Swing your Dreads.

Sadly, our company has left.
And now we have a little time for this:


In craving fall pleasures of the North, we managed to find this:


Not exactly the picturesque old cider mill hugged by tiers of apple trees we would have preferred but fun nonetheless.

Bradenton’s Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival–a carnival of fall-pleasures, a buffet of fair foods, an exposition of autumn-themed festivities like pony-rides, hay throwing and corn mazes.


Dude, you know it’s a bad day when the corn patrol has to come rescue you from your lost corner of the corn maze.


I’m pretty sure I have that same orange vest in yellow.

So, I like Fall. No, I love Fall. And if I was into that whole kindergarten teacher decorated cardigan thing, I’d wear one every day. But I’m not. But somewhere there is an imaginary version of me wearing something orange with gourd buttons and felt patch leaves. I’m just sayin.


This Hunsader Farms. It’s this crazy huge place with tents galore and a parking lot the size of Montana. But it’s a magnificent place to feel like it’s fall when really it’s eighty-some degrees and the closest thing to a cider mill is the $12 hay bales they sell at the nursery up the street.



The kids loved it. And I loved the kids loving it.





We indulged in real carmel apples and fresh-squeezed lemonade, smoked sweet corn and chocolate dipped bacon. Yes, chocolate dipped bacon.



(and if you’re reading at the same pace I do, this is about the point in the song playing that I wish I had dreads so I could stand up and dance, flinging my head back and forth all crazy…and my dreads would swish and whip with blurring speed, and I’d feel like a true rockstar…sans pumpkin sweater, of course)

And speaking of dancing, we danced. We danced like crazy people, sweat beading and dripping down our temples, laughing and swinging our kids like flour sacks across our hips. We danced to live honkey-tonk music and jammed to banjos and drums and fiddles played by Santa Claus-looking life enthusiasts.

Our dear friend, Rebecca, who came down from Indiana just for this weekend’s festivities. We love her very much.

My girl was wild and free, clapping off beat, stompin’ her feet, dancing crazy, tongue curled bashfully just like it always does when she is having more fun than she wants us to know.


We stayed until the exposed bare skin caged beneath sandal straps was black from hours trekking across loose dirt and the kids were worn out and in need of nourishment that didn’t involve sugar or a deep fryer. But it was grand.



And, on the two-hour drive home, in between choreographing a car dance routine and popping sweet potato puffs into Nella’s sweet little mouth to keep her happy, the sun gave us a little encore of loveliness to our day.


And, in other news.

We have a garden.
Gary (who just happens to be a very talented horticulturist) put in a 15 x 6 foot garden yesterday which is more than I thought I’d ever be able to have in Florida and something our family is really excited about. Come time for Nella’s birthday, we should be expecting to harvest tomatoes and peppers, carrots, onions, radishes and lettuce.





My friend Nici has inspired me to get a little more involved in the food we eat, and I’m excited for this new challenge. We’ll see what happens. I’ve never considered myself the gardening girl but the older I get, the more I want to be. There’s this line I love in Little Women. Jo, the writer, just finishes giving an impressive speech arguing an important point. “You should have been a lawyer,” someone says. And she smiles and calmly replies, “I should have been a great many things.” I love that.

I want to be “a great many things,” and maybe….just maybe….garderner is among them.

And this post is getting completely long-winded, but real quick, just to prove it doesn’t take that much time, money or effort to make meaningful memories for your kids…

Our Fall Party.


Every kid brought their own pumpkin and t-shirt to paint and the only thing I did was lay out donuts, cider and carmel apples.


The hit of the day was the scavenger hunt…a trail of clues that led to a bag of candy buried beneath the “X”.


Swear, I forgot I said I was going to throw this party until two hours before the kids arrived. I was knee-deep in work and completely oblivious to what time it was. Needless to say, the rule was “stay outside” so no one saw the atrocious mess indoors.

Anyhoo, it was fun.

It’s been interesting balancing work and chores and family and company and Buddy Walk and pumpkin festivals and meaningless errands and housework and so on, but strangely, the busier we are, the more fueled I feel. You make it work…in the best way you know how.

It’s Fall, People. Go hug a pumpkin. Go swing your dreads. Go discover what a great many things you want to be.


And Congratulations to my sister who rocked out her Toastmasters speech today and won!


Leave a Comment
  1. Wow looks like you guys have been having a ton o’ fun! We’re heading to the beach AND the pumpkin patch this weekend…one foot in the summer, one foot in the fall. We like to keep it fresh…LOL

  2. Love the photos of chubby Nella holding her pumpkin:)
    I wanna host a fall party now!
    Lainey’s outfits in these photos are too sweet- can you give shopping secrets??

  3. beautiful and inspiring as always. =]

  4. Congrats on your garden- but WATCH OUT! It’s seriously addicting and you may just find yourself hauling out your sod to put in more garden beds. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. love every single picture…
    pure beauty.

  6. …and can you give the recipe for candied apples, or are they store-bought? my mouth is watering..

  7. My favorite quote from Little Women as well. Good luck with y our garden!

  8. love this <3

  9. A big Autumn thumbs up! ๐Ÿ˜€ Precious girls!


  10. Greeting from New England, we’re in full fall swing up here!

    Just a quick note: be careful planting your jalapeno peppers next to, say your tomoatos, because they will get some of the spice of the pepper. (Which can be kind of fun, although probably not for the kiddos!) Be warned!

  11. You are so amazing and inspiring I don’t know how you have time to do everything you share with us! I’m also in love with fall and loving our 65 degree weather here in Illinois!

