Each year we love to seek out the perfect pumpkins. Since I have a tendancy to go for the biggest in the field, my husband created a rule: "you have to be able to lift and carry your own pumpkin". This helps keep the kids from picking the biggest pumpkin and our bill being bigger than the grocery bill. After bringing home our newly found pumpkins we wait patiently until right before Halloween to carve them into Jack-o-lanterns. This year my kids are super proud to say they each carved their own without any help from mom and dad.
To see more creepy crawly creations visit the SITS Girls and see what treat they are giving away!
I have always loved Halloween. As a kid I never had an off-the-rack purchased costume. Ever. At least some element of my costumes were made. I'd think about creating my costume for months. See the above picture? The pants are hand sewn patchwork, paired with one of my favorite sweatshirts, the suspenders were borrowed from my dad, and the socks and shoes were ones I wore all the time. I couldn't wait to paint my face and I was proud of the finished product. I still have that wig, bow tie and hat in a closet at my mom's house and they have been resurrected for Halloween and carnival costumes a lot over the years.
When it was time for trick-or-treat we would do our surrounding streets. When we were done we came in and got something to eat then my parents put us in the car and we went over to my grandmother's house in the next town. We'd go trick-or-treat some more! I'd have bags full of candy by the end of the day.
All these years later I still love Halloween. We decorate the yard, carve pumpkins and spend lots of time thinking of costumes (even if they are off-the-rack!). It is just such a fun time of year!
To join in the halloween blast from the past pop on over to SITS and see what treats they have waiting!
This year I am the Class Mom for all 3 of my children's classes. I volunteer every year, sometimes I don't get picked and other times I have been picked for one class. This must have been the "lucky" year I guess. When it comes to classroom parties each teacher is different. Some teachers don't celebrate at all, others keep it simple and then of course there are the ones that go all out. What teachers expect of their Class Mom's is also different.
The Middle Child is in third grade this year and I was tasked to come up with a craft to do at their Halloween party. This is sometimes one of those things that is easier said than done. The party is at the end of the day so I didn't want anything that was going to be wet and messy that the kids would have to drag on the bus or leave at school until Monday. It also had to be easy enough to complete in a short period of time but not too easy that the kids thought it was babyish. So out came all the craft books and magazines and I narrowed it down to a few possibilities and ran them by the Middle Child. Turns out he and I both liked the same one for our first choice which we found in an old issue of Family Fun magazine. I modified the directions a tad from the original article.
Craft Stick Mummy:
2 google eyes
1 wooden craft spoon
2 craft sticks cut into 2 to 2 1/2 inch pieces (for arms)
2 craft sticks cut into 3 inch pieces (for legs)
(I found short craft sticks that were about 3 inches long and used them for all the limbs to cut down on prep)
3 strips of muslin fabric cut or torn into 1 inch x 18 inch strips
craft glue or glue dots (I used glue dots for the first time and am in love!)
Attach the craft sticks to the craft spoon to from arms and legs using craft glue or glue dots
Wrap strip of muslin fabric around the legs. Use craft glue or glue dots to attach ends.
Wrap another strip of muslin around arms, using craft glue or glue dots to attach ends.
Wrap last muslin strip around body and head, attaching ends with craft glue or glue dots.
Attach 2 google eyes using glue dots or craft glue
If you want to turn your mummy into a magnet, attach a magnet strip along the back.
This weekend is a very exciting one in this house full of Halloween parties, parades and Trick-or-Treating. My kids can't wait and I have to admit, I'm almost as excited as they are. I love Halloween! However, Halloween marks another season for me as well. Christmas. Yes, Christmas.
Once Halloween hits I feel it is time to start cracking down on planning for the holidays. I like to spread out my shopping over as many paychecks as possible and so the earlier I begin the easier it is to do that. I begin by making lists of everyone I need to purchase presents for and jotting down some ideas. I have my kids make their lists and star the 5 most wanted items. As we move closer to Christmas I begin making more lists of errands I need to run and baking that I want to do. But do you know what I often overlook until almost the last minute? Our family Christmas cards. This year I vow to be more on top of things!
