Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wizardly Woes

I like to go to Goodwill around Halloween after the kids decide what they want to be, and try to find things that would work for costumes with a little tweaking. That way they don't have those thin, lame costumes you get from Wal-Mart, but something a bit more unique. 

I went to Goodwill on Monday in search of a wizard costume and a witch for Jarem and Tessa.  I saw my good friend, Ale, there whom I haven't got to spend time with in awhile.  She was anxiously waiting for a call from her husband who would be calling to let her know when he would be home.  He was supposed to arrive from Afghanistan from deployment that DAY.  She said her house was all ready and she was just trying to kill some time looking for a distraction.  It was awesome cause she went around the store helping me look for things, and we had a good time together.  For Jarem, we found a silver very long skirt that I thought could be fashioned into a wizard's robe along with two shimmery shirts that could work for his hat and accessories.  Also, a white fuzzy top that was perfect for a beard.  For Tessa, we found several black tops and skirts that could be fashioned into a witch outfit.

This was what the robe looked like before adding the sleeves and I redid the shape as well cause it looked too princessy.  I wanted it to go straight down, so I re-cut and sewed both side.  See the black line on the robe on the right side.  That is about where I cut it.

As you can see, I cut off the sleeves of the shimmery shirt and  attached them upside down (see above pic), so the wide part would be at the bottom.  I just wished I would have kept it more straight.  I kind of traced his shape on the fabric so I could make it fit him, but I forgot to make room for seam allowances.

I spent all day yesterday cutting and sewing (and I am not a good seamstress at all) the silver skirt to create the wizard's robe.  I thought it looked pretty good, so when Jarem got home from school I had him try it on.  IT WAS TOO SMALL!!  He couldn't get it over his head, then we tried the other way, and he couldn't get it over his bottom.  Finally, after a few minutes of working at it and some ripping, we got it over is bottom end and up.  When I zipped it on the back, he said it was really tight on his chest (which it was), but he really didn't want to take it off cause he didn't want to make me feel bad after working so hard.  But finally, he just couldn't handle the tightness anymore.  He said he felt like he couldn't breathe! (and it was really tight).  Besides, the girls told me that it looked like a princess dress and Eric (later, not in front of the kids) told me he thought it looked girlish too.  This was a HUGE bummer for me after working so hard on it all day, but oh well!  I made a cape and hat out of one of the shimmery shirts and I made his beard out of the white fuzzy top.  He borrowed Eric's authentic Dumbledore wand from Harry Potter World and I think he still looks pretty wizard like. :)

Since today they have to dress up like a character in a book, he chose to take Harry Potter.  This is a picture of him just before he left for school.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Percussion Ensemble Halloween Concert

My picture from the audience
Our friends invited us to attend the Percussion Ensemble Halloween Concert at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville.  It sounded fun and I have never been to anything like it, so the girls and I decided to go with she and her girls.  It turned out to be a lot of fun and very entertaining for all ages!  There were fun stories to go along with the music, everyone was dressed up, and there were a lot of interesting instruments including even pots and pans and old wheels for one song.  The university has a stellar music program and just purchased an organ this year.  Here is what had to say about the concert quoting the director, Dr. David Steinquest.

“I absolutely knew then that the organ had to be the starting point for this year’s Percussion Ensemble Halloween Concert,” he said. “And no question, the very first thing on the program was going to be Bach’s Toccata in D minor. You can’t have an organ and not play it.”

The rumor about the organ turned out to be true, so at 6:00pm and 8:00pm on October 30th, the instrument will help usher in the strange blend of music and mayhem that has come to define this wildly popular community concert for the last 28 years. And as always, Steinquest and his band of APSU music faculty members will wear costumes to perform the Halloween-themed music in an eerily decorated concert hall inside the APSU Music/Mass Communication Building.
“It’s a very family-friendly concert, and it’s always a sell-out,” Steinquest said.
The evening’s program will feature old and new classical pieces, such as Igor Stravinsky’s “Sacrificial Dance,” Philip Glass’s film score for the movie “Dracula” and Bernard Herman’s terrifying composition for Alfred Hitchcock’s controversial 1960 film “Psycho.”

