Our Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's all about the tulle.  (I've got three girls you know.)
These were by far the easiest and cheapest costumes we have made.  At 50 cents a yard for the tulle and a rummage through the dress-up basket at home, these costumes were simple and very inexpensive.  I even made no-sew tutus (see this tutorial)!  The girls love them! 

And while we were out exploring our favorite patch of riverbank, we found this fabulous Halloween suprise (!!) waiting for us among the trees: 

Halloween Kid Craft: Rock 'o' Lanterns

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This simple and cheap craft has been keeping my kids busy all week.  My kids are always bringing rocks indoors so I decided to put some of the collection to use.   I pulled out the paint and the brushes and these adorable Rock 'o' Lanterns were born. 

 I'm thinking maybe Ghost rocks are in order this afternoon.  I can't see that we'll run out of rocks any time soon . . .

How to Can Applesauce: A Favorite Fall Tradition

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Every Fall I make and can my own applesauce.  And every Fall I find friends and acquaintances that think this is an extraordinary feat.  Thinking of my mother and her mother canning applesauce and more every year for as long as I can remember (and long before that too!), it is just an ordinary part of the changing season for me.

Although canning can seem difficult, canning applesauce is easy, inexpensive, and, dare I say, even fun.  And the best part is that a sticky day or two in the kitchen translates into delicious homemade food to be enjoyed all year long.  There is nothing quite like a warm bowl of homemade applesauce with cinnamon to brighten a winter morning.

These are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy our home canned Applesauce:
  • As a healthy waffle and pancake topping.
  • As a sweetener in a bowl of oatmeal or other hot grain cereal.
  • Heated up and poured over a bowl of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
  • As a base for a chicken or ham glaze.
  • Poured over pork chops and baked.
  • As a baking subsitute - you can use applesauce in place of oil/butter in many muffin, bread, and cookie recipes.  
  • And, of course, all by itself with a sprinkle of cinnamon - warm or cold!

Have I convinced you of its delicious virtues yet?  Ready to make it, eat it, and can it?  Here are some of the things I've learned over the years from Mom and Grandma in their Autumn Kitchens.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When the Balloon Fiesta rolls into town, I know Autumn has finally arrived. Getting up in the wee hours of the morning and trundling out into the dark cold to see the first balloons' dawn patrol has become a yearly tradition that marks the changing of seasons in our corner of the world. 

It was cold this year, and the wind prevented the balloons from actually flying the day we went, but everyone enjoyed themselves immensely anyway.  I don't think I will ever be too old to think that giant balloons filled with hot air are anything less than magical.  Happy Autumn friends!

It's Important to Think Twice Before You Judge Another

Monday, October 10, 2011

Everyone knows what it feels like to be judged. I am a parent, so heaven knows I've been judged because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knows what "good parenting" is and they wrote the definition.

I am also a single parent, which comes with its own fun book of stereotypes and harsh assumptions.  I know what it feels like to be judged, and so do you.

This coin has two sides though. I've pointed the finger of judgment more times than I can even remember.  It is easy to pass judgment on someone when you can only see an inch of a story ten miles long.  Sometimes things look so black and white.  Sometimes you really do know best . . . or do you?

Recently a friend shared a painfully embarrassing moment on Facebook.  She could have kept the experience to herself, but she shared her foible with all her Facebook friends because she was reminded of a great truth:

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." ~ Mother Teresa

My friend's experience has been on my mind ever since I read it in my Facebook feed weeks ago.  It was a powerful reminder to me of why it is always important to reserve judgment.  With her permission, I am sharing it here:

"My friend and I were standing in the check out line at Macey's (getting case lot deals) at 10:00 P.M. last night. In walks a dad with his two crying kids. I say to my friend, "Those kids should be in bed. It's ten o'clock."  Agreeing, my friend said, "Yeah. It's even worse when you're at Wal-Mart and they're hauling their kids around at midnight."

Autumn Crafts and Activities: Alphabet Glue Giveaway

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The weather is getting gray here, wet skies and clouds.  With a case of the sniffles and a cool breeze keeping us indoors right now, Annie Reichmann's THIRD edition of Alphabet Glue arrived at just the right time!

This Autumn edition is my favorite one of all!

The kids browsed it upon arrival and picked the leaf story bunting activity to start the fun.  The girls drew pictures of their favorite parts of Woody, Hazel, and Little Pip (an Autumn classic round these parts) and then hung them in the order they unfolded in the book.  When it was hung, Eila pronounced it a "perfect story decoration."  Why, yes it is!

Some of my favorite parts of Alphabet Glue #3:

Taking Family Pictures

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Taking family photos is my favorite part of being a photographer. I love the way images can capture personalities, playfulness, sibling rivalry, and all the love that holds a family together. Today I am blogging a recent family photo session over here - come on over and see!

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