Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving a retrospective

As Thanksgiving day was coming to a close T asked me ever so sweetly to cuddle with him....."Mom now that E is here you never cuddle with me, can you cuddle me to sleep tonight? I lay next to him and willed my mind to remember this moment, burn it in my cortex. How long do I have until he decides cuddling with mom is for babies? One day my son will be a man and all I will have to hold is this memory. I held him close and listened to the sweet sound of him sleeping, each breath a precious symphony. At times my life can be so crushingly beautiful , that I am nearly paralyzed with gratitude. I am gifted with these moments each day all I have to do is slow down and embrace them.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving Menu
Cornbread and apple chicken sausage stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes with apples and walnuts
Green beans almondine
Cranberry sauce with orange zest
Creamed pearl onions
Roasted brussel sprouts
Corn pudding
Waldorf salad
24 hour salad
Relish tray(pickles, olives, okra)
French bread rolls
Pumpkin cheesecake with cinnamon whipped cream
Apple Pie
Domaine du Bois de St. Jean 2007

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hubby Haiku

Thanks I give for you,
My happy ever after.
Father, lover, friend.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Memory Monday

Today's memory is in honor of the upcoming holiday. May you all eat well with plenty of gravy!

Oh Good Gravy

First off you must know I come from a family of gourmands...we live to eat. Cooking is more than just a hobby it is a passion to us, particularly my father. Every year at Thanksgiving we try and up the ante. New dishes are researched, cookbooks scoured all in search of the next illustrious dish. We make so much food each year that it will not even fit on the dining room table, the buffet must serve as back-up. There can not be just one of anything, two stuffings and at least two types of potatoes are a requirement. One year we decided we would brine the turkey (I highly suggest this). It was difficult to convince my mother and grandmother to let go of the turkey reins but in the end they acquiesced. Due to it's salt content it is recommended that you do not use the pan drippings of a brined turkey to make your gravy. This led my father and I on a mission to unearth the worlds best gravy recipe. We discovered that the key to excellent gravy is good stock. After even more reading and Internet searching it was deduced that the best turkey stock comes from roasted turkey wings. We were now armed with our recipe, it was time to start cooking. We began the night before and lovingly roasted the wings until they were crispy and golden brown. In the morning the wings were added to the stock pot with an array of aromatics to transform into "the stock". We diligently watched the pot skimming off the excessive foam, gauging it's hue, and impatiently waiting for the final product. After four hours of preparation "the stock" was deemed finished. My father and I beamed, this was going to be our crowning moment, we were going to make the best gravy the world had ever tasted. The stock was pulled off the stove onto the counter to await it's transformation. The kitchen became filled with the hustle and bustle of the holiday as the stock patiently rested. The occasion finally arrived and my father and I entered the kitchen to begin the mission. We appeared just in time to see my mother haphazardly pouring the stock down the sink drain. We were to late to save our doomed stock and all are hard work literally went down the drain. My ever industrious mother had already begun cleaning the kitchen and had mistaken the stock for the juices left by the pearled onions. Crestfallen we stared at my mother in shock and disbelief. Our roux would never be, all our hopes were dashed. That year we had no gravy and my mother has been known ever thus as the "gravy killer".

Please don't let this happen to your own stock; guard it with your life this year. You never know what threats are lurking in your own home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Baby Bling

I am an avid babywearer. It all began with T. I received my first sling for free as part of a promotion for the libraries birth to four program. It was the start of a love affair that is still going strong. I believe babies should be held as much as possible, and that it is impossible to spoil them. Last time I checked E there was no expiration date stamped on his bottom. I'm not sure I could function without my slings, wraps and mei tais. On a recent out of town day trip I realized I had forgotten my wraps. I had to stop at the local fabric store and by a few yards just to get through the day. I do not even own a stroller, my children ride close to my heart. E is strapped on to me most of the day...he is such a cute accessory. Babywearing allows me the freedom to multitasks. E is there as I do the laundry, cook diner and bake bread. I have ridden carousels, danced at weddings, and hiked mountains all with a baby on my back. Babywearing is not some newfangled trend, humans have strapped their children to themselves from the earliest times. Babywearing is still universally practiced in Africa and much of Asia. I try to tell these facts to the hordes of people I meet who are "amazed" by these new baby contraptions. I'm often shocked by the comments I receive such as "I had to carry them inside me for nine months, why would I want to strap them on and haul them around any longer" or "Aren't you afraid your going to drop them" um no...aren't you worried about your stroller rolling into traffic, or being taken by a stranger? On the whole my babywearing receives a very positive reception. I always feel some secret shared sisterhood with other babyweares I see in public. They know the joy of warm baby's breath on your neck. Babies are little for such a short time. I plan on chasing after mine with yards of fabric trailing behind for as long as he will let me!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Keeping it real

