Wednesday, December 29, 2010

‘Roll’ with it!

For Christmas Day I got this wild hair I would fix non-cinnamon rolls.  Why non-cinnamon rolls?  Texter can’t take cinnamon.  So I did a little online searching and found this recipe.

DSCN1548 Some had brown sugar and pecans.  The others had mini-chocolate chips in them.

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Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of the cooked ones.  That’s how fast they went.  And they are ssssooooooo good.  The dough is fixed in the bread machine, so it’s super easy to make.  I made two batches, since I was sharing with others.  The recipe calls to make them and just cook them immediately.  Since I made the dough the day before, I fixed them and put in pans in the refrigerator and pulled them out early in the morning to rise.  Did I mention they were good?

They call for a sugar glaze, but they are actually sweet enough without it.  I made some Monday morning and put some cream cheese frosting on them as I pulled them out of the oven.  Still great tasting.  Savvy only got to hear about it, like the snow.  While I can’t recreate the snow, I can make some for her when she gets home.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Wonderland

So while I didn’t actually see the snow on Christmas Day, it started after I was in bed, Boxing Day was a great, snowy day.  Of course, my attitude toward the whole ‘winter’ event might have been different if I had to go into work, but that was not the case.  Officially, we had 6.5 inches.  Unofficially, it went from anywhere to a dusting under trees to Noel’s belly deep in the drifts.

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Winter is probably one of my favorite times of the year to take pictures outdoors.  You get the bare bones of the trees and the contrast between the dark bark and the crisp, white snow.

DSCN1590   And the quiet.  There is nothing like taking a walk in the early morning of a snow event, having the entire world to yourself.  The only sounds you hear is the crunch of the snow underfoot and the wind in the trees.

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There is this stone clubhouse which has been abandoned for several years.  I would love to be able to go into it and look around sometime.  Actually, I would love to have the money to buy it and make it my home.  It looks, from the outside at least, so interesting.  It’s made completely of stone.  And has these amazing stairs both in the front and in the back.

DSCN1609  And it looks down onto the water.  You really can’t see it much here, but there is ice on the water and has been for several weeks now with all of our cold weather we have been having.  Don’t you know though it is suppose to be 60 on Saturday.  I think the weather can be called ‘bi-polar’ these days.

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Surprisingly, there were very few kids out in the snow.  Saw a couple, but for the most part they didn’t emerge until it started melting.  Which is just fine with me.  Made me feel like I had it all to myself.

DSCN1678   Then yesterday the sun came out, along with a few of the kids.  Bright sunshine, blue sky.  The danger lay in the fact the wind would gust occasionally and if you were under trees, you got dumped on – literally.

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Texter remained firmly in place

DSCN1553 – on my bed – and refused to indulge in ‘snow’ play.  Noel really didn’t like sharing her napping stop.  Savvy, in Arizona, was envious.  She really wanted to be here for the snow.

DSCN1682  But it is ending.  Tomorrow is errand day.  Need to drop off books at the library, stop by the post office to drop off something which needs to be mailed back and is too big for our mail slot here.  Probably run by the store for some of the essentials and then back home again.  Bye, bye snow.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sad Clues You’re Getting Older

This time of the year, especially when snowed in and you have time on your hands, thoughts turn to the New Year and the things you want to accomplish during the coming year.

Major clue your getting older – when you list does not start with fantastic beach sex with handsome stranger, but rather you start listing the medical checkups you need to have perform.  After all, what is vacation for if not to recuperate from having suspicious moles removed?

So there I lay on the bed, waking up from my nap, going through my list.

(1)  Glasses – check – we all need new glasses this year.  Savvy wants to go back to contacts.

(2) Teeth cleaned – for the girls.  I still can’t make myself go in.

(3) Foot – you know that spot right under my middle toe has been hurting since the summer.  And right above my ankle seems to swell up sometimes….

Oh, this is just wrong! Don’t know who needs to go into a body shop more – me or the car!

So…..

