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!

Silent Politicians

Posted in Everyday Life on October 14th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

What an oxymoron this post title presents, doesn’t it?  Silent politicians…  is there such a thing?  The proof was sighted in NW Ohio last weekend – here it is:

That’s Obama on the left and McCain on the right – true to real life politics.  Hillary is in the middle…  the display must have been designed months ago…

Farm Adventures – Part 2

Posted in Everyday Life on September 29th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

One thing I forgot to touch on in my previous post is the danger of corn mazes.  Maybe I’m just a paranoid person – well, that I already know – but I was wondering how come there’s never been a major disaster at a corn maze?  I mean, what if the thing goes up in flames?  It’s a concern I was able to stash in the back of my mind during our visit Friday night; mostly because the particular maze we visited seemed safe.  They have a watch tower in the middle of it along with various emergency exits and “corn cops” to help guide you out should an emergency occur.  But the first corn maze we visited a few years ago had none of these precautions, and I couldn’t help but let my mind wander, exploring various disasterous scenarios in my head.  “Maybe they’re not very flammable.” my husband said about corn mazes, but that theory was dispelled the other night when we saw all the signs warning about how flammable the corn maze was.  Well, anyway, nothing horrible happened, thank goodness, and I’ve never heard of disaster befalling a corn maze, so until something happens, we’ll be able to enjoy the pastime of corn mazing for years to come.

So onto the rest of the weekend…  Saturday was the day of our town’s Fall Fest, so we walked the kids up to the town square, enjoyed the ambience and picnicked for lunch.  We ran into a few friends, and came home with an extra kid who spent the afternoon with us when we visited a local alpaca farm.  Here are the kids enjoying the bouncy castle at the fall fest with their friend.

Before the alpaca farm, we visited another local farm where they have an annual Halloween display – it’s really neat.  They go all out for Halloween, and they even made a little train for the kids to ride that’s pulled by a tractor.  Every family that visits gets little Halloween toys, home-grown apples, and a plate of cookies to take home – and it’s all free; done by nice people who just want to share Halloween with their visitors.  Last year we asked about donating money so they can continue their yearly traditions, but they said their insurance company said they can’t except cash but baking supplies and Halloween props would be appreciated.  My parents visited with us last year and enjoyed the Halloween farm so much that they gave me some baking supplies to donate, so Saturday while we were out that way in the country, we dropped them off.  Of course, they wouldn’t let us drop stuff off without taking home a plate of homemade cookies…  these are the nicest people.  Their home is sparsely furnished – yes, they invite everyone in for a visit – which leads one to think that if they have extra money, it’s spent on baking supplies and Halloween stuff.  Also, the woman is in a wheelchair, but none of that stops them from putting up this elaborate Halloween display every year and baking hundreds of cookies to give away.  When we went to their place for the first time a few years ago, we had just moved here from Chicago, and I’m embarrassed to admit that we were confused.  In the suburban Chicago area, there just aren’t many nice people doing things soley for the enjoyment of others, especially at their own expense.  People like that are few and far between and in an area that’s so over-populated, you’re lucky if you run into anyone like that.

Wow, I find myself having to recover from yet another tangent!  So anyway, after the Fall Fest downtown we went to the alpaca farm.  Saturday was National Alpaca Farm Day, meaning that any alpaca farm who wanted to participate had an open house on their farm for people to visit and learn about these animals.  Not only are they cute, but they are profitable as well.  Their fur sells for $12/oz, and one alpaca can yield 140 – 160 oz per year!  And it’s a method of farming that I approve of since it doesn’t injure nor kill the animal.  This farm had a 3-week-old baby alpaca (top picture below), and another one due any day, which is also fascinating because the expecting alpaca didn’t even look pregnant.  The farm also had a wild mustang that they had just rescued from Wyoming (bottom picture below).  Apparently the wild mustangs out there are running out of pasture and food, so people are bringing them to farms so they don’t starve.  This gorgeous animal had never touched a human being until a few weeks ago, and his first contact with humans was them putting him into a trailer and driving him across the country – that must have been frightening for him.  But you couldn’t tell by looking at him.  He was so well-adjusted and was coming up to all the people who were visiting.  They said he had gained lots of weight since he had arrived on the farm also, so that’s great.


