Monday, October 31, 2016

It's Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!!

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I can't believe another Halloween is upon us and yet another year has passed. Our kids are all one year older and to my dismay I know Mitchell's Trick or Treating years are coming to an end very soon! As this may not mean much to most of you, to us this is HUGE! We have been doing this Trick Or Treat, Halloween thing for 28 years straight with our kids! We have dressed up in almost every costume known to "kiddom"(I know its not a word)! Pumpkins, Bunnies, clowns, M&M's, Cowboys, Cars, Simba, witches, Cats, Pirates, Wizard of Oz characters, Mickey, Minnie, Batman, Pebbles, princesses, dinosaurs, Vampires, Ghosts, Robin Hood, Indians, gnome, you name it, we have probably been it!

I am preparing for our annual Halloween dinner, Trick OR Treating , dessert night with some of our 
friends and family here. We plan on having around 25 people so it should be a fun and crazy night!

Hope everyone has a great Halloween, check back tomorrow to hear about our Halloween here in Pa.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

More Fall Fun!

Happy Sunday

Last week in Pa was COLD! We had frosts in the mornings and jackets, sweaters or sweatshirts were a must. This weekend however is back in the 70's, YUCK! Thankfully, Halloween is going to be chilly with highs only around 50 degrees!

Every Friday I watch Jaxson, who is my grandson. He will be turning 2 on November 22. He LOVES anything to do with fall and Halloween and calls it all "his Halloween". Since I only watch him once a week, I try to do special things when I have him. This past week we went to the pumpkin and Christmas tree place I grew up going to which is in northern Md. but is only 45 minutes away from us. Its called Valley View Farms and is one of the largest garden stores in the Mid-Atlantic region.

So Friday morning Jaxson, Taylor and I headed down to Maryland. Jaxson talks extremely good for his age and is full of questions. His favorite is what people are doing? So needless to say, the entire way down and back was rapid fire with one question after the other. When we got there and drove into the parking lot, he said,"WOW, my Halloween"! lol

He enjoyed the straw maze, mini haunted house,and looking at all the Christmas trees and decorations that are up all year round. His favorite by far was the maze as he did it over and over again. In the pictures he doesn't look happy but it just because we made him stop for pictures!


As I enjoy these times with him I realize how big my first grandchild is getting and that Mitchell is past the point of really enjoying a fun place like this. I have tried to appreciate every moment with my kids and all milestones because I know all to well how fast time flies...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This Crazy Election

Image result for snoopy election
Don't worry I promise not to unfriend or kick anyone off my blog who doesn't agree with everything I say in this post. This election has really made me see a different side of people who I thought I knew. The worst part of this is that MOST individuals are this way, at least on my Facebook, are the ones who do not educate themselves on what is rumor and what is fact. Leaves me to another one of my favorite quotes that I find so true in life...This couldn't be more true pertaining to this election!!!

Image result for believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear

Although I have my own opinions on this election, I enjoy hearing other people's views pertaining to the candidates. What I don't like are the people who only see things from their own way, use Facebook as a sounding board and threaten people who don't agree with them. Honestly, just grow up people! Yes there is NO hiding the dissatisfaction this election offers. The two-dinosaur party system has over 50 percent of voters feeling hopeless. They have two candidates that they can't stand behind and wondering what to do!? Do we really have to vote for the lesser of two evils!? We must try gather accurate information knowing that most is largely biased and controlled. This is a HUGE issue!!! There is no letting us make our own opinions because the media has made our minds up for us. Dictating the spin that each story will get to rally the large majority to think the same way.