"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart." Kahlil Gibran

Today I was jokingly told by my mother that I am "depriving" my daughter" by having a "tomboy of a mother". Funny, I always thought I was empowering her. I actually view myself as all woman, no make-up, hair dye or perfume required. I hope I'm teaching my children beauty is a state of mind. I see my body as merely a's outward appearance should not dictate my "worth". Our society puts so much pressure on women to be younger, prettier, skinnier ummm how about smarter and stronger. We don't have cable television, whenever we travel and I'm subjected to it I'm amazed by the number of commercials dedicated to "improving" the female body. Golly I'm not sure how I survive day to day without fuller eyelashes, color true lipstick, body ribbons of moisturizers and wrinkle reducers. How much money is spent in America by women in pursuit of unattainable "perfection"? My body is already perfect. The joy of my soul is displayed in each of my laugh lines. The white threads that span my abdomen are an homage to the miracle my body has performed...three times over. These less than pert breasts have nourished life. Why would I want to "fix"this. So no I'm not teaching my daughter how to blow dry, curl or shade her brow......thank goodness!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Sensible

"All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds than to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason." Immanuel Kant

This week we are studying the nervous system. The nervous system is a network of cells that coordinate the body's actions and carry signals from one part of the body to another. Before any of this can happen though, information has to come into the body. Your five senses gather the information for your nervous system. Our lab this week focused on testing how well the children's senses worked. It was a great excuse to blindfold the children and subject them to hideous smells! We used vinegar and garlic to test their sense of smell...this was funny! Sight was tested with an orange and white vinegar placed in a clear jar. Next we used chocolate chips and apples to test their sense of taste. Bells and coins provide the sounds to test their hearing. Finally we used a Q-tip and a pencil for their sense of touch. The kids had to guess what everything was using only the sense specified. Fun was had by all and there was much giggling and gagging. T wanted to test his senses further and let me lead him around the backyard blindfolded.....obviously he still trusts me.....not sure how long that will last! Next week is genetics...I foresee a birds and bees conversation ensuing...wish me luck;)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

There's a fungus among us

This week we have been focusing on the humble and mysterious mushroom. Mushrooms are a member of the Fungi kingdom. T found it fascinating that fungi are not considered plants or animals but rather their own separate entity. Like plants, fungi have cell walls, vacuoles and reproduce sexually and asexually. They also share traits with the animal kingdom since they lack chloroplasts and must really on organic compounds for energy sources. We have a bountiful supply of mushrooms in the area due to the deluge we endured last week. I was a little neurotic this week and must have told the children a few thousand times to"never touch or eat a wild fungus". We were able to study mushrooms more closely after a trip to the supermarket for a portabello...I love nature studies you can eat!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Handmade Holiday Update

Here are some pictures of the items I have completed so far. I'm really enjoying myself, I had forgotten how nice it is to have a creative outlet. I've included the links to tutorials when possible. Get to crafting y'all, the holidays are right around the corner.

Here is a sampling of the felt food I've been sewing. It's my version of Chinese takeout...I'm going to wrap it in a paper bag and pack it with chopsticks. I used the tutorial from CraftSanity to make the fortune cookies and tweaked the pattern to my liking. All the other items were brainstormed by me.

These gnomes and fairies were based on a design from Wee Folk Art.

