Wednesday, October 31, 2012

305/366: Pumpkin Smell

I had the honor of cleaning out three pumpkins this evening.

My boys won't touch the stuff.  Yes, BOYS think it's gross.
 The pumpkins we had were very thick skinned.  I felt like I had to really dig in there to get the knife to move.
They drew the faces on paper and we mimicked that on the pumpkin.  I tried to have them cut with a safety knife, but it was just too hard.  I struggled with it.

I just learned that my nephew in NJ won't get to trick or treat tomorrow night.  What a bummer.  No electricity and now no candy!  I'm sure my brother and sister in law will make it up to him, as will the town.

Tomorrow the boys have their Halloween parties at school and I need to do one more costume adjustment for Little Man.  Having them home during the week truly throws off my game.

Prayers for those in the dark, those not under their own roof, and those struggling with the loss of loved ones.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

304/366: No Pictures

If you see me with my camera to my face.

Do this.

If my little buddy can't see me, then he doesn't exist in the photo!

Monday, October 29, 2012

303/366: Wafers and Cookies

As with many other East Coasters, I visited our grocery store this morning before the storm for bread, cereal, and cheese.  Cheese makes me happy in stressful times.

And so do cookies.

Look what I found!  Gingerbread Men!  So dapper with their buttons.

Being gluten free isn't always fun. When a new product hits the shelves, it makes me happy.  Even if I don't buy it or like it, it makes me aware of all the other people (1 in 133 Americans) that have Celiac.  There are a handful of items that I wish I could have:  Jingles Anise Cookies; a real flour burrito; real Buffalo Pizza with an airy, bubbly crust; and Communion Wafers. I'm pretending these gingerbread men are my substitute for the Jingles Cookies...they are close, so I think I can cross Jingles off my 'wish' list.  There are so many mainstream products out there that make life a bit easier for folks with Celiac or with a gluten allergy.  And it isn't a disease that will shorten my life or not allow me to do physical activities, for that, I am grateful.

Yesterday, we all went to church.  I used to avoid (any) church on Communion Days, we used to only have communion twice a month, now, every Sunday.  I can't eat the (gluten) communion wafer and it is usually offered "chip and dip" style, where the congregation dips their gluten containing wafer into the cup of wine, rendering it contaminated for Celiacs.  We had thought of switching churches to be closer to home, and so the boys might have schoolmates going to the same church.  But the communion wafer was always on my mind.  At this church, I knew many in the congregation, I was close with the Pastor, it was comfortable and a simple blessing was okay for me.  I was married at this church, both boys were baptized there, I worked there, for all intents and purposes, this is my church.  Unfortunately, when it came to communion, I didn't feel welcome.  Communion is so personal, so important to the whole service, and the one part that gives me much anxiety.

Several years ago, I bought the church some gluten free communion wafers.  I was finally feeling safe.  Welcomed.  An equal part of the church community.  They even have it written in the program, every week.  If you need a gluten free wafer, ask the Pastor.

The ease of communion was a hit or miss event.  When communion assistants I knew were offering, they would have it ready when I approached the kneeling bench.  Lately, with an interim pastor and assistants that don't know that I am Gluten Free, and our sporadic attendance,  it has been tough.  I'd rather just sit in my pew, than go up there and have ask for something different, holding up the line.  It isn't so much embarrassing, as it is me not wanting to make a stink.  But you know what?  It hurts.

Yesterday, I saw the acolyte holding the small dish of gluten free wafers, so was certain that I would at least get the bread.  But, in a flustered, confused moment, I got nothing.  Just a "I think they may be on the altar".  No blessing.  No attempt to locate.  Moving on to my friend next to me.  Thankful that it was my friend was next to me, we could nervously laugh at the strangeness of all of it.

This has never happened before and I think it was just a moment in which the Pastor didn't even know he had gluten free wafers. I don't blame him. It was an unfortunate event.

As I walked back to my pew, I looked in the eyes of all the other people.  People that were able to have communion.  To taste the body and the blood.  And I was less than them.  The tears welled up in my eyes.

Please don't think I want you to pity me.  In fact, after writing this, it feels a bit selfish. 

It's just a symbol. 

It's a disc of wheat that tastes like Styrofoam. 

It's a light on how a simple ritual that is meant to bring us all together, distinctly separates us.

- - - - -

For any (non-catholic) church that doesn't offer gluten free wafers, they are available here. 
Here is an article regarding the Catholic church's take on gluten free wafers.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

302/366: Look at me I'm Sandra Dee

Firstly, love that movie. It is one I can watch at any point and become absorbed in it, also noticing something new each time. It isn't close in ranking to my favorite, Shawshank Redemption, but it's up there in the nonsense goofy romantic movies.

You know what isn't goofy? This election and Hurricane Sandy. I won't go into the election, it's making me sick to my stomach.

Sandy. Where will she go? When will she turn? I'm fascinated by all the predictions of path and rainfall amounts.

Saying a couple prayers for all our loved ones in the projected path. Including ourselves, please no power outages that require me to bail the sump pump basin. Pretty close to a least favorite job, up there with cleaning the bathtub and laundry.

Stay safe, friends.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

301/366: Slow Day

Without suggestion, these two boys of mine played nicely in the basement with Lincoln Logs and Hot Wheels for about an hour.  Then they both came upstairs and started reading.

Apparently, Little Man is attempting to read all of the Captain Underpants Books (Nine in all) in two days.

Big Boy is just being cool, and reading for fun.

I am folding more laundry.  Load number 9 is in the washer.  At least one more remains.  It's been a long day at the laundry.

The rain is drizzly, the house is cozy and I have dinner in the oven and it smells like home.

Friday, October 26, 2012

300/366: {this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

299/366: May I Present...

...Sonic the Hedgehog and Sea Monster!
Way back in June when we started talking about Halloween costumes, they were all related to video games and characters.
I like a costume that has never been seen in mainstream media.  I like ideas and imagination.
As we got closer to the time in which this momma needed to start gathering ideas (that takes about a month of messing around in my head), Little Man had decided on a Sea Monster.
I loved that.  Imaginative.  His own, imaginative idea.  He drew me the picture and I made it work.  I love his pants, by the way.  They are Scaly Skinny jeans.  So cute.  My little Mick Jagger.
Although I had some issues with his headgear and how to keep it standing straight, I got it.  A mix of sewing, stapling and the hottest glue gun in the world, made it all work.
By the time I had purchased enough green scaly fabric to make both boys a Sea Monster (per request of Big Boy), the Big Boy had changed his mind.  Again.
And he wanted to be Sonic.  Yes, this guy:
Look at that headgear!  This is when I turned to Face Off for some help.  That only made it worse.  I wondered if I could make a clay mold to make a rubber prosthetic for the head...I know, my mind goes places my body, Square Footage and pocketbook can't.
In working with the Sea Monster, I used Craft Foam, those thin sheets of pliable foam in many colors.  Did you know that if you heat that with a heat gun, stove burner, hot hair dryer, you can then mold it into a shape that will retain that shape?  Very cool.  I used this method for the cuffs for Sea Monster and was happy with the results.
I tried this same method for the shoes for Sonic...not so good.  I ended up sewing the shoes in felt and they worked out just fine.  I may add a little fiber fill to keep them round at the top...or maybe not.  wink.
Back to the headgear.  I made a quick skull cap shaped hat out of blue knit.  And formed the spikes out of craft foam and hot glue, then shaping them with a heat gun. 

I love how it turned out.  I think both boys had great costumes and good ideas (even if I don't agree with them).  I guess that's how life goes, right?  A mom can choose her child's costume for the first three years, then it's up to us to persuade them to something for the next couple years.  Once they reach seven or eight, it's all them (as it should be).
Since we like friendly competition, and we are reigning champs from last year, Little Man pulled off another win for The Guzz Team!
If you see Little Man, don't ask him about the "prize". 
"All I got was this lame pencil!"
Do Sea Monsters even know how to write?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

298/366: Carrie 1 / Clock 0

By the skin of my teeth.

At 6:45, I was inserting the elastic in Little Man's pants.

Clipping stray threads on Big Boy's headgear at 6:48.

Out the door to the Halloween Party at 6:51.

This is how I roll.

And now at 9:03 pm, I'm beat and medicating a headache; too lazy to unload pictures of the costumes.

Maybe tomorrow.

This was the first year I made a costume for myself. I use the term costume loosely.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

297/366: Face Off

Appropriate for the season...I've been watching Face Off on demand through the SyFy Channel.

It's really cool.  I think I'd be good at it.  I've already looked up armor techniques, foam sculpture and resin molds since watching this show.

The premise is, a bunch of aspiring make up, theatrical types trying to be the best.  Each week, they have a challenge.

One of my favorite challenges was the Pirate Challenge.  They were given an individual term to focus their pirate upon.  This face was incredible:

He was Crab, the shell was his head.  When the actor puffed out his cheeks, it seemed as if this Crab was breathing.  Very cool.

Although this next picture doesn't do the makeup justice, it won first place.  The black spikes are sea urchin coming out of her body.

Very cool.  Here is a video of the actors morphing into their new creature.  This episode was disproportionate creatures.

Additional Morph videos can be found here.

Off to see what Phoenix offers in theatrical makeup...

Monday, October 22, 2012

296/366: Costuming

Tis the season for me to over-commit and under estimate my time.

I have a sea monster and Sonic the Hedgehog costumes to complete. I'm getting close. I have some alterations on the sea monster, but was able to finish the fins on the hood for that one.

Big Boy was sure he didn't want a hood. For days he was not interested. Tonight, as I type this, he has decided that in fact, he does want a hood.

Normally, you would think I am we'll prepared. However, Wednesday night is the Halloween party.

T-minus 40 hours till showtime!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

294/366: Fall Happenings

Things are bustling around here. 

Yesterday, I went into Little Man's class to help with a Fall Leaves craft.  It was great.  We made bookmarks with the laminator.  Yes, I'm very excited about the laminator.  I may need a personal one at home soon.

We are adding real leaves and this quote I found:

Autumn is a second spring,
When every leaf is a flower.
by Albert Camus

Behind Little Man at his new "seat" is a cutting mat filled with bats and sea monster cuffs and claw feet.  The Halloween costumes need to be completed by this coming Wednesday.  A FULL week ahead of Halloween.  That isn't sitting well with this procrastinator.

Tuesday might be a late night...

I'm also getting ready for a big show I am doing the first weekend of December, more of that to come soon.

The leaves are falling, the sunlight is sparse, and the smell of pumpkin pie is in the air!

Friday, October 19, 2012

293/366: {this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

292/366: My Guy

On Saturday, we had family day.  I wrote about it here.

I'm just now thinking back on that day with good memories.  We certainly packed a lot into that day.  My guy above made it all happen. 

We started with a walk on the River.

Everything was a bland steel gray and beige.  Until I found this ivy type plant growing on the base of the bridge.
And the rusted fencing.

This was one of those 'walks' that I've always wanted to do, but never did.  I've lived in Buffalo all but 6 years of my life and this was my very first time on the pier.

Very cool.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

291/366: Food For Life

Last night, the boys were getting a pizza. 

The place they like does not have gluten free pizza.  So, either, we pick up at two separate pizza shops, or they get the pizza they don't really like.

I decided to fore go the pizza and make myself a burrito.  Yes...a BURRITO! 

Gluten Free options for a tortilla are basically corn.  I've seen some others, but they were small, like a taco, not a burrito.

Then I found Food For Life Brown Rice Tortilla's in the frozen section at Wegmans.  Every month, I like to try one new 'special' gluten free treat.  The tortilla's sat in my freezer for a while.  Until last night.

I warmed up some leftover rice from a chicken soup I made on Sunday, added black beans, cooked chicken, salsa and a bit of cheese.  I put all the ingredients on the tortilla and microwaved it for 30 seconds or so.

Of course I stuffed them way too much and I couldn't really close it, but I managed.  Parts of the tortilla were a little chewy, parts were a little crunchy, but most of it was perfect.  In a gluten free sense, that is.

It didn't crack or tear apart when I tried to fold it.  It held it's shape once wrapped and had a good flavor to it.  Not metallic like many other gf items.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that for lunch today, I made a quesadilla.   I limited my cheese, used more black beans, the skinless chicken, zero calorie cooking spray and zero calorie salsa.  It was awesome.

Thanks Food for Life...I'm almost back to my full gluten eating repertoire!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

290/366: I'm Your Mummy

This is such a cool craft for Halloween. I found it guessed it, Pinterest.

Each year, the Cub Scouts have a Halloween party where each Den provides an activity. I often felt a craft was needed in this mix. So, I volunteered. Last year I did the gross touch and feel. That was already more work than this.

I sampled five different types and gauges of wire. Since the Pinterest link calls for rubber coated wire for landscaping which runs upwards of $7.00 per coil (yielding two or three mummies), I needed to find something much more economical for the close to 80 cub scouts plus their siblings.

Aluminum wire in 14 gauge proved to be the winner. After I formed my mummy shape, I wrapped the wire in three thin strips of muslin. Surprisingly, the fabric stayed on the mummy quite well. A Dan of glue for the end of the final strip wouldn't hurt.

Tomorrow, the boys are going to try to make one as a test.

Super easy and fun.

Monday, October 15, 2012

289/366: Orange Thumb

As many of you, the garden was a challenge this summer.

But, you know what was the easy?  Anything that grew underground.  The dark soil protected the plant from the extreme heat and the location to the hose was critical.  Both these items were close to the pond and hose, therefore they stayed wet most of the time.

It was a great surprise the other day when I plucked those carrots from the earth.  Yes, real small sized normal looking carrots!  Granted, not long, but they weren't like their counterparts from the raised bed that looked more like a toothpick than a carrot.

And the potatoes...although it sometimes felt that I got as many potatoes that I planted, it was a good exercise in potato farming.  I will definitely replant the potatoes.  These carrots were born from seed, too!

Very exciting end to a horrible crop of nothing this summer.  I definitely didn't have a green thumb this summer.  Better luck next year.

Spoken like a true Buffalonian.  Next year.

288/366: Funny!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

287/366: I Missed a Day!

I didn't realize it until this morning, that Saturday went by without a post from me.  I can tell you are all broken up about it...

Yesterday was "Family Day".

We packed a picnic lunch (bag of food) and ate really fast while the gulls conspired to snag our food away in a mass attack.

A short walk on the Bird Island Pier was nice.  That water sure does move fast.  This was a first for all of us.  I have always loved that draw bridge to get your car to the parking lot for the pier.  It's so old and rusty.  Super cool.

Then, we stopped at Tim Horton's, not a family day would be complete without some coffee, on our way to the Great Corn Maze.  You may remember our last trip through the corn maze several years ago when Big Boy was stung by a bee for the first time, and we were lost.  Really lost.  Not another person in ear shot.  The corn was tall and we couldn't see any tree lines or any landmarks to guide us.  Fortunately, Big Boy isn't allergic to bees.

This year, the corn was short and we could see above it.  The pathways were muddy and worn, easy to tell which path was the correct choice.  We were out of there in no time.

Then, to the movies!  We saw Hotel Transylvania at the Flix theater on Transit in Lancaster.  Really nice theater, seating like the Galleria, the comfy lounge type chairs that recline and rock.  The kiddie popcorn deal was great.  The only drawback was they don't have booster seats, so Little Man was sitting on my balled up winter coat so that he could see over the seat back in front of him.

Pancakes for dinner at our favorite Original Pancake House that has gluten free pancakes.  So good.

As we discussed Yo Betty for soft serve frozen yogurt, we decided to pass and just get a half gallon of ice cream.

We went home and chilled out, watching a Life Before Dinosaurs on Netflix.

It was a great day for the family!

Friday, October 12, 2012

286/366: {this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember

Thursday, October 11, 2012

285/366: I'll Try

As I was procrastinating and complaining in my head that I didn't want to do something that I need to, I came across this pin. 

It's hard not to complain.

I'll try to be better about it.  We are at a good place in our lives.  Things are falling into place. 

And new opportunities abound.

How about you?  Tell me something good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

284/366: Eye of the Tiger

Yesterday Big Boy was playing Eye of the Tiger on his 'trumbone' (kind of) and today, I thought I'd show you the picture of my new little Tiger.

Little Man is a Little Tiger.

Just as I was looking at this photo here on the blog, I realized that this boy does a full body pose.  Those hands in the pocket are becoming a signature pose.  Love.

He only seems to have his hands in his pocket at picture time.  Other times, they are holding bugs, climbing trees, reading a book, drawing and hanging on to handlebars.

I think this photo on the tree has the time stamp of "Remember when you were a Tiger Cub and you couldn't reach the low branch on our pine tree?"

I'll have to remember this one.  Graduation, Wedding...I'm sure I can find a poignant use for it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

283/366: Little Trombone Boy

So this boy of mine plays the trombone. I love how he pronounces it, "trum-bone".

He is so good, he can even play Eye Of the Tiger. Or at least he told me that was what he was playing.

I just think he is cute.

I hope he continues to enjoy his lessons and practicing.

He is already better than me. My French horn teacher told me to quit after three lessons.

That teacher was smart. I have no musical talent whatsoever.

Unless you consider snoring.

I'm really good at that!

Monday, October 8, 2012

282/366: Guess Who?

Guess who I got to see this weekend?

Love this little boy, and his sister, too!

Hope you had a great weekend.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

281/366: September Fun

You can tell Big Boy is concentrating...

Even though Pintember consumed a great deal of my time, we still had time for some fun.

Both boys have joined Cub Scouts this year, so double the fun, right?

We signed up for the Cub Mobile this year.  Where the boys and parents build each go cart, and the ramp, then race them down the ramp.

It was quite fun.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

280/366: Goodbye Gold Shiny Thing

When we first bought our, wait, when we first walked through our potential house, I knew this fixture had to come down.

It was the first thing I planned on doing.

Eight years ago.


But priorities change.

A dishwasher was definitely more important than a chandelier.

A new baby and the bills that come with the bundle of joy were clearly ahead of the chandelier.

Until it broke.

A couple weeks ago it didn't turn on.  Ah, finally, the demise of this gold thing.  The only time I enjoyed it was at Christmas time when it was draped with garland and red ribbons.

We ordered this one and Tom installed it.

It is so much more of our style.

And I'll still dress it in garland for Christmastime.

Oh, the best part?

The first one wasn't really broken, but we didn't realize it until after this one went up.

Etsy?  Ebay?  Craigslist?  Who wants a beautiful, glittery, gold, flowered, crystal chandelier?  I bet it's on the top of the wishlist for all my readers! 


Friday, October 5, 2012

279/366: {this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

278/366: Craft Day

This was the craft.

This was the one I definitely wanted to do for Pintember, but never had the time.

So, today, I started it with my pal.

We cut a piece of foam board into a circle (give or take the word 'circle').

In the middle, we placed our mirror and drew a circle around it for a beginning line.

After removing the mirror, we started hot gluing the plastic spoons.  The cheaper the spoon, the easier it is to cut the handle off.

Towards the outer edges, it got harder to tell where the last petal was, but it all worked out okay, wonky or not, it looked like a flower, imperfect petals and all.

We then took these outside for spray painting.  Once they dry and we have time to paint the petals, I'll post more pictures.

The school bus was coming...craft time can only last so long!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

277/366: Lock and Key

Big Boy, in typical fashion, is having a hard time deciding what he wants to be for Halloween.

For inspiration, we visited the giant Spirit Halloween. It seems like they have a smaller selection of costumes than Party City, but the props are plentiful.

They have a whole bunch of mechanical zombies and grave diggers and jumping spiders. It is the thrill of going to a haunted house without the darkness.

Big Boy may have gotten less sure of what he wants to be, but it definitely got us in the spooky spirit.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

276/366: Oops

I think I got a touch of the "burn-out" from Pintember.

My studio got a bit of attention today. It became the dumping ground for random items that didn't have a proper home-Hoarders Style. But, it's picked up, sectioned off and ready for some new Holiday stocking production.

In light of my self doubt with time and talent, this pin hit home for me.

Monday, October 1, 2012

275/366: October Days

Steak, Feta and Spicy Pecan Salad
Ah...October, where photos and words are just fine.  I am happy that I tried my best with Pintember.  It is a good feeling that I can put a check mark next to the Pins I've tried. 
This has been a busy month as I figure out how I fit in as a contract employee, instead of a full time employee.  I have said "YES" to a couple school activities that normally I couldn't do with work.  It's been really nice being able to say yes.  But, I just need to slow down accepting offers to help.  I'm realizing the adage 'You will be busier in retirement than you were while working'.

I have been using my calendar on my iPad to organize my life.  It has proven to be extremely helpful.  Our family calendar is only a four week rotating weekly calendar.  It works well for the kids and Tom, but I need something a bit more robust.  It also synchronizes with Facebook birthdays and events.  If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow we put our new-to-us camper in storage for the winter.  I really wish we could have snuck one more quick camping weekend in, but twice in August was pretty good (at least that's what Tom keeps telling me).  We are already getting close to reserving sites for next summer.

And finally, I feel like a proud Auntie.  One of my Youth Group 'kids' from many many years ago just had twin boys.  Welcome to the world Owen and Porter!