This election has certainly opened my eyes and made me more aware of the information that is being force fed to us through different the networks. We don't have to drink the Kool -Aide, there are 100's of independent sources that aren't being seen on the TV.  The internet can be used to our advantage during this crazy time. We can go out of our comfort zone and look into different opinions and rumors from independent sources not CNN, ABC, CBS.
Image result for snoopy election

Point is please do your own research on each candidate and form your own opinion based on independent sources. Yes, we are really between a rock and a hard place, but after doing a little investigating you may feel differently, who knows!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Memories of Fall & Halloween

I know I have shared memories I have as a kid growing up in the 70's before.  I have such found memories of this time of year, in school at home and in our neighborhood. Life seemed to be so much more carefree then, but I guess life as a kid is or should be as carefree as possible. Unfortunately, that's not the case for many children and that is so sad!
Image result for leaf fort

I remember this time of year being much cooler in the 70's. I can remember having to layer up every Halloween to go trick or treating. We had fires burning every evening and as we played outside after dinner you could smell it in the air. That smell still takes me back to those times. We would spend hours making leaf forts that would connect to one another. The day before Halloween we would head to the one place in town that sold pumpkins and get one to carve. It wasn't a patch, just a farm store that had lots of them.
Image result for 1970's valley view farms

Halloween was a HUGE event. Everyone celebrated and went trick or treating. Parents dressed up with the kids and walked around with them. People handed out hot drinks and cookies as well. Halloween would start at noon and go till 8 or 9. People would take their young kids out in the afternoon, then the school age and older would do after dinner. There were lots of plastic face costumes that at the times were so cool, but now I look back and think how horrible they really were! The costumes came in boxes and were only a couple dollars.

Image result for 1970's costume boxes

Image result for 1970's halloween costumes.

All elementary schools would celebrate Halloween and have school wide parades and HUGE parties. Everyone brought what was assigned for them to bring. Parents came to help celebrate also.

Life was simpler back then. Not much to distract us from just having fun, socializing with our friends and making our own fun from the things we had. I wish my kids could have been there to see how much fun they would have had despite not having all the modern technology.

My goal as a mom is to try to give my kids the opportunities to make great memories like I have.

Monday, October 24, 2016

How to have a FUN Halloween party for 12 year old Boys

Over the years we have become experts in having children's Halloween Parties. From age 3 to age 18, we have done it. Of course, its harder for the older ones, but nevertheless, its FUN!!!

This year we are had one for Mitchell, who is 12. This age is a bit of a challenge as they are right in between. They want it to be fun, and be a little scary, but NOT to scary. I have had parents message me asking how scary it will be because their boys are still afraid of a lot...Especially CLOWNS, now that the clown scare has hit the country. Mitchell is terrified of this whole "clown" thing so clowns scaring the kids at the party is a definite NO! (Side note: we had clowns in the neighborhood driving around on dirt bikes last week, now hes scared to be outside by himself!)

We have been decorating a little bit each day all week. We have thought of some fun games for the boys and have lots of cool decorations and of course food! One thing I have learned over the years is that they don't really eat to much at these parties. I use to make a ton of food and had a lot left over. I decided to get pizza then have snacks but not to over do it.

As the old rule of thumb goes, invite the number of kids equivalent to their age. Mitchell invited 13 and 12 came!!!

Decorations: (As I said before, not to scary for this age, as they do still get scared )

Lots of lights!
I think we had 1200 not including all the lit lanterns

Halloween themed games

Lots of Scary things hanging from the ceiling. .

Light up Lanterns

Halloween themed or colored table clothes

Door covers

Wall covers

Everything except lights can be bought at the dollar store

Games: (You have to have lots to keep the boys busy)

Frankenstein Frisbee throw

Eyeball cup toss

Ring around the pumpkin stems

Pumpkin hunt: We hid 25 pumpkins around our yard (one being a bonus one)

Ping Pong bucket toss

Break the balloon game

Pumpkin ball ricochet

Ping pong

Basketball free throw

We did a point system for every game. At the end of the night whoever has the most points gets to pick the first prize and so on. We always get one more prize than number of kids we expect. Most prizes I found at the dollar store, five below or ACMoore. I spend about $3 per prize.



Carved Pumpkin throwing up dip...Yummy!!!