  12. I love this blog, and love watching you suck all the Fall-loving you can get in your Florida heat. I can say I’ve never picked pumpkins in a dress, nor start a garden in October. How I wish I could. I’m starting to get my winter gear out, and prepare for the snow. But I am enjoying every ounce of Fall before the white stuff floats my way. I just raked a huge pile of leaves in my backyard and danced and jumped in them just for you. Happy Fall.

  13. I love FALL! Yesterday I turned 41! And I must say it was much better than turning 40! Life is good and just keeps getting better!

    Gary is super awesome! I cannot wait to see what your garden grows.

    We got lost in a corn maze last year. And it was right at dusk when we got out. I just was perplexed that people were entering with flashlights as we were leaving. Creepy! I had to get out of there fast! But, going to do it all again this weekend and cannot wait!



  14. What a wonderful, wonderful event! Your fall party :)
    I love that you drove 2 hours for a pumpkin patch.
    I am totally swinging my dreads even though I can’t hear your music.
    LOVE Jo in Little Women.
    The girls are beautiful. Good luck with your garden!

  15. a fall party?! I love that idea. And I think I love it more that you forgot and put it all together in a few hours. I knew we were kindred spirits :)

    Loved the pumpkin pictures! My 4 year old said “baby Nella IS a cute little punkin'” :)

  16. Ha ha. Laura, I just told Brett that and he is wishing we would have planted the jalepenos next to the tomatoes. He wants ’em spicy.

  17. What a great post Kelle! We are heading to the pumpkin patch tomorrow- cannot wait! And I think about you every day I sweep and try to get rid of all our acorns here in Virginia- want some?! :) Have a wonderful fall day- I am heading out to enjoy ours!

  18. $12 for a bale of hay? Oh my, I think I paid $2 for mine…but I do live in Western PA, so it’s kinda readily available up here! Anyhow, love your pics and it looks like you’ve been having a blast! I am hosting a pumpkin painting party this weekend for my little one’s cousins…five kids in all, but they love it! And I’ve just finished a batch of pumpkin, ghost and moon sugar cookies for them to decorate! I think I might add some carmel apples into the mix too!
    Great post! Thanks for the pictures! Your girls, as always, are beautiful! Happy Fall!!! :)

  19. love how you squeeze every drop of goodness from life. you’re a good momma. kickin’ party! YAY fall:)

  20. Incredible pictures, as always-love that bright blue Florida sky! Can’t wait to see how your garden grows :)

  21. DELICIOUS – ’bout sums up everything! Thank you for sharing your yummy adventures with us.

  22. Those pictures of Nella in the leaves make my little heart smile.

  23. Looks like the pumpkin farm was a blast.

    Never heard of chocolate dipped bacon before…interesting.

  24. Aahhh! Hunsander farm!! The pumpkin festival! My heart just did a little leap followed by a spastic dance of joy in my chest! You have no idea how much I love that place! Last year, when we were desperately in search of finding something outdoorsy and fun to do with my father-in-law and my husband’s 104 year old grandmother, we tripped across Hunsander not ten minutes from Grandma Dodo’s house and we fell in LOVE. My round pregnant self was in heaven from all of the food, the girls were practically bouncing in excitement from the pony rides and the bounce-launcher dealie (why can’t I think of the name of that thing now??) and we got completely lost in the corn maze! I was so disappointed we couldn’t make it out there this year–and last year they didn’t have very many pumpkins even!

    I love the pictures of Lainey helping with the garden, there’s something about kids playing outside in their PJs that is just too cute for words.

  25. You had me at “bacon.”

    Dang, you can make store bought donuts look all fancy-schmantzy! Wish I could do the food stylin’ and take pics like you can.

    And WOW, that garden is going to be FAB. Very, very excited for you.

  26. Dammit, I’m crying again. And not because of the chocolate-covered bacon (although that’s a close second).

  27. I love the last line of this entry-Go hug a pumpkin. I LOVE fall and love that you are bringining it 100% to Florida :) I am in Michigan enjoying the leaf piles and the smell of fall every night!

  28. I wish I can borrow Nella and Lainey and all those kids even for just a day! They’re all so lovely! I’ll be the happiest girl if I can spend a day with them! ๐Ÿ˜€

  29. I’m a Canada born girl who spent a great deal of my adult life in both California and Arizona. I know exactly what you mean on missing fall.
    I’m back in Canada and l-o-v-i-n-g me some fall these days.
    Glad you could still make it work for you down in Florida!! :) Just gotta find a different way of celebrating things! :)

  30. You threw a fall party?! How awesome!! Seriously..LOVE the idea. And we love some Hunsader Farms! We discovered it two years ago and we’re making our 3rd annual trip up this weekend.. It’s become a tradition now. Heck, my kids need to have “some” concept of fall!

    You totally know how to rock out fall in Naples Kelle. Your girls are one of a kind adorable. SO precious!!

    P.S. My life is better because of your blog. Thank you for inspiration.

    And so psyched for your garden. Sweet.

  31. Looks like tons of fun! I love the fall party. Those caramel apples and doughnuts look mighty tasty!

  32. What a way for another southerner like myself to remind me that we CAN have fall even when it’s in the 80s and muggy! Gorgeous!

  33. Fall is different in Florida, thanks for reminding us that it can still be fun!

  34. I’m staring at the screen with my mouth open because two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my Dad (http://settingstages.blogspot.com/2010/09/walk-beside-me.html) and referred to my favorite quote from Little Women….THAT EXACT QUOTE!!

    I knew I liked you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Happy Fall!


