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Friday, October 31, 2014

7QT: Selfies and candy and diets. Oh my!

It's Friday!  That must mean I'm going to pound out some Quick Takes.

Here we go.

1.  Sarah had a Girl Scout Halloween party on Monday evening.  She came home with a goody bag filled with candy.  She looked at me and said, "Ha!  Since you're on your diet and can't eat any candy I don't have to hide my Halloween candy from you this year!"  And she was grinning from ear to ear.

What she doesn't realize is that even though she used to hide it, I would always find it!  Ha to you Miss Smarty Pants!

2.  And speaking of my diet, it's been 10 weeks since I started Atkins and I've officially lost 10  pounds.  I'm averaging a pound a week.  That's slower than I would like but slow and steady wins the race.  Also, at a pound a week, I'm likely to keep it off. So, here's to not eating any candy this Halloween.  No worries though.  When I'm back to my goal weight in the spring, it will have all been worth it!

3.  Today the middle school is holding their annual Visual Vocabulary Day.  Each middle-schooler picks a word and dresses up like the word.  They sit in rows in costume holding a sign with their word and all the elementary kids walk around learning new vocabulary words.  Pretty cool, huh?  I'll have pictures next week of Peter and his word.

4. Sarah loves a good selfie.  I was just looking at my phone and saw these which are just a mere drop in the bucket.

5.  Once in a blue moon, I will find a selfie that Peter took.

Clearly, he has a preferred pose when he chooses to selfie.

6.  We will be going trick-or-treating tonight.  Sarah is 10 and Peter is almost 12 and I imagine they aren't going to want to go too many more years.  So, I'll take a lot of pictures and enjoy every minute of walking through the neighborhood while the kids race around from house to house getting candy.

7.  And this year both my kids are creepy things.  I miss the early days when I could pick out whatever I wanted them to be and dress them up.   Sarah and I worked on her zombie make up the other night and Peter is wearing some creepy masks.  I miss my tiny purple witch and my giraffe!

Happy Halloween!  I hope you get more treats than tricks and don't forget to head over to Jen's and see what everyone else is up to!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Carving the pumpkin. A picture review.

I bought our pumpkin three weeks ago and we finally got around to carving it on Sunday afternoon.  Here are a few pictures of us turning a plain old pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern.

He wanted to make the first cut.

But Daddy still does the work.  No bloody fingers for us, please!

Working on the top.

She wanted to remove the top.

The seeds are always so slimy!

Peter and Sarah are the seed removers!  Mommy is always the seed toaster!

The man in charge.

Sarah had the camera at this point.  I'm pretty sure he is yelling, "Stop it, Sarah!"  Just had to include this shot because this is a face I see frequently!  :)

Daddy always goes for a traditional jack-o-lantern face.

Peter took this picture of Sarah and our neighbor's cat.

Sarah took this picture along with about 50 other random shots - mostly of the neighbor's cat.

Monday, October 27, 2014

In which Sarah meets her idol and acts like it's no big deal.

Saturday was the big day!  Sarah was going to finally get to see Caleb Johnson perform.  She and I watched every episode of American Idol and voted our little hearts out.  So when we heard that he was going to be at the Lexington BBQ Festival, mere minutes from our home, I knew that I was going to have to forgo my disdain for large crowds (180,000 was the final estimate for Saturday) and take Sarah to see her favorite singer perform.

The day was gorgeous - bright sunshine filled the cloudless Carolina blue sky and kept things nice and warm. We left the house at 10:30 and headed to Childress Vineyards which was one of the shuttle locations.  After we parked, we paid our fare and hopped on one of the many trolleys they had running to the festival all day. After a quick 5 minute ride, the trolly dropped us off at one end of Main Street and our adventure began.

We had some time before Caleb Johnson was scheduled to appear on the Grand Stage at 12:15 so we stopped to let Peter ride a mechanical bull. 

We admired a street performer and then we let the kids take a look at what was billed as "The World's Largest Pig".  We stopped to see what time the pig races were but I decided not to wait.  I wanted to get to the stage so we kept moving There were 100s of vendors selling their wares but we weren't there for that either so we continued toward the general direction of the main stage.

We made our way to a BBQ tent and the kids had sandwiches, fries and Pepsi (born in the Carolinas, you know). We ate our sandwiches within view of the Grand Stage and listened as the Chairmen of the Board finished their set.

After they walked off the stage, the MC announced that Caleb Johnson would be performing in 30 minutes so we tossed our trash and headed in the gates.  We were able to get a great spot in the very front to the right of the stage.

We hung out there for 30 minutes.  The time flew by and we were even able to get a quick glimpse of Caleb "back stage" or "back street" as it were.

At 12:15 on the nose, he came out.  Sarah was very calm and collect through the whole hour and 10 minute show.  She never screamed or cheered.  She occasionally clapped but never showed her excitement.

