Curly Crafty Mom: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Oktoberfest 5K and PR (2:54 minutes less than my last PR!!!)

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Last Sunday I ran in the St. Charles Oktoberfest 5K and I wanted to give a little recap on it. The race began at 9:00 a.m., but I needed to be there at 8:00 a.m. to pick up my race packet... I hate when races do this, it always turns into a huge crowded mess! Luckily, I got there before most people and I got my stuff and avoided the long lines. I had an hour to kill so I took a photo of the river that we would run along for part of the race. Isn't it beautiful from Katy Trail?


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All of the women got a shirt and a floral crown with streamers hanging from it. They had several colors and I went for pink, because I knew Autumn would want it when I got home. Here is a photo of it after I got home... aren't my new gold table place mats adorable from Home Goods, too? ha!


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I really missed Brian during this race, he usually runs all of my races with me and he couldn't make this one due to a work trip to California! I felt sort of alone, but I did chitchat with some of the other racers before the race started. There was a 9 year old boy waiting next to me and he told a bunch of us that he had finished a 5K in 26 minutes yesterday and his best time was 22 minutes. We were all really impressed and he had also traveled 3 hours to run in this race! He reminded me of Nathan a lot by how much he loves running and races. I asked the 9 year old boy if he had been in a 10K yet and he said no, that his Mom wouldn't let him. She came over and was very pregnant and explained she just didn't feel he was ready yet, but said perhaps at 10. The boy ran all by himself in the race, so I don't blame the Mom on not wanting him to run a 10K alone. The photo above shows another part of the Katy Trail, where we finished the race... it is along side an old train track and there are a couple of old trains on it still.


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I always love to show what my Garmin pulls up, the map and what pace I ran each mile at, etc. I had thought I ran the race in 26:58, it is what my Garmin said when I crossed over the line... BUT, the official race results are what I always go by and it says I finished in 27:00 minutes. Which, I'll take! My 5K PR goal for this year was to finish a 5K in 27 minutes and I nailed it on the head. And, honestly. I really did not even think I'd hit even 28 minutes. I've ran THREE 5K's this year and they were all around the 29 minute mark, not one of them a PR from the Santa run I did last December. I did do a better time than previous years on the Make Tracks at the Zoo race, though, which I was happy with.

So what does this tell me? I seem to PR in the Fall/Winter with 5K's and I have PR'ed both times in St. Charles. These were not flat courses, there was actually one hill that I felt went straight up on part of this Oktoberfest 5K. I also forgot my headphones and I felt more 'focused' on my running than trying to use the music to keep me going... I may try to run without my headphones more often.

My last PR was 29:54 last year in December and I shaved 2:54 minutes off my time with this race. That is an incredible PR for me. I know I've been running faster by my training times, but I always get a little nervous during races, which I think hurts me. Deep down I knew I could do this and I am glad I accomplished this dream of mine. I also believe all of the training involved with a half marathon helps my endurance for shorter runs... I feel I can run faster for longer.

When I first started running three years ago, I ran 35 minute 5K's... This goes to show if you set a reasonable goal over time, you can get there. When that 9 year old boy told me he ran a 5K in 26 minutes, I thought to myself... I'll never have a 26 minute PR. Heck, after I ran the race in 27:00, I started to doubt if I'd ever run that time again. I need to stop doubting and I need to believe in myself more. Especially if it is a reasonable goal.

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Here are my stats from this race:
Time: 27:00
Pace: 8:42 per mile
Overall: 80 out of 365
Age Group: 8 out of 67


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After the race, I sat down and enjoyed my free beer... Beer seems weird at 9:30 in the morning, but it is actually sort of refreshing after a run.


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I didn't stay for the Oktoberfest festival after the race, even though I saw a vendor selling play tents (I want to get one for Autumn's bday!). I did snatch a few photos on my way out... if it had been closer to lunch time I would have stayed and gotten a brat! Yum!