  35. Yummy fall… cinnamon & pumpkin & um, bacon with chocolate?!? Thought I had heard of everything, but that is a new one on me!

    Gary is so awesome for getting your garden set up… what a wonderful gift. There is nothing better than eating something you grew yourself.

    You already are a great many things indeed… thanks for taking us along on this adventure!

  36. Pulled up your site to listen to some music while prepping for dinner…and a new post!
    Love the fall outing. Heading to a popular local farm soon for more pumpkin picking. Already have like 7 of ’em…sadly picked from a large bin at lowe’s. Lots of carving goes on around here, as I hear you know. Have fun if you try nellakin. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  37. The corn maze at Hunsader Farms says “Buddy Walk 2010″ and there’s a Buddy Walk there on Saturday at 9 am!


  38. ahhhhhh… I can’t even explain how much I love your blog!! I so enjoy following along with your beautiful family and all your awesome adventures!! Your eloquentness gives me something to strive for in my own blogging!! (eloquentness is not a word, but it works for my point) haha!! =)

  39. Firstly, sending some fall love from Michigan. Most all of the leaves have fallen, and the trees seem like they are about ready for winter. Though I am not. Second, I love that no matter where you are you find a way to dance. You dance in grocery stores, in the middle of your kitchen, or at a park. It’s great!

  40. Wow, beautiful photos and loving your fall. We don’t have anything like that here in NZ, hope to one day come your way and experience it!
    Have a wonderful week Kelle, keep these wonderful posts coming!

  41. Oh.My.Gosh. Can Nella get any cuter than the pictures of her in the pumpkin patch? Loved the one you posted yesterday of her laying on her back in the middle of the pumpkins with the biggest smile on her face! Oh please, Oh please – I really want a POSTER SIZE of that picture!! I’d put it on the front of my refrigerator (since I don’t have kids – therefore not kid-art!). SHE IS SO DAMN, STINKING CUTE I CARE BARELY STAND IT!!

  42. Snap! We started a garden this weekend too. We’re hoping for lots of herbs (coriander and basil amongst them), carrots, capsicum and tomatoes. And sunflowers, just because my Tilly wanted them :)

    Oh and I laughed out loud at the Corn Patrol. I love that! Tickled my fancy :)

  43. I love the pictures. They are wonderful…
    Looks like you had a wonderful weekend and start to a great week as well! Love the music as always… It takes me away from this “cube” at work and off to fabulous beaches, picnics, and of course everything fall right now.
    Thank you!

  44. I love this post. I’m so excited about it being spring in Australia but now I’m looking forward to Autumn and determined that we make it to the local pumpkin festival and apple day.

    I have to see I can’t wait to see what you’ve got planned for Nella’s first birthday :)

    Thank you for the inspiration xx

  45. Oh the Pumpkin Festival…wow does that bring back memories. I grew up with Hudsader Farms Pumpkin Festival. My whole family (aunts, cousins, grandparents) used to go every year. That place holds so many special memories for me. I’m so glad you found it and had a great time. One of the owners was actually one of my professors in college (USF). She was pertty awesome.
    I love the idea of having a Fall party. And those carmel apples look delicious.

  46. love it! where did you get nellas hair bow?

  47. I think I am referring to the one in the post from today (orange and black and white)

  48. I think I am referring to the one in the post from today (orange and black and white)

  49. kelle,
    looks like everyone had a super fun time at the punkin patch.
    and how sweet is gary to help you with the garden. your pictures are magnifeicnto as always!
    nella and laniey are just a bit of stardust blown from the hand of God.

  50. I absolutely love this post! If it makes you feel better, when we went to the pumpkin patch here in the Midwest, it wasn’t that cool either! But it was so fun. Glad your girls had a ball.
    I LOVE the idea of an autumn party! And I LOOOVE your sprite’s boots and pj’s while gardening. That’s how I’d do it too…if I was a gardener! :)

  51. xoxo

  52. xoxo

  53. WOW I don’t know how or when you find time to sleep or even breathe, you are so busy making awesome memories for your littles. Nella’s smile at the end of the post has made my day!!!

  54. I love the pictures, as usual :)

  55. ♥ Pumpkin Patches and all their cheesy family fun in the fall!! We never feel the crisp air, but we do it up right anyway at this awesome place. We feel like we have thrown fistfuls of cash left and right when we leave, but somehow, when we’re in the thick of it, $3 seems like a STEAL for their amazing corn drenched in butter, and we look forward eagerly for our next trip. We go to our patch this weekend, I think. :)

  56. Kelle, you are a busy Mama! And you rock it to the core.

    Not that you need one more thing to do, but I thought I’d share my love affair with fall blog post with you, just in case you have a moment. Seriously? Me and fall have had a long love affair and autumn is AMAZING in Utah. http://hothotjj.blogspot.com/2010/10/love-affair-with-fall.html

    Nella in the leaves melts my heart. Happy Tuesday.


  57. Love long winded posts. Especially when you wax poetic about the Fall while having to tolerate 80
    degree weather. Me~I’m tolerating weather in the 40’s & 50’s while dreaming of sugary beaches & palm trees & SUN! The pic of Peyton holding Nella with Lainey’s hand on her leg just killed me. Such love.
    Keep ’em long winded, just like we like ’em.
    Sending burning leaves smoke signals your way.

  58. Wow, this pregnant mommy is so craving chocolate dipped bacon! Who’da thunk it?! Beautiful images as always… and now I want to watch Little Women!

  59. Yeah, we totally got lost in our corn maze too. We had to sheepishly exit through the entrance. We said that the 5 year old was getting hungry. It was a lie.

