Thursday, October 30, 2008

Consider Yourself Carded!

My Dad used to call me "Busy Fingers" as a nickname when I was a girl. My hands were busy crafting this and that, and I made a LOT of homemade cards for my family members especially. This year, I returned to the card-making aspect, and have had such fun! I made cards for my "Greats," the youngest set of nieces and nephews, my own kids, neighbor kids, friends and family near and far. If I perhaps missed sending one to you, consider one of these YOUR cards! Batch #1 (above) used googly eyes stickers.)
Batch #2 (above) used fabrics, and sewing machine for the more mature recipient -sorry it is blurry!

Batch #3 used vintage puffy stickers.

I also made a couple of books for the littlest of loved ones using those funky stickers that make movements with the handling up and down motions and called the books 'Shake, Rattle and Roll!' Skeletons danced their jigs, bats moved their wings, and sayings popped up with the twist of the page.

Most of the materials I used were from Target...I love their scrapbook and $1.00 section! Yes, some were from Dollar Tree and JoAnn Fabrics, too.

Happy Halloween, Everybody!

If you would like to be added to my card list next year, let me know on this blog and I'll see what I can do.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Call Me Grand-meow.

Seriously, I love Halloween. Not the gruesome elements of it like those haunted houses for touring with blood and guts and severed appendages...yuck. No, I like the excitement of children regarding it. The planning (and changing of minds) for costumes to be worn. What kinds of candy will be given out and received. The carved Jack 'o Lanterns on porches. The clever cards. And what gifts to give to my kids even now. (They have already recieved their once-a-year Count Chocula or Boo Berry cereal boxes with Target Target gift cards.)
So, how exciting is it that THIS YEAR I have Grandkitty Oliver to think about? What treats could I give to him? I want to be mindful of how his "parents" are in regards to diet, so cat candy is out of the question. Anne had said she was thinking of getting him a costume, so I had to avoid competition with what I brought in. Toys? He has favorite mice for tossing and fetching, so that was out, too. When I spotted a blinking lights witch headband, I KNEW this is what I had to give to my wild-but-adorable Grandkitty. It would fit around his belly, and the lights would add a festive touch as he ran around in the dark! In a snap, it could come on and off his body. (To the right: the costume Anne bought for Oliver.)
This is Oliver with the witch on his back. The costume was a success in that it stayed on while he zipped around the back yard. The costume was a failure in that it freaked the poor little guy out to have a witch on his back.
Here's the Frankenstein container his witch costume came in. This is a staged pose of him trying to retrieve a treat from it...pretty cute, huh? One thing Oliver really DID seem to enjoy was checking out the various wild drying seed pods from plants Anne and I plucked while on a neighborhood walk. It really looks quite Halloweenish
now at their place! But, I still think I am more excited about Halloween than any of them are.
(And a shout-out goes to Linda Y. for coming up with the name Grand-meow for me!)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spooked Out

Long ago, on weekday afternoons, I tuned in to a TV soap opera that my parents didn't very much approve of. Called Dark Shadows, it featured the vampire Barnabas Collins. Werewolves, ghosts, witches, warlocks, zombies and other various monsters made their way into the plot. It was dark. It was strange and eerie. And I was taken in. The show's run came to an end in 1971 and it was no longer the same thrill to come home from high school and find the TV screen filled with these fangs ready to open on yet another victim. So, when Anne delivered this book to my hands, I was taken in again by a strange plot of vampires and werewolves in a much updated format. Perhaps you have heard of the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer? The fourth book was recently published and I have read them all now. (Soon, a movie will be released as well.) I realize that this topic of werewolves and vampires is an odd genre for me to "ingest" is SO not me. Usually, I prefer books with plots featuring people working through poignant relationships, biographies, non-fiction "how-to" topics, books with foreign settings and - of course - children's books. But, these books are really well written and quite original. One thing about them, however, has changed how I feel when I am out walking in the woods and happen upon this sight: (Click on the picture to make it larger if you can't see what is in the center.) Now when I see something like this is the woods, I can almost see Edward and members of his family bounding quickly forward to meet its prey. This picure was taken yesterday at the Old School Forest Preserve nearby. We were the only ones out walking late in the afternoon and we saw so many white-tailed deer we lost count! Spooky what the imagination and a book plot can do!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Peek at Peak

