Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Favorite Things

You know what I'm not crazy about?  Those "Favorite Things" lists that celebrities make that consist of a bunch of ridiculously expensive goods like "simple" white t-shirts that cost $50 apiece, or when they list things like "making sugar cookies with my daughter," because you know what?  You probably weigh about 90 pounds, and the closest you'll get to baked goods is a food-scented Yankee candle.  Oh, and don't try to pretend you spend time with your daughter.  If you did, we wouldn't see her all coked-out on the cover of some rag here in about ten years.

I'm not much of a celebrity person.  I feel no need to know what some actor eats for breakfast on Saturday mornings or their parenting "advice."

And this is so not what I meant to write about today.  Let's see if I can get back on track.

Where was I?  Right.  Favorite things.

Well, in addition to not being able to identify with some no-talent hack's favorite things (there I go again), I have a little trouble with the items listed in the song.  You know, from The Sound of Music?  One verse talks about "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens."  While I certainly don't see anything wrong with those things, I couldn't call them my "favorites."  Raindrops on roses are pretty, but I'm allergic to cats, don't believe I've ever actually seen a copper kettle, and wool gives me hives.

I'm just a little ray of sunshine today, aren't I?

Still, I've been hearing that song a lot lately on the Christmas music stations, and it's gotten me to thinking about my favorite things at this time of year.  Here are five of my personal favorites.

5.  Decorating for Christmas.  I love, love, love decorating our house for Christmas.  My mom always went all-out decorating our house right after Thanksgiving, and it always felt so warm and inviting.  I now do the same thing, and being surrounded by the garlands and bells makes our home feel cozy.

4.  Christmas Music.  Fortunately, Derek's pretty tolerant of my need for 24/7 Christmas music, but he does look pretty pained when I put on Amy Grant, and absolutely puts his foot down at the mere mention of The Carpenters.
      4a.  Christmas caroling.  Is there anything better than standing in front of people's homes, singing Christmas carols?  Unless it's looking out your front window and seeing people standing on your front lawn, serenading your family.

     4b.  All the live Christmas music.    There are always a plethora of choir, band, and orchestra concerts to choose from, and when we lived in Pittsburg, there was a man who stood outside the entrance to Wal-Mart every morning and played his trumpet while manning the red Salvation Army bucket.

3.  Going to the Nutcracker.  This was a tradition my family had growing up; we would drive the hour north to Wichita to see the ballet performed, and while this is not something we do every year, Derek did take me to see it in New York City one year, and this weekend Adelaide and I will be driving down to Kansas City to see it there (Yaaaaaay!).

2.  Candlelight services.  I don't really think there's anything better than standing in a darkened church lit only by candles, singing Christmas hymns.  I really wish our church did this.

1. This one isn't really Christmas-related, but right now it's my very favorite:  The lurching, halting, unsteady gait of a baby learning to walk.  Caedmon has been walking for several weeks now, but it's only in the past week or two that he's really started using it as his primary means of locomotion.  When I catch sight of that high-stepping stride unique to toddlers that he uses, I find myself stopping whatever I'm doing just to watch him waddle around.  It is so ridiculously cute.  I love to watch him stop at the threshold to a room, where the flooring changes, and ready himself to pass the imaginary precipice.  I love to watch the sheer joy on his face  from something as simple as walking.  He loves it, I love it.  My favorite thing.

This also means he no longer stands still long enough for me to get a good picture.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Farewell, Fall

Cooler temperatures have recently blown into central Iowa.  This morning when Adelaide left for school it was 29 degrees out, which I know will feel downright tropical come January, but for now feels pretty chilly.

These more winter-like conditions, plus the fact that we only have two more days in November make me feel like Autumn is over.  How about a photo recap?

We continued to go for lots of walks throughout most of the Fall.

Atticus likes to pull the wagon, which makes me look like a really lazy mom straggling behind the wagon, forcing her children to do all the work.  I'm okay with that.

We continued to water our mums, hardy pansies, and tulip and hyacinth bulbs.

Caedmon was really helpful.

We went to the apple orchard/ pumpkin patch.  We got zero apples and zero pumpkins.

But we did play in the corn pool!  After all, this is Iowa.

What's that?  You've never been in a corn pool?  It's basically a giant pool... of corn.

Aren't you glad I'm here to explain these things to you?

Atticus showed Mark how to make it rain corn...

