Pumpkin patch, hayride pics & review

We played in nature again this weekend- UGH! Not near as much fun as we were hoping for. After looking up pumpkin patches online we found one in Little Rock- naturally Google Map did not have perfect directions. We stopped and asked at a gas station and they told us they didn't think it was there this year- which thinking on it later was odd as it had 2008 hours etc...

Anyhoo, they told us about another one just a ways back towards where we came from- now the first one (that we were told wasn't there this year) was $2 per carload since it was the weekend or free weekdays but we had to do it when we all had time and presumably the cost of the pumpkins.


Where we ended up... Wildwood something or other... HA! 4 bucks a kid and 3 per adult. Rip Off! Yes, we got a hayride... lame but Ian liked it okay. Since kids were an extra buck they got a pumpkin- I kid you not the largest that they had a choice from were from the miniature ones that they sell in bags of a dozen for a couple bucks to at most 6 inches.


It was a sorry sorry selection and we heard others grumbling that they'd be stopping at Kroger on the way home as well. Seriously nothing even close to large enough to carve.


They did have a selection of pre-priced ones but the decent ones that are $3 to $5 depending on the market were $14.95. SICK!!!


In all fairness they had a couple of neat looking snake shaped gourds- also way overpriced.


Yes, we did it we had made such a huge deal out of pumpkin hunting with Ian we felt like we had to after an hour finding the place, but next year for sure we are getting personal recommendations.


Kyra and Aaron were also disappointed Saturday night- they had read these awesome reviews on a Haunted Hospital and that was not near as scary as they were led to believe and at $10 bucks a pop we had hoped all of the rave reviews would live up to their name, but alas once more I guess it depends on what you are used to. Ian had a sleepover here, though, so it was fun for us, mostly Auntie Dodo as she watched movies with him.


I've got more recipes and pics but they'll have to wait. Halloween is coming up fast and we've been hopping to get ready for it. Hope everyone is having as much fun as we are getting ready for the little ghouls.


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Prayers requested while gunmen still at large @ UCA.

In addition to our own relatives who are students at UCA and the profs we know, we are keeping the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers while 3 of the 4 shooters are still free. Your girls as well, Betty.
Here is the latest from KATC channel 7:
Conway - Two people are dead, and another wounded after a shooting on the UCA campus after a shooting just after 9:00 Sunday night outside the Snow Fine Arts Building.
A UCA spokesperson has now confirmed both of the fatalities were students, and the third was a non-student who has since been treated and released from the hospital.
Campus police say the suspects ran into Arkansas Hall after the shooting. One suspect has since been taken into custody, but three remain at large.
Unofficially, and through our own unconfirmed sources the incident is gang related. One of Kyra's friends was one who called it in, so we are taking it to be a firsthand and accurate account. YMMV.
While all such incidents are of course scary and mind-boggling, when they hit this close to home (we have nieces, friends, etc who are students) it really takes on a whole new perspective.
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Sixth photo of the Sixth Album meme - late but worth it.


I got tagged with a meme (yes a while ago- I told y'all I had some catching up to do) by Rachel over at Something to Blog About. I am supposed to do the sixth pic in the sixth album- okay well I have folders so this is as close as I could get.
This is my Pansy Paws dog, dude, the older of the 2 boys we have. Excuse the unmade bed, he likes to curl up with and around things and had some serious snuggling to do with a supersoft blankie. (Kohl's has them for $10 around Christmas time, a great price for a really soft blanket that wears very well.)
My nephew found Dude on the side of the road one night and he's been a huge part of our family ever since. The vet told us what breeds he might have but we forgot, and we just call him our snuggly boy.
Pretty cute, huh? How can you look into those gorgeous eyes, loving you unconditionally and not turn to mush?
Anyways now I am supposed to tag some people- Rachel tagged 4 so I guess that is what I am supposed to do- here goes- Trina, Jen, Betty and Anna.
Tag, you're it.
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Shhh Mommy's Meditating.

