Can it be December first already?  I’ve been purposefully avoiding this space, as it eats up time I do not have! Since I don’t want you to think I dropped off the face of the earth, however, here are some highlights from the past couple months:

In September, we ended the camping year with our annual trip to Deerfield Fair in New Hampshire. We always enjoy seeing the animals, the tractors, and various events.  It was fun, but hot and tiring!  I was ready to get home and take a shower when it was all over.

Among the fall fun, you have the obligatory Jumping in the Big Pile of Leaves.  Usually I set it all up and make the kids wait to jump in till I have my camera ready, but this time they dove right in.  Last year we got our hands on an old fruit press that belonged to Phil’s grandfather… or great-grandfather… I can’t remember.  We made one small batch of cider, but were determined to try it again this year.  Phil called around to some of the local orchards, and we ended up getting a good deal on cider apples at Knight Farm.  We got six bushels of apples, and kept looking at each like, are we crazy?  We needed to use them up before they went bad – especially since a number of the drops already had bruises and soft spots – so I spent most of my time in the kitchen making and canning crock pot apple butter and applesauce, apple slices, and apple pie apples.  Oh, and of course the apple cider.  It was worth it!

When I was growing up, we had a tradition of going to the same restaurant for my birthday. We didn’t make it every year, since it’s a bit of a drive to get there, but we’ve had many happy visits to The Old Mill. It became a tradition because, the day before my twin brother and I were born, my parents took a scenic drive and ended up stopping at this restaurant for lunch.  The rest is history!  On the way, we stop at Brown & Hopkins Country Store for a gander around the shop and a bag of penny candy.  We hadn’t been since I was pregnant with Gwen, and that was seven years ago!

We’re not big celebrators of Halloween, but we still like to have fun! Every year I hem and haw over spending money on costumes, and this year I decided up on some [relatively] simple DIY-ers.  I already had Addy’s angel wings and halo that I used for some first birthday snapshots.  The last time we watched “The Incredibles” Josiah kept pretending to be Dash, so I put together a Dash-inspired costume consisting of some black pants, long-sleeve black shirt underneath a red t-shirt, on which I had sewn a felt logo. A black mask finished off the look.  Gwen’s outfit was… a bit more complicated.  She’s positively enthralled with Elsa from “Frozen” – what little girl isn’t? – but I didn’t want to pick the fad character. Another favorite princess of hers, one that she’s been mistaken for in the past, is Merida from the movie “Brave.”  I found a green velveteen dress and a cream-colored nightgown at a consignment store and put them together with some other materials to create a dress for her.  Since we don’t get any trick-or-treaters for Halloween and I don’t want to buy candy only to have to eat it all myself, we do our own thing – driving around to some homes of friends and family and going out to eat.

The kiddos’ birthdays – both in November, two days apart – were fast approaching and I had to figure out if I wanted to have a party or just give them cake for breakfast and call it a day.  In the end, Mommy guilt prevailed and I decided on a Brave-themed party to get some more use out of Gwen’s Merida dress.  It was quite a bit of work but I had a lot of fun putting it together.  We had a whole bunch of friends and family over, which made their special day even more so.

Our Thanksgiving this year was a bit quieter than usual. We were all a bit under the weather; nevertheless, we got into the festive spirit and spent the day with Phil’s parents and grandmother. I made cranberry sauce, roasted root veggies, and some chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies (aka “moose plops”).  After we ate, the dads and kiddos got to fixing a Lego pirate ship – a highlight of Josiah’s day, no doubt! I have so much for which to be thankful!

Those of you who know me will know how long I’ve struggled with weight (and other) issues.  There have only been a few times when I’ve lost a significant amount of weight – in junior high when I decided to stop eating (unhealthy), just out of high school when I was waitressing and exercising multiple times a day (unrealistic), and shortly after giving birth to Josiah when I changed my eating habits (healthy, but haven’t been able to replicate).  I’ve been at my wit’s end, extremely discouraged and not really knowing what to do.  After hearing about The Virgin Diet, I decided to try it, see if it helps with weight loss and other possible underlying conditions.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

We’re on week fifteen of Heart of Dakota’s Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory curriculum.  It’s amazing how much I learn right along with them! So far I really like it – it’s all laid our for me with little prep work involved. I used to sit at the computer for hours, trying to find materials and different resources, requesting books from the library and printing things out.  Now, I have most of my books and materials already assembled in a bin, ready to go, and I just need to make sure I request a few books from the library here and there, maybe come up with some activities if I feel like it, and have some math and phonics workbooks.

I was honored to have an article published about my little crafting hobby/business in the November issue of RI Local magazine. I’m bummed because I wasn’t able to track down a copy myself, but a number of people told me they saw the article, and Phil was kind enough to take a snapshot of it, asking for my autograph.  Hehe.

Speaking of crafting, I’ve managed to get a few things done here and there, but can’t seem to find big blocks of time to sit down at the sewing machine.  Many of the things I’ve made have been for gifts and special occasions.  Pictured: mini bowling sets, tissue covers, dancing ribbons, car carriers, kinetic sand set, photo necklaces

Well, I think this should hold you over for the next few months!  I managed to track down the Little People advent calendar and put it on the wall today, but we never did get around to actually doing it! One day this week we’ll take out Christmas decorations and play some Christmas music.