Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Halloween Ideas

My friend Jen, who is one of the Funnest Mommies around, sent me some pictures of Halloween crafts that she has done with her kids and I just had to share them with you.

First up are these super-cute Sesame street pumpkins. How awesome are the Elmo and Grover-o-lanterns? And the Mr. Potato Head totally rocks, too!

She made them with fake craft pumpkins so they can be used over and over and she suggested using battery operated tea lights to light them up.

She even sent me
this link to a site with other Sesame Street themed pumpkins. So fun!

My kids would have LOVED these back with "Melmo" was their favorite character EVER.

Then we have this completely awesome pumpkin patch cake. She got the idea from Family Fun Magazine (always great), but I think her execution gets bonus points.

I wish I had a picture of the graveyard cake I made a few years ago for Sprout's birthday. I might have to recreate it. Similar idea with a chocolate-frosted sheet cake sprinkled with chocolate cookie crumbs for "dirt". Instead of the pumpkins (which are SO cute) I used Vienna Finger Cookies and frosted them with white icing to make the gravestones. I put them across the cake and put one letter on each stone to spell out "Happy B'day". I think there were also some gummy worms sprinkled around. I was quite proud of it.

Anyway - I was sharing Jen's the other thing she sent me was these little craft-y pumpkins made with rolls of toilet paper wrapped in fabric. So clever. Another Family Fun idea involving very few "ingredients" and a great end product!

Thanks to Jen for sharing all these great ideas!!
Yay - my first contributor!!

Do you have any fun ideas to share?? Send your ideas to me at kjbassick (at) hotmail (dot) com and I'd be happy to post them!

Monday, October 26, 2009


We still don't have our pumpkins to carve for Halloween. We didn't go to the farm and ride out to the patch. Wanted to. Didn't. Too much other partying and visiting (and staying out of the rain) to do.

We did do a hayride in late September and the kids decorated pumpkins with stick-in face parts that my friend had...but those pumpkins rotted before October even darkened our doorstep.

Rotten pumpkins are gross, so I always want to wait until the last minute so that lighting the Jack-o-Lanterns isn't a matter of sticking my hands into some mold-encrusted cavern of yuck.

Last year I convinced the kids to
forgo the carving for something new. Well, Sprout went along with that plan - Tater was a harder sell.

This week we are chock full of extra-curricular activities leaving this afternoon as the one possible opportunity to go out and have the kids pick the pumpkins. And in the name of magical childhood experiences, I guess they should pick them. On a farm. With ice cream and cider.

Or do you think they might just
go for this?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pre-Halloween Preparations

Of course, the kids already have their costumes. After much deliberation and many changes of heart, Tater is going to be a ninja, and Sprout is going to be a trucker.

He has a full-body black suit and mask and a plastic sword that I am sure won't make it until the big day. She has a very tall trucker hat, a flannel shirt and a toothpick. She makes a cute trucker. If there is such a thing.

However, we are attending a party on Saturday with an 80's theme, so for the first time in many years, I need a costume, too. And my headband with pumpkin antennae won't work. Nor my cat ears. And that's pretty much all I have lying around.

So...80's. I wasn't that much of a fashion plate in the 80's (as I am now...not). But I spent much of yesterday piecing together something that should work - leggings, a pink sweatshirt, big pink earrings, a scrunchie. But the sweatshirt, in order to work for this, needed to be Flashdance-ified.

So I took scissors to my $5 sweatshirt, much to the horror of my children.

"Why are you cutting that?"
"Why are you wrecking your new sweatshirt?"

It is hard to explain Flashdance to elementary school children. But I tried.

So I cut a wide hole at the neck and I cut off the wristbands. And then we stuck them on Tater (see above). And then we stuck them on Sprout.

And then we stuck them on the puppy.

We thought the neck part looks like pig ears. Dixie thinks we are nuts.

Sprout wore this for the rest of the afternoon under her bike helmet. Quite a look.

Later the dogs decided to try on their costumes (they can be so diva-like with their demands).

Dixie is going to be a pumpkin. Angus is always a skeleton.

It is difficult to get dogs to look at you and smile. I have a new respect for the people who make those posters with cute puppies on them. Much patience is involved. I don't have it.

So, here is a picture of Angus smelling Dixie's butt. Because that's the best I could do. What do you think - poster?

About two seconds later Dixie started trying to rip her costume off.

Not a fan of Halloween apparently.

So, Saturday is the party. Sunday we have to go get pumpkins and carve them and all that. I might have to eat some cider donuts...because it's traditional. Thursday our friends are having a Halloween party, Friday is the Halloween Ball at school and then Saturday is the real deal.

I don't know when Halloween turned into such a multi-event extravaganza. We aren't even going to the various trick-or-treat events at local farms, shopping centers, malls...

What happened to one night collecting candy in a pillowcase while wearing a horrifically uncomfortable costume (possibly with your cousin attempting to pull your horse head off the whole time, possibly dressed as a crayon wrapped up in poster board in a way that made it impossible to bend, possibly wearing your grandfather's Navy uniform that survived a war and then was destroyed when you fell on your face running for candy...just possibly)?

I guess that all went the way of the Flashdance sweatshirt...

Have fun out there!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Fort

OK. First things first. When I went to log in here to put up this post I blanked on the name of the site where I write it. Dooger and Booger went through my head before I finally pulled Blogger out of the mist.

I think that this means either a) it's been too long since my last post and/or b) I am losing brain cells at an alarming rate.

But my encroaching senility aside (because I am told that sometimes it isn't ALL about me), what I really wanted to share with you is the result of about 10 hours of outdoor, independent play.

