Monday, October 25, 2010

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream Halloween!

Mission Accomplished: Halloween Party 2010


It is over.

It was a huge success and all the hard work and weeks of preparation were worth it.

The most amazing thing? That all littles could come. No sick kids this year.

The biggest flop? My i-phone pics. I'm so bummed that I didn't take the time to get out my regular camera. Oh, well!

Biggest lessons learned? Plan ahead. Cook ahead. Bake ahead. Shop without children in tow.

Here's the low down:

Weeks before: Made my lists, bought stickers, take out boxes for cupcakes, plates, pinata, etc. That way there wasn't any rushing from store to store towards the end of Oct. when many of the items might have been sold out.

Day before:

*baked cupcakes-check
*baked corn bread muffins-check
*boiled eggs-check
*cleaned house-check
*had overflowing counters and refrigerator full of party items-check
*pinata filled-check
*dog bones for "Find the Bones" spray painted-check

Day of:

*Kept kids outside and out of trouble-check
*costumes on-check
*witches brew made (cranberry limeade with vodka)-check
*apps made-check (think of things Halloweeny looking...spinach dip, Halloween chips and goolish guacamole, and blood shot deviled eggs)-check
*homemade turkey chilli-check
*pizza dough rolled and ready-check

And then our local friends from long ago high school days and their kiddos arrived.

The littles ranges from 6 months to 9 years...


"Find the Bones"

Here I am giving the teacher in me speech. Something along the lines of..."Big kids don't trample the littles. Be a good sport and don't cry if you don't get the most!" Actually, it was much softer, but you get the drift.

And then they were off...

Spider Web Pizza Making...

Pinata Breaking...

Cupcake/Take Home Box Decorating (one to eat for dessert and one to take home)...

Sign that it was a spooktacular party? All 3 of my early risers slept past 7:00 a.m.!!!!

Here's wishing you a Happy Halloween. May you receive no tricks and LOTS of treats!

Much love,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Grown up Tattle Tails

If anything bugs me more than anything, it is tattling. Back in my teaching days, I could sense by their intonation when a tattler was about the unleash a long tail of how another kiddo did something and blah blah blah. It drove me nuts. It got so bad that I eventually had a pow wow with my 1st graders about what truly constituted a conversation with me about wrong doings. You may think I'm insensitive, but with a class of 20 littles, they have a lot of wrong doings to report. Before they could even start, I'd remind them, "Is this big enough to tell me or small enough for you to resolve on your own?" Kids need to learn problem solving. Yes, even in 1st grade.

And let me tell you, if kid tattling drives me nutty, there is only one thing that drives me even more tattling.

We were at mega indoor play structure a few days ago. I had 4 (yes, 4) boys with me. 2 other boys were on this bouncy net and a little girl was waiting to get on. The little boys refused to let her have a turn. Luke was up there, too, but was not on the net with the boys. Well, the little girl (around 5 or so) became weepy and went to her mother to tell on the boys. The mother then went to the supervisor and told on the boys and also said that Luke was one of the boys. I'm all for disciplining my kids when they deserve it, but he clearly did not.

After the supervisor began shouting at an oblivious Luke to "Come down here right now!," I approached her to clarify the situation. I was not so much irritated with her, as I was with the mom of the weepy girl.

Maybe it is just me, but when you take your kids to such a place you better be prepared for pumped up kids, hurt feelings, and a few bumps and bruises. Maybe it is just being a mom of 3 boys, but I felt like saying to the mom, "Suck it up, Lady. Life is full of upsets, teach your little to take wrong doings in stride. Redirect her to another area, teach her to come back to the bouncy net when the boys are gone, or to go back up and tell the boys that she wants a turn again." I do that with my kids all the time. That's real life. I'm not going to be there to defend them whenever they get their feelings hurt when they are adults.

Please know that I'm not speaking about bullying or more serious infractions.

This also brings me to another point. Boys are made differently. They think differently. They play differently. They learn differently. I'm growing frustrated with the femanization of our boys. Back in the day, they were allowed to play cops and robbers. Now we get letters home from school saying that such games are forbidden. Boys will be boys. Sorry.

To illustrate this, my friend's son climbed in the car after making a cross at preschool, aimed it and began to shoot it like a gun. Yep, boys will be boys.