Each year I strive to have a perfect picture to feature on our Christmas cards. When the kids were a little younger we always went for a family portrait that I'd make into a card. The first year we went to Disney was the first year I strayed from that and used a picture of the kids in front of the castle. This year I already know I'm using a picture from our family vacation to Acadia National Park and I have narrowed it down to 5. So to help me narrow it down even further I have started looking at holiday photo cards options. There are so many wonderful designs it is hard to choose! These are my three favorite holiday card designs from the new Shutterfly holiday collection:
I love this one because the focus will really be on the picture I choose with a quaint message.
This one just shows off the picture and a moment we enjoyed.
I like this one because again, the focus is on the picture I choose.
One of these years I'm going to surprise my family and friends and send greetings such as Thanksgiving Cards or New Year's Cards. It is a slightly unexpected time to send a card and takes the pressure off of having them out at the busiest time of holiday preparation too!
Do you want 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly? Click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free cards this holiday season, and make sure to select Clever 1000 as the referral source.
This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
My Real Life Friend, who wishes to remain nameless, asked me if she could write a post. She doesn't have her own blog to express her thoughts on so I welcomed her idea. Her and I are friends because we are a lot a like. A lot. She is one of the only people actually allowed in my house because I know she won't judge, hers looks the same. I know I can answer the door in my pajamas because I know when I go to her house she will still be in hers. I know I can show my true mom colors around her because I know she understands.
One of her biggest frustrations as a mom is putting the limits on her 12 year old son. He doesn't want to be left out among his friends but she doesn't want to compromise her beliefs as a parent. This is her current struggle:
I am always appalled by the amount of parents who seem to be so strict with their kids but yet pay no attention to the ratings on video games. I am one of those parents who tries to pay attention to them. I have an 11 year old who for years was always fighting with me to buy him rated T games. Well according to the ratings, T is for teen, and he wasn't a teen yet. Don't get me wrong, I have broken down and bought a few of the games, but I have my limits and I have to pre-approve the game.
This year he is 12 and is just about a teen. What I REFUSE to buy and have in my house, is a Rated M game. Rated M is for Mature audiences and the video store won't even let you buy them unless you are 17 or a parent does. He keeps begging for Rated M games and thinks I am incredibly mean. MOST of his friends (and even friends of my younger kids) have these video games and think nothing about how incredibly violent some of them can be. Some of my friends and their aunts make fun of me, and say "just wait, you will singing another tune in a year or two" (and that was back when he was 10. I really don't think I will.)
People wonder why in our society that we live in such a violent world, with all the terrorism, and shootings and everything else going on, but yet think nothing of letting their child play what in my eyes condones that behavior. Some of these games have cursing in them and beating up women, it's NOT what I want my kids to be a part of.
Now I know that I can't always control what my kids are doing at other people's houses or playing or watching but in my house I can. Think of me as strict, or the "mean mom".
Share your thoughts with She-who-shall-not-be-named! Where do you stand on this? Me? I'm a mean mom.
I tried to think of a way to turn this into an elegant post about me. However, the harder I tried the worse it sounded. So here are some random facts about me that aren't on my About Me page.
I love the color purple. And turquoise and hot pink. I love the 3 together. My room was turquoise when I was younger, I mean a dark turquoise that took my mother 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint to cover up when I moved out. None of those colors are currently in my house however, I do own several items of clothing in those colors.
I played the flute for over 9 years. I swore I wanted to go to Juliard. I haven't touched my flute in over 10 years.
I grew up with 2 beagles. I loved those dogs.
I always wished I had a sister. I only have a brother who is 6 years older than me and even as adults we don't have much in common. I feel bad that I didn't give my daughter the sister I always wished I had had. She has two big brothers who haven't learned the value of a sister yet. Being they are so close in age I'm sure they will find her value when they are in high school and she is bringing home cute friends.
I have played every trick in the book to get out of going to school. My kids won't be able to get anything over on me. The fact that I've tried it all and I'm a nurse...they are screwed big time.
I'm lazy. Really really lazy. Seriously, you can't imagine how lazy.
I don't invite people over to my house too often. It's because I hate to clean and my house always looks like 3 tornadoes went through followed by a bomb. People say they don't care or judge your house but I don't believe them. I say I don't care what people think but I'm lying. So it is just easier to keep the front door locked.
