10.30.2011

Trying to Keep My Pants on at Halloween

I love cute dress up, but dislike any scary part of Halloween.

Halloween scares the pants off of me.  Always has. Probably always will.

When I was in elementary school, I literally hid under my desk in terror, as one of the second grade teachers would visit our classroom in her full witch gear.

You see.  We were told she was a witch, and the week of Halloween, she would start to turn green.  The first green mark was on her hand then her arm then her neck, and then her cheek.  You get the idea.  By Halloween, she was all green, and literally scared the pants off of me as she rode into my class on a broomstick. 

This was the 70s.  Think Dorothy.  Toto. Wicked Witch!  Yeah, ugly scary.

It was all in fun, of course.   She meant no harm, but I sometimes wonder if I would not have turned into such a scaredy cat if that didn’t happen to me in my so-called formative years.

 I eventually faked illness on Halloween so I could miss school.

My mom knew my fears.   She let me.

I try to make a conscious effort today not to transfer my Halloween anxiety onto my kids. 

I cringe at places like Party City when the scary ghouls and goblins are out in full gear.  It doesn’t seem to phase my two though, but I also think that is because we protect our kids more, and they don’t see trailors for “Nightmare on Elm Street,” and “Friday the 13th.”

Halloween to them is Scooby-Doo.  It’s whimsical.  It’s fun!  They get candy!

What's not to love?

I’ve bought my candy this year.   It’s by the door now with uncarved pumpkins.

I bought my favorites, too.  Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kats. If it is your most dreaded holiday of the year, you might as well eat what you like.  Right?

My wizard and witch are ready.


And the nice thing about having children is that I don’t have to stay home, and answer the door. 

That’s a blessing!

I used to just hide in the back of the house when we were childless.

Hearing that doorbell, and knowing masked people were on the other side, well, you guessed it. 

It scared the pants off me, too. 

Now, I ring someone else's door. 



Linking this post up with:



#SOCsunday



10.28.2011

Itsy Bitsy Spider Cookies

Thought we would have a little fun this Friday.

Baby Diva came home from preschool with eight additional legs.


I love the creativity in her preschool.

I don't sew, and truthfully, I don't glue well either.  I'm not a craft mom, but I love to "ohh and ahh" over what she made somewhere else.

I am a whiz though at Internet surfing, and look what I found from our grandmother's friend, Betty Crocker.




Even though I'm not a gourmet baker, I think I could pull these little bugs off.


 


Black string licorice
20
orange creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
1
teaspoon chocolate ready-to-spread frosting (from 16-oz container)
40
miniature candy-coated chocolate pieces
For each cookie, cut eight 1 1/2-inch pieces of licorice for legs. Insert 4 pieces into filling on each side of each cookie.


With frosting, attach 2 miniature chocolate pieces to top of each cookie for eyes.


Now that's a spooky good treat!


Have a great weekend, and we'll see you back here next week.  


Don't forget the Costume Parade on the Blog's Facebook page.  Upload your Halloween photos, and enter yourself in a drawing for a latte on me.  Anyone who comments on a photo gets entered, too.


Linking this creepy, crawly recipe with Flip Flop and Pearls Recipe Swap today. 





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10.27.2011

Remote-Control Romance

Do you watch TV once the kids go to bed?  You all are going to feel sorry for my husband, but I put TV watching ahead of any romance.



Yeah, that’s right. 

At the end of a day, I want to curl up on the couch with an afghan and see the latest fall TV show lineup instead of heating things up.



You see, during a typical eight-hour day, I’ve had sticky fingers crawling up my pants legs.

I’ve held and kissed 25 pounds of “pure sugar” while trying to make dinner. 

I stepped over or on top of 15 Legos, 10 blocks, and four dolls and even slipped on one pint-sized ball throughout my day. 

I’ve had to use my pilates ball with someone’s full weight on top of me and have had to go to the bathroom with an audience.  And let me just clarify in case your mind is wandering: My husband is at work during the day.

