A Kansas City Fall: a Visit to KC Pumpkin Patch

One thing I wanted to do this fall was take Jona to the pumpkin patch. We went last year, and although it was fun, Jona wasn't walking yet so that made it a little challenging. This year we decided to try a new (to us) patch, the KC Pumpkin Patch.

KC Pumpkin Patch - a must-visit for fall | www.shealennon.com

So last weekend, we went with my best friend Abby and her family, to KC Pumpkin Patch. I'm so glad we did; it was the perfect place to take Jona, who is 2, and his BFF Addie, who is 3. 


KC Pumpkin Patch is tailor made for kids. While there is a pumpkin patch, the name is somewhat misleading, because I wouldn't say it's the main attraction. We did pick a few pumpkins there, but mostly we just let the kids go from activity to activity, which they did with pleasure. 



It wouldn't be a pumpkin patch visit without some tears (for Jona at least), so I wasn't surprised at all when a few were shed when I had the audacity to make him sit on the giant chair with Addie. Overall, both of the kids (and the adults) had a wonderful time. With our bellies full of cider and pumpkin donuts, we happily wandered around and let the kids go to town with all the activities. 




One of the last stops was a little train for kids to ride on. I was surprised that Jona wanted to ride (he's typically Mr. Cautious), but he made no protest when Aaron set him in the rooster. (When Aaron said, "Jona, do you want to ride in the rooster?" Jona replied, "No daddy, it's a chicken.") However, by lap three around the track, the tears started, and being the good mother that I am I made sure to get a few priceless photos snapped. 

Have you been to a pumpkin patch yet this fall? What other fall activities are on your must-do list? 

From the archives: 




Pinterest Inspired Hair: Braids and Waves

When I decided to grow out my hair, I told myself that I would have fun with it and try new styles, and fight the urge to throw it in a ponytail every day. I wouldn't call myself a natural when it comes to hair styling (despite my mom being a retired hair stylist), but thanks to Pinterest I figure I can learn.

Recently, I've gotten into a bit of a rut, just reaching for my straightener to style my hair every day. However, when Irresistible Me sent me their Sapphire styling wand to try last month, I vowed at the time I'd get better at adding some waves to my hair. I found this fun look with waves and tiny braids on Pinterest from Maskcara, and I wanted to give it a try. 


I still need some practice getting the waves just right, but I do like how even just curling a few sections adds some texture to my hair. My hair is naturally wavy, but not wavy enough to look like much of a style. 



I had a curling wand that I purchased (cheaply) before Irresistible Me sent me the Sapphire to try. After using the Sapphire over the last month, I can tell you honestly that it is worlds better. It heats up super quickly and my hair holds the curl significantly better using this tool. Plus, because there are eight different wands to choose from, I have lots of options for future Pinterest-inspired hairstyles. 


I like breaking out of my usual routine and trying new things with my hair. I hope that as it grows longer I'll get even more comfortable experimenting with different tools and techniques. 

Have you tried any fun new hairstyles lately? 

Linking to Pin to Present at In Residence. 

From the archives: 


Making Jeans Work at Work: 2 Ways

I'm fortunate enough to work in an office with a pretty relaxed dress code. However, the people I work for wear more professional attire, so I don't feel comfortable dressing too casually around them. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, I'm a believer in "dress for the job you want, not the job you have."

Nevertheless, I don't think wearing jeans and looking professional are mutually exclusive. I love my denim, and I think there are ways to wear jeans and look office-appropriate at the same time. One of my favorite places to go for jeans is MODE. They have a huge selection of designer jeans at budget-friendly prices. They're my go-to for jeans, but they also have a variety of other clothing items and accessories.

For you local readers, you'll be happy to know that MODE is opening a pop-up shop on November 1st in Lee's Summit, Missouri, at Summit Fair. Be sure to check them out there or at their original Kansas City location in Corbin Park in Overland Park. If you're looking to make some extra money for the holidays, they're also hiring at both locations.

I found a great pair of boot-cut jeans (something you know I've been on the hunt for!) at MODE over the weekend. Here are two ways I plan to style these jeans for work.


{Look 1: Add Dressy Elements}


One way I like to dress up my jeans for work is by adding dressy elements, like bold jewelry and heels, to make them feel a little more formal. Rather than the usual weekend staple, a tee-shirt, instead I add a pretty printed blouse. 




