Since We Last Spoke

by HEAB on September 11, 2014

We took our first road trip as a family of six.  Summer traveled a good bit her first year of life, and then Charlie and Katie arrived.  We didn’t take many family trips after that (read zero family trips), and after Hannah was born, I often wondered if we would ever leave Nashville all together.  The grandparents have been very gracious and stayed with the kids so that Chris and I could take a few weekend trips, but this past Labor Day weekend, we decided the time had come to take the whole crew.  We ventured to an apple orchard in Georgia with three of our favorite couples – so a total of eight adults and ten children (age 4 and under).   We rented a house, picked apples, jumped in the pool, cooked together, ate together, laughed together, and enjoyed ourselves immensely.  After such a successful weekend, I broached the subject of a road trip to the beach (an 8 hour drive) as all of our children sat quietly content in their car seats…and then quickly changed my mind when within 30 seconds of those words leaving my mouth, all four children were crying.  Not quite there yet. 😉

Now that fall is upon us, I’m getting in “school” mode.  To me, September means the start of a new school year (although it’s been years since I’ve set foot in a school), shopping for school supplies (my favorite – nothing like the smell of new pencils and notebooks!!!), Friday night football games, and all things fall.  Our kids aren’t in school yet, but since Summer will be turning four soon, I thought it’d be fun to do some informal lessons a few times a week.  Right now, we’re working on our letters.  For “A”, we had our apple picking friends over and made mini apple pies…

Inspired by this post, Summer and I rolled out the crust together and used a mason jar lid to cut out mini crusts.  We then placed the crusts in a muffin tin and added our apple pie filling, and our friends arrived just in time to make crust toppers with mini animal cookie cutters.  We used this recipe, and I’m ashamed to admit it was the first time I’ve ever made my own crusts…but definitely won’t be the last.  While our pies baked we used apple halves to paint “A’s” that I had cut out of poster board.

This week, we’ve moved onto “B” and blew some blue bubbles…

Please ignore the dirty table. That’s sap from a nearby Hackberry tree.  Happens every summer!

And then we made biscuits using this recipe, another first for me.  For some reason, I’ve always been intimidated by homemade pie crusts and biscuits.  Well, not anymore – they’re both quite easy, and the homemade version is so much better!

In other news, I made it the yoga studio this week.  Hannah and I went to a Mommy & Me class, and I was sore for two days!  It made me realize how much my mind and body miss practicing, and I’m hoping to do more yoga this fall as we live close to a local rec center that offers some decent classes.  Hopefully, I can make it work with my schedule.  Oh, and speaking of yoga, one of my good friends in Colorado has partnered with two other yoga instructors to open a donation-based studio in the downtown neighborhood of Five Points in Denver.

Fold Yoga‘s mission is to is to bring accessible, passion-filled yoga to the Denver community, and they have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds needed for a permanent location in the Five Points area.  For now, they’re teaching five pop-up donation-based yoga classes per week in some favorite local joints, but the dream is to create a yoga studio with the same vibe: accessible, un-intimidating, affordable, and diverse.  So, since Colorado and yoga are two of my favorite things, I wanted to help spread the word.  Yoga studio classes are often pretty pricey, and I think the idea of a donation-based studio is a wonderful way to allow more people to experience the power of the mat.

 Please click here to learn more about the studio’s mission and fundraising campaign, and Fold Yoga, I hope to attend a class in your new and amazing permanent space someday soon!

So, that’s what’s been going on with me lately.  What about you?  Anyone else totally intimidated by homemade crust?


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Lara October 6, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I’ve been reading your blog off and on for like four years and never commented. I live in Colorado and I’m so excited to hear about Fold! I just had a baby (maybe not just, it’s been 13 months) and have been looking for somewhere to do yoga that doesn’t cost a fortune. Thanks!

HEAB October 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Hi Lara,
Oh good – hope you’re able to check out one of Fold’s yoga classes! I did yoga years ago with Jillian, one of the instructors/owners of Fold, and I remember watching her in class and admiring her form and strength. I’m pretty sure she is a wonderful yoga teacher, and I hope to take a class from her someday. Perhaps I’ll see you there. 🙂
PS – thanks for reading!

Liz S. September 30, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Not sure why I missed this post – I apologize 🙁 Miss you, HEAB!

HEAB September 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Miss you too Liz. Are you on Instagram yet?!? 😉

Liz S. September 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm

No, but I still use Twitter and Facebook; and of course email 🙂 Email me to keep in touch though!

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beth September 27, 2014 at 12:50 pm

thanks for a sweet twist on a favorite dessert, dad is the pie baker in our house, i hope to surprise him though.

