First, I have to catch up. September slipped through our fingers. Technically, first was Zach’s birthday. Sloan and I did our best to make it special for him – since he always makes everything wonderful for the two of us. We are so lucky to have him and wanted to show our love and appreciation for him. We started his day off with his favorite breakfast, German pancakes.
As soon as he got home from work the three of us rushed off to Benihana for dinner. Some traditions will never die. Lucky for Zach, Sloan loved every second of it. The entertainment, the fried rice, the paper hat she wore the entire meal and the trip home. She also asked me this week if Zach could take her on her “first date to Benihana”. So I guess the love for Benihana is hereditary. Looks like I’m never going to be able to cut this cord…When we got home from dinner we all had a piece of Zach’s favorite dessert [really the only one he actually likes] his mom’s chocolate cake that Sloan and I had made the night before. It sits in the fridge overnight and Sloan had been begging for a piece since I pulled it hot out of the oven – sans frosting.
Then later that week Zach and I got to go out to dinner to celebrate, just the two of us at his favorite restaurant.
I hope he enjoyed his birthday as much as we did – attempting to make it fun for him. Sloan gets so excited about the little things – and keeps asking when it will finally be her birthday. To which she asked for a “Peter Pan Birthday” this year – so I’ve been planning for some time. Just trying to be as prepared as possible with baby brother coming in three short months.
Sloan also started Joy School with our darling neighbors one street over – Darren and Tillie. The three of them didn’t make the official cut for pre-school because they didn’t turn three come September. I felt so guilty – like Sloan would be behind in some way. So when my friend and neighbor approached me about doing Joy School with her, I was all in! She went to her first week at the twins’ house and loved every second. She even packed a bag with crayons and plastic fruit, just in case.
This last week was my week to host. Sloan loved having Darren and Tillie over and to learn about the letter B we baked bread. It was definitely the highlight of their class, but I should have predicted that.
Truth be told – I’ve been burning fall scented candles for weeks. And if I’m being honest I’ve been baking fall-ish desserts for even longer. I’m on a serious bran muffin kick – my personal favorite being the apple oat bran muffins I’ve made twice now. I’ve got a small stock pile in the freezer for now.
But Sloan actually prefers the pumpkin bran muffins.
We officially kicked off fall on September 21st [you know…like the Earth, Wind, and Fire song] by painting pumpkins and eating taco soup out of pumpkin bread bowls.
Speaking of soup, last week I attempted making my own chicken noodle soup from scratch for the first time. It turned out pretty good – but Sloan was thrown off with the black bats [black bow tie pasta] and pumpkins [carrots].
Maybe chicken BOOdle soup will have to wait a while – until Sloan’s a bit older and not totally freaked out by it.
Zach and I would be lying if we said we weren’t missing Italy in the best way. Zach’s favorite dish he ate while over there was a seafood dish with calms, mussels, and shrimp in a tomato sauce. I found a similar recipe online and decided to surprise him and make it. I wasn’t going to let the mussels and clams intimidate me – or the fact that I had to go into a liquor store and buy white wine nearly 7 months pregnant. But that’s neither here nor there.
The dish turned out good and the mussels and clams weren’t terrible to master. They were quite easy once they were dead and cooked [yeah – you cook them live, no big deal]. But now I have a little more experience cooking with live shellfish, I guess?
I’ve been counting down the days until fall session of conference. I was thrilled when I found out it landed on October 1st – and we decided to kick off Halloween that weekend. Because October 1st is literally the earliest I think that it is socially acceptable. I purchased some Halloween jammies for Sloan, a stack of Halloween books, and geared up for both days and all four sessions.
Friday morning we made Halloween cookies per Sloan’s request.
They are some of my favorite that we have done thus far. Sloan literally couldn’t stop laughing at them. We also made some plain old circles and a few leaf cookies – but they weren’t nearly as fun!
We moved date night to Friday evening so Zach could go to Priesthood session on Saturday [our usual date night]. We went out for Ramen and then saw a movie down town. It was a great way to kick off the weekend.
Saturday morning Zach let me go for a long run. I’ve officially hit over 200 miles this pregnancy. The weather was gloomy but I got back in time for breakfast.
I set up a jar of bribes to keep Sloan’s attention. I originally had 6 words – but realized how overloaded Sloan would get on snacks. So we settled for her four favorite treats and listened intently to reward her as each word was spoken. Gummy worms were the crowd favorite, for the record.
It actually did work. Every time the words were heard, there were cheers all around! NOTE: I should have chosen SERVICE as a word for one of the rewards. I swear we heard it 100+ times.
We also built temples out of blocks – which turned out to be Zach’s favorite activity. He got WAY more into it than Sloan and I did.
I wish I would have snapped a picture of the futuristic “2040 Temple” he built.
I made homemade bread during the end of the first session so we could enjoy it during lunch between sessions. When in Positano I purchased some pesto [two jars] from our favorite little shop and deli. I made Zach bring it home in his suitcase – in which one of the jars broke and we had to throw away. But I still had a jar I had been waiting to bust open, and it was just as delicious as I had remembered. Worth the haul, if you ask me.
The second session was during Sloan’s nap so Zach and I listened together alone. It was so relaxing and I got so much out of the second session. Soon afterwards Sloan woke up and Zach got ready to go to Priesthood session. I made manicotti for dinner and we ate together before Zach left.
The next morning I made breakfast and we busted out all things Halloween. The first session we had a craft and painted a wooden bat. Thank you Target dollar aisle, we love you!
We also colored and built more block temples.
During the last talk of the first session I sensed Sloan’s boredom and we busted out the next session’s craft [which worked out – because she slept through all but 15 minutes of the last Sunday session]. We made a Haunted Cookie House and it was the highlight of Sloan’s entire day.
(I know I’m a fan already – but TJ’s has some AMAZING pumpkin/fall/Halloween stuff happening right now. I kind of had a hay-day last week in preparation for conference.)
We enjoyed lunch together and then Sloan napped during the last session. It was such a good weekend. I secretly loved the gloomy weather and the fact that we were all set up inside, listening and watching. I baked up a storm and we were all completely full – spiritually and physically.
It will hold us over until spring, I suppose…