A busy Halloween, and now on to November!

Last Saturday we had a large birthday party at our house. My favorite six-year old turned 7–with a giant bounce house and all the excitement that comes from a large family with happy, young cousins running all over the place. Aimee simplified the occasion with catering –tacos made on the spot. Everyone could eat to full contentment, no personal fuss or muss!

It’s been quite a rush of activity. For the first year in decades we couldn’t even fit in our annual pumpkin carving. The best I could manage was assisting the girls with a glue gun and succulent pieces. In the first few days of October we were eager to add a little fall color, but with triple digit temperatures it wasn’t likely a pumpkin or two on the front porch would do more than draw flies. These little guys still look good 30 days later.


Succulent Pumpkins

October was a busy month–multiple birthdays and reasons for gatherings at our house-so I am fairly “partied out,” but I held on with just a little more “oomph” in reserve to enjoy Halloween.


Our very own Madeline Hatter and Princess Jasmine waited all week for the big day. They wore their costumes to school and shared parades and festivities with their teachers and classmates.


Beautiful witches hat and marvelous gloves, Disney princesses in abundance, dinosaurs and dragons, Roman soldiers and butterflies and a beautiful orange snail– I love to see the personalities of the children (and teachers) in the choice of costumes. The Principal officiated as an excellent “Doc” Brown from Back to the Future, and my favorite, a charming little Pinocchio, was popular with everyone. The “cloud” drew attention, “dripping” a little rain.

I spent many years teaching 4 and 5 year-olds and being the person-in-charge of so many Halloween parties. It brings me so much pleasure to watch all the parents in their excitement, doing all they can to give their little ones a happy Halloween experience.

The ante has been raised in creativity as all the moms now go right to their Pinterest Boards for snacks and treat suggestions. Sophia’s teacher requested parents bring a few healthy options to balance out the usual sugary treats and Aimee went to her own Pinterest Boards.

What a nice way to end a week…and end a month!

Oh, one more little piece of happy to share.single rain cloud

See that little dark cloud? That was earlier this morning. He invited some of his friends to come and play and can you hear me doing my happy dance? It’s raining! I don’t know for how long…but it’s raining! What a nice way to go into the weekend.

I hope each of you also has a happy weekend exhale and you take the time to push your re-set button!

And did I mention? It’s RAINING!!





A quiet Halloween night. No ghosts, goblins or zombies at our door!

I could forego the entire Halloween experience if I didn’t live with a really old  big kid. Jay has always been the one to man the door, pass out the candy and keep the festivities alive. Our children were lucky in that respect.

They had a fun dad who went in for all this stuff, balancing out their mother who tried to show enthusiasm!

But tonight, almost no one has been to our door! And we did our best to be inviting, putting all those wonderful jack-o-lanterns out to welcome them!

Our neighborhood is a little secluded, but in year’s past there were still plenty of children knocking on the door. Perhaps one reason the trick-or-treating patterns have changed in our neighborhood is due to many local schools and churches hosting large family-oriented Halloween or harvest gatherings.

I was glad to participate in some Halloween fun at Sophia’s school this week, and I was reminded of all the years I participated in planning events of this kind, both as a teacher and director and as a parent volunteer. I know firsthand how much work goes into orchestrating all the children and their families, coordinating booths for food and games, and providing a wholesome family event.

I loved the costumes!

Sophia was Lady Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty

And then she got too hot to keep the costume going!

Tired Sophia

My favorite teacher costume was the John Cusack character from the movie “Say Anything.” The children didn’t “get it.” but the mothers did!

How about Medusa, Jackie Robinson, an Alien, and the little guy who pushed a mobile Titanic!  He had a wonderful ship captain’s costume, too.  Children came as Harry Potter, Princess Leia, and a giant cone of cotton candy.

And then there’s Karina, our Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid

It made little difference to her that “fins” make it difficult to walk!

Perhaps these school events make it easier for parents to limit time going door to door. I’ve enjoyed the quiet evening, but poor Jay keeps repeating, “I’m so disappointed!” Poor guy. He has such fun Halloween memories from when he was a kid!

I have a defining memory from Halloween, too, and now that I think about it, mine didn’t happen going door to door, but at a church event. I’ve told this story before, but for the occasion, I’ll repeat it.

At about fifteen years old, too old for door to door anyway, I went with church friends to a local haunted house.  It was billed as a safe and wholesome Halloween activity, not intended to be over-the-top.

Once inside the dark, confined tunnel-like space I was immediately bombarded with shrieks and screams, ghouls in bloody garb– faces grotesquely disfigured by elaborate Hollywood makeup–brandishing large hunks of meat as clubs and weapons. Disgusting!

Initially the actor-players were confined to their stage areas while we were ushered through the rooms themed with mock-guillotine scenes, boiling cauldrons with body parts strewn about, and an electric chair repeatedly executing the un-dead. But as we moved deeper into the interior the actors began to leave their posts,  with ghouls and monsters popping out of dark corners waving bloody meat in our faces.

I don’t remember more because I was in a complete panic.  Upon exiting I realized I’d tightly wrapped myself around some poor man, a total stranger who was probably attending with someone else. I was so embarrassed! I still can’t handle anything that pops out at me!

Well, it’s 8:30 and we’ve had two–TWO–trick-or-treaters.

Oh dear! Does that mean we’re stuck with all this candy?

Maybe chocolate will help take the sting out of Jay’s disappointment.

It’s family pumpkin carving time again!

Autumnal pumpkin carving is a long-held family tradition and this year we made the decision to turn a birthday celebration into a pre-Halloween event!

The birthday girl turned 6, and was allowed for the first time to carve her own pumpkin.

Birthday Girl with Jack

Adding in hair and whiskers completed the look, although Sophia is a realist. She took one look at her finished product and said, “I think next year when I turn seven I’ll do a better job.”

Minions made an appearance this year.


Some artists prefer drawing to carving and Karina was very happy with her Minion.

Karina with her pumpkin

Creative hands at work…including a battery operated pumpkin knife!

Not a bad way to spend a day, I’d say.

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“Backward, turn backward,

O Time in your flight

make me a child again just for to-night!”

Elizabeth Akers Allen