If I can’t have fantastic sex on the beach (I would settle for so-so sex on the beach at this point), then can I at least check and see if massages are covered by insurance?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Elizabeth vs Victoria

Disclaimer:  I am not an expert on British history in any form or fashion.  What I do know is I can locate Great Britain on a map and I know they had history.

 

Everything I have been watching lately has an accent.  Not a New Yorker, or Southern, but British (or Scottish) accent. Why?  Don’t know, other than I seem to prefer British humor and they have better shows.  We are talking Dr. Who, Duchess of Duke Street, Young Victoria, Torchwood, Primeval and the like.  (Note:  If you liked Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then watch season two of Torchwood.  “Spike” and Jack Harkness lay one on each other.)

So got to thinking.  Yes, I do that occasionally.  What if Elizabeth I and Victoria met each other?  How would they feel about the other?

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What they had in common was (1) they were both female, (2) they ruled England for a significant number of years and (3) they both had eras named after them.

Elizabeth grow up never really knowing if she was the adored princess or if her head was going to be served on a platter for dinner that night.  Not an easy childhood.  Victoria, on the other hand, was sheltered and protected, almost to the extreme.

Victoria was a bit frumpy, especially in her later years.  Elizabeth was a fashion horse to the end.  No frump there.

Elizabeth – unmarried.  Victoria – married and mourned Albert almost to the extreme when he died.  Sorry, but laying out someone’s clothes every day after they died – a bit much. Children – Vicky, yes, Beth, no.

Now this is where my history gets really wonky, but I’m going ahead anyway.  I think Elizabeth had a tougher time with her reign.  After all, woman had less freedom to begin with in her day and she had an uphill battle proving herself fit to rule.  And rule she did.  She comes across as one smart cookie.  Victoria, on the other hand, I think had more guidance she felt she could trust.

But the question, how would they feel about each other?  Torn there.  They would either dislike each other for all their differences or they would be sisters in arms because they were both Queens of England.

Ok, thought enough for the day.  Going for a nap now.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

TV Nostalgia Continues

After thinking about the great television of the past, especially on Sunday nights, I moved backwards to Saturday afternoon movies.  Yep, those great cheesy movies that captured our time on Saturdays.

One of my favorites was the Hercules movies.  No great acting, but lots of Mr. World running around in skirts, bare-chested.  Steve Reeves was one of my favorites, although back then I don’t think I thought of him as anything but Hercules.

Of course, Kevin Sorbo as Hercules did pique my interest in later years and he wasn’t nearly as scantily clad.

And then, a far second in my Saturday afternoon movie watching, was Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan.

HHHmmmmmmmm……seems to be a theme here.  Loincloths, shirtless…..  No wonder I enjoyed Saturday afternoon movies so much!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

When TV watching was an event…..

 

I had Netfllix on yesterday, watching this and that, while doing some file rearranging, and I clicked on an older National Geographic documentary to watch.  Within the opening seconds I realized what was missing from TV today – It’s not Special Anymore!  Yes, we now have triple digit channels to watch, but it’s not exciting anymore for the most part.

Remember when you would gather around the TV and hear the National Geographic theme start playing?  Ok, so my kids don’t, but I do.  You would hear that familiar song and it would mean you had a great hour of television viewing coming up.  And the Jacque Cousteau specials!

 

Who of us didn’t sit spellbound by visions of the undersea world he brought us.  I remember my first trip to the Caribbean and snorkeling, thinking, “Jacque Cousteau didn’t lie all those years ago.”

Yes, there is a lot of decent television out there.  Probably too much these days.  I can testify I am as guilty of the next person of switching on the boob tube just for the noise.  But there isn’t anything special anymore about it.  You don’t wait until Sunday night to watch Disney anymore – it’s on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on who knows now many channels.

And Marlin Perkins – old as the hills back when Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom came on.

Ok, I’m over my ranting about the good ol’ days.  I’ll switch on my Mr. Coffee and nuke some breakfast in the microwave while surfing the web……and lamenting over the by-done days of television.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

List-It-Tuesday or Not Enough Day

I recently was direct via another blog to Artsyville and her list-it-Tuesday.  Since I am off today (after working 13.5 hours on Sunday!) I have my list for today.

list

Hhhhmmmmm.  Let’s see.  Ok, not enough day to accomplish all of this!  And forgot to add “get DVD’s back to campus” to the list.  But actually, that’s for tomorrow’s list.

I like lists.  Do I do them?  Sometimes.  I generally have a notebook I can around with ideas and things to do and will slowly get through it or find what I wanted to do was no longer important.  But I do like my lists.

 

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Book Wish List

Coming up with a book wish list for myself is like turning Elizabeth Taylor loose in a jewelry store.  I would need a truck to haul off everything I could come up with.  In fact, that’s been a fantasy of mine.  Remember the shows where they let contestants run through the store and get everything they could in a specific amount of time.  That’s mine – turned loose in a book store.  My problem would be where to start – romances, crafts, writing, science fiction.  Savvy would be rooting for the manga section.

So I came across this contest offered by Chronicle Books.  So this is my list.  The problem, keeping it under $500.00!

lacy crochet Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts Lacy Crochet – the Japanese have some really great craft books coming out from Japan.  Savvy loves all things Japanese.

paper marbling Paper Marbling Kit – I have always loved marbled paper and now I can make some for my own journaling use.

from seed From Seed to Skillet – part of my ‘better eating’ promise to myself.

garden anywhere Garden Anywhere- How to Grow Gorgeous Container Gardens, Herb Gardens, Kitchen Gardens and More – since I don’t have a ‘real’ yard so to speak, hopefully some good alternative ideas on container gardening.

easy orchids Easy Orchids- Simple Secrets for Glorious Gardens--Indoors and Out – I love my orchids and a chance to learn how to better care for them would be fantastic.

chicken and egg Chicken and Egg- A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes – I love stories about how other people ‘do it’.  Of course, I am sure this will make me want to have chickens again!

curious lists Curious Lists- A Creative Journal for List-Lovers – because I love journals and I love lists, so the two together should be fun.

1001 ways

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,001 Ways to Live in the Moment – I love the 1001 books and this one would surely be a delight to read.

1001 pearls 1,001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom- Take Your Practice Beyond the Mat – Hopefully, besides being a visual delight, this will inspire my yoga life.

om yoga OM Yoga- A Guide to Daily Practice – This book has been on my wish list for awhile now, so I need it.

tartine bread Tartine Bread – I love bread. Crisp, crusty, crunchy bread.  And one day I will learn how to make it!

tea and crumpets Tea & Crumpets- Recipes and Rituals from Tearooms & Caf├ęs – for Savvy and her friends.  And so I won't make tea that looks like coffee.

bitten Bitten- Dark Erotic Stories – need I say more?

x X- The Erotic Treasury – so I don’t have a live!

dracula Dracula's Heir- An Interactive Mystery Quirk Books – I have read a ton of other Quirk publications, I need to read this one.

And again for Savvy…… zombies  Zombies- A Record of the Year of Infection

She can’t get enough of her zombies.

where flavor Where Flavor Was Born- Recipes and Culinary Travels Along the Indian Ocean Spice Route – traveling and eating, what two things could be better together.

a year A Year in Japan- Princeton Architectural Press – yet another book which has been on my wishlist.

The remainder of the $500 would be rounded out by Moleskine journals – any size, shape, type and color.  A person can never have enough Moleskines around.  Besides, mine get ‘missing’ before I have a chance to use them for myself.

Now, all I have to do is be a winner and what a lovely Christmas present that would be.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

December 4 and We Have Achieved Snow!

Yep.  It’s snowing.  2pm on the first Saturday in December and we have snow.  Or rather a ‘wintery mix’.  Luckily the ground is too warm still for it to stick.  However, I can’t believe but this is a forecast of things to come this winter.  We haven’t had a ‘bad’ winter in awhile.  So this year will probably be it.  Fortune smiles on me though.  While I have a long daily commute, dropping Texter off a school before work and picking her up after school and going on campus 2 nights a week for my classes next semester, Wake County is great for closing at the mere idea of white stuff falling from the sky.  Now if just work felt the same way!

DSCN1524 Savvy is enjoying the early snow.  Actually she is laughing at my “it’s just going to be a little and not stick” statement I made earlier in the day.

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Texter ventures out, phone in hand, to let her boyfriend, MM, know she’s a flake!

But in honor of the holidays (bah humbug!), Savvy did all her Christmas shopping yesterday and I picked up some things for the girls for their ‘advent countdown’ to Christmas…one little gift a day until Christmas.  Today I am relaxing, doing housework and homework and catching up on web stuff.  And baking cookies!

coffee

I have been on this peppermint/chocolate kick since Christmas candies starting hitting the shelves.  I bought some Seattle’s Best Peppermint Mocha Trio coffee which is great, especially topped with a little whipped cream and crushed peppermint.  So today I took the Hershey Candy Cane Kisses and made their Blossom cookies.  Most I topped with the kisses.  But for a half dozen I topped with my Dove Peppermint Chocolate discs.

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The white chocolate kisses are really ‘melty’ and if you tilt the plate they ooze easily until well cooled.  But they are tasty anyway.

DSCN1501  These are for later, the ‘deluxe model.

Well, 2 hours later and it’s still coming down strong.

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Guess I better revise my weather prediction!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Why There Will Always Be “Real” Books

One good thing about being sick is staying a home and watching movies you never get a chance to watch.  Just this morning I indulged myself and watched 84 Charing Cross Road.  Of course, just about anything with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins in it has to be good. 

84 charing cross

But in the course of this delightful movie there are a couple of descriptions which I particularly like, and I felt like they explained why I feel there will always be books.  During one part Helene (Anne Bancroft) talks about books – the feel, the smell.  It’s not just the printed word which book lovers love.  It is the actual physical book too.  You can’t get that off an electronic device – and heaven knows I love my gadgets.

To go to a bookstore or library and run your hands over the spines of the books is something only a real book lover knows.  And the smell of a used book store, the jumble of books piled everywhere – that’s what I love.  Right now, beside my bed, there are 3 books in the process of being read.  Yes, I can keep the stories separate.  Beside my desk is a second stack of 6 to start on.  Savvy has asked for a bookshelf for her room as her books are piling up and like all true book lovers, we want to have OUR books near us.  Community shelves in another room just won’t due for those books which are precious to us. 

Now, I am far from the classics reader Helene was.  Give me my trashy novels any day.  But I still love to be able to pluck one off the shelf and flip it open to a part I like and start rereading from there. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tribute To Joyce

Two weeks ago someone who played an important role in my life for several years passed away.  Not only am I sad she is gone, but I regret that over the past few years we had lost touch with each other.  The everyday work-a-day world took over and I didn’t find time to make that extra effort to keep in contact with her, which I deeply regret. But while she might be physically gone from this world, things she taught me over the years I was fortunate to share her world will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Joyce D. owned a local needlework store.  I happened to walk into The Hen’s Tooth at a point in my life when I decided to take up needlework.  I had done a little in the past, but both my girls were just babies and this would give me a chance to have a hobby and create something for them too.  From the first moments I entered the store, I was taken under her wing and guided on the path to ‘proper needlework’ etiquette.

Now Joyce was not the gentle, grandmotherly mentor.  Like a lot of people, and dogs, who are small in statue, they make up for their physical limitations by having the heart of a lion and the stubbornness of a mule.  Once Joyce got her teeth into something, you would have a hard time changing her mind.  It was often easier to wave the white flag and fall into line.  She also had hearing difficulties and would often tell people who she didn’t know they needed to speak directly to her in order for her to understand them.  On the other hand, sometimes you got the feeling she didn’t want to hear what you were saying and was just ignoring you.  Either way, it was pure Joyce.

Joyce took my needlework in hand, literally.  She taught me to stitch in hand, without a hoop, maintaining a firm and even tension on my work.  Dragging a thread across the back of the piece of work for more than a couple of stitches was a major no-no.  Likewise, making a knot with your fiber to start a new length of thread.  One of the first things Joyce would do when presented with a finished piece was to flip it over and check out the back.  The back had to be as neat as the front.  I learned that outward appearances where not enough to make a good piece of work.  The parts you didn’t see were just as important.

