Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Weekend

We've been celebrating Halloween all weekend. It began with the school parade on Friday, continued with pumpkin carving on Saturday and ended with trick or treating tonight!

Even though we waited until the last minute we were still able to find great pumpkins for the children to carve (and Marilyn too!). Grace went for a glamour girl and Harris went for scary!

This afternoon friends came over for dinner before trick or treating. We've all eaten dinner together on Halloween for the past 4 years and trick or treating just wouldn't be the same without them! Bryce's parents (who arrived on Friday) and my Mom also joined us.

The children's food- mummy dogs and fruit kabobs. We also had two kinds of chili, cornbread, and apple cider.

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you had a safe and fun evening!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Skeletons and Frankensteins

Whew. Has anyone else been busy these last few days leading up to Halloween? The children's school had its annual Halloween Parade followed by class parties today. It was lots of fun!

I made the treats for Harris and Grace's class this year. The cupcakes for Grace's class were amazingly easy and really very cute. The frankenstein rice crispy treats were also fairly easy to make but definitely more time consuming. Cathy and I decorated 60 of them!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Picture Books and Halloween

Several years ago we began reading our nightly books by candlelight the week before Halloween. It adds a bit of excitement to our nightly routine and is a great opportunity to read seasonal picture books. This year I discovered this wonderful list of Halloween picture books and immediately went about reserving each one at our local library! We've been able to read several "new to us" books each night!

On another note. Did anyone read this article? How sad to think that picture books are on the decline. Personally, I see this as just one more way we are pushing our children too much, too soon. While I was still teaching we certainly read many chapter books, but we read a gazillion picture books too. In fact, some of my favorite picture books are best read to older children! I'm in no way saying that young children shouldn't read chapter books (need I mention Harris' love of one Mr. Willy Wonka?) but that there is just as much value, if not more, in a good picture book as in a good chapter book. I will now step off of my soap box (which is actually very difficult- I feel I could talk about this for a while!).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Frankenstein Pudding Cups

Grace had a friend come over today after school, and I made Frankenstein pudding cups for them as a snack. Using the technique for the Boo Nilla Milkshakes from previous years, I painted melted chocolate onto the face of the cup and filled with colored pudding (I used vanilla and colored it green). I topped it off with chocolate chips. He was very well received despite his frightful appearance!

Harris' best Frankenstein impression.

P.S. I got the idea from here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Menu

It's that time again for our Halloween Week menu! This year coming up with fun gluton and corn free food was a little bit more of a challenge, but I think we managed to get the job done!

Halloween Week Menu

Ghost pizza with salad
Monster Mash (turkey shepherds pie with eyes added)
Gruel Soup
Bat wings and butternut squash risotto moons
Bones (ribs) with cauliflower brains and slaw monsters
Eyeball Tomato Soup with witch's brooms

P.S. See the pumpkin behind the ghost pizza? Harris made that in his art class! Isn't it super cute?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Costumes for us!

Last night we attended our friends annual Halloween Party. This is always such a fun party and last night was no exception! Bryce went as Howie Mandel and I went as one of the briefcase models from the game show Deal or No Deal! It was the easiest costume ever for me because I didn't have to do much besides have big hair and more makeup than usual (though I did get some flack because I didn't wear a wig or look too "Halloweeny!").

People really outdid themselves in the costume department. I didn't get too many pictures of all the amazing costumes, but I thought it would be fun to share the ones that I did!

Barbie and Ken

Bella and Edward

Dancing with the stars

The Cast from Grease

Friday, October 22, 2010

Apple Cider

I'm so happy that fall is here. To celebrate the chill in the air I've been making batches of my favorite apple cider. It's scrumptious and delicious and I thought I would share it with you! It is a recipe from Susan Branch (love her!) and this is the perfect time of year to make it.

To take the whole experience to the next level, enjoying sipping your cider with a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie. Heaven!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A care package

Bryce has been out of town on business for a little over a week. It's been a bummer. I think we have reached our "we miss Dad" limit. Both the children have cried this morning for unexplained reasons and I suspect they just miss their Dad. Fortunately he's coming home soon.

The children and I had fun making a care package to send to Bryce at the hotel where he is staying. We made a banner for him to hang up in his room and sent him his favorite goodies. We also made a seasonal favorite, pumpkin cookies. And of course, he had to have milk to dunk those cookies in!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Clementine Pumpkins

This year our family is contributing bagged dinners to a local organization that provides for families in need. Once a month we will pack a meal for children who come to their evening tutoring program. For this months bagged meal I thought it would be fun to go with a pumpkin theme. In addition to orange juice boxes, orange colored chips (the packaging, not the chips) and a few candy pumpkins, I drew faces on Clementines. It was so quick and easy and I hope it makes someone laugh!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween t-shirt pillow

Four years ago, during the month of October, Grace wore the most darling t-shirt which depicted children all dressed in costumes. I thought the shirt was such a sweet reminder of what I love about Halloween (we are more cutesy Halloween than gory), and I hated to just get rid of it. I had the thought that it would make a great Halloween pillow so I asked my Mom if she thought it was doable. Of course she figured out a way, and I think that it turned out super cute!

I also think that Grace was super cute in the t-shirt!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A desk for Grace

I am so excited to share with you Grace's new desk! We have been working on this desk, mostly on weekends, for about a month. It wasn't difficult to make, but it did take time to paint, wallpaper and put together.

I've been hesitant to put a desk in Grace's room for fear that it would sit there unused. However, after three years of watching Grace's homework habits I finally decided that she really was ready for a desk in her room. And not just for homework but for craft projects, journal writing, and letter writing too.

There was no question in my mind what sort of desk was going to be right for Grace. I've had it in mind for a while that the one featured in Martha Stewart Kids would be perfect for her and her room. She has been needing an upgrade in the bookcase department and she enjoys displaying her many nicknacks and special projects. Imagine her delight to have two bookshelves!

We picked up two bookshelves from an unfinished wood furniture store.

We primed and painted the bookshelves white.

I wallpapered the backs of the bookshelves with pink and white gingham wallpaper.

Bryce attached brackets to the sides of the bookshelves for the desk to sit upon. After the wood was installed he put a finished piece of wood on the front!

We were able to use Grace's doll storage chest as the seat for the desk. It works perfectly! I love that Harris, friends or Mom and Dad can sit with her at the desk!

I'm happy to report that Grace absolutely LOVES her new desk and is using it daily!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Googly eyed gourds

When Gretchen and I went to the pumpkin farm I picked up a bag full of gourds with the idea that it would be fun to position them in my window box. What I didn't know was just how smitten I would be with them!

I spent about five minutes (maybe less) hot glueing googly eyes on each one. Don't they have so much personality? Every time I look at them I smile!

Of course I got a little carried away and had to add some eyes to our ghost pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My friend Gretchen and I made our annual trip to a remote (we often get lost) pumpkin farm last week. This trip always promises to deliver many memories and laughs! I'm not sure if it's the place or the company- probably both- but we laugh a lot!

Not only we do walk away with great looking, inexpensive pumpkins with which to decorate our steps and porches but we have funny (to us) memories! What could be better?

P.S. This year I asked the lady who runs the farm if we were her craziest customers. She said yes. I don't think she was joking.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Club- Shiloh

Grace and I hosted her book club meeting this month to discuss the book Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. For snacks I made cupcakes meant to look like a beagle dog and served them with graham cracker dog bones. I think that the pictures of the cupcakes don't adequately show how cute the cupcakes were- I guess some things just look better in person!
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