She downloaded his album from iTunes the day it was released so she knew all of his songs but never once sung a long.  He performed some covers that he had performed on American Idol and even as the crowd was going crazy, she remained calm.

There were a couple  of girls who were probably a year or two older than her standing next to her and she later told me she didn't want to scream or cheer because the girls next to her might hear her and "that would be embarrassing".  (I've got a lot to teach that girl about how to act at a concert!)

After the show, the crowd began to leave the gated area and we could hear them announcing that Caleb was going to be signing autographs at his souveneir tent.  Earlier last week, Sarah had asked me if there was going to be am meet and greet before the show and if so, were we going.

I had to laugh at that.  Meet and greet?!  Ha!  Didn't she realize how lucky she was that she was even going to the show.  And no, I didn't think there was going to be a meet and greet and even if there was, we would not be going. 

Once she heard he was signing autographs, I knew there was no turning back.  We gently pushed through the  crowds toward the souvenir tent.  Luckily, when they made that announcement we were fairly close to the tent. 

There were no lines at the souvenir tent, just a bunch of people shoving things toward Caleb to autograph.  As we were patiently waiting our turn and scrounging through my bag for something to autograph, I realized that if we bought something, we would get through the "line" faster and we would have a better chance getting close enough for a picture with him.

After about only 10 minutes of the chaos (Which really was quite controlled even though there were no lines The fact that there was a policeman standing right behind Caleb probably helped.) I realized that the people in front of us weren't buying anything so I held up my money and the woman selling tee shirts, posters and CDs asked what I wanted.  I placed my order for a shirt and poster and she laid it beside Caleb to sign.  I paid and we moved up right in front of Caleb.

He smiled down at Sarah, said hello and asked how she was doing.  She smiled shyly and said "hello" and "fine" back.  Then he posed for a picture with her, we thanked him and got the heck out of the way. 

I can honestly say that I was more excited than Sarah.  She acted so nonchalant about the whole thing - as if, well of course I just met my idol and favorite singer of all time, because isn't that how its supposed to be?

As we walked away, she said, "Thank for taking me to see Caleb Johnson, Mom.  Is it time to go to Gabby's house for my sleepover yet?" 

And it was, except that I had to stop for some fried pickles, because, I love me some fried pickles -  almost as much as Sarah loves Caleb Johnson.  Although I probably acted more excited about the pickles than she did about meeting Caleb. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

WIWS: The it's swealtering so let's be sure to put on a sweater edition. (Should have saved this one for a colder day!)

It's time for another edition of What I Wore Sunday.  (I hope the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple haven't stopped doing the link up.  They didn't have a link up last week and there isn't one up yet this week either but I'm forging ahead and doing it anyway!  I'm such a rebel.)

I thought I'd give you a break from all the scarves and wow you with a sweater!  But don't wory - I had a 30% coupon from Kohls and $10 Kohls cash so I got a few new ones that I'm sure I'll be sharing with you soon enough. 

I was roasting in this sweater today at church.  It's in the mid 70s here so a tee shirt and flip flops would have felt better but this looks much more appropriate, don't you think?

Shirt: Kohls, Chaps
Sweater: Kohls, Vera Wang
Pants: Kohls, Sonoma
Shoes: Kohls
Jewelry: Kohls (although you can't really see the necklace in this picture.  It was a long strand with silver balls spaced along the strand.)

There's a funny man in every crowd!  Have a great week folks!

Friday, October 24, 2014

7QT: A whole lot of nothing!

Joining Jen for another exciting edition of Seven Quick Takes!

1.  Tomorrow is the big day!  We will be heading to the Lexington BBQ Festival to see Caleb Johnson.  The weather is supposed to be sunny and in the low 70s so I imagine the crowds will be huge.  They estimate around 100,000 people.  I'm excited to see how excited Sarah is going to be seeing Caleb Johnson, but I'm not excited about fighting the crowds.  I'm a teeny bit claustrophobic so big crowds and I don't mix. 

2.  Still not sure about getting Rosetta Stone for Peter.  He is  using the app he downloaded last week.  (The app he is using is Duolingo which is what several of you recommended.)  A couple of the boys in his class have downloaded it as well and Peter said they are practicing together.  Perhaps I better start socking away some money for that trip to Italy!

3.  Basketball is in full swing.  Peter and Sarah each have two two hour practices a week.  On Mondays, Sarah has practice from 3 - 5.  So I pick Peter up from school and bring him home.  He gets started on his homework.  I head back to the school to pick Sarah up at 5.  On Tuesdays, Peter has practice from 4:30 - 6:30.  I pick Sarah up at 3:00 but leave Peter in after school care where gets his homework done.  It's cheaper to do that than to bring him home at 3 and then turn right back around and take him back to school.  Then Dan picks him up at 6:30 on his way home from work.  On Thursday, Sarah has practice from 4:30-6:30.  I pick Peter up at 3.  She stays in after school care and does her homework and Dan brings her home at 6:30 on his way home from work.  On Fridays, Peter has practice from 3 - 5 so I pick Sarah up and bring her home and then go back and get Peter at 5:00. 

