Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The WORST Day Before Halloween I've Ever Had....

Today is the day before Halloween. And every year on this day, I think back on a time that goes down in history as THE CRAPPIEST day before Halloween. I still cringe when I think about it. It was one of those days I wish I just hadn't woken up because it got screwed up so badly! I shoulda, coulda, woulda, been better off hiding in my bed.  If only I'd known. I had 3 little monsters, and their sweet and very tolerant older sister. And It was the day before Halloween.

 All the freaking costumes were done, dinner was finished, I was more than exhausted but pushing myself on fumes (you KNOW what I'm talking about), and I was holding a board meeting down the street at a friend's house. I was the Stake Primary President at church and we had the children's choir singing at Stake Conference soon. And as if THAT wasn't enough I was directing said choir AND we had to do a stake primary (back in the day they did that, and yes, it was insane then) and were planning for more than 100 little kids. It was that kind of day.
Busy church activities sometimes took over my life...sometimes.
I knew I would only be gone a little over an hour and my husband was on his way home from work. I had called him and he had assured me he would be home by 7:00. My hubs is a happy go lucky guy, but he didn't always keep a great calendar. It was before the days of cell phones and he traveled a lot. But this particular night I had told him about my meeting and I knew he'd be home to cover me.  So I left my 11 year old daughter Tiff in charge of the 3 other kids aged 2 to 8. But I  forgot, (excellent mom that I am) to give her the phone number. I left the kids playing with play dough and Oreos and took off.
Me on a much better day...
I remember SO looking forward to getting out of the house. I thought being a mom of young kids was and is still the hardest, most demanding, most underappreciated, and frustrating job on the planet. I admit that I did not always enjoy it. My toilets did NOT sing my praises. My children were never neat as a pin with shining faces and all put together. I was lucky if their socks matched and they brushed their teeth in the morning, not to mention getting them all to school on time WITH their homework done!
Halloween brings back some fun memories...and some not so fun. 

I remember being so lonely for adult company that some days I would just attack my hubs at the door when he came home from work. I'd follow him around the house like a duck asking him who he talked to that day, where he went out to lunch, who with, and what did they talk about. I would just whine, "Talk to ME!" I just wanted adult conversation after a day cooped up at home with a terrible two year old, a preschooler and most of the boys in the neighborhood constantly camped out at my house.
Now I get to play with Little Bees and Ladybugs! Lucky me! 
And with 3 rowdy boys, some days I'd meet him at the door to weep and wail about the constant fighting between my 4 and 8 year old. One was the merciless teaser, the other one was a noisy screecher. He had a piercing owl screech you could hear from anywhere in the house. As a 28 year old adult he still makes funny loud mouth noises. And he was a clicker-tapper. Do other moms get deranged with the clicking tapping sounds that make you want to blow a gasket? Maybe it's just me. Don't get me started on that, though, Back to my story.
And I just love this cute little Snow White. Who wouldn't?  
Well, About an hour after I'd gone to my board meeting, I got a call from a neighbor down the street. She said the words no mom wants to hear, "Pattie, I don't want to alarm you, but you'd better get home RIGHT THIS MINUTE!" And she didn't tell me why. I jumped in the car and tore home (about 2 blocks) like a crazy person. As I turned the  corner of my street I'll never forget the scene. My eyes  met with  police cars, paramedics, and the fire department all in my driveway with lights flashing....and no cars of ours (or adults for that matter) to be seen.
The hubs and I...he always made the hard things easier for me....we were in it together!
And just about every neighbor in my entire neighborhood standing out on their front lawns wondering where in the heck the parents were, and what terrible disaster had struck inside the house while those no-good parents were gone who knows where!
Yeah, it was a memory I will never forget....all those flashing lights on my front lawn...UGH! 
When I got there I ran inside my house imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios, with my heart in my stomach, praying all was well. My front door was open and there were several police and firemen inside. The first person I saw, thankfully, was a fireman that goes to my church and I asked him what had happened. It is comical now, but at the time, not so much.  My 4 year old had put some of the playdough in his ear and the kids had tried all sorts of things to get it out. When they couldn't the screecher had started wailing, they got worried and decided to just call 911 and ask the nice lady there  how to get playdough out of somebody's ears. Funny right?

