How Hubby Saved Halloween

Posted in holidays on November 2nd, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , ,

October is normally one of the busiest months for our family, and that was true before October 2011 – the month that saw us being blessed with a new baby, starting homeschooling, and Hubby starting a new job/career all at the same time.  There are so many fun fall and Halloween events and activities that we like to do this time of year; we didn’t even realize exactly how many until this year when we had to scale it back a bit.  We skipped the corn mazes, the pumpkin farms, and all the haunted attractions this year.  We did take the kids to the mall for the trick-or-treating there, and it was lots of fun even if there were 50 times more people than last year – there was a line circling the perimeter of the entire mall!  Not a problem, seeing as how we live near the smallest mall I’ve ever seen and the line was continuously moving – as I said, lots of fun!

I heard about a congressman on the news who wants to pass legislation to move Halloween to the 4th Saturday in October because it’s safer for kids and easier to work around school if trick-or-treating is always on a Saturday and earlier in the day.  Some lady they interviewed for her opinion on the street was against it; she said that would be like moving Christmas to make it more convenient.  Umm, not even close in my opinion, but I won’t go there.  My point is that the area in which I live always schedules the Halloween stuff on Saturdays anyway – I guess we’re ahead of our time here in rural Ohio, haha.  This year we had 2 Halloween parties and our trick-or-treat on Saturday October 29.  Except we found out during the mall trick or treat (which was on Tuesday night) that baby Luke is a homebody – he gets really fussy when we try to take him places, especially if it’s outdoor places, and yes, we do bundle him up.  Saturday was a very big day for all of us because Hubby’s and my lack of sleep finally caught up to us.  We began the day on a very grumpy note, and everything was very hectic as we tried to get our work done at the church and ready the kids for the Halloween festivities.  We made it to the first party – the community Halloween party they have at the ice rink (no ice of course).  We had tons of fun as usual, and we even got on the hayride before the rain came and before the line got too long.  But Luke decided he was finished with the Halloween party before we were.  No sticking this baby in a stroller and feeding him on the go like we did with the other 4 kids; he just won’t have it and voices his complaints loudly.  Luke is our fussiest baby; the others were all very adaptable babies – in retrospect, I guess we were spoiled.  We are a very busy family, so either us scaling things back for Luke or trying to get him to adapt to our busyness will be interesting.  He can go from what I call ‘zero to screaming’ in a matter of seconds, but don’t get me wrong – he’s oh-so-incredibly cute and lovable.  It’s just that his idea of a good time is being held and cuddled – constantly.  Which also explains my lack of blogging lately – while I am feeling better after being sick most of the pregnancy and am recovering well after the surgery, I am not a very successful one-handed typist.  There really isn’t a choice between cuddling a cute baby or blogging, now is there?  So anyway, I took Luke to the car while Hubby finished up at the party with the other kids, and we decided to put off trick-or-treating until another day and do it in a nearby community that had scheduled it on Sunday.  We also decided that Hubby would stay home with Luke that evening while I took the other kids to our other planned Halloween party.  We went home and tossed a couple of frozen pizzas in the oven for a quick dinner, but wouldn’t you know by the way that Saturday was going – we burnt a pizza and only the kids got fed.  At least our evening plan worked out – I went to the party with the 4 older kids, and we all had a blast.  Luke actually let Hubby catch a nap while we were gone too!