So, what is my PR goal now for a 5K? I think I am going to try to get some more times in the 27 minute range and go from there! Next up I have a 10K in 2 weeks and a half marathon in 4 weeks!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My First Stitch Fix Box!

Everyone has been talking about Stitch Fix lately and I have seen a couple bloggers share the outfits and accessories in their boxes. Well, I decided to get on the Stitch Fix band wagon and wanted to share with you the outfits in my first box! I think my designer did really, really well for my first box, because I want to keep everything! I told myself I would only keep 1-2 items per box, though... so I am having a REALLY hard time deciding which two pieces to keep. Please tell me which ones are your favorites to help me decide!

If you are wondering what Stitch Fix is, it is sort of like having your own personal shopper! You fill out a survey online (it includes photos of different outfits) and it helps them decide which outfits and which price range you fit into. They send you 5 pieces (tops, bottoms, accessories, jewelry, etc., etc.) on months that you want to receive them. You select what you want to buy and ship the rest back within 3 business days. If you buy all of the items you get a discount. There is a monthly fee of $20, but if you buy just one item you they will subtract that $20 from that item.

If you decide to check out Stitch Fix yourself, please go here and sign up! If you sign up with that link, I get a $25.00 discount towards my next box. So, please sign up with that link so I can buy more clothes! ;) 


Item One
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Dark Green Button-Up Blouse with Gold Wings Print by Yumi
This is my favorite piece in the entire box, so I know I am purchasing it. I have noticed that mixing brown and black is really trendy this Fall, so when I was looking at my boots in my closet, I decided to pull out my brown pair. I love this look and I think it screams Fall... the green, gold and the black/brown neutrals really pull this piece together. Since the blouse is really airy I decided to go with my Express black skirt that has ruffles on the bottom. I wore a pair of large golden earrings (Molly Suzanne) and I love how it adds a little more gold to the outfit.


Item Two
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Capitola Fit & Flare Tank Dress in Burgundy/Black Color Block by 41Hawthorn
I think this is my favorite outfit, but I am not sure... it is going to be so, so hard to select another piece out of all of these great choices. I love color block dresses and I love how this would be a perfect dress this holiday season with the burgundy and black color. I love my tall boots with this dress, but I also bought a new pair of booties at TJMaxx today and I think they would look lovely with this dress, too! I think if I were to add this dress to my wardrobe, I would need to find a special necklace for it, something long since it is a tank style dress. 


Item Three and Four
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Vivianna Open-Drapped Knit Cardigan by RD Style
Giuliana Bootcut Jeans from Kut from the Kloth
I am showing you TWO of my items here, the open-draped knit cardigan and the navy jeans I am wearing. I reallllly love this open-drapped cardigan and I have seem these all over the place this Fall, but I think I would like it in a more interesting color. I wore it with my ON chambray shirt with the sleeves rolled up and I added some arm candy for a little more interest. I love the fit on the navy jeans, but I have a TON of jeans right now in dark wash... so, navy isn't really a color I need. I do think I turned this into a fun Fall outfit and if the cardigan wasn't so pricey, I would have kept it.


Item Five
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Milan Navy Lace Print Back Pleat Top by Under Skies
I REALLY love this top and it is the most inexpensive piece in the entire box. I love navy and lace right now and the pleat in the back is just adorable. I wore the navy jeans from Stitch Fix with this shirt, but it would be fun to see how I could dress up the shirt a bit, too.

So, please help me... Which pieces are your favorites? Which do you think I should buy? I need to ship the pieces I don't want back to Stitch Fix in two more business days, so I don't have a lot of time to decide (and I can be soooo indecisive!).

I am definitely going to try out Stitch Fix again in October. I am not sure how many months in a row I will try it, but you can start or stop it at anytime.

BTW, sorry my hair is blowing around like crazzzzy in these photos, but it was REALLY windy outside when I had Brian take them!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Five on Friday #9 - Random Stuff

Happy Friday! I've decided to link up for the Friday Five again this week with Darci, April, Christina and Natasha, with a bunch of random stuff!
 