I'm still working on making a felt fairy house and more little people for O. I'm hoping to make a doorway puppet theater and some felt camping items for T. I haven't even started on the extended families gifts yet...I'm having too much fun making toys!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Memory Monday

Having a three year old is a constant exercise in patience, fortunately this job also comes with built in humor relief. Kid's really do say the darnedest things......

Out of the Mouths of Babes

  1. Last night I roasted a chicken for dinner. O was helping me while I carved it and we discussed it's anatomy. First she said she wanted to eat the wings, next the legs. Finally she asked me "Mom do chicken's have butts?" "Why, yes" I replied. "Good I'll take the butt, I want to eat chicken butt." Lovely!
  2. Last week we were driving in the van and O was sassing her brother. T yells "You are not the queen of me". O looks at him with hate in her eyes and screeches "I know I'm the princess!"
  3. I was putting the children to bed last week and gave them a 15 minute warning. When time was up I told O. She proceeded to tell me "I still have 5 minutes left". I replied "No you don't. You can't even count to five" Again O looks at me defiantly and states "Yes I can on my fingers,see" she raises her hand and shouts "1,3,17,8,5...time is not up!"

Some days this job may be thankless but luckily it is not short on laughs...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Elf Houses

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of building elf houses with my parents. Magical hours spent collecting twigs, leaves, moss and stones to adorn our diminutive abodes. The bases of all our trees were peppered with these small villages. We would spin elaborate tales about our wee visitors. These homes were even furnished with lovingly made chairs, beds and tables. Year after year we built these houses, often returning to our favorite haunts only to find piles of our handywork. Our hopes were never dashed we just built anew these small treasure. I have continued on this tradition with my own children. I will often peek into the backyard to find them deeply engrossed in their own fairy tales. I love to see their faces aglow with the wonder and excitement of childhood. Thankfully it is still contagious and the next thing I know I'm giggling beside them twig in hand. As a result of the storms we've endured the backyard is littered with branches and leaves. This was of course the perfect recipe for a giant elf house.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I meet a senorita with a flower in her hair

It's cold, damp and gray here....sounds like the forecast for the rest of the season. Our day was in need of some serious brightening, call in the flowers please. Much to my husband's chagrin I always save packaging and recyclables. Lurking behind every innocent box is a creation just waiting to be we set the playroom a bloom. The children and I used all of the crumpled tissue paper collected from years of hoarding to make beautiful flowers. They were able to do most of the folding themselves and mom only helped with a little "tweaking". Here our their magnificent blossoms.

All of these floral coiffures resulted in a sing along of a long forgotten childhood favorite.

One day as I was walkin'

A walkin' to the fair,

I meet a senorita

With a flower in her hair

Oh shake it senorita. ( Shakes both hands)

Shake it if you can.

Shake it like a milkshake

And shake it once again.

Oh she wowed them on the bottom. (lower hands)

She wowed them on the top. (raise hands)

She turned around and turned around (turn around)

Until she shouted S-T-O-P stop.

Much merriment was had by all and our gray day was transformed with the help of a little tissue paper.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Best. Toy. Ever.

We have been in the house for nearly 72 hours straight....Today marks the fourth day of gale force winds and we now have major coastal flooding. This is a sure recipe for boredom and bickering....I'm referring to myself of course. Now onto the children, we broke out our HABA marble run today and it provided hours of cooperative fun. Did you catch that....I said cooperative, as in no fighting.......Now if I could only convince O to take a nap the day might be a total success. Seriously though, this marble run was well worth the cost. For beginners it is made in Germany, not China. Secondly it is constructed of unstained wood, no chipping or peeling paint to worry about. Most importantly though, it is a completely open ended activity. In one small marble lies all the laws of motion. My children are able to explore and discover physics and engineering while having a blast. This toy is only limited by their imagination, so with my kids the possibilities are infinite. Now if it were only self-cleaning.........

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekly School Round-Up

I guess since this is partially a homeschool blog I should do at least one homeschool post a here goes.

T continues to excel in math. We have mastered addition and subtraction facts up to twenty and have moved onto basic multiplication. I wasn't surprised to see that T quickly grasped this concept. I found a helpful hint for teaching multiplication..instead of stating 3x4 we say 3 "groups" of four. This works well since multiplication is just a quick way of adding the same number "multiple" times. This verbiage should make the jump to division much simpler. T will be able to visualize the groups within each number.