Then Mark showed Atticus how to make it pour.

Mark and Atticus also sped down the giant slide.

It really is huge, and somehow the burlap sacks you slide down on make it very, very fast.

No, really.


...bottom.  Big.

We also jumped around on the big bouncing pad, saw a bunch of farm animals, and went on a hay rack ride that busy day at the orchard.  In the following weeks we kept finding corn in our clothing and coats.  When I washed the clothes the boys had worn that day, I opened the dryer and a cataract of corn came spilling out onto my feet.  I still find kernels at odd places around the house.

A few days after that trip we celebrated Halloween.

I feel like my kids are at a perfect age to go trick-or-treating:  They aren't old enough to start whining about going without Mom and Dad, and I can still basically make them wear whatever I want, like cute and fluffy chicken costumes that make our youngest boy look like a girl.

The beginning of October was unseasonably warm, and we took advantage of it by spending lots of time outside.

A month later it was no longer quite so warm, and while the kiddos still wanted to play outside, I retreated indoors.

Of course, fall brought with it football season.  It will continue through part of winter.  I will not exactly be devastated when it is over, although Derek has mellowed quite a bit, on the outside, at least.

I have this wild and crazy notion that our sweet, sweet Spudley might have something to do with that.

Here's hoping everyone had a magnificent Fall, a terrific Thanksgiving, and a better football season than we have.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Books vs Movies

Derek and I watched the final Harry Potter movie last night.  I appreciated how close certain scenes were to those in the book, and I loved the emotional energy the music added.  Overall, I was less disappointed than I expected to be.

You do not want to watch a movie based on a book with me.  I am annoying in the extreme.

To me, watching the film-version of a novel is like listening to a young piano student stumble their way through Beethoven.  You may be able to recognize the familiar strains and hear the potential for beautiful music, but it's nothing compared to listening to a piano virtuoso finesse and lead you through the wonder of a sonata.  There is a richness and depth to a book that is conspicuously absent from their film adaptations.  I watch a movie after reading the book and wonder, Where is the subtlety?  Where is the nuance?  Must everything be so patently obvious?

I realize that not all movies are like this.  The well-known problem is, when adapting a book into it's movie-version, you have to cut a ton of details, large and small, from the story, lest you create a 72-hour film (which I would prefer, but might not make a lot of money- not that movie studios are in it for the money or anything; I'm well aware those Hollywood types would prefer to be non-profit).  And every once in a while, you'll find that rare gem:  a movie as good as it's book.  Like To Kill A Mockingbird, for example.  Maybe The Princess Bride.  And... um... I can't think of any others.

Part of (fine, maybe most) of the fault is my own.  I nearly always read the book before the movie comes out.  It is way easier to listen to the seven-year-old stumble their way through Moonlight Sonata (Charming, you think, this really has the potential to be beautiful.  'A' for effort.) and then listen to the virtuoso play the same piece (Wow!  So that's how it's done), than the other way around.  You can't listen to the professional musician first and then the novice hacking away at the keyboard; it's likewise very difficult to read the book, then watch the movie.  It will never measure up.

One of my favorite authors is Dean Koontz.  I absolutely love his Odd Thomas series of books.  I recently found out they are being made into a movie.

I am terrified.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dictionary Entry


i·ro·ny, noun:  watching The Biggest Loser and shaking my head in disbelief at the lack of willpower of the contestants.

While stuffing my face with Oreos.

Right after recovering from an exercise-induced asthma attack.

(See also: hypocritical)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Husband Has An Awesome Wife

(And if that title seems disgustingly self-congratulatory, it's only because it is.)

I am a practical gift-giver.  I like to give gifts that are practical.

I don't know whether I can blame it on Nature or Nurture, but I'm pretty sure it somehow all stems from my mom.  I can't remember how many times I watched my mother wrap a first-aid kit or a fire extinguisher as a wedding gift.  And really, who wouldn't want to receive those things as gifts?  I'm sure many a happy couple thought fondly of my mom when they were bleeding or their kitchen caught on fire (both events that probably happen quite a bit in those first turbulent years of marriage).

I've never really thought of this as a negative attribute, until I started reflecting upon the gifts I've received from Derek over the life of our relationship.  They make my practical gifts seem kind of... lame.

Like the time, one wedding anniversary, Derek got me an early edition hardcover of To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my very favorite books.