Cardigan: Gap Outlet (similar) | leopard blouse: Loft (similar) | jeans: Denimocracy c/o MODE (similar) | necklace: Bauble Bar (similar) | pink heels: Nine West (similar)


{Look 2: Add a Blazer}

To me a blazer adds instant polish to any look. It's always what I reach for when I want to add a more professional feel to any look.




Blazer: Target (similar) | paisley shirt: J.Crew (similar) | jeans: Denimocracy c/o MODE (similar) | boots: Crown Vintage (similar)


How do you wear your jeans at work? 


From the archives: 




Halloween with a Toddler: Eating and Reading

I've never really cared too much about Halloween. I think it's fun to get dressed up, and of course I love all the candy (who doesn't?), but otherwise I could take it or leave it. However, now that Jona is at an age where he's beginning to show interest in Halloween and all that goes with it, I'm getting more in the spirit than I have in years past.

Since we're still in the process of getting unpacked, I'm not making much of an effort when it comes to Halloween decor. Nonetheless, I've been trying to find other ways to bring a little Halloween into our house this October.

{eating} 




{meaty eyeballs} Hoping to entice Jona to eat a meatball (a food that he once scarfed down with pleasure), I made this cute Halloween meatball recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I called them monster meatballs, and while he loved looking at them and talking about them, he drew the line at touching them or eating them. Aaron and I are never ones to turn down a meatball, so we enjoyed it. (Although Aaron wanted his meatballs olive, er, eyeball free.)

{reading}



{Carl's Halloween by Alexandra Day} This beautifully illustrated book with few words tells the story of a little girl and her dog on Halloween. Jona loves looking at the pictures in this book, while I try not to be bothered by the fact that the mother in the story leaves her toddler in the hands (paws?) of a dog while she leaves the house. 

{Tacky and the Haunted Igloo by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger} Tacky the penguin and his friends make a haunted igloo for Halloween, each dressing as something that scares him (an insect, a storm, the dark). This book, although a bit long for a toddler, was fun to read and more cute than spooky.

{Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds} This was a surprise favorite for Jona. We've been reading Creepy Carrots every night for the past couple of weeks. It's about a rabbit who loves to eat carrots until the carrots start following him around everywhere. Done in grayscale with pops of orange (for carrots of course), the illustrations make this book stand out. 

{There was an Old Mummy Who Swallowed a Spider by Jennifer Ward} If you've read There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, you'll recognize the title of this book. With repetition, rhyme, and colorful (and not scary) pictures, this one was, predictably, a big hit.

Are you enjoying any Halloween-themed foods or books yet this month? 

From the archives: 

How I Make Time for Self Care Even When Life Gets Busy

Today's theme at The Circle Linkup is Me-Time and Self Care. Be sure to head over to In Its Time to see some more great self care ideas. 

Before becoming a mom, I vowed to never become one of those martyr moms, who takes care of everyone around her and always puts herself on the bottom of the priority list. Like most things on my "when I have kids, I'll never..." list, that's certainly easier said than done. However, I do make an effort to carve out time in my busy schedule for me-time whenever I can. As an introvert, I need time to myself in order to function; too many days without and I'm drained both physically and emotionally.

Here are a few ways that I take time to care for myself, even when life is crazy (cough, moving, cough).


{read a book} You're shocked I'm sure, but my favorite way to recharge my batteries is to relax with a good book. I'd love to have an hour or two every afternoon to devote to reading, but that's rarely the case. I make time for reading by getting to bed a little early (or trying to) so that I can read a little before going to sleep. I also bring a book with me to work and try to read on my lunch break a few times a week. Right now I'm reading Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner.

{bake something} Especially during the colder months of the year, I find it so relaxing to spend the afternoon baking. I love being in the kitchen for any reason, but the slow pace of baking feels so much more soothing than frantically putting together weeknight dinners. On my to-bake list are these bakery style chocolate chip cookies from Boys Ahoy.

{catch up on blog reading} Mondays are always crazy, so I started making it my Monday night ritual to just relax and catch up on blog reading after Jona goes to bed. My to-do list is always long, but I don't see the harm in waiting until Tuesday to start checking off that list. Knowing that at the end of the day I'll be cozied up on the couch with my computer and a glass of wine (#socool), I'm able to survive that dreadful first day back to work.

{spend time with family and friends} Although this isn't exactly me-time, I think spending time with the people (and dog) I love most is crucial for taking care of myself. Whether it's watching Dateline with Aaron on a Friday night (again, #socool) or enjoying a meal with family, I always feel better after spending quality time with my loved ones.

