Pumpkin Patchin' It - Lyon Family Farms

Last Saturday morning, we made the half-hour drive up to Tennessee to visit Lyon Family Farm, where we heard we could pick our own pumpkins. I had never seen an actual, cut-your-own patch before, so I was twelve kinds of excited. 

The farm completely exceeded all our expectations. It was amazing, full of tons of activities for little ones, and if you're in the Tennessee Valley area, we highly recommend it. There's actually another pick-your-own farm that is closer to our home, but we had heard that Lyon Family Farm was geared more toward young children. Parker was actually still too young for many things (the zip line, the jump dome, the giant slides) but we were still able to stay three hours without even realizing it!

We started with sliding and tether ball...

Cute photo-opps abounded. I believe this is a Southern thing. Unfortunately, Parker wanted nothing to do with posing. 

There were actual tears shed for our family photo, eek!

Thinking he was maybe just hangry, we decided to cheer him up with his first funnel cake. 

Yes. Just, yes.

After our healthy morning snack (ha!) we headed over to the animals. 

Parker loved pointing out the goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and cows, and making noises for each. 

There was feed for purchase, but Parker was too timid to get close enough for that (as he says, "maybe next year").

 We then hopped on the hay bale ride to head out to the actual pumpkin patch! At this point, it started to sprinkle. We had the weirdest weather that day - after super cold days of jackets and scarves, this day was relatively warm and muggy, with surprise rain! Luckily, it only sprinkled a tiny bit on us, and the rest came down on our way home. 

Our ride out to the patch brought us by tons and tons of pumpkins - so much fun for me!

 Parker chose this green guy (all pick-your-own pumpkins were $5 each).

Max brought a pocket knife that had a mini saw so he could cut the pumpkin from the vine.

A real pumpkin patch! My heart was so happy. 

Party of three!

After we took the hay bale ride back to the center of the farm, Max and Parker went back to the animals and I perused the pumpkins and flowers for sale. Just like monograms, Mums seem to be a Southern staple in the fall. They are on pretty much every single front porch in our neighborhood; it's darling.

Also, I wanted all the pumpkins.

I refrained and this was my haul.

I caught back up with my boys and we headed back to the activity area.

Best daddy ever.

Also, this corn box was a hit.

Parker kept requesting to be buried.

Then there was this. 

Yes, a pig race. (Technically they were piglets.) 

Hands down this was Parker's favorite part of the entire morning. He talked about the pig race for days after.

Max snapped this photo of Sweet P and me on the way out. Melt. My. Heart.

Except that there is a bee on my shirt. A bee! I had no idea until we downloaded the photos. Apparently the bee didn't think we were sweet because he left us alone (thank goodness!).

Lyon Family Farm, we'll see you next year!


Giveaway Wednesday - The Little Yoga Mat

It's been over ten years since I took my very first yoga class as a twenty-something in sunny Santa Barbara. At the time, I was attending grad school at UCSB, and my mentor teacher gifted me with a pass to a local studio. I'm so grateful for that introduction! Since then, my yoga practice has taken on various forms - prenatal yoga when I was pregnant with Parker, Mommy and Me yoga when he was a wee-one, and most recently, hot yoga (which I never ever thought I would do, but fell in love with). 

Just like anything else that I love, I want more than anything to share my enthusiasm for yoga with my littlest man (you can read more about the benefits of yoga for young children here and here). And for Parker, anything Mommy or Daddy does is fun and amazing, so he's an eager learner. I've used these two books to guide my teaching practice:

They are illustrated simply and colorfully, and name each pose after an animal which makes them super kid-friendly. 

They are available in our book bins at home and Parker will pick them up from time to time and request we do yoga (melt. my. heart.). 

We were so excited to add The Little Yoga Matto our yoga time! The Little Yoga Mat is made for kids from baby to age four - it's the perfect size for a toddler! I like how it teaches Parker where his personal space is, plus, he gets his very own mat just like Mommy's.

The awesome people over at The Little Yoga Mat want one of you to have a mat as well! To enter the giveaway, just comment below and tell me who your mat would go to! A niece or nephew? Your son or daughter? I can't wait for another little one to have this awesome experience! I'll be choosing the winner at random and posting next Wednesday.

Happy Giveaway Wednesday!

