Wednesday, October 30


If you haven't already figured it out, I am obsessed with all things Halloween.  My house has been spotted with pumpkins, cob webs, witches, candy corn and orange lights for the past month.  I don't ever want to miss out on an opportunity to enchant Penelope's childhood.  Most of my decorations have been gifted or made by yours truly.  I have this thing going on with Tyson, where I can purchase one decoration per holiday.  I tend to go over that agreement, more often times than not, but always make sure to find something special.  I remember Saturday mornings when my mom would pull out her decorations.  It was like Christmas all over again.  I had my own favorites and so did my siblings.  I still get giddy with excitement, when Tyson brings in my boxes from storage.

Here is a little peek at the Parker's decor.......

^^^ As tradition would have it, non other than Grandma Betty's sugar cookies. ^^^


^^^ My mom made this darling table runner. ^^^

As sad as I am to take down my decorations, I always anticipate decorating for the next holiday with pure excitement.  

Christmas is just around the corner and might I add, I found the perfect Christmas gift for P.  This really is my favorite time of year!
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Sunday, October 27

Pumpkin Grove

My mom has always and continues to make Halloween so much fun.  I can remember frosting my own heaping pile of sugar cookies, eating belly warming chilly out of a pumpkin, dipping carmel apples, and drawing my very own design onto my pumpkin, so that my dad could carve it out for me.  Each Halloween costume had so much thought put into it and more often times than not, were hand sewn by my mother.  Our house was covered inside and out with Halloween paraphernalia.  My mom has this thing for witches and happens to have the cutes witch that I have had my eye on for years.  My uncle carved and painted tombstones for her lawn and without fail every year she has a bail of hay covered with pumpkins and corn stock.  I can still remember the year my dad slipped into a scary costume, sat on the hay bail and waited for the kids to arrive.  He sat there frozen, until just the right moment, when out of no where he would stand up and scare the bagezees out of them.  My dad was an artist and would paint our faces for whatever that years costume entailed.  Every year we would sip on hot chocolate and devour dozens of doughnuts, before we went through the Haunted Forest in Murray Park.  Some of my fondest childhood memories stem from around Halloween. 

As a parent I hope to instill a love for traditions and family time with my own children.  I wanted this Halloween to be extra special for Penelope, seeing as it is her first.  I couldn't wait to watch her eyes light up, as we took her to her first pumpkin patch.  Pumpkin Grove had such a charming, kid friendly environment.  It was this beautiful piece of scenery tucked away in Sanger, CA.  I felt like I was in a movie, with all of the weeping willow tree's surrounding us.  The entrance greeted us with a cotton candy and kettle corn stand, from there on, I knew every little thing was gonna be alright.  Everything was well shaded well, which made for a perfect day.  We even got to have grandma and grandpa join in on the fun. 

^^^ The cutest punkin, I ever did see. ^^^

After making our way through the haunted forest and corn maze, we couldn't resist plopping Penelope into the corn kernel pit.  It was so fun watching her glide her fingers back and forth in amusement over the texture of the kernels.  She cried when we had to take her out.

^^^ She got her first taste of cotton candy, otherwise known as a soft fluffy pillow. ^^^

^^^ The hay ride has some fun characters.  Penelope wasn't sure what to think of them. ^^^

After all of the fun activities, it was time to enter the pumpkin patch.  Penelope was beaming with excitement, as she laid eyes on her very first pumpkin patch.

^^^ Cinderella pumpkins just so happen to be my favorite. The uglier the better. ^^^

^^^ She was beyond thrilled when she found, "the one." ^^^

^^^ Penelope couldn't remove her eyes from Billy Bob. ^^^

To sum things up, it was pretty much the perfect afternoon.  I look forward to the many years to come.  I never knew just how much fun it would be to relive all of my favorite childhood memories, with my own little one.

I'm dying to see Nellie all dressed up in her costume!
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Wednesday, October 23

Trader Joe's Favorites

When I first moved to Fresno, I would hear people talking about this so called place called Trader Joe's.  I easily got it confused with a restaurant named Tahoe Joe's.  I thought they were the same thing.  Tyson informed me that Trader Joe's was actually a grocery store.  Being from Utah, I had never heard of such a place.  

I decided to venture out one day and make my way to TJ's.  Upon arriving I had no idea what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with baby Christmas Tree's as I walked through the front doors.  The smell of cinnamon filled the air.  I later found out, it was their cinnamon broomstick.  I could immediately tell that this was going to be a place I frequented often.  

Grocery shopping for me has become something I look forward to on a weekly basis.  Penelope is as much a fan as I am.  The workers always go above and beyond to help me find what I am looking for.  They have even opened up boxes, in order for me to try something.  Everything in their store is delicious and well proportioned.  The prices of their flowers are unreal and don't even get me started on their selection of holiday goodies.  I made my weekly Trader Joe's trip and decided to share with you some of my favorites. 

Their reusable bags are fantastic for carrying groceries.  I always use ours on road trips.   

The Cinnamon Apple Sticks are a tasty snack.  Penelope loves to mash these between her six tiny teeth.

Their Fruit Sauce Crushers are the perfect size to throw in my diaper bag.  When P is in need of a snack, I quickly give her one of these and she is happy as a clam.  Also, their Macaroni and Cheese is a quick, but delcious lunch.

The cream yogurts are outstanding.  Penelope can down an entire one in 10 seconds flat.

When looking for healthy snack choices, I discovered the Veggie Sticks.  They are tasty but are much healthier than a regular potatoe chip.  I pour a handful of these on P's highchair and she is content for days.  Their Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks are the perfect size to dip into a jar of peanut butter.  Tyson can't get enough of these.  Their White Cheddar Corn Puffs are similar to Pirate's Booty and if you ask me, they are that much better. 

The Vanilla Almond Granola is unreal.  I can eat it plain, with milk, or in my yogurt.  I can go through a box of this in just a few days. 

They carry fresh Pizza Dough.  It tastes homemade and gives you the feeling of accomplishment, without all the work.  Their Cornbread is hands down my favorite mix I have ever tried.  Throw some butter and honey on it and your tummy will thank you.

I discovered their Coconut Body Butter, when I was pregnant.  I used this morning and night and swear it is the reason I didn't get stretch marks.

Let's talk about Trader Joe's sweets isle.  Their Maple Leaf Cookies are dreamy.  The cream filling is oh so divine.  The Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies reminds me of the Holiday's.  Tyson and I ate through the entire box without any hesitation.  If you haven't tried a Pepermint Joe Joe, then you haven't lived.  I stock up on these every December.  There chocolate and  salted caramel selection are also scrumptious, not to mention their Pumpkin Ice Cream, that comes out every October.  It is oh so creamy.

I love love love their cheese selection.  The Quattro Formaggio is ridiculous.  Throw some of it on a tortillia and you my friend, will have yourself one tasty quesidilla.  Their Light String Cheese has the perfect texture and amount of saltiness.

GiGi loves their Natural Dog Treats.  Right now they have pumpkin flavor.  GiGi's tail starts wagging before I even get a chance to open the box.

The Almond butter makes for a killer PB&J.  I love to dip carrots into their Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.

I have been on a Brussel Sprout kick lately.  I love the selection and variety of brussel sprouts they offer.

I could munch on their Edamame all day long.  Tyson and I love to have their Chicken Pot Stickers and fried rice for dinner.

They have precooked brown rice that is an easy side for any meal.  Some of my other favorites are the frozen Steel Cut Oats.  You heat them up in the microwave and viola, you have a perfect breakfast.

I hope this helps those of you that are TJ virgins.  I would love for you to share some of your favorites.
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