Melissa Kaylene: September 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Whirlwind Week

Man oh man what a week it has been! I thought the chaos wouldn't start until the beginning of October, but September has hit us straight on for our busy season! Last week, after I published my last post, well, things got really crazy. Ya see, I normally only work 4-6 shifts a month. Last week I somehow managed to squeeze 43 hours into 4 days. Yes, one of them was a double shift (believe me, I didn't sign up for that!) So I definitely got some use out of my 'nurse hat', and things around the house suffered. Not only that but soccer started last week as well, so between juggling work, home, school, preschool, soccer, and everything else that us mothers accomplish on a weekly basis....well there was no time for me, or my blog! I'm so glad that this week is looking a little bit more manageable for me, as I'm only working one shift and we only have one more soccer game to attend this week as well. So hopefully I can catch up on everything so I can be prepared for the next go around..... Harvest!

For those of you who don't know, my hubs is a Vineyard Manager. In a nutshell he pretty much does a little of everything when it comes to grapes, and knows a whole heck of a lot more about it than I do. Well, Harvest is generally October(ish) around here, which means he has a completely hectic and unpredictable schedule for the month. Hence, I get to play super mom and .... here it is....Wonder Woman ;)

I've got lots of great ideas for blog posts in my head, but for today I just wanted to share a few moments of my week that I loved. First off is my mother/daughter artwork my eldest and I created together. I haven't mentioned it on this blog before, but my daughter has ADHD, and we have currently been in and out of the doctors and counselors for quite some time now, trying to get her help. There is further issues beyond the ADHD diagnosis that we are trying to figure out and help her with, but now is not the time to talk all about that. I was glad we were able to sit outside on a nice sunny afternoon and just draw. Its something I don't do very often anymore due to the hustle and bustle of mom/adult life. She absolutely loves drawing, even though she is to critical of herself! It is a wonderful outlet for her....

 Then after one of Anika's soccer games our friend gave us a bottle of wine.... gotta love the free Vino! I thought the label of unique and the name was catchy ;)

I don't know about you....but sometimes, when I'm grocery shopping...I will just buy myself some flowers, just for the heck of it...because there is nothing as sweet as fresh flowers in your house! I picked up these little orange roses for my dining room table and fell in love.

Last but certainly not least in my crazy week, was a moment of fun. My two little ones wanted a tea party, and I decided to break out my REAL tea cups for them! We made up a pot of chai tea (not full strength ;) ) and they just thought they were the biggest kids ever!

I also want to give a shout out and thanks  for all of the love from my Fall Activities/Bucket List! Its been featured not only on High Heels and Grills Work It Wednesday , but also Shaken Togethers' Fantastic Friday AND The Thriftiness Miss Weekend Wonders WOW! I feel loved! Thanks everyone ;).

Promise, I won't stay away so long....


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

31 Fun Fall Activities! (Fall Bucket List)

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

I'm sure by now you know, I adore fall. The beginning of a new school year and new beginnings. Getting back into a routine - and soccer. The turning of the leaves, the warm sunny days still, with crisp autumn evenings. Salted caramel mocha's and pumpkin spice lattes. And that's just the beginning. Halloween, Thanksgiving - it's all fall.

Every year there are certain things I just have to do for fall, traditions for me and my kiddos. I thought I'd share some with you, and encourage you to make your own list of fun fall activities. 

1. Go to a Pumpkin Patch 

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

2. Go on a hay ride
3. Find you way out of a corn maze

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List
31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

4. Make an apple pie from scratch (Check out my recipe here )

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

5. Rake leaves, and then jump in the pile and throw them in the air
6. Buy the most ridiculous and/or comfy pair of socks around and a pumpkin spice latte, then go home and curl up with a good book and relax
7. Go to a kids soccer game and cheer them on!

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

8. Carve a pumpkin - or two

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

  9. Make caramel apples
10. Go to a high school football game
11. backyard bonfire with smore's and hot cocoa

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

13. Eat pumpkin pie
14. Go to the Zoo. Its so much fun in the fall!
15. make homemade chili
16. Get a jump start on Thanksgiving....create a "thankful" list
17. Buy some fall colored nail polish and give yourself a mani/pedi
18. Visit a haunted house
19. Drink apple cider (or a steamer!)