My makeup is smeared, and my hair looks as if I stuck my finger in an electrical socket, and if it didn’t before my son’s bedtime then it certainly does after I have to get under the covers and hear some crazy tale.

Some nights, I wish I could just fall asleep and stay there.

But, as 9 p.m. rolls around, I need to clean up the 15 Legos, 10 blocks, and the one pint-sized ball.  The dolls? Well, they went to bed with the diva. She cleaned those up for me.

The kids are finally asleep.

It’s just my hubby, me, and our big HDTV.  Our night is finally carefree!

It's a supreme moment!




Each week, at least six hours of fall TV shows are recorded on our DVR.

Six freaking hours!  Are we crazy?  We only have an hour or so on any given night before we really should get to bed ourselves; yet the cycle continues each week. Episodes pile up on the DVR.

Then the darn DVR starts to erase things we haven’t had time to see unless we tell it otherwise.

We tell it to stop, but then so much is scheduled to record the next week that it tells us our capacity is at its limit.

It’s a vicious cycle, but we never stop the recording each season.  Sometimes, favorites go off the air, and we just add new ones to replace them.  “Modern Family” and the new drama “Person of Interest” are the first to be watched this year on the DVR list. Some shows get carried over to the next week until we get so behind we just stop viewing those shows altogether.

There are probably days that we wish we could go back to our life before kids, when we sat down in front of the TV after work with dinner at the coffee table and knocked out about two or three shows in one sitting. 

That’s especially true for those nights now when we can’t agree on which show to watch during our hour of free time.

Oh, man, did we waste some time back then?

But, for us, there’s just something about keeping up with the fall TV lineup that is comforting and perhaps reminds us of our carefree thirties.

We had time for TV and romance.




Oh, the time we must find, but somehow we find it.  We sit hand in hand, have a little conversation as the commercials fast-forward, and appreciate our time together in front of the telly.


And just in case you are wondering, nothing on our DVR list is animated.  Nada. Zip. 

Yes, it's a real love story! We love our TV.

Linking up today with a blog hop from a great blog I follow called, "Mess for Less."   Vicky has great ideas on projects for children that don't require a lot of mess or money.  She is so clever.  If you are visiting from the Blog hop today, welcome.  I don't have one craft bone in my body, but hopefully, I can provide you with a laugh, a trip idea, and perhaps a good meal from time to time.


10.25.2011

Out and About

Life has been busy these past few days. My husband and I have been doing a little car shopping.


I've had no time to write or edit a new post in between test-driving, and decision making.  In fact,  I've barely had time to keep my own children.  I think they may actually miss me, and I miss them.

I wanted to say hello, and to let you know that I'll be back to writing soon.

In the meantime, keep those great photos coming for the Hines-Sight Blog's Costume Parade on my Facebook page.  I love seeing the cuties, and all of your creativity.

Anyone who uploads or comments on photos submitted to the Blog's Facebook page now through November 1 will be entered into a drawing for a latte or two on me.  Don't forget that pets are included in the fun, too.

If you are a latte lover like me, then you may want to make your own latte at home.  I recently discovered "A Year of Slow Cooking" because you know I'm on the look-out for good, crockpot recipes.

I've not tried the Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte yet, but this looks to be a Halloween must.  It will be great to take Trick-or-Treating.  If you make it, let me know. If you are in a hurry and don't want to wait for things to cook in a crockpot, then may want to try this little gem by Godiva.   It's called the Godiva Pumpkin Pie Latte.

Until next time, snap those costume photos of your ghouls and goblins.  I can't wait to see them.

10.21.2011

You Can't Scare Me....

Occasionally, my mom comes to my house bearing gifts.   Her latest find came from Raleigh's Cameron Village in the form of a pillow.

It's little saying is priceless during one of the scariest months of the year.  Don't you think?



