Cute, Creative Halloween Costumes

October 12, 2012

You know how you start at one point on the internet and end up going from here to here to here … and end up somewhere you have no idea how you got there?  Yeah, me too.

That’s what just happened to me.  I ended up at an on-line magazine for Mormons “LSD Living”, and saw this article about really cute Halloween costumes for little kids.

I remember always trying to find some new, creative ideas for costumes when my children were small.

So for you who still have small children, here is a link to that idea-filled article:

I have fond memories of Halloween when I was a little kid.

We were very generic back then.  I especially liked this costume because it meant I got to wear lipstick.  Wahoo!!

I’m guessing you have some great memories of costumes you wore too — and are making some great costumes and memories for your own children.

From the past-raising-kids side of things, I can tell you that any work or inconvenience you dedicate to making memories for your children, you will be soooo glad you did it when they are grown and gone.

In the “olden days” picky eaters had it alot tougher!

August 17, 2012

There was a “conversation” on Facebook about grandchildren who were picky eaters.

And that inspired some of the grandparents to share why there weren’t picky eaters at their house when they were growing up.

Here are my two favorites:

“as a child my family’s menu consisted of two things:  take it or leave it.”

“my mom used to say ‘If you don’t eat it tonight you’ll get it with milk and sugar for breakfast tomorrow!”

These quotes are funny, but it is seriously true that food was not taken for granted then and you were expected to eat what was put before you (including the hard crusts on the bread) or go hungry until the next meal.  I don’t remember very many “snacks” when I was growing up — just three square meals.  And we were all healthy and happy — we didn’t know any different.  In many ways, we were the lucky ones, compared to all the variety of food choices kids have today.


November 3, 2011

I’m back!  We’ve been out of town visiting family which was wonderful, and at the same time the trip supplied some fodder for future posts — a win/win!

But first, I read this on facebook this morning and just had to share it because it seems like such a great visual to use with kids to demonstrate why bullying is so bad:

“A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform.
“She had the children take out a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now, even though they …said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry, but the scars are there forever.
“The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.”

a loving touch …

October 26, 2011

A friend recently mentioned that her husband was always asking her to scratch his back, and she got tired of it so she bought him a back scratcher.

It was just an off-hand comment so we really didn’t discuss it, but I’ve thought about that conversation since then and wish I had told her about my extensive experience with back scratching.

There are definitely two kinds of back scratching — when the back itches — and as a loving touch.

I don’t remember why I started this practice, but I have used back scratching as a loving touch for my family for a long time.  DD has told me that she fondly remembers me coming into her room to wake her up when she was a little girl and scratching her back as I told her it was time to get up.

And I’ve continued that practice.  If one of my loved ones is sitting near me, or a small one is on my lap, I will just give them a little back scratch.  The response is always a positive one — from a loud “ahhhhh” to just a simple sigh — and almost always followed by a thank you.  And with Hubby, unsolicited back scratches for him are a long-time habit, which he always says he appreciates.  But, by the way, if his back really itches he has a back scratcher.

So my advice is that when a loved one asks you to scratch their back, if it is because it really itches, hand them a back scratcher.  But, if it’s possible it’s really a request for a loving touch, take the time to give it.

I like it that when I am gone, one of the memories my grandchildren might have of me is as a great back scratcher!

a tape recorder, a calculator and a fife, yes … confetti, no

July 18, 2011

Our daughter DD was always a pretty creative kid.  And when she was about 10 years old she surprised me with this little talent I didn’t know she had.

She had been busy up in her room for a while.  Then she came down to the kitchen where I was working, carrying her tape recorder and the hand-carved fife we had bought for her at a local festival.

She plugged in the tape recorder and said, “Listen to this!”  She pushed “Play” on the tape recorder and then put the fife to her lips.  When the song Chariots of Fire started playing, she played along on her fife.

That was very nice, but who was playing the song on the tape recorder and what instrument had they used?

She then told me she had discovered that, because each key on a calculator played a tone, she could play a song on it.  So she used her tape recorder to record herself playing Chariots of Fire on the calculator and then she had the idea to accompany her recording on her fife!  I was much more impressed after I heard that!  What a fun surprise it was that our very young daughter had been so inventive.

