Oct 27, 2010

Eating the Pumpkins

I generally make it a habit NOT to eat pumpkin pie. It is at the absolute bottom of the pie chart in my opinion. Well...mince meat pie is dead last... but pumpkin is pretty close behind mince meat.

This Halloween I decided I needed to do something pumpkiny. I found this recipe for Pumkin Whoopie pies and made these for two separate Halloween parties. I would love to say I created it on my own, but alas... the glory goes to Martha or the guy she got the recipe from.

I have had a few request for this recipe. For any other fellow pumpkin dessert skeptics- you must try! Truly, they are delicious... I don't know why because it is like pumpkin pie in soft cookie form, but it has changed my opinion of pumpkin.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves (I didn't use this)
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled (did not chill... who has time to chill?)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
  3. Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
  4. Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
  5. Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

Carving the pumpkins

Jensen asked everyday after we went to the pumpkin patch if we could get to carving. Last week we finally carved the pumpkins. He had his design prepared and ready to go.

Daddy is responsible for completing the guts removal AND helping out with the knife. This year for the first time we did not roast the seeds. I was too tired and was just not feelin it this year.

Mia wasn't too interested in carving...and we were not interested in cleaning up everything she would potentially throw on the floor. She was having way to much fun throwing this ball around.
This little guy was just minding his own business when his parents decided to try and make him sit in a pumpkin.

He refused to bend his legs so it didn't work as planned...

BUT- he is the cutest baby pumpkin in a pumpkin I have ever seen!

Next time we will try with a larger pumpkin, so we can get him to sit down. We also wanted to put him next to the other pumpkins outside... but it was tooo freezy cold outside.

*After all of the pumpkin wearing, daddy decided to put it in on Sammers head... it got stuck. It was funny until it was heartbreaking. I was able to get it off his head, but he was really offended- and his little nose hurt. poor baby! The other kids wanted to try, but no more pumpkin heads until we carve the opening bigger. Pictures may come later.

Gathering the Punkins

We took all four of our "punkins" to the Pumpkin Patch a couple weeks ago. No need to adjust your screen...they are as cute as they appear! I must be getting old because I took FOUR kids to a pumpkin patch... and They are MY kids!

First thing on the list was to pick out the pumpkins... our family rule is if you can lift it you can get it. I am surprised Ellie picked this one because that girl is STRONG! Here she is being the mom we all know she is.

Mia tried and tried to lift this pumpkin but could not, despite some pretty intense grunting. Off to the mini patch for her.

She found one just her size, and named it "pakee"

Sam hung out on a tractor for a bit. He looks like a ghost in this picture... BOO!

I admit that I rarely go anywhere with all four children solo... luckily we had an equal kid to adult ratio because Nana and Papa were in town. Jense makes this expression ALL THE TIME, but I rarely get a picture of it.

THIS is the face I usually get from Jense... don't believe me? Just scroll through the past couple months. It is still cute- but 100% obligatory.

He was all smiles slinging pumpkins at a target, but I was not allowed on that side of the slingshots. John actually hit the target...he won a $100. Not really... but wouldn't that be great? He did hit a target, but it was on a bounce, and there is no prize for that. I think you win another mini pumpkin to sling if you hit the target... I think $100 sounds better.

This girl knows how to work a camera... and her mom. I could eat her!... but not the pumpkins... gross! However, I have discovered a recipe curing all of my pumpkin disdain. I will share.

Mark, get set... Go! One is in it for the glory! Jensen thinks we need a water pump at our house now.
Papa helped Mia race herself at the rubber ducky race. You'll never believe who won!

Then he took her around to see the animals. She was fascinated with an abnormally large Turkey. Or at least I think it was a turkey, but it was a monster whatever it was. It had to be a turkey, but if there is a mutant turkey...they own it at the pumpkin patch.

Sweet little pumpkin girls.

Ellie and some friends from church who happened to be at the pumpkin patch at the same time. Cute girls!

It is tradition to take this wagon to get the pumpkins.

The guarder of the pumpkins.

Oct 25, 2010

The Fair 2010

We went to the fair- Sam was a sweetie pie and just hung out in the stroller... until he got hungry, or angry. Then I fed him, and held him. There was a ride at the fair that alarmed every time it jolted it's occupants into the sky. Sam was terrified of that noise... we didn't spend a long time by the rides because it was down right mean to let him keep getting terrified.