Speaking of those precious little children, it will soon be time for them to dress up for that one big night of the year.  This is when they will get more candy in one hour than they will ever be able to eat while living under our roofs.

We know you spent a small fortune buying Halloween costumes, precious time trying to find that costume that is constantly sold out at the Disney Store, or spent countless hours making a special costume for your little goblin.   Go ahead, admit it.  It's fun!   I think it's time to show off our parental creativity, and get our money's worth out of these costumes.

Upload your child or pet in their costume on the Hines-Sight Blog's Facebook Page

That's why I'm going to host the 2011 Hines-Sight Blog Facebook Costume Parade for Children and Pets.   Just upload your costume photos onto the blog's Facebook page for us to see now through November 1, 2011.   I thought it would be fun for us to show our Halloween photos this year, and don't forget to show us costumes for your four-legged friends, too.  The costume aisle for pets is growing daily, and let's just admit that a small dog looks cute between a hot dog bun.

I can't wait to see Rapunzel (heard it was the most popular Disney costume this year), ghouls, goblins, witches, superheros, princesses, and perhaps even a hot dog or two on my page.

So, go ahead! Put the finishing touches on that costume, get your camera ready, and give us a little treat this Halloween.

In order to thank you for your efforts, one of my Facebook fans will receive a latte on me.   I will draw one name at random from individuals who participate in the parade either by submitting parade photos or by "liking or commenting" on the photos submitted during this time period. Anyone's name can be drawn.   If you don't have a costume to share this year then just participate by telling us how cute our photos are because we all like some comment love.   It will be a fun week!

 I look forward to seeing you on my Facebook page.  You all will have a front row seat for the parade.

Have a great weekend!


10.19.2011

Wednesday's Wish We Were Here: Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, NC

Fall can be spellbinding in the mountains of Highlands, North Carolina.  The beautiful autumn colors that surround a town known for being storybook quaint can provide leaf lookers a magical experience.



Situated at 4,118 feet above sea level in the southern plateau of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the mountain village of Highlands is a destination that surprisingly was only 12 miles from where I grew up in the little town of Cullowhee.  But let me be the first to tell you that was the longest 12 miles ever for a little girl who was prone to motion sickness.

The road that leads to Highlands has hairpin curves and cliff drops that can make you weak in the knees if you look out the window.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember much about my earlier visits to Highlands because it’s been well over 20 years.  A lot of times, I just saw an inside of a gymnasium when our high school basketball team played the town school’s team.  Sometimes, we even saw a few snowflakes as the van carrying car-sick cheerleaders slowly got us back down the mountain.

Now that I’ve grown up and have developed a taste for the finer things in life, I wish I had paid more attention to this little mountain village that welcomed affluent southerners who made the trip in their horse-drawn carriages to escape the South’s scorching heat.


The quaintness and charm of the town makes me want to take a Dramamine and experience the luxury of a mountainside escape at the Old Edwards Inn and Spa first-hand.

***
My Savvy Spending Lodging Choice

As you know, I always try to find my readers a savvy spending hotel (under $200 per night) choice as well any time I talk about a travel destination on this blog.  The catch is that I will only mention the hotel here if I would consider staying there myself.   I found a lot of other great properties, including some vacation homes for rent by owner, in Highlands, but all of these properties would be in my splurge category.  There are some less expensive options in Highlands, but none met my personal criteria. 

I didn’t give up, though.  Instead, I extended my hotel search into a neighboring town, which is just as beautiful as Highlands. 

The Laurelwood Mountain Inn is located in Cashiers, North Carolina, which is 11 miles away from Highlands.
This inn would be a perfect budget-friendly base for your family to explore the mountains.  It’s a family-owned hotel, and it is very obvious by reading the reviews that they take great pride in their inn.  They have standard and deluxe rooms for under $100 a night.  Suites and log cabins are priced under $200 per night.  The inn requires a two-night minimum stay during peak times.  It’s a great savvy spending choice for families who want to visit this fall and early winter.