Yeah. A real emergency, play dough in the ears. I couldn't even believe it!  I learned later that my 11 year old daughter had told the police, "My mom is at a church meeting." So the nice officer had taken her in his squad car down to my church and paraded around asking where I was.  (Yeah. I know! It just gets worse and worse).   Not only was my reputation completely shot in my neighborhood, but now I was toast at church too! It was Complete humiliation!  It was a really bad night for a mom, I remember it well. And it wasn't funny. Nope.

Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat! 

The funny part comes later when all the hoopla had left my house. I had pulled all the curtains. The kids had gone to bed.  I was sitting in the dark crying the ugly cry with a whole box of tissues used up all around me in a weepy circle. When who shows up but my happy go lucky hubs, all smiley and chipper. I seriously wanted to clock him!  He'd forgotten HE ALSO had a church meeting. He was a high counselor at church and also had a 7:00 pm meeting he'd forgotten AND neglected to tell me about. So he simply went straight to his meeting thinking the kids would all be OK for an hour. So we BOTH blew it!

The very next day was Halloween. Yeah. I remember trick or treating through my neighborhood THAT year. (sounds of sniffling...)
At Halloween last year with my 3 granddaughters....MUCH more fun! 

So I guess, time + crisis = humor, as they say. I can laugh about it now, it's actually hysterical! But 24 years have passed so...it's about time I got over it. I should have gone to therapy.  But every year, on the day before Halloween, I remember it, kind of like a zombie apocalypse bad dream. And it makes me chuckle just a little bit.

One of my favorite little monsters....kiss kiss 
Nowadays  I watch my own kids who all have their own "little monsters" to make messes, squeal like pigs, play with playdough, and hopefully not push it up into some orifice where it doesn't belong. And at the end of the day my cute grandkids crawl up into my lap and give me a big, wet kiss with their sticky faces, and a warm chubby cuddle, and I say, " It's the hardest time of your life....but it's soooo worth it."

The screamer-playdough pusher, the teaser, and the 911 caller, not in any particular order.....
I get to play with pirates,  bumblebees,  Minny Mouse and Snow White now, and memories of all the fun stuff rises up to the surface. And surprisingly, the worst days, the embarrasing things we endured,  and the daily crises and drudgery fade into a distant memory.

Tomorrow night I look forward to passing out the trick or treats to all those little devils who will knock on my door. Maybe I'll send them all home with little packs of Playdough? (snicker...) Have a Happy Halloween! Enjoy those little monsters!

Cute Little Devil......

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Decorating

I got some fun new stuff for my house for my favorite holiday...Halloween! 

And I spread it all over the place decorating for Halloween!  Here is my front entry table... Trick or Treat! 

The skeleton dish and candle are new, and the glass Happy Halloween plate are new too... I love this purple and black decor! 
And who can resist Helga the Witch? She keeps the candy safe till Halloween....(well not really since I am a candy freak I swipe what I can get! nothing is safe around me.....) 
Witch Helga is relegated to the corner of my living room for now! 
In my classroom we made these cool skeletons and candy corn art with tissue paper. Tutorial is HERE for the Skeleton.

Here are my 3 little pumpkins last year at Gardner Village Witch Scavenger Hunt.

Dried apple witch head dolls are an easy and fun crafty decoration for any room in the house. But mostly little kids love them. Check them out with a tutorial I made HERE.