We were lucky to get in because it was sold out and we had no idea how popular it would be.  Luckily, we waited around and some people returned unused tickets or didn't pick up reserved ones and we ended up with enough tickets!  It was a fun evening!  I really liked the screen in the back that showed close-ups of performers or in the Dracula song showed footage of the movie.  We might have to go again next year and take the boys too!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Carving Pumpkins

This year, for the first time in quite a while, I decided that we should carve pumpkins as a family.  Now that the kids are older, I figured it would be much more enjoyable.  We did it when the kids were younger and it was just a lot of work for Eric and I and the kids lost interest so we kind of dropped the tradition, but this year it was AWESOME!!  I bought two of the pumpkin masters books that included the tools and the kids had been looking through them for a few weeks ahead getting excited about which ones they were going to do. 

So, on Monday, October 29th, for family home evening, we carved our pumpkins for Halloween!  It was so great.  The kids each gutted and carved their very own pumpkin except Alex who said he had too much homework.  Eric did one as well and Jarem and I did his together, but Jarem did about 98% of the gutting and Eric finished that (which is my least favorite part).  Anyway, we had a very enjoyable evening together carving pumpkins and I am so glad we decided to try it again!

Everyone finished gutting and getting started with the carving. 

Tessa attaching her pattern

Jesikah just starting to carve

Finished and all lit up (Jesikah and Eric's)

Tessa's and Jarem (and I's)

Everyone behind their pumpkin, but their faces were too dark so I tried again.

They backed up a few steps and I could see their faces.
Tessa accidentally stepped on Jarem's finger just before the picture so he was crying and we told him to just smile, but he just couldn't muster one.  When we went back inside, he was still crying (which I thought was about the finger), but after it had for a few minutes, I asked him what was wrong.  He said he felt bad because his only memory of the night of carving pumpkins would be the picture with the crying face and he wanted to remember that he had a good time.  So, I took the camera back outside and got two more pictures of him with the jack-o-lanterns (below) and he felt happy.  He is a sentimental boy and that is one of the things I love about him.  The kids kept mentioning how much they loved doing it, especially Jarem and Tessa.  It's nights like this that make the frustrating days of arguing kids melt away and make me so happy to have such a great family!  It was a great night!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wake-up Casserole

Wake-up Casserole
8 frozen hash brown patties
4 cups (16 oz) of shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb cubed fully cooked ham (2 cups)
7 eggs
1 cup  milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

Place hash brown patties in a single layer in a greased 13x9 inch pan.  Sprinkle with cheese and ham.  In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt and mustard.  Pour over the ham and cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer or until edges are golden brown and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yield 8 servings

Note: This can be made the night before and kept in the refrigerator.

I subbed for bunko the other night and in this group they provide dinner--BONUS!  Diana Fuller hosted it and she had all kinds of yummy breakfast foods including this casserole.  I loved the casserole, so I got the recipe and decided to make it for breakfast Sunday morning.  I thought it was delicious and the kids liked it too.  I did make a couple of substitutions because I didn't have everything.  I used frozen shredded hash browns in the bottom instead of the patties, and I cut up pre-cooked linked sausages in place of the ham because that is what I had on hand.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Royals Travel Team

Travel teams are definitely not my favorite, but it seems that there just are not a lot of options to improve skills and stay fit in the off-season, so Alex has been doing travel soccer with the Royals again this fall. He doesn't love it, and I don't either, but it has kept him in shape and kept up his skills for school soccer (which is what he really enjoys).  He gets frustrated with it at times though because it takes up a lot of his time, and since it is a competitive league, sometimes he gets to play a lot, but more often he ends up with less playing time than the other players which takes a hit on his self-esteem and makes him a little down.  It makes me frustrated too, but we only have a few more weeks to finish out the season and then we will re-evaluate for next year.