Rice Krispy Frankenstein

Chips & Pretzels 
& Salsa


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witch brooms:

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Halloween Punch: I just mixed Hawaiian Punch with Ginger Ale and pineapple juice...(kids said it was the best punch they ever had LOL) We went through 3 large punch bowls!!

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Having parties for the kids is one of my favorite things to do, especially Halloween parties!  There is something about it that is just plain fun! Having twelve, 12 year old boys was quite a challenge, but with all the games we had planned they stayed entertained. I think their favorite game was the pumpkin hunt because they could run around the backyard like crazy guys and find the hidden pumpkins.( I think they were out there for 30 minutes or more.) There was even a monster at the end of the yard to scare the kids half to death. All in all it was a great night, although Jim and I are still recovering!  LOL

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Here we go Again!

Let me just tell you I feel completely blessed to live so close to such a great hospital like Hopkins! I know I have talked about the Children's Center and Taylor's many stays over the years. Although its a huge hospital with tons of very very sick children, when you are there with yours, its like they are the only ones that are.
Johns Hopkins Children's Center logo

Several weeks ago Taylor was once again having a lot of stomach discomfort and extreme nausea. This went on for days so we decided to do a cleansing as she tends to get backed up because she has slow bowel motility. 

Saturday we did a full cleansing, like one you would do to prep for a colonoscopy, she still was very bad. By Sunday she couldn't eat at all without having extreme pain and even more nausea, which is very bad for a kid with Cyclic vomiting syndrome. Much to her dismay, I called the GI team and they urged us to go to the ER where they would call ahead to give them instructions. We know the drill all to well and she pretty much knew based on how she felt that she would probably be admitted. 

When we arrived she was assessed and taken to a room right away. (I have NEVER had to wait in the ER there EVER).The doctor came in and examined her and within a couple minutes she was taken for an xray and a IV was started for more powerful nausea meds. About 30 minutes later the doctor came in and say she was being admitted and said that she was still quite impacted and there looked to be a blockage in her colon. They told her they would have to put a NG tube down her nose and into her stomach. This is one of her most hated things she has to have done from time to time and she was NOT happy about it. They placed that in the ER and off we went upstairs to her room.

As soon as well got to the floor she was greeted by some nurses who she has had before and they were fighting over which one would have her this stay. Its not fun to be in a hospital setting when you feel horrible, but its nice to be at a place that treats you so good! As a mom its heartbreaking watching her go through so much, but they as a team, make it so much more tolerable!!! 

She was given meds overnight to break up the blockage and clear her out and it worked. The next day she was feeling much better and was able to come home.

Like I said at the beginning, we are so thankful to have this world renowned hospital within an hour of our house. The care we receive every time we are there is phenomenal down to every janitor, secretary, etc. We call it the Disney Way...

Hopefully that's our last inpatient stay this year and in the near future. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Apples Pumpkins and Fun

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This year fall is taking its good old time getting here and staying. We have had some cool days, but then much more warmer days. I HATE it but our fall festivities must go on despite the weather. 

As I have said in the past we are so lucky to live in this part of Pa, where farms, orchards and pumpkin patches are plentiful. This past week we visited three different farms and or pumpkin patches with Jaxson. He is almost two now so loves every minute of it. He can say plain as day, "Have a Happy Halloween", which he said like 100 times to every person he saw. It was adorable!

He enjoyed the patch more than anything. He ran around and sat on almost every pumpkin and tried to pick them all up.

He's always very proud of the pumpkin he picks, until the stem breaks off, which is all of them, then he gets very upset and wants to put them back...

This weekend he spent the night and we decorated his windows for Halloween. He had a great time and after we were done he sat on the chair and said,"Take a Pic MeMaw" and smiled with his cheesy smile! 
Yes people told me being a grandparent was going to be great, but no one could have explained how great! 
Hope you have a great fall weekend despite these crazy temps!