I LOVE this cute candy corn decoration made from yarn and an inverted snow cone paper cone. You could also make it with just cardstock twirled into a cone shape. I love it with the wiggly eyes and mouth! This was from Craft Passion.
My daughter did a simple table decoration with candy corn. She placed a long, thin, glass inside the canister then filled the outside edges with candy corn. 
Then she added these cute pumpkin chair backs for Halloween decor.....
Here is my table decor. I got black plates last year.  The centerpiece was a birthday present from my daughter...she has good taste. Thanks Tiffany! 
I think I'll take this Halloween centerpiece to school so my little second graders can enjoy it!  
Cute salt and pepper shakers from Pier 1 Imports....I love them so much! 
Well the kitchen is done....now on to the other rooms....Halloween Decorating is so much fun!  
I got a set of these glass orange beads, glass black bats and glass white ghosts to sprinkle around my Halloween Table Decor....isn't it sweet?  That was Pier 1 again.  This would be a fun fall gift I think too. Everybody who sees them thinks they are so cute!  I think so too! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Why Fall is My Favorite Season

I have always loved this time of year. FALL IS THE BEST SEASON OF ALL!  I love the holidays, the scenery, the weather, and the traditions I keep with my family, and for all sorts of other reasons. Here are just a few of them. My TOP 10 REASONS why the Fall Season is the BEST
1. I LOVE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!  I am a teacher and I just love all the excitement of kids and parents planning for a new school year. Everybody gets new clothes and backpacks and lunch pails (who doesn't remember their first Barbie or Hot Wheels Lunch Pail?), a new haircut and shoes, and we get to meet our students for the year and decorate up our classrooms. It is a lot of fun for a teacher to do Back to School.

Back to School Buses with some of our school rules....
 We haven't seen our teacher friends for a few months and it's fun to reconnect again. I laugh at the Staples commercial where moms and dads are skipping happily through the store with carts full of school supplies while the kids trudge unhappily behind them while they are singing "It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!". I concur. :D

Balloon Festival at the park down the street from us...her's the hubs taking pics

2.HARVEST FESTIVALS!  I love the harvest time. Up here in Utah at the end of summer there are lots and lots of festivals celebrating the harvest. We have Peach Days, Onion Days, Scarecrow Festival, Lavender Days, Raspberry Days at our Bear Lake cabin and many others. Each  and every festival is unique and lots of fun. Some of them people dress up for too like Swiss Days in Heber and the Witch Scavenger Hunt at Gardner Village.  I love to go to a pumpkin patch or pick cherries or apples from an orchard with family members too. I like to then go make things out of my fruit like cherry crisp or fresh peach pies.  I enjoy going to a pumpkin patch too. Do you have to be a little kid to enjoy it? Nope. You can just smile at little kids enjoying it. :D
Raspberry Days at Bear Lake where we have a cabin. It's a blast.

Here are my cute little granddaughters at one of the festival picture booths.
Fall Festivals are so much fun in Utah.  I love them!!

 I love the fall scarecrow festival and the witch scavenger hunt at Gardner Village.
And who doesn't love getting a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch? We love it! 
3.MY BIRTHDAY is in October. Well you can't blame me for liking my birthday. You have to go on an adventure as you get older and have some kind of new experience. That much I have learned. Because as you get older your birthdays start to suck. So you have to change it up. Try something scary or new. Go experience a concert, a new sport, go see a wonder of the world. My brother and my nephew and I all share a birthday. So it's fun to message each other and remember birthdays past that we've done together. It's fun to get 100 likes on Facebook for your birthday too and get new things you buy yourself for a present (like my cool, new laptop I'm writing on right now). Spoil yourself on your birthday no matter what season it happens on. I try to also give presents or a party to somebody else near my birthday so I don't feel like it's a sucky day. It makes it lots more fun to give than to get.
The Band Perry Concert
Hiking Dog Lake 
The hubs and I at Mary's Lake above Brighton Ski Resort. 
Grandpa's 87th Birthday Party at my house in September.
Hanging out with some of the grandkids 
Singing Happy Birthday with about 30 of the family gathered. Family is so fun. 
Here he is with one of his youngest great-grandsons, my only grandson, Dylan. 

