Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Thoughts, Memories and Fun!

 Halloween is here tomorrow. I love a little mid-week party! Even though my kids are older they are still enjoying getting some kind of get-up together. Well, it's mostly gory and scary stuff now. The joy of boys!  I love getting the house decorated. Loved these linen pumpkins I got at Pottery Barn this year.

They blended well with my bland and natural decor I dig so much.

My friend Sue who can make anything gave me this cool wreath!

Together with my old books and crow it gave a darker vibe to my entry.

I tried to glam it up a bit in my dining room with some Halloween colors and silver. I think adding Ivy gives anything a pretty look don't you? I grab them whenever I can.

We are carving tonight. Some scenes from last year's massacre.

 They usually have their ideas all planned out. We often refer to an oldie, but goody Martha Stewart Halloween book for inspiration. Notice Grif's home made tattoos? Hope it's not a mark of things to come..

 Jackson used a drill for his!

 Quick mom take the picture, it's cold!!

Last year. These have to be my favorite Halloween costumes so far. So aptly representative!

I like to make chili and a platter of quesadillas for the kids to grab as everyone is running about. I've also got to have the fire on and some appetizers and wine for any friends who stop by. It's all about the candy now and the high-schooler and his pals still plan on hitting the nearby homes before coming back to hang in the guy cave - aka the garage. We also have a sweet senior neighbor who still gives the street kids $2 bills. Can you believe it? She makes a special trip to the bank I'm sure. Bless her. She likes to see the costumes and they like to give her a hug.  My husband will take the middle-schooler and his pals out for a bit. Yes, we assured him, dad will stay a few homes behind them. ;)

These were just five short years ago at our last home...Sniff.

First and Fourth grade here. It goes by too fast!

Answering the door is getting even more fun for me as the little ones on our street are getting big enough to get really into it. One thing I will miss this year is the wonderful parade of kids at our elementary. After 11 years of having a student there, we are done. Our school always does a wonderful parade next door to the senior housing complex. The older folks look forward to it and the kids love the attention. I think every grammar school and senior home should be built next to each other! It's a win-win.

Our neighbor girls' costumes last year. How cute is Abby with the Rudolf nose and sign?

 Seraphina was pretty clever with the raining cats and dogs thing..

How do you celebrate where you are? I know some countries have only recently begun having Halloween. It does seem like a bit of a money-making scheme sometimes..I tried to have my kids make their own costumes and not purchase store things. It's greener too to use what you have around the home. We always did and it was fun. Who doesn't remember being a gypsy or a tramp with your parents clothes and the dress-up box?

 Making your own, encourages a bit of thought and frankly some of the store costumes are just gross and in the case of girls, downright wrong. I don't believe parents should let their girls buy into the slutty version of a nurse, devil maid, angel, doctor and so on. Let girls be something fun or cool, and don't get them start thinking being sexy is something good at a young age. A young woman from our local high school, Caitlin Cozine just wrote a terrific piece for the Mercury News on the choices out there for young women. Check it out here. Then while searching for that article I found this...

 The meme above, and it's hilarious, yet wise accompanying post, can be found at The Every Girl a awesome blog for young women. Highly recommend stopping by, or telling your daughter about it. I just found this blog and I wish I had something like this to read when I was younger.

Our neighborhood has a little pumpkin carving party also about a day before. It's very casual. We set up some tables and tools and let kids get dirty and creative. The moms and dads (if they are home) and neighbors all come out and chat a bit, share a glass of wine, some nibbles and relax. At the end, we have all the kids line up their jack-o-lanterns. Precious!

Well, I'm off to indulge in a pumpkin latte, (apparently they are calling it liquid crack now?), and get a few items ticked off. If you still haven't gotten in the Halloween mood, here's some of my favorite ideas out there this month.

From the talented Annie, of Most Lovely Things, darling goodie bags to make for your Trick-or-Treaters!

And for the grown-ups a gorgeous Halloween cocktail created by the fabulous Mr. Paul of The Magical Christmas Wreath Company, The Blood Rose. Both of these blogs are favorites of mine!

You can find more fun on my Pinterest board, I Love Fall and my last year's post, Getting Your Pumpkin On!

Remember, you can still keep the pumpkins around until Thanksgiving! (Sorry not the carved ones! That could get ugly.) I remove my webs, spiders and the like. Just and add acorns, pinecones some fall foliage and you have Insta-Thanksgiving!  I'll be back soon with some more beautiful ideas for that.