This week we have been covering ancient Asian history, specifically civilizations from China and the Indus river valley. T constructed a typical Indus valley home, complete with it's own well and Lego mini-figure. He was intrigued by this civilization since it seems to have mysteriously disappeared. His bedroom is beginning to look like an archaeological dig site with all of this ancient architecture strewn about. Science
We are still studying the systems of the human body. We covered the respiratory and digestive systems this week. Our respiratory lab involved breathing for a "Giant". T had to inhale through the nose, travel down the esophagus into the lungs and oxygenate red blood cells. Next he moved the RBC to the heart where it was pumped to the giant's foot and exchanged for carbon dioxide. The RBC was then pumped back to the heart and the carbon dioxide was exhaled by the lungs and out the esophagus exiting through the giant's nose. The children really enjoyed this and my three year old was able to tell her daddy at dinner that red blood cells carry oxygen:) As a result of his digestive system lab T learned that his digestive system is 21 feet long and it takes three days for his food to travel through it. You can only imagine the fun my 6 year old son had discussing his food "waste" and how it exits the how many times can you say poop in one school day?

All of our curriculum choice this year seem to be a hit. We have finally hit our groove...just in time thrown off kilter by the excitement and bustle of the holidays.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Waffle Pillows

This is how T described my waffles today "Mom they are like waffle pillows". I took this as a recipe success...little did he know they were whole grain and dairy free. The secret is to separate the eggs and whip the whites until fluffy, folding them back into the batter at the last minute.

Dairy Free Whole Grain Waffles
1 1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs separated
1 3/4 dairy alternative (milk can also be used)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Preheat waffle iron. Separate eggs and whip whites in a stand mixer until fluffy. Meanwhile in a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine egg yolk, dairy alternative and oil, whisk until fully incorporated. Create a well in your dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until just smooth, there should still be small lumps. Finally fold in egg whites until batter is uniform. Pour on to hot waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Eat, smile, and be happy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Memory Monday

Each day I sit down at the computer and try to piece together the perfect words for my posts. Today's memory is about the failure of language, it takes place last seems like a lifetime ago. Six months pregnant I got a call no daughter wants to receive.

When words are not enough.....

It was the Monday after Valentines Day when my phone rang and I heard these words "Now please don't worry. We are sure it's nothing but your dad has been hospitalized for chest pains." My father and his fiance had decided to go on a long weekend trip for the holiday and were hours away from home when this medical emergency struck. I hung up and thought to myself "I'm sure it's nothing...everything will be fine....." Well it wasn't my father had experienced an aortic dissection a very serious and often fatal heart condition. Six hours later my phone rings again the tone is drastically different from the preceding call "Your father has to undergo very risky open heart surgery. He really wants you here, there is a chance he might not come through." Dazed I hung up the phone and frantically packed for the 5 hour trip to the hospital. After a long car trip with two small children and a pregnant woman we finally arrived. It was well after midnight and visiting my father would have to wait until the morning. His surgery was schedule for 6 am and we were allotted a half hour to spend with him. In the morning I arrived at my father's room blurry eyed and scared. This could be my last half hour with my of the greatest men I have ever known. What does one do with such precious time. What do you say to a man who means so much to you? I hold his hand and try and keep the barrage of tears from flowing. I do not want this to be a goodbye...I want to fill the room with hope...with a promise of tomorrow, I want to believe my father will hold my unborn son. The doubts begin to eat away at my optimism and I mull over the potential last words I want to say to my father.... I love you, thank you, I will hold you in my heart forever, your my best friend. I realize there are no words great enough to express what my father means to me...language in incapable of imparting the love I posses for him. I mutter a few meager words "I love you" and "see you soon" trying to force a smile. I hold his warm hand hoping it's not the last time I feel his comforting grasp. The minutes quickly slip by and it is time to let my father go....I can not even reach down and kiss him over my burgeoning stomach. In a moment he is gone, his future unknown...I feel I have failed, I did not say enough.

