Cumming Fair 2010

We’ve moved to a town that has a fair. In fact, it has a fairgrounds. I have driven past the fairgrounds several times over the years when I happened to be in this town. However, I’d never seen the fair in full swing. That changed this week. And today… today I took the Princess to the fair.

She was VERY excited as she’d never been to the fair, which she told me over and over again on the ride there. I started thinking about it, and um, I can’t really remember the last time I was at a fair. I mean surely I’ve been to one – right? Hasn’t everyone? But, the last time I was at an honest to goodness County Fair – ya, I have no idea.

The funny thing about my Princess…even though we go to Disney World EVERY year, she’s a wimp when it comes to rides. Like a super wimp. Love her, but she’s a wimp. So, the first thing she rode was the Crab Crawl. It was similar to a the Disney tea cup ride, but MUCH slower. It’s for little kids. In fact, she was almost too tall to ride it. She didn’t care. She rode it proudly.

We did a few rides, but the thing she loved the most – the games. The most expensive thing at the fair – the games. She got spoiled this time. I didn’t go in knowing how much things were going to cost. Next year, there will be a better budget plan. FOR SURE! But, she had fun, and isn’t that what life is all about when you’re eight? Having fun? This particular prize is called “Oinkers,” but we’re calling him “Oinkey” for short.

In trying to get the above shot, I got this one. This shot. This is my daughter. And, I love her very much. Each goofy ounce of her.

The Princess did get daring at one point. I’m not sure what took over her, but she decided she wanted to ride this ride.

Um, you lay in it and basically fly in a circle…while it goes up and down…several times. I was SHOCKED and AMAZED that she wanted to ride it. So, we rode it. And she freaked. And then I talked her off the ledge. Then… she started to laugh. She actually started to enjoy it. So much so that she wanted to ride it…


There is hope friends. There is hope that we will ride some new rides at Disney this year.

Thank you, Cumming Fair, for pushing the Princess just a bit more away from Super Wimp status.

Apple Picking

The Princess and I went apple picking yesterday. Yes, I know it’s October and time for pumpkins, but we wanted to go apple picking. Why? Because we’d never done it, and I wanted some apples for baking – and to eat of course.

So, earlier this week, I asked The Violet Fig and It’s Come To This where they thought I should go. I remembered them mentioning someplace previously on Twitter. They directed me to Mercier Orchards way up in North Georgia. It was going to be a bit of a drive for us, but they assured me it was worth it. And, they were right.

We got up to the orchard about 10:30, and I am SO glad we got there when we did. By the time we were leaving at around 12:45, it was REALLY busy. Like overwhelmingly so.

We purchased our bags for picking and got in line for the tractor. It took us up into the orchards with a guide giving us the history of the orchard and letting us know about the type of apples available for picking today. Who knew there were so many types of apples!?

They have each row of trees labeled with the type. Even though we were so late in the season, there were still plenty of apples left. We just had to go back a bit farther into the rows.

The Princess had a great time filling her bag that she was going to take to Grandma later in the day. She made sure that Grandma had quite the variety in her bag. I filled several bags with apples for us to eat and many to use for baking.

Once we finished picking our apples, we hopped back on the tractor ride and were taken back to the parking lot and store. Then, we went inside the country store to find just about anything you could ever need that has anything to do with apples. The Princess and I walked around for an hour investigating all the different areas of the store. We had a GREAT time playing the “Hey, look at this!” game – it’s one of our favorite games. We bought some more apples so that Grandma and I could both make applesauce and some small apple pies that look just oh so very yummy.

All in all, it was a FABULOUS time picking apples with the Princess. We’re both very glad we went, and I’m thinking that we will make it an annual event. (And, we discovered that they have U-pick strawberries in April. Those are the Princess’s FAVORITE. We will definitely be there for that.)

What will I do with all these apples you ask. Well, I’ll be investigating using some of these recipes for sure!

Life As Mom: Ultimate Recipe Swap – Apples

Once A Month Mom: Apple Cinnamon Pull Apart Rolls (I actually made these yesterday. I’m going to make some for the freezer.)

Apple Cake (Actually, I don’t need to investigate this one. It’s one of my favorites, with some tweaks.)

Did you go apple picking this year? What are you doing with your apples?


Linked to Try New Adventures Thursday

Baked Beans Showdown – The Recap

Did you hear I had a baked beans party?

Did you? If you follow me on Twitter, there’s NO WAY you missed it. There was a serious Tweet-up going on in the House of Hills on Wednesday night. I was tweeting. My Sweetie was tweeting. OhAmanda was Tweeting. ItsCome2This was Tweeting. TheVioletFig was Tweeting. Well, she might have tweeted after the party. Yep, that’s right. Three of the original¬†Sisterchicks were at the House of Hills. It was a GOOD party.