I am terribly shy. People who know me don't believe this. However, I've learned to overcompensate for my shyness in most situations and so I come off much more outgoing than I actually am.
I can be terribly passive aggressive. It is an awful thing. I really need to work on that.
I was born and raised and still live in New Jersey. I don't resemble any of the freaks on any of the reality shows you've seen based here in Jersey.
I am not a morning person. I don't mean that I'm a bit grumpy. I mean don't speak until spoken to and even then tread with care. I'm a nasty little thing when I'm tired.
I am still searching for my dream job.
I always wanted 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls. We stopped at 3. Pregnancy wasn't kind to me.
I married the baby of 8 boys.
I love to read but I stick to mindless fluff 99.9% of the time.
I have a quick temper.
I'm running out of things to tell you.
Now that I have told you all about me, tell me something about you! Leave a link so I can come by and say hi!
Yesterday was my son's 10th birthday. He was so excited to turn double digits and all I could do was wonder where the time has gone. (and wonder how I could possibly be old enough to have a 10 year old!). We had a wonderful weekend celebrating. However, somebody always seems to have to rain on my parade.
Instead of letting me enjoy my son's birthday and reminisce over the years I kept hearing things like
~ before you know it he'll be going to high school
~ in 7 years he'll be driving
~ in 8 years he'll be going off to college
Why? Why can't people just let me enjoy my moment? Kids are only kids for so short a time. In the grand scheme of things it seems as if childhood only lasts for a few minutes. So why are we always looking forward? Why are we always rushing to get to the next milestone? Lets slow down and enjoy the moment we are in (and let the mother acclimate to it!).
Have you noticed the changes around here? Like my beautiful new design? I'm super excited to jazz things up and put a new foot forward here on Life in the BAT Cave.
I'd like to thank Krystyn from Krizzy Designs. When I approached her I figured I was either the dream customer or the worlds-worst-nightmare of a customer. Why? Because I really didn't know what I wanted. I needed a little guidance and was open to suggestions. That either gave her free reign to creativity or the fast lane to what-the-hell-does-this-woman-want! Luckily she embraced the challenge and produced a beautiful design.
Krystyn is professional and easy to work worth. She produces beautiful work which goes beyond the blog design. Check out her invitations and announcements too! If you are looking for a re-design, go visit Krizzy and see what she has to offer.
Ten years ago today I welcomed my first child into the world, a healthy baby boy of 8 pounds 8 ounces. Each day was a new challenge and delight. I marveled at how he was constantly changing and I reveled in the fact that I was a mother.
One day when I was admiring my baby boy I must have blinked. Suddenly that bundle of baby boy is only about an inch shy of being eye-to-eye with me. His foot is larger than mine and he is a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field.
Each day is still a challenge and a delight but in a much different way. He is still changing before my eyes, both physically and emotionally. He is turning into a wonderful young man and I am proud of who he is. He has a strong compassionate side and is a loyal friend. He is protective of his siblings (when he isn't the one reigning terror on them!). He is intelligent and puts effort into his school work. He takes interest in the world around him.
I want to wish you the happiest of birthdays. I hope that all of your wishes and dreams come true. I am proud of you and proud to be your mother. I love you more than you could ever imagine. I still can't believe you are 10!
Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.
Our families ultimate vacation would be to leave the kids behind with the grandparents and hubs and I taking off for some secluded resort where we can lounge around and have drinks brought to us all day long. The only time I would get up would be for a little dip in the pool to cool off. Just kidding. Sort of.
Actually, we had an amazing family vacation over the summer to Bar Harbor, Maine where we explored Acadia National Park. Each day we woke up and were greeted by the most wonderful weather. We laced up our hiking boots and picked a new trail to tackle. It was so beautiful I didn't want to leave. And since I feel like we didn't even make a dent in the park, I can't wait to go back.
On the way home we began thinking about our next destination. I'm proud to say that while my kids love places like Disney World, when you ask them their favorite vacation they will tell you places like Washington D.C. and Acadia National Park. I LOVE that! So as we were trying to brainstorm new places, Disney did not make it to the top 5.