I've tried to meditate and do yoga. I suck at it, but still I try.
I can do the physical moves, but the mental quiet just isn't happening.
It doesn't help, of course, that when they say things like "that part of your belly that feels all soft and doughy". Umm hello, don't say things like that when I am in the room unless you want doughboy comments. And giggling. Lots and lots of giggling. Just don't.
Meditation causes mental chatter that runs the gamut, from mentally creating a grocery list or wondering who is gonna do what to whom on one of the tv shows I watch to how much better off the government would be if they would put someone in charge who actually had to worry about whether they can buy gas to get to work or groceries to feed the family and split the difference and got a gallon of gas and just enough food to fill the kiddos bellies insisting all the while they are still stuffed. Or had to figure out how to be fair to all parties involved.
No way in hell we'd be bailing out people who pushed for overspending and giving credit that people couldn't afford cuz we would never in a million gazillion years have gotten into such a ludicrous position in the first place. Oh, please, we all know it is the truth. Nobody but the banks ever thought the interest only loans were a good idea, anyone with an ounce of common sense was saying then that it would bite them in the ass and now it has taken out a big fat chunk. I know we have to do something, but there is no way it should have gotten anywhere near this far.
I am not going to go into politics here, and wasn't going to mention it at all, but you see what happens when I try to do something good for myself. Once that is in your brain, how do you shut it up and clear your mind?
Bah.
When the kids were much younger I would tell them I had to go into my room to meditate because it was the only way to get half a second of peace and quiet for myself. Honestly. You parents know- the minute you either get busy or get quiet you are desperately needed. Period.
And telling the kids that you needed to rest for 5 minutes so you had the energy to take them here and there and do this and that for them had them all needing you RIGHT. THIS. VERY. SECOND. IF. NOT. SOONER.
When I told them I was meditating they would actually leave me alone, thinking it would mellow me out and let them do what they wanted for 15 minutes or so. (No, I am not claiming to understand how their minds work, it is just a fact of life.)
Of course they soon learned that if mama said she is meditating that means she is taking a nap. But. It was nice while it lasted.
What works for you? Kyra can't even go to the bathroom without Ian beating on the door incessantly. How do you find your balance and get a minute or two to yourself?
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You've got some nerve, mother!

The weekend went by so fast- I'm not even sure we had time to blink.
Kyra and the little guy came over to play yesterday, that's always fun... he is at such a fun age/stage right now. I know I always say that but it's the truth.
Mama got the confirmation letter that everything is set for our trip to Universal. You know you won and did everything right but until you are declared the official winner, there is that tiny little niggle of doubt. OMG talk about excited- yep, we're more excited than a couple of kids let loose in a candy store.
She got the paperwork with the list of blackout dates and we decided that April would work best for all of us- not too hot, not too crowded. I will probably go to her condo (I told y'all the lucky dog has a place right across from the beach, right?) a week before and stay for a couple weeks after- it was supposed to be 3 weeks total but she's angling for 3 plus the 4 days for the trip which is fine with me as long as the rest of the family doesn't fall apart. ;)
Oh, oh, my mom is a trip and a half. She had the nerve to say that me and the boy (my nephew, who is coming with us) embarrass her! and to try to act with decorum and dignity.
This from the lunatic who used to grab my hand and RUN LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL across Great Adventure when I was growing up to Rolling Thunder (yes, back in the day this was considered an excellent roller coaster) to catch one last ride before it closed for the night.
God love you mama, but you have one helluva nerve saying we embarrass you.
I know what she's talking about, though. When we lived in Alaska there was a lot of unauthorized ditch-diving and I had a mini-van with not the best traction on the planet so we would somewhat limit our outings.
This of course meant that we had to take a list to the grocery store.
Now this was just not something I had ever done or ever wanted to do, so the boy and I would say things like only dorks carry lists and blah blah blah.
Anyhoozles, we got some neon index cards to write the lists on- different colors for different stores and we would always put dork list on the back of them really big in sharpie. Yes, bless his heart, my nephew would carry around bright pink index cards and make sure dork list was showing.
This was back in the day, peeps, he was a teenager, just not something most teenage boys would do. And that is just one of the reasons I love him to pieces and he'll always be my boy.
Betcha dollars to donuts if he was here with me now he'd carry the Hello Kitty lists for me. And yes, Ken does!!! I know, I know, thank God they are secure in being guys, right?
Most likely, Asia, who will be about 3 1/2 when we go will be the most mature one there. And you know what? That's okay, cuz we'll be the ones having the most fun!
Oh, and if anyone has been to Universal Orlando, where is the best place to buy a dorky hat or crown? It's my thing, like one of the very first things that I do when I get to a fair/festival/theme park, so that I can suck every second of enjoyment out of the trip... it's like a signal- when the crown goes on the adult cares get left behind.
Tons to do today before Ian gets here, just wanted to do a quickie update. I am getting to the comments/emails, I promise!!! Eventually. Real life will always come first with me and I hope everyone can understand that.
It's a new week, peeps, make it a great one.
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Fall Cleaning