And it is at this point that I am really glad I made the decision to cut music lessons.  Any regrets I had earlier have been erased.  Our top priority is getting their homework done and they have a lot of homework each night. Extracurriculars are second. Something had to go and that was music.  Still a little bittersweet, but their homework and my sanity are key!

Check back with me on my sanity when we start adding games into the mix. 

4. Peter is finally using his deodorant every day without me telling him.  He's had the same deodorant since he started using it over a year and a half ago and has finally finished it.  I gave him a new one and told him to toss the old container.  He said he wanted to keep it so that he would always remember his first deodorant.  I fear I'm raising a hoarder.  Yes, I made him toss it. Yes, he was a little sad.  Yes, he gets his hoarding tendencies from his father.  Yes, I love them both anyway. 

5.  My weight loss has stalled but I'm trying not to let that get me down.  I'm just going to keep on with the plan and remember my mottoes:  "One pound at a time." and "Nine months on, 12 months off."

6.  Our peppers have finally come in and I did a bunch of canning this week! 

Jalapenos, banana peppers, green peppers, cow horns, anchos!!! 

7.  I keep hearing an annoying chirping sound.  One of the smoke detector batteries must be out. Now to start the search to figure out which one and get it changed.  I'm thankful though that it's chirping now and not when it normally does at 2:00 AM!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween themed bowling pins for your crafty pleasure.

Our school is having a Halloween Hullabaloo this Friday.  All the classrooms will have activities set up for the kids and there will be trick-or-treating and lots of fun.  My kids are excited but all of this means I have been working!

I'm grade parent for Sarah's class and we were assigned pumpkin bowling.  My BFF had a great idea for Halloween themed bowling pins on her blog a long time ago and I used these for inspiration.  However, I wanted the class to be able to use these pins next year, so I decided to make them from 1x4s.  I found a great idea on Babble and went from there.

It took me quite a while to make these because I made two sets (we are going to do bowling with bumpers for the younger kids and no bumpers for the older ones) and because I am  not crafty at all. 

While they don't look as professional as the ones on Babble, I think they turned out great! (And a hat tip to my brother, Brad for cutting the 1x4 for me and a big ole thanks to Dan for sanding them. I love men with power tools!)

And here they are up close and in person:

Isn't he the cutest Frankenstein ever?

The ghost was the easiest to make!

The jack-o-lantern was pretty easy too!

I was originally going to make a purple faced dracula but had a really hard time getting the face to look right.  So I scraped that idea and glued a bunch of wiggly eyes on the board and called it "Monster in the Night".  Genius, no?

I used duct tape to make the mummy's bandages.

This witch is probably my least favorite of all.  When Dan came home and looked at my work he told me it didn't look right.  So, I added a buckle to the hat and a wart.  (Notice in the top picture those weren't added yet.)  It looks a little better but I think the proportions are off.  Oh, well.  I'm not changing it! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Five Favorites. Keeping me organized.

It has been a year (a whole year!) since I did a Five Favorites post so I thought it was about time to share some of my favorite things with you. 

I'm not a super organized person but I do have a few things in the organization department that make me smile every time I see them neatly doing their job.  And here they are:

Fave #1:  My jewelry hangers.  Earrings, bracelets, and necklaces are all hanging neatly in my closet.  I love how handy everything is and how it's all right there together.  Having those big bulky necklaces make it hard to use a normal jewelry box but these hangers do the trick.

Fave #2:  My junk drawer organizer. I have several junk drawers in the kitchen but I recently purchased these cool dividers from Bed Bath and Beyond and now whenever I open this drawer, everything I need is right at my fingertips in it's own compartment. 

Fave #3:  My scarf hanger.  I had been throwing all my scarves on a coat hanger but every time I would try to pull one off, all the others would come off with it.  This hanger has holes for each scarf.  And notice those empty holes?  I think I need to fill them up!

Fave #4: My spice rack. I've had this spice rack for a couple of years now and I love it. It holds over 36 spices.  It's labeled and each shelf pulls out and down so you can grab what you need. 

Fave #5:  My recipe binder.  Several years ago, I put all of my frequently used recipes in a binder that I have broken down into categories: beef, pork, chicken, side dish, dessert, appetizers.  Every Sunday when I'm making the grocery list and weekly menu, I pull this thing out. 

And that's what I'm digging these days.  For more Five Faves, head over to Jenna's!