Looking Back on October

I love this time of year. It’s filled with such fun family activities. Definitely makes the days and weeks fly by. Before November gets away from us, I want to take a moment, and share some snippets of the fall memories we made last month.

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We kicked off October with Liam’s Fall Festival at his elementary school. It was still pretty warm out that evening, but we pretended otherwise 😉 ….he thoroughly enjoyed the hayride they had around the field.

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There was no shortage of bouncy houses for the kiddos. He tried out almost all of them, of course!

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This one was an obstacle course….

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Then, there was the jail. It was literally all the rage with the kids, including mine. You could pay to put a friend in jail for a few minutes as a joke {& all money went to the school as a fundraiser}. My little? Well, he just wanted to put himself in jail 😛 ….totally hilarious!

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Later on in the month, we hung out with our regular crowd for our annual Halloween get together. Liam ditched his chosen Grease costume in favor of being Darth Vader for this party.

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That night, I actually put the camera down for a bit & just enjoyed the night. That’s rare for me. This was the only photo I nabbed besides the one of Liam. I’m pretty sure I ate most of that guac….LOL!

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Halloween night was on a Monday this year. For the 1st time, this was an actual school night for us, but we still made it work and had great night of trick-or-treating. We made the rounds with the Bengels in their neck of the woods, and the weather was beautiful! Liam looked fab in his Danny Zuko costume from Grease.

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This year, he was too cute with how he went door to door. In year’s past, he was a little timid and definitely let our friends kiddos, Alli & James (who are a little older), lead the way. This year, he was a trail blazer. He RAN up to the doors and rang the doorbells himself. Many doors, he didn’t even look back to see if the others were caught up to him. Then, he turned and literally RAN away and would yell out to us, “lets go! we have to go get more candy!”. It was adorable!

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Silly kids goofing off 😛 ….Liam was pretending to be a zombie. Lisa told him to smile in the second pic and he laid himself out on the grass….HA!

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One house made their garage into a haunted house. I think the our ‘big boys’ (aka the hubbies) were more excited for this then the kids.

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Checking out his loot!

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October went by in the blink of an eye, but it was a blast!

HERE is a look back on last year’s fun.

Happy Halloween!

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Thankful Through the Storm

This last week has been an emotional one for us here in the sunshine state. Early last week, we started watching the news diligently and following along to see where our 1st hurricane in 12 years hit would along our east coast — Hurricane Matthew.

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By Wednesday morning, as I participated with Liam in National Walk to School Day, I knew it was just a matter of time before we all received news of school closures & preparations for the storm to come. Sure enough, we received word late that morning that both the county schools and the university where I work were both closed down Thursday & Friday. This was real & it was time to get prepared.

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The last time a major storm affected our area here in Central Florida, Stephen & I were not yet homeowners OR parents. I have to be honest that preparing for this storm AND waiting for it to come felt VERY different this time around. I had a lot of nervous energy on Thursday. I just kept cleaning & doing laundry. I had to keep busy. I also took Liam to Publix….He was hilarious, as he kept yelling out, ‘you were right Mommy, the shelves are empy!!’  — I had told him that the store might look different because many people were buying food & water to prepare for the storm 🙂

We prepped as best we could in the time we had. All of our patio and front yard stuff got piled into the garage, along with our stockpile of water. Again, since we hadn’t been through a storm while in the house before, we kinda felt like we were winging this a bit.

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Tub full of water….always a precaution. We did remember that from Charlie.

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We went to sleep (well, as much as we could, anyhow) on Thursday night knowing that the winds were picking up and Matthew would be moving through by early morning.

We dozed off and literally woke up to answered prayer ❤ ….the storm veered to the East about 10 miles, and it was just enough to keep the eye & all the worst winds off shore from our area. We had some high winds & gusts and a good amount of rain still throughout the day, but nothing overwhelming. So, so thankful & blessed!!

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We were so relieved to see that our family & friends here in Florida were all okay, as well. Especially Stephen’s family in the Vero Beach area, as they were much closer to Matthew’s impact. We were also worried about my dad’s house up in Jax, but they fared well, too.  Both of our mom’s are also here in FL & they are also doing well! Prayers for all those still recovering & waiting for power to be restored. St. Augustine is one of our favorite places to visit, and they were hit very hard 😦

On Saturday, we all went outside, as a family, and began the clean up process. Luckily, the debris wasn’t overwhelming for us. It was nice to get it picked up, and as we were outside, we saw many of our neighbors also out cleaning up their yards, too. Liam enjoyed being a helper….Timber, as well! What a difference a day makes in the weather, right?!?!

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Being cooped up in the house for a few days did give me a chance to finally finish up our Halloween decorations! Liam & I also baked up some yummy Halloween cookies 🙂

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Once we were out & about, we took a trip to the Orlando Science Center to check out their new traveling exhibit — TOYTOPIA. It was so cool to see so many of the toys that Stephen & I played with as kids. Liam enjoyed the Toy Story display and the awesome model trains that was both Lego & electric!

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Introducing Little Man to a little nostalgia from the movie, BIG! 🙂

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We closed our weekend out with a visit to one of our local pumpkin patches …that definitely always brings all the feels of fall! ❤

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Until next time, friends!

