edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Candy Plan November 5, 2012

Filed under: Eats,Independence — edamomie @ 5:39 pm
Tags: , , , ,

E: Eats + I: Independence

Carving and Removal of Guts

Carving and Removal of Guts

Halloween ranks second only to Christmas as the holiday when most retail consumer dollars are spent. People buy costumes not only for kids, but grown-ups too; more decorations for parties and bucket loads of candy. Halloween costume stores pop up  in various locations and we stock up and shop early. For this family, I think our Halloween storage outweighs our Christmas storage. As follows is a Halloween recap on carving, costumes and candy handling.

 

Overly zealous in past years, we’ve had to restock on candy and be faced with carved pumpkins whose insides have turned to mush by Halloween if they haven’t already had their decoration chewed off by squirrels. This year, I bought pumpkins and candy ($14.98 value pack) five days before Halloween. The hidden bag is uncovered and ripped into the next morning at about 3:00a.m. by my 7-year-old son, Calvin, who had been obsessing about it. The carving takes place four days prior to Halloween and the Jack-o-Lanterns serve as a centerpiece days before moving outdoors on Halloween, in fine condition.

 

Witch and Gangsta

Witch and Gangsta

Weeks prior we had pulled out our Halloween bins of costumes past and tried to sell the kids on resurrecting all or portions of them for this Halloween. Tough sell. My son wanted to be a gangster and needed a whole new pin-stripped suit because the pink-stripped gangster outfit my 9-year-old daughter wore the year before would not suffice, of course. Even the cheap plastic gangster weapon – found in pieces – needed replacement. My daughter, Ava, was thinking witch. We found two respectable witch hats, six black cloaks and a black wig in the arsenal. We knew our options before heading to the Halloween store. Upon arrival, it was all too tempting to not stick with a costume re-run. Calvin got the gangster and Ava, due to indecision, ended up empty-handed on a new costume and committed to the witchy mix of options at home.

 

Halloween Grub

Halloween Grub

With Halloween on a Wednesday this year, the usual annual parties in the neighborhood occur on the Saturday prior. With minimal effort, I dress in black and add a witch hat to head to the first party with the kids. This annual party with a 2:00p.m. start time comes complete with a fog machine and elaborate Halloween fare from gummy worms in crushed Oreo crumbs to eyeballs conveyed via mini-powdered donuts topped with an M&M as the pupil, red gel lines for the veins. We last about two hours.

 

We regroup at home and try to have a substantial meal before the next party. There is little interest. Now I’m ready for costume two of the day – Elastagirl (recycled from five years prior). My husband, who has costumes set in May for the next Halloween, is suffering a set back. Apparently fabric spray for clothing is not all it’s cracked up to be. Cutting it close at 5:30, his Plan B emerges. We all take over one bathroom and finish applying hairspray, face painting and powdering. The witch turns into a mime of sorts simply because she wants her face white not green. We head to party #2 around 6:45p.m.

 

Haunted House on the Block

Haunted House on the Block

This annual party has another great spread of food – little tacos, artichoke dip and of course mummy dogs (formerly known as pigs in a blanket). Grown-ups gather around the outdoor fire pit and the kids run wild between the bouncy house, playhouse and basement. The kids are sneaking soda and snacks at all times so it’s pretty tough to monitor what they actually consume. We last til 8:15p.m., then it’s time to head out. After all, the adults need Halloween fun too!

 

With sister-in-law set to watch kids, we’re out the door by 9:00p.m. to an old-fashioned Halloween house party where we’re greeted by host Gene Simmons. We meet many bizarre characters that make the evening very entertaining. We’ve had our fill and are ready for a break from Halloween, at least until Wednesday the 31st.

 

As is tradition, I make some sort of casserole or hotdish. This year it’s Aunt Rose’s Easy Cheesy Lasagna. It’s ready to go in advance so we can be ready for the 6:00p.m. trick-or-treaters. They still catch us off-guard. We debate every year if we should go out in shifts so someone can be home to hand out candy. This year, we choose to all go out from 6:30-7:15p.m. Our neighborhood really goes all out so we don’t have to go far. We never miss the house on the block complete with staged outdoor lighting and Thriller on a loop. Ava takes her time and Calvin sprints between homes. It’s challenging to keep up with them and chat with neighbors too.

 

Candy Plan

Candy Plan

At home, we heat up the lasagna and have a fire in the fireplace. My husband also sets a major fire to one jack-o-lantern to creating a flaming pumpkin, which to me looks hazardous and threatening to potential visitors. Trick-or-treaters still come. We hand out candy til 8:30p.m., when we finally turn out the lights. The kids sort and organize their candy, eating as they go, especially the items like KitKats which are pretty popular this year. We try to bribe a few of their 60+ pieces of candy from them.

 

They kids are so worn out, they actually head to bed on their own. Ava doesn’t even take off the white face paint. Calvin puts the tooth he lost that day under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy who actually forgets to come that night. I reason with him on November 1 that too many kids lost their teeth yesterday, bobbing for apples and whatnot. The Tooth Fairy will come tonight.

 

It’s four days after Halloween now and we’ve just taken all of the decorations down. The candy still lingers. This year, rather than limit it to one or two pieces after dinner each night, I’m being much less restrictive. They can have access to it through Tuesday, then it’s gone. Otherwise, they drive me crazy obsessing about it all day and it lasts for 2-3 weeks, making the after-dinner candy treat a tough habit to break. So we have two more days to consume, then I’m getting rid of it. Their uncle offers to buy it for $5, but Ava pushes back, it’s worth much more than that. I’ll sell it to you for $20. I’m glad she negotiated. I’ll just put that money directly to their dental bill or next year’s costume purchase.

 

Medieval Wayfinding October 1, 2012

Filed under: Outings — edamomie @ 9:24 pm
Tags: , , ,

O: Outings

Enter The Unicorn

Enter The Unicorn

It was a cool and dusty fall Saturday afternoon in Minnesota (yes, it gets dusty here). Your options are: pick apples at an orchard or head to the Renaissance Festival. We opted to fest and as it turns out, it serves as a Halloween trial-run. We pull out our Halloween boxes and try to explain the fest dress to my 7 and 9 year-olds so they will have a few ideas for their persona for the day.

 

My husband starts by channeling Shrek. We reference pictures from a few years back when we bid and won a silent auction for full outfitting by Sandy Brown of M’Lord and Tailor. We offer extreme interpretations of the Medieval age – a hobo and a pirate. They take us up on it. Ava, my 9-year-old, recalls a dress of mine from Halloween’s’ past and somehow locates my pirate costume. We make some slight adjustments. Calvin, my 7-year-old, will work any excuse to wear his Dad’s old army jacket and black jeans with a good 6″ rip across each kneecap…. oh and his sister’s black boots from last year. My husband, a lover of Halloween, goes all or nothing for this type of thing. It was nothing today. I admire that. I fall into a nondescript middle-of-the-road option with a tan suede skirt and boots.

 

Medieval Elephant Rides?

Medieval Elephant Rides?

We have a full day lined up. My son has a 10:00 -11:00 football game coached by his Dad so the plan is to leave right after that. That did not quite happen, but all just as well as the party we were scheduled to meet up with — my brother, Paul, and his wife, Katie — was running late too. We arrive in Chanhassen for the fest (a good 25 minute drive from our house) at 12:45.  The parking lot is full. By the time we entered I was starved. I grab and map and we hang a hard left and I b-line for the soup line. A long line ensured popularity, right? I opt for the tomato basil soup served ala breadbowl for $7.50. I couldn’t for the life of me locate my husband and kids at this point, so continue on. I finish the soup and decided to hold onto its breadbowl container until my brother and/or kids say they do not want it.

 

After loosely informing our second party on our whereabouts, I randomly ran into them. Text to husband: We are at Ye Old Pub, join us here. Unbeknownst to us – there are chain pubs, stores and retail outlets in Medieval times too. Ye Old Pub has numerous locations, so does Ye Old Blacksmith and Jacob’s Ladder. At this point, I could see that the writing (texting) was on the wall and the tone of wayfinding challenges was set for the day, despite the most elaborate picture map they provide.

 

The Honey Shoppe

The Honey Shoppe

After finding our way to the pub, my brother and I get a beer while adhering to their strict one beer per person per trip rule. They ID too. All of the “hosts” at the fest are actors posing as townspeople. They help people get food and drink to your group. You can actually call out for help with this. We get sassy with these staged townspeople — they love to push buttons — and respond to the noble 19-year-old pub manager’s request to throw away my empty plastic cup with a Do you recycle in Medieval times?

 

Paul, Katie and I visit the Mermaid’s Cove and share a turkey leg,while no less than 25 texts are exchanged to find the whereabouts of my husband and kids. Annoying! They move quick. We finally merge the group in the NW quadrant around 2:45, a mere two hours after we entered. We test out the Crystal Stix (video) then move on to the Blacksmith and Walking Stick stores (an artist crafts wood-swirling walking sticks from the leftover broken jousting wood that are covered with glitter). My Ava is dying for one of these. I’m thinking yes. Anything to replace the tree branches she collects and brings into the car for travel.

