Friday, November 18, 2011

Flavorsome Friday- Warm Apple Pie...

I don't have the time to get into too much detail today but wanted to share this lovely recipe I found at Smitten Kitchen. With Thanksgiving upon us, I am sure some of you will be making a pie from scratch and if you plan on it you should definitely give this recipe a shot. It was de-li-cious. Plain and simple.

I followed her recipe pretty dead on with a few small exceptions.

  1. I used my food processor to make the crust. I'm all about saving time these days. Trust me, you get the same exact results and it's so much easier.
  2. I bumped up the spices, pretty much doubling all of her recommendations. I am a spicy kind of gal.
  3. I opted for a non-lattice pie. I've found that apple pies always sink after baking, thus making the lattice part pretty ugly.

So with that being said, here are some of the pictures I took along the way but for all the details, head over to Smitten Kitchen!

Do you see my helper's hands? That's right, Rich and I made this pie together. He kept commentating as if we were on The Food Network... 

Happy Friday! Hope that y'all have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

9 Months Old...

Since I'm catching up, Cooper turned 9 months old on November 4th. It's pretty astonishing how much joy he has brought to our lives in 9 short months. Like always, here are some of my favorites from our monthly photo shoot!
Our ever so serious, Cooper... 

This will be the last month that I try doing this without Dad home. 
He's way too fast now! 

Really Mom... This again?

I adore those big blue eyes... 

Not quite focused but how could I delete this?!

Yes, this is his new thing. He gets super excited, screams in a crazy high-pitch voice, and bounces up and down... 

I love how his arm is propped up on his leg in this one... 

Here, let me show you my tricks! 

And this is another new thing he's doing... tilting his head to the side and giving you this, "I know I'm so adorable," look. How am I ever going to say no?

I don't think this will ever get old. It's just plain funny...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Way Back When-esday- Anniversary Flashback...

As I mentioned yesterday, each year as we celebrate our wedding anniversary we go back to the place where our reception was held. We started a tradition of taking a picture in the same spot each year and already so much has changed.

2009- Celebrating our very first and reminiscing on how quickly year one had flown by...

2010- Celebrating year number two with a bun in the oven...

2011- That bun, no longer in the oven but instead, resting comfortably on Mom's hip.

(I also just realized that I must really like purple. Totally unplanned. Weird right?)

Once we get home we pop open a bottle of champagne and use our toasting flutes from our wedding day. Gizmo always seems to get in on the action and this year, we added our precious addition Cooper, joining in our toast with his bedtime bottle. 

I can't wait to look back on these pictures 10, 20, you get the point, years from now. God willing, our family will continue to grow and we will age gracefully. Who knows, maybe one day there will even be grandchildren standing in this picture with us. Crazy thought, huh?! 

Play along with Cheryl at Twinfatuation... it's so much fun to reminisce! 

Celebrating 3 Years...

Rich and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on November 1st. Me saying that the last three years has flown by is a complete understatement. We've had so much fun, experienced so much, both happy and sad, and made a lot of memories along the way. We always celebrate by going to dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy. This is where our wedding reception was held and it's our little way of taking a walk down memory lane.

Each year at dinner we talk about the past years accomplishments, memories, and always seem to get a little emotional. This year, with our baby boy in tow, this was no exception. Clearly, year three was good to us.

It's funny to see how an anniversary dinner changes once you have a little one. Baby spoon propped up on my silverware, plastic container of Gerber Puffs next to my glass of wine, train next to the complimentary champagne toast and strawberries the waiter surprised us with, and Rich keeping a tight hold on Cooper when the waiter, again, surprised us with a "3" part dessert. All little reminders of what an impact our little guy has had on us as a couple. Every bit of it for the better. We're more of a unit now than ever before. We make one hell of a team, if I do say so myself.