And so the months pass with our house still on the market. Who knew when we listed it that this would probably turn out to be the worst time to do so? I'm learning patience. And trying to appreciate our life here in this pretty part of the county as fall progresses.
It really is lovely watching the leaves change color and the air becoming crisper. Over the weekend, Wes and I took the time to take a l-o-n-g walk in the Daniel Wright Forest Preserve. (Due to reading a trail map incorrectly, it was twice as long as we had anticipated, but it sure gave us a chance to use our foraging skills and converse at length!)
The question came up: "How do you really know when the colors are at their peak?" We think it is harder to tell in some places more than others...especially here in Illinois. In the U.P. of Michigan, the colors all seem to explode pretty simulateously with brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and lime greens and are offset beautifully with the dark green pines. Here? You can see ONE tree that is firey red, and the tree next to it is summer green, and next to that one is a tree with bare branches.
No matter what the peak time is, it still feels good to be out walking in the woods, especially when it comes to crunching in the leaves and smelling the earthy scent. It always amazes me that there can be so many leaf shapes on the forest floor, combining together the species forever as they decay and provide for the next generation of new life. Never before have I seen a leaf like this one. Huge. With two leaves on the stem before the big one pops out. And the cutest little baby leaf shape attached to the top. Good thing I work at a library and can give myself the research assignment of naming its tree. Do you know it?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prom Goers

It has all the components of a prom: fancy dresses, tuxedoes, sparkling jewelry, a location that is prominent, elegant flowers and towering table centerpieces, candlelit votives, a "live" band and dancing, notable guests, honorees who wear crowns (or get crystal sparkling vases), and manners heightened when speaking to others.
This occasion has been dubbed The Swedish Prom or The Covenant Prom by those "in the know." And we attended said occasion this past weekend as guests of Diann and Larry.
Where: The Museum of Science and Industry
When: Saturday, October 11, 2008
Time: 6:oo PM - ? (We left shortly after midnight)
Just as we entered the U Boat Submarine area for pre-dinner socialization and drinks, our photo was taken. Isn't that just like at a prom? However the beverages were different than those served at a prom.
Here we see the Prom King and Queen, Rollie and Janis Carlson! They were honored with the "Spirit of Compassion" award. We love these special people! Part of the fun of the evening gala at the Museum of Science and Industry was being able to go to special exhibits there with no waiting or lines. Here, our hosts pose with their family in the elevator going down, down, down to the coal mine. We also were able to tour the submarine and the new Smart House. Finally, it was time to kick up our heels and dance! Too bad my new shiny shoes were killing my feet by then.

We had a wonderful evening at this event...thanks Diann and Larry for having us as your guests.

As far as the "After Prom" the next morning? We were in the church nursery feeling like creaky grown-ups as we came home far beyond our usual bedtime.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Splash Down! (P*S*C #10)

Option #1 Option #2
During the outside tour of our hotel, we found two fantastic pools - one for the adults and one for the family. Guess which one I wanted to dip into the most? If you guessed Option #2: YOU ARE RIGHT!
Why? Because of the cool octopus spewing water through its many tentacles and the slide!!!
Poor Wes. I made him go, too.
Not only that, but I made him take pictures of me going down the slide.
And, at the end of the short, sweet splash down from the slide I had to flash the victory sign and he snapped that, too. What a triumph.

Later that evening, we ate our burgers poolside still in our wet swimsuits and coverups. There weren't too many people nearby, so my ears perked up when I realized a person at the next table was talking about us to the person at the next table. This is what she was saying:

"You should have been here before! There was this old couple in their 60's and she had her husband taking pictures of her as she went down the slide. It was so funny to watch them having so much fun. The kids were all watching them!"

Okay, so we got noticed. But, what gave her the right to think we were in our sixties??? Ha!

The other pool was nice, too. We were with more people of our own mature age. And I happily report there were NO Speedo sightings in either pool.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Disney Magic for Two (P*S*C #10)