 

Jousting Horses Meet Their Fans

Jousting Horses Meet Their Fans

The kids ride on an elephant. We watch jousting matches and scout out good honey and garlic. The dust settles. They are tired. We do a quick vote  and agreed to head home. It’s 5:00 which puts this at a three hour outing. I could have stayed longer or been more enjoyably text-free while I was there. The kids are agreeable, if not oddly crazed on the long ride home. One kid actually has to pee in his/her Renaissance mug because traffic is horribly backed up at the Huron exit to drop off Chad for the Gopher’s game. They are in stitches so much over this that I’m convinced that will be the only memory ingrained upon them from this day.

 

Next year, you can be sure I will plan dress/costume in advance, arrive early, plan to stay late (minimum five hours required!), allow time for facepainting, hairbraiding, lines of all sorts, shows (Bad Manor is a good way to experience the theatrical effects (we went in 2010)) and leisurely lounging. The kids enjoyed it and warmed up to the fact that anyone, anywhere could heckle you about anything and you were required to respond or run. Although don’t run to far — you are sure to be split up from your party and experience wayfinding issues if so. Oh, and good luck finding your car in the parking lot.

 

 

 

Knocking Out A Halloween Book October 30, 2011

A: Activities

Prepping for Book Bindery

Prepping for Book Bindery

Halloween silliness is in the air. Why not channel it into a crafty, productive activity? It started rather spontaneously with none other than the most corny of knock-knock jokes. The kids (6&8) are always trying to make up their own and it sure gets annoying. We had cycled through several pieces of fruit as the repetitive visitor (banana who? banana who?… orange you glad it wasn’t banana again?), when I felt the need to go over the whole structure of the knock-knock joke to let them try to come up with their own that were actually laughable.

 

I myself am not a jokester. It’s more my husband’s territory. We ran stuff by him to see where it would rate. The kids half-cared what either one of us thought, only that it was funny to them. Calvin, my 6-year-old, wandered off after 15 minutes, but Ava humored me through the joke-creation process.

 

Knock Knock Cover & TOC

Knock Knock Cover & TOC

We stretched a bit to come up with ten. Many, we knew, would only be funny to us and mildly funny to others if they knew the back story, which Ava fully intended to share with any audience, curious or not. At some point we started fine-tuning the language and making a list. We referenced our Halloween books for inspiration and art. We liked the idea of a lift-the-flap book and the door became the obvious flap to open.

 

We put on our writing, illustrator and publisher hat. We started with a title, cover and table of contents. Title: Who’s at Your Door? Cover: door with the flap, subtitle of Ten Halloween Knock-Knock Jokes and TOC: Drac, Punk (Pumpkin), The Ghoul, Hoo (Owl), Pig, Candy, Bat, Witch, Mummy and Leaf.

 

I did the writing – alternating colors for responses, Ava did all of the drawing and I colored the pictures. We chose the constant as the door with steps leading up to it (on each of the ten joke pages) and Ava did the bubble-thought drawings to depict what the caller implied they were on the other side of the door. For example,the clueless homeowner pictured a cute blonde girl with pigtails when the caller said they were the ghoul.

 

Pig-In-BCB and Puppy Trick-or-Treater

Pig-In-BCB and Puppy Trick-or-Treater

Here they are (assume the Knock-knock. Who’s There? precedes each):

1. Drac. Drac who? The Drac who thinks your fang-tastic. (pictured above)
2. Punk. Punk who? Punkin pie in your face with Cool-Whip.
3. The Ghoul. The Ghoul who? It’s just the ghoul next door, don’t be scared! (pictured above)
4. Hoo. Hoo who? Hoo Hoo, the spooky owl (note photo shows an owl in a tree, far away from the door)
5. Pig. Pig who? Pig in a buttery croissant blanket (inspired by food served at several Halloween parties this weekend) (pictured at right)
6. Candy. Candy who? Cand-you see I’m here for treats? (pictured at right)
7. Bat. Bat who? Batter hurry up and get your Halloween costume on! (photo pictures stressed out parent running for their clown costume)
8. Witch. Witch who? Which way to the nearest broomstick store? (photo pictures a witch with her bent broomstick)
9. Mummy. Mummy who? Mummy, you look so frightening in bandages!
10. Leaf. Leaf who? Would you like me to leaf you alone? (You must be so sick of these knock-knock jokes!)

 

Three hours later we three-holed punched the pages and thread a ribbon through it. It was a creative, artistic activity and while the jokes were a challenge for them to dream up, Ava really enjoyed figuring out how to best illustrate the dialog through pictures.

 

She’s bringing it to show-and-tell this week. I warned her that others might not get her humor. Such is life. It’s important to know what makes us laugh, I told her, regardless of what others think. Calvin thinks I’m obsessed with the pig in the buttery croissant blanket. I might be, but that’s what makes it darn funny to us. And Ava and I voted. That one is our favorite!

 

If we do a mini-publishing run on the book, she says she’s open for business and taking orders. Email edamomie@hotmail.com. Books are $4 and part of the proceeds will go to her school’s Media Center.

 

 
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