Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why We Keep Going Back...

We love fall and we LOVE APPLE HILL!  This is one of our favorite times of year.  Our family has been heading up the hill every year since Nolan was born and as long as we're Californians, our tradition will never die.  You may wonder what is so great about apples and the hill in which they come from, so we are hoping this blog posting will bring you a little piece of what us Lil' Dunns call, "Apple Heaven."

Apple Hill is located off HWY 50 just above Placerville - less than an hour drive from Sacramento.  It's the perfect day trip and such a beautiful drive.  There are over 30 farms you can visit and some are even open year round.  We usually head up again in December to cut down our Christmas tree.  So, here are the reasons why we keep going back...

#1.  The Free Shuttle: it runs only during the month of October.  You can park for free at Schnell Elementary School and the shuttle takes you on the apple farm loop.  Shuttles run about every 15 minutes.  (make sure to get your boxes of apples and pumpkins last)

#2.  The Food:  It's like going to fair - but better!  Ryan is always a fan of BBQ anything!  I have to admit today's pork tri-tip (is there such a thing?) was delicious!

#3.  Apples, Apples and more Apples!  There are too many yummy apple treats to list.  

But our favorites are caramel apples, apple pies, apple fritters & of course the apple donuts.
And fresh apple juice to wash all that sugar down!

#4.  COLORS!  There is an overwhelming abundance of color - it's sensory overload at it's best! 

#5. Choosing our pumpkins:  despite all the fun local pumpkin patches, the kids like hauling home their pumpkins.  The deal is that they have to be able to carry it themselves since Ryan and I are usually loaded up with boxes of apples.  I think it makes them feel important - this year Daddy did end up carrying the brunt of our goods.

#6.  Crafts & Fun:  Each farm offers different activities for families.  There are street markets of various hand crafted goodies, produce stands galore and crafts for the kids.  The girls enjoyed getting their faces painted. 
While Nolan made his own candle.  

#7.  Time??? What?  We find that there's no such thing as a schedule when we're at Apple Hill - the best part is taking our time to enjoy every bit of "Apple Heaven".  After all, our next visit is a year away.   

Friday, October 24, 2008

Alice, the Sorcerer and the Queen

Tonight was the fall carnival at the kids' elementary school.  We didn't take the camera with us - we wanted to make sure we were able to enjoy every minute but of course I snapped a few before we left. 

Let's start with Miss Alice.  Haidyn isn't really that into movies yet, but she does love Alice in Wonderland.  We were lucky to have borrowed this great costume from Taylor (all the way from Texas!)  Doesn't she make the cutest Alice?

Next up is Nolan!  We bought this super hat while we were in DisneyLand last year.  He mentioned back then that he would like to be Sorcerer Mickey and Nolan never forgets.  So I made him the robe, we found the perfect gold rope and voila!  Sorcerer Mickey! 

Last, but not least is Miss Ashlee.  She had quite the time making her choice of costume this year.  I still have a bag of fabric sitting here on my desk - someday it will make the cutest Little Red Riding Hood costume.  She was all over the place; Little Red, Princess Lucy, Pirate Girl, the list goes on.  But one day we were in Marshalls and found this great Queen of Hearts costume.  Knowing that Haidyn would be Alice, it was perfect!  Done deal!  She won best overall costume tonight at the carnival for her grade level.  She was very proud!

Tonight when I was putting Haidyn to bed she was throwing a big fit (obviously from the excess of sugar tonight)  She was screaming, "Off with your head!" to me while I was wrestling her down to slap some jammies on her little heiny!  I think we may have to save Ashlee's costume for Haidyn.  It's her new favorite line.

Our little trick-or-treaters!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Legos Rock!"

Today was Nolan's birthday party trip to the Lego store in Santa Clara.  The Lego store and it's employees really went above and beyond to make this day extra special for our little dude and his friends -- we were blown away!  It was so fun, the boys had such a hands-on experience.  I have to admit I was a little worried about taking four boys on a trip but the boys were so mellow, so well behaved and so intense in their building and creativity.  The employees were so laid back - the boys pretty much had the store all to themselves for over an hour before it opened to the public.  
Nolan and his best buds (Miles, Blake, Liam and Nolan)
The wall of LEGOS!  Every boy's dream!  They stood in front of it, mouths open and just stared...
Our first activity:  the boys were given a cup of legos to custom build their own car.  

They took this job very seriously...
Once they had their cars complete, Travis (our Lego go-to-guy) set up a ramp so the boys could take turns racing their cars.  They were able to tweak their designs to enhance speed.  (they were little engineers)
Then they were given a cup of Legos and had to guess how many were inside -- the winner got to fill a cup with Legos from the famous LEGO WALL!
Next, they each got to choose a Lego kit to build and take home.
And FINALLY, they were able to browse and purchase MORE LEGOS!

Taj Mahal
You could say we left a few empty shelves - they were in 7 year old heaven!
We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen
Cheers birthday boy!
Our little man will be 7 years old on the 30th!  

Friday, October 10, 2008