Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our Time-Traveling Jack-O'-Lantern: A Retrospective

Halloween 2007: (from top to bottom) the work of Uncle Sam, Uncle Mike, and Daddy

Halloween 2006

Halloween 2005

Halloween 1999: Our first joint carving project (mine on the left and David's on the right)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sad News on the Pumpkin Front

I had planned to try lots of new pumpkin recipes this month. But our October has been somewhat unpredictable due to several bouts of illness so I haven't done much baking. Yesterday, I had a little free time so Ellie and I made chocolate chip pumpkin muffins (a recipe from the Angry Chicken).

The results are yummy. But it turns out nobody in my family likes pumpkin but me. And now I have about twenty chocolate chip pumpkin muffins to eat.

I had no idea that pumpkin would be so unpalatable to my whole group (honestly what is not to like?). When Ellie saw me putting the canned pumpkin in the mixing bowl, she screamed, "Mama, why you doing that? Stop! Stop!" And then she cried on the kitchen floor until I offered her a bowl of chocolate chips as a consolation.

David isn't too interested in sweets so I didn't really think he would be into this project.

But Brenden really surprised me. I have now offered a muffin to him on two occasions, with no success (and a lots of messy spit-out muffin on the floor). "Yuck."

So no more pumpkin, I guess. When I was putting Ellie to bed last night, she told me, "Mom, I still had fun cooking with you today even though you made something really disgusting."

Thanks, El.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Month of Halloween

I remember Halloween being pretty much a one-day celebration when I was a kid. When October 31st came around each year, I was excited to reveal my costume to friends and head out trick-or-treating after school. My family’s only pre-Halloween activity was a trip to a pumpkin patch to choose a pumpkin to carve.

But the whole culture of Halloween has changed since then. I have been celebrating Halloween with my kids for WEEKS now.

Halloween costumes were out in stores by Labor Day and you had to move fast because options were picked-over or sold-out by the end of September. My kids’ costumes (a cat and a dog) are tattered and dirty because they have worn them so many times already. We are going to wear them again this weekend for a pumpkin-carving party. Ellie now regards her cat costume as just another choice in her wardrobe (last Thursday she said, “I am going to wear my cat outfit to the grocery store today, Mama.”).

And we have attended one Halloween event after another. Last weekend, we hit the Chicago Park District’s Oz Park Pumpkin Patch (along with literally every other mom, dad, and tot on the North Side of the city). Then we did pony rides, pumpkin painting, a costume parade, and a puppet show at the Halloween Festival at Ellie’s pre-school. We had plans to go to Boo at the Zoo today, but decided against it because of weather and general Halloween burn-out. Halloween is still four days away. What is left for the actual big day?

Way too much, it turns out. Come Wednesday, Ellie has a little party at school where each child gets a treat bag. After school, we are off to meet up with neighborhood friends for trick-or-treating and then back to our house for a little Halloween dinner party. I am expecting Ellie’s sugar intake on Wednesday to be a lifetime high for her.

All of our Halloween activities thus far have been fabulous and my little ones have enjoyed each one. And I am looking forward to taking them trick-or-treating this Wednesday. But I do confess to feeling a little burned-out and eager to pack all of the Halloween stuff away until next . . . September, I guess.

Cross-posted at ChicagoMomsBlog.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Plague Upon Our House

First Brendan, then Ellie, followed very quickly by Mommy. And just when we thought we were done with the whole nasty outbreak . . . Daddy has been stricken with the stomach flu, too.

I guess it is just that time of year (and the reality of having wee ones). The weather has turned cool. We have a child in preschool. We frequent a variety of locations teeming with children and their germs. What can you do?

But it is still yucky. We wash our hands, I swear. I carry a variety of hand sanitizing wipes and gels in all my car, my bag, etc. Ellie is getting really good at coughing into her arm, rather than her hand (or my face). Oh well.

And even as David recovers from his bout with the stomach flu, Brendan has developed a runny nose and slight fever. A cold on deck?

Friday, October 19, 2007


Exploring during a walk in our neighborhood;

Swinging at Wicker Park;

Getting an early start on the raking;

Playing with our farmer's market finds.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Scene From Our Morning

Me: "Ellie, come upstairs and get dressed for school NOW. I have asked you three times."

Ellie: "Mommy, the nicer thing to say is, 'Hey Ellie, would you please come upstairs with me and get dressed, please?' That is the good way to talk."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Croissants For Dinner

I am usually not into recipes that have a start-to-finish time of over nineteen hours. But I have been thinking about making homemade croissants for about the last six years, so I decided to try it out this weekend because I don't think that there is ever going to be a "good time" to embark on a nineteen-hour baking project.

My first attempt took more like twenty-nine hours, but the results were delicious. Ellie and I rolled them together, so they were a little nontraditional in their shape. The recipe actually wasn't terribly complicated, just time-consuming.

Here was the only problem: I am not much for baker's hours. The final step required you to roll out the dough and shape the croissants and let them rise for two-and-a-half hours before baking. We eat breakfast around 7:30 at our house. That means a 4:30 wake up to have these things fresh for breakfast. No way.

So we had warm croissants for dinner. Ellie said it was "ridiculous." I would eat them every night if I had twenty-nine hours to make them each weekend.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pumpkin Planning

I have about five cans of pumpkin at the ready. Plus I have an actual organic sugar pumpkin (a first for me).

Here is the line-up I have in mind:

Pumpkin ravioli with a butter, sage and (hazelnut?) sauce.

Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. A combination second only to peanut butter and chocolate.

Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Pumpkin Bread. I am always reluctant to share the yummy loaf my Mom brings me each year with my husband and kids. I am going to try the recipe myself this year so we can all have some.

And then I am moving on to squashes (delicata, spaghetti, butternut, acorn). Such a yummy (and plump) fall.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I let Ellie watch Dancing With The Stars last night. . . and tonight (she wanted to see the results from last night's show). Not a good idea. I know, I know.

After Brendan was tucked into his bed, Ellie and I could have spent our alone time coloring together, baking, working on a craft, maybe tidying her room. Instead, we danced the quickstep in our kitchen (our version) while watching age-inappropriate television.

I am not much for tv around here (much less reality tv on abc). We have too many other things to do. Plus, I never seem to want to watch anything that's on (a smidge of college football, post-season baseball, and Project Runway aside).

But the girl loves to dance. She loves sequined clothing and crazy hair. She loves an orchestra.

A few choice comments from our viewing:

"We need to keep practicing our tango, Mommy."

"If I go to bed, how will the stars dance without me?"

"When I go on this show, I gonna wear a red dress."

A Funny Mummy

I have found that has some entertaining/helpful/interesting things to say, as well as links to other fun sites. In particular, I enjoy crabmommy's blog. Here is one of her recent posts that feels familiar . . . . so familiar.