Sunday, October 31

The Big Reveal

Ta da!

I look better without the wig; I swear!

And, last, but not least, the Diva. Imma b, imma b, imma, imma, imma b.

Happy Halloween!

Get Your Bad Self On

Today's the day - All Hallow's Eve. Some classic horror movie stills to whet your appetite:

I'll post our costumes a bit later today.

Saturday, October 30

Seriously Scary Halloween Jewels

Just because Halloween is a holiday for kids doesn't mean grown-ups can't enjoy it. Even if you aren't the type to wear a full-blown costume like crazy me - the big costume reveal is tomorrow - you can still have some fun.

Spooky jewels are a stylish way to celebrate the season and beyond.

Some etsy finds:

Steampunk spider locket from edmdesigns for your punky Victorian friends.

A glass spider charm from DBoutique for the girl who likes a little spooky bling.

Edgar Allen Poe earrings for the literature buff and evil eye ring for the superstitious from PersephonePlus.

Bat necklace from CosmicFirefly, also punky Victorian.

Broomstick necklace from SixAstray for the Harry Potter fan.

Cinderella pumpkin necklace from RhondasTreasures for the fairtytale princess.

Last, but not least, a masque necklace from ManoCelebrates for the woman of mystery.

I think I need to see what I can dig out of my jewelry box!

Friday, October 29

Yummy Halloween

There's a big event in Roo's class today - HALLOWEEN PARTY! I love to volunteer for the party; it's a ton of fun. I get to dress-up and see all of the kids in their cute and scary costumes.

In honor of the big day, I got my act together and made some treats.

The Diva found the recipe for Funny Bones on epicurious and thought they'd be perfect for the 2nd grade party. It looked pretty simple; just three ingredients. Turned out to be more labor intensive than I'd anticipated.

First you melt white chocolate. Then place marshmallows on both ends of pretzel sticks while the chocolate is in the double boiler. Don't put the marshmallows on the pretzels too soon; they tend to dry out. If you don't have a double boiler, never fear. You can use a small saucepan over a larger saucepan. It's the technique I used since God only knows where my double boiler is hiding. Finally dip the "bones" in chocolate, place on wax paper and let them harden. I tried to save time by putting more than one bone in the chocolate at a time. A mistake because the marshmallows start to melt and fall off of the pretzels. Next your hands get gooey as you try to put the marshmallows back on and you have to lick your fingers and wash your hands again. . .

I made a big mess and my creations don't look nearly as fine as the professionally made treats. Oh, the burdens and disappointments of a home cook. Maybe if I had a sous chef and a stylist. . .

Gotta run and finish my costume before it gets any later!

Thursday, October 28

Weird Science

Okay, not weird. Just simple, 2nd grade science. And it's a Halloween topic to boot.

Roo's class has been studying the life-cycle of plants from seed to harvest. They've had a lot of fun with the unit, drawing diagrams and sprouting seeds.

Last week he brought home a couple of pumpkin seeds - THE original Halloween symbol - wrapped in a damp paper towel. After a couple of days Roo checked and shouted, "They sprouted, they sprouted!" I have not seen that child so excited about anything since he discovered he could be a superhero for Halloween.

Fast forward a few days and the sprouts turned into seedlings.

Quick! Get them in some soil.

Granted, it's the wrong time of year to plant crops, especially here - it was only 21 degrees F last night - but we had to get those babies planted. They're safely nestled in warm soil near a sunny window. We know, of course, that the plants won't grow into full-blown pumpkins, but it will be interesting to see how well they grow inside.

Next summer we'll try to grow some pumpkins to full size - a thrifty way to learn about growing food - and enjoy the results.

Maybe next year we can make jack-o'-lanterns, both scary and funny, from our home-grown pumpkins.

Jack-o'-lantern photos (from top to bottom) courtesy of ourstereo and My Readable Feast.

Wednesday, October 27

A New Home for Studio Ten Twenty Two

My friend over at Studio Ten Twenty Two has a new blog up and running - Pure+Simple Beautiful. I can't wait to see what she shares!

Shrunken Heads

Welcome to Day 3 of our Halloween extravaganza. Today we're moving on to shrunken heads because I'm feeling crafty AND thrifty. This is an incredibly simple and quick, crafty decoration.

Large apples
Vegetable peeler
Sharp paring knife

Peel all of the skin off your apples; preferably fruit that is a bit past it's prime.

Next, carve a scary face on one side of the apples. Remember to make the features large; the apples are going to shrink a lot.