HEAB September 27, 2014 at 1:43 pm

What a nice surprise. I think Dad will love. 🙂

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Christa September 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Heather, I was wondering if you made the crust and biscuits gluten free. I remember from past posts that you all are/were GF. I was just curious how you adapted the recipes (if you did). Thanks!

HEAB September 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Hi Christa,
No, I did not adapt the recipes and used regular white flour. We try and avoid gluten on most days since excess wheat tends to cause eczema flare ups for Summer. I did look up some homemade gluten free pie crust and biscuit recipes, but they required a lot of different flours I didn’t have. I’ve since read some good reviews for the Namaste brand pie crust mix, and I’m hoping to try it soon as we love their pizza crust.

brittany @thegingerlifeblog September 19, 2014 at 10:24 am

As a pediatric occupational therapist I am loving the hands on, experience the letters learning ideas you have. There is really no better way to learn (for kids or adults) than to experience it – especially from a sensory perspective – smelling the Apples, feeling the Biscuit dough , ect., ect. So inspired and glad y’all are learning this way!

HEAB September 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

That’s good to hear as we’re having a lot of fun with our various letter activities. This week, we drew caterpillars, baked cookies, and glued cotton ball clouds to cut-out letter “C” ‘s. I think I’m having just as much if not more fun than the kids, and Chris is loving all the baked goods our alphabet lessons are producing. 🙂

Rachel September 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

So great that you were able to take a successful trip! Very inspiring.

Can I ask why you haven’t put Summer in a pre-nursery school yet? I was looking into some for my 2 year old for next September and was curious of your take on it.

HEAB September 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Hi Rachel,
Most of our friends have their toddlers in preschool too. We talked about keeping the kids home up until Kindergarten, but we might do preschool two or three days a week next year. We’re not sure. Summer will start kindergarten in the fall of 2016, and at this point, I don’t feel like she’s needed preschool since I’m at home and have help during the week with the kids. However, the older she gets, the more we’re thinking preschool might be a good fit for her next year. We shall see. 🙂

Ameena September 15, 2014 at 8:57 am

So impressed that you traveled with 4 children. I still get anxious traveling with Maya and she is 9! I think it’s the whole motion sickness thing?

Anyway, I love that you incorporate education in so many fun ways. Your children are going to be so well-adjusted and happy!

You are such a role model for me, you have no idea Heather. 🙂

HEAB September 15, 2014 at 9:28 am

Thank you! I’ve always thought you were brave to travel to London so often with a child, but yeah, thankfully, we’re notting get puked on…at least not anyway. Might change if we ever decide to take everyone on a plane, but that won’t be happening anytime soon. 😉

Clare @ Happy Eater September 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm

As a teacher, I love when little ones get old enough to learn “big-kid” stuff like their abc’s! I love that you and Summer cook together with alphabet-inspired snacks! It’s precious 🙂

HEAB September 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

Thanks Clare. It’s fun. 🙂

Lorne September 14, 2014 at 4:00 am

Hey Heather,

You brave mamma (and papa)! Road trips are a BIG deal when there are little hands and feet that are attached to loud voices riding in the back!

We just purchased a caravan a month or so ago. We intend to make camping a bigger part of our lives as we want the boys to know the outdoors and fall in love with creation. The caravan is retro – mum is kindly assuming the interior redesign with little people in mind. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with! December is the beginning of our summer holidays, I can’t wait to hitch up our caravan and hit the road. It might be loud, but it is gonna be worth it! 🙂

Can you believe Minu is 4! Summer soon too. Where have the last 4 years gone?

HEAB September 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Hi Lorne,
No, I cannot believe Minu is 4, and that Summer will be soon as well. They’ll be 18 before we know it – can’t even think about it!

How cool you guys bought a caravan. It would make family travel so much easier and sounds so fun. I follow another blogger who caravans with her family, and her story is very inspiring. Makes me want to sell all our stuff, hop in an RV, and see the country. Someday maybe. 🙂

Enjoy your travels – Can’t wait to see some pics on Instagram!

Tracy September 12, 2014 at 10:53 am

I’ve never made pie crust either! I have made biscuits though. You’re right! So much better.

The family vacay sounds like it was fun! That was quite a group.. traveling party it sounds like. You’ll be pros at family vacations before you know it. They’re worth the effort for everyone…something to look forward to and break up the summer “non-routine” once your kids are all in school. The memories created are priceless!!!

And YOGA 🙂 Yes!! So glad you made it to the studio. Yoga is another reward that is worth the effort! 🙂


HEAB September 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Thanks Tracy. We were so encouraged after such a fun trip and definitely want to make it happen more often. Some of my favorite memories from childhood involved road trips, and I wish the same for our kids.

More road trips, more yoga, and more homemade biscuits – I think those are good goals, no?

