Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Yesterday and today have been/will be kind of a crazy days for us (yesterday I baked and decorated six dozen Halloween cupcakes and today my calendar includes a Halloween party, craft, and event at Hallie's school; a Halloween party, craft, and meal at Will's school; early release for Will; doorbell ditching cupcakes at a few friends' houses; and trick-or-treating tonight), so I'm keeping it simple on the blog with a little walk down Halloween memory lane.

Will (3 weeks old): pumpkin (pajamas), spider (pajamas)
Tom: exhausted new parent
Erin: exhausted new parent

Will (one year old): lion
Tom: Tigger
Erin: witch

Will (two years old): lion, again
Tom: Tigger, again
Erin: pregnant witch

Will (three years old): pirate
Hallie (six months old): chili pepper, pumpkin, chicken
Tom: pirate
Erin: cat, pirate lady

Will (four years old): Buzz Lightyear
Hallie (one-and-a-half years old): ladybug
Tom: shark
Erin: too busy chasing a ladybug to dress up

Will (five years old): Batman
Hallie (two-and-a-half years old): pink octopus
Tom: working
Erin: cat

This year Will is dressing up as the gold Power Ranger, Hallie is dressing up as Tinkerbell, Tom is dressing up as Captain Hook, and I will probably wear my pirate lady costume once again. Hallie would prefer I dress as the "tick tock crock" from Peter Pan and trick-or-treat in a trio with her and Captain Hook, but I'm not sure I really want to dress up as a crocodile. We'll see...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

And So It Begins...

The countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election is on, and in honor of this, the final week of political television commercials and Facebook status updates, I'd like to share with you links to a couple of completely ridiculous and entirely unrelated to the actual election but never-the-less politically-themed posts I've recently stumbled upon. (These posts are laugh-out-loud funny regardless of your party affiliation, so hopefully everyone will enjoy them.)

First up, A Brutally Honest Interpretation of the Body Language of the First Debate.

And second, 12 Politicians and Their Animal Doppelgangers.

Tomorrow we'll focus on the Halloween holiday, but starting on Thursday I'm going to talk politics for a few days. I rarely venture into political waters because I don't like confrontation and I'm not very good at arguing, but I think I've come up with a way to talk about politics in a way that doesn't invite conflict and animosity. We'll see...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Etsy, Part 1

I found Etsy a little intimidating when I first visited the site a few years ago. There were SO many sellers "peddling their wares" that I simply didn't know where to begin the search process.

For example, when you search for "earrings" you're presented with links to 1,077,219 handmade products, 119,943 vintage products, and 101,022 sites that sell earring supplies. Even if you narrow your search to say, "pink bird earrings", you're given 1,237 links to handmade products, 38 vintage products, and 118 sites that sell pink bird earring supplies. (Those are real numbers, by the way.) It's overwhelming, to say the least.

Not to mention the fact that you're purchasing products based on only one or two photos and a short written description, and from a small business owner who in all likelihood you've never met and whose "shop" exists only in cyberland. Again, overwhelming.

My first Etsy purchase was cookies. Cookies seemed and still seem, at least to me, a strange product to purchase online. But I was desperate to find Buzz Lightyear cookies for Will's third birthday, and Etsy was my last resort. (Not a single bakery in Ann Arbor or the surrounding area had ever made or would even attempt to make Buzz Lightyear cookies. And I called ALL of them.) I set up my Etsy account, took a leap of faith, and placed my order with Frogpaw Studios, the Etsy shop for Sugar: Cookies, Cakes, & More, which happens to be run by a wonderful woman in Utah.

When my scrumptious and gorgeous cookies arrived on time and carefully packaged (not a single one had broken, but she'd included an extra cookie just in case one had bit the dust during transport), my confidence in Etsy grew.

Now, multiple years later, I've had overwhelmingly positive experiences with the site.  And I want to share my favorite sites with you, in case you might be shopping for some of the same items I was and would like to support small businesses. I have no affiliation with any of these sites, other than one that comes from liking their products and having a good experience when I purchased something. I just love spreading the word about cool stuff!

I bought two of these crayon roll-ups, which are fantastic for traveling (which we do a lot), from RaDzaeDezynes. Hallie's has owls on it and Will's has dinosaurs on it and now I want this polka dot one for myself.

