Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

It's 2:00 p.m., and I just finished the gorilla. Mason hasn't tried the whole thing on, but I can tell it's going to be roomy and long enough to wear for several more Halloweens.

I think mostly everyone is ready for trick or treating tonight. Taylor still hasn't come up with a costume idea. He has vetoed all the ones I've suggested (karate boy, soldier, mummy, etc.). He's on his own now. The rest of the costumes are laid out on my bed with all the accessories.

I love Halloween. I love sitting on my front porch handing out candy. I love trying to figure out who the children are who address me by name. I love trying to figure out what the kids are dressed up as. I love watching the kids squeal in delight when they get a trick and a treat. I love to see the smiles when the children notice their costumes glowing in our blacklight. I love the cool brisk night air. I love the way our quiet neighborhood comes alive. There's so much excitement in the air. I love it all.

Each Halloween we get over 100 visitors. Every boy and girl in town. And every boy and girl just outside of town. And a few teenagers thrown in there. Some dressed up. Some not.

And we might have lucked out with our weather tonight. It's a beautiful, clear day and I hope it continues until 8:30 p.m.

* * *
Amandajean and I are happy to announce the winners of the Candy Corn Contest. I have to say that it was very difficult to pick just two. There were so many wonderful projects submitted. We had several mediums. Yarn. Fabric. Real candy corn. Photography. Just to name a few. The projects were fabulous.

So, without further delay, the winners are Ella Bella Baby and her Candy Corn Dress and Quayandco's Candy Corn Pincushion. We also thought these Amigurumi Candy Corns (by Snippygal) deserved honorable mention. Amandajean has already sent messages to the winners.

Thank you for playing along, friends.

Enjoy your Halloween weekend. I hope it filled tricks and plenty of treats.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat Bags

A few years ago I bought a few yards of clearanced Halloween fabric. I planned on making the children Trick or Treat bags. Again, that didn't happen. I made a compromise. I bought ready-made black canvas bags (3 for $6 at Walmart) and appliqued the children's initial on the front. I would like to switch out the handle to make it match the applique ... Maybe next year ...

Today is the last day to submit your Candy Corn projects!

I wanted to express my appreciation for all of your comments yesterday. I am so grateful to this community that is willing to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those in need of comfort. I am so thankful for all the prayers and fasts that are being offered on Caitlin's and her family's behalf. Thank you. Mere words cannot express my gratitude. I wish I could hug all of you.

Taylor and I attended the funeral last night, with friends and family (Joe is out of town again). It was a beautiful service. We laughed. And cried. And tried not to cry many, many times. It was hard to look at anyone who was crying, because it just made us cry.

When I saw Matt's mother, my heart broke all over again. I have never seen her look so beautiful and graceful. I could see the pain in her eyes, yet she tried to put a smile on her face. As she faced one of the hardest days of her life. I know she was trying to be strong for her children. I have seen my mother wear this face many times, over the past six years. She has always been strong for us, although in private she is not. I saw this in Matt's mother last night. It's what mothers do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tears of Sadness

Today we officially say good-bye to Matt. On Saturday, Matt was killed in a car accident, on his way to take his ACT's. He was 17. He attended our church. He was one of my mother's seminary students (an early-morning scripture study class held before school).

Matt was cute. And charismatic. And fun-loving. He was the kind of boy you hope your daughter brings home. He was one of the good ones.

When I last saw Matt (Sunday, October 19th), I took special notice of him. He was blessing the sacrament and had just gotten his hair cut short. But there was something else about him. Something different.

As I watched him I thought, "Matt has grown up so much lately. He is a good role model for the youth. A good example. He's kind. I'm so happy that Taylor will be turning 12 soon and joining the Young Men's program with boys like him."

Since the accident, I have learned from other people at church, including my brother, that they also had taken special notice of Matt at that same moment and had similar thoughts. I have heard this over and over again. There was something different in his countenance. His spirit was different or something, maybe somehow aware of things to come.