Sunday we drove the 10 miles to the town where we were going to trick-or-treat, but we quickly became confused – no one was out; it was like a ghost town.  Hubby stopped at a gas station and found out that the trick-or-treating was from 3:30-5.  We had readied ourselves and arrived there ready to trick-or-treat from 5:30-7.  Apparently my lack of sleep had impaired my ability to read the time correctly in the newspaper.  I can’t beleive I did that – I had checked the paper probably about FIVE times throughout the week to make sure I had the right time, day, and place.  And I had misread the information each of those FIVE times.  So my genius Hubby made us a plan.  He stopped at Walmart and picked up 2 huge bags of candy – at full price I might add, which was hard for him.  He loves store clearances and sales, and it’s a testament to how much he loves his family that he bought all that candy at full price knowing that it would be half off in just a day or two.  But anyway, we got the candy and stopped at the dollar store and bought each kid a flashlight.  We drove over to the park, and Hubby hid the candy all around the park and then we let the kids loose with their flashlights and trick-or-treat bags to find it.  They loved it!  They said they liked it even more than trick-or-treating, and we even got an unprompted handmade thank you card later that evening from 7-year-old Sammie – and I quote, “I love wat we did today”.  I should add how great the kids were in the car as we tried to figure out what was going on with the trick-or-treating.  They were all in their costumes and ready to go, and then mom and dad starting driving around aimlessly.  When they found out they wouldn’t be trick-or-treating after all, there was not a tear, not even a protest.  Just a few questions and much patience as they waited to see what we would do instead – they are AMAZING!

I think I have some video of the kids at the mall, but other than that, things were way too hectic during our Halloween celebrations to take many pictures or video.  We have our wonderful memories though, and those of course are priceless.

Here’s a picture of my kids dressed in their Halloween costumes on the day they arrived in the mail from Grammie.  11-year-old Taylor was a pirate, 7-year-old Sammie and 5-year-old Disney were princesses, and 3-year-old Christopher was Superman:

Halloween Fun (Was Had)

Posted in family fun, holidays on November 10th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s officially mid-November already, and Halloween is over.  Because Halloween is one of our family’s favorite holidays, we try to take advantage of doing every Halloween-related activity we can, which often stretches the season.  We began on the Tuesday before Halloween at the mall.  They held a weather-proof (good thing too, the weather on Tuesday was so awful our tornado sirens were activated) trick-or-treat event in the mall, with costumed kids going from store to store receiving candy.  Our kids had a blast, and our little guy got the hang of trick-or-treating REALLY quickly!  He would receive his candy, and his way of saying ‘thank you’ was to give a little wave – it was adorable – see for yourself!  He’s the one in the Blue’s Clues costume:

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At first he was afraid of some of the scary masks, but he was quickly over that too.  The rest of the week stayed relatively Halloween-free, until Friday, when we had planned a Halloween-themed game night.  We requested guests to wear costumes (any excuse to dress up in a costume for Halloween – I really like to participate as much as I can!!), and we had quite a variety: from an escaped inmate (Hubby) to Flo the Progressive Insurance nurse, a nerd, a couple of hippies, a professor, a zookeeper on safari (me) – even a few members of the “real” Mafia made an appearance (we frequently play a game called ‘Mafia’ at game night and it’s tons of fun!  A few of the regular game nighters decided to dress up as Mafia as a shout-out to the game).  Fun was had, and we were able to rest up for Saturday, which was the annual community Halloween party.  My kids loved the hayride, complete with monsters that jump out of the brush and chase the wagon, and we rode 3 times.  There are all kinds of things to do at the community party, and it’s all free: from gourmet slushes (best wild berry slush ever!), cotton candy, hot dogs, and popcorn to carnival games, bouncy castles, and a maze for the kids, it’s all so much fun!

After that was time for Trick or Treating, and we had fun even if Hubby wasn’t feeling so well (he is better now – thanks for your thoughts and prayers!).  Let’s see…  don’t think I mentioned the kids’ costumes: my oldest (almost 11 already!) was a cowgirl, 6-year-old Sammie was a princess, 4-year-old Disney was a witch at the mall who switched to Dora for Saturdays’ events, and 2-year-old Christopher was Blue from Blue’s Clues.  We had fun Trick or Treating, and Hubby and I chose an old favorite movie of ours to watch afterward: The Uninvited – not totally scary (we usually try to watch a scary movie together on Halloween), but we both felt like a great thriller more than a horror movie this year.  Here is my little boy dressed as Blue:

Sunday saw church, and we had a blast in Sunday school as usual – except that poor Hubby had to stay home.  Also, we were very tired on Saturday after trick or treating, so we didn’t get a chance to get our annual picture of the kids in their costumes sitting on the couch.  But we got one of all 4 of them in the mall, so here it is:

Overall, a very fun 2010 Halloween, one that I can’t believe came and went so quickly – SO quickly in fact, that it’s already been over for weeks!  Unbelievable!!  Hope your Halloween was safe, fun, and happy, and that your Thanksgiving will be the same!!

