Friday, October 30, 2009

Lots of Pumpkins!!!

A couple of weeks ago, we ventured out to the Pumpkin Farm at Swan's Trail in Snohomish. We got awesome weather for it, and it turned out to be the last sunny Saturday in October so it was lucky that we chose that day to go! It amazes me that there are SO MANY pumpkin farms in the Seattle area. You could go to a different one every week for lots of years and still not see them all! In San Diego, there was always only one (good old Bates Nut Farm!) and everybody goes to that one. Much as I love that farm, it's great having a whole bunch to choose from and try out!

Here's our family picture at the Farm!

They had tons of cute animals at this farm. Kirsten (and me!) loved the kittens, and Kirsten got to pet a bunny for the very first time.

She thought the pigs were pretty hilarious!

Our good friends the Van Dykes came with us, and it was so cute to watch the kids all play together around the Farm.

Kirsten didn't want to get on this tractor with me, but she had no problem getting on with her friend Allana. :)

Starting our quest to find the perfect pumpkins. . .

Finding a great pumpkin requires some pretty intense searching!

I don't think we can take this one home with us, Kirsten. . . it's a little too big!

She found her pumpkin! Just the right size!

Natalie was just happy to be out in the sunshine. . . until she got tired and fell asleep in her car seat. But while she was awake, we got some great pictures of the little smiler! Six months old and HAPPY!

I was thrilled that we ended up getting some great pictures in the middle of the pumpkin patch. It took MANY tries to get these. Thank goodness for digital cameras!

I freaking ADORE this picture of me and my Natalie baby! It's my new Facebook profile picture.

Love this one too!

I can't believe that six months ago I was still pregnant with Natalie. I just can't imagine life without her!

We all found great pumpkins! Stephen picked the green one. Green ones are kind of different and cool, but I just love the bright, buttery orange of the originals!

We got some yummy apple cider and some lunch after our pumpkin hunting. Kirsten really enjoyed the corn on the cob! And then she had to go see the animals one more time before we went home.

October is just the most glorious month! I'd say it's my second favorite month of the year. December will always get the top spot for me, because I'm such a Christmas nut and nothing beats it. But October with all its gorgeous leaves, harvest festivals, pumpkin farms, and Halloween is a close second! We had such an awesome time at the pumpkin farm, and got some of my favorite pictures from the whole year!
Which month is your favorite?

Brandi Carlile Album Review! (And Long Description of My Musical Tastes)

I feel kind of like I'm cheating when people ask me what kind of music I like and I say, "Everything!" It sounds like a cop-out answer, but in my case it really is true. Throughout my life I have gone through various phases of loving a certain genre, over and over. The first group I remember ever falling in love with was the Beach Boys, and I think I was about five years old. I truly grew up with their music pouring all kinds of sunshine into my life! My parents exposed me to lots of classical, Broadway, and inspirational music when I was very young as well. From about the time I was 10 years old and started having some control over what I listened to, my tastes have just broadened from there.

The first big music phase I went through was lovin' the Oldies! I wanted the Oldies Radio station on ALL the time (KBEST 95!), and asked for tapes of the Beatles, the Four Seasons, and all kinds of other 60's bands for my birthdays and Christmases. Next was the soft rock radio station (yes, the kind with Delilah). My first boyfriend loved 80's music, and I became a total 80's-lover as well. He opened my world to the new (to me!) sounds of Boston, Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears. . . you name it, I probably loved it and still do!
The phases kept coming. . . Alternative, Pop, Classic Rock, Country, Hip Hop, Latin, 70's, Rock and Roll. And with each new genre I discovered, I kept all my favorites from my previous music obsession. I still listen ALL the time to old favorites from every decade. Oldies from the 60's still make me incredibly happy, and I believe it's truly the best music to clean the house to. The only two phases I never really got into are Rap and Heavy Metal. Everything else. . . I listen to it and I LOVE it! I enjoy lots of variety in my life, and in my music as well.

Thanks to my participation with the One2One Network, I got to preview Brandi Carlile's new album Give Up the Ghost. Brandi Carlile has a completely gorgeous, soulful voice. She doesn't quite fit into one genre. To me she sounds a little bit country, a little bit folk, a LOT beautiful and it all comes together to be a really amazing album. There is only one song on the album that's too country/bluesy sounding for me, but the rest are really nice. It's the kind of album that grows on you more and more with each time you listen to it.
My favorite song from the album:

Dying Day

If you download just one song from this album, let it be this one. This was the only song from the album I was already familiar with, and it just has such a great vibe. Love it!