Or one year on my birthday when he arranged for his sister and her husband to drive down from Maine to watch Adelaide so that we could drive from our then-home in Connecticut into Manhattan to eat supper and attend a performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet.

Or a few years before that when he flew in from Connecticut on my birthday, surprising me on my doorstep in Kansas... and proposing.

Do you know what one of the first gifts was that I gave to him in college?  A water pitcher with an attached filter.  See, the water in our college town is universally known as being kind of disgusting, so in my mind, I was giving him the gift of clean, delicious, refreshing water, right in his dorm.

I realize that even with that justification, a water pitcher doesn't hold a candle to a beloved book, the New York City Ballet, or a marriage proposal.

This year, I set out to break my streak of sub-par gifts.

See, Derek turned 30 last year, and I really didn't do anything special.  In my defense, I was still pretty overwhelmed from having Caedmon and the whole I-have-three-children-under-the-age-of-five thing.

I knew that I had to make up for it this year.  Although Derek's birthday isn't until next month, I surprised Derek this past weekend.

One of Derek's favorite bands is Jars of Clay.  He's been listening to them since they formed 17 years ago, and has seen them in concert a couple times before- but he's never actually met them.

That's Derek, me, and the four members of Jars of Clay.  And if you don't think this picture isn't going on our Christmas card, you don't know the Crislers.

Yup, we were fortunate enough to be part of a small audience (think around 30 people) that got to stand about two feet away from the band, requesting and listening to them play several of their songs, asking questions, talking to them, getting autographed CD's, and taking pictures with them.  They were very funny, very approachable, and very talented.  It was so great.

I still can't promise I won't be giving towels and measuring spoons as gifts.

Note:  I alone am not responsible for this weekend- that would be impossible.  I would like to thank Derek's parents (over and over and over again), who drove several hours to Kansas City to stay in a hotel with our children while we attended the concert.  Ben, the Visual Arts Leader at our church, also helped by switching things around to ensure that Derek did not have video ministry responsibilities Sunday morning.

Jars of Clay also played a smallish part, for which we are thankful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What I've Learned From Our Satellite Provider's Traditional Christmas Music Channel

1.  There's a reason Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Lena Horne, and Ella Fitzgerald are classic favorites:  They're the best.

2.  Listening to Julie Andrews is like having both Mary Poppins and Fräulein Maria singing Christmas music to me.  It's awesome.

3.  Hearing Handel's Messiah sung by Neil Diamond makes me want to take an ice pick to my ears.  (Where does Neil Diamond fit into "Traditional Christmas" music anyway?)

4.  Jo Stafford's "By The Fireside" is my new favorite song and new favorite singer.  I am obsessed.

7.  Margaret Whiting is another new-found favorite.

8.  While listening to "Baby It's Cold Outside" as sung by Dean Martin and Doris Day is enjoyable (as long as you don't pay too much attention to the lyrics), hearing it sung by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews makes me feel indecent and want to pick the bloody ice pick back up to have another go at my eardrums.

9.  Nat King Cole always has been and will forever be my favorite.

Note:   I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving and I'm already listening to Christmas music.  I made it all the way to November 10th before turning it on this year, and even that is a minor miracle.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jacque and Gus

I had vague thoughts about writing a post for today about the end of fall.

Then I opened my pantry and discovered mouse droppings.  This chased any change-of-season thoughts right out of my head.  Now that we've joined the hordes of people with mouse problems (and by hordes I mean my sister and a friend of mine), I feel compelled to write about these little unwanted guests (lucky you).

So far, I have yet to encounter a live mouse this year.  I've only seen evidence of their presence (the droppings, the corner of a hot cocoa packet gnawed through- and I swear that wasn't me).  I consider myself fortunate in this way, because two years ago the situation was very different.

Derek and I had begun to notice a foul odor about our house, especially downstairs.  We couldn't pinpoint the source of the smell, but it seemed to come from the area right around the fridge and pantry.  I scrubbed out the fridge, then decided that must have been the culprit; the smell seemed to be gone.  Two days later, the stench was worse than ever, but I had already cleaned out the fridge and emptied most of the pantry.  Finally, I moved a sack of potatoes on the bottom shelf in the pantry, and there it was:  A dead mouse.  But not just any dead mouse, oh no.  By some amazing and unfortunate coincidence, the corn syrup had tipped onto it's side, leaked out, and onto the deceased mouse.  So I couldn't just take 50 or so grocery sacks, pick it up, and throw it away that way; I instead had to scrape and chisel that thing off the laminate floor.  Normally I just save the disgusting chores for Derek, but I couldn't live with the thought of that thing decomposing all day while he was at work. It took forever, and the whole experience was exacerbated by the fact that I was pregnant with Caedmon, so my gag reflex was extra-sensitive.

