Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I took the girls to an event last Sunday called "Spirits in the Garden". There is a local garden affiliated with the university that we love to visit, and for the event they had games, crafts, snacks, and trick-or-treating with various mascots. Here are the girls after navigating the hay maze.
Our local Harley Davidson shop has a mascot named Chopper. Emma just liked him because he was a dog. ;)
This woodland fairy was Leah's favorite. Emma didn't like her because she had a tail. She actually creeped me out a bit, too.

Last year when it came time to carve pumkins I pulled out a kit I had bought years ago at 50% after Halloween. It had a book full of patterns and last year we did a spider and a cute jack-o-lantern winking. Don't ask me why, but I decided to do the fancy pumpkins again this year. It was in no way a child participation activity. Emma had already said she didn't want to take out the guts, so I started while she was at school and Leah was napping. Halfway through I was calling myself all kinds of crazy for doing these. Although I will admit they turned out pretty cute. I mean spooky and scary.

Emma hasn't really had a costume with full make up, unless you count the year I tried to paint her face green to be Yoda. I pulled her hair back and spray painted it black, then did her face white and added the widow's peak and eyebrows in black. The finishing touch was blood dripping from her mouth. She loved the final look and couldn't pass a shiny surface in the house without looking at herself. There was much posing:
When I was in a seasonal costume shop at the mall, I was asking if they had fangs that would fit a child. I bought some fangs for Emma that are too big and was hoping to find something smaller. I tell the high-school aged girl that my daughter is going to be a vampire and she says, "Oh, that's cool. So does she like Twilight and stuff?" Um, no. She is six and a half and has no clue who Edward and Bella are. Besides, she looks nothing like Edward, does she?
(I still haven't seen the movie--the DVD has been sitting in a drawer for the past six or seven months)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The pumpkins have fallen

Back in September I saw a cute fall decorating idea and decided it was totally within my realm of ability, since I do not have much decorating flair. I went in search of the perfect six pumpkins to precariously stack on top of each other (well, 2 stacks of three really) which is not easy to do in the imperfect world of pumpkins. Next was a quick stop at JoAnn's where I bought some fall foliage and some Spanish moss because nothing says "Martha" like some Spanish moss.

After an hour of construction, I came up with this

I was very impressed with myself and thought they turned out very nice looking. Only after I had them up and was patting myself on the back did I re-read the site I got the idea from that said "This will last approximately 5 days". Of course, why didn't I think of that? You are poking holes in pumpkins and eventually they are going to rot. Five days? Seriously? It was only about the third week of September.

Well my pumpkins hung on. I had to shimmy the one on the right a few times with well placed rocks, but they held. That was until this morning when I went out and found the great wall of pumpkins had finally fallen.

It was nice while it lasted. Yes, I could've used fake pumpkins but that just wouldn't have had the same feel. And at the time, real pumpkins were cheaper than fake. Those hallow plastic pieces of orange styrofoam go for $20-$40 a piece! Crazy! Even getting them 50% off they would've cost a lot.

This week I will go in search of the great pumpkin(s) again. I promised the girls we would carve some for Halloween and my time is running out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not a Winner, Once Again

So thinking it was maybe karma when I posted about my losing streak and then one of the blogs I follow had a give away, I was sure I would win (ha!). No such luck.

And last night when we went to the ISU volleyball game, they were giving out raffle tickets if you wore pink since it was their "Dig Pink" match for breast cancer awareness. The girls and I wore our pink and got three raffle tickets. The person right after me was one of the winners. :(

I guess I'll keep at it, the odds have to go in my favor one day, right? That type of perseverance was rewarded this week when the ISU volleyball team won for the first time ever in Lincoln, NE beating the #4 Huskers. And then the Cyclone football team beat Nebraska at Memorial Stadium for the first time since 1977. Sweet victory. Go Cyclones!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Last night we were watching a show about the evolution of electronics such as the cell phone, VCR, Walkman, and video games. As Emma watched about Atari (I always wanted one, never had one) we said that is what Mom and Dad had to play with when they were little. Disbelief.