  60. awesome music choice!!!! Love it and love what you are doing

  61. I love the picture of Lainey holding on to Nella’s leg in the pumkin patch. Shows such sisterly love.

  62. OMG…chocolate covered bacon!! I HAVE to try that!
    Loving the fall party Kelle!
    It’s not Fall for me….it’s Spring here in Aus, but I’ll swing my dreads, find a pumpkin to hug & get thinking on my list of ‘many things I want to be’…. because you’ve inspired me Kelle!
    P.S. Loving Lainey’s ladybug face ;o)

  63. Ohh, sweet Nella…enjoy floundering about in that pile of leaves…the joy radiates from your photos!

  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. Oh my. I love the picture where Lainey is sweetly holding Nella’s leg. What a precious sisterly pair those two make. And the glee in Nella’s eyes in the leaves? And the sheepish delight in Lainey as she danced tongue out? Happy Happy Fall! We’ve been raking leaves and jumping in them daily…and thinking of the Hamptons when we do so. Well, I’m thinking of y’all, my boys don’t really care much for blogging…no offense…but they do love some Kelle Hampton playlist for dance offs!

  66. please do tell where you get Lainey’s tube socks!!!

    my son (almost 4) INSISTS on “knee socks” most days and all we have are the ones he wore in a wedding…and yes i let him wear them, but he’s gonna be pissed one day if i don’t get him some real knee socks and sees that i let him wear sissy socks with tennis shoes and basketballs shorts!!!

  67. I came across your blog not too long after you had your little Nella. I find it so captivating. I love your writing. I love your photos. And I love you choice of songs. I find myself going to your blog to read the latest entry and I end up keeping the window open to listen through your play-list while I sit at the computer and visit other sites. I was so excited to hear ‘Dog Days Are Over’ with this recent entry as this is one of my recent favorite songs.

  68. I love all your posts…and oddly enough, it took me until this week to notice two things. 1) My best friend from high school lives in Sarasota now (right next to Bradenton I believe, since when she called that’s what the caller ID said!)…spoke to her today about all the non-Fall weather we’ve been having here in CA too (it was 75 today), and 2) My husband’s grandmother’s name is Nella. Not that you really needed to know either of those things…BUT sometimes I love how small the world actually is and how we’re all connected, even in minuscule ways.

    Your over-zealous love for Fall is contagious, I think I prefer it to summer now. At the grocery store this afternoon I picked up some pumpkin bread mix and apple cider…again it was 75 outside! Looking forward to cooler temps, and more of your Fall posts. Cheers!

  69. You are planting a garden, Kelle. Tiny seeds of hidden joys and tender plants of simple uncovered moments. All are watered in love and acceptance, fertilized with priorities that will align with what matters when we are old and nearly done. And warmed by the sons and daughters that tell us why we are here. Prepare big baskets for gathering the harvest. Dance, throw back your head and sing with laugter. This is why we breathe. This is what makes our hearts ba-beat, ba-beat. This is what paints every season with radiant hues. This is what makes us sleep smiling.

  70. Amazing post—I also find that at time, the busy I am, the more I get done.
    live, girl, one day at a time & find something beautiful in every day

  71. gorgeous pictures of hunsaders! we were there on sunday…and i think i’m still scrubbing my grubby feet!!! love your pictures :)

  72. Ohh, Mrs. Hampton. You have no idea how much I needed this post. I woke up feeling fabulous this morning, and that feeling was quickly dissolved by problems in my 12-hour shift at work that had me near tears and contemplating walking out. As the night was winding down, I thought to myself, “I know I already looked at Kelle’s blog today, but just MAYBE she wrote something new…”

    So I did. And you did.

    And now, the near-hysteria has calmed, because you always inspire me to see the beauty in my life.

    Thank you.

  73. Kelle Hampton. Could you be any more inspiring?! I want to run down the street swinging my non-existant dreads while dancing with pumpkins and throwing corn kernels into the air! Thank you. Seriously. Once again you open my eyes to things my busy regular schedule wouldn’t allow me to be open to. You rock. You really do.


  74. nellabean looks soooo big in the pumpkin patch! oh my word she is growing!

    we were at a pumpkin patch this weekend but it wasn’t with no florida sun.. which i would welcome these days :)

    did you make the caramel apples? how how? share the pics and recipe if so please :)

    i sooo wanna eat that choc bacon… mmmmmmmmm

  75. We went to Hunsader Farm last year. Love it! I loved everything about those pictures :)

  76. Love the pics. Looks like you are celebrating autumn just fine without the Midwestern chill! Much happiness and damn, I think I want some chocolate dipped bacon!LOL

  77. OMG, dig inspired you! That’s awesome. You have a great coach and teacher with her when it comes to the veggies. Ah, I have another 7 months before I can start to plant again. Best of luck to your farming adventures.

    I am all about fall right now, so reading and seeing your post just fuels me. Corn stalks and indian corn – check. Mums – check. Pumpkins – check. Hay rides and corn mazes – check and check. Cider – check. Now all I need is some Pumpkin moon pies and my girlfriend is taking care of that. Boo-yah! BTW, we got so lost in the corn maze with 3 toddlers that we decided to cut across the maze (which could get us thrown out), but we were cool if we got caught by the corn police and tossed out. LOL.

    Have an awesome week.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

  78. Oh Kelle – you are a girl after my own heart…

    “I should have been a great many things” is my favorite line of the movie, and I’m always reminded of it when I think of things that are yet unfinished in my life, and in the near future we hope to welcome children, have fun doing silly things, keep dancing, laughing ourselves silly, being amazed at the little and the big of it all… but it’s always a perfect reminder that we’re not finished yet, and there is more to come!