DD was a child who loved to treat us to little surprises like this.  I remember another time she came down and asked me to come up to the spare bedroom for a surprise.  When I got upstairs the door was closed.  When I opened it, she “surprised” me by throwing a grocery bad full of tiny pieces of paper she had torn up into the air so that it “rained” confetti.  That surprise ended up not being as much fun for her as she had thought.  After I recovered from the confetti rain, I told her that that was very nice, but she would have to now pick up all the tiny pieces of paper.

When you’re a clever think-outside-the-box little girl, some times when you surprise your family with your creativity are bound to be more successful that others.

I love you DD.  And I loved most of your clever-little-girl surprises, but the confetti, not so much.

More than one Psycho Mom

June 9, 2011

Writing last week about DD as “Psycho Mom” reminded me of a memory from when I was a young, excitable mother with small children.

We lived in an old house in a small town.  One of the houses behind us had recently been sold and I had seen the mother out in the backyard with her children for the first time earlier that day.

When Hubby got home from work, I earnestly told him that I was worried about what kind of people had moved into our neighborhood because I had heard the mother out in the yard screaming at her children!

Hubby was still too young to have learned the benefit of keeping a poker face, no matter what your wife says.  So he looked at me incredulously and then started laughing.  Then, just to drive home his point, he said, “So you don’t think you ever scream at your children?”

You might think that I would have been offended, but it hit me like a ton of bricks that he was right!  Gosh, did I sound like that woman sometimes?  I guess I did.  That was a real “ah ha” moment in my life.  I won’t say I never screamed at my children again, but I certainly was more aware that I was doing it and, I think, saved it for the most “heinous” of their “crimes”.

One thing did make me feel better.  The next time we were at Hubby’s parent’s house, I told his mom this story and how bad it make me feel to realize that I sometimes screamed at my children.  And then that lovely, sweet lady said something that really made me feel better.  She said, “Oh, I screamed at my kids sometimes when they were little too.  Don’t feel too bad about that.”  I was shocked to imagine her doing something like that and, in truth, maybe she didn’t do it but just said she did to make me feel better.  But, whichever was the case, it did help.

I had the best mother-in-law in the world, who may have told  her very excitable daughter-in-law a little white lie in order to make her feel better, but may have actually yelled at her children too!

So, if DD yells at her children, maybe she can blame the genetic predisposition she got from both sides of our family.

Stamped on the memory of a little boy

April 20, 2011

A friend’s son was visiting them recently and he laughingly mentioned that he had thought they were on food stamps when he was little.

My friend was shocked!  She and her husband are long-time business owners, for goodness sake.  They have definitely never needed food stamps.

She asked him where he could have possibly gotten that idea?  He said when he was a little kid it just made sense to him that the “stamps” they received at the “food” store must be what people were talking about when they talked about “food stamps” .

Of course, what he was really talking about were the S&H Green Stamps that were given out at the grocery store when you checked out.  I remember taking mine home and faithfully pasting them in their little books and then taking my rubber-banded bunch of filled books to the stamp store (there were several around town) and “buying” things.  I especially remember that that is the way as a young mother when we didn’t have much disposable income, I was able to get our first set of the “in” dishes of the day, Corelle.  And, btw, this same friend told me that she still has champagne flutes that she keeps in their original box from the stamp store.  That’s kind of remarkable to me since I think the trading stamps went away about thirty years ago.

So, anyway, the son is an adult now and knows that Mom and Dad didn’t have to use food stamps.  But don’t you just wonder how many people that little guy may have told his mistaken idea?  I’m sure his parents have.

This reminds me of when we went to orientation for Gunny’s kindergarten class.  The teacher told us, “I promise not to believe everything your child comes to school and tells me, if you will promise not to believe everything your child comes home and tells you!”  Good idea.

A parent whose child has cancer, how does that feel?

March 4, 2011

Get your box of tissues ready and read what this mother says it is like to have a child with cancer.

This reminds me that not all parents with seriously ill children have the wonderful support that Cooper’s family has.  I will pray that this mother receives more support too.

It’s tough to read this, but I think it’s good for all of us to be given an unvarnished view of what this journey is like for this mother.