Watch out for those zombies. They are awfully popular right now!

Happy Halloween Friends!



Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall, Life and Stuff

I'm writing this post on my high schooler's desk. He doesn't know it, but he has the best view in the house and I love a desk with a view. (Yes, I did have to clean off the Subway sandwich,  Slurpee cups and candy wrappers first, but let's not let reality enter into this!)

I bought him this vase for his pens. Cute isn't it?

Summer finally seems to be taking it's leave and fall has fully descended upon us here in Northern California. On my walk, I noticed so many brightly colored trees, some are already losing their leaves, and it is just gorgeous right now! California may not have the autumn display that Vermont does, but we have a pretty good one.

The birds are having a heyday with the riot of berries in the bushes and trees around here. They are going bonkers and it's fun to watch the show. It's become very cool and wet in the mornings and finally I am ready to bring out my boots, fleece and down items. Goodbye flip-flops. Though I guess they are never really gone here in California. Just at the bottom of the shoe basket for a while...

The heralding of fall gets me thinking of the passage of time. How could this year be nearing a close so soon? What do you mean Thanksgiving is around the corner?  Christmas I can't really wrap my head around yet, but I do have a little bit of excitement when I think of Christmas songs and decorating the tree..

That said, it also means the birthdays of my two boys are coming in a few weeks. Each school year becomes busier than the last. Days are flying by and I just want to make it all slow down. I want more family time. The nights of reading to them are over. Some nights we can get a game night in if homework doesn't intrude. Weekend trips are even trickier with the homework and it seems everyone want to hang with their friends. I get it. You mean you don't want to be with us 24/7?? Lol. Does anyone else feel this way?

There's a lot of this going on when the fire's on.  I also keep hearing from this one, "Mom, stop harshing my mellow." Right!

My days also feel so chunked up. I accomplish so little! Like right now I should be putting the next load in the washer, but I'm writing and pondering what's on our plate after-school. I'm wondering what I need to get from the grocery that I'm missing from tonight's dinner...Also tomorrow's lunch boxes. They've already eaten what I've bought for the week.

On a quick side trip to the store yesterday I remembered that Grif, my youngest needed socks that, "Slide on easily mom and my pajamas are too short." Done. No memory loss on that trip.

Only to get a comment last night from the eldest, Jackson that, "My socks are all too tight mom." I thought he was flush with socks..Grrr.

Yesterday, as I was about to run out and get groceries the call comes, "Mom we played soccer in P.E. today and the grass was all wet. My shoes and socks are soaked. Can you bring me dry ones?" There goes another 45 minutes.

 Happy to greet the high-schooler mid-afternoon I get, "Mom, I need a laptop. All the high-schoolers have one." My response if you need one you will have to save for it yourself. (He has a fairly new and very nice desk top one.) The response, "Mom is it really fair to ask me to pay for school supplies?" Nice try.

Then this morning from the 6th grader, "Mom I've decided I no longer want to play cello. I'm switching to flute to be with my friends. Yes, I know I said I wanted to do bass last week, but I really mean it. Can we go look at flutes today? Oh and I need blood for my Halloween costume asap."

Ten minutes before the Boy Scout meeting Monday night, "Mom my Scout pants are too short and need hemming and can you add 4 patches too? The last patches you put on are falling off." Hmm, I never did master sewing.

"Mom, can you buy some GOOD food for once?" In others words, he means junk food. This from the high schooler of course. Note to self, when getting a few token processed items, buy guinea pig food and another large container of Calm while I'm out!

Yes, they are working me. Total hustlers. It's a mom's job to put the kibash on a large percentage of these things. It's also my job to make a loving, cozy home and though most of the time I enjoy it, I get worn down.  I try to remind myself in a few short years one will already be away at school, and the other also not long after. I've got to savor all the adversity. I know I'll have much more time then to do all the things I don't have much time for now. Those are on the back-burner while I make those guys my priority. (Reader, I have a blogger girl's night away in November. I can't wait!)

Despite the chaos, last weekend we whisked the eldest away minutes after finishing his PSAT and the four of us made a road trip to my brother's in El Dorado Hills, near Sacramento. That's a beautiful area near California's Gold Country. They also have a famous area called Apple Hill to buy apples, crafts and have picnics. The weather was so gorgeous.

I couldn't stop snapping photos. The light and the farms were just too pretty.