As the air gets nippier and darkness comes earlier, I feel the need to get my house in order.
Arkansas does not have seasons as distinct as some places, and I miss the glory that is the turning of the leaves that is New England, but I do feel the need for change.
I am in the midst of a major overhaul in my home and I am also planning on updating my blog to make the posts easier to access and less all over the place.
I have a disdain for clutter (I know, I know, and I still had all these kids and dogs... and yes, mama, I know I'm a slob comparatively ;-) ) so am going to be deleting the obsolete crap and making the ones I keep easier to access... I hope... I am going to try my best anyways.
I will be getting to each and every one of you kind enough to comment on my blog, and I will try to do it in a relatively timely manner.
I ask for your understanding if it is not as quickly as others respond as the need to reorganize has overtaken any other priorities except my family and unfortunately with my illness it takes me a lot longer to do these things than it used to.
I appreciate you, more than I can possibly say.

Much love and many blessings,
dddiva
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Mommy's awesomeness!

Ok, so do you know how awesome my mommy is? You probably think you have some idea, but really, you don't.

A while ago my Drama teacher personally invited my mom to come play with us during rehearsal's. This was big, since my teacher hates extra people in her room-even kicked one kids brother out, but she's been invited.

Why? Because everyone falls in love/wants to adopt my mom as their mom before they even meet her.

Why? Because she makes yummys. She actually owes my friend Birthday fudge and cookies (Which, hopefully, she'll get around to tonight.)

Now, my fabulous mommy has been invited, but has she actually come to any rehearsals? No.

Why, you ask again? Because I can't find the stupid coffee pitcher thingy. Yep. I wanted her to bring me coffee but she can't without it! (Well, she can, but not enough to share...So I'll make her bring cookies for the class. =3)

My drama teacher also wants to try my Mommy's lasagna, which is amazing, by the way. Yummmmmm. You can ask for the recipe, I guess, but it won't turn out the same, so I don't know why you'd bother trying. Your doomed to taste failure. (Yeah, sorry. I have a mean streak.)

Back to how awesome my mommy is...

I think my friends only like me 'cuz of her. They all call her mom, mama, or pretty lady.

She's known by people I don't know. No joke. She doesn't know them either, but still.

Everyone wants to be my friend around Christmas 'cuz I break my poor arms bringing them goodies. Like, over a trillion pounds worth of food. Yeeesh! Seriously, I could just buy them cards or real presents, but nope. They want yummies. (I can't blame them. I celebrate Christmas for the yummies and the presents *Hint to mom, those flying helicopter things. Hint. HINT. Did you note the hint, mommy? Just checking. HINT.*

Randomness about my mommy and my friends!

When mom makes me subs, she makes one for Miranda.
Kris gets my juice box and shares his fries. =3
Hannah gets bagels on bagel days.
Paulina reads the notes from mommy aloud.
Shishi brags about having met my mommy.
Darcy still claims that she's mom's favorite. Tch. Lies.
I'm sure there's more, but I can't think right now. I smell dinner. Yummmmm....

For whoever actually read all that...

