Friday, October 31, 2008

The Men from Oz!

Or should I say the Boys from OZ. Regardless they started out rather humbly.

The Cowardly Lion started life as two velveteen tan curtains, and some yarn from the thrift store, and a super overpriced plastic ‘courage’ badge from a party supply place. The Lion’s Mane was my biggest time sucker and took me a total of 5 hours to complete because it involved a lot of yarn sewing. Total = $13.96

Scarecrow was an old ripped green sheet, and two corduroy pants from the Thrift Store I already had the straw at home so that doesn’t count. $4.98 Total

Tin Man well he was my biggest challenge. Some of the things I planned to use on him I didn’t and others I improvised. 5 packets of flexible cutting board, two rolls of duct tape, empty soda pop bottles, funnel, axe, and two can’s of silver spray paint (My biggest expense). Total damage $30.27

To be honest if I would have known about Tin man’s cost I probably would have bought it from the party supply store for $44.00. I think he looks more like a buff muscle robot than the tin man.

Poor Prince Erik was spared the dress up because I ran out of time and didn’t even get a go on his costume.

I think I got too consumed with the details and just didn't have my time straight. Some of the projects I really had fun with was my broom...

The broom of which started out it's life as a hiking stick made by my Daddy Grandpa Elk. I think that it is going to have to find a permanent home with the Halloween decorations.

I also enjoyed the Tin-man's heart.

Total spent on boys costumes $49.21 / Girls $35.39

So in total $84.60 for seven costumes. Not too bad.

I then spend probably $25 on goodies to hand out (toys not candy) but I feel like a smuck because only one person came to our home trick or treating. I think everyone went down-town for the store to store candy give-away, either that or a super dark street scared all the kiddies away.

We did take our kids downtown and they got a little basketful of goodies. We talked them into picking six of their favorite pieces and then we are going to donate the rest to the troops in Iraq.

So I did go over my $100 goal but by less than $10.

So Here they are my Men from Oz!

To go along with us girl Folk.

The whole Oz Sha-Bang of charaters.

And Next year? I'm starting the costumes at the beginning of summer.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Ghosts of Halloween Past

So these two oddballs fell in love and started having kids. And by our second Halloween together we started the all-consuming, drive-everyone-bonkers, Halloween tradition of Family Themed Costumes.

After hours of watching Dances with Wolves we decided to go as Native Americans and won the costume contest for Prince Erik’s work.

Somehow, somewhere buried in my mountains of photographs are the years we dressed like ‘Aladdin’, ‘Indiana Jones’, the ‘Three Musketeers’, and our first go at ‘The Wizard of Oz’, and even two years ago, as my kids favorite, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ P.E. was going to pull up that picture for me but the computer was being a bit spastic.

But I was able to find ‘Star Wars’.

Prince Erik made a couple of kids cry on the Elevator when he walked on. He had the Darth Vader Helmet with him but also let me do him up as the wheezing guy as well. Lea was the Perfect Princess Leah and even wore a wig with those famous croissant buns. And little Evo-man was perfect for Pint-sized for Pod-Race Driver of the Year Award.

Then there was the Scooby Do Gang along with our bus decorated like the Mystery Machine. This couldn't have been more perfect for the trunk-or-treat we went to.

Abner kindly consented to me dying his hair but my favorite was Princess as Velma. Can I brag that my wee ones are super good at wearing itchy wigs?

Probably in the top two of my all-time favorite years would have to be...

‘Peter Pan’.

Yep, you saw right. Prince Erik kindly agreed to let me torture him into wearing Tinkerbell's outfit. Hey Tink, where’d that belly come from?

There you have it - Blackmail, material for sure.

And Abner...

Once a Pirate...

Always a Pirate.

And I always love the year I did Lord of the Rings.

But I will never confess to how many times I watched the movie to try and figure out the costumes.

I'm still working on the Wizard of Oz boy costumes and I'm hoping they will be done in time to 'Trick or Treat' tomorrow.

So Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where's my Log Cabin?

Note: Not two hours after I posted this entry the Screechy Dryer kicked the bucket! And it's not even 3 years old. Of course we didn't extend the warranty last year - Heaven's to Betsy - what's next? I know, I know - I'm grateful that the dryer broke instead of the washing machine, and that our tiny town has a Laundrymat for the towel loads, most especially I'm glad we have enough chairs and rails in our home to air-dry everything else.

I wonder if I should refrain from posting about anything new that breaks down because it might be tempting Mr. Murphy to just add to the list.

