Halloween: Evil or Fun?

I’ve listened with interest as I’ve heard various opinions about Halloween over the years. I understand that there are some folks that don’t “celebrate” it, and hey, that’s fine, whatever works for them. But I do have to admit to a little eye-rolling when I hear some folks ranting about how “evil” Halloween is. Okay, I understand its origins may be what bother some people, but honestly, do the majority of the good folks out there really celebrate Halloween in questionable ways? I just don’t think so. And for those that do stupid things, I think most would agree that they’ll do those things whether they have a “holiday” for them or not.

I love Halloween. Always have. I loved it as a kid and still do today and enjoy seeing my own kids celebrate it. I am not into the super-scary, blood and gore type stuff at all but there’s a cute ghost candle sitting on my sideboard and some other slightly-spooky-in-an-adorable-way décor items around my home. I’m not over here throwing eye of newt in a cauldron and chanting spells. Although frankly, if it helped with weight loss I might consider it, but I digress.

I don’t know, to me Halloween is one of those things that I think people take way too seriously when they say things like; “Oh, we don’t do Halloween, we don’t want to invite evil!” I think anything can be evil if you let it. Even so called “good” things…heck, all you have to do is take a look around to see that…but that’s another topic. I guess I’m of the opinion that Halloween is one of those fun little joys in life; much like chocolate, coffee, the occasional glass of wine and Sunday brunch. You know, the little things that add to life and make it that much more worth living and I’m all about life’s little joys. Especially after spending a good deal of my young adult life being deprived of life’s basic little joys and told those things were “bad”. I’ve come to the conclusion that much of what folks lump into categories of “good” or “bad” are what we make of them, not what someone tells us. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have some potions, er, I mean brownies to whip up.

Oroweat Bread Review & Giveaway!

If you hope on over to my review page you'll be able to enter yet another giveaway! This one is for Oroweat breads and I've given two great sandwich creations complete with Weight Watcher's points!

Pumpkin Patch Fun & other Amusements

Every year our family looks forward to our pumpkin patch trip and it's our tradition to dress the boys in their pumpkin patch shirts/outfits and take photos amongst the pumpkins. Our very first "family of four" trip took place when little guy was a mere 8 weeks old.
(Oh my gosh, they both are so little!)
Here they are this year:
PP 09
As with most holidays, I've had a lot of fun finding themed outfits for the little guy and usually come up with something cute, though sadly the pickings get slimmer the older he gets. Ironically, Teenager's favorite color is orange and he's happy to throw on an orange shirt for the event.

Back when we used to actually buy our pumpkins at the pumpkin patch we noticed a couple problems with that; A) we were getting them too late in the season (I like to have them outside the front door the beginning of October) and B) they were really expensive. With this economy and that whole stay-at-home-mom gig I've got going on we decided last year to just look for the best pumpkin price at one of our local markets. We saved a tidy sum doing this last year and so this year we thought we'd go one better and plant our own. Here's the thing about that; I heard somewhere that they didn't need to go in the ground until June and told hubby to hold off last Spring when we planted the rest of the garden. Well, it's late October and this is what our pumpkin patch looks like.
As you can imagine, I hear daily about how he "should have planted those pumpkins earlier." Oops. Sorry Honey!  So, needless to say, we bought our pumpkins--but we found some good deals on them! Anyway, onto the Pumpkin Patch trip (but not to buy pumpkins). We went to a Pumpkin Farm this year that also has a huge flower farm, a corn maze (that got a little blown over in some recent high winds) and cute animals.

Here's a little slide show:

And finally, I must share with you the most amusing part of the trip. Along the way we noticed the following "tractor crossing" sign.
sign 1

Then as we drove by several wineries we noticed a different tractor crossing sign and simply had to take a picture.
sign 2

Unveiling More of the Mystery Behind the Mayhem: Boot Camp

Twenty four years ago next month I entered Basic Training for the United States Air Force. Looking back, waaaaay back, the whole thing seems very surreal to me. Had I remained in the military I could have been retired as of four years ago. My time was short, but full of events I’ll never forget.