This area is amazingly beautiful and the sweet scent of apples wafts through the air. There are over 50 farms along with bakeries, wineries and even a brewery on the beautiful winding road that goes through here. Apple Hill is a must do if you get up to this area of California!

I love warm fall days and being outside in the softer sunlight. I am also savoring the quality time with the boys as it is happening less and less. The highlight of this trip for them I think, was being with their cousins. Cousins are the most special friends you can have and I wish they had more time to be together.

We also had a good time watching my brother fly his hovercraft. They are fortunate to live in an area with a gorgeous view facing towards the Sierras and a backyard that is open space.

It's perfect for remote control planes, or RC, if you know this stuff. My brother has a side business selling the parts and things and he is doing very well. Apparently this is pretty popular stuff. Boys love it of course...

I got some quality girl time with my sweet sister-in-law, Line.

And my favorite niece, Veronica!

Also, this week I made a lovely discovery, this book, "Fall in Love for Life," by Barbara, "Cutie' Cooper.

Written by a 90 something grandmother, it's a smart and inspirational guide to married life and more. Cutie, as she is called, tells it like it is, while we experience her lifetime-the hard times and good. She doesn't sweat the small stuff and inspires you to value what matters. I bought my copy at Anthropolgie. She has her own blog, The-OGs- so fun! You can even follow this 96 year old on Twitter! Today she tweeted that it was cold and your grandma says bundle up. I love it!


Speaking of lovely, I also found another blog dedicated to Northern California that you will drool over if you love this area and great photos. California Coastin is the blog of Tiffany Ingram, an amazing young woman who is a fantastic photographer. She really has captured some of my very favorite spots in California on her site. Seriously a treat to visit her gorgeous blog!


 This blog has been a bit slower coming, but I'm ramping up and I'll be back with a decorating post very soon. I just realized I never wrote the final trip post about Germany! Yikes. That's in the can as well..Thanks so much to all you long-time readers and all the new friends too! I know that some of you are getting the new post emails on Bloglovin' and it would be lovely if you follow me on Facebook where I post more frequently and there are always links to latest blog!

Now I'm off to stare out the window a bit and watch those birds!

Wishing a beautiful fall weekend to you all!


P.S. So excited Uniqlo (it's supposed to be the Japanese Gap), is opening tomorrow at Valley Fair nearby here and I plan on getting over there to get a fleece and one of their gorgeous down puffers for $49. Have you heard of this store or shop there? I cannot wait to check it out!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Witch Style! -Wonderful Witchy Women


Last week a fun caper took place midweek and I escaped my hood and took my broom to The Fairmont in San Jose for the annual Wonderful Wonderful Woman charity lunch. How often as a grown-up do you get to dress like a witch and have a fancy lunch all for a good cause? 

This annual bash is in it's 8th year and has raised a ton for local charities, especially those helping women and children. Last year's witches raised $200,000!

Cheryl Bailey, the founder of this event began this with a small lunch with her friends and it has grown to be a very huge and popular event in this short time.

Cheryl the lovely and kind founder.

I think Women love a reason to dress up and also help other women. One of the best things about this day is seeing the unique and gorgeous creations so many came in. Truly there was not enough time to snap all the fabulous women who were there.

 Sadly I pulled a blonde witch maneuver and left the card out of my nice camera. Arghh! These are all iPhone pics, but funny enough the light that morning gave them a soft look, so maybe not so terrible?

 I thought you may enjoy seeing all the lovely witches that attended!

 This cute lady preferred to wear her hat as a pin. Darling.

There was so many women who spent the better part of a year working on making this event fabulous. From the amazing auction items, decor, charity connections and a ton more.

Photo courtesy of Barb Johnson

A few of the beautiful ladies who worked so hard..

 Loved Jeanne's hat and red spider ring!

The pretty tables!

Some witches' accessories were pretty fabulous..  

Loved these lace shoes!

How cute are the dots?  Purple also really pops with black!

Some obviously put a lot of effort into their hats and coordinating outfit.

Loved mom Lisa's look and her cute daughter!

 Also, so many pretty variations on black! Love these dresses!

With my friend Shawna.  I wore my custom made blue bottle silk Della dress with some satin leopard wedges, black J Crew woven clutch from a few seasons ago. 

For more information on Wonderful Witchey Women with a Cause and the Bella Vista League click here.

Happy Witching!

Okay had no idea how annoying my hat was! Lol! :(