Dude, your awesome.
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Y'all could have warned me.

Y'all could have warned me, you really could have.
It would have been the honorable and decent thing to do.
I love my SITSta's, I really do. Nobody leaves the comment love quite like a SITSta. But.
Oh. My. Gracious.
Did you think it would be funny to watch the blogathon virgins click around like chickens with their heads cut off?
What you should have done is given me months if not years to train. You wouldn't send a newb into a marathon without making sure they had the strength and agility to endure it.
Pwn the nOOb, pwn the nOOb! (Gamer talk, don't ask me, the gamer girlie says it all the time when they *get* the new players so it seemed very appropriate.)
My eyes, my poor bleeding eyes. I only thought the 40-itis was bad before.
I could squint or hold things 3 feet from my face and still sort of see, but now... even with the granny reading glasses I'm cross-eyed.
Sounds insane, right? Naturally you'd assume I'd fit right in.
Ha.
I am weak.
I am a sissy.
I want my mommy.
Are you happy now? You've made me grovel and admit to the whole world (well, the handful of fabulousity that reads my blog anyways) that I couldn't handle it.
And I'm not alone.
Nope, SITSta's, we broke Blogger last night. At least the comment function on Blogger.
I finally dragged my weary butt to bed after more than 30 minutes of dutifully writing scintillating posts on a handful of blogs- really, they were the best posts of the day as everyone knows I function optimally when I am dead tired and it is getting way past my bedtime.
I even tried posting over at SITS but I finally had to admit defeat when I kept getting the same *what the &&*&*^&* did you do? you broke Blogger you moron, thanks for ruining it for everyone* message over and over... well, okay, maybe it said Blogger is down we're sorry for the inconvenience or some such nonsense.
Whatever, it wasn't very nice.
Now that I'm a seasoned veteran at this whole blogathon thing, I would like to suggest that instead of snickering in that oh so polite way, you could warn the newbs that they need to pace themselves so no one else has to go through what I did.
I tried, oh how I tried to pop over to all the fabulous blogs that linked up, but alas I have to admit defeat.
It's all y'alls fault, though, for having such wonderful content on your blog that I totally got distracted from completing my most important mission. Every bit of the blame goes to my wonderful SITSta's.
Now that the frenzy is over and I've gotten past my childish need (yes that IS the same as seeing things in child-like wonder that they say is soooo beneficial) to point fingers and cast blame, I promise, I will get to everyone who is on the list and everyone who left me such wonderful comments. Eventually. Probably.
I had so much fun, and made so many new friends, and I will probably go blind reading all y'alls wonderful blogs, but you know what?
Next time I will be there with bells on.
Aerosmith said it best... I don't want to miss a thing!
Thanks Heather and Tiffany and every one of you SITSta's who made my first blogathon such an enjoyable event. I had a blast!
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Celebrating SITSta-hood



I've posted about SITS before, and I am sure I'll post again, but I am posting today for a purpose... and not just to win some of the fabulous prizes that are up for grabs during the SITS blogathon.
SITS, aka The Secret is in the Sauce is a site started by Heather and Tiffany to support your fellow bloggers by leaving some comment love.

If you have a blog, you probably know that sometimes it feels like you are talking to yourself. Or maybe that is just me and y'all have wildly popular #1 in Google Rankings blogs. Regardless, the concept is brilliant.

Every weekday a new blog is highlighted and SITS members sign in for roll-call and leave a comment (or several if you are like me) for the featured blogger.

I have found so many wonderful blogs that I now read on a regular basis- today I will tell you about 5 of them. Yes, it is hard to limit myself to just 5, but I am going to play along with the spirit of the blogathon.

These are in no particular order, just 5 blogs that I learned about through SITS that I really think you will enjoy.

The one thing they all have in common is that they are so very gracious and they inspire me in some way.

A Little Loveliness: I want to be like Melissa if I ever grow up. She truly gets the little things that mean so much. Beautifully decorated tables and delicious looking foods to celebrate life, the little moments and the large.