After awhile she says, "Mom, I didn't play anything electronic today!" Gasp! Let's see, what did you do? Worked on a story, traced and colored a picture, did some homework, took a bath---and you survived.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sorry, you are not a winner

Emma has such youthful optimism when she sees a contest on a food item, only to be greeted with "Sorry, not a winner." Don't you remember doing that as a kid, just sure that you had won that trip to Disneyland? I never knew how it would work because prizes were always for families of four, and we were five. I guess we would've just left the youngest at home, right Kari? ;)

Now with the age of blogs and internet giveaways, I still feel a bit of optimism when I leave a comment. I just know that random generator is going to pick my number. Um, yeah . . . not so much. Most are just small blog giveaways--$50 Target gift card, a free Martha Stewart book, credit at online stores. I persevere, but no winner yet. It doesn't seem to matter if I am one of 3,278 comments (no lie) or one of 12 comments, I still can't win.

I've tried to think of my own blog giveaway to try and entice more readers to come and visit, but I can't come up with much. I don't think anyone would like to win a $5 expired K-Mart give card or some used tissue possibly laced with H1N1. Other than that, I don't have much to giveaway that isn't random crap I have laying around.

I will say I did win something this year--a free pair of shoes. I didn't even know I was "entered" into that drawing, but it was from the 5K race my sister and I ran this summer. They chose 17 entrants at random, and I was one of them. Maybe I will keep these forever as a reminder of my one lucky day:

I recently read this book

This woman supported her family of 10 on her prize winnings from contests in the 1950's and 60's. Just when they would find a great need, she would win a prize to help keep them going. One of her last big prizes was being the 1st place winner of a Dr. Pepper contest to be able to pay off the bank for their 2nd mortgage (the alcoholic husband took it out without her knowledge). This was all back in the day when contests were looking for new slogans or testimonials, not just random comments on the internet. There were books and social groups dedicated to "contesting". If they knew who the judges were for the contest, they knew how to write to please those particular judges. She would send in multiple entries for contests under all variations of her name--she could come up with at least 50--and also entered under her husband and kids' names. She would often win small prizes, all which were used by the family in some way or another. One year she stashed all her prizes in a closet that was off-limits to the kids and was able to provide a wonderful Christmas for 8 kids on winnings alone.

I don't necessarily want to win enough to support my family, all I'm asking for is a win more than once every ten years. Wish me luck!

ETA: So after I wrote this, I did my normal blog stalk walk through my daily sites and came across a giveaway from Clemson Girl and the Coach. She is so much fun to read and along with some of her favorite bloggers have me intrigued by the Southern lifestyle. Which is way different than things are up here in the North, I tell you. Anyway, go check out Clemson Girl (but don't necessarily comment for the give away, that would only lower my chances of winning) ;) Off to see what I can find on Little Birds Boutique.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I "Heart" Mom

Today is my Mom's birthday and all I can say is my Mom rocks. I know not everyone has a good relationship with their mom, and I'll admit during my teenage years she probably wasn't my favorite person. But now as an adult I appreciate her and there isn't a week that goes by that I don't talk to her at least three or four times.

Mom is always there to help with the new babies. She came to our house to babysit Emma when she was just a few weeks old so hubby and I could go to the Dixie Chicks concert. Here she is snuggling with Emma.

And when Leah was born, Mom was the first person to be there. She had come down to watch Emma for what we thought would be a night or two in the hospital. Little did we know she would stay the next two weeks with Emma while Leah was in the NICU. She did get to come and visit Leah as well.

These are my Mom's 5 younger grandchildren, whom she will babysit whenever we ask. Just last night she had four of the five. Our girls have barely had a babysitter who wasn't a grandparent.

Have I mentioned that my mom sews? She has been sewing for many, many years and is always there to help make whatever we come up with. She helped make the curtains for Emma's nursery and also some wicker baset liners.