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

20. Make leaf art with the kids
21. Go on a walk and enjoy the autumn weather!

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

22. Plan a date night
23. Bake homemade bread
24. attend a farmers market
25. make trick or treat bags for all of the little goblins on the 31st!

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

26. Plan thanksgiving dinner and try a new recipe!
27. make a scarf
28. make caramel apples
29. Do one thing crazy...something you never thought you could do!

31 Fun Fall Activities / Fall Bucket List

30. Remember to take lots and lots of photos, and make a fall photo book
31. Start preparing for the holiday season, and make a Christmas bucket list! <3


Thursday, September 13, 2012

{Chocolate Cheesecake}

Well, I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore September. Its seriously one of the most gorgeous months around here. I've been in full cooking mode the past two days, working on my freezer dinners, gearing up for the hectic soccer season and fall to officially begin. You'd be so proud of me! I made about 10 scrumptious meals so far. I can't wait to show you!

Emma (my middle child) started pre-school again this week. She went last year, so she knows alot of the same kids, and the teachers there are great. Best thing is, its relatively cheap, and its at a church in our little town, literally blocks from my house.

The two little ones are enjoying their time having the 'run' of the house while big sissy is back in school. Look at those little trouble makers ;)

Okay, here it is. I got this recipe from, and its SO tasty! You must try :)

Chocolate Cheesecake

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch spring form pan.
    2. In a small bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared 9 inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
    3. To Make Filling: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Remove from heat.
    4. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add cocoa and beat well. Add eggs and beat on low until just blended. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and reserved chocolate mixture until blended. Pour over crust. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost set.
    5. To Make Topping: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla until just before boiling. Stir constantly and be careful not to boil over. Have 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips ready in a small bowl. Pour in the hot cream and stir with a spoon until smooth. Spread over baked cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.

    Dresses from Shabby Apple

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Fun, Fabulous Weekend! (and a Suprise!!)

    Welcome back!

      Its been a busy weekend around here. Yesterday our tiny town had its annual harvest festival. We took the kids down to a little parade, and mingled in the park, looking at the booths and food and the kids got to play on the free bouncy house. I love it when small town communities get together and bring everyone together for fun.

    Noah watching all of the big trucks in the parade!

    three ducks in a row, waiting for their turn on the bouncy house

      Yesterday was also my Anniversary, 5th to be exact. Seems like now-a-days that's a pretty big deal! We've been together for nearly 8 years, so it kinda seems like it should be more than just 5 years to me. :) We were fortunate enough to have my bestie Carolyn; she came over and babysat for us so we could go to a nice dinner/movie date.

      We ended up at another restaurant that was on my bucket list: Tina's in Dundee. Its in its 20th year, and is smack down in the middle of our little "Napa", the Dundee Hills. Its a quaint little space, seating about 50. I always try to be brave and try something new. My husband says I've come along way the past 8 years with my palate and am becoming adventuresome! That's good and bad. Good because I'm really into eating junky fast food, bad because I like the fancy restaurants now, which means $$$!
    Our appetizer, can't remember everything, but it was pork belly, nectarines, and a bunch of other stuff ;)
    my entree...I was brave and tried roasted duck breast in a black-cap cherry sauce, with summer corn risotto. There happened to be swiss chard on the side (which I was unaware of until they presented the dish)....I was brave and took a bite. One bite was enough for me!
      Wayne's entree was delish...he had grass fed beef short ribs in a bacon bourbon sauce, cabbage slaw, and roasted potatoes. I'd be lying if I said I didn't trade half of my duck for those short ribs! We shared a bottle of Riesling, and ended our dining with creme' brulee and a blueberry nectarine cobbler ala' mode.

      Okay, now for my suprise!!! I've got some news for all of my fellow bloggy friends! Natasha over at Serenity You has chosen four women to be blog contributors,....and I am one of the lucky four! This is super exciting for me, as I'm fairly new to blogging and feel honored! Check out all of our intros HERE. There is also a great link party every Saturday at Serenity You, you must check it out so you can see all of the inspiring projects and recipes!

    Until Next Time,


    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    BBQ Backyard Bash!