See you in the mountains.  If you go, let me know!


10.17.2011

Strolling Around Cameron Village: The Playhouse Parade

It was an absolute gorgeous weekend in Raleigh.  While many families spent time at the North Carolina State Fair, my family chose to go in another direction.  We strolled the sidewalks of Cameron Village, listened to one of our favorite children’s band, ate a gourmet lunch, and explored some dreamy playhouses built for charity.

The Playhouse Parade at Cameron Village

It was a dream day, indeed.  Yard work and chores were put on hold. We didn’t have a care in the world.  It was like we were tourists in our own city.


Can you imagine having this pirate ship in your backyard?



Or this fire station?



I’m particularly fond of the chicken coup.

  
Lilly fans, I bet you would drool over this Lilly Pulitzer inspired playhouse. I did. 

  
The playhouses were on display at the upscale shopping destination, Cameron Village, for two weekends as part of a fundraiser. On October 22, the playhouses will be auctioned off to benefit the Sassafras All-Children's Playground.  These playhouses are remarkable.  You can view the professional photos of these gorgeous playhouses here..  Get ready to swoon. 

It was such an awesome family day.

We had lunch outdoors at Village Deli and Grill.


We ran into some celebrities.

Durham Bulls Mascot Wool E. Bull

Ronald McDonald

We ended our journey with some cookies from my favorite little grocer, the Fresh Market.


Baby Diva has great taste.  She loves to window shop at Cameron Village.     



Want to visit Cameron Village, too?  It is one of the oldest shopping villages in the heart of Raleigh. It has tree-lined walks, one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants and cafes.  It’s located inside Raleigh’s beltline off of Oberlin Road.

On October 30, Cameron Village will host a Monster Dash, and costume contest.  


10.14.2011

So, What Do I Do All Day?

That’s a good question.  A lot of days, I wonder the same thing.  As I crawl into bed later and later each evening, I sometimes ponder if I accomplished anything at all.

I like to support my fellow North Carolina bloggers, and Melissa at Adventuroo is hosting a “Week in My Life” segment on her blog.  Throughout this week, bloggers have been capturing daily lives with photos, sort of like an online memory book. 

Since my daughter’s baby book is completely empty, I thought, “Why not give this a try?”  It will be fun to look at when she’s 20.

So, what do I do all day?  You can read this online diary and think one of two things.

1.     Wow, she accomplishes nothing. I get so much more done than she does.

Or

2.    Hmm, I’m glad I’m not that crazy woman. 

Here’s a Day in a Week of My Life!

6:00 a.m: Beep. Beep. Beep.  After the last beep, I get a tap on the leg from my husband.  Guess he thinks I didn’t hear it.

Every morning until about 6:30 a.m., I pack snacks, lunch, and bookbags and wait for my first cup of tea. It’s English breakfast tea for me daily with milk and sugar.  Can’t start my day without it. If not, I’m one cranky witch (also rhymes with the name of a female dog).


6:30 a.m: This is where I take a WRONG turn in life most days.  I should take my tea upstairs, shower, and get completely ready before I have the children start their morning, but I can’t seem to make myself do it.  I need that time to sit, read, and connect with all of you.

From 7:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. is utter chaos in my house as we rush to get dressed, eat breakfast, and get to school (about a 12-minute commute) on time.



On this day, I had to wake both of my sleepyheads. I let them sleep as long as I can most days, which in some ways feeds the chaos.  My husband helps with some shoe tying, hair detangling, and car-seat buckling.  I’m lucky, I know!

Our school bell rings at 9:10 a.m.  We’ve cut it close a few times but do not have a tardy on our record.  We are also very blessed with a late start time.


Baby Diva fusses daily when we drop off Mr. Cool.  I must not be as fun as he is, but she can fuss all she wants because she’s stuck with me for the next six-and-a-half hours.