My kids, without me, outside, playing with other children, building stuff.

Not entirely without me, of course, I hovered around. I eavesdropped from my yard on the pretense of digging out bushes (which was, by the way, a lot of physical labor to have an excuse to be around without explicitly being around).

It all started sometime Friday afternoon. Progressed to Saturday afternoon. And culminated in 6 hours (!) on Sunday.

Varying numbers of kids, somewhere around 6-10 at any given time, working together to haul sticks (and some small trees) out of the woods behind our house across the street into the woods in front. Many trips to the cul-de-sac to move rocks. Rakes and shovels were involved.
The Dangerous Book for Boys and the Double-Daring Book for Girls were referenced. There were very few disputes. Very few places where I had to say a word.

From time to time they would all start riding scooters and bikes around the cul-de-sac, singing "Hot Hot Hot" at the top of their lungs.

It was creepy, I tell you. All that cooperation and fresh air. All that friendship and laughter. All that age-appropriate independence. Gives me the willies.

It all came to, almost literally, a screeching halt around 6PM on Sunday, when all of a sudden, as if some internal alarm clock had gone off, the children lost all coordination and started collapsing from sheer exhaustion.

Of course, this collapsing happened to my kids while they were riding scooters. So first we scooped Tater up and bandaged his elbow and wrist, and then moments later scooped up Sprout and iced her leg and elbow.

I said, "Wow, it was like you lost all coordination at about 6 hours".

And Sprout said, "I did not, I just started falling down."

Tomato, To-mah-to.

Late on Sunday night we realized that some of our gardening tools, specifically several rakes, had been left out in "the fort". So on Monday morning, after getting the kids off to school I went to retrieve them and this is what I found.

This was the first time that I really approached what they had been doing and saw that there was actual structure to it. I had seen the "teepee" in the back, one of the neighbor dad's had helped them get that worked out. But the rest was new to me.

This huge stick (like probably over 10 feet long, although I realize the picture gives no perspective) was carried out of the woods by two 7-year-olds. When I asked the kids later what this was (I showed them the pictures and we talked about all of their hard work), they said this was for skiing. I have no idea.

This here was apparently the "house". The carefully arranged sticks and rocks just blow my mind. They put a lot of effort into getting this just so.

If you told me to make three logs stand up by bracing them with a bunch of rocks, I don't think I could do it.

This is a little further up the hill. The teepee is in the back, I am not sure what the big circle of leaves was called.

I am not clear on how masking tape came to be mixed into the leaves. Apparently there was some early attempt to tape leaves onto the trees. I know it is technically litter.

These are the "extra" sticks that they hauled up out of the woods.

This is the "fire". Of course we had a big discussion about not even thinking about trying to build a real fire.

I have no idea what this is. I think another fire.

This is apparently the "bathroom". Again, strong discussion about not actually using the bathroom. Tater is horrified by the mere concept of using the outdoors in such a manner. I don't know about Sprout. She assures me no one has used it. Whew.

The "shower". See the drain?

This is the view back down the hill. That's our house. So I was just a little pinpoint in the distance over there (a sweaty, cursing pinpoint, prying huge bushes out of the ground and peeking over from time to time).

They were back out making tweaks and moving things around on Monday. And Tuesday. And then it started to get cold and windy. And now the rain is coming down.

I am not sure what will be left of the fort (inhabited by "The Wind Clan" I am told) when the storms end next week. But I am so glad that they had this week of building something they could be proud of. And, schmaltzy as it sounds, some great memories!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Go Daddy!

We made this poster to commemorate Mike's first (and possibly last, depending on how he feels over the next few days) marathon!


I am beyond amazed. My boyfriend ROCKS!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


With school back in full swing, our chances to do craft projects and things are quite limited. Yet, Tater frequently looks at me and says "I want to do a craft."

Sometimes he does this at 8AM and I hand him the remote and tell him to go watch some Spongebob. Crafts in the early morning are not my thing.

But when it is a reasonable time, and the homework is done, and we have a few minutes to kill, it is nice to have some small projects on hand. This is why I scout the $1 bins at AC Moore and Michael's and stock up on little paint sets and foam stickers and these little "Beady's" projects.

I see them all the time at the stores, and yet strangely can't seem to find them on-line. The world is making no sense. Anyway, I guess you have to haul yourselves to the actual physical store (gasp) if you want to do these.

Basically, these are bead-stringing. But there are two strings and you cross them back and forth to make the rows. The diagrams that come with the kits are pretty easy to follow and the kids are now able to pretty much do them themselves.

We made some a couple of years ago and with guidance, they kids were able to stack the beads onto the one string and then I would do the crossing over parts and make sure everything was nice and tight. They still need a little help with the trickier parts (legs, ears).

Most recently, each child made a lizard, a mouse, and Sprout did a cat while Tater did a snake. I was remiss in my photo-taking responsibilities and only got a picture of the final product of the snake. Bad Mommy.

Tater has a couple of these hanging on his backpack. Sprout might have one, too. We also use them as keychains for our spare keys. It is unlikely that someone is going to lose a key with a beaded lizard on it. Like a bathroom pass in elementary school, but beadier.

They burned through my entire stash of these - a marathon beadfest. So I guess it is time to go revisit the $1 bins.

Maybe next time I will save one for myself - they are fun and it is hard for me to stand around and watch. My inner control freak wants to get in there and interfere. She misses little kids who need help and she can get a little grabby, so it's best to give her her own project.

Plus, you can never have too many keychain animals. Right?