Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Trick or Treating...

After we went to the church function, we decided to give it a shot of taking the kids trick or treating.

We went to a neighborhood where the houses were smaller and closer together. This was an obvious bust. On the block of about 30 houses, about 4 had their lights on. The kids did NOT want to walk any longer. They wanted to get into their candy, so we loaded them into the car and went home.

The ironic thing about all of this was we thought our neighborhood would NOT be the place to trick or treat. We have larger homes but they are further away from each other and most of the people have kids and we figured they would be out trick or treating.

EVERY house had lights on (except ours). The people who weren't there just left big bowls of candy on their porch. Everyone was gracious and only took a few. We came by at the tail end of the evening and all the bowls still had a lot of candy in them. Just from walking HALF of our street, the kids filled up their pails.

We wanted to go down a few more homes but the kids were so tired and cranky - because they wanted their candy now. They didn't want to get MORE candy, they just saw what they had and wanted into it THEN!

We met a few of our neighbors by trick or treating with the kids, so this was really nice.

The kids had a great night and got a decent amount of candy!

Me with Justin on the block with no one handing out candy.
Joe's self portrait.
The kids and their loot.
Joey's fake teeth. Isn't this hilarious?

Halloween Photos...

Our Church had this huge Halloween/Fall fest for the kids. They had a TON of inflatable slides and bounce houses, a train to ride on, the largest inflatable slide, and more.

Inside they had the candy walk for kids 5 and under and MORE bounce houses.

Joey stayed outside with Joe and went inside all of the bounce houses and even went down the massive slide!

Justin came in with me. Everyone just thought he was the cutest Elmo when he put his hood on (the elmo head).

Justin played all the games and every game he played he got candy.

When Joey was done doing all of the bounce houses (he got candy for doing those too) he compared with Justin, who had a TON more candy.

We tried to get Joey to do the games but he was just NOT interested at all.

The weather was GORGEOUS! I would say 70s. 

The kids before they left to go Trick or Treating. Justin was Elmo. Joey a blue power ranger.

The kids.
Justin did not like the hood part of his costume on.
Justin playing.

More Halloween Church Photos...

The games Justin played was called Candy Land.
Justin really wanted to eat his sucker he got!
Photo setup at the church. SO cute.
Joey got bored of the games quickly.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carving pumpkins...

The Saturday before Halloween we decided to carve pumpkins and get the kids involved - except they really weren't interested.

We carved one and started pulling the guts out. Joe helped Joey try it and Joey was so shocked about the goo that he started to cry. How's that for a reaction?

In the end, Joe and I carved pumpkins and pulled out the guts.

Joey and Justin watch as Joey carves out the top.
Joey, not at all happy about the guts on his hand.
Justin and his pumpkin. This one doesn't need to be carved - just filled with candy!
A cute photo of Justin.

This is how we carve a pumpkin...

Joey, this is how we carve a pumpkin.
We are now making the mouth.
Another nice photo of Joey.

Carving Pumpkins

Joe is carving the perfect pumpkin.
Well, this first pumpkin had a circle mouth, and it looked a bit, ummmm, a bit graphic to me (I guess my mind thinks that way and it shouldn't!!), so Joe went on to fix the pumpkin, then ended up with this one, which cracked me up. And then he fixed it again (see below). It was really funny.
A wonderful photo of Joey.
The two boys, Joey and Justin.

Pumpkin Photos

Some neat effects I used on my photos of the pumpkins I took. Joe carved these.

The reflection in this one is cool.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our HOA's Fall Fest

Our HOA threw a fall/Halloween fun fest for kids on the Saturday prior to Halloween. This was a great opportunity for us to break out the Halloween costumes and try them on and give them a whirl.

Justin is Elmo this year. Joey chose the Blue Power Ranger. I am unsure how he came about this decision since we don't watch power rangers at our house, but I'm sure he learned about them from the neighbors.

The setup was very nice. They had a little train they could ride powered by a riding mower of some type. They had a lot of vendors giving away things, ie pizza (Papa Murphy's), kettle Korn (a local childcare in town), little frisbees and more.

They had a bounce house, which Joey really enjoyed. They even had a petting zoo - which was pretty smelly. Justin absolutely loved it though - he's a sucker for animals.