Under her guidance my needlework improved and I was thrilled to be asked to join in on the Thursday night stitching group.  To me this was an entry into the exalted world of dedicated and skilled folk.  Over the years, friendships bloomed and grew based on those Thursday nights around a table at the back of her shop.  Joyce sat at the head of the table, our own reigning queen.  But like any benevolent queen, she knew her subjects interests.  She knew who liked to stitch only samplers, who preferred what designers, and would have tempting goodies awaiting your delight every week.  From her chair, she lead us in solving the problems of the world or choosing what pattern we were going to stitch next.

When my needlework progressed to the point she asked me to stitch models for the shop I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Someone like Joyce thinking my work was good enough to hang on her walls as an example of the wares she carried was like a dream come true.  Out of that I learned to value my needlework as an art form and not dismiss it lightly or to give it little value.  While she instilled in me the ability to make what I was stitching look easy, it still took hours upon hours to complete even the most simple piece.  She taught me not to make light of and to be proud and not deny my ability…..she was one of the first people to make me step up and say “yes, I am an artist”.  And as a true shop owner – to charge accordingly!

Not only did I have the chance to stitch for her and occasionally fill in at the shop, but she fostered my love of writing and my off-beat sense of humor and allowed me to publish a weekly email newsletter for her shop.  To be so trusted and to be thought so knowledgeable by Joyce went a long way to boosting the self-esteem of a now single mother of two young girls.  She always passed on the praise other people gave her about the newsletter to me, never taking credit for it herself.

Joyce is missed in my life.  I am sad she is gone.  I hate the thought of her not there, threading silk fibers on a tiny needle to complete yet another complicated sampler to grace her walls.  Joyce wove herself into the tapestry of my life and made it stronger and more beautiful.  And that thread is now missing.  Farewell, Joyce.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Orange Balsamic Chicken……For One

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I found this really great sounding recipe for Orange Balsamic Chicken and thought….”why not have a great Sunday dinner for my daughters?”  (This was two Sundays ago.)

So I toiled over a hot stove……

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Working my fingers to the bone over these thighs……

Problem with the great Sunday dinner…..well, Texter decided early she was hungry and had a can of Spaghetti O’s and Savvy took her dad out to eat at KFC.  So there I was with my thighs on rice with a salad.  Noel would have gladly shared with me, but I wouldn’t share with someone who had four legs.  It was great as leftovers though the next week at work for lunch.

I did get a “this is great…keep this recipe” on a Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich made with puff pastry.  The cheese was gruyere and you make a white sauce to go on it.  It was goooooood.

Tonight was bacon wrapped chicken, rice pilaf and a tossed salad.  Guess the salad is to make up for wrapping chicken with bacon.  But I have been trying out new recipes lately.  Problem is I don’t remember to take pictures until afterwards and then it’s too late.

Oh, and North Carolina apples are in.  Found some really, really great apple cider from Sugar Loaf Mountain Orchards.  And tried some new apples, at least new to me, Cameo.  So I’m into apples now.  Decent citrus is starting to make it’s way to North Carolina also.  Can’t wait until there is some really good ruby red grapefruit.  Warm oatmeal and grapefruit for breakfast!

Off to cut up an apple for dessert.  After all, I had this last week…..

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Monday, November 15, 2010

It’s a Little Squirrelly….

DSCN1428 Fat cat aka Blaze, watches the squirrels with unknown thoughts in his head.  Actually, for such a large cat, he can move pretty fast, so I am thinking he is thinking of squirrel head for breakfast.  But the squirrels have a nest in the tree right by the deck and they throw down pine cone parts on the deck.  So I have to sweep the deck often.  Those little pine cone parts hurt on your bare feet.

 

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There are two of them in the nest.  Savvy thinks they are after her, since they live right by her room.  Those are devious eyes, aren’t they.  Thinking little squirrely thoughts.  Don’t put food out for them often since apparently we have a possum under the house.  Wild life abounds around here – especially the deer at 6am on the road.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Procrastinating on Procrastination

I will confess, honestly, I can be the greatest procrastinator in the world.  Now that doesn’t mean I’m late for stuff.  In fact, I am anal about being early for work, school, appointments, things such as that.  But things I should be doing, like schoolwork, writing, housework….well let’s say I can find 1000 reasons not to get started on them.