1. Day off work with my love! - Tomorrow Brian and I are taking a day off of work just to hang out! I have been looking forward to it all week. We are planning on dropping the kids off at school together and then we'll head over to Rooster, which is a French cafe. We plan to devour some breakfast and dessert crepes. I love me some crepes. Then, we plan to head over to Augusta, MO to visit one of the newer wineries, Chandler Hill Vineyards. I hope to do a little wine sipping, lunch and some photos with my nice camera. I need to figure out a nice 'Fall' outfit to wear for the day... Anyway, it should be a nice and relaxing day! 





2. Oktoberfest 5K - I only run in the Spring and the Fall, I do not do Summer races... the humidity and heat makes me sick. I always have fun planning my Fall races and I am running in the Oktoberfest 5K this Sunday in St. Charles. The race will be through Frontier Park, historic Frenchtown and parts of the Katy Trail. I have always wanted to run on the Katy Trail, so this will be lots of fun! I will also get a free beer after the run, which seems to be the trend after many races these days! I am realllllly hoping to PR at this race, so keep your fingers crossed for me. I would be happy to finish in 28.59 minutes or less! ha!


 
3. Donut Hairstyle - I bought a donut at H&M and I've been wearing it in my hair quite a bit when I feel like showering and not drying my hair... it is a fun and different look for me. When they told me how to use it at the store I was like, huh? But, thankfully I found this super easy tutorial here. I had the donut on the sink the other day and Autumn was like... "Mom, what IS that?!" I guess it does seem weird to put a donut in your hair, but now I promised her I'd put it in her hair sometime soon. I am sure it'll be cute!



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4. Upcoming projects - I have been working on a lot of projects lately, which I hope to start showing on the blog next week. But, this week I made the most delicious Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce with leftover apples from Autumn's trip to the orchard. This is truly one of the best pies I've ever tasted. Yum!

Here is a list of everything I am finishing up (it is a lot!):

1. Decorate Master Bathroom PB cabinet w/ baskets - plan to shop at Home Goods this weekend for this!
2. Monogrammed Canvas (another Master Bathroom project)
3. Halloween Treat Buckets (Made out of Ice Cream Pails!)
4. Ombre Fall Door Mat
5. Fall Porch Decor
6. Hand print Turkey Shirts for Kids (sewing project!) 
7. Ornaments for our Halloween tree
8. Pumpkin Chili and Pumpkin Honey Corn Bread


5. Stitch Fix - And, to make the weekend even more exciting... my FIRST Stitch Fix box is arriving! Can't wait to share with you all what is inside it... hope Brian doesn't mind photographing me while I try everything on. I am hoping my box includes some Fall wardrobe essentials!

Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Scary situation that Brian was in last month...

I have wanted to write about a scary situation that Brian was in last month, but haven't had a chance to until now. It gives me chills just thinking about it and how it could have turned out differently...

On August 22nd I had free Cardinals tickets that I had won through my work and my Mom agreed to watch the kids so Brian and I could go with two of our friends. I went to my parents house after work and Brian planned to meet me there after he got off work so that we could take one car to the game.

However, when Brian arrived at our house, my Mom saw a lady in a van following close behind him and then she saw her pull along side Brian. She saw the lady's face and she looked mad and she was waving her arms around, but then she relaxed and smile and laughed. My Mom told me what was going on and when Brian came in the house we asked him who the lady was in the van and what the conversation was about.

That is when we found out about the scary situation Brian had just been in... Brian went to get gas on the way to my Mom's house and he pulled out on the street in an open lane. A car in the left lane had stopped to turn, but his lane was open so he pulled into it. Well, I guess another car had to pull into Brian's lane to go around the car that had stopped to turn and they were mad that they had to slow down when Brian pulled into it.

So, the car that was now behind Brian was really mad at him for pulling into that lane and they started to follow Brian. At the next red light, Brian stopped and they pulled beside Brian's car. The guy on the passenger side got out and started yelling profanities at Brian, told him he was a n-gg-r (which is so racist and yet dumb, since we are white) and he even told Brian he was old! Then, this is where it gets really scary.

