Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In the Mean Time...

October on the blog was all about free printables, but life continued on behind the scenes.  The weather delivered chilly 50 degree days, a few 80 degree days, and everything in-between.  We had rain and sun and wind. We are especially appreciative of the colors of autumn this year.  Last year, Hurricane Sandy hit just as the leaves were beginning to change and blew all the leaves off the trees in our yard.  We went from green trees to bare trees. 

a view from my porch

Family Time:

We made an effort to be outside during the month of October.  We chipped away at our ongoing project of clearing away years worth of growth at the back of our property.  We took an entire weekend to work on burning our brush pile, some of which had been piled there since we bought the property 2.5 years ago. 

And what's a fire without a few marshmallows? 

The girls took advantage of several  breezy days to fly kites. 

We had the fabulous opportunity to see a local production of Les Miserables. Technically, it was in November, not October, but since it happened in the days after September 30th,  I get to talk about it here.

We went with my mom and sister while my dad generously agreed to stay at our house with our five kids (ages 3-10), plus my youngest sister (age 12).  We were gone from 7 pm until a little after midnight, but he says he barely had to lift a finger as they all settled in for movie night and the kids served him (and each other) snacks, put the two youngest to bed, and kept the house running.  When we got home (a little after midnight, remember), our three oldest kids plus my sister were in the middle of a game of Monopoly! 

excuse my "deer caught in headlights" expression!


We celebrated 3 birthdays in our house during October. 

Ben turned 5.  He requested homemade pizza for dinner.  We had a small family party in the evening and he asked for a box-mix cake with blue icing.  It so went against my grain to not make it from scratch, but it was the easiest, stress-free birthday cake ever. 

Four days later, our kittens turned 1.  We skipped the pizza and cake and served them chicken.




Gavin practicing throwing and catching at gym class
My three oldest kids are taking a fall gym class taught by student P. E. majors at the local university.  It's our second year in a row, and this year all five kids are old enough to take the class, but my two littlest broke into nervous tears on the first day of class (and the second and third) so we made the decision to let them wait another year.

I'm busy training for my 4th 5K later this month.  I ran the October Joggermom Cancer Run as motivation.  To complete the challenge, you must run at least 26.2 miles between October 1-31.  I ended up with a total of 52.1 miles-- just .3 miles short of two marathons! 

Also for the first time in my adult life, I own a bicycle.  (It's a hand-me-down and it's a men's bike, but I'm not picky!)  I've been taking Maddie and Gavin on weekend bike rides and Gavin has declared that we need to make it a Saturday habit until it gets too cold.


We've fallen into a comfortable school groove this year.  Not that everything goes smoothly every day.  (It doesn't.  Do your children cry when they think something is too hard?  Mine do.  Am I really that hard a task master?)

A highlight from the month of October was reading through this book for history:

Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster

When it arrived in our mailbox and I began to thumb through it, I feared it would be too much and that it would bog us down, but no!  It's been a favorite of my three older kids (ages 7, 9, and almost 11).  I let them draw or color quietly while I read and they always, always ask me to keep reading when I am done the day's selection. 

We are scheduled to finish the book today.  Since we spent time during our summer break (June/July) doing  Around the World in 60 Days and then took our first two months of school (August/September) for our own study of U. S. geography, we plan to take a break from history until after Christmas break.  Then we'll pick up with a living book walk through medieval history. 


Running makes me hungry and autumn makes me crave comfort foods so October was a fun month in the kitchen.  We tried multiple pumpkin recipes:  pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin spice waffles, whole wheat pumpkin scones with cinnamon icing, pumpkin bread, and double chocolate pumpkin cookies

We delved into a few non-pumpkin recipes, too, like creamy chicken and wild rice soup in soft bread bowls, homemade chicken and dumplings, and refried bean soup.

We made own version of s'mores using graham crackers, marshmallow spread, melted chocolate chips, and sprinkles.

P.S. Confession: I've been known to lick the sides of the mug after drinking a cup of this peanut butter hot chocolate


We were anxious for the first frost to send all the ticks, bugs, and snakes into hibernation.  Until then, we had our share of creepies during our many hours of outside time.  On our first brush burning day, Brian, Gavin, and Maddie were bringing handfuls of sticks to the fire that I was tending when they unearthed a snake from the stick pile.  A couple hours later, Brian found another small snake. 

The following week, Maddie was raking pine needles to use in Finn's dog house for warmth this winter.  After she had raked and filled the bag by hand, she saw something move from inside the bag.  A snake peeked its head and its tongue out at her.  Maddie is not scared of much, but it totally freaked her out.  About an hour later, she got her first bee sting when a bee crawled inside her jacket.  It was not a good day for her!

We did finally get our first frost in mid-October.  The house dipped down in the low 60s and since we were expecting the frost later that night, we decided to turn on our heat for the first time of the season.  It didn't work.  There was a minor problem with the pilot light ignition, but until it could be repaired the next day, we spent a chilly 24 hours.  The kids went to bed with sweaters and extra blankets, and we awoke to a 52 degree house. 

One Saturday, I went out for a morning run.  Not far from our home, I passed a fenced in yard, haven to 3 dogs that I see regularly.  This time, one of them slipped under the fence and joined me.  I walked him back to his fence, but after his owner brought him back inside the gate, he escaped again.  I continued for 2 miles with him by my side before the owner drove up to take him back home.  I went about my way again, but a little after mile 6, I passed back by that house and the dog was waiting for me.  He was my companion on the last mile and settled in on our back porch to take a nap.  We kept hoping he would get bored of us and return home, but no such luck.  After several house, we drove him back down the street to his fence. 

our beagle friend

Our other notable mishap in October was Alaine's new hairstyle.  Notice her short little wispy bangs?  Well, that might be good except she's never had bangs.  That's a hair cut she gave herself.  I should have known it was inevitable when I found her trying to cut her shirt a few weeks before, but I though my lecture about only cutting paper was enough.  I made it through five kids before a stylist joined our midst.

How did you fill your October?
Was it fun and eventful?  Or a little bumpy?
Do you have any seasonal recipes to share?
How is the weather in your area of the country?


  1. You had a busy, active, fun October (and first bit of November)! Love the pictures!

  2. This was fun to read...even though I knew most of it already! It's amazing how much happens in a single month, isn't it?

    The twins look a bit lazy in their birthday shot. I'm sure they enjoyed their birthday chicken. :)


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