When Once A Month Mom and Amy’s Finer Things first threw out there that they wanted to have folks taste-test their baked beans recipes, I thought, “What an awesome idea for a party!” and I went with it. So I announced my party on this here blog and invited friends and neighbors to come and taste some beans! Of course, ever the hostess with the mostess, I had to make it a big ol’ gathering complete with all the trimmings. And a BIG gathering we did have. At my count, there were at some point at least twenty adults and twenty kids running around, in, and out of the House of Hills. It’s was SO MUCH FUN!

The guests of honor. Amy’s Finer Things on the left. Once a Month Mom on the right.
I will be the first to admit that I overcooked the beans in the pan. I put them in too early. However, that did not keep people from loving them.

The rest of the spread. Ya, we’ll feed you when you come to the House of Hills. With gusto! HUGE thanks to My Sweetie for grilling forty-eight hotdogs for us. They were very yummy! Hot dogs are so much better grilled don’t you think? And, many thanks to all my friends and neighbors who brought stuff too. I love a good potluck!

The kids had an awesome time playing outside, and a few even tried the baked beans. OhAmanda’s Asa loved both beans recipes. He couldn’t really articulate which one was the best (since he doesn’t talk yet), but he for sure liked them. All the kids LOVED the watermelon. Doesn’t watermelon just scream summer to you? Here, Asa is sharing some with Mommy. At least, I think that’s what he’s feeding her.

Perhaps one of the coolest things that happened was the mini-reunion that the Sisterchicks had with their old former Youth Pastor, who happens to be my neighbor. Did I know they had this relationship? Yes. Did I remember? No. OhAmanda’s squeal of joy when Lare walked in the house was just awesome. They were all so excited to see each other and catch up. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the evening.

My other favorite part of the evening was getting to meet Mandi (AKA ItsCome2This). We have been Twitter/Bloggy friends for awhile, but had never physically met. So, when she emailed to say she was coming, I was SO EXCITED. I was even more excited when she actually walked in the door. Yay! for new friends.

It was such a FUN FUN FUN evening – everything a summer gathering should be.

Oh, you want to know who won the baked beans contest.
Right! That was the point of this post.

Everyone voted on this cool tally chart I made.
Can you tell I used to teach elementary school? No? Really?

As you can see, Once A Month Mom was the clear winner with thirteen votes while Amy’s Finer Things pulled a mere seven votes. I know you can’t read the comments, but the general consensus was that Amy’s Finer Things’ beans were just too different from the traditional. However, that’s what I loved about Amy’s. Yes, she got my vote. In general, it seemed that those of us that were not true baked beans lovers liked Amy’s over Once a Month Mom’s. Those that were baked beans lovers went with Once a Month Mom’s more traditional recipe. Please note that the majority of her comments were that the beans were a little dry, which would be MY fault.

The winner of the House of Hills Baked Bean Showdown.

Thanks Amy and Tricia for an awesome reason to party. You ladies are the best!
Thanks also to Van Camp’s Baked Beans for sponsoring the fun.

Having a Baked Beans Showdown!

I’m having a PARTY!

A week from today there will be a Baked Beans Showdown going on in my kitchen. I’m participating in the showdown between Tricia from Once a Month Mom and Amy from Amy’s Finer Things trying to determine who has the best baked bean recipe. What started as some trash talking on Twitter has become a full-blown blogosphere cooking challenge.

These two lovely ladies have asked that we make both of their baked beans recipes and then have people taste-test both of them and then report back which one was the best. Since I love a party, I’m making a fun evening out of it. My Sweetie will be grilling some hot dogs, I’ll get some other yummy stuff together, and we’ll have a great time while tasting both their recipes.

In addition, my new friend, Michele, will be coming over to show off some of the products from Thirty-One Gifts. I got one of these bags as a gift a few weeks ago and can’t wait to look at the full line and share it with my friends.

So, if you’re in the area, come on by the House of Hills next Wednesday. It’s going to be a good time!

The BEST way to eat a cupcake.

CUPCAKES! They have become a HUGE deal lately. People are serving cupcakes rather than cake at all kinds of parties. What used to be something just for kids to take to school for their birthdays have become amazing gifts of glorious baked deliciousness! When we were in Franklin for our couples weekend, we got five and ate them all. They were SO good.

HOWEVER, the question is – Do you know how to eat a cupcake? There is one way that is the best way. Do you know what it is? I had to teach a group of my hubby’s co-workers last week. They were so impressed, they took my picture with the cupcake.

So, I thought I would show you. Here is the process:

Peel the wrapper off the cupcake.

Tear the cupcake in half.

Place the bottom of the cupcake on top of the icing so that you have a sandwich.

Take a YUMMY bite where you get plenty of cake and icing balance!

There you have it! The BEST way to eat a cupcake. The ONLY way as far as I’m concerned. What’s really funny is that my hubby found a blog post from this famous LOSTIE giving the same directions on how to eat a cupcake. See, I should be famous.