He pulled a gun out and shot Brian's car with it. Now, Brian has a license to where he can carry a concealed weapon and he also knows a lot about guns. Brian knew the gun that the guy was holding was actually a BB gun and not a real gun. The back was open where you pump it, something that I would not have known... nor did the lady in the van that witnessed it knew, she thought it was a real gun!

I really think if I had been in the car alone or with Brian, I would have had a heart attack at this point. Brian was locked in and could not move until the light turned red. If Brian would have had a gun locked in his glove box and if the gun would have been a real gun and not a BB gun, would he have pulled it out? If a bystander had been watching and had a real gun, or even a cop, would the have used it if they did not realize the guy was holding a BB gun and not a real gun? A lot could of happened, but the fact is that the guy with the BB gun was an extreme idiot.

Other thoughts come to my mind, such as Brian's safety and what I would have done if this idiot guy would have hurt my husband.

Brian was very calm about it and after the red light turned green he tried to speed up to get rid of the guys in the car chasing him. Thankfully, they turned down a street and finally left Brian alone. Brian did not intend to turn down my parents street until he had lost them, not wanting them around my parents house, me or the kids.

Once Brian had lost them and arrived to my parents house, that is when the lady in the van pulled next to him. She had been behind him the entire time and her 10 and 12 year old daughters insisted she follow Brian to make sure he was ok. They had really thought Brian's car had been shot by a real gun and were worried he was hurt. He told them it had been a BB gun and he was ok besides the nice little dent on his car now.

Brian said the boys in the car looked like they were high on something and there was a girl in the back seat with them that looked like she was drunk. Nice.

We still went to the game, but we were both shook up about what had happened and it sort of made the evening a little somber for us. It is a shame that this happened, that there are people in this world that are in such sad shape as this... it is a shame there is such a thing as road rage. It is a shame that I had to wonder what I would have done if I had lost Brian if they had shot at him with a real gun. It all makes me incredibly sad. Last year I was sitting in the food court at one of the nicer malls in St. Louis and a lady grabbed my purse that I had on the floor next to me. I went after he and grabbed it back from her and she ran. I always wonder if that was a very dumb thing for me to do, what if she hadn't run off and attacked me? This incident that happened to Brian was in the county I grew up in, my kids go to school in that county and we drive back and forth on that road almost every day. They say life can change in the blink of the eye, but Brian came out safe and I am so very thankful for that.  
 
"The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand"
 
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Here is a photo from the game... can I just add, "GO CARDS!!!" We had a group shot, but it was taken on Brian's phone so this is all I have to give you. I should have taken a photo of the hot dog I ate that night, I think it was the biggest hot dog I have ever ate... it had A LOT of unique toppings. YUM!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013-2014 School Photos

I got Nathan and Autumn's school photos back and I am just ok with Nathan's and Autumn's went pretty good (especially since she had a cold that week!). Nathan looks a little nervous in his and isn't giving his best smile... oh well! We had to stick to school uniform clothes this year, so I had him wear a light blue polo.

Autumn doesn't follow a dress code since she is in preschool, so I went out and bought her the polka dot chambray dress she is wearing. I think her smile is good in her photos and much better than her smile last year.


I bought two frames from Bed Bath Beyond and plan to put a wallet from each year in it... 

it starts in Kindergarten though, so next year will be when I start it for Autumn.

I also wanted to add that Nathan is on the brink of losing his two front teeth. They are both REALLY loose... this will be the last photo of him with his front baby teeth, kind of sad... although, I am tempted to yank them out while he is sleeping (ha! JUST KIDDING!)... I really can't stand when he sits at the table and moves his loose teeth back and forth though, OHHhhhhh it gives me the jeevies.

Here are their photos:

Nathan  
Nathan - 2nd Grade


 
Autumn  
Autumn - Preschool 4

Monday, September 23, 2013

Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

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It gets a little dangerous when Brian and I get in the kitchen together... we both love to cook and Brian always comes up with something to make a recipe I'm making just a little better. This weekend I made an apple pie with an oatmeal streusel topping and Brian made a salted caramel sauce to drizzle over it. This is seriously the best pie I have ever, ever made. You will be licking your plate clean, I promise.