Bring on the smock, the apron, and the rug beater! I’m ready to embrace my inner pioneer spirit. Anyone have a homestead I can have? I’m ready to say good-bye to technology once and for all. Or at least I feel like it is trying to say good-bye to me.

Over the past two weeks I’ve said good-bye to the Dishwasher (it’s leaking and warping the kitchen floor), the roof, which on further inspection has revealed a rotted rafter that will need to be sured up), and two of three vehicles. The keys to the Portable Swimming pool disappeared 2 weeks ago and even though we found someone super cheap that will reset the window for us we can’t find the keys to get it there. ( I suspect they are buried in the teenage boys room, but I’m not cleaning the dive and I'm not paying to get the keys replaced.) The commute car’s warning light came on and after a $100 inspection we are told we will need for fork over the mega bucks for a catalytic converter. For how much it’s going to cost you’d think they were converting our car into a Cadillac. So we are down to our huge gas-guzzling bus as our only form of transportation. I get nervous driving the beast around because it needs two bald tires replaced and the bearings fixed, all of which I’m sure will all fit into our new needs only lifestyle. NOT!
So Mr. Murphy – Your Law Stinks. Just when I thought we were out of our debt laden habits our home and property are conspiring against us with a sudden muck-load of repairs. And combine them all together and they are enough to set us back another year!

So in the meantime – we are back to washing dishes by hand – which isn’t all that bad because I actually feel I get them cleaner than our pre-historic dishwasher ever did. I’m trying not to drive too many places. And I’m praying the wet weather holds off a bit longer so that we can figure out what to do about that hole in the roof.

All of which leads me into my Focus for the Month of November. And after my whining it’s a focus that I really need - A Thankful Heart. For the entire month of November I’m really going to try hard to focus on Gratitude and Thanksgiving for the blessings which my family has had bestowed upon us. Yeah, we are going through a crummy $ patch, but who isn’t. And regardless there is way too much to be thankful for and it really doesn’t do me any good to moan and whine over all the bad things. So I’m going to try and live with Thanksgiving in my Heart every day of the month. Give service, love more, play in the leaves with my kids, simplify my extra activities, and of course feed my spirit. The only thing I won’t be feeding myself is the Thanksgiving food feast daily. I’ve still got that $100 lose the weight baggage bet and I desperately want to hit it before Jan 1.

So when things go south like the dishwasher I’ll just have invoke the Pollyanna spirit and be thankful that we still have hot water and 16 pair of hands that can all wash dishes. And if the gas-gussie get’s a flat I’ll have to be thankful that my hubby can ride the bus to work and that I’ve got two perfectly fit legs that can walk me to the grocery store. And I'm sure-as-shootin' grateful for the fact that I don't have to collect 'Cow Chips to heat my home'.

The whole Thankful Heart month has been bugging my brain for the past three weeks and I’ve a load of ideas I want to blog about but they will have to wait until my crazy sewing spree is at an end. I’m almost done. Cross your fingers and hope Murphy doesn’t break my sewing machine (Believe me I’m banging on wood for this one, forget the polite knock.) So help me if the machine dies I'm going to need a lot more help than Pollyanna can offer.
Then again if something can go wrong it will. Sigh!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Before I announce the winner's I have a bit of sad news. I had to disqualify PE from the contests on account that he's sleeping with the judge and because his idea of a Craft site is a 'Water (boat) Craft' Website. He knows boats are a sore subject with me especially when it's sitting on your front lawn irking the neighbors and growing a mountain of tall grass under it. Don't worry I'll forgive him.

So Mr. Ghostie goes to Natalie where it will Happily Haunt her abode.

And My Fairy Portal goes to Miss Sunshine Dawn and her daughter Rachel. Hopefully it will encourage the garden fairies to leave her Mum's garden and come for a visit.

Thank you ladies for commenting!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Crazy, Crazy, and More Crazy

Crazy is something I’m very familiar with. I’ve been known to drive myself near-batty this time of year. And since I’m a wee bit behind in my Halloween Holiday checklist I’m postponing the Christmas stuff till next week. Then I’ll be back with a vengeance.

Don’t forget about my two give-aways. I’ll pick the winner tomorrow for both so don’t forget to sign up if you’d like a chance to win either contest. Click on the pic’s to see the contest details.


So, without further delay, here is crazy in action!

We hosted Two Kid-Friendly Halloween Parties for Evo-man’s and Lea’s friends last week. I’m going to try and squeeze one in for Princess this week. Why? Because I’m insane; and because it’s nice to invite kids to something besides a birthday party. They come and have fun with no obligations attached. Or at least I like it when my kids are invited to something similar.