    Good night and God Bless! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  79. That has always been one of my favorite lines in Little Women.

    Rock on :)

  80. Loved this post! Every piece of it, and I loved watching my kids love the pumpkin patch. So much I was teary eyed!!!

    Please tell me where you get Nella’s headbands. They are so sweet. Expecting in May, and if I have a girl I will need some of those!!!

    Love your blog!

  81. Wow, that farm looks amazing!

  82. Love how you turn the everyday life into pure MAGIC. Thanks Kelle, for keeping us fueled :)

  83. In florida you can plant a garden in October? wow. I can not even wrap my brain around that.

  84. you are so amazing!! i am inspired to throw a fall party asap!! i think i am going to do that this week:) love your little nella too:)

  85. The way Lainey has her hand looped round Nella’s leg while her friend holds her is SO sweet. And the way Nella is looking up at Lainey in the Pumpkin party pics! What a twosome!

  86. chocolate covered bacon???? seriously??? i consider myself a true southern girl and i’ve never even heard of that…I must try it and soon. I can’t wait to jump in some leaves this weekend!

  87. I just love you, Kelle! My new favorite word is officially… Pumpkinhugger!

  88. We just hit up our local pumpkin farm a couple of days ago too, it was the BEST time. We did the corn maze too and hit a few dead ends, but alas, no corn patrol appeared. Corn patrol! That so cracks me up, I think we need that here in IL lol!

  89. though I love all the pictures, the ones that touch me the most are the ones of Gary and Lainey. I am glad to learn a little bit more about the elusive man who seems to hang back. As I suspected, he’s quite accomplished.

    The Sunday Stills Challenge this week is fall foliage. Sadly, many of our trees have dropped their leaves in the past 7-10 days but the ground is still covered.

    We also ate chocolate covered bacon at a local fair in September…it was ok…not hideous and not great either. Not something I’d probably do again.

  90. Fall is absolutely the best time! But bacon dipped in chocolate? Seriously? How did it taste?

    P.S. Love the garden! You will have so much fun!

  91. Loving the Pumpkin Festival, Gary and Lainey planting your garden, your fall party and Nella in those beautiful leaves your amazing Cousin Joann shipped you! Congratulations to your sister for giving another great speech! :))

    “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  92. “I should have been a great many things.”

    One of the best ever quotes! :)

  93. I am a “new” follower to your blog but have to say it’s my highlight of the day/evening where I get to sit down and read/be inspired by your day. You and your family enjoying the little things inspires me to take a little more time to “smell the roses”.Being able to live in each moment, this moment is what is important. I find myself smiling, laughing, crying as I read your daily thoughts/pic’s. Thank you for inspiring mom’s everywhere…and working mom’s especially.

  94. heidi’s babies are beyond beautiful!!!

  95. Wow, I need to seek out your dad when I need a pep talk! I love his comment, I want to print it off and keep it in my pocket for those moments the sadness visits. But she is coming to visit me less and less…..Your fall weekend looked like so much fun.

  96. THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!! Is all I have to say. We have been looking for a pumpkin patch type thing to do this year with our 2 1/2 year old daughter Alexandrea. That place has everything we wanted. So we are skipping using our SeaWorld passes and taking a trip on the 30th there :)

    Again thank you so very much.

  97. I love that pic with Lainey’s sweet hand on Nella!

  98. Hey. Just so you know, your posts can NEVER be too long-winded ๐Ÿ˜€

    And good for you for getting more involved in your food- you wont regret it. I remember growing a garden when I was little- totally fun!

  99. Oh, Kelle – looks like such fun, and the creation of more great memories. Those pumpkin patches and all the great places here – there is nothing quite like them here where I live in CA. Poppa RIK – oh my goodness, such a way with words as always. I love it, the metaphor~

  100. We have chocolate covered bacon at our state fair in Wisconsin! I love Nella’s headband, is that from somewhere online?

  101. Luv Nella, in only a diaper, at the pumpkin patch! So different from our experience at the pumpkin patch here in Vancouver (Canada), we are in jackets and hats! :)
    Girls are adorable.

  102. The pumpkin patches in Montana aren’t nearly as fun as yours appeared to be. Those photos are precious!! Love her big grin.

  103. Just look at Lainey holding Nella’s leg in that pumpkin patch photo. How sweet is that?! It’s like she is saying, “This is my sister. And I love her. And I’ll protect her. And I’ll watch over her.” So terribly sweet.

    We hit our beloved pumpkin patch this weekend for my baby girl’s second birthday. :) How I’m hoping that the weather becomes suddenly cool enough for her to wear her brown corduroy skirt and brown tights. A girl (in Texas) can hope.


    bug and the sweet banana

    Sign Posts

  104. Funny…I get all excited when i see the word ‘Montana’ in your post. And then ‘garden’.I was really looking forward to photos after your teaser text.

    OH SISTER. As I was writing nuggets tonight I was thinking lots about you. It was just one month ago that we locked eyeballs. Geez, I am so fortunate for that. Thanks again for coming and exceeding all of my expectations.

    OK, back to the garden. I AM SO FUCKING EXCITED that you have a garden! I have a great many thoughts about soil temps for good germination and we will talk about it. I am exceedingly jealous that you can start a garden when I am harvesting the last puny beets.

    Love that you are more fueled by more.

    xo to you and yours

  105. stunning photos, your little girls are beautiful!