After dinner we stood in the same place where we stood on our wedding day, as well as for the past 2 anniversaries, and took our annual picture (tomorrow I'll share all three). I love the sense of nostalgia. This is something that we will continue in the, God willing, many years to come. Then we headed home, changed into our jams, and using our wedding flutes (Coop had his bedtime bottle) toasted to year number 4. I can't wait to see what it holds in store. 

Happy Anniversary, Rich! I love you more than you'll ever begin to know. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday- The Happy Halloween Edition...

I took a few weeks off from the blog to regroup and catch up one everyday life but I'm back! Now that I am, I'll be playing a bit of catch up on the blog front. It never ends!

For this week's, "Mommy & Me Monday," we're recapping our Halloween festivities! Trick-or-treating was a two part event for Cooper, Rich, and myself. 

We started off Friday night in Downtown Kissimmee with some of our playgroup friends. We walked along Main Street collecting candy from the storefronts. It was yet, another fabulous even put together by Cooper's Godmother Kelly. 

Then on the actual day of Halloween we went over to Mimi's house and met up with some family to finish up the trick-or-treating. Before we actually got to Mimi's, we made a pit-stop at the hospital to visit Pops (yes, Dad was in the hospital now but in my time away from the blog, I'm happy to report that he's home and doing great). Back to the trick-or-treating, Cooper really could have cared less about all the Halloween hoopla but changed his tune when I let him take a few licks of a lollipop. I'm sure next year we won't be able to keep him away from the candy!

As if two days of costume fun wasn't enough, this Mommy had to dress him up one last time to get some good pictures in natural light. Really, I have no self-control when it comes to pictures and Cooper. Can you blame me?! Look at what a cute lil' lion he was! 

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

He's all boy...

Cooper is undoubtedly all boy. Even when he was an itty-bitty newborn, not even strangers asked whether or not he was a boy or a girl. He just has that all boy look about him. His personality, it's also all boy. He's loud, loves to play rough, quite rowdy, loves his trucks and trains, and especially enjoys all things outdoors. 

All that being said, it came as no surprise when we put a ball cap on him the other day. Unlike the birthday party hat, he loved it. There was no tugging to pull it off, he just took to it immediately. 

He looked so grown, like such a little boy, that I had to grab my camera to snap a few pictures... 

Just look at him... 
I can't ever get enough... 
He's going to make one great lil' fishin buddy for Grandpa... 
... I have no doubt. 

After all, he is all boy and what little boy doesn't love going fishing with Grandpa?!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday- Pumpkin Patch Edition...

 Last Thursday we took our little pumpkin to the patch! We were quite excited, as it's Cooper's very first Halloween. A slight cold front came through so we were able to somewhat bundle up and really enjoy the evening. To get the full effect, we stopped off at Starbucks to grab our first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season and strolled through the quaint little town of Celebration down to the pumpkin patch. 

Just as we had anticipated, Cooper was immediately taken by all of the bright orange pumpkins (so much in fact that it was quite difficult to get him to look at the camera). I am sure I looked like a total crazy person as I was trying to get these pictures. 

We spent an hour or so exploring the patch and finding the perfect pumpkin. I took the opportunity to grab my, "Mommy & Me," photo and I must say that in my humble opinion he was certainly the cutest little pumpkin in the patch. 

Cooper also learned a valuable lesson that night. Hay... it's not so tasty!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I hang my head in shame...

When something (shoes) are on sale (I'm talking 15% off) you have to buy them right?! 

Good, I'm glad you agree because I may (meaning I just got back from the mall and I totally did) buy Cooper the cutest little pair of Baby UGG's. 

Yes, I hang my head in shame but I couldn't resist. 

I'm going to go ahead and blame Bloomingdale's. They were having a promotion that when you use you Bloomie's credit card, you automatically get 15% off. See, I had to do it. 

After all, we're headed to the pumpkin patch today when Daddy gets off work and he couldn't go without a pair of adorable little boots, right?! 

Good, glad you agree again. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Little Wagon Master...

Cooper has a new love... his all-terrain wagon. 

