Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Spiders

I made 60 of these Halloween spiders for Holden and Harrison's class and Haley's teachers. The spider was originally created by Nancy Morgan at Paper Smiles. I modified it slightly and this is the finally product.

I printed out the sentiment with each child's name, punched it out and adhere to the back. It was an awful lot of work given that the kids all ripped them open to get to the candy within second of getting them. But, they were cute while they lasted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grim Reaper

This afternoon was pumpkin carving time here. David cut the top off of the pumpkin and the boys started scooping out the insides. I looked away for a few seconds and then caught Harrison stabbing the pumpkin with his little carving knife. I can't take my eyes off of that child for one second. He lost interest in scooping the guts and went back to watching television. Haley made a small effort to act interested in the cleaning part but her heart wasn't in it so Holden and David finished cleaning out the icky insides.

The kids settled on carving the grim reaper on the front and the scythe he carries on the back. Pumpkin carving has gotten much more intricate since I was a kid. Now they have all these new fangled carving knives and etching tools to make the job easier. We have several of these so that everyone has their own.

This is the first year that we have let Holden actually carve on his own for fear of him sawing off his finger. I must say he did a fine job for his first time. No miscuts and no blood. That's what I term a success.

Here are a few shots of our fun afternoon:

And the final product.........

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Democrat or Republican

There are certain things we do not discuss in our family. The big ones is politics. Being a Democrat in a Republican dominated family has caused quite a few heated discussions. This year has been especially brutal on all fronts.

My husband has just about learned that I will not debate him on politics. I prefer to take the stance, "you have your opinion I have mine" (and we all know who's right). He is a newswatcher and to make matters worse, he listens to talk radio in his car. Talk radio whose host is obviously Republican. So when something new comes up, he is the first one to call me and say "Did you hear....". I have learned to "listen" without being really engaged in the conversation.

My dad and I try to totally avoid any type of political conversation. Of course he trys to get his point across by passing along emails. I have several friends who do the same. The nice thing about that is that I can choose to a)read them and then delete them or b) delete them and never read them. I won't tell you which I do more often.

Next week will be the end of the cat fight. I don't know about you but I am ready for it to end. The issues have long ago stopped being talked about. All the candidates are concerned about is one upping the other. Every other commercial is a political ad jammed packed with nasty accusations about the opposing candidate. And forget the political rallies. Does anyone remember what their mother's taught them when they were children? If you don't have anything nice to say.....

The end is near. One more week. I think I'll make it provided I don't listen to the radio, keep the television off any news channel, and delete all emails referencing political views.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A good laugh for Monday

I am not one to pay attention to commercials but lately I have caught quite a few that I find very funny. Actually some of the commercials are funnier than the actual television shows.

Here's one of my favorites.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christmas is coming

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go;
Take a look in the five and ten
glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store....."

No, I haven't lost my mind. I do realize there are still 63 days until Christmas. But, if you walk into any store, you will see that the Christmas decorations are already on the shelves nudging out the Halloween decorations (which by the way were already on the shelves in late summer). If you are looking for a life size light-up Grim Reaper to decorate your yard for Halloween, you'll likely have to look behind the boxes holding the 6' Spruce with shimmering lights already attached.

I am no Grinch but somehow seeing Christmas trees and decorations for three months prior takes away from the joyful anticipation of the whole Christmas experience. And it isn't just the stores that start early. By the time Christmas rolls around, I am so tired of hearing Jingle Bells that the very sound of those sleigh bells send me running for the radio dial. And after seeing A Christmas Story forty-three times, I can quote Ralphie line by line.

I love Christmas. I have started my Christmas shopping and my cards are already done. But, that has more to do with the fact that I hate the pressure of last minute preparations. I like to enjoy the month leading up to Christmas by making homemade gifts, baking cookies and putting out the decorations. What I don't love is the overcommercialization of Christmas.

What happened to the days when the Christmas decorations came out right around Thanksgiving and the radio started playing Christmas songs after December 1? Can't we just experience one holiday before we start moving on to the next? How long before we see the trees and lights go up before Labor Day?

I know Bah Humbug.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Picking

We took the kids to the pumpkin patch yesterday to pick out a pumpkin. A as in one. We came home with 12 pumpkins. We got one large pumpkin to carve, three smaller pumpkins for the Mr. Potato Head decorations, three even smaller ones to balance off the larger ones on the front porch and 5 tiny ones for inside decorations.