The kids aboard the train.
Hi mom! Look at us, we're riding without you!!
The smelly, but oh so cute, animals.
Joe, Joey and Justin taking a break.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Fest

Justin's school had a 'Fall Fest' after school today at 6pm. Joey and I drove up there to get Justin to go to it. Joe dropped by as soon as he was able to get out of rush hour traffic on a Friday.

It was cute...little games where the kids always won something, food galore, the playground for the kids to play on, a little bowling game and balls to play on the court. We stayed for about an hour and a half. 

Here are some photos...

They had a cotton candy machine. Both kids were sticky and happy.

Justin wearing partial black frosting from a cupcake. 

Mrs. Kaycee is Justin's previous teacher before he went into the two year old class. She's due in 5 weeks. Isn't she absolutely adorable? Justin just loved her!

Justin playing on the playground equipment.

They had this cute backdrop setup and I had the girl taking photos use my camera. This came out cute!!

Flylady moment...

This is actually a testimonial from my friend Amy, whom I met at Flylady's Flyfest. I love it and she told me I could post it on my blog. Goes to show you how much Flylady impacts people's lives!!

Hi FlyLady
I'm the mom from the Dallas flyfest who very quickly told you my electricity story, and you asked me to email it to you.  

Quick background.. I homeschool 5 kids, age range 4-14, two with special 'concerns', and I tend to have alot going on.  I'm sometimes flying very well, sometimes really floundering!  This is my absolute coolest fly moment... a moment that I love to think about because it really encourages me and it felt awesome!
My dh had been complaining alot about the rising electricity rates in Texas, and called our local news channel to complain (he was at work when he did this).  Then he called me and said Channel 5 News would be at our house in 30 MINUTES.. that he would meet us there.. and that I needed to have the house clean, me ready to be on tv, the kids all cleaned and presentable for tv (they would be on tv too) and the last 3 years of electricity bills layed out in order on the dining room table!!!!

It just so happened that I was really flying that day!  My house was already very clean and presentable.. all I had to do was close the laundry room door and put away the schoolbooks.  I'd gotten showered, make-up, hair, and dressed to the shoes that morning.  All the kids were clean and showered and nice looking and had shoes on!  And all my electric bills were together already, I just had to ck to make sure they were ordered correctly (they weren't, but that took me about one minute to do).  We actually had about 10 minutes to spare before the news crew got to our house.  I just blessed the house alittle with some dusting and by lighting a candle (oh.. and catching the cats and throwing them in the garage).

The news guy, a well known newscaster in the Dallas area, said he was SHOCKED that I had everything so pulled together on almost no notice.  They were literally at our house within 22 minutes of my husbands phone call.

We were on the 5pm, 6pm and 10pm new for 2 days.. and everyone saw us.. my friends, my husbands coworkers, everyone.. they saw our kitchen, living room, screened porch, me, the kids, the dining room with the bills on the table, everything.  

My dh said he was SO proud of me!!!
I was so proud and thankful for flylady too... because the old me.. could not have even dashed&stashed our home in 30 minutes!

Thank you thank you!!
flyhomeschool mom in Dallas

I really enjoyed the flyfest!  You have a wonderful team, and I loved the way your son looked at you when he brought you the flowers.  I can tell he was so proud of you!

pps. (you can edit this off my email, if you post my testimonial, if you want)
I have a 3ring binder system that I use for organizing every aspect of my paperlife, and it was inspired by YOU.  I'm so challenged by paper clutter.. can't put things in a file folder because the papers jump out and run off.  So I get 1/2 inch binders and secure our paperwork in them..  that way they can't get away from me.  I try to keep it very simple... I have binders for medical, household warrenties, that kind of thing. 

That's how I was able to get to my electricity bills so quickly! (I normally would not have kept the electricity bills, but it was a hobby of my dh to keep an eye on rates, so I made up a binder for them).

We also have an LLC, so my binders make tax prep. very quick and easy for me.  I credit YOU with helping me think of a system that would work for ME...  so thank you!!!!
- Testimonial from my friend Amy - sent to flylady!! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A little of our life...

Well let's see....

Joe finally rented Speed Racer for Joey from the Red Box Rentals. Joey loved it. I think he watched it about 10x in a row. Yes, bad mommy for not stepping in and stopping that nonsense - but in my defense, it did give me some peace and quiet.