Party In Pink: I found this blog not too long ago - you guessed it, through SITS and let me tell you, if you aren't inspired by the creativity on her blog then I don't think you will find inspiration anywhere.

Keeper of the Skies Wife: A life well lived is what you will find on this blog. Love for family and getting used to a new time in life is what shines through clearly to me. When I log on each day I check to see if there is a new post from Betty.

Made with Love and Glue Lots of Glue: Beautiful and fun. I love looking at the ideas and beautiful pictures on this blog.

Mrs Mouthy: If you can get past the fact that you need to sign into a Window's Live account to comment, you so need to check out this blog. It is one of my newer obsessions, she's so fun, the kind of mom you hope you had or hope you are for your kids.

Okay, there are so very many blogs that I read and enjoy, I wish I didn't have to pick and choose because every single one is worth checking out. If you have some extra time, just start clicking on the list of blogs I read... I can promise you won't be disappointed.

If you blog and aren't a member of SITS, you really need to check it out. You will be made to feel so welcome and no matter what your tastes and interests, you will find kindred spirits among the SITSta's.

If that wasn't reason enough to join, they also have regular giveaways!!!

Do yourself a favor and check out SITS and their sister site Saucy Eats.



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A life of its own ... expanding My Loonyverse

You know how sometimes you get this idea it just seems to take on a life of its own?
That's what is happening here in My Loonyverse. I'm keeping the name, but it is really Our Loonyverse. The little diva's are also going to be contributing to the blog.
It started out over a game that I asked the gamer girlie to do a review on for you all, as they all LOVE it ... definitely we recommend it as a great Christmas gift, you will so get your moneys worth... it's coming, she's getting some cute screen shots, etc.
Anhoozles, this blog is about the things that are important to me... and lets face it, that's my family. So, I invited them all to partake in the fun and excitement that is blogging for My Loonyverse.
I know it will contain reviews of games, movies, toys, food, etc...
Beyond that your guess is as good as mine.
I hope you will welcome their input and viewpoints as much as I do, these girlies are my world.
You know that Pointer Sisters song is running through my head right now... *We are family. All my girls are blogging with me.* really loudly and (not so) slightly off-key.
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Invading mommy's blog.

Of course just my own blog wasn't enough; I just HAD to go and post on Mom's too. Well, she asked me to, but still.

Casey (minidddiva) already talked about the wonder that is Tiramisu coffee creamer. But it's so fabulous that I just have to add on. I like my coffee two ways: either black or with more stuff in it than most people can bear. I just tried the creamer yesterday evening, and, well... most of it's gone now. It's not my fault it's yummy, is it? I blame Coffee-Mate. Just like I blame Misters Ben and Jerry for my overactive ice cream eating, and Quaker for my rice cake intake.
Speaking of rice cakes--Y.U.M. You would think that they'd be nasty--who wants cake made of rice? Well, I do. They come in all sorts of flavors--cheese, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon toast, you name it--but my very favorite is just the lightly salted flavor. Theoretically, you could probably put something on them, but I munch on 'em. I'm pretty sure that they're healthier than your average serving of potato chips, and they're yummier.
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Thanks To My Mama!

Alright, so my Mommy (Dddiva) has got me blogging now. This is my big blogging debut, so enjoy this boring post as much as you can.

My Mommy really does rock, and I'm lucky to be just like her =3 only a bit shorter, but still almost as awesome. I'm her favorite, by the way. Don't listen to any of her other kids-Or Darcy, my best friend whom claims she's my Mommy's favorite. It's really me.

I'm going to do a mini-review here, since mom does it a lot and I do enjoy promoting the good things in life.

As you all know this family can NOT function without coffee. Seriously, we'd all fall apart without it. We'd go savage and rip each others heads off after being annoyed for a day or two. So I'm reviewing a delicious creamer-Nestle Coffee-Mate, Tiramisu flavored. Mom just got it for us yesterday, and it's almost gone. No kidding, and Devon and I are the only ones who've had any yet-though I've only had two cups with it, and I don't use a lot of creamer...I wonder where it went. =P The creamer is seriously delicious. I've got to say it's pushed my usual favorite, Coconut, off of the top of my "Favorite creamer" lists. It's not overly sweet and it doesn't make the coffee taste like someones accidentally dropped spices into it, but it gives it a rich, somewhat creamy taste and it makes the coffee smell a little less bitter. It's good. Go buy some. Now.