Runner-up favorite song:

Before It Breaks

Slower song, and very gorgeous. Very emotional and deep.
You can hear her music on her website, at
The music player is on the top-left corner of her website, and you can skip through the songs or just listen for awhile. It's such amazing music to listen to while you're blogging, editing photos, or doing whatever you're doing online.
I'm so glad that I've discovered this beautiful artist! Discovering new music to add to my playlists never fails to make me happy. :)

Adorable Etsy Shop. . . Sewmagical Review and Giveaway!

Have I got a deal for you! If you've been looking for a variety of flower clips for your baby or little girl but just can't fathom spending ten bucks per clip, you have got to check out Sewmagical's Etsy shop right away. She sells all her cute flower clips in sets (perfect for pigtails!), and NOTHING in her shop costs more than $4.00! Most of her pigtail sets only cost $2.50 or $3.00. And those prices include TWO flower clips! This is definitely one of the best deals I've seen!

Erin, the designer, lives in the Seattle area like I do, and she was kind enough to drop a set of flower clips off at my door so I could try them out. Of course they looked adorable on Kirsten's little pigtails!

I really like the bright color of the pink set we received, and the jewels in the centers are so sparkly and really catch the light!

With prices like these, you can stock up and get a whole variety of flowers in lots of gorgeous colors! A great and frugal idea would be to buy a couple of baby headbands and beanies and then a bunch of these flower clip sets, so you can mix and match.

Here are a few of my favorite sets featured in her shop:

(Love this brilliant blue!)

(Probably my favorite pair!)

(This set just screams fall and harvest time!)

Probably the most unique thing about Sewmagical's shop is that Erin's cute little five year-old daughter helps her make all the flower clips! I love that she is including her daughter in her business venture. All profits go directly to her daughter, and you will get a totally adorable little thank-you note from her with each purchase. Such a cute picture of her helping to make the clips!
So now you have lots of reasons to go visit her Etsy shop! And here's one more:
she's offering a giveaway of one set of flower clips to TWO winners! Any clips of your choice!

Here's how to enter:
*Visit her shop and leave me a comment on this post, telling me which flower clip set is your favorite!

Get extra entries when you:
1. Follow my blog!
2. Mention this giveaway on Facebook and link to me.
3. Tweet about this giveaway.
4. Blog about this giveaway, and link to me.
5. Add her shop to your favorites on Etsy.

*Please leave me a separate comment for each entry, and make sure I have a way to contact you. Remember there will be two winners this time! This giveaway will close on November 13'th. Good luck!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Favorite Holiday Ideas, Freebies, and Deals!

My friends, it's your lucky day! I'm sharing my list of the BEST holiday (mostly Halloween) deals, freebies, and deals I've found. There's some awesome stuff here! So get happy and get ready for some great Halloween treats. . .

1. I'm just dying over how adorable these free printables are! I don't think I've ever seen such cute paper dolls anywhere, and you can download and print them for free!!! Kirsten's too young to be careful with paper dolls yet, so I think I'm going to cover them with contact paper, cut them out, glue the dolls onto a cheap magnetic board, and then put magnets on the backs of all the clothes and accessories so she can play with them without ruining them.

Go here to download the girl Halloween doll, and here to download the boy Halloween doll! (I love the blog these are found on too. . . everything is so cute!!!)

2. Here's another free printable for some really cool spooky labels! If you're providing a dish or four or five for a Halloween party, you've got to attach one of these! Find them here.

3. Not really Halloween-themed, but I just had to share these totally groovy free printables for stickers for your kids! You can print them onto adhesive paper to be stickers, or I think I'm just going to cut around mine and use them for the magnet board I'm making for Idea #1!

Go here for the animals, and here for the space stickers! Make sure you click on the link underneath the pictures that says "Click here to download. . . " It's in really light font and would be easy to miss.

4. If you need a quick dinner on Halloween while you're running between parties and trick-or-treating, Taco Bell is handing out free Black Jack Tacos on Halloween from 6 pm to midnight.