She has also helped make various parts of many Halloween costumes including a black kitty, a vet, and a dog. When she was here this past weekend, she whipped up a vampire vest for Emma--she just makes it look too easy.

She also makes things like bridesmaid dresses. These were for my younger sister's wedding (all the other dresses she made were pre-digital camera and I don't have a scanner). Let's just say that among three girls she has sewn dresses for 4 weddings.

My mom also made at least one of my prom dresses and other formal dresses when I was in high school. Because of her I can sew, although I don't like to do it without her there to guide me.

I can also trace my cake madness back to her. When I was getting ready to make Emma's 1st birthday cake, she loaned me her frosting decorator and tips. Needless to say, she hasn't gotten them back from 6 years ago.

She was a Home Ec teacher and I am always calling her with questions like "How long should I microwave a squash?" or "If I forgot to put my eggs away six hours ago, are they still good?" She always seems to know the answer.

I could go on and on about my Mom. I only hope my girls think of me the same way when they are moms themselves.

And I can't forget to say Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law as well. I lucked out in that department as well. Happy Birthday, Betty!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


  • Yesterday I was out shopping at Target (imagine that!) while the girls were in school and I got a phone call. "Hi, this is Kris from the office and we were just calling to see how Emma was feeling today." Ummm, isn't she there? You tell me?! It turns out that with three Emma's in the class, the wrong Emma (mine) had been marked absent. Since Emma was out sick a few weeks ago, they thought maybe she wasn't feeling good again. I thought maybe they were calling to check up on sick kids to see what their symptoms were since there is H1N1 in the school, but they probably called since I hadn't called/e-mailed. Usually they know ahead of time if Emma would be gone. She did call down to Emma's classroom to make sure she was indeed in class. Right where I thought she was.
  • Speaking of H1N1, this article has me just a tad bit on edge. It seems that H1N1 itself is bad, but the secondary infections people get with it are what knock them down. Even before this fact came to light, Leah's pediatrician said his only concern for her this winter would be if she would get pneumonia. Great.
  • You know how in 2012 the world is going to end? (According to the movies and the Mayans anyway) Well, it seems that it is starting early. I mean look at all these natural disasters happening all over the world, now H1N1 and other deadly diseases. And snow on October 10th? Craziness! Our high temps right now aren't even getting out of the normal range for average LOWS. Last year on Halloween it was about 80 degrees. I'm a little scared to think about this year.
  • As for Halloween, I think we have the costumes figured out. They are semi-homemade this year. Leah is going as Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street. I bought a headband that has her "hair" and her wand off e-bay, she'll wear her tutu from her birthday (I'm adding in some blue) and then a blue tank top over a pink turtleneck and leggings and she's good to go.
  • Emma is going to be a vampire. I got a cape from JoAnn's along with fake teeth and some make-up. I told her she could wear that with black pants and a white shirt, and she said she wanted a black and white striped vest (I think she had seen that on other vampire costumes we were looking at online). My mom is coming this weekend so we'll whip up a vest. I didn't tell Emma I bought her some fake blood and black hair paint yesterday.
  • After finding some mouse poop in the storeroom, we set up a bunch of traps inside and outside. We haven't caught or seen any more evidence from our furry friend inside, so I imagine he is dead and rotting somewhere among the boxes in there (gross, I know--I'm not looking forward to finding him someday). We have caught a few outside. What do you expect, we live yards away from a bean field.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


You would think that with 2 moves in 5 years, we wouldn't have much clutter. Ha. You would be very wrong. Hubby and I are both "keepers" and have a hard time throwing things away. Need the original box to the Tickle Me Elmo hubby gave me at our rehearsal dinner 12 years ago? Got it. How about hubby's baseball trophies from when he was in jr. high. Got those too, thanks to the in-laws. Also have professional journals from 10 years ago (maybe looked at them once, haven't opened them again), every Christmas card we've received in the past 10 years, college and grad school papers and notes, a t-shirt collection that sits in a box, many unfinished (or even unstarted) projects . . . the list goes on and on and on. We can perpetuate this because we have a storeroom, a large garage, and many closets.