There is just something about being on a farm that makes me feel peaceful.  The rolling countryside is beautiful, and I don’t even mind the stench of farm animals.  I would love to have a farm some day, providing we had enough money to pay a staff to maintain it.  They are lots of work I know, and I don’t know the first thing about running a farm.  But someday I think I’d like to try, and if that’s a route we explore in the future, alpacas will definitely be part of the venture!


A Twisted Episode of Survivor

Posted in Kids, Travel on September 29th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I had a wonderful weekend.  It all started with another visit to a haunted house on Friday night.  Although I enjoyed my previous haunted house experience at Ghostly Manor earlier this year, I just wasn’t feeling the Halloween vibe enough to subject myself to scariness – I didn’t sleep well the night before and little sleep makes me feel claustrophobic – weird.  But anyway, the haunted house was actually a haunted corn maze and they had other things to do at the farm, so I enjoyed myself immensely hanging out with my kids and the coolest teenager I know.  There is just something about farms that make me feel an inner peace; something that was illustrated again during the weekend – more on that in my next post.

Literally a cornfield in the middle of nowhere, Leader’s Family Farms has things to do to keep all ages entertained.  There were even a few things we didn’t even get a chance to try after spending so much time being lost in the corn maze.  Next time I will have to check out the hayride and the coop shoot – I have a special affinity for hayrides because they remind me of the week-long vacations to a dude ranch I took with my family as a kid.  But one thing about Leader’s that really impressed me was their ability to make appealing and fun attractions without the large budget or the mechanical reliance that a major theme park would have.  The “Barnyard” or family area had several things for the kids to play with: bouncy castles, a zip line, haystacks to climb on, a hay maze, slides – all physical activities which would guarrantee kids’ exhaustion giving the parents some “mommy-daddy time” at the end of the evening – the problem is everything was physical for Mommy and Daddy too, and like the DJ noted, “I don’t know who is getting tired out more – the parents or the kids!”  But that illustrates my point about the ability to entertain every age group without spending big bucks – and that is true for both the patron and the establishment.  Actually, let me back up for a minute and go off on a tangent – the purpose of the site, right?  🙂  Why do they call it a hayride when you’re actually sitting on straw?  I learned from a display at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo that hay is green and made from grass.  Straw is yellow and made from wheat.  So the kids were climbing on straw stacks, they played in a straw maze, and people were enjoying straw rides…  doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as hayrides, I guess…

But back to Leader’s – they had a DJ, who hosted Karaoke and played wedding-style audience-interactive songs like Hokey-Pokey, The Chicken Dance, YMCA, and Shout.  I was trying to teach Disney (my almost 2 year old) the YMCA, but she only liked the part where we clapped.  Maybe next time we will get down on the dance floor – this time my other girls were too shy and tired was I.  My insanely brave (or psychotic, depending upon who you ask) 4-year-old Sammie was intent on going into the haunted house, and my husband was actually going to take her in, but before she could even enter, she was frightened away from the experience by the scary music alone.  We got a cell phone call just as we were entering the corn maze, and so we retreived Sammie and let her enjoy the experience of the corn maze, which ended up being what I would describe as a twisted game of Survivor.  Take 4 kids, all under the age of 9, into a corn maze and wander around in the dark for over an hour.  No bathrooms, no snacks, and you only have enough stroller for two of them, so the other two have to walk.  It was fun, but also quite an experience.  I would love to go back and explore the maze – without kids though.  And when I got home, I looked at an aerial photo of the thing, and now it all makes more sense.  Here is where I spent my Friday night:

You enter at the small white building at the bottom of the picture and go left.  Where we really started losing it was around the back tire and the spoiler of the race car.  You can see how many forks and circles there are in the paths in that area.  And again, while in the thing, I had no idea what it looked like because I didn’t think to check a map before going in.  I would also bring a flashlight next time; well, maybe not if I didn’t have kids to worry about.  We were using our cell phones for light, but then the other half of our group who went into the haunted house called to see where we were and when I said I didn’t know, the cell phone lost service – adding to the stranded feeling we were experiencing.  I must have stashed my cell phone on top of the stroller really quick because my daughter had turned backwards in her seat and was falling out, so after I fixed her, I frantically searched for the cell phone with no luck – apparently it had fallen off the stroller in the corn maze.  So when we finally got out, I had to tell the staff that I lost my cell phone in there.  As they laughed at me, they asked if it was on vibrate or silence mode – “Of course it is!”  I said, because it would have been too easy to find it otherwise, and let’s face it – a lost cell phone in a corn maze wouldn’t be funny if you could call it and hear it ring.  So a small black silent cell phone lost in a corn maze in the dark?  Forget it.  They did call me the next day though, saying that they did eventually find it, probably with the light of day.  Well, anyway, the corn maze with 4 little children in the dark was quite an experience.  Not horrible, but not recommended…  quite an experience – I can only describe it as having felt like I came through an ordeal after we got out…  it was kind of like being stranded in the wilderness, not knowing when rescue would arrive.  Sure, there are “corn cops” and all you have to do is yell, but I don’t know how they’d hear you and I honestly didn’t want to be the group that yelled for help.  We did it on our own, and for that, we got the satisfaction of accomplishment.

Well, I’ve rambled about that long enough…  I had fun.  I loved the serenity of the farm at night, and it was a beautiful night weather-wise.  It was cool but not cold, and being in rural Ohio meant that we were navigating the maze under a canopy of thousands of stars…  I would love to go back and explore the maze without worrying about the kids being hungry, thirsty, having sore feet or having to go to the bathroom.  And someone remind me that if I have any more kids, a corn maze is NOT a good activity for a pregnant woman – too much walking and not enough bathrooms.  This post is so lengthy I’ll have to save our alpaca farm adventure for the next post…  stay tuned!

Williams County Murders

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24th, 2008 and tagged , , , , ,

The other night some friends and I had a conversation about local murders that have taken place in our county.  Because we are a rural county, murders here are few and far between.  A resident city council member who is also a local historian gives a yearly presentation, usually on Halloween, detailing the murders in Williams County, Ohio.  Because many people know everyone else, he doesn’t cover anything past the 1950’s, but I was able to find some information on my own.  For the incidents that did take place a long time ago, many of the circumstances are interesting as they reflect the moods and cultural attitudes of times past.  Being both a researcher of local history and a true crime buff, I’ve attended several of these presentations and decided to share the notes I’ve taken for those who are interested:

Williams County Murders

6/20/1847 – W. Unity – David Schamp murdered by Andrew F. Tyler and Daniel Heckerthorne.  Buried in German cemetary on Cty Rd. K.  Botched ransom kidnapping – family farm is 1/2 mi. W of US127.  4 pg article in Bryan Times on 150th anniversary.  In 1939, Ralph Gall wrote several articles in Inside Detective Magazine (June, July, Aug) about the crime.
3/23/1865 – Bryan – Conrad Rutman murdered by unknown – found hung in outhouse
12/1/1868 – West Jefferson – Unknown female infant by unknown
12/3/1873 – Bryan – Peter Himes by Ben Evarts
4/8/1875 – Bryan N. Main St. – unknown infant found in cigar box just N of RR trks
5/17/1877 – Denmark – unknown male infant
2/21/1878 – Bryan – unknown male infant
7/25/1878 – W Unity – Infant Loveless by mother, Lucy Loveless.  Father of infant was mother’s brother in law.
4/7/1880 – Edgerton – Unknown f infant
6/3/1880 – Edgerton – James Marshall by unknown
9/11/1880 – Bryan, dwntwn, N side of square – John Burchell, Jr. by William Everett – gut cut in fight
5/2/1883 – Melbern – Jacob Nihart killed with ax by mentally ill wife, Saloma Nihart.  Both buried in Brown cemetary.
7/21/1889 – Edgerton – Sarah Hoadley (71) and Christian Newman (72) by Hiram Hoadley, Jr. (45).  Murder / Suicide – in process of divorce, didn’t want to pay $2,000.  Divorce announcement in same issue of newspaper as the murders.
8/26/1891 – Montpelier – Milton Hogue by Perry Yoder
1/11/1892 – W. Unity – Infant Hayes – female, by Dr. Frank O. Hart
2/20/1892 – Bryan, SW corner of Beech and High.  Tom Murphy age 63 by unknown
5/4/1892 – Bryan.  Alley next to Christmas Manor went thru to High St. before Central School building was there.  Arthur Brown, about 22 yrs old, was at a saloon bragging about having a lot of money.  He was murdered by George and Michael Burchell, Walter Plummer, and William Elkins.  Witnessed by little girl from window of her house on W Butler.  Story featured in “Native Sons Gone Wrong” booklet.  Victim buried in Old Pulaski cemetery across from Winery.
5/8/1898 – Florence – Unknown Male infant
7/2/1904 – Bryan, just N of overpass.  Noah Schartzer shot by unknown.  Buried in Brown cemetery.  Case of mistaken identity.  Stopped and checked every train between S Bend and Toledo.
6/7/1905 – Montpelier – unknown infant
9/21/1905 – Montpelier, E of Bryan on RR trks – August Julius by unknown
2/7/1914 – Bryan, W side of Portland St. 2nd blk. Portland and Mulberry – murder/suicide – Blanche Stauffer by Charles Stauffer.  12 pg suicide letter – “She was a hard person to live with.”
11/10/1914 – Pioneer – Joe Varada by Joe Dohon.  argument over wheelbarrow, shovel over head, both Hungarians.
3/14/16 – W. Unity – Mrs. Andre by Wilson Andre
6/12/18 – Montpelier – Alex Grant by James Morgan.  Morgan (Afrcn/Amer.) wanted to get from Chicago to Detroit, didn’t have any $, so he hid in the btrm on a train where Grant was conductor.  Morgan was executed in Columbus, picture from OH Dept. of Prisons
9/29/27 – Montpelier – James Andrews (Afrcn/Amer.) by unknown
12/11/27 – Stryker – Celina Huber by Camiel Clark who was fined $125 for liquor violations.  Huber, age 39, was cut during fight, went to lay down, bled to death.
1/4/32 – Bryan – Fred Wonser, Jr. and Margaret Wonser by Lewis Wonser
12/28/36 – Bryan – Frank Lewis by William White
12/1/38 – Edgerton – Vern Eck, age 42 by Nona Goeltzenluchter.  Murder-suicide.  Having an affair, though both married to other people.  She was accusing him of seeing yet another woman.
6/14/45 – Pioneer – Murder/Suicide.  Mary Jane, Earl, Alice May, Betty Lou, Alva Stoner by their father, Alfred Stoner, age 38, just gotten back from WWII, distant cousin of Mark Kelly (murders in Wms Cty speaker).  Drove himself and kids into gravel pit S of Pioneer while wife was in hospital giving birth to baby 6.  Over 1,000 people showed up to watch the search for the bodies.
9/19/46 – Bryan – Emily Abernathy, age 30 by James Engle, age 21.  Jim was drinking a coke across the street at the bowling alley when the body of his victim was found in the library – rumor has it he watched them secure the crime scene as he was sipping his coke.   She had been strangled, beaten, and cut with a pen knife, died from strangulation.  Jim confessed – said he wanted to see what it was like to kill someone.  Paroled in 1974, moved to Bryan in 1989, currently resides in local nursing home.  Crime was chronicled in tv show “The Big Story”, but the show upset Bryanites.
5/5/1948 – Bryan – John (age 56) and Pearl (age 63) Gabriel by Ervin “Bud” Ingle, age 14, “King of 8th grade”.  They were his neighbors, and he wanted to borrow their car.  There is a rumor that Mrs. Gabriel liked young boys, and John did the killing.  Years later, Bud was a chauffer for the governor, and the governor thought highly of him and wrote a book.  There was a photo of Pearl’s body in the newspaper.
1/2/50 – Edgerton – Helen Bigger by Vernon O. Bigger – father in law of victim, possible molestation.
5/5/50 – Melbern – George and Evalina Fisher by their grandson, Jack Hartman.
9/12/51 – West Unity – Celia Walters by Edwin Walters
8/18/59 – Pioneer – James W. Elliott by unknown
9/11/59 – Blakeslee – William Bigger by Harold H. Bostater
12/29/61 – Blakeslee – Howard Tanner by Ned Eugene Tanner
8/18/63 – Montpelier – Dean Allen Nichols by David W. Nichols
6/22/64 – Pioneer – Dr. William Crall by Frank Patalon
5/21/66 – Montpelier – John McCamis by Raymond Burgess
8/31/68 – Stryker – Eben Henry Harney by William O. Bolster
10/12/71 – Stryker – John F. Meisner by Thomas E. Elliott
9/30/72 – Stryker – Judi Hagerman by Jon Garber
4/28/76 – Edgerton – Deborah Unger by Jeffrey Ailiff
3/15/77 – Bryan – Danny Hanisko by Lawrence E. Finn
6/19/90 – West Unity – Genieve Willene and Orlo E. Ansley by William Ansley
2/2/91 – Montpelier – Travis Pospeshil by Timothy Kelley.  Invol. mansltr. released from prison 9/11/06
2/7/92 – Montpelier – Torilyn Contreras by Jonathon Leggett – Invol. Mansltr.
9/30/96 – Melbern – Brenda Sue Kafai by Rocky W. Kafai – invol. mansltr. released 9/23/06
2/15/98 – Edgerton – Beth Garber by Shane Frisbie
12/6/98 – Edgerton – Terri D. Swearengin by William M. Swearengin
12/7/00 – Holiday City – Mary Kosier by Jason Crawford and James Jones Jr. – they kidnapped Mary who was an employee of Econolodge near toll road for robbery, killed her near covered bridge
6/30/01 – Bryan – Thomas G. Flint by Linda Ames (**NOTE** – a reader left a comment below containing additional info about this event.  I have not verified the source and am still in the process of research)