Unfortunately, Matt wasn't alone in the car. His younger sister, Caitlin (15), was his passenger. She survived the accident, but is in Shock Trauma. She has been in a medically-induced coma since the accident. She has swelling in her brain, a bruised brain stem, and a broken pelvis. She had surgery on Monday to remove part of her skull to allow for the swelling. The doctors are hoping for a complete recovery, but said it should take 6-12 months.

Our church has fasted and prayed on behalf of Caitlin and her grieving family. She is in my constant prayers. She is one of the girls in the Young Women's program in which I serve. We are together twice a week, Sundays and Wednesdays.

I plead with you to please keep Caitlin and her family in your prayers, thoughts, and hearts. To my faithful LDS readers, please keep Caitlin in your prayers on Fast Sunday. She needs all the prayers she can get.

Tonight is the funeral. I know it's going to be sad. Although, I suspect there will be a fair amount of laughing, too, as they share stories of Matt. I know there will be many tears. Every fiber of my being aches for this family. It's so tragic. It hits home for me and my family. I have lost my sibling.

But, we know Matt is okay. His last entry on Facebook reads, "Matt has this store-bought way of saying he's okay." (Wed., Oct. 22)

Monday, October 27, 2008


After my morning run, I noticed all the pink around me.

My new Under Armour shirt (a belated birthday gift from my sister) is pink. With my pink-striped running bra underneath. Oops.

A bit of pink on my running shoes.

And all the pinky ballerina goodness of one complete Halloween costume. Complete with pink-striped leg warmers.

It's going to be a crazy week getting the rest of the Halloween costumes finished. I'm thinking I'll have a few late sewing nights ahead of me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Gorilla

in the making.

This just might redeem me as Mother of the Year. We'll have to wait and see ...

Happy weekending, friends.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Little Paper Books

Last night Spenser and I sat down and made little paper books. We cut scrapbook paper (from my very limited supply) and plain computer paper, folded them in half, and then I sewed down the center fold (with a needle dedicated for paper sewing). I used Kirsten's idea and placed a Martha Stewart label on each one.

I think I need to buy more supplies and make these as part of Spenser's birthday party goodie bags.

And, my obligatory Candy Corn Contest entry. Featuring patchworked scrapbook paper.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me. Again!

Yesterday it felt like my birthday all over again. I stopped by my mother's house after boot shopping (see below) and my sister had dropped off a gift for me.

Look at this vintagey goodness. A Pyrex cookbook from 1953 (!), a small orange juice glass, and a FireKing mug (which I already used for my chamomile tea). The book was dedicated right to me:

And it was full of great recipes. I can't wait to try this creamy marshmallow frosting:

Thank you, Kate. I love it all. It's the best cookbook I own. My new favorite.

I received some money for my birthday a few weeks ago and decided I was going to buy myself something I normally wouldn't. The money started to dwindle away (on root beer float ingredients and school field trips), so I knew I had to act quickly.

I couldn't decide what I should buy. This only happens once a year, so it's gotta be the right decision. I considered a nice pair of jeans (which I promised myself I would buy this season) and a pair of boots. I searched online and all the boots I liked were $3-, $5-, and $700. Way too much. Waaaay too much.

I decided I would check Marshalls while Spenser was in preschool. I immediately found a pair that I liked, but wasn't sure if it was a good deal or not. I thought I'd check Kohls before making any decisions. So, Sawyer and I drove to Kohls. It was then that I realized if I knew I was getting a good deal, I would be happy buying the first boots. I called Joe and asked him to google the boots to see what they were selling for. Turns out, they were a bargain! (But still the most expensive footwear I own.) I didn't find anything in Kohls that compared to the Merrells, so I went back and snagged the only pair in my size. It was fate. They were meant to be mine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fancy Pants

When I asked the kids what they wanted to be for Halloween, Jackson replied, "Fancy Pants!" Uh, what?? He wants to be Fancy Pants. A quick google search and I found this guy from this game. That's who he wants to be ...

