc bag and microwave for about a minute for eating.  They are a big hit! 

Sweet Potato, Apple, Carrot, and Cinnamon Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick Mix*
1 cup milk*
2 eggs*
1 sweet potato (cubed and steamed, or cooked in the microwave and cubed afterwards like I did)
1 apple (peeled, cubed, and steamed)
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 tsp cinnamon

*I used the Bisquick for pancakes, but you could easily use any pancake recipe your have, in fact, next time I will try with whole wheat flour)

Combine Bisquick, milk, and eggs.  Fold in sweet potato, apple, and carrots.  Spray a pan and heat over medium low heat.  Spoon batter onto pan, flip each pancake when the top of the batter is bubbly!  I individually wrapped these and froze them in a ziploc too!  Just heat and serve---a fun fall treat for sure, with some healthy ingredients snuck in there.  

Anyone else have any great freezer ideas?  Please share!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nall's Produce

You guys know I'm all about the fall activities.  There are so many around here, but, as I've mentioned, not all of them are the cheapest, and some can be very, very popular.  Although I'm generally happy to see everyone out and about and enjoying what the area has to offer, the big crowds can sometimes be overwhelming for me, let alone my little 16 month old.  So I'm always on the hunt for free/cheap and out-of-the-way activities to check out.  We found another great one today! 

Nall's Produce is a little farmer's market in Kingstowne that sets up a "pumpkin tunnel" play area...and IT'S FREE!  Very cute.  Chloe and her little buddies who we met there enjoyed the pumpkins, chasing chickens, and putting the gravel from the ground into the little wagons they had around.  It took a good scrub in the tub to get rid of the dirt we brought home, but it was a fun afternoon! 

Sparky Says...

Last week was Fire Prevention Week, folks!  You can probably guess what that meant: it was time to check our smoke detectors and head over to the Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department for their open house.  I'm pretty sure they are having these all over in the next few weeks, so definitely check out your local station to see if there's something for the kids to attend!  We went over with our buddy Cate and her mommy Ali, and I think the girls had a pretty fun time!  There was definitely a lot to look at.  There were stations set up around the building with prevention techniques, coloring activities, and even practice "stop drop and roll" and "crawl out of the house" activities.  Outside, there was an ambulance, fire truck, and police car that you could climb into.  LB enjoyed the coloring and the ambulance, she did not enjoy the giant man dressed as Sparky the Fire Dog or sitting in the back of the police car (to which I said, "good girl")! And at the end, each girlie got a fun fire hat (see pics below) which I do believe was a highlight of the day.  I think it was right up there with the chicken nuggets at Wendy's that we had after the visit.  Enjoy some pics from our day!

Picking out a crayon at the coloring station

With the fire truck and her "I visited the fire station" stickers.  She LOVES them!

The girls deciding weather they should go through the tunnel.  Was the door hot?

Fire hats!

Having a blast playing peekabo at Wendy's.  This is one of the first times they have played WITH each other and not just NEXT to each other!  Little friends!

Fountain Sans Water

Just because it's rare to get a mommy/daughter shot during the week!

Last Friday, LB and I were itching to escape the house after the few days of rain we'd experienced, however, I'm not sure if you've ever been outside with a one year old, but it's virtually impossible to keep them out of the mud.  Hey, I'm all for mud, but there's a time and a place, right?  So I decided to take her someplace where I knew she could run around without bathing herself in the aftermath of the rain.  We've been to Fairfax Corner several times (as mentioned before), and our favorite things to do there generally include frozen yogurt and the fountain you can play in, but in the cooler weather, I wasn't feeling fro-yo (and I refrained from eating a cupcake instead) and the fountain is dry.  But, FFC is still a great place to go for a walk around the shopping area, and there is a big area where the fountain usually runs that's open for free running!  We had a fun time chasing birds, waving bye bye to birds, and pushing our stroller around.  It's so nice to go there in the afternoon when it's quiet and open!

Running around


And a cute little clip of LB chasing birds and waving bye bye.  Ah, to be a one year old! 

Fairfax Corner seems like a great place to meet up with other moms too, you can let the kiddos run around and have a coffee, frozen yogurt, or a cupcake (YUM)!  I'm always up for meeting! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Down Came the Rain...

...and washed all of our plans out! 

Yep, we once again had a rainy stretch this week. And when it wasn't raining, the ground was soaked and muddy.  It stinks, because, as I've mentioned, there are so many things to do around this area when the weather is nice.  And it has the potential to be really beautiful outside in the fall around here, so I'm really hoping that the next couple of weeks bring some nicer (COOLER) temperatures and sunny skies! 

But in the meantime, we had to make do with the rain we had and find some fun things to do at home.  We tried to get a little creative, so here you go!

Miss Crazy Hair and some pom-poms

Pom poms + ice cube tray= fun practice with fine motor!

Mess-free finger painting! 

I taped some paper inside the zip-loc bags, squeezed in some finger paint, and taped them up on the door.  Fun!  And clean!

Okay, the rain broke for 2.5 seconds so we used some brushes and painted with water on the side of the house. 

Cornstarch and water mix!  Use about a half a cup of cornstarch and then maybe 3 TBS of water, mix until it's goopy.

She loved this!  It's solid when you touch it but liquidy when you let it go.  Try it out!

Who says you need to go outside to have fun? 

Pope's Head Playground

Yes, I know, funny name.  In spite of what you may be picturing, it's actually a very nice little playground!  LB and I headed over to meet our playgroup here a couple of weeks ago, and it was so nice we decided to take Mike back last weekend.  Highlights are a bigger playground for the older kids, a mini-one for the little guys (with the spongy blacktop), swings, and lots of running space.  And as an added bonus, the playground is under the airspace for Dulles International Airport, so there are lots of planes flying over!  Chloe was very interested and would point up in the sky each time she heard one coming. 

So, I couldn't find a website for the park, but I'll give you some directions:  Heading West on Pope's Head Road from 7100, turn left on Quiet Brook Road.  You will see the tennis courts and then the parking lot on the right.  The playground is just a short walk down the path to the playground.

Definitely give it a try!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Heather Hill Gardens

We're back in VA again!  This week, I wanted to take Chloe to one of the region's many little fall play areas.  We really do have a lot of nice ones around here, it's very lucky.  We even have one quite literally across the street: Burke Nursery's Pumpkin Playground.  I will take Chloe here this year at some point I think, however, we might just stay in the little store area.  It looks like great fun from the outside, but I think it might be a little pricey for what she'd get out of it. 

Last year, I found a cute little fall festival at Heather Hill Gardens with a much more economical price, and it was perfect for toddlers!  At only $5 a person (under two is free), the festival offers tons of pumpkins, chickens (walking around!), goats, bunnies, walking toys for the little ones, a sandbox, a bouce house, tunnels, and a big slide.  We headed over with our friend Isobel and her mom Laura the other afternoon and had a great time.  We even got to pick out a little pumpkin at the end of our visit.  I think it'll be a worth another trip or two back this month!

Hello Mr. Goat!

Beep beep!

The moonbouce was empty, so we tried it out, and it was a bit hit.

Playing with Isobel in the sandbox

Peeking under the fun house mirror