Sunday, November 7, 2010

Boo to You!

Halloween time means a trip to the pumpkin patch, picking totally random and fun costumes, trick-or-treating, lots of treats and tons of fun. Ours fit the bill pretty perfectly.

We got to go with Bo's preschool for our first trip to a pumpkin patch.
Luke can't believe how many big orange balls to kick and throw he has to choose from

Cole stops playing "chase" in the hay maze long enough to get a snapshot
Bo's found the perfect one! He had to make sure it had a little dirt on it - "so we know it's real mom".

Cole switched from "chase" to "hide-and-seek" in the hay maze - he wasn't impressed that the camera found him!
Typical preschool class picture.

Then we had to make our annual trip just down the road to our favorite farm with the big brothers (mostly for the apple cider and pumpkin donuts, but we fit in some other fun too).

we got stuck at the baby chicks for a while - Bo and Tyler are softees for cute, fluffy things
I was a softee and gave into the overpriced pony rides...Coley (behind) wasn't a fan

This year for trick-or-treating we had a Crazed Ducks Fan, a Colts Football player, batman, a shark, and lion. Members from our church handed out candy on Saturday night, so we got to start our sugar high a night early!

Hope everyone's Halloween was just as Happy!

Tricks and Treats

Something festive got into me this fall. Maybe it's that I am feeling myself emerging from "survival" mommy (with too many little-ones causing sleep- deprivation and a feeling of barely keeping my head above water, so I commit to only the ESSENTIALS of life - nothing more) to a mom who is feeling more like her "normal" self. Whatever the reason, I had Bo help me pick some favorites from my list of ideas in my head and we enjoyed some spooktacular afternoons (usually while little ones were napping) being crafty together this past Halloween season. Here's our attempts at being festive...

Cagey Ghosts
We made these silly ghosts in the front yard. Who knew tomato cages had so many uses? So before my got shoved deep into storage, we used them as the frame for these happy haunters.
This is a little sketch of the idea if you are still confused how a tomato cage becomes a ghost...

I used some tie-wire to form the heads (I had to add this since my tomato cages are the beefy-er type and don't have the loose wire ends at the top). Then we strung the frame with lights. Next, simply throw some white sheets over the top and add the faces. I cut my eyes and mouths out of the craft foam sheets and straight pinned them on (the faces held up well through the Oregon weather, and were easy to remove when I took it all down and needed to wash the sheets before storing away). The arms on the one ghost were created by duct taping a tennis ball to a wooden dowel that I stuck in the ground next to the structure.
This is how they looked all lit up. We were pretty tickeled with them.
Tasty Pumpkin cupcakes

Witches Hands
These are so fun and simple for kids to do. The hardest part was getting my hands on those clear plastic kitchen gloves (I'll save you the long story). I like the medium size. It doesn't really matter, but if you go too small, they are harder to fill. Put a candy corn in each finger tip and slip in several M&M's (warts) as you fill with popcorn. The finishing touch is the spider ring!

These spooky-looking pens are a cinch to make and cause everyone to do a double take. We made a batch and gave them as gifts to the boys school and piano teachers. When I showed my neighbors, they were all started making them too!
Just cover a ball point pen with white molding clay making sure you leave the tip of the pen exposed(I like the Crayola Model Magic-it's really lightweight and easy for kids to use). Shape the clay into a finger shape and attach a plastic finger nail with glue, leaving room for the pen to write (before attaching the nail, I used clippers to make the nail tips broken and jagged-looking). Using a small knife or toothpick, I made the creases at the knuckels. Trim the nail down leaving room for the pen to write and Then paint the fingernail a ghastly color. Make sure you let it sit out for a couple of days to dry. One of the boys' teachers was even using it for parent conferences! They loved it.

Sugar Cookies
No holiday is complete without decorating cookies. I snagged this "Boo" cutter from Crate and Barrel this year and had a lot of fun with it. My best friend from college has an amazing blog ( and her tips are helping overcome my fears of frosting cookies. I used her royal frosting recipe and "squeezie bottles" as she calls them. (thanks Ash!)
Halloween Dinner
My Mom and Dad hosted all the family at her house for a dinner and party Halloween night. The menu included 4 different yummy soups (one made by each of us girls) and these breadsticks that looked like withes' fingers (a witch with edema anyways!)
I made some "edible eyeballs" using big slices of carrots topped with sour cream and a sliced olive.
and also these "monster bites" out of apples and slivered almonds.
And of course, we didn't leave out our Halloween tradition - homemade donuts!

After writing this post and remembering all the fun projects, I'm feeling like I'd better hurry up get going for Thanksgiving and Christmas before "survival" mommy decides to make a comeback!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Add football to the list

Anyone who has sons that play football know it is a whole NEW experience from anything else little league. Youth sports are fun, busy and can even get competetive and intense. But football is in it's own world. Caden decided to put soccer aside and wanted to give football a try this year - (we figured it would help us know if it was going to be a sport to add to our year-round variety or if he didn't like it we could weed it out and focus on ALL the others our boys love to play) so we entered the Mafia.

-a chunk of your checkbook,
-your last month of summer vacation (yes, practices for 2 hrs/5 days a week starting Aug 8th and our school doesn't start until the first week of Sept.)
-your time volunteering (EVERYONE must help - there are jobs for all family members)
-your voice (cheering through 2-hour games each Saturday)
-and your nerves (when your boy gets laid out by some defender and stays down for a while).

And you GET:
-fantastic coaches who help your son realize even more talents and new strenghts
-a whole "football family" for the season,
-a lot of fun memories
-an obvious realization that of course your son would love it! And that he's a great little quarterback!

quarterback school - reviewing the plays pre-game

I call this "facing the giants" - we faced some teams a lot bigger than ours - but our Timberwolves were quick and mighty

Cade is burried somewhere deep in the middle of that huddle - stinking cute!
"Set-Hike" - Cade's the "gloved" quarterback with his posse of runningbacks behind him.
The cheering squad - they were true and faithful all season long.
My team job (with the coaxing of my husband) was team sportswriter. I was to write a summary after each game to submit to the local paper. Most moms sign up for helping in the snack shack or something fluffy- but I couldn't imagine missing any games - I wanted a job that allowed me to watch the action on the field (there's a reason I have 5 boys huh? I'm nuts), so this seemed like a good idea. The problem is, I'm not a very good writer - so in return, I coaxed my husband into writing most of the articles. He should thank me - I helped him uncover a hidden talent and help erupt a new secret fantasy of his to be a sports columnist. I wish I could paste the articles' text below so you could get a taste. I am just glad we now have documented colorful commentary to help us remember our fabulous first football season!

Soccer Star

Tyler's 3rd grade soccer team finished 1 goal shy of being undefeated for the season! His team even won 1st place at a tournament. We saw a new level of speed and aggression come out in Ty this year. He really picked up his level of play and the game really started to click with him this year. He was really fun to watch and was nicknamed "big foot" for his monsterous kicks and huge shots on goal.

If I find the action shots I took early in the season, I'll post them later (they must have gotten downloaded into a mysterious file). The final practice of the season was the biggest game of the year - parents vs kids. We convinced Cade to watch the little boys so Bart and I could both play. It was cold and wet and a TON of fun. We ended up tied (with no holding back, parents seriously giving our best effort) with these little soccer stars. Here's a shot of the whole group all soaked and smiling.
And of couse the season-end celebratory pizza party is always a hit. Way to go Tigers.

And one more trophy to add to the collection. This one was well earned! Great job Tyler.