The day I left for Basic Training I was armed with one rolling suitcase, a duffel bag and a full Samsonite cosmetic case. Yes, it was ridiculous. Even more than ridiculous was the fact that within that luggage was wax I brought along foolishly thinking I would somehow be given the time and opportunity to wax my legs! Remember the old movie and TV show Private Benjamin? It was kind of like that. I can still recall the outfit I was wearing….it was the 80’s and that was very apparent in my large shoulder padded blazer, black Esprit pants and leather Madonna style boots. (The older me wishes she could have told the younger me; “Throw on some jeans and a pair of tennis shoes; you’re going in the military for crying out loud!”) I was 17 years old, the very youngest in my squad. This was pretty rare and was only allowed because I had already graduated high school having skipped a year and I had my mother’s consent. I remember the woman that was the oldest; 36 (the oldest they took) and thinking; “Wow, that’s old!” (Of course I passed 36 five years ago, and no, it’s not old at all.) I was a young, naive and incredibly sensitive girl. It was against my character to do this sort of thing which became even more apparent when I arrived and we were asked to scrub the shower with our toothbrushes. There I was doing this task, I kid you not, in a full length, white, fluffy bathrobe. It just doesn’t get any more impractical than that, folks. I recall being lined up as some gruff, high ranking guy came through our squad bay asking us to recite something along the lines of: “I, Airman so-and-so, blah blah blah.” I could not get the term “Airman” in my head for some reason and my mind fixated on the common rank I knew from television, movies and such; Sergeant. I was blasted for “promoting myself” when I stated; “I, Sergeant so-and-so…..” That man really rattled me and I cried. Not the smartest move on my part. But I told myself then and there that I would simply have to toughen up. And so I did. I never broke down like that again during my military stint. Looking back I feel pretty proud that at 17, being the obviously prissy, overly sensitive girl I was, that I could make it through Basic Training. I even shot expert on the M16 along with being one of the fastest to take the thing apart, clean it and put it back together. (A skill I no longer use in any capacity.) I recall with amusement when we were issued our military style eyeglasses; black plastic horned rim beauties that were called “BC” glasses (that stood for Birth Control). Ahh, the memories! It was a very challenging time though and made even worse by the fact that I entered my training right before the holidays. I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s on a cot in a squad bay. At age 17. As irony would have it, I’ve actually spent worse holidays than that since then, but that’s of course another story. I remember envying one of the girls in my Flight; her name was Shae. Shae was a girly girl like me (though vastly more attractive) and wore this perfume that I absolutely fell in love with. It was a new one that had just come out back then; Estee Lauder’s Beautiful. It remains to this day my favorite and my “signature” scent. And it reminds me a time over two decades ago when I donned a fluffy bathrobe to scrub out a military shower. Here’s a blast from the past photo for you all: this is my actual cot in my squad bay with my overflowing suitcase sitting on top.



Conversations with Little Guy

The fact that our little guy will now actually have even somewhat of a conversation is remarkable in and of itself. We are pleased with his progress with speech and are beginning to hear more and more from him all the time. The following brief exchange was one of those "have to share" moments. We were asking him about our animals names; the dog, Murray and the cat, Chloe.

Us:  Little Guy, what is our Doggie's name?

LG: Murwy.

Us: Good job!  Now what is our Kitty's name?

LG: Cat!


I guess the combination of "chl" was way too much to ask for at this point!

Now that little guy is learning more and more words and even knocking out a few sentences look for more upcoming episodes of "Conversations with Little Guy"!  As always, he's sure to entertain.

Medieval Toddler Time Out


A close up view of the little guy in "jail":


And while I'm sharing a couple Ren Faire photos, doesn't this one of the Teenager pretty much say; "My parents dressed me up in this ridiculous costume, dragged me to this stupid Faire and now I have to pull my little brother in this wagon all day." Yep, that's about what it says all right.


Putting the "fun" into daily life

I recently stumbled across this video and wanted to share it with you. Isn't it interesting to see how making something fun can make such a positive difference?

It's sort of like playing "Where's Waldo?"


Take a look at this photo and see if you can tell what is happening and spot the main character(s).  Since everything looks so camouflaged I thought it would make an interesting puzzle of sorts. Scroll down for the story/explanation.





Our cat Chloe is seen in the far left hand bottom corner. She's waiting for something to occur with the neighbor cat who is perched on a fence board in the far right hand upper corner. This is the same cat who was spotted a few months ago on our hillside by our dog Murray. Apparently, this cat is not afraid of confrontation.

Not just another one of my hair-brained schemes

Around here it's been noted that I have occasionally frequently come up with some elaborate, zany, far-fetched ideas (otherwise known as my "I-Love-Lucy" ideas) which generally involve things that the Hubby is less than enthusiastic about providing assistance for. My latest plan revolved around getting the boys pictures taken; something we do each year, generally in the Fall. This year I wanted to do something interesting and unique but also classic looking. So my idea was to have them sit amongst piles of classic literature and other old and classic looking books. When I pitched this particular brainstorm to Hubby he did some eye rolling, along with a fair amount of griping about how much of a pain this was going to be. Because in order to accomplish this, we had to pull out all of our books that fit this look (newer, glossy looking books were not going to work) and even borrowed a bunch from a dear friend. When all was said and done we had a couple hundred pounds of books to haul to the photo shoot. Once this was discovered by the Hubby there was a significant increase in the griping. To accomplish our task we used our two large rolling suitcases filled with the books and rolled them into the photo studio. We basically had just enough people to do this; Teenager and Dad with the two suitcases and me pushing the little guy in the stroller. It took quite a bit of "set up" work to get everything together, but in the end we were very pleased with the outcome. We were originally going to go with a black and white or sepia tone but ended up with a "retro" tone which is like a cross between black and white and color, leaving some color but overall toning down the look.

books2 001

books2 002

Now that this year's photos are over Hubby has already started worrying about what I'll come up with for next year...he's just hoping it doesn't involve renting a trailer and live animals.