A Whole New World

Posted in Kids on September 17th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

During our community theater’s run of The Nerd, they designated one of the nights “80’s Night” since the play was set in 1985.  I enjoyed the opportunity to visit the local thrift stores with a mission – looking for components to complete my 80’s look.  2 thrift stores are within walking distance so I just packed up the little ones in the double stroller and off we went.  I found things with ease – a gaudy Mickey Mouse sweatshirt that I cut up to make it off-the-shoulder, a black lacy Madonna-like skirt, jelly shoes, hoop earrings, leggings, ankle socks…  I was ready to go!

And of course, what 80’s look is complete without makeup and lots of it?  I read a hint on a website about dressing for 80’s parties – “In the 80’s, we didn’t accessorize – we “excessorized” and LOVED it!”  So I braided my wet hair in the morning, and by evening when I took out the braids, I acheived the “crimped” hair look I was going for.  I pulled out the electric blue nail polish (though I ended up regretting that later since I forgot to buy nail polish remover and I was stuck with electric blue nail polish for a few days until I had the time to get to Walmart – OOPS), and I piled on the purple and blue eye shadow.  It was lots of fun to get dressed up like a goofball – I may consider being an 80’s time machine traveler for Halloween.  But anyway, while I was getting ready for 80’s night, I had a flock of admirers.  My 3 little girls aren’t used to me putting on makeup, dressing up, painting my nails, or spending lots of time on my hair (note to self – next time I dress 80’s, I need some Aquanet!) – I’m just not the kind of gal who does – or has the time to do, for that matter – these things regularly.  It was like a whole new world for them, and they gawked in awe as they watched me get ready.  My oldest kept running up to her room to look for jewelry to use – everyone wanted to help, which was like a whole new world for me.