I Hope

I hope you never have to hear the words,
“Your child has cancer.”
I hope you never have to hear,
“The prognosis is not good.”
I hope you never have to prepare for your child
to undergo radiation or chemotherapy, have a
port surgically inserted into their chest, or be
connected to IV poles.
Look at you with fear in their eyes and say,
“Don’t worry Mommy, everything will be okay.”
I hope you never have to hold your child as
they vomit green bile.
I hope you never have to feed them ice chips
for lunch.
I hope you never have to watch the “cure” you
pray for slowly take away their identity, as they
lose their hair, become skeletal, swell up from
steroids, develop severe acne, become barely
or unable to walk or move, and look at you with
hope in their eyes and say, “It’s going to be
okay, Mommy”
I hope you never have to stay in the hospital for
weeks, months, or years at a time, where there
is no privacy, sleeping on a slab, with your face
to the wall, where you cry in muffled silence.
I hope you never have to see a mother, alone,
huddled, in a dark hospital corridor…crying
quietly, after just being told, “There is nothing
more we can do.”
I hope you never have to watch a family wander
aimlessly, minutes after their child’s body has
been removed.
I hope you never have to use every bit of energy
you have left, with all of this going on around
you to remain positive, and the feelings of guilt,
sorrow, hope and fear, overwhelm you.
I hope you never have to see a child’s head
bolted to the table as they receive radiation.
I hope you never have to take your child home
(grateful but so afraid) in a wheelchair because
the chemo and radiation has damaged their
muscles, 35 pounds lighter, pale, bald and
And they look at you with faith in their eyes and
say, “It’s going to be okay, Mommy.”
I hope you never have to face the few friends
that have stuck beside you and hear them say,
“Thank God that is over with,”…because you
know it never will be.
Your life becomes a whirl of doctors, blood tests
and MRI’s and you try to get your life back to
While living in mind-numbing fear that any one
of those tests could result in hearing the dreaded
“The cancer has returned” or “The tumor is
And your friends become even fewer.
I hope you never have to experience any of these
things…Because…only then…
Will you understand…

Author: Carol Baan

There will be no further Re-marks!

February 28, 2011

Mommy was putting Susie in the bathtub before bed.  When she helped Susie out of her clothes, she was shocked to see blue marker all over Susie’s backside.

Mommy:  “What happened here!  How did all this blue marker get on you?!”

Susie: “Katie and Robbie and me were coloring with markers and we colored each other.”

Mommy immediately gave Susie a little talking to about how she should never pull down her pants, except when she was going to go potty.

Then Susie said:  “I bet Robbie is really going to be in trouble, because we colored his front side!”

A story told to me by a friend about her daughter who is now in her thirties.

The art of a heart-felt thanks

December 29, 2010

On Christmas Eve day, Hubby and I went to the mall (yes, us and thousands of other crazy people). At lunchtime we went to one of the restaurants to eat before going home. Just after we sat down, one of our nephews walked in with his four small children. They stopped at our table for a minute to say hello, and then were seated on the far side of the restaurant.

When we were ready to leave, Hubby in the spirit of the season, told our waitress that he would like to pay our nephew’s bill too. She arranged that and he told her to just have their waitress say Merry Christmas from his aunt and uncle when it came time for our nephew to pay.

It felt good to get to buy lunch for our nephew and his children.  Just last summer, after much prayerful consideration, he gave up his job in banking and he and his family moved back to the area so that he could attend the seminary and become a pastor. We believe he will make a wonderful pastor and we’re proud of him and his wife both for being willing to make the sacrifices it requires for him to go back to school, even for such a worthwhile reason.  Fortunately, his wife is an IT person who can work from anywhere in the world, so she was able to keep her job even with the move.

Anyway, we figured the next time we saw them he would mention that he appreciated lunch. But we got so much more in the mail:

Does it get any better than that? It touched our hearts that he had involved his children in making a thank you note for us.  It’s a little hard to read in this photo, but way up in the left hand corner it says “Dear Uncle Jim and Aunt Sandy”.  And in the middle it says, “Thank you for lunch.  It was very good.”  And at the bottom they’ve all signed it.

I think those must be pictures of some of the foods they ate. Obviously a toasted cheese sandwich and a hamburger, and I bet the yellow are french fries. I’ve had to think about the rosy red spots.  I doubt that they had strawberries, so I’m guessing those may represent glasses of some red drink.  I can’t even come up with a guess about what the brown stuff is, but whatever it is, I think it looks overcooked, don’t you?

What a fun, unexpected surprise for us in a time when thank you notes are few and far between, especially hand-made ones.

Thank you, Aaron, for helping your children make us such a special thank you note.