  106. love the photo of someone holding Nella & Lainey holdin’ onto her leg…

    I feel like I can hear her thinking “that’s my sister :)

  107. Hi Kelle,
    Thanks for mentioning that line from “Little Women”. It’s so apt!
    Looks like you had a lovely day.I particularly like the look of the dancing! Love your blog!

  108. Yes…the elusive Gary who prefers to stay off stage. But oh how he loves these girls. And Nella has changed his heart forever. I knew it when, in the delivery room, when we were still trying to pick up the pieces of all we had expected, this guy who really doesn’t get too excited about littles quietly asked, “Can I hold her?” I knew a heart had been stretched. And then, the many nights when I would awaken to the sounds of Kelle’s playlist and I would see his profile, lit by the screen, pouring over every photo, every word, every comment…sometimes with unfamiliar tears running down his cheeks. He is just off stage…loving, doing…for the Buddy Walk, he sent a message to all his clients and friends and raised nearly two thousand dollars. And he knows a thing or two about gardening too. Thanks for noticing him.

  109. What a wonderful post Kelle! I’m loving the crisp fall temperatures and the baking, pumpkin painting, etc… I could go on and on about why I love fall.

    So excited to see you start a garden. I got into gardening and growing my own veggies after my daughter was born (only 2 weeks after Lainey) Thank you for once again being the bright spot in my day.

    Where are Lainey’s little ruffle socks from? Too cute!

  110. It’s opposite day (season) here in Ohio. You are planting your garden and we are putting our’s to bed. I am off to buy cider, donuts and maybe a carmel apple for breakfast! Loved the photos. susan

  111. It’s opposite day (season) here in Ohio. You are planting your garden and we are putting our’s to bed. I am off to buy cider, donuts and maybe a carmel apple for breakfast! Loved the photos. susan

  112. all i can say is dont let the horrible memories of weeding the berm at the santa fe house deter you from weeding your garden. hahaha!

  113. I’m originally from Bradenton and remember taking my daughter to Hunsader when she was just over a year old. I’ve got a pic of her in front of the honkey-tonk stage eating a stalk of broccoli (?). I don’t remember the corn patrol, but the name makes me laugh.

  114. Love the whole post! For a Florida girl your pictures do look very autumny!!! The girls are adorable as always:)

  115. love your posts. just when I think I can’t go on, I pop over to your blog & am inspired & touched by your lovely children, wonderful photography and your love of life.

  116. Go you for gardening, your going to love it! We still have not planted one in our new home but we plan to in the Spring!
    We are also stepping out and being brave, having a Halloween/Fall party in our new place..I’m all nervous and excited at once. I’m loving the idea of a scavenger hunt, thanks!

  117. Hi Kelle — I would like to leave a comment but I am too busy dancing to this awesome music with tears in my eyes over your words and pictures! Thank you for making my day with this post!


  118. Love the fall pictures of your girls – they are sooo sweet, especially love Nella’s little teeth poking through.
    Love the yummy food pics too – your caramel apples look DELICIOUS…I will have to be honest, never heard of Chocolate dipped bacon…and don’t know if I will ever be able to try it but it MAY sound yummy!!

  119. I love your writing! And I love how you appreciate life so fully! Thanks for filling my morning with inspiration with your words – yay fall!!!!

  120. What an awesome post! Love all the quick thoughts and memories with each photo. I feel like that is the only way I can blog most of the time. THe garden is AWESOME!!!!!

  121. I don’t know how you do it all… amazing… truly amazing! What a beautiful weekend!

  122. I was just recently told of your blog. Your pictures are beautiful, your words are beautiful and most importantly, Your daughters are beautiful.

  123. Hi Kelle
    You have inspired this Mama up North, to head outdoors with my baby to capture and enjoy this wonderful Fall Season!
    Thank you

  124. Rik, in the few pics & posts I have seen of Gary in the past months I always noticed his beautiful soul shining through. You can see in his face how much he loves and cares for all of you. His actions speak louder than even the best written words. I’m so happy to see such a beautifully loving and supportive family.

  125. thanks. i needed that.

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  127. @ Poppa ~ Your comment about Gary made me all teary eyed and smiley at the same time, Rik. It is just so crazy and awesome how much you can fall in love with another person’s children.

    For me, there is this special kind of melting moment I get when my husbands niece calls me Aunt Loie. I know she is my niece too but for some reason it just seems so much more powerful that she accepts me as her Aunt.

    Ben even commented once, “Ya know, she calls you Aunt Loie but just calls me Beeeen, what’s up with that?” I assured him that her little two year old dialect has just not expanded to saying Uncle yet but, secretly it put a big smile on my heart.

  128. Yay for gardening!!!! I’m a huge advocate for getting more people involved with their food. How exciting! ๐Ÿ˜€

  129. Oh my gosh! That corn patrol is so funny!! I bet that would happen to us!!

  130. chocolate dipped bacon, hey? LOL. That’s cool that you get a garden – I’m jealous that you can plant in October and harvest in January! Good grief!! Have fun with it – can’t wait to have my first one next spring. :)

  131. Bright green corn in mid-October? No way! And corn patrol? Come on now … laughing really hard!! So glad you’re busy and loving it.


    PS – I have a Pull-Up wearing dude dancing on my desk as I type this comment :) (No dreads, but he is supporting a beaded necklace!!)

  132. Supporting a beaded necklace? What a dork! Who wrote that? (Okay. Now I am cracking myself up!)

    I had one more thing to say … thank you so very much for the inspiration you have given to me!!

    Smiles …

  133. The pumpkin patch is one of my favorite traditions every year, beautiful pics!

    I have passed an award on to you and linked to your blog from mine, so many people get so much enjoyment from your words and pictures.