Conveniently, there was a Disney store right on the hotel campus. Wes bought tickets for two, "What?? No children with you? Are you sure you don't want to go to the Magic Kingdom instead...there are more rides there!" We assured the nice salesperson that this is the park we wanted to try this time around.
Sorry, Anne and John. that we only took you once to Disney World when you were younger and that you missed out on this park. It was waaaaaaay fun for us two "empty nesters." With no young ones in tow, we felt almost sorry for those parents who were trying to cope with kid meltdowns and overheated, cranky babies. However, we did feel our heartstrings tugged because it wasn't so long ago we were sharing the magic with the kids there ourselves.
We arrived at the park even before it opened, and stayed until closing. We tried to cover the whole map and attend all the shows and even the parade. We, however, opted out of the Kali River Rapids - due to the warning of being utterly soaked afterwards - and the Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain because of being wimps. Truly, it was all a blast and the Festival of the Lion King show was almost like being on Broadway!! Finding Nemo - The Musical was fabulous as well. Now, here's the topper...we were found by the Disney "Dream Team" after leaving the It's a Bug's Life show and awarded with our own personal Mickey Mouse ears! You'd have thought we won the lottery with how excited this made me. The ears are silver and have blue clouds and sparkles on the headpiece part. (Check them out in the show below.) With too many photos to post, I thought it best to do a picture slide show. Enjoy the magic! It felt (feels) good to be a kid again. However, I think a kid would recover by the next day from all the excitement and walking, but we're still working on that back home again...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Pink Suitcase Chronicles #10: Goin' South

A while back when Wes told me he had a conference coming up in Orlando, Florida and asked me if I would like to join him my answer was, "Yes!!" My suitcase had never made a trip there, so Pink agreed once again to be my traveling companion. We're getting pretty good at this by now, and the convenience of traveling with carry-on luggage in these times is working out well. By now, I have figured out where everything should be tucked in all the many zippered places and pockets. This is where we stayed...I have never seen anything like it! It was giganormous with several hotel buildings connected with high glass ceilings over all...sort of a cross between Embassy Suites, Casa Bonita and Botanic Gardens. Waterfalls, rock formations, palm trees and exotic plants everywhere plus a schooner ship in a bay with live fish and sea creatures and, in another area, an alligator (live!) pond and environment. Come on along and I'll take you on a walking tour of the place! Did I mention this place also had many shops and restaurants? Guess what we bought at this place? You'll find out in the next post. We sure had a lot of fun, and earned our "ears" if you catch the hint...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Smile Award

Just minding my own business, mind you, when I clicked on to Kristin's blog to find out she named me as a Smile Award recipient! Surprise! Thanks, Kristin J.!

Here are the details:

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude.
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes.
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.
These are the rules for The Smile Award.
1. The recipient must link back the the award’s creator
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by .
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.
Here's what she wrote:
Deb: This woman has been in my life since, well, I was awkward and young. Deb has put a smile on my face ever since we met. As a kid she would come and spook my sleepovers just at the right time and tell us stories while at the same time being disguised. (She is an amazing storyteller and I am surprised she hasn't written a book yet!) Deb loves to laugh and she is contagious with her smiles and laughter. When I got married, she played a practical joke on me that lasted years........She is a delight both in person and in the blog world- I am so thankful for how she makes me and many others SMILE! Posted by Kristin Jag at 11:28 AM View my complete profile
Okay, so here goes. It is easy to think of these five people lickety split.
Anne is the smiler I have known the longest from this list. Even as a wee one, her smile was infectious and her hearty laugh amazed those who heard it. She is a cheery gal with twinkling eyes as well and let's talk about loving children!!! To see her with a child is to see joy. She is the inspiration behind my own blog starting; she's quite an encouraging sort. Though she certainly learns from others, there are many who learn from her in her role as teacher and church counselor. Truly, she inspires me!
Samara is another inspirational person, and I was introduced to her due to her friendship with Anne. Samara is one who truly exhibits love for others as she opens her arms to embrace those from all walks of life. At this young age, she's a wife and mother and has had to cope with her own mother's death recently. She remains cheerful while doing this. Samara is a talented writer and honestly describes her own life journey with love, courage, humor, depth and clarity.

Melissa goes into each day with a passion! Whether it pertains to culinary conquers, photography, faith, friendships or relationships, she gives it her all! I admire her many talents, and am glad she has become my blogging friend. To read her many blogs is like encountering an artist with the beautiful pictures she snaps...I love to enter her world through discerning eyes and heartfelt messages.

Sarah is an artist as well. Read her blog and smile no matter what she writes about...the cartoons of Agnes, the quilt fabrics and projects she chooses, or the mouth-watering pictures she posts with her love for food and Martha. I was fortunate to get to work with Sarah at the library and she's not only baking the cookies but IS a smart cookie, recently completing her MLS! She is well on her way to saving the planet, one day at a time.

Heather works with me at the library and obviously loves children from the excitement she gets in programming for them! If there would be a category for loving cats, H would be at the top of the list! Her blog is like eating the best chocolate with all the creamy, tasty, smooth details she gives in her posts about her adventures with her husband and travels. (Even if he likes the group KISS.) And, no matter what the situation, she stays the course and is kind about everybody even behind their backs!