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Friday, October 14, 2016

My New Toys

You know your getting old when household appliances and such excite you!

I know I can't be the only one who LOVES a new vacuum, oven, washer and dryer, etc. I have to say a new washer is one of my favorites though. It just seems more fun to do the laundry when you have a new gadget...
cat machine versus washing

I like to make things easier in the kitchen as much as possible. Having to make a veggie meal and a meat meal most times. That means I have to use multiple pans, or two big crock pots which is a pain in the butt. I have thought about getting a triple crock pot but they were usually too small to make a meal bigger than two people and more for dips.

The other day I was looking on a new site I follow called Offer Up. There was one of the triple Crock Pots a lady was selling. They were all three 2.5 quart and had the removable crocks and individual settings on each one. It was a very nice, heavy duty and was The Original Crock Pot brand. Best of all it was only...$15!!! The lady said she paid over $100 for it and she never used it! Wow, this could make my life a little easier with less dishes and mess. I bought it and used it the very same day!

So it is less than a week old and I have used it twice already. It was perfect, like I hoped, for a veggie meal and a meat one. Veggie Chili, Beef chili, and apple crisp last Sunday. Last night was Squash soup in one, Pork roast in the other and a fancy rice thing in the last one. Toss a salad and everyone is happy. The only Bad part about my new toy is that it is 31 inches long, so if you don't have space to store it, its not a find for you...

Now that i'm on a roll, I would love to have a new vacuum!  I don't mind getting one for my birthday or Christmas either! 
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Falling for Fall

Happy Hump Day Everyone!

So fall has officially arrived! As you all know, I LOVE fall and everything it brings! The changing of the leaves, the crisp cool mornings, Leggings and sweaters, Pumpkin picking, the silent permission to put your PJ's on early!

This past weekend we were able to enjoy the temps and beauty fall as we went to Lake George and New England for a long and relaxing weekend! The foliage was not yet at its peak but nevertheless it was breathtaking, but Lake George always is!

It was a couples only weekend,  which meant NO KIDS!!!  So it was Jessica & Brian, Brian's parents, and Jim and I.

We left our house Friday morning early to make the 7 hour gaunt to the Lake. We arrived by two, got unpacked and headed straight to the Lake to take the boat out! I didn't grow up on the water, so I didn't quite realize how much cooler it would be on a boat when the regular air temps are in the 50's! Luckily I brought an extra sweatshirt!

On Saturday we decided to take a ride to Vermont, which is one of my favorite states! We took a ferry to the other side of Lake Champlain which was Vermont. We drove the scenic country roads to the beautiful quaint town of Middlebury. We walked around the town, found a cool wooden bridge which crossed a stream that had a cool waterfall. It was like something off of a Lifetime Movie!

When we were done touring, shopping and enjoying the weather we found a nice cozy restaurant that boasted the BIGGEST SALAD BAR IN VERMONT. Having two vegetarians with us, it was a great find! We headed home after and we just hung out for the night in front of the warm fireplace playing cards.

Sunday we all slept in a bit then headed to the lake around 11. We decided we were going to take the long, cold, but beautiful boat ride 45 minutes sound to see the famous Sagamore Hotel and eat at a nostalgic restaurant directly on the water. Although we pretty much froze our butts off, it was a spectacular scenic ride! Of course when we finally arrived at the restaurant, we treated ourselves to some delicious hot drink specials they offered!

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We saw the Sagamore from the water, it was beautiful with the mountains surrounding the hotel and trees beginning to change color!

That evening we went back to the cabin and just hung out, had a late dinner and watched football. Monday morning we left early as we needed to get back home for some appointments.

Our weekend was a well needed and deserved one away after a month full of drama and heartache. Bad decisions made by one kid, and Taylor ending up back in the hospital with another intestinal blockage.

Welcome to life with six kids. It may not always be easy, but if you appreciate the good times, pull together in the bad and pray like heck in-between you can make it....just like us!