So we made some ghoulish treats for both parties that included the Skeleton Veggie Platter (This one was made by Lucy's daughter who kindly stepped in to help me with some last minute, procrastinated kitchen help)...

Deviled Eyeballs...

Pumpkin Shaped Bean Dip...

Ghoulish Biscuit Pizza Faces...

and Mummy Dogs.

Activities included decorating mini pumpkins with colored sharpies, taking soup cans that I’d previously filled with water and frozen, and using hammer and nails we punched little spooky decorations into them. Then I sprayed them with a quick-dry spray paint...

added beads and a glow stick and Ta-Da!

O.K. aside from the blurry picture...The Kid’s made their very own little Halloween lanterns.

We also had a Mummy Fashion Show contest.

I secretly saved the toilet tissue - now I’ve just got to convince my kids to use it. You know the whole frugal thing.

We also had another go at the Family (Nice Picture). Too bad the Fire Department drove by in their boat.

The water was a beautiful glass before and it never quite recovered its earlier autumn mirror look. This one’s o.k.

and it may have to do but I was disappointed because the leaves are more in focus than our faces, but then I was thinking, 'Out of focus faces ain't a bad thing if your trying to hide acne. We've been out three times so far trying to get that really nice picture. I think the weather has had enough of giving us perfect days to take those pictures.

This here is our typical picture. Nothing but Goofs.

Also this last week I also sadly decided to put one of my two little Japanese Maple Tree’s out of its misery. This year only two of its branches bloomed. So I hacked them off, shook out the nesting spiders (although they would have added themselves nicely to the Halloween d├ęcor), and brought it inside. Then I plunked those branches into a vase so I could enjoy its leaves one last time.

R.I.P little tree, I loved you once but when you got all scraggly on me – Adios!

And I finished my temporary Blog banner with our Families Theme this year. Evo-man pointed out that I left out Toto and the Flying Monkey. Picky- Picky! I’ve never used Watercolor Pencils before and found them fun! I might experiment with different holiday banners once I come up for air but this will do for now.

My most exciting thing last week was to finally find a Halloween book I’ve been looking for since grade-school.

Trenadoll is going to be so jealous! I bought it used and it came well loved with torn pages, erased pencil scribbles – but, I still love this book. It is my all time Favorite Halloween Story. So I'm going to give you a book review of sorts for my Favorite Halloween Story of All Time.

Every year, during my grade-school learning, when they put out the Halloween books display on the check-out table of the school library I had to be sure to check it out. I love the illustrations...

the story – the whole thing.

It’s about a little witch who just can’t act like a decent horrible witch.

She can’t seem to do anything right and she even break’s her only broomstick. One wicked night she frees the Night Fairies who were trapped by the other witches.

In return the night fairies rescue her from the punishment the witches were going to inflict her with and they take her home with them where she discovers she is a Night Fairy that had been stolen by the witches when she was a baby. Then she get's a glamorous make-over and what little girl wouldn't think that was cool.

So that was last week. ~ This week - Well I have four costumes to finish, a small Costume Party to throw for Princess, and a home, that looks like a Texas Twister hit it, to clean. So I'd better get goin'.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Six Things You Never Wanted to Know.

So Sara at Shower of Roses tagged anyone who wants to play along and since I haven’t been tagged for quite a while I thought why not? Why not expose six clackity messy skeletons hidden in my little closet of secret horrors.

1. I Like Dirt! I’m surrounded by it. My kids track it in the house all the time and I like it so much I just leave it there on the floor. Well I don’t like it that much – but I do like working in the yard and garden. Weeding is a stress release for me. My only problem is I really have a hard time finding time to go play (I mean work in the dirt). On the other side of the equation is the fact that I do not like Mud! Go Figure. So my chances of actually getting out to work in dirt are significantly limited because of our constant wet weather. Hence my weedy yard.

2. Someday I want to be a contestant on ‘Wipe-Out’ or ‘The Amazing Race’. Believe it or not those are my favorite TV shows. I want to be the first ever female winner of Wipe-out and look like a total buffoon doing it. The Amazing Race I’d love to do with my world travel experienced husband and with our new strangely fit bodies I think we could handle the physical challenges. Might be a mess on the mental ones, but it would still be fun.

3. The only drawback to the Amazing Race is my Third Secret Fact – I Really don’t like to fly. I won’t fly on the same airplane with my husband because I’m afraid we are going to crash and die and our herd will be left orphans. Turbulence scares the be-geebers out of me and I white knuckle the whole flight. I really don’t like to fly.