Fun On The Farm

Posted in family fun on October 4th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I think most people have fond memories of visiting a special family fun place in the fall.  The pumpkin farms that my husband and I grew up going to are much different now – his has closed down, and mine has expanded beyond the family-owned small operation into a little carnival of sorts; I visited a few years ago.  It was fun, but not the same.  We’ve since moved away from the place of our youth, and we are happy to have found a fun place in NW Ohio to make memories with our own kids: Leader’s Family Farms.

Leader’s has something for every age group: 2 haunted attractions for the older crowd, and for the family: mini-golf, a petting zoo (complete with exotics –  more on that later!), hayrides, a hay maze, slides, chicken coop shooting, and a corn maze.  For the little ones, there are bouncy castles, a moo-train, a hay-climber with tunnel, and a corn box.  The under 5 kids area is really fun, and it’s all free!  My 2-year-old and my 3-year-old had a blast over there for hours, even if my son came home with a diaper full of corn – it was worth it!  Actually, he still had corn coming out of his coat the next morning at church but again, it was well worth it!  Here is a video of him playing in the corn box in case you’re wondering what I’m talking about.  The video pans to the rest of my kids, and finishes with my 3-year-old crawling through the little kids’ tunnel:

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My husband took my two oldest girls and their friend into the haunted corn maze.  This was a big deal because this thing is SCARY!  It is the best (read: scariest) haunted house in the area, and my daughter’s friend wanted to go in it, so we convinced our daughter to go as well (they’re both 10).  Thrill-seeker little sis (age 6) really wanted to check it out, so she went too.  They might have been REALLY scared, but they all made it out, and no one cried or tried to back out at the last minute!  I wish I could have seen them in there, but the little ones were WAY too young for something like that, so I stayed out with them.  I didn’t mind too much since the exotic petting zoo was free – I hung out there for the hour and a half or so that it took my family to get through the haunted house.  They had goats, sheep, alpacas, a teeny-tiny little pig, a camel (just a fuzzy baby, not his full height even though he was taller than I…  I was wondering how old he was, and I found out he shares a February birthday with a fellow tangenteer…), and some kangaroos.  They also had some other baby animals (a fox for one) and some parrots, but they could not bring them out because the weather was terrible – windy, cold, and rainy.  But I got to pet some kangaroos and even feed them – I think it was the first time I’ve ever touched a kangaroo!  They were good-tempered, soft, and really interesting to see up close and personal.   I  think the petting zoo people got sick of me, and I would have hung out more by the country band which I also liked, except that the weather was so terrible that it was hard to even enjoy the band – we all just wanted to  stay out of the wind and rain.  Look how little this pig is:

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And here is more of the kangaroos and of the camel:

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The hayride goes out way back into the forest, and luckily we rode it in between rain showers.  The tractor even drove through a small creek bed that was partially filled – it looked like we were going to get stuck in the water:

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My kids all liked it, even if there were some concerns about tipping on the steep hills going down into the forest – but we didn’t tip.  I can’t wait to take my  son on the hayride in our town in a few weeks -there are spooks that jump out from behind the trees there, and given his fascination with monsters lately, I know he’ll have a blast!  I brought out the Halloween costumes last night for the kids to pick through to find what they’re going to be for Halloween, and my son found a Friday the 13th Jason hockey mask and insisted on going to bed with  it.  😉

I must also add that Leader’s is a family-owned farm; we struck up several  conversations with the owners,  and they are extremely nice and caring for their customers.  The farm opened a little late when we visited because of  the rain, so they gave us free passes to come back again – as busy as our Octobers are (this one being no exception), I think going back to Leader’s when the weather is better is a MUST!!  By the way, I was this close to taking home a straggler from the petting zoo.  Only time will tell if I am able to resist next time we visit…  😉

My men on the hayride:

And my girls…  note the beautiful NW Ohio countryside in the background.  The scenery will only get better as the leaves change a little more and the sun comes out:

What Did Porky Pig Ever Do To You?