Take care and Happy Fall!!! 🙂

Lori September 12, 2014 at 9:03 am

We still just have our one 3 year old, and she is not a good traveller. I’m wondering what I can do to make that seat more comfy for her. After she wakes from her nap (good for about an hour and a half) she starts fighting the seat. No matter how many activities we have for her, she cannot escape that seat. Thoughts on making that seat more comfy? We do 1 3.5-4 hour trip a year, and it is usually miserable.

Biscuits I’ve been making for years (home made biscuits and sausage gravy! woo!) but pie crusts have been my nemesis. Can’t quite get it to be good and consistent. I blame the high altitudes of Colorado.

Anyway, I love your posts! Like Regan, I’ve been a long time reader too and whenever you get a chance to sit down and write a bit, I’ll always be here to read. Have a good autumn!

HEAB September 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Gosh, I wish I knew, but we’ve never driven more than 4 hours with a three year old. Summer did great as a baby and long drives were easy, but I’m afraid that wouldn’t be the case now. I have friends that travel a good bit with their 4-year old and just make sure to stop often “to get out the wiggles”. They always stop at playgrounds. Makes for a longer trip, but definitely makes the driving part more enjoyable. I wonder if there is some kind of cushion made for car seats for longer drives? If not, we should invent one!

As far as the crust goes, yeah, I’m sure it’s something to do with the altitude. I know if we ever do move to Colorado (we still hope to), that I will have some major adjustments to make in the kitchen. I hear baking can be challenging, but at least you’ve got the biscuits and gravy down (warms my southern heart). 🙂

Thanks for reading and for sticking around – means a lot to me.

Regan September 11, 2014 at 11:24 pm

I used to be afraid of crusts and biscuits too! I use a recipe from “Smitten Kitchen” now because she says it’s okay to not use a food processor and to use regular butter and not shortening (two things I never have on hand). It’s so easy and delicious and my girls love to help! Thank you for this post- Ive been a long-time reader and it’s always a treat for me to read a new update! We have three girls ages 6, 3, and 3 months and are feeling the road-trip blues! Maybe it’s time to invest in a little motorhome?

HEAB September 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Hi Regan,
Smitten Kitchen is so great – love all of her recipes! I make her pea pesto often, and her cream biscuits recipe I linked to above is a favorite amongst a lot of my friends. I’ll have to try her crust recipe. The one I used was all butter and no shortening as well, but I did have to use a food processor.

And yes, how awesome would it be to own an RV?!? Chris and I joke about buying one, but seriously, it would make road trips so much easier! Someday maybe. 🙂

Suzy and Elias September 11, 2014 at 10:43 pm

As each year passes the significance of 9-11 fades more and more to the background I’m afraid, even despite the fact that our president all but declared a new war last night. All such big things but eventually people move on and enjoy the good life.

Fall is a fun time for apple pies and ice cream and school is back in full swing. Our kids are all in school and we remain busy working full time and making our mark in the world— or at least we hope to contribute in some way to improve the world around us and we hope our children see that in action in us as their parents. A big day of reflection in our house on 9-11 every year, a good time to think of priorities and time to appreciate what we all have. On this morning 13 yrs ago, thousands of children, wives, husbands, friends, and parents were lost. I will hug my kids tighter tonight.

purelytwins September 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm

our parents could never get all 4 of us girls happy at the same time. our parents would tell us some funny stories.

and yay for learning the letters!! we can’t believe Summer is going to be turning 4!! crazy! xo

HEAB September 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Haha, we already have so many stories to share with the kids. Chris and I keep telling ourselves this will all be so funny in a few years. We laugh a lot now, but I know we’ll laugh even more retelling the kids about their toddler years. 🙂

Susan September 11, 2014 at 7:31 pm

What a fabulous trip it sounds like. Good for you. Very happy to hear you made it to a class. I know how much you love it. Hope you can find time to get to more! I have committed to practicing at home 3 – 4 times per week and find many classes on you tube that I love! I am headed to a yoga retreat in February so very motivated to get myself in better yoga shape. I will check out the studio. Denver is about 50 miles away but I could make a special trip on a weekend. Thanks for sharing. And, YES, completely intimidated by crusts and dough. I am the queen of making quick breads but venturing too far away from that and I start to freak out a bit. You have inspired me to try.

HEAB September 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Hi Susan,
It was a fabulous trip, so good that we’re hoping to do it again next year. Will be hopefully be a little easier too – this year, we needed three Pack N Plays!

I’m happy to hear you are enjoying yoga – which youtube videos are you loving? I’d love to find some good ones. I’ve loved using yogadownload in the past, but it’s nice to switch things up every so often.

Try the crust – so easy and delicious. I read through many of the comments which helped a lot. Kept all my ingredients, bowl, etc. ice cold and used frozen butter. It turned out great – better than I expected. Don’t be intimidated!

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