Taco Tuesday - Crispy Fish Tacos with Lemon Dill Sauce

How often do you cook fish at home? I feel like buying fish is one of those things that's out of my comfort zone - watching Top Chef tells me I'm supposed to smell the fish before I purchase it to determine freshness, but I feel a bit odd asking the man behind the fish counter if I can do that. Does anyone who is not a professional chef actually smell seafood before purchasing? To be honest, I'm not sure if I'd be able to tell anything from the scent anyway. Instead, I just make a special trip to our local fish market and hope for the best. Since I'm timid about purchasing it, I don't have much practice in the actual cooking of fish - but after each time I do bake/fry/sauté it, I always, always think damn that was easy (and fast), followed by, why the heck do I not cook fish more often? So, in the spirit of an easy and quick fish dish comes this Taco Tuesday's meal: Crispy Fish Tacos with Lemon Dill Sauce. 

Crispy Fish Tacos 

1 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs, usually found with other bread crumbs)
3/4 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
salt and pepper 
cooking spray
1 lb. cod

For serving: Flour tortillas and lemon dill sauce

Preheat broiler to high and coat a (vented) broiler pan with cooking spray. Mix panko, paprika, onion and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Place egg whites in another shallow dish. Cut cod into equal sized filets and salt and pepper to taste. Dip each piece of fish into egg mixture, then dredge in panko mixture and place on broiler pan. Broil four minutes on both sides. While fish is baking, whip up lemon dill sauce and heat flour tortillas. Assemble and have a happy Taco Tuesday!

Lemon Dill Sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
2 teaspoons chopped dill
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix mayonaise, dill pickle, dill and lemon juice in a small bowl. 


Giveaway Wednesday - Hello Products Winner

First off, thank you all who participated in the hello products giveaway! I was so excited that so many of you went crazy for these items just like I did. The combination of a more natural toothpaste option plus amazing flavor combinations makes me want to jump for joy.  I had a few inquiries into where to purchase the hello oral care line since it is still new. It looks like Walgreens and Target are your best bet, but if your local chain isn't carrying them yet, Target online has the entire line, including these faves...

mojito mint toothpaste | pink grapefruit toothpaste | blue raspberry toothpaste for kids

And now for the fun part - the winner of the giveaway is...

Comment number five, Kelly Linn Feller! Congratulations, Kelly! Please email me with your shipping information and a collection of hello goodies will be on its way from the kind folks over at hello products. 

See y'all next week for another Giveaway Wednesday announcement! 

Taco Tuesday - BBQ Chicken Tacos

True story - CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) used to be my happy place. Here's how it happened: One day toward the end of grad school, I was in downtown Santa Barbara searching for an interview outfit (because being a month away from graduation and without an interview is only slightly worse than having an interview scheduled but nothing to wear). Anyway, while shopping, I dropped my phone (it was actually while I was changing in the dressing room, but that's part of shopping, right?). This was 2005, so a smart phone it was not, and phones these days must be much more robust because my phone wouldn't turn back on. This would have been fine, had I known where my keys were. Yep, I misplaced them while shopping. So, I'm standing there phone-less and keyless at the outdoor shopping center, and I'm pretty sure there were actual tears (the end of grad school is super busy and stressful to begin with, so it didn't take much to push me over the edge). Luckily, this was back-in-the-day when people memorized phone numbers, so I dialed my grad school BFFs via pay phone. They came to my rescue and walked me directly into the CPK where I proceeded to drink a pint of beer from a straw (I instantly felt better). We retraced my steps and I found my keys under a stack of black dress pants at The Limited. Since that day, CPK has been the answer to any bad day. CPK will make anything better! was my mantra. 

We now literally live a thousand miles from the closest CPK, so it obviously can't be the answer anymore. However, these tacos are the next best thing to being at the restaurant. CPK is know for their "Original BBQ Chicken" pizzas and salads, and these tacos are a spin on the "Original BBQ Chicken" theme. They are extremely quick and easy to make, and totally delicious. 

BBQ Chicken Tacos

2 cups shredded chicken (rotisserie, or, make your own in the slow cooker)
1 cup BBQ Sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)

For serving:
Flour tortillas
Diced red onion
Shredded cheddar
Ranch dressing (I use Marie's)

Place chicken in a sauce pan and add BBQ sauce (I like a lot, so feel free to add less). Mix in corn and black beans, and warm over medium heat until hot. While mixture is cooking, crisp flour tortillas (I did this in a skillet with olive oil). Spoon mixture onto tortillas and top with red onion, cheddar, avocado, lettuce and ranch (I put the ranch in a ziplock baggie and sniped off the tip so I could pipe it on). I served with sweet potato corn chips (and refrained from drinking my beer through a straw).

*This recipe can easily be halved to feed just a couple people, or doubled to feed more :)

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