Three-year-old Adelaide had to weigh in with her opinion on the matter.  As I was scraping and retching in the pantry, she voiced concerns over the poor dead mouse; after all, the mice on Cinderella were nice.  I informed my daughter that animated creatures that hand-make (paw-make?) clothing for you = good, while sticky, disease-infested rodents= bad, and I had yet to find any new dresses in my wardrobe.

We had one other mouse that winter, caught in a trap, and since then haven't had any problems- until yesterday.  Still, as long as I don't find anything dead coated in sugar, I'm not going to worry.

Now who wants to eat at our house for Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


"I don't think that's right, Mommy."

"Trust me, it's right."

"No, you're actually wrong."

"I'm actually right, Adelaide."

"I'm afraid you're mistaken.  I KNOW that you are wrong."

"Adelaide.  You have been on this earth for all of five years.  I've been here for nearly three decades.  I think I know what I'm talking about."

(sing-songy) "No, you don't."

At this point in our daily conversation/argument I start grinding my teeth and remind myself that I am the adult here.  I do not need to allow myself to get sucked into these pointless debates over where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born, the best way to sew a simple skirt, or if the carton contains butter or margarine.

This works for close to five seconds, then I get frustrated because I have yet again allowed myself to become distracted from our original plan of reading a book together or cooking supper.  I then remind Adelaide that it does not do well to focus on the minutiae of our lives; we should be concentrating on a much bigger goal.  Oh, and by the way, I'm still right.

At some point after these interactions, my words turn inward and I mentally wince for scolding Adelaide because she sometimes does what I do all the time:  Get hung up on the little things, to the point that I miss the big picture.  In my case, the catalyst is grammar.

First, let me say that I'm not bad about this in everyday conversation with other people.  If they misuse/mispronounce/make up a nonsensical word, my brain might stutter momentarily, but I am able to move on almost immediately.

The problem is more when I am listening to a teacher.  This was a problem at times in school (depending on the teacher), but as I am no longer a student, I now generally find it happening at church.

So here's where I get hung up.: The pastor (and we are blessed with three terrific ones at our church) is talking, teaching, things are going swimmingly, but then something happens.  Yesterday, he said the word, "Fictitional."  My mind didn't so much stumble as come to an abrupt and screeching halt.  It's no wonder, what with all the screaming going on in my head:  Fictitional?  FICTITIONAL?  That's not a word!  He must have meant 'fictitious.'  Right?  He did mean 'fictitious,' didn't he?  I mean, that's the only word that could appropriately fit the context here.  He must have meant 'fictitious.'

Now, while my head is reverberating with all these thoughts, the sermon has gone on.  I surface some ten seconds later, concentration broken, lost.

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me.

Did he just say "crisises"? The plural of 'crisis' is 'crises'!      

 Um, no.  Did he just pronounce that name "DOO-muss"?  Is he seriously talking about Alexandre Dumas, author of one of my very favorite books ever, and he pronounces it "DOO-muss"?  Say it with me people:  'Doo-MAH'!   It's freaking French!

Then I have the audacity to lecture Adelaide on the same transgression of which I am guilty:  hyper-focusing on things that honestly, don't really matter.  Who cares if the pastor can't pronounce the name of some long-dead French author (except for me, obviously).  Who cares if he can't convert singular nouns to plural?  Who cares if he completely makes up new words?  If anything, he should be getting points for creativity!

This is what I've started telling myself when my mind starts sprinting off on those unproductive grammar-Nazi tangents.

I almost believe it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Veterans Day

To honor Veterans Day, I'm going to offer a link and encourage you to check it out.

Every so often The Pioneer Woman does assignments on the Photography section of her website.  One of my favorites was called "Coming Home," and featured photos sent in from various photographers whose subjects were soldiers.

"Coming Home"

If you're anything like me, you're going to want to go ahead and grab a Kleenex before viewing these.  Or ten.