Well, I hope you all have a great day!

~Minidddiva

Current music obsession: Running up that hill. (I'm listening to two versions of it, one by Placebo, the other by Within Temptation.)
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Weekly date, great deal.

Fridays are traditionally date night for a lot of people. For me, not so much.
Partly because I've got 4 kids, and partly because Ken sometimes works overtime and the money is always welcome.
However, Fridays we do pretty much spend together.
Grocery and bargain shopping. WooHoo, right?
It actually is kind of fun. And it is pretty much the only time we spend together when we're both coherent (he works second shift).
It might seem lame to some, but everything doesn't always have to be about dinner and a movie or doing something special.
You can take the ordinary, sometimes even dreaded, and kick it up a notch.
We go to several stores and Ken keeps track of the best prices on the things we buy so we always know when we are getting a good deal. (Others have a price- book, I have a husband with a good memory and an ability to figure out unit cost faster than any calculator.)
We may or may not include a meal out, but it doesn't seem to matter, the point is to spend time together and to have fun.
We laugh and kid around and get our chores and errands done at the same time.
To anyone who says they can't find the time to spend together, my point is that you can find the time you just have to redefine what constitutes a date. My kids are older so we don't need a sitter any more, but even if we did we could find a way somehow to have time together without the kids- do it when they are in bed if that is the only thing you can manage.
BTW Ken hates shopping, passionately, but he doesn't dread our Friday dates since he doesn't think of it as shopping but as spending time with me.
Yesterday we added a new store to our rounds- in Mayflower across the parking lot from Big Star is the Chicken & More Store. They sell close to expiring things way cheaper than I've ever seen them anywhere else.
I'm talking about Baker's Chocolate, Libby's canned pumpkin (the really big cans), Wheat Thins, Kraft Marshmallow Fluff and the big Kraft Real Mayo for 25 cents each. You know I stocked up.
Even though I am a Hellman's Mayo gal, there was just no way I could justify almost $4 for mayonnaise when I can get a decent one for a quarter.
Anyways, we were told that they are getting new things in all the time so we will definitely make the trek across the parking lot- which is good because you all know there will be some baking and some fudge in my future with these bargains.
How do you fit in time with your honey when you just don't have time or money for the traditional date?
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Bless you for hanging in there. Halloween foods, request.

Sometimes I think I am the most boring blogger on the planet. My brain has literally shut down lately and I can't think of a thing to say. I will read all these clever blog posts and think why the heck do people read my blog (I mean the few of you God love you who aren't related). God Bless You, every one of you.
Oh sure, life goes on but at the moment it seems like it is cook, clean, run the girls here, drop them off there, do laundry, do more laundry, do still more laundry ad infinitum. Did I mention the laundry? I swear when I am not actually doing laundry I am dreaming about doing laundry.
Things are actually going well minus the allergy and sinus issues. Play rehearsals are going fabulously for the little divas- they both of course thrive on drama. ;-)
Kyra has a job making diaper baskets for baby showers 20 hours a week so we have the little guy a couple days a week to spoil rotten- err I mean make watch educational crap and eat only healthy foods.
I've been winning a lot lately, finally (almost) have my win list updated and I have 23 notices of wins in my emails that I won't post until they are in hand. Not bad, not bad at all. Oh, one I will tell y'all about.
I won one of the weekly prizes in a picture of your lunchbox contest from one of the bento lunches I made for the littles and the prize is a stainless steel bento box so the little divas can take hot foods as well. I know my pics are not great and we don't have the lighting worked out right on this camera for in the house, so I am really happy to have won it. :)
I miss my mommy ALOT. ALOT ALOT ALOT! It's so not fair she is so far away, I don't care how old I get I need my mommy.
Not sure why I haven't been posting my dinners or anything, our meals have been a lot more creative now that it is cooler and I am not melting the minute I even think about turning the oven on.
The littlest diva is co-hosting a Halloween party and we are in charge of all the food. I've been looking for fun things to make for that- not too babyish but still fun.
So far I am planning pumpkin roll (this always gets raves but I am thinking of doing this one covered in icing and made like a dead tree limb with gross gummy bugs coming out of it), dirt & worms or a graveyard cake with peep ghosts, freezing an ice hand in a claw shape for the punch bowl, and making pumpkin & gingerbread biscotti, and fall flavored coffee drinks.
Yes, I know not everyone lets their kids have coffee at 15, but we can't function without it and, well, without a little indulgence in your life what's the point.
I think that the pumpkins that you put something in-usually ghoulash (pun intended) or whatever are cute but not sure if that would go over well or we should just stick to finger-foods like sandwiches cut into tombstones and mummy-wrapped dogs.
If anyone has any more ideas, please, please let me know, the girls are really excited about this and I'd like to make it extra special for them.
I've been looking at some sites, and finding a lot of neat things, but not a ton for teens. Hehe I might just make a Halloween page with all the links I've found, there are some really good ones out there.
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Leftover bento

