Water Stuff

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This summer was so epic in so many ways. I’m still really missing my whole family up in Canada, which is why I’m posting a few more pictures from our trip.
I’d taken Marlowe into the pool at our gym before, but that water temperature was a little warmer than the lake. I was a bit worried that she wouldn’t like it, but she’s a kid. Of course she’s gonna like it; especially if everyone around her makes it look super fun by making loud, silly noises! 😉
Above and below are pictures of us on the dock at our cottage near Peterborough, Ontario.

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Marlowe especially loved hanging out at the beach with her adorable beach hat, which was given to us by my Auntie Libby and my cousin, Ally – who recently got married. (Click [here] to see those pictures)!

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Marlowe and her Bibi (grandma).

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And a huge thanks to my mom, who took the picture below of Marlowe and me. It’s one of my favorites!

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Thanks, Tiffany, for taking the pictures of Jake and me, water tubing! SO fun!

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DIY: A Modern Twist on Fall Wreaths

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I am really on an Autumn kick here. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see the colors of the leaves and bushes change here in Colorado Springs! It’s going to be unreal.
Anyway, I really love the idea of a different twist on your average front-door-wreath. They can be boring and, often times, tacky if you don’t like spending over $200 on a really nice one. I’ve seen a few different versions of this wreath on Pinterest over the last few months, but I like mine the best, which is a sort of compilation of all my favorite knit wreaths.
It’s pretty easy, but it takes a while to make this bad boy. It took me a few tries to get the hang of the knit pom poms, and once I did, I finished the wreath over the span of a few days (my fingers would cramp if I made the pom poms for longer than 1 1/2 hrs). Every night, I’d put on a good movie and make pom pom after pom pom. It really feels like I accomplished something, though, when I finished it. FINALLY.
I’ve had it outside for the past week, and since our front door is covered under a roof, I’m not worried about this getting wet or dirty. If you’re concerned about your own front entry way, why not just put the wreath somewhere indoors? Bring it out every Fall with your other Autumn decor!
So, this is what you’re going to need (I got all of it from Hobby Lobby):
Wire frame wreath
2 large packages of yarn, in whatever color you’re feelingScissors
Patience
Endurance
A good movie (or three)

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Instructions:
Step 1: Remove the cardboard piece securing the yarn together and fold it in half (you can use whatever you’d like for this, if the cardboard is too flimsy for you).
Step 2: wrap the yarn around the cardboard piece about 60 times. Make sure it’s not too lose or too tight. Leave a little extra length at both ends. It should look like the picture below, on the right.

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Step 3: Carefully remove the yarn from the cardboard, securing the center with your thumb and forefinger so it doesn’t unravel. Tie opposite ends together around the center. Double knot it, and repeat, tying both ends together again, only this time, make it extra tight so it’s nice and secure. It should look relatively like the picture below after you’ve tied both ends together twice. NOTE: Make sure you are aware of where those opposite yarn ends are at all times. You’ll need those to safely secure the pom pom to the wire frame wreath. Don’t lose them!!

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Step 4: cut each end of the yarn, making sure you keep an eye on the ends that are knotted around the center. Like I said before, don’t lose them!

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Step 5: Your pom pom is all finished, and ready to be tied to the wire frame wreath. Remember how I said that you need to be aware of the knotted yarn ends around the center of the pom pom? Take those pieces and use them to tie the pom pom to the wire wreath. (Using any other pieces will result in them pulling right out). Since the pom poms are relatively small, which will end up making the wreath appear more voluminous, you’ll tie two side-by-side.
So tie that first pom pom to the outside edge of the wire frame, making room for your next pom pom, which will go on the inside. Make sure you tie each pom pom nice and tight to the wire so they don’t slip mid-process, making you very frustrated.

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Step 6: trim each pom pom as you put it on the wreath, making sure the ends of the yarn are somewhat similar in length. Once the wreath is finished, do an overall trim to any yarn ends that are sticking out far enough to be noticeable. I had to trim about 15 pieces, haha.
Step 7: Add a bow, or any kind of extra decor to make your wreath more personal, and unlike any other. If you don’t like bows, might I suggest adding a few gold (fake) berries here and there? Or how about adding a little foliage to the left side?
Step 8: Leave a comment below with a link to pictures of your own DIY wreaths (or anything Autumn-y that you’ve done yourself)! I love looking at DIY stuff, and I guarantee you that I’ll spend hours perusing through your blogs!

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Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

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Ok, first thing’s first. If you’re that kind of person who likes to have a little background music playing at all times (I do!!), you should press play on the YouTube video below. If you’re like me, Smooth Jazz will get you in the mood for Autumn baking like nothing else can. 😉
Total Time: 3 hrs 15 mins
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 3 hrs
Ingredients:
6 apples (preferably Gala; they’re not as tart as other apples)
7 c water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 c sugar OR 3 tbsp Truvia (you can always add more later)
2 cinnamon sticks OR 4 tbsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp allspice (easily found in any spice section of the supermarket)
** NOTE: I didn’t think this made enough servings, so I added 100% pure organic apple juice (from target or Walmart) to the batch after it finished cooking. Tasted great! It’s up to you whether you’d like to do this, obviously.**

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Directions:
1. Wash apples, then cut them into quarters.

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2. Grab a large pot and add 7 cups of water, along with vanilla, sugar, allspice and cinnamon sticks. Mix well. Add apples.
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3. Place pot on stove and bring to a boil, uncovered. Allow to boil for roughly 30 minutes, keeping a close eye on the water level. Then, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. Once relatively cool, use a fork to mash up the apples a little bit so extra flavor is released.
5. Pour the cider through a tight-knit mesh strainer to catch all the pulp. You may have to do this a few times if you’re not a fan of pulpy apple cider.
6. This is where I added the 100% pure organic apple juice (about 2-3 cups). I also added extra allspice, vanilla and ground cinnamon to taste. No need to add any extra sugar, unless you like your cider really sweet.
Hard Apple Cider:
Add Spiced Rum to taste (I like Captain Morgan Black Spiced, or for a few bucks cheaper, you can get Sailor Jerry)
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I am really enjoying the cooler weather here in Colorado Springs (with the exception of the next few days). It cools way down at night, which is the perfect time to enjoy a hot apple cider on the patio, wrapped up in your favorite blanket!