You know what?  Just go ahead and grab the whole box, and drag the trashcan over by you so you don't end up with a pile of snotty tissue next to you when you're done.

Kitchen Tip

We here at The Crislers love to save money.  I appreciate a good money-saving tip, and I came across one we have consistently used for about the past six months.

See those tall green spears in the Ball jar?  (Not the red pot- that contains aloe vera, which we chop off to slather on burns- another money saver!)

Those are green onions.  It turns out, after you buy a bunch at the grocery store and have chopped off all the green part of the onion, all you have to do is fill a jar with water, stick what's left in, and they re-grow like crazy.  I had these all cut down to the white part about six days ago, and nearly a week later, they've nearly grown back up to their original height.

I would recommend you change out the water every few days, and you'll need to trim the roots every couple weeks, lest they get all slimy and gross.

Unless you're a super-enthusiastic green onion lover, this may not save you a fortune, but every little bit helps, right?


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Toy Story

It snowed last night.  After Atticus finished romping in the scant two inches we received, he came inside, and I decided it was time to sort through our toy boxes.

In each of the two bedrooms belonging to our children, there is a toy box.  They are both filled to the brim with toys.  Every so often, I like to dig through them, throwing away Barbie legs and Q-tips, trying to find all the pieces to stuff back into Mrs. Potato Head, and generally sorting and organizing.

Usually, after about a half hour of this, I realize we have eight rubber duckies, two bajillion Barbie shoes, and my kids don't even play with half the crap in there.  I get frustrated and start making illogical proclamations at the top of my lungs like, "I will NEVER allow another new toy in this house!" and "THAT'S IT!  Say good-bye to your toys, children, they're all going to Goodwill tomorrow!"

Then my kids start crying and I feel bad for ten whole seconds, but remember that honestly, I make them cry almost every day by making them do outrageous things like bathe and wash their hands and help unload the dishwasher.

So what do we do?  I can count on one hand the number of toys we ourselves have bought for our children.  They don't even seem to be aware there's a toy aisle at Wal-mart.  Do we ask those pesky, loving relatives of ours to stop being so generous toward our offspring?  Haul away all their toys and make them hate us forever?

Well, in the past year, I have instituted a new system.  It's appears to be a popular one, especially amongst my fellow parents who don't have unlimited space in their house for toys or have entire wings of their homes devoted to playrooms.  About every six months or so, I pack up half the kids' toys, put them in a giant plastic container, and shove it in the closet.  When six months have gone by, I haul out the bin, switch the toys in the toy boxes for those in the container, and put it away again.

Our kids love toy-switching day.  It's like Christmas for them; there's lots of gasping and pleased exclamations over toys they had completely forgotten we own.  This seems to make up for me taking away the other half; they're so excited to get the hidden half out that they don't mind when I snatch beloved playthings out of their hot little hands.

This seems to be a solution that works for our family, and I've been enormously pleased with it.

But I still refuse to lift the stuffed animal ban.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dictionary Entry


i·ro·ny, noun:  refusing to put any of the drinking glasses we received as wedding gifts in the dishwasher, claiming they're too fragile; instead, coming to realize seven and a half years later that, due to extreme clumsiness and poor depth-perception, I have broken all but two of the large set we registered for while hand-washing them.

(See also:  shattered glass cake stand cover, glass pitcher, wine glasses, glass drink dispenser, etc, etc...)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

My mom and her two sisters are crafty.

By "crafty," I don't mean rubbing their hands together and cackling while plotting someone's demise (actually, I can totally see them doing that).  What I really mean is they enjoy making crafts.  They quilt, knit, crochet, sew, cross-stitch, and have no remaining fingerprints from years and years of wielding a hot glue gun (which is a plus when it comes to the other kind of craftiness).

They recently started a blog together, Confessions of Three Former 4-Hers.  They write about the various projects they're undertaking.  Between the three of them, I don't think they'll ever run out of material.

My two aunts live near Joplin, Missouri, which you may remember was hit by a devastating EF-5 tornado last spring.  A whole lot of people lost everything, including, of course, their homes... which is where the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition comes into the picture.

This television show (you know, the one who's host is Ty Pennington, who could be a  posterchild for ADHD?) recently came into Joplin and completed 7 Homes in 7 Days for an episode that will air sometime in January.  I've watched the show before, and seen all the volunteers hammering and sawing and moving furniture... but I never really gave much thought to all the sewing that would need to be done for a brand-new home with brand-new furnishings.  I guess I just assumed they bought all their pillows, curtains, etc, ready-made.