Let the apples dry for a few days and you'll get some spooky shriveled results. They may not dry quickly enough, so I'll probably put them in a 200-degree oven for an hour or two and cross my fingers. Hopefully my apples will turn out like these from Martha Stewart.

Obviously, my carving isn't as elaborate, nor are my photographs professional.

I made these this morning and it literally took five minutes from start to finish. Most of us are pressed for time; happily, this is a quick one.

If the heads don't shrink in time for Halloween, I'll try the cider below, also from Martha. Incidentally, I have a love-hate relationship with her, but she (or, rather, her minions) does have some simple ideas. If you prefer adult beverages, spike the cider or make your favorite alcoholic punch.

All Hallow's Eve is getting closer. . .

Tuesday, October 26

Let's Do the Time Warp (Again)

Glee's Rocky Horror Picture Show episode airs tonight. Here's a sneak peak.

Halloween Day 2 - Treats

Halloween really is one of the best holidays. You can decorate, dress-up and make creepy, delicious, delectable food.

Our stop today is epicurious. I'm intrigued by the Black and Orange Halloween Pasta; there's just something about black food on Halloween.

Cookies are another great treat; also in black.

Tarantula Cookies. The sprinkles look pretty good to me.

The Caviar Moons look pretty darn good, too.

Halloween is the only day of the year I'll eat black food other than licorice and poppy seeds.

Speaking of candy. . .handmade is where it's at.

I think the Monster Pops look hilarious. Perfect for kids of any age.

And I certainly can't resist peanut butter paired with chocolate. The Halloween Peanut Butter and Toffee Candy Bar fits the bill.

On to pumpkin flavors. Pumpkin Seed Brittle is for those with more refined taste and looks easy to make, especially for home candy makers.

Sugar cookies are always fun, too. The Glowing Jack-o'-Lantern Cookies remind me of making "stained glass" cookies as a kid.

On the savory end of the spectrum, we have Warm Pumpkin Salad with Polenta and Candied Pumpkin Seeds.

And last, but not least, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Boulder Locavore has shared the best recipe ever. Now, if I could just get my kids to pull the gunk out of the pumpkins. . .

I hope you've enjoyed the food tour; I know I have. I feel a serious candy craving coming on!

Monday, October 25

The World's Cutest Pumpkins

These tiny acorn jack-o-lanterns are about the cutest I've ever seen! Instructions at Family Fun.

Halloween Costumes

It's day one of a week celebrating Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. Costumes are on my mind because I have GOT to figure out what I'm going to wear to Roo's class party on Friday.

My kids have been determined to wear mass-produced costumes for the past few years. I miss the days when I could dress them as a pair. The hit parade includes Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion, and Princess Leia (the white robe and doughnut hair, not the gold-trimmed bikini) and Buzz Lightyear. Once Roo hit the 5-year mark, he switched to superheroes and hasn't looked back. They already have costumes in hand - I'll share photos on the 31st - but I do not. Yikes! I don't have much time left.

I've been trolling Dirty Birdies Vintage for something fun and possibly retro. So far I'm digging the western wear, sort of a trend of mine lately, considering my vintage cowgirl boots.

My picks so far include: a gingham western twirl dress, an embroidered western shirt with pearl snaps, a sweet fringed suede jacket (unfortunately it's mens), and a 1970s red western shirt (also mens).

I'm considering a completely different approach, too. Stay tuned.

Dressing for Mad Men

Doesn't this dress at anthropologie look like something Joan would wear on Mad Men? Va-va-va-voom!

Sunday, October 24

Whiskey & Rye 2010 - Spool No.72

The new catalog from Spool No.72 is out. You'll notice that the vest I featured on October 13, is on the cover and that the catalog is one delicious dish of eye candy. I need to save some pennies. . .

Sunday Morning Muffins

It's a cool crisp morning in Boulder, with ribbons of blue across a cloudy sky. A perfect day for baking.

I woke up this morning determined to bake banana muffins. Roo and the Diva keep bringing home the organic bananas I send to school in their lunches and it drives me crazy. For some reason those bananas, so perfect in the morning, come home brown and past their prime.

Using the age-old frugal trick - making quick bread or muffins from overripe bananas - I whipped up these delicious muffins before the Diva and her Grammy came down to start the day (my 'rents are here for Roo's birthday weekend). The liners are made of reusable silicon and they last forever. Just wash them after use and they're good to go the next time you bake muffins.

We enjoyed the warm muffins while watching CBS Sunday Morning. It's a long-standing tradition in our family; if you've never watched it, get your tush out of bed and give it a try. Inevitably we learn something new each week. Three generations of females enjoying good food and tradition - very cool.