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Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores 20th Anniversary + Giftcard Giveaway

Hello friends! I don’t know about you, but I am super excited for the fall season to be upon us now. In fact, I believe we actually may feel some slightly cooler temps here in Orlando this week! So nice! If you haven’t started planning for it (or actually started), the holidays will upon us before we know it, and that means holiday shopping, too. That’s why I am a big fan of trying to plan ahead and shop smart. One way I do so is by shopping the outlets. Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is an ideal place to shop for all of your fall weather needs, as well as your holiday shopping.  In fact, they are about to celebrate their 20th anniversary in just a few weeks, and have some fun activities planned that are FREE AND FUN for your whole family ❤

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Win a $50 gift card to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores – Celebrating Two Decades of Great Deals

It’s time to celebrate! Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is hosting a free admission, family-oriented celebration to mark its 20th anniversary as one of Central Florida’s first outlet centers and a favorite destination for the area’s best outlet deals.  Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores’ Deals for Two Decades 20th Anniversary Celebration is on Saturday, October 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with fun activities for every age. Join the celebration featuring more than $8,000 in prize and gift card giveaways at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm (must be present to win), bounce house, DJ entertainer, strolling magician, face painters, balloon sculptor, stilt walker juggler, 20 cent hot dogs, drinks and more. Many stores are pulling out the stops with $20 gift card giveaways, 20% off deals and special store activities. Have your picture taken with Sunnie, the Sunshine Foundation’s mascot.  All proceeds go toward the Sunshine Foundation, the original wish-granting organization, a charity founded in 1976 bringing unimaginable joy to children living with chronic life-long conditions.

Just over a week later, the center will host a frightfully fun and safe “trick or treating” event on Halloween, Monday, October 31, from 1-9 p.m. Participating stores will pass out treats to the children while families can shop. Prices are so low, it’s scary! Everyone is invited to join in the fun and children are welcome to dress in costume.

Photo Credit: LBVFS

Photo Credit: LBVFS

Shopping is hassle-free at the outlet center, where you can find factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off (and sometimes more). Plus,there’s easy store front parking, so getting in and out quickly is a breeze!

Don’t miss your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the mall, where you can select merchandise at most of their outlet shops and get great deals at Express Factory Outlet, U.S. Polo Assn., Nike, OshKosh B’Gosh, Tommy Hilfiger Stores, plus other well-known outlets including G by GUESS, Justice, Carter’s, Crocs, Calvin Klein, Levi’s®, Aeropostale, Converse, Fossil, Rack Room Shoes, and many more. Don’t forget to stop by and treat yourself at Lindt Chocolate, too!

 Even if you don’t win, you can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s website, then bringing it to Travelpro at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. Savvy discount shoppers can learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours by following the center on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as visiting http://www.lbvfs.com. Many stores offer last-minute deals so it’s a great idea to follow the center and check online frequently! Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located just one mile from Walt Disney World at 15657 S Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535) Orlando, FL 32821-6316, two miles south of I-4, Exit 68. Open daily. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm, and 10am-7pm on Sunday.

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Ok, friends…I promised you a giveaway & here are the details:

Just in time for your fall & holiday shopping, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is providing an awesome $50 gift card to one lucky reader of this blog. Please note that this offer is only valid for one winner, one time, through 2016.

Winner must pick up gift certificate in the mall office any week day between 10am-5pm, OR at the mall’s Information Booth on Saturday, October 22nd during the 20th Anniversary Event. Please be prepared to show a photo ID. Please note that gift certificates MUST be picked up between October 17 – November 17, 2016.  Gift certificates are unable to be mailed, sorry.

Contest runs today, October 9th through Friday, October 14th at 8:00 am, EST. Winner will be chosen at random and will notified by reply to comments in this post. Winner must respond back to me within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited & another winner will be chosen at random.

TO ENTER:

1. “Like” this post

2. If you do not already, please subscribe to follow this blog. Enter your email address on the “Follow Us” link on the left-hand side-bar of this page.

3. In the comments below, share your preferred holiday shopping strategy. For example, are you a plan ahead type, or do you like to do it all last minute? …Or, maybe a little of both? 🙂

NOTE: One entry per subscribed email address, please.

That’s it! Pretty easy, right?!?!

Photo Credit: LBVFS

Photo Credit: LBVFS

Good luck & Happy Fall Shopping!

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This is a sponsored post with Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. All opinions posted are my own.

Green Meadows Farm

Last Sunday, we headed out to Green Meadows Farm with our Sunshine Babies group for another fun-filled fall adventure! It was an absolutely gorgeous day & we had the most perfect weather 🙂 …so thankful for that! You can look back on last year’s fall trip, here {so cute to see how much little man has changed / grown up }

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Our 1st stop was the hayride around the property. A nice, easy way to kick off the morning.

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How cute was this sign?!?! For some reason, I didn’t see it last year, but we got him to stand in front of it this time. Yeap, we’re clearly at the 3 foot mark 😉

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Oh, the goats! He wasn’t as thrilled to pet them this go around, but this little guy was a cutie! He was one of a set of twins that was only ELEVEN DAYS OLD!! ❤ ….we were saying HI  to him, here.

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Definitely got a kick out of feeding the goats! Look at the joy on that face 🙂

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Ponies for days!! I think you can tell by the sweet expression on that face that he was IN LOVE!

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Well, hello there baby duckie!

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Ah, the pumpkin patch! One of the perks of heading out to Green Meadows during October is that each paying guest can take home a pumpkin….sooo, we filled our wagon with 3 lovelies that the boys will be carving up this weekend. It was MUCH harder {compared to prev years} to get this lively 3 year old to pose and/or stay still in a way that suited my photo-crazed ideas….the out-stretched arms with a cheese  was the winner of the afternoon. I’ll take it ❤

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Another one of my stolen moments….searching for the perfect pumpkin for Liam {he wanted one of the smaller ones}

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Loved this one!

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Last but not least….I was super excited to see the same SPOOKY  sign this year, as we had come across last year….so, I attempted to re-create last year’s shot. You can DEFINITELY see the difference in how much this little man has grown.

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It was a great day with our friends from the Sunshine Babies group! Liam had an awesome time exploring around and checking out all the animals. It’s, for sure, one of our favorite places to visit during this time of the year.

Until next time, friends!!

~H