80’s night was a few weeks ago, and the girls are still asking to have their nails painted and for us to do each other’s makeup, much to my husband’s dismay.  He’s never liked makeup and says he wants our girls to be at least 18 before they can wear it.  I’ve tried explaining to him that there is something innate in little girls that make them like dressing up and putting makeup on – it’s just how little girls are made.  Being a male, he doesn’t get it of course, and so I imagine we’ll have many a debate in this house once the girls get to the teenage years and want to wear makeup regularly.  For now, I don’t have a problem using it as a “toy” once in a while, as long as it’s supervised and I can guide my girls to having the right opinions about makeup, especially when it comes to self-esteem issues – makeup does not make you prettier, you do not NEED makeup, it can be harmful to your face if you use it incorrectly, etc.  So until they become teenagers, this is a way we can have fun together, and I also view it as an important bonding experience.  One of the things I remember doing with my sister the most while we were growing up is her doing my hair and makeup, and I don’t remember ever fighting while we were doing that.  Anyone who knows my girls realizes how much we need an activity that Taylor and Sammie can do together without fighting!  So if you see me walking around with a hideous makeup job someday, just remember that my face was probably painted by an 8, 4, or 2 year old!


Spookybook Treats

Posted in Kids, Theater on August 21st, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Halloween is right around the corner…  ok it’s 2 months away!  But Halloween stuff is out all over the stores already, and while we’re planning our Haunted Tour for our community theater group, our other friends in the theater are getting ready to stage an hilarious (TANGENT ALERT: I HATE using the word “an” before words that start with h, but I guess that’s proper English, so…) production of the play called Kitchen Witches!  Someone had a great idea to sell a Halloween cookbook as a fundraiser for the theater.  Being a stay-at-home-mom of 4, I have a few holiday-themed recipes in my vault that are fun for the kids and adults (to eat), so I’m going to contribute my favorite Halloween recipes.  Since I have to type them up to submit to the cookbook anyway, I thought I’d put them on my blog, along with a recipe for one of my favorite desserts: peanut butter bars – YUM!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
large pumpkins
seasonings (your choice)

Extract seeds from pumpkin, separate from pulp, and discard pulp.  Put the seeds in a colander and run water over them to get rid of all the pulp.  Drain on paper towels.  Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the butter and salt and / or seasonings.  Spread seeds out onto a cookie sheet.  Toast seeds in an oven preheated to 350° for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and adding salt occasionally.  Check the seeds to see if they’re done by taking a sample out, letting it cool, and tasting it.  If the insides are dry, they’re done.  Be careful not to burn – you want a nice golden brown color.
NOTES:  I use a clean, thin dishcloth instead of paper towels since I’ve had problems in the past with the seeds sticking to the paper towels.  Be creative with the seasonings; you can use popcorn seasoning, taco seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper, cajun seasoning, etc.  Pumpkin seeds are high in iron, vitamin A, and zinc; if you want to make them even healthier use olive oil instead of butter.

Rice Krispies Treats Spiders
YIELD: 3-5 spiders
3 Tablespoons margerine or butter
1 package (10 oz. or about 40) marshmallows or 4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups rice krispies cereal
food coloring
prepared frosting
candy corn
string licorice
shredded coconut

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt margerine and marshmallows on high for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute.  Add a few drops of food coloring and stir mixture until smooth.  Add rice krispies cereal, stirring until well coated.  Let cereal mixture slightly cool until it is safe to touch.  With buttered hands, shape cereal mixture into spider shape and place on wax paper.  Let cool.  Attach decorations to the spider with frosting using candy corn for eyes, licorice for the web, and coconut for the hair.  You can color the coconut by soaking in warm water with a few drops of food coloring for about 30 minutes.  Dry coconut on a paper towel before using.

Peanut Butter Bars
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks melted butter
12 oz. peanut butter

Mix all ingredients together in a 9×13 non-greased pan.  Melt large bag of chocolate chips and spread on top.  Cut into squares in pan and refrigerate until cold.