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So, why did I decide to bake a pie this weekend? Well, for one... Autumn and I went to Eckerts last Friday for her field trip and picked 2 heaping bags full of Jonathan apples. And two, it is on my Fall Bucket list to bake a pie with the kids.
 



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My least favorite part about making an apple pie is all of the apple peeling involved. I use a potato peeler to peel the skin off of the apples and then I thinly slice them.


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Autumn wanted to help me peel the apples, but I didn't want her around a sharp knife. I gave her a butter spreader to make little cuts into some apples... it kept her happy for the time being.


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She was excited to find some apple seeds! (Yes, I know my kitchen is a little messy in the background... that is how it rolls when you're a Mom!)


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This recipe is really easy once you have the apples peeled... The ingredients for the pie are: pie crust, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and 6 cups of thinly sliced and peeled apples.


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Ingredients for streusel topping: brown sugar, flour, quick cooking rolled oats and butter.


Ingredients for salted caramel sauce: sugar, Karo corn syrup, water, salt, butter, heavy cream

Extra toppings: whipped cream, pecans, ice cream

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These two wanted to help me every step of the way... I really loved that Nathan wanted to help, too... he usually isn't interested in helping when I am making something in the kitchen. Autumn always is!!! I love this photo dearly.


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Dumping the apples into the sugar mixture.




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And this is where I lost my little helpers. I made them each a little bowl with the slices apple with sugar on them and they enjoyed them while I finished up the rest of the pie.


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I dumped the sugared apples into the pie crust.


Crumble-Top Crumble the streusel topping on top of the apples. Then follow the baking directions.


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Let it cool and garnish a slice of pie with the homemade salted caramel sauce, pecans, whipped cream... you name it. Isn't this a beauty?!!


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This would be a wonderful twist on a regular apple pie to make this Fall season. Try it, you'll like love it. Aren't the little baby apples that Autumn picked so cute next to the pie?



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The salted caramel sauce really added a lot to this pie... I loved to get a little caramel off of the plate onto each forkful of pie that went into my mouth. So delicious.

Happy First Week of Fall! Recipes below:

Caramel Apple Pie (borrowed from Dixie Delights)
For pie:
1 refrigerator pie crust
½ c sugar
3 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
6 c thinly sliced, peeled apples (I like Granny Smith)

For topping:
1 c brown sugar
½ c flour
½ c quick cooking rolled oats
½ c butter, slightly softened

Finishing touch:
½ c chopped pecans
¼ c caramel ice cream topping


1. Roll pie crust into 9-inch pie plate according to package directions, trim/crimp edges as desired
2. In large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.  Add apple slices and gently toss unitl coated.  Transfer to pie plate.
3. Mix stir together sugar, flour and oats for topping.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle over pie.
4. Cover edge of pie with foil to prevent over browning.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for additional 25-30 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with pecans and drizzle with caramel.



Salted Caramel Sauce (from my love, Bri!)

1 cup white granulated sugar
1 Tbs Karo corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream


1. Have all the ingredients ready to go, poured and measured out before starting this recipe. Sugar cooks quickly, and you won't have time to search for things. Also, please be careful. Melted sugar is very hot, and can burn you if it touches you.

2. Pour the sugar, salt, Karo, and water into a medium to large heavy sauce pot. Whisk it until it all dissolves.  It will look like milky white water.

3. Turn the heat all the way up.  Whisk it constantly until it starts to boil.

4. When the liquid reaches a rolling boil, you can stop whisking.  Whisk it occasionally and watch the color.  As all the water boils off, and the sugar starts to melt, it will turn a darker and darker shade of brown.

5. Once it reaches a medium brown, about the color of brown sugar, add the butter and whisk vigorously until all the butter is melted.  It will bubble up to about double it's original volume.  The caramel will change to a slightly deeper brown as you add the butter and cream, this is caused by the sugar reacting with the milk fat.

