Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Last Minute Scrapping

I was getting ready to go to bed tonight, excessively weary from all of our Halloweening activites, when I realized I hadn't finished my assigned scrapbook pages for the month!! Eeeek! Not the kind of Halloween scare I wanted at 10:30 at night. Luckily I had already finished one, just not posted it, so I only had one more to do. 45 minutes later, and voila, fini. Here they are in all their glory:

This one is using Karen Lewis' Climbing Trees.

This one is using Cinzia Loosemore's Back to School with Add-on. Both of these kits are available at Digital Freebies.

My job is finished and now to bed I must go before I fall out of my chair. Good night!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tombstone Hunting

Does it make me weird that I enjoy going to cemeteries? I just blame it on the genealogist in me. We spent the morning today hanging out in one of our local cemeteries. We went to find a couple of tombstones that someone had requested images of on the Find a Grave website. Someone had gotten a photo for me and I figured I needed to pay back the favor. I was lucky enough to find the office open so I didn't have to wander the cemetery aimlessly trying to find where they were buried, which is good thing since none of the lots were labeled. When I showed her who I was looking for she said that dozens of people had been there already looking for their graves and that they had no tombstones. Well, it would have been nice if someone had noted this on the website. But not one to be easily deterred I asked where they were buried anyways so I could take a picture of the lack of tombstone to prove it wasn't there. The lady did me one better and pulled out the cemetery records and let me take a picture of the page showing they were buried, and where. So between this photo of the near empty lot:

and the records page showing they were in fact buried there I think I can consider this request fulfilled.

But the fun doesn't end there. We just had to wander around and see what there was to see. Did you know that tombstones come in all shapes and sizes? I guess the good old fashioned rounded top stone is out and things like this are in:

That would be a school house complete with a little bell and school bus. He was the superintendent of schools for 20 years.

This one is probably hard for you to read, but right in the middle it says, "The Avon Lady". This woman must have really loved selling Avon to have it put on her tombstone. If you aren't into funny shapes, you can always go this route:

The mural. Or if shapes are your thing you could go for this:

The arch. Or if you are really vain, just go all the way:

The monolith. They had an entire cross laid out with their graves in the middle with a huge picture of Christ in the middle. Could be seen as religious, or just plain ostentatious. Especially right next to the empty plot full of people who can't even afford a headstone. Oh well.

I was on my way over to make fun of this headstone:

with it's Big Bird carving in the middle. But then I read what it said. They lost their 3 month old baby. So instead of laughing I was now crying. And then right next door was this one:

She was 22 when she died and had only been married 2 years. Still crying. I took a lot of pictures so my camera would be to my face and Anton wouldn't notice me being all silly and crying over people I didn't even know. I wandered away from the sad tombstones and let this guy cheer me up a bit:

And then it was back to laughing, this time at the innumerable bunches of tacky fake flowers everywhere.

Almost every grave had some.

Even some graves with no headstone.

And I do mean they were everywhere.

Do you see them all in the distance there? I made Anton promise me not to have a built in vase on my grave and no fake flowers allowed. Real ones laid in front of my tombstone will do just fine, thank you. Better yet, just bury me and go on with your life and don't worry about the flowers at all.

Monday, October 29, 2007


For a few days now I've been craving buffalo chicken wings. Now while a Chili's has just opened down the street, I couldn't justify the expense of eating out yet again. So with the support of my trusty foodie Pioneer Woman I set out to make my own buffalo chicken wings.

Although I live in the South, I haven't been here long enough to soak up the true art of frying. I resorted to my back-up foodie that specializes in Southern food, my sister Andrea. She walked me through the nerve racking process of trying not to burn my self while frying wings. After a little trial and error I finally got those wings frying away.

I think I fried them a little too long, but they still came out looking nicely golden brown and extra crispy (thanks to the bit about frying them too long).

Then I whipped up the simpler-than-expected buffalo concoction of cayenne pepper sauce and butter:

(Terrible photo!)

Then came the moment of truth. Would they be good enough to satisfy my craving?

Well they sure looked good, and that ranch blue cheese combo doesn't hurt one bit. And the final verdict? DELICIOUS (as Andre would say). Anton has declared I have to make them again. These were much easier to make than I expected and they were beyond good. We looked like we hadn't eaten in years the way we were slurping them down. And they weren't too hot either. Just a nice pleasant burn, but no runny noses. Yummmm. And here's the aftermath:

While it was tempting to lick the extra sauce off the plate, I resisted. And to finish it all off? Blue Bell Cookie Dough ice cream of course. I had to balance out all the spicy wingness. What a great dinner combo. And yes, that's all we had.

Craving satisfied.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Let the Festivities Begin!!

Halloween is the beginning of my favorite holiday season. Between it and Thanksgiving and Christmas I don't think you can get a better time of year. Throw in some nice cool fall weather and I'm sold. We began our Halloween festivities yesterday. We don't get big into decorating or the trick-or-treating, what we love about Halloween is the pumpkins!

First step, get the pumpkins. We usually like to go to a pick your own farm, but with all the rain we'd been getting, we decided we would just get them locally. We went to a church that had a bunch out front, but after seeing the prices we ended up getting one little one there. But we let the kids run around and have fun.

Alex kept trying to pick up pumpkins that were at least twice his size. He usually just managed to pull them over on himself. It was really cute. Ella picked out at least 10 pumpkins that were the perfect one for her. She finally narrowed it down to the small one we ended up getting.

She insisted on carrying it the whole time. On the way home we stopped by the grocery store to get pumpkins for the rest of us. Alex just got a little bitty one:

He likes holding it, and of course, chewing on it.