Luckily and dare I say "miraculously" my father came through, and three months later after three more surgeries my father finally came home. I have now been given a second chance at not only telling but showing my father how much he means to me. So Dad just in case you were wondering "I love you!"
Here is a picture of us 4 months post surgery at O's Fancy Nancy Birthday party.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Savouring Sunday....

In our modern age it seems so much of our everyday existence is harried. We are often catapulted from one obligation to another. Some days seem to pass without as much as a blink of an eye, much less a reflective pause. The race to possess ever "more" pushes the intangible and unquantifiable aspects of our lives towards the fringe. Most of my daily moments slip by without the examination they deserve. Thankfully, the changing of the seasons speaks to me and the wind seems to whisper slow down, laugh, play, love.....Today was one of those glorious fall days, the perfect day to take the advice of the wind and soak up the beauty of my ordinary life. So, I put on a slow pot of butternut squash soup, left a loaf of country wheat bread to rise on the counter and jettisoned off with my babes.....The sun and the sand greeted me and and I swear I heard the waves laugh "what took you so long?"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back to basics.....

"If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens" Robert Browning

To say my family loves bread would be an understatement. My son will choose a good crusty piece of french bread over a cookie any day. I am the primary baker for our local coffee shop so our house is always teeming with muffins, scones, cookies and cakes. Prior to having children I regularly baked elaborate artisan breads. Sadly baking bread had slipped to the wayside......until last week. I have resurrected my long lost love of bread baking in an attempt to live even more frugally. While grocery shopping last week on a very short budget I decide to "swear-off" any pre-made baked goods. I have gone straight to the source and the results are astounding! Some easy recipes to start with are pizza dough, whole wheat tortillas and whole wheat pitas, these homemade "breads" will blow away their store bought counterparts. All of this baking has also afforded me with a wonderful opportunity to share the art of bread making with my children. Baking is a wonderful source for teaching living math we can cover fractions, percentages, volume, degrees, area, and time all in one loaf of bread. So please do yourself a favor and try some of these easy and delicious won't be disappointed!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The best things in life are free

I don't want to air all my dirty laundry here so let's just say we have financially hit a rough patch. Don't get me wrong, we live very comfortably in a home we own and generally want for nothing. We do however survive on a very TIGHT budget with very little if any wiggle room. We are dedicated to trying to stay as debt free as possible and are a one credit card household. We shop at thrift stores, cook from scratch, live cable free, make our own household cleaners etc. all in an attempt to live as simply and frugally as we can. I am blessed to be able to stay home with my children and to homeschool them. That being said, last month we had some unexpected car repairs upwards of two thousand dollars. This debt was not budgeted for and has resulted in us falling behind in our monthly Verizon obligations.

Yesterday morning my son awoke to find..gasp..that our Internet access had been shut off. He proceed to throw a bit of a fit ranting on about the injustice of it all. I quelled the tiny voice in my head that want to yell "shut up you spoiled brat" and instead used this moment to remind my children and myself how rich we really were. We sat down at the kitchen table and made a list of all the wonderful things in our life we have that are free. Here is our Fabulously Free List:

* denotes mom's contributions all other entries provided by my groupies

  1. Sunshine
  2. rain puddles
  3. morning snuggles
  4. grandma's kisses
  5. friendship
  6. the beach
  7. the library
  8. being healthy
  9. brothers and sisters
  10. the smell of a baby*
  11. public playgrounds
  12. sand castles
  13. fairy houses
  14. sleep*
  15. bear hugs
  16. PBS
  17. NPR*
  18. a loving marriage*
  19. mud pies
  20. the zoo
  21. ninja skills
  22. Halloween candy
  23. bird songs
  24. rainbows
  25. ideas
  26. comets
  27. doggie kisses
  28. E's giggles
  29. smiles
  30. the stars
  31. oxygen
  32. Lego club magazine
  33. clouds
  34. homegrown food
  35. silly faces
  36. singing
  37. museums
  38. a supportive family*
  39. moonbeams
  40. pretty pink sunsets

Making this list provided us all with some much needed grounding, it opened my children's eyes to the beauty and intrinsic value of the world around them. It also helped me to let go of my stress and realize I was already wealthy beyond words. I'm getting paid in sticky kisses, spit up and baby smiles today...ain't life grand!