Mia was pumped to go on the slide- she even said wee on the way down. She cried and cried when we walked away from the slide. I would have taken her again, but the rides are ridiculously priced. It was adorable to hear her cry for the "wee."

Ride #2 was a roller coaster. She cried initially, but loved it after about the 3rd rotation.

I have not purchased them yet, but one of these days our family will own a set of these nail polish pens. Ellie loves them and even used her decorated nails as show and tell. The lady decorated all of her nails... I think that was above and beyond (especially because we didn't buy them). Ellie asked if we could put these on her "Christmas list." We are not so responsible with finger nail polish around here- even hiding on the top shelf it somehow ends up on the hard wood floor. Any remedies for this? It's still there. remover didn't work.

The kids HAVE to ride the boats at the fair. Boats and Slide- the must rides

Next year Jense will be holding Sam in that boat... he can't wait. He asks me ALL THE TIME when Sam is going to grow up. He just can't wait to have his brother older so he can play and interact with him. I always tell him that Sam is not allowed to grow up.

A big thumbs up from Jense!

They raced each other on the go-karts.

Jensen has over heard his dad talking about getting a go-kart. It is on his list. He wants to do some trading for a go-kart. Now Jense is preoccupied with getting a go-kart. When Ellie asked to have fingernail polish put on her "Christmas list" Jense chimed in and thought a go-kart would fit nicely on his list. I suppose it is only a matter of time before his dad makes it happen, but it will be for his daddy's Christmas and Father's Day and Birthday ;-)

Ellie's nurturing is evident will all creatures. She could have loved those animals all day long. Hopefully someday she will have a pet she can love when "her babies" are older.

For now, she will just have to love Mia and Sam everyday... all day.

Oct 21, 2010

I'm Addicted

I have to come clean... i am addicted-to Sam. He is giggles and drool and intense thrashing in every direction. I may need an intervention. for real. His happiness cannot be contained in his little body.

Sam is just at such a fun age! His latest way of interacting is doing his "scissor hands." When he is really excited he rubs his hands back and forth quickly in a scissor motion. He also does this in response to someone doing it in front of him. The kids love the copy- cat game with Sam and his scissor hands.

He is a pretty solid sitter. I still put pillows around (I did this for months with Mia) just in case. Mia has never knocked him over, but I know the day is approaching.

He has killer sharp teeth! He wants to chew on anything he can get in his mouth. He bit daddy yesterday...it was funny to see a grown man in so much pain from a tiny baby. Glad I am not the only chew toy around here.

Speaking of teeth... he eats and eats and eats. This kid has a healthy appetite- a welcomed appetite after all the force feeding and trickery with miss you know who.

He digs his head into the floor then uses his toes to propel himself forward- in inch worm fashion- then he does a few head slams because I think he is so anxious to get somewhere and can't quite make it.

His failing has reached new heights as well. His flailing skills are at their best in the jumperoo. All of his systems are a go in that thing. When he jumps- he will do like a solid 15 jumps (big jumps) before he takes a break. His head bobbles around due to the intensity of his jumping. John thinks he is going to jump right out. Sam brings new meaning to bouncing baby boy when he gets in that jumper.

This video of Sam is proof of the splendid little man that he is. Usually only his family acting crazy can produce these belly laughs... but Ellie found a toy he got a kick out of.

Jensen used to laugh (exactly like Sam) when a dog was around. He laughed hysterically at dogs- it was a riot. Sam likes this toy-I don't think he has ever seen a dog...we should try it out.

Also going on in the video:

Mia playing with her talking tea set- she has a tea party quota she needs to fill on a daily basis
Jensen Bowling in the background
Ellie- of course the one getting Sam to laugh
mom/dad in love with all the noises of their happy home.

- Oh and listen for Mia's happy screams... if you were curious what her happy screaming sounds like. She also calls John "daddy John." She's a goofball- and we love it!

Oct 18, 2010

Camping in Oz

The big family camp-out- prepare yourselves!

This is the cast of the Wizard of Oz as directed by Aunt Beeps. It was a fabulous production! My favorite thing about this picture is the complete preoccupation of Ellie looking at Sam. She could hardly contain herself. I handed the baby to Jense, and immediately she started to protest. We are still in the throws of Ellie being glued to the baby and being quite territorial of him. She can't get enough of that little baby... I can't blame her really.