Posted in Current Events, Pop Culture on July 15th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , ,

The following news story caught my eye because well, let’s be honest – any sort of physical comedy involving someone in a big mascot costume is funny.
Ok, so it’s not funny when someone gets hurt; I stand corrected.  Best wishes to Ms. Porky Pig for a speedy recovery.  From suburban Chicago’s newspaper, The Daily Herald:

Two employees of Six Flags Great America turned against a coworker dressed as Porky the Pig on Monday after posing for a photo with her.

Dmytro Petrychenko, 19, and Taras Sikalchuk, 20, were visiting the park on their day off and were seen slapping a woman dressed as Porky Pig in the front and back of her head multiple times, according to Gurnee police. Both men are from Waukegan, reports indicated.

The men were apprehended, removed from the park and issued local battery citations by Gurnee police.

The victim was taken to a first aide station after complaining of a headache and neck pains. She was treated and released, according to a Six Flags spokesperson.

Kind of reminds me of the Sausagegate incident of 2008…

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A Not-So-Perfect End To A Perfect Day

Posted in holidays on November 1st, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WHEW!  I have to admit that we totally overdid it on Halloween, but in a good way – at one point in the evening, my 5-year-old said “how many parties are we going to?!?  We threw a Halloween-themed game night on Friday, complete with things like spider venom, truth serum, and rat vomit for drinks and snacks.  Most guests wore costumes, and there was a wide collection of characters, from witches to fishes to Star Wars characters and a vampire – we even had a gay construction worker!  Fun was had, but as usual, we stayed up too late and failed to rest up for our huge day ahead –  HALLOWEEN!

We began Saturday by making the rats costumes and taking them to the pet store for a costume contest.  No word yet how they placed in the contest, but Bobby Jack dressed as a zebra while Oreo was a Pink Lady from Grease – the kids had a blast!  We took  the rats home and headed out to the ice rink for the annual community Halloween party – one of my favorite things about living here.  We get there right when it opens and head straight for the hayride, where we are driven around the huge park.  Occasionally, creepy creatures run from hideouts among the trees and chase the wagon!  Not as many people were in line this year, so we got to ride the hayride twice, and then the kids tried some of the games, the maze, and the bouncy castles, while Mom and Dad chatted with long-lost friends and sipped slushies and hot chocolate (everything at this party is free and donated by local businesses and organizations!)  We got our hot dogs to go this year, and they told us to take a huge pumpkin home – we still have to carve our pumpkins, so we were more than happy to get one more!

We were able to rest for about an hour, then it was time for trick-or-treating.  We moved into our neighborhood 3 years ago, and we learned the first year that it’s not good for trick-or-treating.  We love where we live, but come Halloween, it seems like many neighbors aren’t home, so we’d have to make the kids walk blocks for only a few houses with porch lights on.  So we drive across town and trick-or-treat in a friendly neighborhood where some friends live, and we started with  their house.  Our little guy dressed as Barney, Disney was Dora the Explorer, Sammie was a princess, and Taylor was a bloody prom girl.