    I'm baaaack. You know you missed me. I couldn't stay away. So I've been in mega cleaning mode the past two days. My poor little dude has been sick (again!) and so we've been hanging out at the house, which is good because that way I accomplish more, and spend less money. Believe me, there is way more than enough projects to keep me busy around here. One of these days I may even post and brag about my progress.

    Okay, I know I've been talking about it, and here it is finally: Photo recap from our Blue Moon BBQ and Bunko End of Summer Party!

     I set four tables up in the backyard....I didn't get all fancy like I did with Anika's Birthday, (sewing my own table clothes and Birthday Banner) I went to Costco and picked up a package of disposable Vanity Fair tablecloths, and then used some old brown wrapping paper I had and cut it down and made table runners. Then I cleaned out a bunch of random jars that I have been saving and filled them with tea lights, and Viola! Instant decor. That is a bowl full of peanuts by the way. ;)

    Aww, the food. We always have a feast. Here's just some of it. Tasty homemade burgers from a grass fed cow. We went in half's last year with my brother in law and bought a cow. You really can taste the difference. And its so much better knowing how it was raised!
    There's also a layered cob salad, whole grain tostida chips with mango salsa (its SO good!), and I made meat,olive and cheese skewers (those didn't last long!) and we had potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, etc...all the goods!

    Some of the deserts, oh, and I had a little Solo Cup fun. I set out a sharpie so everyone could write their names on their cups....but then I decided to have some fun and googled "funny made up names" and pre-named them all! It was a blast :)

    My delish burger!

     Me and my BFF Carolyn, sipping on "Blue Moon" Riesling!

     My BFF Jessica and I, after the Riesling ;)

    Auntie Carolyn, and Anika....pouting about going to bed :).

    View of my back deck, I didn't have the extra cash to buy new lights, so I broke out the Christmas lights and strung them up for some extra sparkle.

    Well, there was a little snippet of some of the fun we had that evening. I try to have get togethers with everyone twice a year. Once at the end of summer, and another around the holidays. Life gets so busy, we don't all gather together often I'm the unofficial facilitator. ;)


    P.S.! I almost forgot! My  Old Fashioned Homemade Apple Pie was Featured at The Vintage Farmhouse! How lucky am I? ;) Thanks!!


    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Insta*Love and Almost Fall Randomness ;)

    Once again, its been way too long ;). Happy September! Happy soon-to-be fall! I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor day, and is starting to get back into the swing of the hustle and bustle of school starting and such. Last Friday if you recall, I had my end of summer BBQ party, and it turned out great. It was also a full moon that night, and a Blue moon at that. Pretty sweet timing. I haven't finished editing the photo's from that yet though, so you will just have to wait a wee bit longer!
    I know I am still in shock on how fast this Summer flew by. We had lots of good times, and I am trying to gather all of my favorite photos and highlight our summertime fun. I also LOVE fall, and I think I've shared my excitement on here for soccer and pumpkin spice lattes, Pumpkin patches and Halloween. I know its going to get even busier around here! October's are insane, because my husband starts harvest in the vineyard, and is pretty much MIA most of the month :). It takes alot of hard work to get that Vino on your table!
    I'm also currently devising a plan on how to make a sweet amount of freezer meals in one day and get together with a friend or two and crank out a bunch of dinners for these upcoming chaotic weeks....stay tuned for that!
    One other thing that I plan to do it Organise more! It will be slightly easier with one in school full time, and then Emma starts preschool next week, so they wont all be here all the time to mess things up! I will be so glad to get the little home back in some sort of order.
    On a completely random side note....I was able to sneak out for a few hours last night and see Jake Owen in lucky was I??? If you are a country music gotta love that Florida native boy. It was my last summer fun :).
    Check out some of my recent Instagram pics....they are about as random as I! You can always follow me @ melissakaylene if you're totally bored!

    me trying that sally's stick em nail polishes....actually worked really good! (never mind that little piece up there I messed up on ;)

    Roma's!!! Can you believe it! I grew something! Look at all of my bountiful fruits!

    Camping cork screw= good idea.
    me, in the middle of blackberry bushes! I had so many cuts and scraps, BUT about 3 gallons of tasty fruit frozen in my freezer now!

    war wounds

    the hubs and I

    Emma. Stargazing.
    Carolyn and I at my BBQ.

    And Anika...on her first day of 4th grade!