6. When the butter is melted, remove the pot from the heat.  Pour in the cream and whisk again until smooth.

7. Allow the caramel to cool in a Pyrex container with a spout.  Once cooled, pour it into a plastic squeeze bottle.  It will keep for about 3 days on the counter, or for a month in the refrigerator.  If you refrigerate it, you can microwave the bottle for 30 seconds to help it pour easier.


8. Cleanup: If there's any caramel stuck to the pot, fill it with water and bring it to a boil.  All the caramel will dissolve and wash away.

Linking up with:
Fluster's Creative Muster
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Share Your Creativity
Submarine Sunday
My Favorite Things Saturday
Motivational Monday
Moonlight & Mason Jars

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Balloon Glow Fun

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What did we do this weekend? Well, on Friday we went to the Balloon Glow and had a fabulous time. This was the second time the kids got to ride on the Metro Link and see the balloon glow. Autumn doesn't remember going 2 years ago, but Nathan remembers bits and pieces. We got on the Metro Link at Shrewsberry and it is a one way stop, so we had a lot of time to get on and take photos, before it started on its way. Nathan was so excited to ride on the Metro Link again, you can tell how excited he is by this photo where Brian is getting our tickets. Boys and trains!!!


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Here are the kids in their seats... can you tell Autumn is a little nervous to ride on it?


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Me and my girl... can you tell us curly girls have some wild hair going on? It was a little humid outside, so our curls got a little wild! Oh well!!!


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It is a 15 minute walk from the Metro Link stop to Forest Park, so we hustled to get there since we knew we'd only have 2 hours before they took the balloons down for fireworks. The kids were awestruck by the balloons with their manu colors, shapes and sizes.


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We got super close to a few balloons so the kids could see the fire going up into them. I was worried about us all being a little cold that night, but it was nice and toasty by all of the balloons.


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Brian with the kids... I didn't bring my big camera, so all of these photos are from my iPhone with the flash turned off. I had to take photos while nearby balloons were lit up in order to get a nice photo of them that wasn't washed out. BTW, aren't Autumn's colored jeans adorable in kelly green?!! I want a pair!


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And, here I am with the kids... Autumn is a little cling on at times, she loves to hang on me!


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We walked around and looked at all of the balloons. Every so often a horn would sound and all of the balloons would light up at the same time.


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The kids really loved the popcorn and Energizer Bunny balloons. They also had a Lions Choice and Six Flags balloon that they loved...


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The food lines were REALLY crowded, so we decided to eat at Lions Choice on the way to the Metro Link to save time. We did bring a picnic blanket and got some lemonades and a funnel cake to eat, which was great as it gave the kids a little time to rest their legs before we walked back to the Metro Link. They kids also scored some light up gear, Nathan got a light up squid hat and Autumn got light up Minnie ears.


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They also scored an inflatable Dora and hot air balloon. Geesh! These kids are spoiled! ;) Brian and I got to enjoy some Blue Moon (I think that was the name) beer samples, we tried the apple cider and pumpkin spice ones. Yum!



I looked back in my archives to look at pictures from 2 years ago when I went to the balloon glow with Nathan, Autumn, my brother, SIL and Dad. I can't believe how little the kids are here... Autumn still has a BINKY!!! Here is the link from when we went two years ago if you want to take a peak.

I think we will definitely go again for the Balloon Glow, the kids really do enjoy it! We didn't stay for the fireworks, just because the kids were getting tired and we didn't want to be going back on the Metro Link when it is crazy full! I was also glad when Nathan's meet at Lutheran South was canceled for the next morning (too muddy!), it gave us a little time to sleep in. Saturday we just relaxed at home ALL day, it was great! No running around at all... sometimes I appreciate days at home. The kids helped me bake a caramel apple pie and I'll have the recipe up for that on the blog tomorrow. Sunday we went to church and I planted some Mums and worked on my Fall front porch some.  Hope your weekend was grand!
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