{take a nap} Does this one even need an explanation? It's been a while since I've had time, but to me, nothing completes a Sunday afternoon like a nice nap. Typically I use the time while Jona naps to get things done or run errands (if Aaron is home), but sometimes it's nice to put him down and then put myself down while I'm at it.

How do you take time for yourself, even when life gets busy? 


From the archives: 

Leaf Print Blouse for Work and Weekend

What a weekend. Our Kansas City Royals got two big wins, the K-State Wildcats had a terrible loss, and the unpacking still seems like a never-ending process. Oh, and like most weekends, it wasn't quite long enough.

Today I have two looks featuring this SheIn leaf print blouse, which I thought was the perfect addition to my fall closet. I love the bold red color and the subtle leaf pattern, in a classic, button-up style.

print blouse for work and weekend | www.shealennon.com


For the first look, I styled this blouse for work. I love the contrast of the red against my navy blue pencil skirt. For even more color, I added my mustard yellow cardigan. I'm loving these rich, fall colors.

print blouse with pencil skirt for work | www.shealennon.com

leaf print blouse with mustard yellow cardigan | www.shealennon.com

Cardigan: Target (similar) | leaf print blouse: c/o SheIn | navy pencil skirt: J.Crew Factory (similar) | belt: Loft | red wedges: Target (similar)

This blouse is great for work, but I love that it's versatile enough for the weekend as well. To dress it down I paired it with jeans, desert booties, and a warm scarf (also in mustard yellow--I can't get enough of that color!).

print blouse with jeans and scarf for casual weekend look | www.shealennon.com

red print blouse with mustard yellow scarf | www.shealennon.com

red print with mustard yellow | www.shealennon.com

Leaf print blouse: c/o SheIn | jeans: Gap | scarf: Target (similar) | bracelet: Nickel and Suede | desert booties: Crown Vintage (similar)

Have you added anything fun to your closet lately? 

Thank you to SheIn for sending me this pretty blouse! I had a lot of fun looking through the site; I was impressed by their wide selection of items and their low prices. (Always a plus for this bargain shopper.) Here are a few other things that caught my eye at SheIn.


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 


From the archives: 




Fall Food Bucket List

Fall is such a fun time of year, and it's right behind spring as far as my "seasons I love most" list goes. I've seen a lot of fall bucket lists on blogs, and while I do want to do all the fall things, I know that my checklist this season will be more focused on unpacking and settling in more than anything else. However, now that my kitchen, while still a bit messy, is at least usable, all I can think about is everything I want to make this fall.

Here's my fall food bucket list.



{one} nutella hot chocolate from a beautiful mess ||| {two} spiked salty caramel apple cider from eat it kansas city.

{three} ten minute donuts from say yes ||| {four} cinnamon and sugar dusted whole grain applesauce muffins from mel's kitchen cafe ||| {five} simple homemade breakfast sausage from iowa girl eats.

{six} cheesy "bat" pasta dippers from boys ahoy ||| {seven} slow cooker buffalo chicken dip from gimme some oven ||| {eight} chorizo loaded cheesy potatoes from oh sweet basil.

{nine} french bread pizza mummies from skinny taste ||| {ten} baked cream cheese spaghetti from damn delicious ||| {eleven} cider braised chicken with butternut squash from how sweet it is.

What do you want to make this fall? 

From the archives: 

Family Dinner Friday: Easy Does It

This week we've been packing up our house to move over the weekend, so I haven't had a lot of time or energy to worry about dinner. My plan of attack was to choose easy recipes with minimal ingredients and minimal prep-time, and an added bonus of lots of yummy leftovers so lunch was taken care of too.


{one} slow cooker thai chicken. This flavorful slow cooker dish can't get any easier; take chicken, coconut milk, and thai peanut sauce (pre-made unless you're feeling ambitious) and throw it in the slow cooker. That's it. I made rice to go with it, but if you're really looking to eliminate the prep you can buy pre-cooked rice. (I've never tried it but I've heard Trader Joe's rice is good.) 

{two} homemade crunchy taco hamburger helper. This is a family favorite and a one-pot wonder. It couldn't be easier: just brown ground beef and season with taco seasoning, then add salsa and chicken broth. Boil it and add rice and let simmer so the rice can cook. Finally top with cheese and cover so it melts. That's it! You can top it with whatever toppings you feel like--I was in the mood for crunchy tortilla chips and creamy avocado. 