  134. Mmmm….I want to eat this all up!! I love Lainey’s pouty face, and oh my goodness the out-the-car-window sunset??? Yah!!! I love pulling the party together in 2 hours too, haha…but you know the danger in that…now you know you can.

    A great many things!!

  135. Kelle, I live like a mile from Hunsaders! Our Buddy Walk (for Sarasota and Manatee) is there this Saturday! I hate that you were this close and I didn’t get to meet you! The Manasota BUDS has had their walk there for the last 9years. Pure joy. My son has been counting down the days.

  136. I love fall as well, I managed a trip to the orchard last week w/ my kids (my own and in-home-daycare ones too)…but the part that made me laugh the most in this post was you harvesting tomatoes on Nella’s birthday!! My twins and husband share January 22 as their birthday, and the only thing we do that day is hope for a blizzard (or not, ha ha)! Happy Harvest, my favorite time of year!
    Janna-NE girl transplanted to SD for now.

  137. Mmmmm! Your pics of your adventures, your girls, your place of being is just like chocolate dipped bacon!!!

    Love this post and FTR, I don’t have dreads but I was a shakin’ at your pace!

  138. I saw this quote and it reminded me of your love for the fall season:
    “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot

  139. Amazing that you are planting now….seeds that will blossom in a few months….I’m just ready to watch the world die for a little and in Florida the world just keeps turning. Lucky.

    I am lucky to live in Seattle right now, because the sunlight hasn’t gone away. Yet. Any day. But for now, I’m enjoying a real autumn. Well….as real as the West Coast can conjure. I’m a vermonter, and you really can’t touch a vermont fall. Sounds like Michigan is pretty close though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  140. To CALLIE *- Yes, Rik’s words sure have helped ME too. I love how you wrote that the words help when sadness visits, though SHE visits less often – I just love how you worded it. She had been visiting me BIG time and I see her moving on more now. RIK – I love how you wrote about Gary and I was so touched by your words of how his heart has been stretched by Nella. Awww… From the Blog Mama

  141. You could chose to hold these momments, memories and inspirations close to you. Many people do: they only think about them, some don’t even recognize them, and those that do maybe only share them with people who are very close. But you choose to share them with all of us – and OH how I thank you for that. Making piles of leaves, baking pumpkin bread, drinking apple cider by a fire, walks in the crisp evening as a family….these things will be more heavenly for me this fall than ever before because of finding your blog. Thank you Kelle!

    -Jenny in Iowa

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  143. Linda, Poppa Rik, Kelle, Callie ~ I’m in love with all of your words! I read this post and was mezmorized by the quasi fall festival in hot, sunny Florida. And my dreads were a swingin as I agreed with everything that was written. But I thought I wouldn’t comment this time – no, silence doesn’t come often from me! I simply can’t do it! Linda – I agree that Callie’s “sadness visits” is an amazing phrase that I may just have to make a mental note of and use occassionaly! Poppa – I love how you spoke of Gary, of taking a man we don’t know much about and in one short comment showed us so much of the man who likes to remain off-stage. Your family has stretched my heart as well!

    I absolutely love the picture of Lainey dancing with her tongue sticking out of her mouth! And nakey-Nella at the pumpkin patch – the right words elude me!

    And – last but not least – I’m going to ask a favor of the amazing community that has formed here on ETST. At 1:30 this morning a 1 pound 8 ounces baby boy entered this world. His mother only carried him for 27 weeks – she was due in January. And I know without asking – that just in reading this many prayers will be sent out for this little man. But I’ll ask just the same. Please, please pray for baby AJ and his parents and family. Many thanks to all of you that take a moment in his honor!

  144. To BETH (Feas613) – There you are!! Oh, dear “friend”, I started praying as soon as I read your words about baby AJ. I will continue to do so for the entire family – for this tiny person arriving so early in this world. And I’m sure many others here will, as well – it is quite a wonderful family/community here, huh? Yes, I, too, think I shall use Callie’s phrase if she does not mind. Good to see you here, Beth, as always~

  145. i know that sweet little tongue to the side move … cora does that exact same thing. at that same time.
    god forbid we know exactly how much fun she’s having.
    love that you love so much.

  146. Thank you Kelle for reminding us to “make it work in the best way we know how”- love that! Your outlook on life is inspiring. Going to swing my dreads now ; )

  147. Dude… you don’t even need dreads to rock out. I do it every day. Long hair helps..its more dramatic. But either way. Dreads or no dreads, thanks for inspiring me to jam out every day. It’s the little things :) Love everything about your life.

  148. AJ is in my heart now…nestled in so I fell him…and in my prayers. The Bible tells us God knows us “before we are born.” Though his formation was interrupted, I am praying for the miracle his parents cry for. Yes, I am praying, believing, hoping. I am glad this family has you on his “team,” Beth.

  149. We drove 1.5 hours to find our fall pumpkin patch. I live in south GA… so I know what you mean! Still 80 degrees during the day. Fall starts my most favorite time of the year. I absolutely love Oct – Dec! Where did you find Nella’s headband? I must have that for my little one!!! :)

  150. Beth, sometimes the grandest things in the world have the littlest beginnings. xoxo Much love to this family and to Baby AJ

  151. Go swing your dreads … I love that! Great pictures, great food, great fun. I need to put chocolate covered bacon on my bucket list which is appropriate because it may kill me, but I’m thinking it will be worth it! And isn’t everything simply more fun with face painting?

  152. Praying for AJ…..that God would have his hand on him. I am so relieved some others out there can relate to the Sadness and how we are overcoming, yes we are….bless you all.