4. HALLOWEEN PARTIES AND DECORATIONS! I just love seeing black and orange and purple and lime green decorations all over the stores right now. I love a cute witch or frankie and I love to see Jack o lanterns decorated in all sorts of ways. My favorite time to decorate my house is Halloween time. I have almost more decorations for Halloween than I do for Christmas! EEK! I know, it is an illness. 
Drink station at a Halloween Decorated Dinner Party I had recently. 
Entry table all in orange and black. 
I love me a good Halloween Party. Add some dry ice and bobbing for apples and a pumpking carving contest and a bunch of weirdos in costume and you can't help but have fun. And add some little smokies pigs-in-a-blanket that look like mummies and some green jello and some kind of meat on a stick  and you've got it made! 
My favorite holiday and some of my favorite decorations are at Halloween time. 
Getting ready for trick or treaters. 
Fun treats for the kids made from rice crispie treats.
 One of my cute costumes I wore to school on Halloween one year. I love it!
 Check them all out HERE. These Halloween Cupcakes were fun to make!
Making Halloween treats is one of my specialties! I loved these cupcakes and skeleton brownies! 
Ladybug Lady.

And my grandkids coming over in costume to trick or treat grandma is one of the best traditions there ever was. I love those little witches and pirates. And I always plan something fun to give them like trick or treat baskets, stuffed animals, glow in the dark toys or some rice crispie treats on a stick or candy house
Halloween Party in my classroom with my grandkids and I as ladybugs and bees. 
Trick or Treat! My first Granddaughter Marisa. 
5. THANKSGIVING FUN! I love having people over for turkey dinner and eating till I'm stuffed with all of my favorite foods. And everybody is always so happy on Thanksgiving. There are no expectations like there are at Christmas. It's just a fun holiday to get together.We play games, decorate gingerbread cookie houses and we pin the feather on the turkey. And we always go to the movies in the evening after everybody has gone home happy.
Entry tables and coffee tables are so pretty in the fall! I love the rustic colors. 
  I always have lots of fun pulling out the Thanksgiving Plastic Bins and getting reaquainted with all of my cool Fall decor again. I love the fall colors, the fake leaves, glass pumpkins, and scarecrows!
I love pretty placemats for every season and scented candles and silk flowers too.
We played pin the hat on the turkey....the girls and Devin loved it! (My 28 year old son is just a big kid, didn't you know?)
My cooking blog Weekday Chef shows some of my time wasting I like to do in the fall... check it out for Scarecrow Cupcakes and other ideas for Thanksgiving parties. 
I love Thanksgiving almost as much as Halloween Decor. 

 Here's the family and lots of Autumn decor on an end table in my great room. Every year it looks a little bit different. It's fun to decorate for each season of the year.
Fall picture wall....I change out the flowers and ribbon color and usually put a new swag of beads along the wrought iron picture holder.
Thanksgiving table decor 

Kitchen counters.....

I have lots of end tables I decorate for each season.....I get carried away....
Pilgrims and Indians....
Thanksgiving decorating
Thanksgiving Fun

6. HIKES IN UTAH MOUNTAINS in early October. It's not too hot, not too chilly, and the autumn colors on the mountains are just awe inspiring! I love the mix of orange, yellow, green and red. And the animals are all about too. Just yesterday I saw a young family of deer walk across the street as I was driving home from school. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough! 5 little deer will just make your day, believe me!
Hiking Minnetonka Caves in Idaho with my sis. 
Hiking around Sundance Ski Resort in Utah. We didn't see Robert Redford though...sigh....
Bridal Veil Falls hike on October day with the grandkids.....

Just above ALTA Ski Resort look what we saw hiking....it doesn't get any better than this! 