Easy enough, I guess. I whipped up a pair of orange, bell-bottomed pants last night. I'm thinking I might make them shorter so he doesn't trip himself. (As, ahem, I have several times since wearing my lounge pants.) When I asked him if he should wear a tan, long sleeved shirt with his costume (to look like he's shirtless), he replied, "No, a black shirt. He's a stick figure drawn in black." And he definitely wants the spiky hair.

This so reminds me of last Halloween when Carter wanted to be the "Middle Age man who starts a town riot." Remember that? I don't know where they get this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rainbow Legs

The weather is getting chillier, but my girl still loves to wear her skirts. Just like her mama. When I saw Sarah's post on leg warmers, I knew it was the thing for Spenser.

I used a $3 pair of socks from Walmart (with pompoms!) and the idea from this tutorial and in minutes (really, just minutes) Spenser was sporting a new pair of Rainbow Legs. I am trying not to call them "BablyLegs," because, as she reminds me often, she is not a baby.

And these are just some of the outtakes. I love this girl more and more everyday. I suppose she just might need a pair to go with her Halloween tutu.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Autumn Fun

Yesterday Spenser and I went on a field trip with her preschool to a pumpkin farm. This was her first time to ride a school bus. She loved it every minute of it.

We learned about pumpkins, squash, corn, soybeans, hay, straw, and honey. I think this was the fifth time I have been to that same place for preschool field trips. (My mother went with Mason two years ago because I had just given birth to Sawyer.)

We went through a straw maze. There were so many rambunctious, mostly unsupervised preschoolers (from another group) that it was difficult to make it through without stepping on someone. This was the only photo of many that didn't have other children trying to cut around her or trying to plow me down when I stopped.

After the field trip, we took the opportunity to make a few Halloween decorations. I had seen in the Matthew Mead Halloween book the idea of spray painting a pumpkin with chalkboard paint. I loved this idea. After three stores, I finally found the spray paint at Michaels (Walmart, Target, and Lowes do not carry it in spray paint). I also picked up a faux pumpkin at Michaels that was half off, instead of using a real one, like in the book.

The kids love it. In fact, he has a face on the front (drawn by Spenser) and "Booooo" on the side (written by Mason) and maybe a thing or two on the back.

So the indoor decorations are coming together slowly. But it's the outdoor decorations the boys can't wait for. Since October 1st, they ask every day about decorating our front porch. With the strobe light. And black light. And fog machine. And the glow-in-the dark skeleton. And encasing the front porch in black plastic. It's going to be a spooky one ...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Halloween costume preparations are now in full swing.

After changing her mind a half dozen times, this little girl wants to be a ballerina. This week, that is.

She helped me make a tutu from a quick and easy no-sew tutorial.

I call it a success. At least the tutu is. Getting a good photo of the tutu? Not so much.

And speaking of tutus, I found this hilarious set of photos while searching for the tutorial. Reminds me of the tiara craze from a year or two ago.

Tutu notes: The tutu took 6 yards of off-the-bolt tulle for a waist of 20 1/2".

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I've already confessed my love of pendants, so it should be of no surprise that two more have crept their way into my home.

I found these pendant discs at Michaels yesterday. I was armed with a 50% coupon and planned to buy Sawyer a Christmas present (a Thomas wooden train set). When I got to the train section, I had to distract Sawyer. I pointed to a jewelry-supply stand and asked "what's that?" as I tried to make my move to grab the train. His sweet reply was an "uh-a-uh?" Like, "I don't know." But then I realized I couldn't grab the train just yet, there was some cute stuff I needed to look at first. I meant to distract Sawyer, and distracted myself instead. Ha!

I have a very small amount of jewelry making supplies at home (I should use that term loosely) and whipped these up last night after the kids were in bed. Well, most of them were in bed. Taylor was still awake and had to help pick up all the little jumprings that fell to the floor because my back hurt too much to bend.