Alex wasn't in this picture because the final game of the tournament was on Sunday, but he did play in the tournament.  His team is really quite good!

Jarem in Action

Jarem's been playing soccer this season too, and LOVES it! He says his coach always says he is "aggressive". He really gets in there and is very driven. It kind of reminds me of Alex when he was younger. He is funny to watch though because he will do these little skips while he is running because he gets so excited and the adrenaline is rushing. It is really cute to watch. More of Eric's great actions shots:

Eric's favorite!

Tessa Action Shots

Tessa is playing soccer again this season! They have recreational soccer fall and spring here. It is the right fit for Tessa. She improves every year. I think she is doing really well this season. Eric got these great action shots of her playing with my new camera. He is much better at action shots than I am.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Silhouettes and Skeletons

 Tessa had to make a large silhouette of something for her book report on the book, "Hoot".  It is about a boy who saves the owls, so she wanted Jarem to hold an owl in his hand and make the silhouette.  Since she didn't have an owl, she used a songbird.  After she had finished, I told her that it looked really good, but she really should use an owl since it was an important part of the book. So the morning it was due, I found a silhouette of an owl online and traced it onto her extra paper.  She glued it on, and it looked PERFECT!!  I thought she did a great job!
Jarem's Skeleton
The same night that Tessa made the silhouette, Jarem went to the Spillane's house to stay while the rest of us were at the church for youth activities.  Kristy Spillane has taken Jarem and sometimes Tessa almost every Wednesday since I have been over activities in Young Women.  She is awesome!  And she doesn't just babysit them, but they always do fun crafts and activities!  I think it is their favorite night of the week.  Anyway, Jarem came home with this adorable skeleton!  Thanks Kristy for all you do!!  You are awesome!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Day with Alex

Yesterday, Alex had a soccer tournament in Memphis, which is about a 4 hour drive. He wanted go to the football game and a surprise birthday party for his friend that was turning 16 on Friday night. I would have preferred to drive up and spend the night Friday, but since he had other plans, I agreed to get up early Saturday morning. I thought his first game was at 9:00, so we left a little after 4am to get him there in enough time to warm-up for 45 minutes first and grab a bite to eat.

As it turned out, his first game wasn't until 11:00. So, we had PLENTY of time. I drove all the way there so he could get rested for his games. Then since we had plenty of time, we stopped at IHOP for breakfast. It was pretty good other than the shells in my eggs, but Alex enjoyed his omelet and pancakes a lot. By the time we got to the field, we still had plenty of time, so we slept in the car for a little bit. The first game, Alex didn't get much playing time, and he didn't feel like he did very well, so he was a bit down. We talked and talked and then found a Red Robin (my favorite) and went out to lunch/dinner. We had a great time together talking and eating and talking.

Alex with his raspberry lemonade

My favorite: BLTA and steak fries
His next game was at 5:00pm, so around 4:00 we headed back.  The weather was beautiful, in fact, it was even over 80 degrees.  I had dressed warm, but was grateful for the beautiful weather and sunshine.  During the second game, Alex played very well, and he got to play a good share of the game.  He was upbeat and happy and agreed to drive all the way home.  I was happy cause I hate to drive.  So we talked all the way home and arrived at home around 11pm.  It was a long day, but I do not regret going.  It is a rare opportunity that I have that much time to spend with my oldest son.  He has had a pretty busy schedule.  He is growing up so much and becoming such a nice boy.  He has really gotten so responsible and he is enjoyable to be around now.  During his earlier teenage phase, we could hardly be together without an argument, but now, he rarely fights with me.  He is very agreeable and he sees how silly the things were that he used to get upset about.  Especially since Jesikah is now moving into that "disagreeable" stage.  He even said that he remembers knowing that he didn't have a point, but not being willing to back down.  I am so glad that he has moved past all that!  I love that boy, and I am so grateful to have him in our family.  It was an enjoyable day!!