Who was getting in trouble that day at the mega play structure? The active boys. Who gets in trouble at school the majority of the time? The active boys. Who are the naughty ones in the neighborhood? The active boys. I say, we let boys be boys. It doesn't mean that we let them run around like wild cave men, but that we stop expecting them to behave like girls.

And let me just say, after teaching and being a young girl who wasn't always kind, girls may not be as wild and rambunctious, but they can play a mean social game. The snide words are just as hurtful as bonks and bruises, but the wounds are on the inside.

So just a little food for thought, my friends.

Have a good weekend.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Easy Breezing (and CHEAP!!!) Halloween Centerpiece

So we're in full force of prepping for our Halloween Party this weekend. There will be 11 adults and 15 kids. And the scariest part won't be the ghost or gobblins, but the fact that we are all friends from long ago high school days and it simply freaks me out to see us all with littles. I still feel 16...don't look it...but feel it.

I copied the candle idea from a magazine, but in typical "I am sure I can do this on the cheap" Katie fashion, here's how I managed to do the entire centerpiece for approximately $5 (Crate and Barrel glass stand thingy not included). It is clean, simple, and no fuss. Check it out:

Pumpkins: $.69 each @ Albertsons
Candles (pack of 4): $1 @ Dollar Tree
Glass vases: $1 each @ Dollar Tree

Do I hear a "woot woot" with your hands in the air or what???

Gotta run. I have dog bones to spray paint for a killer game of "Find the Bones." Did I mention I found the bones for a $1 too?

I heart the Dollar Tree.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Plans Smans

Life doesn't always go as planned.

You probably already knew that, but it took me awhile to catch on.

When I was a very young girl, I had dreams of making it big. I had it all planned out perfectly. After being discovered by Ed McMahon on Star Search, I'd start with Easy Bake Oven and Barbie commercials and slowly work my way into lead roles in film. And without a doubt, I'd be the next Julia Roberts with an Academy Award to boot.

I was serious. Completely. I didn't really start considering other options until my senior year of high school.

Well, the acting gig didn't really pan out for me. Not even close.

Funny how our plans don't work out, isn't it?

The once bold proclamations made by a naive fourteen year old without a clue were that I'd not marry until I was over the hill at 30.

And once I achieved marital status in my ancient days, I'd certainly never have children.

There is even a rumor out there that I once told my fabulous friend, Courtney, that we'd have to stay separated when she got pregnant since baby bellies gave me the creeps.

Sorry Court! I did have a flare for drama didn't I?

By the way, I heart baby bellies now.

Flash forward:

Teaching degree instead of Oscar

Married at 21 instead of livin' up the single life

3 kids instead of 0

What were your plans? You know you had them. Come on... share so we can laugh together!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Super Freak-Lovin' the Anticiapation of Halloween

I am a freak for traditions.

I am a freak for holidays.

I am a freak for family outings.

And one day my kids will be teenagers and think I'm a real freak and no longer want to share my freakish excitement for all the above.

So I relish in this time of having my little ones because one day they will be taller than me, know more than me, and go through the phase of being way too cool for me.

As many of you know, I say, "Go big or go home." And I mean it. So this fall we've prepped for Halloween in many ways. We've spookified our house and pumpkin patched ourselves out.

Here's the low-down:

Party City in Laguna Hills
: Okay, this one lacks the quaint charm of a "real" pumpkin patch, but for a mom desperate to get the kids out of the house while the hubs was gone on a long work trip, it did the trick...

Lavendar Hills Farm
with cousin Maddie: This is our local small town pumpkin patch. It was a perfect misty fall day. One that we don't see often in So Cal. The boys ran, searched for the perfect pumpkin, ran some more, listened to me shout, "Stop playing soccer with the pumpkins!," and swung from a tree swing.

I want that tree. Now. I really do.

And let me tell you that my guys took their pumpkin pickin' seriously. The rule was, "If you can lift it, you can buy it." So just like the sword in the stone, we watched Luke search for the largest pumpkin and lift with all his might.

Two super cool things about this place:
1. It is not over saturated with pumpkin pickers or commercialism. No pony rides or bounce houses here peeps.
2. The husband and wife owners rock! They like to educate as you purchase. We picked a variety from France and another from Australia. Who knew? The wife also names several pumpkins in the patch every year. Love it!

Bate's Nut Farm in Valley Center
with my brother and his family:

Why is it so stinkin' hard to get everyone to look at the camera at once???

And the grand finale...The Spencer Halloween Party! I'll be back in a few days with pics.