October Fun and Halloween 2009

October is such a special month. It heralds in a season of cool weather and fun times together as a family. My mom celebrates her birthday in October and soccer is in full swing. There seems to be an everpresent buzz of excitement. Thanksgiving and Christmas seem just right around the corner and I just adore watching the leaves change colors. One of my favorite things about October is carving pumpkins.
After we carve them we always toast the seeds. Even the girls love eating them. They both took some to their classes to share, although I am not sure that everyone cared for them very much.
And I wish I could say I made this beautiful pie with the leftover pumpkin pulp, but Libby helped me out with a 15 oz. can. It was still yummy none the less. I LOVE pumpkin pie! Actually, I love most everything pumpkin. Remember this post?

Then as Halloween rolls around we get the house all decorated--this year we even decorated our front door with spider webbing and plastic spiders. The little trees in my urns had bright orange lights and our two pumpkins kept watch with their cute little lighted grins.
We made Halloween cookies this year..hopefully a new tradition.

Then the girls ate the cookies (and icing) and apparently got a quick sugar buzz! Funny faces were plentiful.

We picked out Halloween costumes and had a great time Trick-or-Treating. Ella was a zebra and Lucy was, of course, Buzz Lightyear. Did I mention there she has a bit of an obsession with Buzz and all things Toy Story?

One of our favorite candy stops is at my cousin Casey's home. This year we were lucky enough to see her sisters Jessica and Kelly, too. Look what Casey did to her dog....she's pink!!

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This Pumpkin Spice Latte is "a delicious blend of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors combined with our signature espresso and freshly steamed milk, and topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices."

That's what Starbucks says. I say it is "Yum..Yum..Yum!!!" I know its Fall when they bring out the PSL. What more perfect way to usher in the cool weather? This flavor only stays around until Christmas, when they bring out my other favorite..Gingerbread Latte.

Welcome Fall. Now if only Starbucks had not left this town.

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This was our 5th year to plant a garden. We started in Memphis with just a few tomato plants and some sad little strawberries. Once we moved to our current home, we really started expanding our gardening skills. This year our garden was bigger than ever and produced such wonderful harvest. It's amazing that God gave us the ability to take a piece of land that looks like thisAnd turn it into this

We planted so many things this year. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, corn, potatoes (plain and sweet), greenbeans, purple hull peas, zucchini, squash, butternut squash, tomatoes, all kinds of peppers, onions and asparagus. We have put away produce and fresh tomato sauce and juice to last us a while. Probably enough to get us through spring, when we will start pining for the ground to warm up so that we can plant again. It's a fun little hobby that yields some great rewards.

The best part about it is working as a family to accomplish a single goal. We all play an integral part in the gardening process. I usually get things kicked off. I'm the one who gets all excited about a month before and I am all on board....... for the first month or two. Erik does the majority of the tilling and planting. The girls help us plant the seeds and pick out the plants. They dig for ginormous worms in the freshly tilled dirt. Erik and I work together to put away the first months worth of harvest. Canning, pickeling, drying..whatever the case may be. And then, poor Erik comes in to finish out the remainder of the gardening when I am over it and have moved on to other things. Usually by Aug.1 I am offically done with the garden.
It's our garden, our family affair and we love it!

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Totally Random

Tonight I got certified in CPR/First Aid. I had done it over 16 years ago while training for lifeguarding certification, but I had to get a little more current for my current teaching job. It was AWESOME! I learned so much and feel so much more prepared. I'm not sure if you have done it recently, but I highly recommend it. I'm praying I never have to use it. But if I'm ever put in that situation I feel prepared.
I mean, who would not want to be ready to protect these precious lives?

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Where Did It Go?

Somhow I blinked and missed Fall. Did it come the week of Fall Break? If so, I want a re-do. Can I get one of those? We spent our week in Disney where there was a heat index of 102 degrees. Record breaking highs to be exact. Believe me, I am NOT complaining. It was a fabulous week. But when I got back home I had hoped to be greeted by cooler weather. Not COLD!!!

So I came across these last few pictures of our summer trips to the lake that I had not posted. I thought it would be nice to stare at the water longingly while I sit wrapped in my fleece jacket and sweatpants. Say it with me "Ahhhhhhh...."

(And Amanda, I wanted to so badly to post the picture of us skiing together. It was awesome! I thought better of it though. I did not want to sleep with one eye open tonight. I was afraid you might kill me if pictures surfaced of you in your 2-piece. I think you look great, but I know you all too well.)