PS: We caught up on our bills today so please don't worry;) Gotta love payday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Better late then never.....

Outdoor Hour Challenge Autumn Series: Pumpkins

Well, we finally got around to doing our pumpkin study today. The day was bright and crisp and seemed to beckon us outside. After a bit of lolly gagging we got down to business and selected our sacrificial squash. The children observed their pumpkins and came to these conclusions:
  • The sound of a thumped pumpkin is indeed "hard".

  • Pumpkins without deep creases must be "young" as they do not have wrinkles.

  • Pumpkins smell like the color "orange".

After these astute and rigorous scientific observations we proceeded to gut our pumpkin and engage in our favorite activity....eating. T was at first horrified by the idea of eating pumpkin seeds due to their innate "sliminess". I lovingly reassured him that the "slime" factor would be eradicated after roasting. He continued to eye me suspiciously but in the end acquiesced. Thirty minutes later T was devouring his seeds with gusto! T has decided Pumpkin seeds are "awesome" and his new favorite snack. He is already planning his next pumpkin slaughter. Please secure your pumpkins......

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Voting: 101

"We're going boating, we're going boating" O gleefully shouts as she bounds down the steps. "No" I shout back "We are going voting"....Perplexed she stares up at me "Oh, what's voting Mama?" Hmmm....How can I explain to her the magnitude of such a simple yet profound action? What words can convey to my 3 year old it's importance? I'm not even sure most Americans understand considering only 64% of the electorate turned out at the last presidential election (the highest in years). She can not be expected to grasp that thousand of men and women have sacrificed their lives to secure her this right. That in today's "modern" world still only 60% of countries are democratic. Worldwide people continue to relinquish their lives in order to vote, to let their voices be heard. In our own country it hasn't even been 100 years since the 19th amendment was ratified affording women the right to vote. Her innocent eyes stare up at me....I continue to draw a blank...finally I sputter that voting is a method people use to express a choice or opinion. These words feel so empty to me but O just blinks, smiles and runs away shouting "we're going voting, we're going voting". We load up and head to the polls so my children can witness democracy in action. I hope O can sustain this exuberance for a lifetime.

Election Day Haiku

Cold November sky
Fractured by the reds and blues.
We voted today.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Memory Monday

I'm starting a new concept today for the blog. Every Monday I will post a memory. It might be a recent one or something dug up from the deep vestiges of my childhood. Today's is a recent memory of O.

Stop Following Me

Last week, as I was surprisingly sitting at the computer, I heard some shouting coming from the foyer. Now, I have three children so shouting is most definetly an hourly occurrence. I decide to sit and wait it out....hoping they would just "work" it out.....O continued to shout. It went something like this:
Ahhh...get away from me...Ahhh...leave me alone...Ahhh...stop following me....go away.
I decided it was time for an intervention. I imagined T was pestering her, as big brothers are wont to do. I slowly crept to the foyer hoping to witness the infraction first hand. As I turned the corner into the sunlit foyer I see O standing alone. I am perplexed....she still hasn't seen me... I decide to stake it out. What I witness next is priceless. The sun shinning into the foyer is creating a shadow. The shouting is O defiantly telling her own shadow to leave her stop following her....and to get away from her. This provided some much needed humor to my day! Moments like this when your children are exhibiting pure foolishness are what childhood is all about. I wish I could still throw my logic and reason out the door and whole heartily yell at apparitions and sprites. Oh wait, I can I have children......

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Hauntings

Halloween was a smashing success. We were able to attend a haunted house, two trick or trunks and we trick or treated house to house for about an hour. Needless to say the pumpkins are overflowing! I have done my neurotic Mommy duty and removed all the the artificially colored treats, leaving only the yummy chocolate behind. Luckily my kids don't like Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, Sweet Tarts makes taking them away soooo much easier. Here are some so-so pics, the little imps weren't cooperating.