Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back To School!

First Day of 5th grade for Savannah, 3rd for Gunnar. (she's still got a couple of inches on him thanks to a recent growth spurt, but I think he'll overtake her soon!)

These kids were up with the sun and ready to GO! I love that my kids love school. They both have stellar teachers this year, and with Sydney in Transitional Kindergarten (5 mornings a week) this year, I look forward to partnering with them in the classroom more than I've been able to in the past.

We hauled their HUGE boxes of required supplies into the classroom yesterday during the Teacher Open House...good thing, all that stuff wouldn't have fit in a backpack! It's also a good thing that they know exactly which room they are in and got to spy the other names on desks so they know where they are in relation to their friends from previous grades. Their little heads worry about those things in the anticipation on the night before and they were so relaxed this year!

YAY for school!

My little fashionista/ballerina/smartypants. She picked out her back to school outfit all on her own this year. did Gunnar! He was so excited, his shirt graphic changes color in the sun.

He is thrilled because 3 of his best buddies are in his class this year. I have a really good feeling about 3rd grade for Gunnar!

And look what these lucky little critters have tucked away in their lunch boxes for dessert....

PB Cup Brownies! Let's hope there aren't any peanut allergies in their class this year!

So easy, and my kids' favorite flavor combo.

And since you've been so patient with my blogging (bad) habits, I'll share the recipe with you!

1 box of your favorite brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix)
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use paper cups or spray naked muffin cups well. (makes approx. 24 standard cupcake sized brownies)

Prepare brownie mix as directed on box. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping tbsp..or halfway) Bake for 20-22 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for the centers to fall during cooling. If this doesn't happen, tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and nuke on high for 45 seconds, then stir. While brownies are still warm, spoon about half a teaspoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with the mixed chips. Cool completely and enjoy! :)

What's your favorite thing about Back to School?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Last Hurrah

With the end of summer quickly approaching, we hurried and made plans for a quick get away to the Land Of Waterfalls! Brevard, NC is sandwiched between Pisgah and Dupont State Forest and is basically a rain forest! If you are hiking in the afternoon here, you WILL get wet.

So we put on our swimsuits and quick-dri clothes and armed with ponchos, set out!

Hooker Falls, only 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot. There is a short slide under the falls on the end that puts you right into a swimming poor sunglasses on top of my head were pounded off, never to be seen again! (luckily, they were the $12 variety) This swimming hole was SO DEEP in the center, I couldn't find the bottom. Clear, cool water...just about perfect. Much like the Terminator," We'll Be Back!"

Across the highway (where Sydney just about became a pancake as she darted in front of a Yukon in her excitement, and her Mom scrambled to grab her, succeeding in snagging her by the END of her should have seen her face!) were two MORE waterfalls. It is about a 1 1/2 mile hike to High Falls, with Triple Falls along the way. Gorgeous, gorgeous, but we DID get caught in the rain!

Triple Falls

Sheltered look out, High Falls

Trail mix snack under a shelter, waiting out rain.

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and went to OP Taylor's right as they opened! The kids were armed with their spending money and the expectation that they could find just about ANYTHING at this awesome toy store. And they were RIGHT!

Two stories, tons of separate rooms that feel like a's never-ending.

You could play for HOURS in this store! Again, this will become a traditional stop whenever we pass through. SO FUN!

Next, we took the kids to Sliding Rock. It is State Park Service operated, $1 admission per person, under 6 yrs free. No food allowed inside anywhere because of Bears, so plan your picnic accordingly!

I have fond memories of doing this in the wild as a kid in Oregon when I visited my grandparents. I also got to do this during girl's camp this year, which is how we found out about it.... It was COLDER than I remember as a child though.... 43-48 degree water! That'll wake you up in the morning!

One last stop at some falls accessible from the road, Looking Glass Falls. Gorgeous! There is so much more to explore in this area, I know we'll be heading that direction again and again!