Along with all the "stuff" we don't really need, we have all the kids' stuff. Each girl has a closet full of clothes and toys. Then there is the hall closet that has three shelves of toys/games/art supplies. And the whole toy room filled with toys. And the downstairs closet that has toys. And the three large tubs in the storeroom that have baby/toddler toys. Need toys, anyone? Don't get me started on the kids' books, either.

I have to partly blame my mother for that. You see, when my kids go to Grandma's house they get to play with toys that we had when we were kids. Cabbage Patch dolls, Sesame Street Little People (it is my goal one day to have one of these myself) and the schoolhouse, the books we read. So when I look at my girls' toys, I think of my future grandkids and how much I would love to have them play with the same thing. Hubby's mom is the same way. She has all of his sister's toys like the play oven, ironing board, and picnic table that my girls and the other grandkids use at her house. She also has hubby's original Millennium Falcon and various Transformers that were his. If I have grandkids one day, I'm sure they would love playing with the Little People barn, and zoo, and airport, and house, and school, and ark, right? So I can't get rid of them.

My goal for today is to get some of the toys/books under control. Or at least move them from three or four small boxes to one big tote I can put out in the garage. The storeroom is another project. Somewhere in the maze of boxes I am confident there is a dead mouse hiding out. I know I need to clean/organize and find the thing, but that is about last on a long "to-do someday" list. Maybe by next spring I can get on that and get stuff together for a garage sale. Maybe.

Here are a few toys that my girls love at Grandma's. The pictures are from e-bay. I guess if my mom ever gets desperate, she can put hers up for auction, although the potential money made will never replace the joy these toys have brought over the past 30 years.

This seller is savvy--love the "Buy Me Please" written with the magnetic letters. Yours for the low, low price of $199.99

This is the Sesame Street Little People set. Again, you can buy your own for $165 (plus shipping) on e-bay.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Maybe next time

Dear Victoria's Secret,
I was flattered to receive the e-mail about your model search. Unfortunately I do not fit any of your criteria. Please keep me in mind if you are looking for models who are almost 35 (with a couple of kids), are 5'4" on a tall day, and are doing a photo shoot in Iowa. Thanks!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

iPod Profiling

On Thursday I was driving during one of the local morning radio shows and heard them do their "ipod profiling". Basically you send in your personal information (name, occupation, age, hobbies) and the titles of 5 songs off your ipod. Then the morning personalities will guess your information (they don't get to see that part) based on the songs you provided. The morning I heard it they guessed the person was a female, around 29, single, a teacher, and her hobbies were Ferrell's/kickboxing. It turns out she was female, 26, engaged, a school counselor and went to Ferrell's (local exercise place). Huh? They got all that from 5 songs? I was pretty impressed.

I was trying to think about what 5 songs I would pick to really throw them off. What songs would say female, 30's, married, and stays and home and reads facebook/bakes cakes? What songs would totally throw them off? And what songs are on your ipod?

Song titles to follow . . .

Okay, so here are my five. My ipod is mainly for exercise and entertainment on long car rides, so most songs are up beat and Top 40 songs.

1. London Bridge--Fergie
2. Smooth Criminal--Alien Ant Farm
3. Wanted--Jessie James
4. Silent House--Dixie Chicks
5. 7 Things--Miley Cyrus

I also have quite a bit of Britney, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, and Gwen Stefani.

I should also send in some for hubby. We share the ipod so he has picked some songs to download as well. Do these shout male, 36, chemical engineer or what. ;) Probably not.

1. Unwritten--Natasha Bedingfield
2. Bring Me to Life--Evanescense
3. Paradise City--Guns-N-Roses
4. Viva La Vida--Coldplay
5. 7 Things--Miley Cyrus