In the middle of the movie there is a monkey that drives a car. Justin is now obsessed with this monkey and keeps asking 'where the monkey is'. Then he'll answer himself and say 'in the car'. Joe told him, 'He's hiding'. See the video below that I put on my blog. He's seriously obsessed with where the monkey is. We laugh so hard when he asks. It's quite funny.

Joey had a progress report from school this week - this is what it said:
  1. Fine Motor Skills - At Level - Cutting skills progressing well.
  2. Handwriting (ie letters, name and numbers) - At Level - Superb Penmanship (He did NOT get this from Joe. Anyone that has seen Joe's signature will understand).
  3. Phonics - At level - Correctly matches letter sounds to words beginning with that letter (I did not know this before!)
  4. Math - at level - Enjoys counting and playing math games and activities.
  5. Class Participation - At Level - Participates and answers questions during circle time.
  6. Behavioral/Following Instruction - At Level - Follows Instructions very quickly and stays on task - very well behaved.
  7. Social/Emotional - At Level - Joey plays well with his friends and is very happy while at school. I caught him humming to himself yesterday.
Isn't that bit above cute? I'm so glad he's having a good time at school. He goes to Stacy's Studio in McKinney. It's a wonderful school. 

This week on Monday I took Joey to the urologist for his yearly kidney checkup (for those that don't know - when he was 6 weeks old he had a kidney removed).

The doctor told me it's extremely rare for him to have any complications in the future with this type of surgery and that we never have to come back and see him for yearly checkups anymore!!! THANK THE LORD!!! That is such good news.

He told us regarding potty training that it's very normal for boys his age to still be behind and if he is still having issues when he gets close to going into Kindergarten, then to bring him back. He suggested getting a watch that goes off every few hours to remind him to use the potty.

Justin is talking like crazy. We can understand about 75% of what he says now. It's amazing. He's doing so good.

Alex the cat had dental work done on Tuesday this week. He had two teeth that the roots were fine but they were majorly infected (they didn't even know this until they went to clean them) and one had puss and everything in it! They majorly cleaned them out and put antibiotic in them so he's been a bit groggy and in pain.
That cost us $500 and that was with a $100 frequent customer discount! We've spent $1000 in vet bills alone for both TyTy and Alex this year, just for DENTAL work!! Geez!

Other news - Joe sold his playstation 3 and bought a super nintendo. He says he likes how much easier it is to figure out and play. Joey loves it too and has been playing some of the games with Joe.

Oh and one other thing - Yesterday we went to Albertson's to take back a few things that we were mischarged for. In the kids 'car' grocery cart was a sack of 3 Nintendo DS games. We did the RIGHT thing and took it to the customer service desk in case the owner comes back and looks for them.

The store mischarged us for a buy one get one free pork. The pork was about $14 each so we were charged for both. Because they didn't charge us correctly, we got BOTH free! That's awesome!!

I am part of a consumer panel by A/C Nielsen called HomeScan. You get this scanner sent to you in the mail. You scan ANYTHING with a bar code to record it and upload what you bought to their website and rack up points for really nice things.

Sometimes when we have a BIG shopping trip it takes me awhile to scan everything, because you scan the barcodes and then have to enter in the price you paid for it. Joe asked me yesterday if it was really worth my time to do all of this - then I found about 8 things we were mischarged for - including the pork. When we took everything back that we didn't get charged correctly, we got over $50 back and Joe said, yes, it's worth the time to go through the shopping list and scan everything. Yes, it takes time for me to do that, but in this case I found a few errors that saved us a LOT of money. Go me!!

That's what has been going on in our life!!

Ladies Night OUTTTTTTT

Monday was our Woman's Church class Ladies Night out. Desiree loves to plan these things and this one was held at the Cheesecake Factory.

We met at the Cheesecake factory for dinner. It was a nice time to get out of the house and just relax with the girls. I don't think we are supposed to 'drink' while on these outings, but I did order a Pina Colada (I just can't resist - they are sooo good).

Here are some photos.

Carolyn (Christopher's mom), Myself, and Desiree

The entire group of us. I'm at the far end on the left.
I just love Kari. She just had a baby about 3 weeks ago. Her salad is about as big as her head! It cracks me up. 
The food there is enormous. I got a turkey burger. It was sooo moist. YUM!!!