Ellie got her turn. Make no mistake...Ellie got that baby in her arms!

Part of the annual camp-out is the the annual talent show. Jense wanted to demonstrate his bike trick skills for his talent. This idea for his talent came about after his daddy showed him a clip of a guy doing stunts on you-tube. After watching it Jensen said, "Dad, do you want me to be able to do those tricks?" John said yes, and he practiced all day trying to jump a big rock that he hauled out onto the basketball court. I am so proud (and partially panicked) every time he does a wheelie. He loves his bike, and spent the majority of the camp-out riding around the dirt paths. I loved the look on his face after his last trick, he knew he was hot stuff... in his own little shy way. I am just elated that he will perform...in front of people- we have come so far!

Ah, the bows and arrows are always a big hit. The kids take turns at target practice. Jense is a natural arrow shooter. Every time I shoot an arrow it takes a little minute for me to get acclimated again to how to do it and what grabs what. The kids call the bow a "bowin," as in shooting bowin-arrows. I love when Jense asks if we can get more "bowins."

We Sang happy birthday to Jense and the other Summer birthday campers.

For Ellie's talent she performed her "party in the USA" dance. She really wanted teacher Michelle there to help her, but mommy was able to fill in. When we were practicing at home she was overly concerned that there wasn't going to be a stage. It seems like every time we talk about a performance... church, school, ymca, the first question out of her mouth is about the stage. I think I have a performer on my hands.

Mia's talent? THROWING FOOD! She threw Starburst to the group of cousins below. Throwing food is by far her favorite past time, and she is quite accomplished in this area. Her talent ended up being a toss up between throwing food, and taking off her diaper at inconvenient intervals. She excels at both!
Sammer Jam was only given one option for the talent show. Here he is doing "the trick." Go Sam go! He won the talent show (in my eyes) with his agility and strength.

The flying monkey and the munchkin. It really was a cute play!

All of the flying monkey boys also got to be trees. I think they enjoyed being trees the most because they got to throw pretend apples at people. I would like that better too :-) Why is it gratifying to throw something at someone? Knowing of course that they won't get hurt.

Daddy schooling Elvis on how to shoot an arrow. Ellie launched quite a few arrows, but her true calling is.....
Knive throwing! Yes, she hit the target with a knife. She was so proud! See... throwing stuff is fun! She gets that from me ;-) Although we might need to save the knife throwing for family camp-outs.
Mia was the sweetest little camper. She just toddled around, played in the dirt, went to the water spiket over and over, and roasted her first hot dog all by her self. Well, she held it for awhile solo, but I stepped in before long. One of her favorite words and food (soooo shameful) is "dog dog." She loves dog dogs, and ate more than I care to admit this summer. This was definitely the summer of dog dogs. We have been on a dog dog strike since the camp-out.

Jense was wearing his helmet to chop wood... and not while he was doing his bike tricks. I am beginning to see a pattern at these camp-outs. We eat a lot of food and let the children have free reign on all manner of weapons. Not free reign... they were supervised. I am just laughing because the pictures went from shooting arrows, to knife throwing, and now here he is with a hatchet. Happy to report no injuries.

Ellie and Karissa played on the same tree they did over three years ago... click here. They grow so fast! Oh, and that post was my very first blog.... ever! Before blogging I just emailed my "blogs" to my family. I wish I had blogs from when Jense was a baby.

Decked out in cars, this kid fell right to sleep sitting up. I love when babies do that. No fuss, no nothing, just out cold sitting there on your lap. It doesn't happen often so I'm glad I have a picture. Soo sweet!
Mia and Grandma getting cozy. She is moments away from falling asleep sitting up as well! Little meez looks so beat!... she was busy busy busy the entire camp out. Grandma did a great job planning everything! Now she is busy busy busy sewing nightgowns for all of her grandchildren.

Sam had to fill his flirting quota with all the ladies. His oldest cousin Savannah produced a lot of flirting!
The final bow

Sam was a perfect little camper. He peed in our sleeping bag, but other than that... he was loads easier than the other three.

It's not really difficult to tote around someone who is just so stinkin happy all the time. Peyton and Sam chillin at the campfire.

The Lion, scarecrow, tinman, and Dorothy go skipping off down the yellow brick road- until next year.