{three} baked ravioli. Frozen ravioli is cooked then tossed with marinara sauce (or meat sauce), topped with mozzarella cheese, and baked in the oven. Easy, hearty, and cheesy... you can't go wrong. 

What are your go-to easy dinners? 

I'll be taking a little break from the blog next week while we get moved and settled into our new house. I hope to have a post up by mid-week, but if not I'll be back next Monday at the latest. Thanks for your patience and understanding as I may be slow to respond to comments, blog posts, and social media. 

From the archives: 


Currently: October

I love October, it's always such a beautiful month. The leaves are starting to turn, the weather is cool but (usually) not yet cold, and it's prime time for college football, pumpkin patches, and hot apple cider.

I'm linking up with Anne and Jenna to see what I'm currently...



{eating} chocolate chip cookie bars. One thing I love about fall is that it's the start of baking season. Summer is always too busy and too hot to do much baking, but when the weather gets cooler I love to spend a weekend afternoon making some sweet treat. Over the weekend Jona and I made these chocolate chip cookie bars, and they were quick, easy, and delicious.

{exploring} our soon-to-be new neighborhood. This is the last week in our current house; we move to our new one this weekend (yay!). It's not far from where we live now, but it's in a different city and a different neighborhood. We've been doing a little exploring to see what's nearby. So far we've visited the park across the street and scoped out some restaurant options.

{wearing} fall layers. September was still pretty summer-like for the most part, but about a week ago it cooled off and now it really feels like fall. I haven't wasted any time in breaking out the scarves, boots, and layers. I found a little field jacket for Jona that's similar to mine, so over the weekend we wore matching gingham layers. #cantstopwontstop

{admiring} my dad. Last week my dad's company threw him a send off party, as he is retiring next week. It was fun to be surrounded by his former and current co-workers, and hear stories about him as a colleague, boss, and friend. I'm so happy he's retiring and giving himself a much-deserved break. He's always taught me the value of hard work and set high expectations for me. As a kid sometimes that drove me crazy, but as an adult I appreciate those values he instilled in me.

{collecting} boxes, newspaper, and moving tips. Moving day is almost here, so it's crunch time to get everything ready. I want to be as organized as possible so we don't lose anything in the abyss of boxes. One article I read from iHeart Organizing recommended using color-coded tape to pack boxes, one color for each room or floor, and I think that's a pretty good idea. I'll be scouring Pinterest for more moving tips this week no doubt.

What have you been up to currently? 


From the archives: 







Fall Style: Burgundy Swing Dress 3 Ways

Dresses rank pretty high on my “things I love to wear” list. With the right accessories, a dress is suitable for nearly any occasion, and I love that it can be as simple or layered up as you’re in the mood for. I found this long sleeved burgundy swing dress from Old Navy a couple months ago, and I’ve been waiting for the weather to cool off enough to wear it. Well, my weather wish was granted (and then some) so I’ve been brainstorming a few ways to wear this comfortable, versatile dress.

Today I have three styling options that work well for this long-sleeved burgundy dress, but I think any dress in a rich fall hue would work well.

3 ways to style a burgundy dress | www.shealennon.com


{classic} A dress paired with my jean jacket and ankle boots is a fall go-to look for me. The jacket provides the perfect layer for chilly mornings (and a chilly office) and the ankle boots have been the shoes I reach for more than any others these days.

burgundy dress with jean jacket | www.shealennon.com

burgundy dress with jean jacket and ankle boots | www.shealennon.com

Jean jacket: Gap (similar) | burgundy dress: Old Navy | turquoise necklace: c/o eNVe Designs | belt: Loft | ankle boots: Crown Vintage (similar)

{bold} Sometimes when the weather gets cooler I’m tempted to put away my brights and resort to all neutrals, all the time. However, I want to carry summer’s “dress colorfully” motto into fall, because wearing color makes me happy. When I saw this post of Anne’s, I wasted no time in recreating her look of the burgundy dress paired with a colorful scarf. I decided to swap the ankle boots for my pink heels to bring out the pink in the scarf, and ended up pleased with my color experimentation.

burgundy dress with bold colored scarf | www.shealennon.com

burgundy dress with shades of purple and pink | www.shealennon.com

Dress: Old Navy | scarf: Loft (similar) | pink pumps: Nine West (similar color and heel height)


{simple and elegant} One of the beauties of a dress is that it’s a one-stop outfit shop. Yes it’s fall, so #layersgalore, but sometimes you just want to keep it simple. With a bold statement necklace and snakeskin flats, this look proves that sometimes what’s easy can be elegant too.

burgundy dress with snakeskin flats and statement necklace | www.shealennon.com

burgundy dress with snakeskin flats and statement necklace | www.shealennon.com

Dress: Old Navy | necklace: Bauble Bar (similar, but even more of a statement) | clutch: The Limited (similar) | snakeskin flats: Target (similar)


Shop more fall-colored dresses below:


What is your favorite fall dress?