Apparently, I was wrong.

These two aunts of mine have recently donated a considerable amount of time and labor to this show and the homes they were creating.  They were part of a team of sewers who made everything from quilts and curtains to pillows and duvets.

Oh, and they've been blogging about it the whole time.

It's been really interesting to read about the other side of the show, more of a behind-the-scenes look at all that goes into the creation of these houses.

You can check it out, too, either by clicking on the link I provided above, or by going down to the bottom left corner of this page and clicking on Confessions of Three Former 4-Hers under Blogs We Read. If you scroll down on their blog, you can read the posts in order, starting with the post "Kay and Sherry's Incredible Adventure."

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Have You Ever Played This Game?

You know, the one where you see a super-close-up shot of an object, and you have to guess what it is?

Yes?  No?  Well, either way, that's what we're going to be playing today.  Get your game faces on!

Last week, I entered a little online contest.  I'm one of those people who never wins anything, unless it's one of those contests where everybody wins.  Because I've never really won anything, I keep entering, thinking that statistically speaking, it's going to happen one of these days:  I'm going to win.

Well, last week, I finally won something.

So yesterday morning, the boys and I came home from a friend's house, and this was waiting on our front porch.  My prize!  I squealed in delight, then heaved it inside.

Go ahead and make an early-stage guess.

How about now?

Any guesses?

I'll give you a hint:  It's red, and it's shiny, and it's beautiful.

I'm sure by now you've guessed what it is...

That's right:  A Kitchenaid Mixer!

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis is Confections of a Foodie Bride.  It's a blog that features delicious recipes and lovely food photography, and they also have giveaways every so often.  I entered the most recent one.  There were nearly 1300 entries.

And we WON!  

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Shawnda, the Foodie Bride!

Oh, and by the way, you should check out her...

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cupcakes

...just to name a few of the delicious creations that have come of her kitchen.

You can also always find her link down on the bottom left of this page under Blogs We Read.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Positives and Negatives

I love a good Positive and Negative list.  Here's one applied to our kids' Halloween costumes.


Costume:  Clown


  • It didn't take long to prepare: We used the make-up from last year's tiger costume, and spent about fifteen minutes applying it to her face.  
  • Inexpensive:  We already had the makeup, and she was able to wear regular, cold weather clothing trick-or-treating.
  • She loved all the colors.
  • The strength of her costume relied solely on her makeup, since she didn't wear actual clown clothing.  I'm going to go ahead and spin this into a positive, by pointing out that I don't think it's a negative thing to teach her to direct all attention to her face, especially when I see more and more young ladies treating Halloween as Dress-Up-As-A-Tramp Day (and by Tramp I do not mean the lovable Disney pooch from the wrong side of the tracks).
  • She couldn't wear it to school, because they weren't allowed to wear their costumes all day, they had to instead bring it with them to change into in the afternoon for their parade down Main Street.  Instead, she wore a little apron, matching chef's hat, carried her kids' cookbook and a small whisk, all of which we already owned.  To turn another negative into a positive (an annoying habit of mine), she actually got two costumes this Halloween, and two is better than one, right?
  • I tried to get her to let me paint her up as an Emmett Kelly-style hobo clown, but she wasn't having it.


Costume:  Chicken

  • He was so freaking cute.
  • It kept him really warm.
  • It slid right on over a onesie, and I got to hear Derek say things like, "Your mother did this to you, not me," as he put it on Spud.
  • We got to hear all kinds of other people coo and "Awww!" over him.
  • I got it for $3 at a garage sale.
  • We were told over and over that "She is just so cute in that chicken costume!"


Costume:  Fireman

  • It was easy: a raincoat and firefighter's hat.
  • It was inexpensive: the raincoat was mine in Kindergarten and Adelaide got the hat a couple weeks ago on a field trip to the Slater Fire Department.
  • It was warm.
  • It's the same costume he wore last year.  He was going to be something else, but I couldn't find this jacket of his that I needed to make it.  I'll probably find it tomorrow and be mad.
  • The hat was too small for his gigantic head and kept falling off.

Overall, the night was one great big Positive:  we had a great time, and the kids were really tired by the time we got home and went straight to bed.

I hope everyone else had a safe and happy Halloween.