I bought these four prints (though some of the background and font colors I chose were different - she allows you to customize your prints so that they match the rooms in which you'd like to hang them) for Will and Hallie's bedrooms from PUMPKIN & butterfly.

I bought these two prints, in honor of my hot-sauce-loving-hubby and to hang in our dining room, from DonshanArt.

I bought this little purse for Hallie for Christmas last year from Doodlescoot Designs.

And of course, the site that started it all...Sugar: Cookies, Cakes, & More. You can check out her website/blog here, and a post about cookies she's made for our family here. I've absolutely love everything she's ever made for us.

This is just the tip of my Etsy iceberg, but I've decided to save the rest of my shopping finds for another post since this one's already become a bit lengthy. Stay tuned for Etsy, Part 2, coming soon!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up (10.26.12)

"Things I've Said to My Children" - By Nathan Ripperger

Kendra Scott Color Bar
I should warn you that the Color Bar on the Kendra Scott website is addictive. I've lost hours of my life to this design tool, which lets you first select the style of your piece of jewelry (from a variety of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, and pendants), and then choose the metal and the gemstone(s) pieces you feel best reflect your unique and specific tastes. There are 26 styles of jewelry, two metals, and more than 80 gemstones to choose from, so the are literally thousands of pieces of jewelry waiting to be created on this website. You can also save your designs, and then pass along the website link, along with your log-in and password, to your husband in case he's looking for something to purchase for you for your next birthday...

The "Confidence Climb"
All-Star Active
On Saturday, October 27th - that's tomorrow! - Rock Prairie Elementary School (where Will attends kindergarten) will host its first annual All-Star Active Fitness Challenge fundraising event from 10am until 3pm.  The Ultimate Fitness Challenge is a 10-station obstacle course developed to raise awareness about childhood obesity and to promote the benefits of physical fitness.  The entire event, which includes the obstacle course as well as games, food, and beverages, is open to and free for the public, so if you live in the Bryan-College Station area, stop on by!  (If you'd like additional information, leave a comment and I'll get back to you before tomorrow morning.)

Red Cross: This week I've written about pumpkin carving safety, so if you're thinking about turning your pumpkins into jack-o-laterns this weekend, stop by the Red Cross blog first for a quick lesson on how not to end up in the emergency room.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photo Bomb

Will is (unfortunately) really into photo bombing these days. This behavior is exasperating for me, because it often takes 10-20 attempts to score one photo of Hallie smiling her REAL smile and it's always into that photo that Will charges, unexpectedly and with a creepy grin on his face. Sometimes I can crop him out, but not always.

I always assumed that Will had learned his photo bombing skills from his Uncle Jeff, who I'd consider a photo bombing expert.

But then I saw this photo, and realized that Will's daddy is just as good at photo bombing as Uncle Jeff, if not better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saturday Game Days

We don't have season tickets to watch the Aggies play because 1) tickets are expensive and 2) as a faculty member, Tom is basically on the bottom rung of the football ticket priority ladder, at least when it comes to people who have any sort of affiliation with the school. We hope to be a part of the Kyle Field excitement at some point, but right now it just doesn't make sense for us to buy four - or even two - season tickets in the nosebleed section of the stadium.

But because we love the atmosphere surrounding college football, we still try to be part of the game day experience each week by tailgating, hanging out with Kirk and Lee, wandering around campus, and taking in the sights.
The Corps of Cadets, marching into the stadium.  
The guns, the swords...Will can barely contain his excitement 
when he sees such elaborate displays of weaponry.

Members of the Corps of Cadets folding an American flag.

I hid behind Tom so these two classy guys wouldn't see me taking their picture;
I just couldn't walk away without capturing on film this 80's flashback.
(That's actually a case of beer on his shoulder, but in my head it's a boom box.)  

Sometimes we just stop in the middle of the street and dance a little.

It took me more than 20 attempts to capture a photo of these jets flying 
overhead; since they fly faster than the speed of sound it's tough to figure 
out where they're coming from and when to take the picture.

Views of a packed Kyle Field, which we drove by on our way home.  

And a view of one of my little pip-squeaks in the backseat (can you 
tell it was hot outside that day?) after one of our Saturday adventures.

Our Saturdays are a little less eventful than they once were, but they're certainly not bad. Not bad at all.