How do you eat a cupcake?
What’s your favorite kind of cupcake?

Snow Fun 02.10

Well, we did it. We let the Princess (who has been sick with the stomach bug) go outside in the snow. Her one wish was to actually be able to throw snow at Mommy and Daddy. That’s what she really wanted to do. The storm in January didn’t provide much actual snow, and this storm was all snow – she measured 3 inches with the ruler. So, it was perfect for throwing at one another. We had a great time outside as a family for about twenty minutes before the Princess decided that she really was tired and needed to come back inside.

I was so proud of her for listening to her body and not pushing it. We are thankful to say that she is sleeping comfortably tonight after having kept down water, rice, and a roll. Thanks to all who were praying for her recovery. We felt those prayers here at the House of Hills.

Enjoy the pictures!!

Indoor Snowmen

We had snow in Georgia a couple of weeks ago. Well, there was a LITTLE bit of snow and A LOT of ice – to the point that we were out of school two and a half days. It always looks crazy on the news to you Yankees, but let me tell you – there is a HUGE difference between driving in snow and driving ON ice. I can do the first. I won’t even attempt the second. I’m a mom. My Princess needs me alive and functioning. I won’t risk it.

In typical Georgia fashion (or maybe it’s news organizations everywhere), they hype before the snow was even more insane than the actual event. They weren’t really sure when it was going to start coming down, and if it was going to be ice or snow when it did come down, so our county decided to have early release on the day the weather system hit. Now, let me say that it had been REALLY COLD here – cold for Georgia anyway. So, the ground was actually frozen. So, whatever hit it was gonna freeze immediately. That means ice. I agreed with the decision to release early. You don’t want your kid on a bus trying to make into the hilly part of the county on an iced road.

School got out at noon. There wasn’t anything coming from the sky until about three. I had four girls (I had my neighbor’s three since she had to be at work and I could be home) – four extremely excited, “Oh my goodness I can’t wait for it to snow” girls. And there was no snow in which to play. We needed to be busy.

My first thought – we’ll bake something! Well, that’s all fine and good until it’s sitting in the oven and we’re all waiting for the yummy goodness to come out.

Next thought – we’ll make Rice Krispie Treats! They are edible right away. However, there’s not much to that. It will take like five minutes.

But WAIT! They can play with the Rice Krispies!! They’ll get messy, but who cares. We have soap.

The BIG IDEA! We can make snowmen out of Rice Krispie Treats! They can form balls and stack them and then eat them. FUN! FUN! FUN!

That’s what we did. We made INDOOR SNOWMEN with Rice Krispie Treats.

Here’s what you do:

1. Put a piece of waxed paper at each spot at the table.

2. Put softened butter in bowls that everyone can reach. Depending on age and size of children, you’re going to want each child or every two children to have a bowl. And you need LOTS of butter. We used about a tablespoon per child.

3. Call everyone into the kitchen and explain the plan. Explain that when you are almost done mixing, you are going to tell them to wash their hands. They must do so IMMEDIATELY and get to the table so their treats won’t harden before they get to play with them. They will listen VERY seriously and promise to do exactly what you say.

4. Make the Rice Krispie Treats. I never use actual Rice Krispies (unless I got them on sale with a coupon), but you know the basic recipe is on the box of any puffed rice cereal.

5. As you are adding the cereal to the marshmallows, call out for everyone to wash and get to the table.

6. After they are mixed, let them cool about 30 seconds. During this time, instruct everyone to get a mass of butter and make sure it covers their hands. They LOVED this part. There were many squeals of joy. Getting messy and greasy on purpose. Oh the fabulousness of it all!

7. Give each child a portion of of the Rice Krispie Treats and let them have fun. You can make snowmen. You can make logs. You can make…. well, whatever you want.

8. Helpful hint: The Princess discovered that if your treats started to get a little stiff, like they wanted to harden up, just add some more butter. Made them soft and pliable again.

The girls had a blast! We had over a half hour of fun out of this activity. And, it was our snack too. Check out the pictures below and looking at the grinning faces. They’ll tell you that Aunt Kathy/Mom rocks! It’s ’cause I let them play with food.

Snow Day – 01 07 10


For anyone living in the south, you know this is huge. For those of you with feet of snow on the ground, indulge me. Just for a minute.

School was called early so we ended up with four princesses in the house instead of one. Gotta help a friend in need, and snow is always more fun with friends.

There was snacking and movie watching while waiting for the snow to start.

There was SNOW! Like these little tiny flurries. Can you even see them? They are trying to catch them on their tongues.

There was hot chocolate drinking – TOTALLY forgot to take a picture. Was too busy enjoying my own hot chocolate.

There was snowman making inside since there wasn’t enough snow outside.

There was MORE SNOW! Now we can actually catch it. If you look carefully, you can actually see the flakes in this one.

There was much, much fun with great, great friends.