And then, I couldn't stop there. I've had this on my mind since I saw this cute barrette. This was not my idea. I stole it.

I used the basics from this tutorial and made my first attempts. I made a set of two in a matter of minutes. (Oh, I bought the barrette blanks at Jo-Ann in the jewelry aisle for like $1.) The best part? Spenser is really wearing one. The girl that hates hair accessories, especially barrettes, is wearing one. Like, right now!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

They Were Free

So I snagged them. (From the Swap Shop.)

Three Taylorton cups. Made in America.

The floral one is Symphony in Blue (made in Japan). The solid blue is unmarked.

These three are unmarked, but very cute anyway.

Out of all of them, this one is my favorite. One of the Taylorton cups. Look at the leaves on the front and the inside of that cup! Very autumnal. Swoon! Now I know why I don't have a favorite color. I love the colors of the season I'm in.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Friday & Saturday

Thank you for the birthday wishes. It was a nice, quiet day. (Well, aside from all the laundry that I did.) Joe came home around 2:30-ish that afternoon, after being out of town. And the boys came home from school shortly after that. I had some friends stop by with chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter Rice Krispie treats. And I ate a lot.

Joe stopped on his way home and bought me a cake! This is big. I don't think I've had a birthday cake in ... um ... years. Maybe since my friend Jenneen made me one when we lived in Ohio! (I bought myself a cheesecake last year? the year before?)

I love the combination of chocolate and raspberry and this cake was just that. Yum.

Joe surprised me with a new zoom lens for my camera, which we used on Saturday for soccer games. We both love it. I feel like I can almost touch the boys as they play soccer on the opposite side of the field.

And we bought Joe a little iPod shuffle for his birthday. He turned 40 on Saturday. When you have two birthdays back to back like this, your birthday really only lasts 24 hours. Well, probably less than that. Just the hours you are awake on your actual birthday. There is no "leading up to" or "lingering past," because the next one is right there on top of it. I'm not complaining though. It is what it is.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And ...



Woo-hoo, Carter!
Saturday's soccer recap:
  • Jackson scored two of his team's three goals, winning the game 3-2.
  • Carter scored his team's only goal. They lost.
  • Taylor's team lost. Again.

Photos taken with my new birthday zoom lens from Joe.

Friday, October 10, 2008


It's that time of year again. The one that seems to come faster and closer every year. Yes, today I am 39. (That means I'm almost 40! Aaaahh!)