If he's fussy, the wagon does the trick. If we're bored, wagon to the rescue. If the weather outside is just too pretty to be indoors, the wagon's where it's at. He'd probably sleep in it if I let him. No exaggeration, there is no time limit when it comes to the wagon. It never gets old, even when we're taking the same loop around the driveway over, and over, and over again. 

See what I mean? He LOVES it...
On this day, Coop's teeth were bothering him...
Can you tell?
They were really hurting in the, "I'll chew on anything in sight," kind of way...
But on my never-ending quest, I was still able to capture the occasional smile. Probably because Daddy was doing something goofy behind me or because I was pretend sneezing. A great big AHH-CHOOOO!!! always gets a little giggle...
But then we're right back to the chewing...
A great BIG thank you to the hubby for passing those eyes onto Cooper. 
Ah, I melt... 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mommy & Me Monday- No Birthday Hats, Mommy!

This past Saturday we attended Cooper's friend, Tucker's 4th Birthday Party. It was a beautiful morning for a park party. Heather, Tucker's Mom, did a fabulous job putting together his Thomas the Train themed birthday. The kiddos enjoyed running around and burned off quite a bit of energy. All the Moms that I talked to post-party said that their kids took a nice long nap. Our kid was no exception. 

We enjoyed spending some quality time with some wonderful friends. Cooper even got a little play time in with his future wife, Abigail. As you can see, Cooper desperately wanted to hold her hand. The kiddos scarfed down some tasty cupckes and all was going well until... 

I thought it would be a good idea to let Coop wear a birthday party hat like the rest of the kids. 

Note to self, Cooper DOES NOT like birthday hats. 

Lesson learned, son. Lesson learned. 

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flavorsome Friday- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies...

I warned you, this week I'm sharing another pumpkin related recipe. I made these a couple weekends back when we had our first, "cold front," Yep, that weekend when we had a high of 81 degrees. Oh the joys of being a Floridian. All the same, these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies were tasty. They were cake-like, soft, fluffy, and had just enough pumpkin flavor to still let the milk chocolate chips shine through. 

What you'll need:
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups (12 ounce bag) milk chocolate chips

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then mix in the pumpkin and vanilla. 

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture in thirds until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Like usual, I use a small ice cream scoop so that the cookies are uniform in size, allowing them to bake evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies are barely browned around the edges. 

Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool slightly on a wire cooling rack. These lovely cookies are great warm but taste just as great cooled completely. This recipe makes around 3 dozen so there's plenty to share. I sent some next door to the in-laws house and brought some the next morning to The Breakfast Club (sharing with the Schroeder's and the Hill's). 

This weekend we have some gorgeous weather on our hands. I'm very much looking forward to spending as much of it as possible outside, especially given the deluge that we dealt with last weekend. There's a lot going on ranging from Tucker's 4th Birthday Party tomorrow morning to Cooper's first trip to the Pumpkin Patch! I'm so looking forward to both. 

In addition, I'll be attending a Candlelight Memorial Service tomorrow evening in honor of Grace Julia Ross. Speaking of which, tomorrow, Saturday October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Memorial Day. If you could, wherever you may be, please light a candle at 7:00pm to honor all those who have encountered the unimaginable loss of a child. Here in the Halquist house, we continue to pray for the peace of mind and comfort of the entire Ross family. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

8 Months Old...

Can you even believe it? Cooper turned 8 months old last Tuesday! He's learning new and exciting things every day and it's such an amazing experience to get to sit back and watch him. 

The monthly photo shoots are getting a bit lot more challenging but as I've said before, I'll stop at nothing to capture the moment! Here are a few of my favorites from this month... 

 My secret weapon, Gizmo! Cooper will look in whatever direction Giz is... 

Such a big boy...  

This one's my favorite, he looks so serious. No smiling for Mom this month... 

Give me that camera, Momma! 

Learning to clap, I'm super excited about this...