  153. Wow a garden! It will grow to perfection in the ‘Sunshine State’, especially under your tending and mentoring from Montana!

    xo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

    ps….”a parking lot the size of Montana”….love this!

  154. Dude, a few things:
    1. Nella’s little “t”s in that first photo? I want to munch on them.
    2. Your sentence, “in need of nourishment that didn’t involve sugar or a deep fryer”. I don’t understand what this means so I will go look it up. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    3.I’m still drooling over that bacon photo…now why can’t everyone crisp it up to perfection just like that?
    4. Lainey’s wee scrunched up nose in your new header is PRICELESS.
    5. Do you think I could entice Gary to come to Saskatchewan and work his magic on my “garden”? To date, I’ve successfully grown chives…oh, just stop it. I know it’s amazing. (Me want pretty garden one day.)
    6. What you and your family did to raise awareness on your Buddy Walk was simply amazing. I think you’re all rockstars, or as my son would say, ROCKET STARS.
    7. And thanks for this: “Go discover what a great many things you want to be.” I needed that today.

  155. The farm looks fantastic! So glad you guys had a great time. Made for some very pretty pictures :)
    Soooo excited about your garden. How awesome!! I can’t wait to hear how it goes! You will love it…..and so will the kids! My son has already told me that he wants his own little space in our garden next year to grow his own stuff!

  156. Sweet baby Nella, you inspire me everyday
    Love from Mexico

  157. Um.. you have a song on your family blog by a band called Starf**ker? Hmmm…..

  158. Umm, I have to ask, what is the brown goo next to the bacon?! I’m confused!

  159. Nevermind, I see the chocolate dipped bacon line. Still confused, my poor pregnant appetite is trying to decide whether I’d like it or not! We just had our first hint of fall here in AZ though, so this post is so very appropriate to me. I’m anxious to move back to a place with seasons and leaves, a place where the holidays feel more magical to me.

  160. I’m so envious of the amazing pumpkin patches you have over there…there’s nothing like that here (probably too wet and soggy to be trapsing round fields picking pumpkins in October ;o) )

    Loving all the autumn colours and getting quite psyched up about pumpkin carving next weekend! :o)

    (might have to sneak a couple of those caramel apples onto my ‘to-do’ list for next week too ;o) )

    Andie x

  161. Baby AJ is in our prayers. As soon as I read your comment I called my two boys…ages 5 & 3, over to the computer, told them about baby AJ and we prayed in our kitchen as we held hands. Isaac, my 5 year old said HE wanted to pray…”Dear Jesus, we thank you for baby AJ and for his mommy and his daddy. We pray he will grow bigger and not be sick anymore…”

    We will keep him and his family close to our hearts and always in our prayers.

    xoxo, Angie from Ohio

  162. Swing your dreads…i don’t have dreads, BUT as soon as I read that i thought of how joyful and free it feels to dance like a crazy person. Rowdy and I like to turn up the tunes and I just dance around the living room while laughing and making him laugh. Its so refreshing! Thank you for the inspiration to just enjoy every moment of my day, whether on a grand adventure, or just playing with my son on the floor surrounded by my messy house.

    Erika from Oregon

  163. What beautiful fall photos!

    I am looking for followers on my blog, please google connect with me :)


  164. fall. . . you sum it up so perfectly. just saying the words – pumpkin, caramel apple, crunchy red leaves – you just have to smile. thanks for being such an inspiration. .

  165. Hey, Kelle I live in Bradenton and have been to Hunsader’s quite a few times, it’s a great place! They are actually having a buddy walk there this weekend. Glad you and your precious family had a good time!

  166. Linda, Callie, Kelle, Poppa, Angie and boys – Thank you for praying for baby AJ and his family. Your love and caring for an infant that you have never met humbles me in ways I can’t explain. He is still in critical condition (all premies are for the first 72 hours) and needs constant blood transfusions. He is type O negative which is the rarest blood type so between one family friend, my middle sister and a nurse at the hospital they have accquired a decent supply for him. His battle is far from over but we all cannot wait until the first 72 hours are over (60 down – 12 more to go).

  167. FEAS613, I was hoping you would update us! We are still praying…we won’t forget about precious AJ. He will be in our prayers as he continues his fight.

    xoxo, Angie & her boys…from Ohio

  168. There are a lot of inspirational, quirky little sayings in Little Women – it’s one of my favorites. Along with anything by LM Montgomery. The best lessons I learned about life, friendship, and loyalty come from those books. And I empathize totally with you about Fall. I LOVE fall, and it has been in the 70s and 80s here too. I’m ready for some leaf hunting!

  169. Angie – There are pictures of little AJ under 12 hours old and I will continue to update on my blog as I feel bad using Kelle’s comments as a chat room. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers! They mean so much to us! Your little boy’s words brought tears to my eyes! Sounds like you have two exceptional kids on your hands =)

  170. That is my favorite quote from Little Women. I feel that way all the time when I have big ideas of what I should really be doing in my life. Turns out I am a great many things…I just have to remind myself sometimes. I love your blog. It used to be my lunchtime escape at work until my acess was blocked. Now I plug in my earbuds at home and tune into a different world. Thank you. Thank you for the stories, the inspiration, the ideas, the awesome music. You are a great many things too!

  171. OK SHUT THE FRONT DOOR- those are the cutest Halloween kidlets (or as we call them in my house) crumb-bandits that I’ve ever seen!!
    Lordy I needed that today.

  172. Look at Lainey, rocking her some Matilda Jane! The girls look fabulous, as usual.

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