PS - Beginning tomorrow - 7 days of Halloween.

Saturday, October 23

Happy Birthday, Roo

I can't let today go by without wishing a happy bday to my sweet Roo. Eight years old already; hard to believe. Love ya, buddy!

Dessert vs. Science Experiment

The readers have spoken. The Aussie dish featured on Thursday has been deemed a dessert, not a science experiment in our poll. I don't know; I think I'm on the fence on this one. It looks an awful lot like an experiment. . .

Technical Difficulties

The post below is from Studio Ten Twenty Two. She sent the post yesterday and I was the one who missed deadline. I'm having problems with formatting today; sorry there isn't an intro to her post.

PS - Happy Birthday (yesterday), girlfriend!

The Boys Save The Day

All week there has been a little voice in my head saying, "do the weekly craft project, do the weekly craft project." Then all of a sudden it was Thursday and no craft project to write about.

Simple you say - whip up a quick little something fabulous with the boys on Friday morning, snap a few pictures send it over to She's Thrifty and keep my reputation as a reliable weekly guest blogger....well, here's the problem. Last week I got a JOB!!! Someone is actually going to pay me to do something!!!

To most of you that may not be all that exciting. You're probably saying to yourself, "what a nut case, I go to a job every day, it's nothing to get that excited about." But in my little world it is news of epic proportions. I'm a stay-at-home mom and have 3 "jobs" that have not paid me a dime in the last 7+ years. There are all kinds of websites that calculate what you're worth as a stay-at-home mom. I've read them and all it manages to do is depress me. Why would I want to see what my "job" is worth if I were paid...I love (make sure to insert sarcasm when you say love) hearing that if I got paid for my job I would make (according to $117,867. In other words, if I was doing exactly the same "job" for someone else, I could make over $100,000 a year! Don't get me wrong; I have loved every, I mean some, of the moments at home with my kids. But right now that $117,000 is sounding pretty nice. Think of the shoes a person could buy for that amount! Getting way off topic now....

Now you're thinking, "how could this ever relate to a craft project for kids?" Hang in, I'm almost there.
Last week I got the job; this week I've spent every possible moment interviewing baby sitters. LOTS of baby sitters. The first person I 'hired' didn't get back to me after I left a message offering the job. The message might have gotten lost among the various modes of communication these days, but it's my story and I think she blew me off. The SECOND person I 'hired' DIDN'T SHOW UP!!! And, of course, I was supposed to be in a meeting! Reality is she had the stomach flu, but still. I must have totally jinxed myself with the dumpster diving/pot smoking baby sitter blog a few weeks ago....This is the first job I've had in 7 years, and it's put me in quite a tailspin. Hours later I think I finally have the rest of the week set for baby sitters; fingers crossed that someone shows up the next day! Ahh, I am still off topic. Needless to say, my baby sitter hunt has completely taken over my life, plus I've got the new job thrown in.

As Thursday was coming to a close, I started thinking of some witty post about being a LOSER, trying to make it sound funny that I wasn't able to complete my one guest post a week....And then, Boys To The Rescue. I knew I had them for a reason! I'm making dinner, singing songs in my head with words like "finger and her thumb in the shape of an L on her forehead" and from outside I hear all of this pounding. I just keep on making dinner. A few minutes later, I hear "MOM, come look!" The boys have just constructed their own field goal. Seriously, I kid you not. They found wood around the house, went into the garage and got nails and a hammer. OK, you might be thinking, "girl, you need to babyproof." But let's just look past that and focus on the positive. My boys created a project! I know this is a bit nontraditional and you may not want to try it at home. But in the interest of feeling good about myself and not like a loser, here are instructions on how to make your very own field goal.

4 boards, if they are scrounged up from around your house all the better (I like to say eco-friendly, up-cycled, etc. Makes it sound fancier!)
a handful of nails
a hammer

Directions are simple. Pound nails into boards in the shape of a field goal. If you don't know what a field goal looks like, I would suggest finding a new project. Or looking at the photo. Tomorrow's task, painting the field goal. Wow, was this one simple. Thanks boys for saving the day. Down, set, hike!

Thursday, October 21

Don't Skip Lunch

Hubby is in Santa Fe for a couple of days, traveling for work. His flight to New Mexico was delayed yesterday and he missed lunch. He went straight to business meetings and didn't manage to eat until 7:30pm last night. By that time he had a killer headache.

A timely post by Healthy Happy Life explains why you shouldn't skip lunch - you can't focus and don't have any energy. Her power lunch recipe looks like a fabulous way to avoid the afternoon doldrums. Yum!