Hiking in October is really the very best weather.....
We are surrounded by a dozen lakes and reservoirs to hike around-- this was Bell Canyon Reservoir in October. 
7. I LOVE THE FALL SPORTS!  I love watching the World series in Baseball, and the start of Sunday Night Football. It is fun for my hubs and me, and for the guys in the family to get together and talk about our favorite teams while eating great football snacks
Fun Football Snacks
Football starts in the fall....Sunday Night Football is fun to look forward to! 
I make the hubs Football Pancakes on Football Sunday Mornings just for fun. 

Lots of the kids do fantasy teams and that adds to the fun. I love watching my little grandkids playing sports too. Have you ever watched 4 year olds playing sports? It's a HOOT.
Love the football snacks too. 
HERE you can check out how to tmake these soft pretzels for Monday Night Football!
 Or some football cookies or Pigs in a Blanket!
.And who doesn't love a good, rough, hockey game in person? I love to go see the Utah Grizzlies and watch the clown shoot hot dogs up in the stands and stand up to dance to YMCA. And have you ever done "Chuck a Puck"? Well you haven't lived then. It's a fun sport, hockey is. My son Danny loved it and we loved watching him play and end up in the penalty box. It makes me smile thinking about it. We've got tickets for November already! 
Football snacks are fun to make and yummy to eat. 
 We make little individual pizzas in these cast iron pans They turn out like Pizza Hut deep dish pizzas.Gotta love football snacks! And I LOVE pigs in a blanket!
Football Snack Pizzas

8. FAMILY QUAD RIDING  at our Cabin in the mountains during the Fall season too. It is one of the most fun family outings a family can have. We take the little ones and put them on the back of the 4 wheelers in their own little helmets and go tour the national forests around our cabin. The weather is nice and crisp and breathing fresh air when you are doing something physical and beautiful at the same time is a rush. I love it!
Fall Family photos and quad riding....
The beauty of nature on display.....
Some of the most fun times we've had are riding the quads as a family up in the mountains above Bear Lake.
I'm always at the end of the pack...lol....

  I love coming in half warm half cold to get by the fire and drink some hot chocolate and grab some BBQ chips after riding quads or hiking out in the mountains of Utah. It's just so neat. My hubs is a biker and he loves that too. I love watching the pelaton of bike racers whizzing around a curve at the mountain bike races they have right near our cabin too. But I just take the pictures. I don't bike.
I love quad riding out in nature. 
9. MY GARDEN  looks good but it's not as much work as summer gardens are.  I've done all the back breaking weeding and hoeing and mulching all summer and everything has slowed down but everything still looks good. It hasn't all died yet but the workload has shrunk down to nothing but the occasional odd weed or watering. Mostly it is just beautiful and colorful with fall orange and red foliage, a harvest of green, yellow squash and orange pumpkins and red apples from the trees and vines and lovely fall mums and shrubs in shades of orange, yellow and burgundy.
Fall gardening...when the deer don't eat the lilies I am a happy camper. 

It just makes me happy. Every year I put down a new door mat in fall colors for my front door and add a beautiful fall wreath with some Hobby Lobby Doo Dads of some sort.
My pond and my flowers are just starting to slow down, but things still look pretty good in Autumn. 
It is just inviting to walk up my front path in the fall seeing the green pine trees, the aspens and the fall leaves changing colors on our other trees and shrubs. Fall is the best season for beauty in nature, I think.
I have 4 fruit trees and lots of veggie gardens......and 2 ponds. 

Some of the fruits of my labor.....
10. FALL FASHIONS  I love when all the new fall sweaters and scarves can come out and I can cover up with some of my favorite boots and overshirts and sweaters and scarves. I love the new fall looks in magazines and trying new fall colors of jewelry and nail polish. It all feels new like a new school year.

Even though I love Christmas in the winter and Easter in the Spring, and a good, long, summer vacation, I've always loved fall the best. I remember skating down my street, my cheeks flushed and pink, panting and happy with my new, red, birthday skates, loving the weather and being outdoors. And here I am 50 years later and I still feel exactly the same way. FALL ROCKS!


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