4. I’m certified ‘Advanced’ Scuba Diver. It was fun in the fact that I could realize partially a dream of what it must be like to be a mermaid – only with a bulky tank on your back and a horrific looking suit that would scare the most fearsome sea predators within 100 miles away. See back then I was a rather large mermaid. I learned how to Scuba Dive nine years ago. Loved it. But as soon as I was certified and done with classes, I think I only dove once. Someday I’d like to re-certify and actually go to somewhere other than the Puget Sound on a dive – Maybe Cozumel, Mexico.

5. When in High School I was the first official mascot our school had. Official in the fact that I tried out for the position. I’ve been told by two reliable sources (Mom and Dad (Thanks)), that I was the best mascot the school had. After I graduated the Mascot basically trained with the cheer squad and learned cheer routines instead of interacting with the crowd. Let me tell you I could play a mean air-guitar, shoot underhanded baskets, and polish to a shine bald-headed referee’s, pick a fight with the opposing teams mascot all before half-time (and live to tell).

6. Most embarrassing moment was in the mascot costume. You know those dreams that you have where you’re at school in your underwear. Well I’ve never had that dream – I’ve done one better I’ve lived it. So that certain school day I wore a dress and forgot to bring other clothes so I stripped down to my unmentionables undies and donned the costume for the game. Well one particularly annoying little kid decided to take a ride on my tail and I couldn’t shake the little sucker. Unfortunately that was the night that my costume had had enough and decided to seam ripe open the whole backside. So with my backside totally exposed to the entire school student body and parents I made my most speedy exit to the locker rooms.

O.K. I’ve done it. I’ve unleashed my skeletons. What are six randomly weird facts about you that most people don’t know? What’s in your closet? Who else wants to play along?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I don't want to Grow - Up!!! & Give-away

What two give-aways in two posts? But you gotta read this post to find out about the prize and super easy contest rules.

'Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.' ~Albert Einstein

I was informed by my daughter’s fourth grade teacher that it isn’t cool for 9 and 10 year old girls to talk about such things as faeries, being a princess and make believe. It is cool to talk about clothes, crushes, girlfriend stuff and what-not. So far the other kids are not teasing her about her topic’s of conversation choices, but the teacher is afraid it’s only a matter of time.

Me, Myself and I have probably always had a good solid foot in the land of imagination. I love it. I was one of those kids who could go out in the backyard and spend the entire day, by myself with my imaginary friends, and have a great time. I still take a foray into imaginary worlds with my books (vampires in Forks – anyone?) or play pretend with my girls in the park and help them build fairy houses with leaves, nuts and fallen branches. At heart I’m a big kid with a huge imagination. And I love Holidays like Saint Patricks Day, Halloween and Christmas because they feed that imaginative spirit.

This year I’ve think I’ve got to tell my oldest daughter about Santa and it’s killing me. I’ve never lied to her I usually let her come to her own conclusions but she keeps telling me that all her friends at school are telling her that Santa isn’t real. When she asks me I say things like, ‘Well what do you think about that?’ Even in her Christmas Letter to Santa she asked him if he was real. When I found out (at twelve, mind you) I sobbed like you wouldn’t believe. Finding out that certain magical things you believe in aren’t quite real can be a huge downer.

But I’m a bit stimied as to how to encourage a healthy imagination in my children without bringing on the teasing from other less-inspired children.

I will tell her that she definitely is a Princess and always will be because her Heavenly Father is a King! She should never, never think herself not worthy of that title. I will tell her angels are real and miracles do happen . And I will tell her that imagination is a very powerful thing, and unfortunately there are kids out there that have grown up so glued to the television or gaming system that they don’t have an ounce of imaginative spark in them. So she will have to be careful from now on who she shares her thoughts and dreams with. And I will tell her that dreams can come true if you work hard enough.

So as to the give-away. Here’s a little portal to imagination. Keep it up year round or pull it out for special occasions to invite the magic into your home.

I made it with a little fairy dust glitter, love & from the clay that you bake in the oven.

I love crafting these doors and I’ve seen some on Etsy but if I charged what they do on Etsy I’d be paying myself maybe $3 an hour for how long it takes me to make them. I make them because I enjoy crafting them. I realize that I forgot to include instructions in how to make them. I'm working on some PDF patterns that should help the craftily challenged people out there. I'll try and post them soon, but it may be a couple of weeks.

To win it – Leave a comment (That's a tough requirement - isn't it!) Optional is telling me how you feed a child’s imagination while keeping them grounded in reality.