Yeah Ella! She gave it lots of good tries. Maybe next year she will get the hang of it.

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Update on Life

Just like many other areas of my life, my Blog seems to have been neglected lately. I was thinking about when I first started writing and how I was so excited about it. It was new, it was fun, it was unique. It's now been a year and a half later it has become "old hat." I'm not exactly sure what that term means exactly, but it seems to fit. It's sad isn't it?

I have a cousin who is going through a pretty rough time in her life. There is nothing "old hat" in her life right now. She has been on my mind so much lately. While we were on a family trip recently I was able to spend a good bit of time with her. Listening to her stories and watching her be so brave has helped me put some things into perspective in my own life.

For example, I am so blessed to have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in and an amazing, wonderful, loving, absolutely perfect family. I could not ask for anymore in a husband or children. Nothing at all. I love them so much!

You know, no matter what life throws at us we can rest assured that our God will provide. Jehovah Jireh-God provides- is my favorite "name" for God. I can honestly say that I am reminded of this every day when I look at my life. And while I am currently struggling with some issues in my own life, I have to believe that MY God, my Jehovah Jireh, is bigger than them all. He is bigger than my worries and he is bigger than my fears.

I'm going to try to blog more often. It is, after all, my family's scrapbook of memories. I'm also going to try to spend more time with my God. He is, after all, the reason I am living. Right? So I guess if something has become "old hat" it's never too late to rekindle a flame. Here's to hoping so!

Proverbs 18:10
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

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Zoo with Erik's Family

During the weekend of Ella's birthday this year, the weather was unseasonably cool. We took advantage of this break from the heat and took Erik's parents and the girls to the Memphis Zoo. We had such a wonderful time and the animals were very active. We just love the zoo and always make some great memories.

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Well, it was two weeks before we closed the pool but Ella learned to dive. And she does so beautifully. As if she has been doing it for years. Just like that bike. A born natural...
This is not a good picture, but it was the only one I was able to snap.

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Ella 6th Birthday

This year we decided to scale down the birthday celebrations. In the past, I kid you not, Ella has had up to 5 birthday parties. There would be one at school, one with friends, one on the actual day, one with each set of grandparents. It was really a bit ridiculous.

This year, we only had 3. One little one with cupcakes at school, a big friend party and then a small cake on her actual birthday. The scale down went to an even greater level this year, too. The friend party was so different from the past. I often wonder how children's birthdays have become to be such huge occassions. Do you not remember when a party consisted of cake, ice cream and some running around in the back yard? There were no bounce houses, fashion-diva parties or grand catered events. It was so simple. And parents did not go broke every birthday. It really has gone to far.

Well, in an effort to start a new trend, my friend Amanda and I decided to go bare bones on Ella and Gracen's joint 6th birthday party. We strategically chose 1-3 pm because we would not have to provide a meal. We only served cupcakes (which we made ourselves), ice cream and watermelon (fresh from her garden). Our only splurge was cookies from Sweet Sensations that were given as party favors.

Please understand this is not a knock on those that have big parties at Pump It Up or Sweet and Sassy. We love going to those and hope to continue being invited. It's just that I was trying to go a little easy on the bank account this year. I think the party was a huge success because the kids had a blast. And isn't that what it's all about?

From Left to Right.

Very back row: Jonah Hensley, Carter Bondurant, John Owen Hensley and Lucy Krull. Mary Clarie Hensley in stroller

Sitting on pool ledge: Anna Godwin, Ivy Carson, Jessie True, Abby Carlisle, Ella Krull, MaRY Gracen Williams, Christopher Godwin, Bo Dawson, Lilly Sullivan, Grace Sullivan and Shelby Bondurant.

In the water: Abby Powell, Presley Braun, Lillian Gardiner, Jackson Stegall, Hyatt Williams, Andi Dunavant, Hayden Stegall, Lane Dawson and Addie Glass.

This year's theme was Littlest Pet Shop. When Ella opened her presents they were all things LPS!

The birthday girls.

Lucy and her ice cream face.

My mom and my sister

LPS Cupcakes made by Mommy and Mrs. Amanda

Skipper, Erik and Nelson at the party.

Ella sees her "big" birthday present.

Ella and her new camera. Yes, my 6 year old got a digital camera. So much for going easy on the bank account :)

Erik, me, Lucy, Nanny and Ella in her Kindergarten classroom.

Ella and her American Girl Doll, Mary, wearing the matching dresses Grandma made.

Blowing out candles on her actual birthday.

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