5. Great Christmas gift freebie: If you sign up on and write a review for anything (hotel, restaurant, location, really anything!), they'll send a coupon code to your email for a free 8x8 photo book! I will definitely be using mine as a grandparents' Christmas gift!

6. I made some super cute return address labels from Vista Print. You can customize the little characters to look like each member of your family, you get 140 labels, and all you pay is $3.04 for shipping! Nice deal, especially with Christmas card season coming up!

7. Another Halloween download too cute to keep to myself! I love the way these look on the cupcakes, but there's a million other things you could do with them too!
Go here to visit this fun blog and download the Happy Halloween spider circles!

8. I wish I had enough motivation to make ALL of the following Halloween and pumpkin crafts. I love all the ideas! I'm not going to link to all of them, but I found them all on either or

*Isn't this pumpkin just so gorgeous?

*Finally. . . a cool-looking pumpkin template that doesn't require a steady hand and a lot of patience! I have never had the patience to use one of those crazy patterns for a pumpkin carving, especially since I know that the pumpkin will just go bad in a few weeks anyway. This one doesn't look too bad. . . I think even I could carve a circle for the moon and rectangles for windows! It looks awesome too!

*These bats are made out of spare socks! They would look really cool hanging all over a tree in your front yard.

*Halloween-themed windows! I love it!

*Kirsten's probably a bit too young for this craft, but it does look really easy and cute! Kids would have a blast painting mini pumpkins black and adding stuff to make spiders.

*This idea is so simple but sooooo pretty! It would be gorgeous for a Thanksgiving table too.

*We carved one pumpkin last weekend, but we still have two pumpkins that very likely won't get carved at all. It's great to find some really cool inspirations for non-carved pumpkins. I love these swirly wires!

*How easy would this be? But it looks totally awesome!

I REALLY want to make this for our front door!

I'd love to hear what you think of my favorite deals and ideas! And if you know some good ones that I missed, please let me know!!!

Happy week before Halloween! Can you believe it's coming so fast???

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kirsten's Vacation!

Kirsten was SUPER lucky this summer, because she got to spend a few weeks vacationing at Grandma and Grandpa's house in San Diego! Kirsten had the BEST time there, and pretty much every minute she's at their house her face looks like this:

She stayed there in July, and got to do a whole ton of fun stuff! I loved getting these pictures from my parents and editing them, since I missed out on those few weeks and was thrilled to see how much fun she had.

Here are some highlights from Kirsten's vacation. . .

*Eating all the fresh fruit from their orchards!

*Especially plums. . . her favorite!

*Going to the family reunion at Fish Lake in Utah (that's right, my parents actually volunteered to take Kirsten on a road trip with them. And Stephen and I had to stay in Seattle with Natalie the newborn. I was sad to miss out!!!)

*Riding on the boat with Grandma at Fish Lake!

*Swingin' the day away under the oak trees!

*Jumping on the "bouncy-seen"

(It's no surprise to me at ALL how much Kirsten loved the trampoline. She always loves jumping, no matter where or on what!)

*Eating an ice cream cone

*Ahhhh, the joys of summer! I love these ice cream pictures. :)

*Playing with "Poppy" (Grandpa)

*She has such a great time with Poppy! She loved riding in the golf cart with him to the ranch next door to pet the horses.

*Making friends with Millie

*Playing hide and seek with Grandma

*Sleeping in the port-a-crib. . . in the closet
(I was amazed to discover that she really did sleep in my parents' closet. I guess it was the darkest room and she slept well there).

*Learning how to dig in the garden

*Coloring pretty pictures. Nothing better than coloring outside!

*Pillaging strawberries from the garden and stuffing her face with them

*Riding in the golf cart and going for walks with "Papa Ray" (Great-Grandpa)

*Becoming a little gardener extraordinaire

*Picking petals off the pretty flowers

As you can see, she had an amazing time!!!
My parents were so sad when they had to bring her back to us. But I sure did miss Kirsten while she was gone! She still talks about Grandma's house, and sometimes she'll randomly start talking about the horses and the bouncy-seen and digging all the seeds. I think she's asking to go back. Sorry Kirsten, I wish it were that easy to get there! But we'll be back for Christmas! If Kirsten knew how to, I'm sure she'd be counting down the days.