Wednesday, October 26, 2016

fall family trip

 It’s been a whirlwind getting back into our routine and catching up with life the last couple weeks. We took a long weekend trip earlier this month and it was everything we hoped for. It’s no surprise us Nebraskans have been fed up with the southern heat and humidity and just needed some cooler, crisp termperatures and desciduous trees with falling leaves. We headed to beautiful Asheville, North Carolina where mountains roll as far as the eye can see. We planned our trip fairly well too, as the foliage were just at the beginning of their peak week of color change.

Our favorite element of traveling anywhere is eating locally. It's such a fun way to experience a new city because the local eateries are where all the locals hang and we always learn so much by eating the cuisine and visiting with new people. Our first night we tried Asheville Pizzeria + Brewery. It had a unique outdoor area which quickly filled with dozens of eclectic people from all walks of life. There were different outdoor games setup and a long bench that lined one side of the perimeter where couples just lounged and sipped on drinks. Mike and I each tried in house beers that were both delicious. I had a raspberry and blueberry infused wheat beer that was pink!

We definitely wanted to get in some sort of hiking with the babes and ventured over to Chimney Rock State Park. You's an understatement to say it was breathtakingly gorgeous. Every photo I took just couldn't do it juistice; it's something you have to see for yourself. As we drove through the winding roads the leaves danced in colors as they fell like snowflakes. Kensi squealed every time she would see a mountain in the distance, not understanding we were literally driving up a mountain. Silly girl. 

Chimney Rock was a great place for all of us to explore as a family. There's several trails, but two distinctive ones. One is to the top of Chimney Rock at 2280 feet high and the other is through the forest to a waterfall. We chose to climb so we could see the view at the top. This climb was all by stairs. Good, sturdy, stairs that have a railing and all enclosed for littles to walk on their own. That is, to walk nearly 500 stairs to the top and another 500 down. Yes, you can put your eyeballs back inside your head. We climbed up to the top of Chimney Rock, by stairs, with a newborn strapped to me, a toddler to Mike and another little walking herself. We certainly got some major side eye looks and some pretty crude comments, but we weren't the only family who believed we could totally own it. {which we did}. I will admit that although we owned it, it was crazy hard and I didn't know if I could do it about half way up because my legs were burning so bad. I literally prayed every step of the way asking for strength and endurance.

Once we made our way back to the bottom on Chimney Rock we hit a few different shops we saw on our drive. We found the most amazing old house turned gift shop completely decked out with pumpkins....and flags. The gift shop itself was a dud, but the house and fall decor had all of us dying. To say Kensi and I wanted to stuff every pumpkin  into the back of the car to take home would be an understatement. Seriously, just look at this beautiful house! I would really love to buy this beauty and renovate it...this is just everything fall and halloween, right here.

After a full day of hiking we ventured to Historic Biltmore Village which was originally built for the estate workers of the famous Biltmore estate. The character here will literally smack you down, it’s so ridiculous. We grab a bite to eat and decided to do what we do best, wander. Kensi asked why we wander in new cities and we told her it’s the best way to discover something new, something that’s hidden, something we wouldn’t expect. So on our wandering journey we stumbled upon the cutest little Christmas shop that was unfortaantely closed, but right around the corner we found this quaint little bakery tucked between two extensions of the original building and a courtyard. Inside were the largest cookies we’ve seen in real life. Of course we had to try a few different treats and walked out with a ginger molasses cookie (always one of our favorites) and a double chocolate orange cookie (which is now a new favorite). Wandering together paid off delicious cookies and hot cocoa.

The next morning before we headed to the apple orchard we drove to this tiny little place called Biscuit Head. It's another local eatery and had rave reviews. When we arrived the line was out the door and wrapping around the corner of the building and there was a steady crowd of people walking to the line. We knew we weren’t going to take that challenge on with three kiddos who were all hangry, so we decided to save ‘the best biscuits and gravy in town’ for our next trip. Instead we tried City Bakery which is known for their lattes and scones. We ordered a couple lattes and breakfast sandwiches which were made on their famous scallion scones. Best way to eat a breakfast sandwich hands down. I will now be making savory scones for all our breakfast needs.

After we finished breakfast at the City Bakery we headed to Hendersonville for Stepp’s Orchard. In hopes of hitting the pumpkin patch and orchard at the same time, this trip was a semi-fail. The orchard part was great, we all picked really great tasting apples, got some great photos and had so much fun, but the pumpkin patch left a lot to be desired. On top of our pumpkin disappointments, it must have been ‘the day’ to go to the orchard because everyone and their brother was there. The staff informed us they had never been that busy and everyone was in a constant state of mayhem.