Do you know what did? National Parks. Our ultimate family vacation would be to another National Park where we can explore nature, learn the area, soak in the scenery and ultimately, just be together. While hiking those trails, we made up stories, talked about life, sang songs, and took in nature. Things we can't do in a busy theme park and we want more of it. My oldest son wants to go to the Everglades and see a gator. He'd also like to make it to the redwood forests. We'd like to see the Grand Canyon, explore Yosemite and Yellowstone. We'd like to see the country at it's finest.
My mom has made it perfectly clear she doesn't like social media. "Who wants people knowing your business?" "I can't believe you would ever put your child's picture on the internet!" "Who has time for that stuff?" Blah blah blah blah blah.
So, I've made the decision not to tell her about my blog. Besides, I can't talk about her if she reads it! (now I wish there were a few other people I hadn't told!)
Yesterday started out great. I was very productive accomplishing many things and gathering nice CHECK marks on my To-Do List. Then late yesterday afternoon things began to go downhill.
I went to log on to the Internet to do some things and I couldn't get on. I tried again. I continued to try thinking it must have been a fluke. I began unplugging things from my computer and plugging them back in, still to no avail. I was without the internet.
This morning I tried again. I began pulling plugs and again nothing helped. I began to worry. What in the world was preventing me from connecting to the internet? There were things I needed to do that required me logging on! Things I could not do from my Blackberry!
I became very thankful for my Blackberry. I was able to check emails but I only have one account linked to my phone and I have several email accounts. At least I was able to complain to you guys via twitter!
When my husband arrived home from work today I told him that getting me back on the internet was to become his priority. I didn't care what else he needed to do, he needed to get me connected once again! I have no idea what he did, and I'm certain he didn't do anything I hadn't tried, but he had me back on within 5 minutes.
I wouldn't say I was suffering from withdrawal in the last 24 hours however I will say I was GREATLY inconvenienced. You don't realize how dependent you are on something until it isn't available to you.
When I'm not being put off by the fact that my husband didn't wipe the counter or was completely oblivious to what I was saying to him, I can sometimes recognize the prince he can really be.
While many of my girlfriends have husbands that come home and ask "what did you do all day?" because they actually want to know what got done, mine asks that question simply to see how my day was. He couldn't care less if the laundry got ignored because I went out to lunch with a friend or decided to read a book.
While I have friends whose husbands expect a hot meal on the table every night, mine just feels lucky to be fed. Seriously, its true.
And on that topic of being fed do you know what he said to me? Something I never ever in a million years thought I would ever hear. He was complaining that there was too much food in the house and that I've been cooking too frequently. He wants a leftover night to catch up on all the meals I already made. What? Am I on candid camera? Nope, he actually said it and meant it. I had planned on making dinner tonight but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Leftovers it is. And I'll be sure to remind him of this conversation the next time he complains there is no food in the house.
My Sunday Shout Outs are to those posts I especially connected with this week. I hope you'll take a few minutes to visit them and share some bloggy love.
The Suburban Jungle takes a look at the lack of school security. This is a topic that always gets my panties in a bunch. I don't feel schools are doing enough to protect our kids.
Scary Mommy has a guest poster who asks is gay ok? I'm really not sure how I feel about the post but it is worth the read...as are the comments that follow.
Need a dinner recipe? I can't wait to try out these coconut shrimp over at From Blah to Ta-Daa.
Mellisa over at Getting all my ducks in a row explain why women are better. You might not want to be drinking anything when read this one. I wouldn't want to be responsible for you snorting anything out of your nose.
Today is the last day of my blogiversary celebration. That means this is the last giveaway I have for you this week!
Today's giveaway is a Mini PicFolio photo album by Creative Memories. It is made for wallet size pictures and is the perfect size to put in your purse, brief case or diaper bag. This makes it so easy to show off your kids or your recent vacation! It even comes in a pretty tulle bag, making it a great gift.
One lucky reader will win the photo book shown.
This giveaway is open until midnight of 10/12/10 and is open to residents of the continental US.
Tell me who/what your favorite picture is of.
please leave a separate comment for each entry and an email address for easy contact
* Follow me on GFC, facebook, twitter. One entry for each platform you follow me in.