What to do?  What to do?

As any mama knows, it’s much easier to entertain your child out on the town rather than at home for your own sanity.

Today was “Mommy and Me” gymnastics.


She’s getting better at her skills, whereas I look forward to the day that there is no mommy in the title of the class.

Mid-morning, we learned about colors in Old Navy as we purchased a few basics for the kid’s fall wardrobe.

She likes pink, blue, and purple but tossed the white T-shirt back on the shelf.  My dropping $115 on basic tees, running-type pants, socks, and pajamas is just a little reminder of how expensive it is to raise a family these days.  They could use a few more pairs of jeans, but we’ll just do more laundry until the next budget cycle.

She and I then went to our local CVS for an errand. No photography here, and it’s a shame, too.  She wanted to remove all the peanut butter cups from the pharmacy.  As I tried to pay and contain her at the same time, she put all of her weight on the floor and screamed loudly.

I swooped in with my best football tackle and ran to the end zone with her under the arm as the lady at the counter handed me my purchases.

She gasped, "you don’t even have to sign it. I did everything for you.”  Now that’s customer service.

Touchdown!


She’s still rowdy at home as I try to get her to eat lunch.

1:00 p.m. is a special time in our house.  It’s naptime for Baby Diva, and it’s my time to write, meet deadlines, update social media, read, pay bills, make phone calls, exercise, and do laundry.


I’ve really got to try to find some birth control for my laundry because every morning the pile gets bigger.

Around 3:15 p.m. is when I start to get us ready for school pickup.  I feel that those two hours without a child by my side are over in a flash.  Yes, I certainly have room for improvement in the time management area, but it’s so nice to have a break.

Carpool pickup at 3:45 p.m. is my favorite and most dreaded time of the day.

How can that be? I love seeing my son.  His sister is overjoyed.


But temperaments aren’t always the best, especially as it gets closer to 5:00 p.m.  My son is tired.  My daughter is, too.  They fight.  There are a lot of tears.

 I try to keep them occupied as best as I can and still get dinner on the table by 6 p.m.  It’s not an easy time of the day.   In this photo, he's praying that the camera is not broken after he was goofing off, and let his sister throw it on the floor.  


Today, we tackled pumpkin muffins and a very easy dinner.


My husband helps out a lot during bath time.  This is his time to be with the kids while I clean up the kitchen.  On this particular day, though, I was solo so he could have some quality time with friends he doesn’t see often.

Got one child to bed, then worked on the next one.  About 8:30 p.m, I kissed my son goodnight, and sat down in front of my computer before doing any more cleanup.

It wasn’t long, though, before I heard, “Mom!”

Finally, all was quiet in the house at 9:00 p.m.

There was still laundry to fold.

What did I do?

I shut the door to the laundry room.  After all, tomorrow is another day. 

10.12.2011

Bewitching Wednesday (Five Devilish Food Finds)

I'm not a huge fan of scary things for Halloween,

but I love pumpkins,



black cats,



and a good witch.


I also love to eat this time of year.   It amazes me how creative people can be in the kitchen.   Here are some goodies I found to make Halloween spellbinding. 


Who knows? I may even be inspired to "twitch my nose" and have these delights magically appear on my table. 


Candy Corn Cookies to go with my afternoon tea.




Trash Bag Munchies for TV watching.




Jack O' Lantern Cheeseburger Pie for those crisp, autumn nights.




Magic Hat Cookies for a bewitching and fun treat. 




Hot Spiced Cider after trick-or-treating.




And I have the purrfect person who would love to eat the Halloween inspired cookies with me. 




We call her the cookie monster a lot of days.




However, she'll be bewitching the neighborhood on a broomstick this Halloween.  She'll be dressed as a good little witch, of course. 


I'm linking up today for my very first Semi-Wordless Wednesday with Flip Flops and Pearls.  I am usually pretty wordy so today is a treat, definitely no tricks. 



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