Cost of gas to and from the patch: $4.00
Cost of the pumpkins: $38.50
Smiles on their faces: Priceless

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yes, it's Fall

So on my last post (which was eons ago I know), I posted that I wanted some cooler weather. Well, apparently the Big Guy heard my prayers because the cooler weather has arrived. Yes, that makes me happy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

So tired of the heat

I was born and raised in the South. And I now live in the South. But there are many, many days between the months of June and October that I really wish that I was somewhere other than the South.

For most of my adult life I lived in NC where the summer heat was sizzling but that first refreshing day of Fall made you almost forget the scorching heat. Now, I am living 4 hours South and that makes a big difference in the changing of the seasons.

I love Fall. You know the cool, crisp mornings when the leaves have started to change. I want to walk outdoors and take in deep breathes of cool air. I want to feel my skin tingle from the crisp air. I want to turn off my air conditioning and throw open the windows and feel a cool breeze blowing. But that isn't happening here with the temperature reaching into the mid to upper 80's by late afternoon and the humidity registering at 81%. The only cool breeze I feel is when standing in front of the air conditioning vent.

I need to escape this sticky, strangling heat and humidity. I want Fall. It's a must to preserve my sanity. If I had a super power it would be the one where I could transport myself kind of like in the movie, Jumper. Then I'd just wish myself into someplace that is in the midst of Fall and wa-lah, life would be good.

I'm convinced heaven will be Fall-like weather forever. And summer? Well, you know where you'll have to go to experience that season.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Apples, apples and more apples

I came home from this weekend's trip with a trunkload of apples. So now that I have all of these apples, what am I to do. Certainly we can't eat all of these apples before they go bad. Here's where my Martha gene kicks in. I decide I am going to make some applesauce and maybe some apple bread and whatever else I come across that is apple and sounds delicious.

Armed with my handy crockpot, I whip out an applesauce recipe from A Year of Crockpotting. I tripled her original recipe because I wanted to have extra to freeze. After 5 hours, I had a pot full of applesauce. The verdict: I am a little disappointed because it's brown (compliments of the cinnamon) but thankfully it tastes yummy. I had enough to freeze and enough to make tonight's dinner Applesauce Chicken (also from A Year of Crockpotting). The applesauce chicken was pretty good although the chicken was a bit dry. I think it was a little overcooked. I started cooking it this morning when in fact, putting it on after lunch would have been sufficient.

I also whipped up some Apple Bread for us and to share with our neighbor who babysat our dog so we could go this weekend. This bread was moist inside with a crunchy crust. And too die for!

Tomorrow I am vowing no apples in any recipes. I'll just wait until Thursday then maybe we'll have Apple Oatmeal Crumble or Caramel-Apple Muffins or Cinnamon Rice with Apples or Apple Cole Slaw.......

Monday, October 6, 2008

This past weekend we took the children up to the NC mountains. On Saturday, we picked apples at the Sky Top Apple Orchard in Flat Rock, NC. This is the second time we have visited this orchard and once again we were not disappointed.

They have hayrides (sans hay), an animal farm yard, a bamboo forest and a huge play area for the children with both an apple and pumpkin playhouse. They offer the BEST apple doughnuts (you'll have to trust me on this one) hot from the oven and sprinkled with sugar. They also have apple cider and caramel dip for apples.

Later that day we went to the Chimney Rock area. We let the kids play on the rocks in the mountain stream. They had such fun hopping back and forth across the rocks and it didn't cost a dime. Luckily no one fell into the water because it was quite cold already.

Sunday we went to visit David's grandmother who turns 100 on October 10th. She has Alzheimer's but otherwise is in very good health. She loves to sing and tap your hand. Every now and again you can understand a word or two of what she says.

Happy 100th Grandma!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our future storyteller

Harrison is the best storyteller. It never ceases to amaze me the things he thinks up. It's actually almost scary that he can rattle off this stuff so smoothly as if he's given thought to it for hours. His stories usually start off as believable but quickly progress to a full blown tale straight from his imagination.

In the car yesterday he announced that a little boy in his class had run into a pole during recess. I asked if the little boy was okay and Harrison said that no, in fact he had to go to the nurse because his mouth was busted open inside and it was bleeding (so far kind of believable right?).

According to Harrison it was so bad, they had to call the boy's mother. She came to school and stayed with him for the rest of the afternoon. Turns out that the little boy was hurt so badly that he won't be able to speak for a few weeks. The solution was to get this Spanish lady (who ironically, according to Harrison, teaches Spanish) to teach the little boy sign language. Wondering aloud, I ask how she knew sign language if she taught Spanish, to which Harrison promptly replied "She learned it in case someone got hurt and couldn't talk." What an imagination.