* Blog about this or any of the giveaways featured this week! This will gain you one entry for each item featured in your post. Be sure to leave a link to your post.
For today's giveaway I bring you simulated diamond stud earrings . I received my pair a few weeks back and have worn them almost every day since. They are comfortable and beautiful! I'm happy to have a pair to give to one of you.
This picture doesn't do them justice. They are bright and sparkly and beautiful.
One lucky winner will win a pair of simulated earrings just like these.
Please leave a separate comment for each entry and an email address for easy contact.
This giveaway is open to US residents and entries will be accepted until midnight of 10/12/10.
Leave a comment telling me what your favorite piece of jewelry is.
* Follow me on google friend connect, twitter, and facebook. You get one entry for each platform you follow me in. (be sure to leave a separate comment for each)
* Blog about my blog-iversary celebration giveaways. This will gain you one entry for each item featured in your post. Be sure to leave me a link.
* Tweet this giveaway. Be sure to include #win and @lifeinthebatcav and a link to this giveaway.
Today is the one year anniversary of my blog. It is hard to believe it has been an entire year already! Time sure does fly.
In the past year I have told you about my ups and downs, my family and friends, shared crafts and recipes. Essentially, I have shared small pieces of me with you. In return, I have visited many of your blogs and gotten to know you along the way.
I truly didn't know what I was getting myself into when I started this blog. I also didn't know how expansive the blogosphere is. I honestly started this blog on a whim and didn't know where it would take me. While I still have a lot to learn, I have learned so much over this past year. I'm excited to continue to move forward and roll out a new design soon!
Thank you to all of you who stop by and visit. I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you. To show you my appreciation I am sharing the celebration with you and am bringing you 4 wonderful giveaways. Be sure to come back every day until the end of the week to see what I have for you!
First up is a giveaway from KMK Design. Some of my favorite pieces she has up right now:
Perfect for Fall
Purple is my favorite color
Perfect for any time
Enter to Win!
One lucky reader will win a $15 gift certificate to KMK Design!
Please leave a separate comment for each entry and an email for easy contact.
Giveaway is open to US residents and entries accepted until midnight EST 10/12/10.
Take a look around over at KMK Designs and tell me what you like!
Remember when someone told you to never say never? Or perhaps that saying of forever is a long time? Well, I never believed in those. I'd roll my eyes and think "whatever". Well guess what. I'm here to tell you that forever is a long time and never comes to bite you in the a$$.
I've always been a fantastic grudge holder. I've yet to meet anyone that can top my ability. When I say I'm never going to speak to you again, it's usually something I hold true to. That used to be something I was actually proud of. However, I've recently had some reminders that forever really is a long time.
When I was in high school I had a fight with my cousin. Being we were in high school and females, lets just say that it was fairly drawn out and dramatic. I can be pretty mean when I want to be. I'll spare you the details but there was a boyfriend involved and same name calling involving names of garden utensils. (relax, nobody slept with anyone's boyfriend. We left that drama to 90210 and Melrose Place thank you very much). I have not spoken to this cousin since high school. Mind you, the fact that I graduated and went off to school and she graduated the following year and relocated to go to school certainly helped me hold my grudge. It is a whole lot easier to be a good grudge holder when you aren't constantly bumping into the object of your grudge.
Last week I came face to face with my cousin for the first time in 16 years. Unfortunately it was not under happy circumstances but at the funeral for her mother. As I stood in line waiting to pay my respects my stomach knotted a bit. I was looking around at a room full of people I only get to see at funerals and I was about to come face to face with someone who I was once close with but have not spoken to in 16 years. Because I told her I hated her and would never speak to her again. As I reached the front of the line I hugged her dad first and then turned to her and without saying a word hugged her tight. We kept hugging tighter and tighter until I knew I eventually had to let go and move on because the line was literally out the door and down the block.
Later in the evening I had a chance to talk with her a bit. We hugged some more, I told her I was sorry, I told her we were way too young to be dealing with any of this, we were supposed to be old biddies before we bury our parents. I looked at the pictures they had displayed with her and she told me a little about her life.
I left there with a heavy heart, not only for the loss of her mom, but for the loss of what used to be a good relationship between the two of us. I decided that never ended that day. Because never means forever and forever really is a long time.