From the archives: 

Family Dinner Friday: Early Fall Comfort Food Suppers

This week it was as if Kansas heard everyone's comments about it not feeling like fall, because sure enough it went from being in the mid eighties to the low sixties this week. While I'd prefer a more gradual temperature drop, I won't complain about the break from the heat. This weather makes me crave warm, comforting dishes that don't skimp on the carbs. Here are a few early fall comfort food dishes that I've made recently.

Early fall comfort food dinner ideas | www.shealennon.com

{one} cheesy beef and macaroni. This is a homemade take on a classic Hamburger Helper dish that most of us are familiar with. (Did anyone else just love that stuff?) It's easy to make, hearty, and the best part is that it all cooks in one pot so the clean-up's a breeze. 

{two} pasta with sausage and peppers. To me this is the perfect summer-meets-fall dish. Sweet peppers are combined with flavorful sausage (I used a spicy variety to balance out the sweet peppers) and tossed with pasta in a light but creamy sauce. 

{three} sweet and spicy pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes. Meat and potatoes always says "comfort food" to me (and Aaron wholeheartedly agrees). Tender, lean pork tenderloin is glazed with a simple, sweet, and spicy sauce, and doesn't need much else to go with  it. Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes make it a classic pairing.

{four} chicken enchilada rice bake. This is like a delicious combo at a Mexican restaurant combined into one dish. Rice, chicken, corn, and other seasonings are combined with enchilada sauce, topped with cheese, and baked. This type of dish is a lazy cook's dream: you can use leftover rice, pre-cooked chicken, and enchilada sauce straight from the can. 

What comfort foods do you crave when fall hits? 

From the archives: 



October Goals and September Goal Review

This year, I started writing monthly goals on the blog as a way to motivate myself to get things done and stay accountable. Here's this month's recap and next month's set of goals for my home, my blog, and my family or personal life. Although I recently changed my post schedule to 3 days a week I plan to continue to share my goals on the first of every month. 



September Goal Recap

Home

1. Sell our house.  Still in the works. What a roller coaster ride. 

2. Buy a new houseWell, it's not a done deal yet, but it's pretty close. I'll share more once it's final but we will soon be closing on a house that we absolutely love. I can't wait! 

Blog

1. Clean up my Pinterest boards. This one is a work in progress. I went through my two largest boards, What's for Dinner? and For the Sweet Tooth and got rid of pins with broken links or outdated pins. 

2. Keep working with PS Elements and get more comfortable using it. Well, this one took an interesting turn. My old laptop, an HP, bit the dust (at the same time that EVERYTHING else did...right after we put our house on the market, yay for that!) and I replaced it with a Mac. So the version of PS Elements I had no longer works. So back to Pic Monkey all the way for now. 

Fun / Family 

1. Fill photo album with August pictures and print photos for September. Done. 

2. Go on a dateWe sadly didn't take the time to go on a dinner date, which is what I had in mind, but we did have a kid-free day trip for a football game. Some friends of ours offered us their extra tickets to the K-State game, which is only a couple of hours drive from Kansas City. Although we all came home with terrible sunburns, it was a lot of fun, and even better that we won the game.

October Goals

Home

1. Sell our house. 

2. Get moved into our new house. Yay! 

Blog

1. Contact blogs or brands about contributing. This goal has been on my list in some form for a while now, and I need to stop feeling so intimidated and just go for it! 

2. Get back to using Twitter regularly. I fell off the Twitter wagon a while ago, and while I don't think I'll ever love it, I know I should at least be somewhat active for the sake of my blog. 

3. Get (back) involved with the local blogging community. I've mentioned Kansas City's awesome blogging community before, but with the craziness of summer and selling our house I was never able to go to any events. I'm hoping to get back to it this fall, because I always have fun and make new friends. 

Fun / Family

1. Fill photo album with September pictures and print photos for October.

2. Go to the pumpkin patch with friends and family. There's a great pumpkin patch close to us, and I know this year Jona will have a lot of fun picking out a pumpkin and eating cider donuts. 

What are your goals this month? 

From the archives: