Halloween Costumewatch 2012: Evil Jester (part 2)

Finally, Jammy consented to have his photo taken! I've been bugging him for weeks to try it on and pose in it, but he resisted until this morning's school Halloween parade.  Better late than never!

Halloween Costumewatch 2012: The Nerd

The days when I could influence The Pea on her choice of Halloween costume are long gone.  All I can do is veto anything inappropriate, cross my fingers, hope for best, and indulge my mama-bear instincts by costuming her American Girl dolls.

What's for lunch this week?

California rolls, strawberries, cucumbers, olives, ghost donut

A few days ago one of the school lunch moms came up to me and said, "Your boys always have the nicest lunches!  Everyone loves looking at them, and your boys eat up every last bit!".  Wow, you'd think I had won the lunch Oscars or something.  I've been feeling good about making well-balanced, visually appealing,  low-cost lunches, but having someone actually notice (other than myself, of course) really put a smile on my face and inspired me to keep going.  I'm such a sucker for a compliment!

Halloween Costumewatch 2012: Evil Jester (part 1)

Now that 3Po and Jammy have passed the superhero/ Star Wars stage, all they want to be for Halloween is something scary and gruesome.  Skeleton.  Grim Reaper.  Zombie Rock Star.  Swamp Creature.  And this year, Evil Jester.  Who would even think up of such a costume? But as soon as they saw it, they wanted it.

Halloween Costumewatch 2012: Red Riding Hood's Granny

Last Halloween I received a set of werewolf gloves and headpiece to review, and although we all loved the costume, none of us ended up wearing it for Halloween.  This year I decided to use it so I wouldn't have to buy or sew anything.  At first I thought of wearing it with jeans and a red plaid shirt -- the classic werewolf getup -- but it was just too Meh.  Besides, I like to dress up as female characters.  I don't know where the inspiration came to dress up as the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, but I'm glad it came, because I can already tell that this is going to be one of my best Halloween costumes ever.

Halloween Costumewatch 2012: The Mad Hatter

When you hear the phrase Decision 2012, what do you think of?  Forget politics, it's all about what to wear on Halloween night!  October 31 is just 1 week away, so all this week I'll be featuring each person in our family and what they'll be wearing when we go trick-or-treating.

31 Days of Pink: Week 3

Once again, I'm accompanying my pink clothing from last week with a memory of someone I know who has been affected by breast cancer -- because instead of blathering on about the pink stuff I wore last week, I'd rather talk (and you'd probably rather read) about the people I wear pink for.

What's for lunch this week?

Bagel with ham and cheese, cherry tomatoes, assorted flavor graham bunnies

I've been feeling pretty inspired about making lunch these days.  I know I'll be posting photos of what I'm making, so I've definitely been putting more thought into the visual presentation -- the mix of colors (you know what they say, eat your colors!), shapes, even textures. I'm not saying I'm ever going to come close to the beautiful bento boxes I'm constantly pinning on Pinterest, but I can safely say that sliced bread is NOT the norm around here.  I even got around to cutting out a jack-o-lantern face on a slice of Colby Jack to celebrate Halloween!

How to make a Doll's Halloween Treat Bag from Duct Tape

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on how to make a Halloween treat bag from duct tape.  It was so easy and so much fun that I decided to make a matching bag for The Pea's American Girl dolls.  This miniature version looks just like its full-sized counterpart, and it's even easier to make.  Here's how:

How to make a Halloween candy corn tutu for your American Girl doll

Last weekend we attended the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, and we spent a pleasant day gawking at the beautifully carved pumpkins, collecting free samples of granola bars and bread,  pigging out on pumpkin ice cream, and wandering through the arts and crafts booths.  One of the booths happened to sells little girls' tutus of all kinds.  I miss The Pea being young enough to wear a tutu!

The tutus on display were adorable -- and when I looked closely, I realized how easy they were to make.  Since I can't make one for The Pea anymore, I decided to make one for her American Girl doll.  Yes, I'm destined to become the crazy old lady who plays with dolls.  If you're like me, keep reading to find out how to make the tutu....

Linky Love: great BCA posts

Breast Cancer Awareness gets an unbelievable amount of publicity in October.  Supermarket shelves are overflowing with pink products, Facebook and Twitter are awash with pink memes and updates, and the blogosphere is full of pink posts (including my own!).  With so many bloggers dedicated to the cause, which posts are worth reading?  Here are 7 that I found which offer useful advice and concrete ways to help the cause:

From Toddler Planet: In the name of awareness
From Toddler Planet: Turning awareness to action
From Cool Mom Picks: 7 Smart Tips for Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Right Way
From SkinnyScoop: The Best Breast Cancer Non-Profits
From Health.com: Where the Money Goes: A Breast Cancer Donation Guide
From Think Before You Pink: Critical Questions to Ask Before You Buy Pink
From ecouterre: 10 Ridiculous Pinkwashed Products That May Actually Cause Breast Cancer

Okay, that last link on my list is probably more sensationalist -- at least the title is.  But it's definitely an article that reminds us to think carefully before we jump on the pinkwashing bandwagon.  That's the key word -- Think.  Oh, and Act.

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31 Days of Pink: Week 2

I've decided to dedicate the rest of my weekly Pink Recap posts in October to featuring someone I know who has had breast cancer. Instead of blathering on about the pink stuff I wore last week, I'd rather talk (and you'd probably rather read) about the people I wear pink for.

What's for lunch this week?

I know what you're thinking: your kids will actually eat a green salad for lunch?  Well, yes they will, actually, but the truth is that this wasn't their lunch, it was Alfie's.  A couple of weeks ago the kids had a day off from school for Yom Kippur, but Alfie didn't get the day off so I packed him a lunch.  And I packed him a sandwich to go with the salad because it's not much food, and he's be starving by 3PM otherwise.  By the way, that sludgy-looking goo beside the clementine orange is a lot yummier than it looks -- it's leftover pear crumble.

Here are 4 more lunches for the week.  Hopefully they'll inspire you to keep making and taking your own lunches as well!

How to make cute pretzel pumpkins (without screwing up)

I've been seeing lots of recipes for Pumpkin Pretzels on Pinterest over the past few months, always with beautiful photos of smooth, satiny coated pretzels, and I've thought, That's the craft for me!  Just pretzels and candy melts, how hard could it be?

Helping reluctant readers enjoy books

Helping your child love books isn't as easy as reading to them every night.   We found that out when 3Po and Jammy were babies.  The Pea had always loved books, and she still does, so we thought we were awesome parents for reading to her each and every night.  But when we started reading to 3Po and Jammy, they were just not interested.  We despaired of getting them to sit still long enough for more than a page or two -- that is, until we bought books about trucks and cars, and then they couldn't look away.  Those bunny and cat books that we had read to The Pea when she was little just couldn't hold their attention!   So just like sports, just like work, just like practically everything in life, rule number one in getting kids to love reading is to find a subject they they love.

What's in your smartphone?

Can you believe the Apple iPhone was released in 2007, five whole years ago?  How time flies! In 2007 I had a pink clamshell phone, and I thought it was the coolest, cutest thing ever.  Today, even my kids wouldn't be caught dead with that phone.  Heck, even my 3 year-old niece wouldn't want that phone.  She'd probably throw it away, thinking it was a fake toy phone, and ask for  a real one, with a colored screen that does things when you touch it.

I got my first web-enabled phone (a Samsung Reclaim) in 2009, and my first smartphone in 2010.  I honestly can't imagine life without one anymore!  I've had my current phone (and HTC EVO 4G) for just over a year now; it wasn't the most hi-tech phone when I got it to begin with, and a year later, it's even more outdated. It does feel clunky and sluggish, and I'm ready for a new one.  Unfortunately, I won't be eligible to get a new one (at least not without paying full price for the phone) for another 6 months or so -- but I'm not frothing at the bit, so I'll wait.

What's for lunch?

Ham and cheese sandwich, cucumber slices, grapes

I'm guessing you've figured out by now that the lunches I've been featuring for the week are not the lunches that I actually packed that week.  Other people might be organized enough to have all their kids' lunches for the entire week prepacked by Sunday night, but not me.  We started school in mid-August, and I began this series in September, so I'm actually featuring the lunches I packed 2 weeks ago.  So if you see Halloween-themed lunch photos posted in November, don't be surprised!

Another thing I'm guessing you've figured out is that I bought a BIG bunch of grapes a couple of weeks ago, because four out of five lunches on this post have grapes in them!

31 Days of Pink: Week 1

New parents love recording their child's development through photos.  They photograph every single milestone, and everything in between -- but by the time they have their third child, the photos have dried up to just the obligatory newborn, first birthday and first day of school photos.  So it is with my third year of wearing something pink every day in October.  With everything else going on, wearing and photographing something pink has been shelved to the farthest corners of my mind.  I had to resort to wearing pink pajamas on October 1 and 2 because I forgot all about my resolve until late at night!

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- and you CAN make a difference

October is here again, and you know what that means: it's time to get out my pink wardrobe and see the world through rose-colored glasses.  Time to hope that we can make a difference.  Time to hope that there will be a day when they find a cure.

To be perfectly honest, sometimes I wonder if things will get better.  When you look at the statistics on breast cancer, it's easy to be discouraged.

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Just under 30% of cancers in women are breast cancers.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • About 39,520 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2011 from breast cancer.

I was so lucky that the lump my doctor found last year turned out to be benign, but I've had friends and relatives battle breast cancer -- and not all of them have won. What on earth can wearing pink actually do in the grand scheme of things.  It's such a BIG disease.  What can one person really do?

What's for lunch?

Who says cereal has to be eaten at breakfast?  My kids love having breakfast food for lunch or dinner! I sometimes pack cereal and milk, waffles with syrup, or yogurt with fruit and granola to have a lunchtime.  They also love homemade Egg McMuffins:  veggie sausage patties, cheese and egg on an English muffin.  The only "breakfast-y" food I've never attempted to pack for lunch is oatmeal.  My packed lunches are mostly cold, so if they want oatmeal, they have to eat it for breakfast.  Or dinner :)