Things have been nutso... so what's new, right? and the bento lunches have been put on hold since I got out of the hospital.

Finally made some, nothing too fancy but the girls will like them.

For all of you who feel like you can't make bento lunches until you get the right equipment, you'll notice I have added a picture of a bento we made in a simple tupperware clone type container that we got in the dollar store. You don't need a special or fancy box, just a variety of foods, a bit of an imagination and a little time. All 3 bentos have the same ingredients- yes it is a miracle. ;)

Dawn made Casey's favorite- chicken-fried steak 
and they like the cold leftovers better than eating it hot. Along with the c-f steak are breadsticks, string cheese, baby carrots, snow peas, lychee & blueberries.


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Kids and self-esteem aka what do the experts know about raising kids?

Dev and I recently had a conversation about how incredibly stupid that bs the head-shrinkers had us buy into was. Remember when they told us as parents to say you aren't a bad girl, you just do naughty things?
HA! She says she knew from day one that was a crock and she was BAD, she knew she was being BAD, she chose to be BAD and it was all she could do not to laugh in my face.
It did not affect her self-esteem or anything else, it made her question my sanity, though, and probably my honesty in regards to other things.
That being said, here are the things I did that DID make a difference to my girls' self-esteem.
Dev still thanks Blondie and I for making her take off school on a bad hair day that she is convinced had we made her go she'd still be trying to live down.
I let them take off for mental-health days. (Now if they had to meet quotas they'd drag their butts in sick as a dog, but they knew it and I always gave them the choice knowing they'd have to meet the requirements.)
When that cute red dress made Ki's butt look bigger than Rhode Island we wouldn't let her go out in public, and I am sure they would thank us if they but knew.
When they tried new looks and didn't quite pull them off I'd let them know they looked cheap- I believe skanky-ho was the exact term.
I always take their side and anyone who ragged on them was the biggest loser ever in the history of the world.
With the blonde when something came up and she had a really, really tough time dealing with it and I would hear it every blessed minute of every blessed day we were in the same vicinity I gave her a designated whine time. Seriously. She could spill her guts and vent her spleen all she wanted but not one minute past time.
We're pretty darn sure that song that has the line "Do you have the time to listen to me whine" was written for her.
I did not fawn all over their work if it was mediocre or shoddy. I don't believe in praising crap cuz it will not breed excellence no matter what the heck the so called experts tell you. Not everyone is the best singer/dancer/athlete/whatever and they shouldn't be told they are. All kids have strengths and weaknesses and if you are forever telling them their weaknesses are good enough they have no incentive to try.
I might be the poster child the experts warn you against becoming, but my kids are healthy, happy and productive and I couldn't ask for more than that. Oh and they don't suffer terribly from lack of self-esteem.
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