Halloween 09

Oh wait, you need to see Barney with his tail 😉

Halloween 09 (5)

I absolutely love Halloween – of course I think my own kids were the cutest, but I  love seeing all the kids dressed up.  An honorable mention goes to the 4 teenage boys who were dressed as the Teletubbies – my 3-year-old daughter was asking where the Teletubbies were all night, but we never did catch up to them…

Halloween 09 (15)

We took in quite a haul with the 4 kids, and after the second house, our 15½-month-old had the hang of taking candy from strangers.  Ok, that sounds really bad, but Halloween is a unique event, he was allowed, and it was really cute!  We got in the car after we were done trick-or-treating and headed over to a party at our friends’ church.  The kids had a blast there as always, and we made out like bandits in the raffle!  Years of not winning anything we entered apparently caught up with us on Halloween night because a few bucks in raffle tickets won us 2 value meals at Burger King and 3 really cool brand new toys for the kids!

But here is where things start to change from perfect to overwhelming – at the church we ran into my Kindergartner’s friend Hannah from preschool.  This child has many medical issues, and she’s been in and out of the hospital her entire life for brain surgeries.  Her mother was telling us how she doesn’t like her preschool anymore and how she’s been depressed because she doesn’t have any friends.  So who could possible tell this little girl “no” when she asked if she could come sleep over again?  Certainly not us, no matter how exhausted we were from the weekend’s activities…

After the church, we headed over to the community theater where they were having a Wizard of Oz party.  I  was completely exhausted, and we had to hurry home to meet up with my daughter’s little friend, but I really enjoyed the Wizard of Oz party during the short time we were there.  They did an AWESOME job with the decorations, and there were so many neat Oz-themed games and activities – even a yellow brick road! -that I will forgive the inclusion of some things from Wicked.  I guess I should say for any readers who don’t know – I’m a huge Wizard of Oz fan, but it’s the movie that I really enjoy.  I don’t remember the book much, and what I’ve seen of Wicked did not impress me, to say the least, but that’s another blog post altogether…

So FINALLY we get home, and Hannah is waiting for us.  At this point, I was SO incredibly tired, not to mention my car full of garbage, pieces of costume, and spilled candy.  All I wanted to do was end Halloween my favorite way –  watching a scary movie with Hubby.  So we got the kids (all SIX of them, since two daughters had friends over) as settled as was humanly possible after I-don’t-even-want-to-think-about how much candy and were about to  start our movie when Hannah comes down the stairs.  We sent her back up, and checked email and basically killed some time until we felt confident we could start a movie without any kids coming downstairs or calling for us.  Well, that never happened.  Somehow, we had forgotten that Hannah is a friend who is very needy and also one who outright REFUSES to go to bed.  We started the movie anyway, and we only had to interrupt it like 5 times (a late 80’s thriller called I,Madman – both hubby and I recommend it!).  But Hannah began one of her many descents down the stairs right during a climatic moment in the movie, which made my husband jump a mile high, which in turn made my heart stop and stomach drop.  And that was when I  knew I wouldn’t be falling asleep for hours.  Hannah finally fell asleep when there was only 15 minutes left in the movie, but she outlasted every one of the other kids, and by then, it was 2 am!  I guess you could say I put my extra daylight savings hour to good use; I think it’s the only hour of sleep I got!  I had trouble falling asleep, then I had terrible nightmares all night and kept waking up –  one was about Hannah; I’m not even kidding!  I woke up early to the sounds of kids playing and couldn’t fall back asleep.  So here we are, the Sunday after Halloween, dead tired with a messy Halloween-themed house and a trashed car.  But at least our house once again contains only the 4 kids who live here, and the main trouble-maker has been sacked out all day – told you we overdid it!

Hope you had a GREAT Halloween!!!

Indiana Jones-ette

Posted in Kids, Movies on December 14th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , ,

Remember that CNN.com article I wrote about the unusual names?  The article spotlighted a little girl named Indiana Elizabeth Jones and her brother, Dow.  Well, this post is not going to be about them.