Soooooooo…….I have discovered a new best friend.  The timer on my cell phone.  Yep, off all the myriad of tools on my phone, I have fallen in love with my timer.  I can set that little bugger, and for the next 30 minutes, an hour, I have to work on a particular task.  Then I can play for an equal amount of time.  Seems to be working pretty well so far.  While still a little behind (I wish I had a little behind!), I am 6000 words into NaNoWriMo.  That’s about 5000 more words than I’ve done before.  And it’s easy to set the timer for an hour and go for it.

Like for right now, I have given myself 2 hours to do “bloggy things”.  Like writing a post, catching up on other posts, drinking coffee during my bloggy time.  Finding an app I can put on my sidebar to be a timer.  Then, when finished, I will spend 2 hours on homework.  I know I have English assignment to do and some history and will see what’s ahead for the week in the land of college.

Here’s to my new best friend – Timer.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Class is spilling over

I am finding more and more my classes are just spilling all over my ‘real’ life.  They are not staying in their nice, neat boxes where I can pull them out when needed to study.  Case in point, Art Appreciation.
Now I consider myself a sometimes artist.  And I genuinely appreciate art.  Well, maybe not Picasso or Warhol, but for the most part, I like art.  So here I am, studying quietly along and there in my text book is a picture of an a piece of art, which I now know is considered Land or Earth Art.  This installation piece is by Alan Goldsworthy, the artist whose photo intrigued me in my textbook.
andy-goldsworthy-2
The picture which had caught my eye was an installation piece with leaves strung together with grass stacks and released into a stream.  The vivid green of the leaves against the dark running water of the stream and the gray of the rocks really pulled me in.  Then I happened to see a mention of a documentary on Alan Goldsworthy’s work, Rivers and Tides.




So off to Netflix where they had it on instant play and I was instantly transported.
First off, if you did nothing but turn the sound off and watch the cinema photography of the documentary, it is an hour and half of breathtaking shots.  All of his materials are pulled directly from nature (there goes my trip to Jerry’s Artrama!) and how he can take a hole in a stone in a stream (or creek if your from my part of the world), fill it completely with the heads of flowers and make it riveting is beyond me.
I do have two complaints about his work.  The majority of it is temporary, only there for a few hours or minutes.  And I really want to hold onto those images.  There is one shot where he manipulated icicles into curves and had them coming out of a rock and then the sun hit the icicles and it just glowed.  And melted.
The second complaint….Alan laugh a bit!  After a while I just wanted to see a chuckle or smile from him.  The aloof, suffering artist was getting to be a bit much by the end of the documentary, so I just concentrated on the work and not the artist himself.  This is definitely one I would say grab a glass of wine, turn it on and let the world go by.  Then get up and go for a walk in the woods.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Texter Does Halloween

Texter wanted to carve a pumpkin.  So I bought a pumpkin and a little carving kit and brought it home last Friday night.  And in the middle of the kitchen floor (with a generous application of newspaper) she traced and carved for hours.  She created my one and only Halloween decoration – that is if you don’t count me looking like the Wicked Witch after a day of work and school.

This is the first pumpkin she has actually carved all on her own.  Once or twice we did the whole ‘family bonding moment’ and she assisted in carving a basic pumpkin – but this was all hers.

(The pictures are no reflection on the quality – in other words, the pumpkin is awesome, the pictures are crap!)

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Actually, she carved 3 different designs on the pumpkin. 

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And then the lit version.

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And then one of the other designs (my favorite).

 

 

 

 

 

DSCN1422    The third side.

Like I said, the pictures don’t do it justice.

The girls will both be gone over the Halloween weekend, pursuing their own interests (Huzzah!!! – I mean cough, cough) So it’s just me and the pumpkin.  I plan to turn off the lights and pretend no one is at home.  I’m going as a Bah Humbug for Halloween!