To keep in tradition with years' past, I decided to do a list of things you might not know about me. (My best friend loves these posts, so this is in honor of her. You know who you are.)
  1. I ran 1 3/4 miles this morning.
  2. I gained 3-4 pounds after Sawyer weaned himself this year.
  3. Since starting to run, Joe has said that my thighs are "as tight as when we were first married."
  4. I didn't realize my thighs weren't tight. Hmmm.
  5. I guess six kids can do that to you.
  6. I need a new mattress.
  7. We bought our last mattress when I was in labor with Carter.
  8. That was ten years ago.
  9. We also bought a set of bunk beds that day.
  10. I want a new sofa.
  11. Actually two new sofas.
  12. I'm waiting until Sawyer is potty-trained.
  13. I'm planning on training him as soon as school lets out in June.
  14. Sometimes I plan ahead.
  15. Sometimes I procrastinate.
  16. Mosquitoes love me.
  17. I think it's because I'm so darn sweet.
  18. I am joking about that.
  19. Not about mosquitoes.
  20. I killed three yesterday in my house.
  21. Two were actively biting me at the time.
  22. I have a fever blister on my bottom lip.
  23. I get them after I've been sick or stressed.
  24. Only about 2-3 times a year.
  25. I was both last week.
  26. Sick with a stomach bug.
  27. Stressed over Pit Bulls.
  28. I got a tan this summer on vacation.
  29. It's the first tan I've had in years.
  30. I try to stay out of the sun.
  31. I had a pre-cancerous spot removed on the back of heel several years ago.
  32. I've also had many bad cases of sunburn.
  33. I had sun poison twice.
  34. My lips blistered.
  35. My face swelled up.
  36. My family called me Elephant Man.
  37. I looked terrible.
  38. I refused to leave the house.
  39. My brother's friend told me that I looked better than his sisters do every day.
  40. That made me feel better, but not enough to leave the house.
  41. I do not subscribe to any magazines.
  42. I no longer get our local newspaper.
  43. I still haven't finished my quilt I started over a year ago.
  44. That is my goal.
  45. I will finish that darn thing before I turn 40. Do you hear yourself, Self?
  46. I still haven't learned to knit.
  47. That's another goal of mine.
  48. I don't know if I'll stress myself out with trying to learn before I turn 40.
  49. I don't have a favorite TV show.
  50. I used to watch Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy.
  51. During the writers strike, I stopped watching them.
  52. I haven't missed them since.
  53. They started to get too trashy for me.
  54. I don't have a favorite movie either.
  55. Or a favorite song.
  56. Or a favorite food.
  57. I'm not picky.
  58. I like almost anything.
  59. I eat liver.
  60. Cow, chicken or turkey.
  61. That grosses out everyone I know.
  62. This list is harder to write than I anticipated.
  63. I've only had two bloody noses my entire life.
  64. Both times I was pregnant with Taylor.
  65. My boys get bloody noses all the time.
  66. It makes me gag a little.
  67. I wish I had a maid to clean my house.
  68. I like to cook.
  69. I usually don't measure unless I'm baking.
  70. I can crack my back.
  71. And knees.
  72. And toes.
  73. And ankles.
  74. And fingers.
  75. And sometimes my wrists.
  76. I don't like the sound of it, but sometimes it's a necessity.
  77. I have arthritis in my back.
  78. I did a few weeks of physical therapy this past spring.
  79. It helped a little.
  80. I should go back.
  81. I'm a soccer mom.
  82. I bet that none of my friends from high school or college would believe that statement.
  83. I'm finally starting to understand soccer.
  84. I get being "off sides."
  85. I only like sports if my children are playing.
  86. While I love to watch my kids play soccer,
  87. I'm always happy to see soccer season come to an end.
  88. It's usually a very cold ending, with the last games being playing the second week of November.
  89. I need a hair cut.
  90. Or just a trim.
  91. I haven't decided which yet.
  92. Joe's birthday is tomorrow.
  93. We have no celebratory plans this weekend.
  94. Saturday's lineup includes: soccer, soccer, and soccer.
  95. And a few other things in-between.
  96. Mostly chauffeuring duties. (Like archaeological dig, Taylor's school band playing at the high school football game, kid's birthday party, Boy Scout popcorn sale.)
  97. Joe has been out of town this week.
  98. I'll be happy to have him home for a three-day weekend until he leaves again Tuesday morning.
  99. Joe and I are planning on going out to lunch on Monday.
  100. None of my children wished me a "happy birthday" before leaving for school today.

These are some of my favorite photos with my older sister, Lisa. My father's mother (another "Mom-Mom,") made us matching Easter dresses in 1972.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Comfy Pants

Someone recently gave us a box of hand-me-down clothes. When I saw a striped, polo-style, short-sleeved shirt in the box, I knew my boys would not be interested in wearing it. The pattern was fun and I instantly thought that it would make a cute pair of pants for Sawyer. I had made a pair for Spenser when she was just a little thing and always thought they must be so comfy. If I could get away with wearing jersey pants, I would in a heartbeat.

Since the shirt was polo-style, it had a few buttons I had to remove and an opening I had to sew shut before I could cut them. You can see it above, but it's not very noticeable on his hip.

This is all that was left of the shirt. (All photos need "rabbit ears," doncha think?)

A quick, satisfying project.