Rather, it’s an excuse to post a cute photo of my 4-year-old daughter wearing an Indiana Jones-like costume.  For the real buffs out there, I know it’s not exact, but it’s still cute…

Halloween

Posted in Kids on November 1st, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our trick-or-treating was actually on Thursday, and we had lots of fun.  It’s a darn shame though that we lost our camera along the way, and even after numerous calls to the police station, it hasn’t turned up.  But after trick-or-treating, we went to our friends’ church party, and they took a Halloween picture of our whole family.  I wonder if they’ll sneak it into the newspaper next year to advertise their party.  They did that this year – imagine my surprise when I’m flipping through the paper the other day and there’s a picture of us from Halloween last year, dressed as a fish with my husband the monk beside me holding Pebbles Flintstone.

I just hope there wasn’t anything else too important on that camera.  Also, it was an expensive camera which my husband had won, not to mention the fact that we’re now without a camera.  We had to finish the rest of our Halloween celebrations without taking any pictures.  On tap today was the community Halloween party at the ice rink – there’s no ice in there yet.  Instead, they set up carnival games, bouncy castles, a cardboard box maze, and face painting for the kids.  They have hay (straw) rides through the “haunted” fields, and each kid that attends gets a bag of popcorn and a trick-or-treat bag to put their candy in when they win it from the games.  It’s very cool, and the best part is that it’s all free – including hot dogs and punch for the whole family.  For some reason, this year’s turnout was a bit lacking – less than 1/3 of the people from last year I would estimate.  I guess it’s because they had it after Halloween this year?  I don’t really get why that would scare (haha) people away – a free fun thing for the kids including dinner?  It’d be hard to keep us away!  Since I only have one Halloween picture of the kids and they’re cute, I’m reluctantly sharing the whole family’s Halloween picture, myself included – I love dressing up for Halloween and wanted to get more mileage out of my less-than-$5 80’s costume.  One of the funnest things about dressing up is being creative and finding things that make a costume for a bargain.  Next year I want to be Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, so I’ll have to be on the lookout all year for a dress and shoes I can use.  Here is a list of people and costumes from this year:

Taylor – almost 9 years old – a costume she put together herself involving a dress, a cape, and devil horns
Sammie – 4 yrs – a princess
Disney – 2 yrs – a unicorn
Christopher – almost 3 mos. – a lion cub
Dad – an escaped inmate
Mom – a time traveller from the 80’s

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Murder on Friday the 13th

Posted in Theater, Uncategorized on June 16th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , ,

With the kids out of town and Friday the 13th upon us, we found it to be the perfect time to break out a game we found at the thrift store months ago – a Murder Mystery Party.  After a check to make sure all the contents were there, we started inviting friends to attend a murder mystery party at our house:

Dear Name of Character Here,
Hart’s untimely death casts suspicion on us all.  The police report has already been filed (see enclosed).  We must meet quickly in order to solve the murder and clear our good names.
Hosted By:

on Friday, June 13 at 6:00pm
Please RSVP by Wednesday, June 11
Please bring a dish to share – no poison

We sent this email to each guest along with the police report detailing the homicide.  We began with our game night regulars, then when some of them couldn’t make it, we tried to cast accordingly.  The casting, by the way, just happened to work out perfectly.  Originally, we were going to have to make a male character female, but once we switched some things around based on which guests were coming, it all worked out.  And in retrospect, the swapping male for female thing would not have worked well at all!  My husband and I were originally going to be the married couple, but those characters were a few decades older than us, and the characters we did end up playing had a secret infatuation with each other, so we were both pleased to discover this in the course of the game.  Unfortunately, when my turn came to come up with a ‘formal accusation’, evidence dictated that I point my finger at my husband, aka, secret crush, but that’s how you play the game.  Each guest came in costume and character and stayed that way for the roughly 3 hours we played the game.  All in all, a lot of fun, and we’ve already had several people who were disappointed that they couldn’t make it.  So, we’ll have to scour the thrift stores and / or the intenet in hopes of finding another one of these Murder Mystery games to play…  providing we can get all (almost 4!) kids out of the house for an evening again…  hmmm, that might be the REAL mystery!