Saturday, November 2, 2019

October Round Up

Wow. Month 10 of 12 behind us. We have spent a month doing all the Halloween things and have been so incredibly busy. Here is a look back...

Last things first. The boys went trick or treating as Fortnite characters. Marshmallow man on the left and DJ Yonder on the right. I loved their costumes and they were quite the hit both at school and while trick or treating. I was hoping they would show off all of their Fortnite dance moves while we were trick or treating, but unfortunately, it was freezing cold (like the coldest Halloween in Missouri since the early 90's) and the boys wimped out after only an hour of trick or treating.

The boys were so excited to wake up to SNOW on the morning of Halloween. Only a dusting, but still. This isn't all that abnormal for Ohio, where I grew up, but for Missouri... I can't remember this ever happening before since we've lived here.

Other Halloween things we did leading up to the 31st....

Halloween Movie Marathon
The weekend before Halloween, we spent a whole day in our pajamas watching some of our favorites including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beatlejuice, Adams Family, and Sleepy Hollow.

We made witches' fingers (pretzel rods, dipped in green icing, topped with sliced almonds).

We carved pumpkins and told the boys all about how when we were little, we didn't have nice handy pumpkin carving kits. Back in the day, we had to use kitchen knives and scooped the guts out with big spoons and our hands. They'll never know what they missed...

I made mummy hot dogs, aka hot dogs wrapped in sliced crescent roll dough (the refrigerated kind out of a tube). They turned out okay.

Other yummy things we made this month include a couple of incredible soups/stews.

I made this Ultimate Beef Bourguinon for the first time at it was so yummy. Definitely doing that one again.

The Beef Bourguinion was the perfect slow simmered stew for the Colts/Chiefs game. We are a Colts family. We have been for as long as the boys were born. There are numerous pictures of them in Colts gear from the time they were newborns. But as one would suspect when you live in a state where the football team has done nothing but improve year after year, our boys have become converts and our now Chiefs fans... just like all of the other people in this state. The Chiefs were undefeated and the Colts were not, so there was lots of trash talk throughout the day. Yeah for Jeremy and me, because the Colts broke the Chiefs' undefeated streak. Every Sunday, and also every day the boys wear any Chiefs gear, we remind the of this day.

Another yummy soup is this Cheeseburger Soup, which I have probably made a dozen times in the last several years. We had this soup on the day of our Halloween movie marathon and it was perfect.

On Halloween night, we made our tried and true favorite, White Chicken Chili.  Even though it has a little bit of a spicy edge, the boys both loved it!

The boys and I went on a beautiful fall hike one weekend when the weather was perfect and the leaves were just starting to change. I wrote about it here.

Every morning, the boys and I get to my office bright and early and we have caught some beautiful sunrises.

We also had a beautiful full moon this month.

Eli and I had a mommy/son date night, watching our local football team. Eli sampled just about everything at the concession stand and our team won big.

 The boys did their scout duty and worked a fundraiser event at a Pumpkin Festival. It was exhausting!

And that just about does it for our October. It's been crazy, but it's been fun. Now we're ready to start thinking turkey and Christmas shopping! 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Three Creeks Fall Hike

We had a perfect fall weekend last weekend. The weather was chilly and rainy on Saturday, which made for a perfect day for watching Halloween movies all day long (more on that in another post). On Sunday, we woke up to a thick fog, with a forecast of sunshine and cool weather. After a lazy day inside, we were more than ready to hit the trails.

Three Creeks Conservation Area was our destination of choice. First, because it's our absolute favorite hiking spot. Second, because the last time we were here, it was with the Cub Scouts. They took us to a trail we had never hiked before and we were able to explore the outside of a massive cave (exploring inside the cave is closed to the public right now). Ever since that hike with the scouts, I've wanted to take the boys back again.

We entered on the south side of the conservation area and walked down a gravel road to get to our trail head.

I don't think many people would argue that fall is the best season for hiking. The temperature is perfect, and the views are amazing. The timing of the perfect fall foliage can be tricky though, because if you wait even one week too long, the leaves will all be on the ground.

On this hike, however, I felt like we hit the jackpot, and if I had to guess, I'd say we probably even have one to two more weeks of good foliage.

When we first stepped onto the trail from the road, it felt magical. The leaves were so bright yellow, and it was just cool enough and cloudy enough to give this hike the perfect vibe.

We trekked downhill through the mud, and towards the creeks.

The boys both picked up hiking sticks.

This one (below) wasn't actually used as a hiking stick. Just a giant stick to get in everyone's way.

See? Not using it as a walking stick.

 We noticed signs of fall everywhere.

The landscape along the creek was so pretty and still quite green along the forest floor.

I couldn't remember how far we had hiked with the scouts to get to the cave, so we just kept our eyes peeled. We ran into a couple of other hikers who had come from the opposite direction. The boys asked them if they knew where the cave was, and they told us that they walked right by it without noticing it because everything was so overgrown.

So we hiked on, looking carefully for the big cave. We found a little cave that we remembered from the previous hike, so we stopped to check that one out.

The trail was so muddy in sections, but we managed to find a path around the really deep sections of mud.

We looked everywhere for that cave. Seriously, we walked far further than we did with the Boy Scouts and I couldn't believe that we couldn't find it. I'm serious when I tell you that this cave was massive and no where to be found. How was that possible? Since we were miles into the hike and still had to hike back, and we couldn't find the cave, we decided to call it quits on looking for the cave this day. We will save that for a winter's day, when there are no more leaves blocking our view. 

We headed back and made a short detour to the creek.

The boys threw so many rocks in the water, just like every other trip to the creek we've ever made.

It had rained just days earlier (hence all the mud), so I was surprised to see the water so low. The boys walked all the way around this little reservoir.

And finally, we headed back up the trail, with about a mile and a half to hike back to the car.

Through the meadow...

Back through the magical, yellow forest.

And on to the final stretch of the trail...

And back to the gravel road, exhausted, muddy, and ready to lazy away our Sunday.

And just like that, our first fall hike was behind us.

So happy fall, and happy hiking. May the weather and fall foliage be perfect on your next outing!