Last night was the great carving ceremony. This is a big deal to us. We don't do your normal everyday pumpkin faces. The harder the pattern the better. Though this year I decided to take it easy. Ella has never carved pumpkins before.

She was really excited to get started and carve a "happy face" as she kept declaring to everyone. She wasn't so sure about having to clean out her pumpkin. She kept saying, "My hand is dirty." I had to convince her that when it comes to pumpkins, messy is OK.

Now Alex is a whole 'nother story. He had no problem sticking his hands right down into the piles of pumpkin goo.

We actually ended up putting him in his highchair and plopping a big pile of pumpkin filling in front of him to play with. I think he ate quite a bit of it. Not surprising. Not to be outdone by his son, Anton had to get in on the action too.

Silly daddy.

We had to take a break from our elaborate pumpkin carving in order to put the kids to bed. And what better way to leave things than like this?

That was Anton's pumpkin. It looks like it's been murdered.

But after much cutting and sawing and scraping and more sawing, our pumpkins were finally done. Wanna see?

Ella was already in bed so we didn't get a picture with her and her pumpkin. Her's is the middle one. See how happy? She picked out exactly what shapes she wanted and where to put them and I carved it out for her. Now you want to see them looking really cool?

Mine is on the left and Anton's is on the right. I think they turned out pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Such fun.

The fun continued on this evening when we went to a Halloween party for church. Anton wasn't going to dress up but I insisted. So at the last minute we were brainstorming like crazy. I think we ended up doing pretty good.

Do you get it? I am the tower where the princess is being held captive by the dragon and Anton is the knight in shining armor coming to rescue her. Cardboard and aluminum foil are the homemade costume designers best friends. We ended up winning best family costume at the party. Alex and Ella were so cute in their costumes.

Alex was enjoying all the candy to be had.

And this girl has to be the pretties princess ever. What a doll!

Our friends Andre and Tonia had the funniest costume ever.

She's got the bun in the oven and he is the baker. How hilarious is that? They actually used parts of their stove to make it.

I also won the best pumpkin contest. Even though they tried giving the award to Amelia. Amelia, Amanda, I guess I can see where one would get confused. :o)

But the fun had to come to an end when it started getting too cold and Alex dumped ice water all over himself. But we'll get to do it again on Wednesday for the real thing!

On a non-Halloween related note, what is it with little boys and getting hurt? I don't think Elle ever managed to hurt herself as much as Alex does. Of course, Alex has Ella to help him too. But yesterday he went face first into the corner of the desk. And as the good mom I am I made sure to snap a picture.

Look at that welt on his forehead. Poor baby. But he bounced back quick and was his usual chipper self.

I hope you all have exciting things planned for Halloween! Have a good night!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Higher Elevations

It had been awhile since we went on a spur of the moment adventure trip, so today that's just what we did. We headed off to the highest point in Florida, also commonly known as Britton Hill. It was about an hour and a half drive to get there and Alex thought it would be fun to cry most of the way, but other than that and some bad directions from Map Quest we managed to get there OK. So here it is folks, the highest point in Florida:

Now in case you can't read the small print let me show you just how high we were:

Our noses were bleeding, the air was hard to breathe...OK not really. Actually, the highest point in Florida is the lowest highest point of all the states. Now if you want to get technical this granite marker was really the highest spot:

It just wasn't as cool looking as the big sign. Ella did her best to be impressed but really didn't care. Alex was so unimpressed. He was much more interested in the airplanes flying over:

There was a series of trails in the park so we decided to head out for a little hike. It was a beautiful cool day and the hike was through a nice green forest (note the fact that everything is still green at the end of October!) free of visible large arachnid life.

The kids were having a great time running around playing in the woods. We let Ella have free reign of the old camera and she was snapping pictures like a pro:

What a cutie! The kids were making all sorts of discoveries. They had never seen moss before and were really entranced by it.

They sat there stroking this patch of moss for quite a while. Alex came up at one point carrying this odd piece of moss:

It was spongy and covered sections of the forest floor:

He like ripping it apart. He also was loving the acorns all over the place. Of course I wasn't loving him loving them because his way of loving them was like this:

Yes. That is an acorn in his mouth. He likes to chew on them. I'm going to get all his teeth pulled so he has nothing to chew with.

Ella is loving having a little brother right now. I'm sure this will change sometime soon, but she always holds his hand when we are walking around:

She'll stroll along singing "We are a Happy Family" which is so cute. Except of course when we are in the grocery store and she's singing it at the top of her lungs over and over and get the picture.

There was a lot of green and brown on this hike, but I made it a point to hunt down whatever color I could. And this proved to be easier than I thought thanks to the fact that it seems to be fungus season in the forest. This one here was my favorite:

It was a good foot across. Huge! And bright orange. So fun! But I managed to find something in almost every color of the rainbow.


(Not a fungus, I know, but red nonetheless.)


(I wish I'd gotten it dripping. Would've made a really cool picture.)


(More fungus!)


(That was one determined fungus to push up through that moss.)


(Now which way were we supposed to go again?)

No purple, sadly. But I did get a cool brown:

(A feast for Alex.)

It was a lot of fun to wander the park and experience such high altitudes. And since we were already up there we decided to venture into Alabama for lunch. We stopped in Florala (Florida + Alabama, the real name, I kid you not) at the local Hardee's for some mediocre food. There was a really beautiful lake there though. Then another long, crying fest of a drive home. Good fun!

And on a side note. Anton went to the doctor this morning because his ribs have been hurting since he fell off his bike mountain biking last week. Nothing broken. Just badly bruised. Nothing a little Tylenol with codeine can't help.

Have a good day!