Monday, October 31, 2011

{Happy Halloween}

Happy Halloween and I hope you ate lots of candy!  I did.  Not my best idea, I'm sure.

Might I say that it was wonderful to have all four children home for Halloween this year?  
Thank you, I think I shall then:  It has been wonderful fun!  

I'm so glad my kids have never outgrown fun.  It's usually crazy fun . . . and I like it!

Just your standard, boring, "mom insists on taking Halloween pictures" type of moments. . .

Nolan dressed as an authentic Argentine gaucho.  So nice to have a great mission souvenier!
Keaton is Superman in disguise {it's hunting season you know and he can't be recognized}
Landon is obviously Captain America going on a snowboard trip.
India is "raining cats and dogs" - so darling and via great ideas on Pinterest.

You can see one of the dogs better here:

It wouldn't be a very good Halloween if I didn't have a costume!  My children would disown me.
I opted to be a Birthday Princess and grant all the candy wishes of children who came to my door.
{Clever excuse to dress up! Although . . . I don't need an excuse.}

I obviously had a frightening stalker lurking in my house.

Trick or . . .

So, October has passed along with Halloween and I survived - enjoyably!

I'm really excited to welcome November along with cooler weather, Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, and all things festive.

Do you think anyone would notice if I decorate my Christmas tree tomorrow?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

{tricky trick-or-treaters: a how-to}

Happy Halloween!  Cooler weather is heading my way and I'm so excited!  I'm ready to decorate the Christmas tree but I really need to enjoy Halloween first.  It was never my favorite holiday and so I was in the habit of rushing it . . . until I had little boys.  They loved all things frightening and fearsome.  They were also terrible pranksters.
My own little tricky trick-or-treaters!
{India . . . She dressed up as a princess every year for 10 years! I have loved it all.}

My mischievous little kids really helped me learn to enjoy Halloween.  Once that happened, I started getting ideas.
Now trick-or-treaters are a real treat at my house!

Oh, how my boys were pranksters!  {Well, truthfully they haven't changed. They're just taller.}

Trick-or-treaters really are SO cute and I decided to find a way to enjoy the little darlings for more than one night.  
I'd like to introduce you to my resident trick-or-treaters . . .
I made three of these little life-sized ghost when my boys were young and about the same size.  My intentions were for decoration purposes only but since everyone knew my boys, these ghost took on a life of their own . . . when guest arrived at my front door and they saw ghost inside they always thought my boys were dressed in costume and prepared to scare!

We tricked people unintentionally!  It was always a fun treat in the end.
They are super easy to make and not very expensive if you have spare materials on hand.  This was the year to finally create a 4th ghost to represent India.  I'm so glad Nolan is home - he made me one!
We even used old purple pants and glitterized girl's tennis shoes.

1"x 4" boards  {I used random pieces left over from a construction project.}
Screws {I used 1 5/8"}
An old pair of children's jeans / pants
Old children's shoes
Wooden dow or old pencil
Styrofoam ball
White twin size sheet
baby sized quilt batting or small, old blanket
Trick-or-treat bucket or bag
Large safety pin
Craft or hot glue

{Tips: If you don't have old jeans, shoes, or sheets at home I recommend looking for them at a garage sale or thrift shop.  I was sure to use some without much wear left so I wouldn't be wasting what others needed.
I used sizes 6x-8 jeans and 11-2 size shoes. The pants need to be wide enough to go around the board at the waist. I love the pants with elastic adjustments because they cinch up!  The shoes have to be long enough to stabilize the body.  You may choose to add weight to the front of the shoe too.}
As you see, we really used odd, old boards this time.

Suggested board measurements:
1 - Spine: 15"
2 - Legs: 20"
1 - Shoulder: 9"
1 - Hips: 9"
2 - Feet: length depends on size of shoes
1- Neck {dow rod} 7" long

Hole for dow: 1 3/4"

We also cut tapers for each ankle to allow the board to fit in the shoes.

Use 2 -3 three screws for each "joint" and 1 screw for the feet.  We also screwed the shoes on through the sole.
After you cut and assemble the boards, put on the pants and shoes.  The first time we actually put the pants on before screwing in the boards for the feet since it's easier.  However, this week we thought the assembled picture would be a better example.

