Sunday, October 31

Costume Parade!

Henry has been set on his costume for weeks and weeks-- a golden knight.  I used Simplicity pattern 5520 and a cape that Grandma J had made a while back.  It was really fun to make and even more gratifying when he asked if he could sleep in it.  There is something so endearing about the three-year old stage.  Their imaginations are endless, their perception of the world is eye opening and their love is unconditional (that's not to say he isn't challenging at times), but I just want to bottle this stage up and keep it in my pocket.

Lucy has had a few ideas for costumes.  She wanted to be Spider Girl up until a couple of days ago when her heart's desire settled on being a TV.  We didn't quite have the supplies she wanted, but we tried our best.  (What's on TV?  A baseball game!)


Sadly, the TV was a bit too cumbersome to wear to school.  Luckily, Grandma J had bought some princess dresses a few years ago and Lucy was happy to trade in for something a little more feminine.  She wore the TV to our church Halloween party and the Cinderella dress to Boo at the Zoo and to her school dress-up day.   And she wore the Belle dress (my favorite) to a friend's Halloween party and trick or treating.   

Happy Haunting, everyone!

Saturday, October 30

Carving Pumpkins

 We started out with grand illusions of amazingly detailed jack-o-lanterns-- a spooky cat and a skull and cross bones.  But, I learned something about myself while struggling with the teeny-tiny tools that came in our pumpkin carving kit and the slippery, round surface of our pumpkins; I have neither the talent nor the patience to carve fancy pumpkins.

So, we ended up going with the more "traditional" jack-o-lantern face, which is a better suited task for my skill set.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29

Preschool Party Time

Some moms from my church and I do a little preschool co-op.  Each week, we rotate homes, hosting this sweet set of toddlers for a little learning and lots of play.  This last week was my turn and we had a Halloween party.  There was more treat eating and crafting fun than you could stand in a morning!

We made some marshmallow ghosts:

Turned rocks into jack-o-lanterns:

Decorate pumpkin shaped cookies (and ate them, of course!):

There were candy corns to count and Halloween stories to read.  At the end, everyone got to take one of these yummy, spooky, guys home:

Gingerbread Skeleton Men

Gingerbread Cookies:
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (at room temp.)
1 egg (beaten)

Cream butter and brown sugar together until fluffy.  Add egg and molasses.  Beat well.  Gradually add the dry ingredients until dough is thoroughly combined and comes together in a ball.  Divide the dough in half.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for several hours or over night.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a floured rolling pin, roll out one ball of dough at a time on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thick.  Cut out gingerbread men shapes with a cookie cutter.  Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet, spaced 1" apart.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Rest for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.  Once cookies are cooled, decorate with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing:
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat egg white and lemon juice until well combined.  Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until smooth and combined.  Use a piping bag or pour into a ziplock baggy.  Seal baggy and cut a very small hole in one corner.  Pipe bones onto cookie.   *Tip* Use Royal Icing immediately because it hardens quickly.  Let Royal Icing set for an hour before storing.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 17

Charmed, I'm Sure

Me and Darcy riding the metro 
After a really stressful couple of months, I got a chance to unwind in Baltimore (a.k.a Charm City) with my freshman roommate, Darcy (who happens to be an excellent hostess).  It was so fun to catch up on old times.  We crammed so much in over four short days-- it was as though we had channeled the energy of our 18-year old selves.

Outlet shopping. Ikea. Costco. A late-night movie. Sightseeing. Anthropologie. Good eats. A concert. A half marathon (well, that was really just Darcy). Reminiscing. A classic Lifetime Movie.

One of our first stops was for some lunch at a little Greek restaurant.  It was SUPER good and not at all blurry, like the photo suggests.

We drove by John Hopkins and Darcy showed me where she worked.  We saw Charm City Cakes (Ace of Cakes, for you Food Network lovers).  We toured around Baltimore which is littered with wonderful, old architecture.  There's something about rows of beautiful, old buildings and cobblestone roads that starts my imagination churning.  I have a secret wish to travel to the past to see first hand how those buildings looked brand new and what they were used for and how they were decorated and how people lived and what kinds of sounds and textures were to be found then.  If only Billy could soup up a  Delorean for me in his lab...

We went to Sound Garden where Darcy picked up the latest Belle and Sebastian album (the band we were seeing the next day).  Then, we walked down to the harbor to wander around.    



After some frozen yogurt at Mr. Yogato's, we walked across the street, continuing our stroll through Fells Point and there, outside an art gallery sitting on a sidewalk display, I saw a familiar looking print.  My brother, Aaron's, work to be exact.  I was so surprise and proud!  The gallery had half a wall full of his prints and even some originals.  We chatted with the owner and I felt a tiny bit famous...

Thursday, we headed to D.C. for some sight-seeing and the concert.  After reading "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer" last year, I was particularly anxious to see Ford's Theater.  That book was so detailed and interesting, I couldn't wait to see the landmark in person.  It's surprisingly unassuming.  We didn't go inside as it is still a working theater.

I call this photo, "Waiting for Lincoln"

Across the street was Peterson's Boarding House, where Lincoln was brought after he was shot and ultimately died.  It was under some renovations, so I just sat on the steps.

We headed toward the World War II Memorial.  It was absolutely beautiful and I think I'm safe to say, we both got a little choked up looking at the series of bas relief pictorials depicting iconic scenes from the war. 

After that, we headed up the street to the DAR Constitution Hall for our concert.  My favorite band (probably of all time), who I last saw perform in Scotland over ten years ago, played to a crowed house and did not disappoint.

Waiting for the show to start
Belle and Sebastian

Friday was spent shopping.  Bargains were had by all.  Saturday came too soon.  Darcy had her half marathon, so we headed down to the Inner Harbor and watched the full marathon for a bit before we said our good-byes.  It was such a fun trip.  Darcy has promised to visit the South, soon and I can't wait!

P.S.  Darcy made a better time than she expected on her race. 
Congrats, Darcy!

Wednesday, October 6

Hair Mathmatics

this or this


My new haircut.  Sigh.  Not the Michelle Williams bob I asked for, but it always grows back, right?  And just so you know, that last picture is after I tried to mat down the back by wearing a kerchief all evening.  I'm hoping some water and shampoo will help... wish me luck.