Once we had picked apples to our hearts’ desire we made our way through the chaos of the picnic tables and parking lot. We were happy to be done with a large crowd and eager to meet up with our sweet friends at Juicy Lucy. Not only did we have the best company, we also had another great burger joint to add to our list of ‘must return’. If you don’t know what a Juicy Lucy burger is (originally from Minnesota) you’ll want to look it up and see who makes one closest to you.
A final trip to a city park with our pals to let all the kids burn as much energy off before hitting the road to go home was the perfect end to our trip. We had so much fun trying so many new places and can’t to venture back! Until next time Asheville...

\\Good Eats\\

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

fall favorites

Two years now I’ve become waaaaay too excited when mums hit the stores and I buy them too early. Two years now, I’ve had them die in our heat and had to replace them mid to late October. Twice! You would think I would have learned the first time, but October, pumpkin spice everywhere, cooler nights and warm pajamas get me all in a tizzy. I just can’t help myself, I live for this time of the year. 
Aside from fall florals, we have several other favorites that have become part of our daily and the kids just can’t get enough of them. 

1. Target’s latest line of Cat + Jack has me all sorts of heart eyes. It’s super adorable, affordable and comfortable to the kiddos. I picked up a set of their organic baby sleepers for my gorgeous chunky baby and they are so soft. My favorite feature, aside for the cute gender neutral prints, is the reverse zipper. It makes changing diapers at night so much easier.

2. Finn is totally our second child and because he’s still little he can get away with not wearing shoes all the time. However, that’s now ended with fall and cool nights, so we picked up a pair of black Converse shoes for him. I know I’m biased, but he is the cutest little man walking around in his skinny sweats and kicks.

3. I’m constantly trying new recipes and although I love making our pumpkin bars and apple fritters, I tried this Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Hole recipe and I seriously can’t get enough of it! They’re easy to make and perfect for a morning trip to the park!

4. The kids have loved watching Halloween themed movies all month long. Their current favorites right now are Room On the Broom, Hotel Transylvania and The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Bonus for Room On the Broom....because we also have the book, Kensi loves to follow along page by page as she watches the movie.

5. While watching all our favorite fall movies lately, it’s only right to have good snacks to go with them. We love the mix of sweet and salty and add peanuts to this Halloween Boo mix. It is the perfect match!

Share some of your fall favorites in the comments below, we’d love to hear them!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

fall bucket list

Our fall bucket list doesn’t change too much from year to year as our kids are still little. We do get to add a couple new activities as Kensi becomes bigger and other activities carry a new meaning for her because she can be more involved. Such as making our homemade apple sauce; this year Kensi was able to help cut the apples with me. A new skill that she was so excited to learn!
Several of our activities will be knocked out with our first family trip. I know it may be surprising to some, but we’ve always either traveled with family or to see family and this trip will be just us, on our own, doing our own thing and we are SO excited! Living on the coast makes for a weird October as it’s relatively still warm, so taking a trip up to the mountains is just what we need! Bonus, we get to see the gorgeous fall leaves changing color and wear sweaters + boots, something we so badly miss being from the midwest.

Monday, October 3, 2016

hello october

Happy October friends! We are so excited for all our celebrations in the next few weeks. We welcomed one of our favorite months by creating a fun basket full of October goodies for the kids and spending some time creating a new sensory bin. Kensi and Finn love books and we always enjoy adding a new book to our never-ending collection. This year we added No Such Thing by Ella Bailey and this may definitely be my new favorite Halloween book. These are some of the cutest illustrations and Kensi loves looking for the ghosts on each page. We're going to just have to keep this sweet book  on the shelf for a few months longer.
Along with a new book, we like to add in some healthy snacks. Our kids love fruit snacks and as parents we try to find healthier options for them. We really enjoy Annie’s brand of fruit snacks, crackers and granola bars. Their Oatmeal Cookie granola bar made with warm cinnamon is perfect for fall and they made the cutest halloween version of fruit snacks with bunnies and bats! I was so excited to find them and even more excited for Kensi and Finn to enjoy them. To finish off the baskets we put in new Halloween tops for the kids to wear, crazy straws & kettle corn. We love making fun baskets like this for them especially because it's simple and it doesn’t ever have to be over the top. Finding a few fun everyday items can make our normal everyday fun and festive. 
Now that we’ll officially welcomed October into our home we’re ready for trips to the pumpkin patch, costume parties and so much more! What fun and festive plans do you all have planned for this month?

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