Wrap the batting or small blanket  around the body but keep it at the waist {feel free to use pins to secure it but the batting actually sticks to itself really well} and add the styrofoam ball on top for a head.

Fold the sheet in half and drape it over the head and body.  I kept the sheet shorter in the front.

Cut oval shapes from the black felt and glue in place for eyes.

Pin the plastic pumpkin on the sheet at about the height of a child's hand and you have a tricky trick-or-treater!
The ever beautiful Lia!  My children have far outgrown ghost of this size but an eight year-old works perfectly.  I happen to have an eight year-old niece.  AND she loves "photo ops."
Who wouldn't want to give these kids candy??

I must make time to finish blogging my Argentine adventure.  I must make time to blog my life. 
However, I had to make time for Halloween!  I'll admit, it's a lot more fun with these ghostly residents.  
So, feel free to trick-or-treat at my house if you dare!
I'd also be thrilled to see pictures or blogs of any ghost that you might create - we'd love to have ghost cousins.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

{El Tigre}

Thursday morning arrived and we had plans for a beautiful day in El Tigre.  Unfortantely, Thursday hadn't made the same plans.  It was raining. After a minor discussion, we decided that the weather wasn't going to stop us.  
It was our only chance to see this beautiful area.

Surprise!  As we drove out of Buenos Aires we also drove out of the rain.  A nice, cool, overcast day was perfect for our plans!  Our dear friends, Charles and Norma, were with us for this adventure.  I'm SO glad they were a part of it. We hired this charming Argentine boat captain to take us down the river on this equally charming 1920's boat. 
You're going to love the sites!

I don't understand how those controls steer the boat.  It looked rather simplistic at first.  Once we started down the river I began watching the captain and realized it was a lot more complicated than I once thought.

Charles & Norma!

I loved the row boats and other interesting forms of water transportation up and down the river.  The water actually reminded me of the Neches River back home.

We tried to take in the beautiful sites . . .

. . . and visit at the same time.  It was so relaxing.  I felt like I was in another world with a slow pace and time for everything.

Charles and Norma were able to tell us quite a bit about the history of these buildings and I've already forgotten lots! I don't remember all the history . . . such as who built this gorgeous structure . . . but it was once a hotel and is now an art museum!  I wanted to move in!

There were houses in every shape and size but they shared a common denominator . . . incredible lawns on the waterfront.

I had beautiful scenery on and off the boat! =)

This precious chapel was home to the first church in the area.  Oddly enough, to me it felt like a combination of Jane Austen and Anne of Green Gables.

This is reminescent of the Louisiana bayou!

Most of the time I just imagined the stories behind everything I saw.

We've all heard about living in glass houses.  Now, I actually think there is a place for it!
This is the original home of the man that started their first schools.  Impressive that they wanted to preserve it!  Humidity can be a real hater of history.

"River Truck"!!  Really?? Definitely seemed a bit more bayou-ish and I loved it!

The end arrived. We said farewell to our friends who were headed back to the city.  We decided to stay a little longer and enjoy the shops and sites on land.

We had already planned to get Nolan a leather coat for his birthday and the boys had a little fun together!

Keaton didn't get a coat but he sure made them look good!  He impressed {not surprised} me.  He REALLY wanted Nolan to get a coat and said he would rather wait until after his own mission - just let this be special for Nolan.
Aww, so sweet.

A buckle around your throat?  Keaton felt sure only a deranged man would bring this home to his wife!
He thought it looked a bit like a dog collar attached to a leather jacket.  That boy cracks me up!

It was so fun to watch Nolan speak Spanish with everyone while we looked on feeling like misfits.

We spotted an amusement park in the distance!  Time to hike a little more . . .

Our poor turtle friend wasn't enjoying the water. :(

At last!  Parque de la Costa . . . closed.  Only opened on weekends.  Sure looked like a great idea though.

We took the train back to Bueno Aires and prepared for an amazing evening . . . 

. . . to be continued.