Trick or Treat: Halloween Memories

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It was one of my favorite Halloweens yet, perhaps because it wasn’t 5 billion degrees, perhaps because we hadn’t seen Poppa since July and he arrived just in time for the evening’s festivities, or perhaps because I was extra aware of how special this is, caught in the little window between two worlds–watching Lainey run ahead with a friend and trick-or-treat without us while still holding little ones’ hands and reminding them to say thank you after KitKats were dropped in their buckets. Whatever the case, I love Halloween so damn much, and Monday night delivered.

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I give you Witch, Mary Poppins and Richard Simmons:

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Some favorites from the evening:

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(Dash doing his “Simmons Dance”)

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This KILLS me.

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This is Richard Simmons:

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And this is Richard Simmons on sugar:

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I think Nella’s favorite part of the evening was coming back to the house, slipping on her nightgown and manning the door for the rest of the evening. Every time the doorbell rang, she ran to push the button on the fog machine and grab the candy bowl.

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And the best part? Examining the loot.

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I hope you all had a fun evening. Scrolling through Instagram after a holiday is always so much fun–I smile until my cheeks hurt. I love seeing families making memories and flying their holiday freak flags. Makes me that much more excited. Now to get this ‘effin candy out of our house.

And you know where we are now? NOVEMBER!!! The next two months are my favorite time to blog. I get the holiday happies, my creative cup starts to runneth over, and this little space becomes a place to hold it all and share it. So many twinkle lights to come.

A Spooky Halloween Night

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Happy Halloween! This is it, folks–the night of childhood dreams. Grab your brooms, light your candles, stock your candy. I love Halloween–but that’s obvious because holidays are my jam. To be honest, I think we all have a little something extra when it comes to chromosomal makeup, and we figure out what it is along the way. Mine definitely includes some kind of over-the-top enthusiasm for Halloween, but enough about me. IT’S HALLOWEEN!

This is the first year we did a Halloween party, and because I could not come up with anything more original, I called it SPOOKY PARTY but always said it dramatically and with a British accent and followed by a dracula laugh  (moo-ha-ha-ha-ha).

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I turned Lainey into a witch in this picture using Pic Monkey, and Brett’s dad printed it for me for some festive fireplace party decor.

When I went to Utah a few weeks ago, one of the moms was telling me all about the Halloween party she does every year, and I was so inspired, I stayed up in my hotel room googling Halloween-inspired food and ordered a fog machine. That’s how these things start. Whatever the case, we had so much fun. It even felt–dare I say–a little bit like a night at Hogwarts. Dash had his own sleepover with his grandma that night, so it ended up being a girls’ party. And the morning of, Lainey woke up early, came and found me and said, “Mom, I’m so excited I can’t sleep.”

Cue Harry Potter theme song, cue fog…

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We served a full dinner of Halloween-inspired food including a witch wart potion that smoked and bubbled all night (I’ll never do Halloween without dry ice again!).

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Turns out spaghetti is super easy to die black. Just cook pasta as usual, and then soak for about 3 minutes in a big Ziplock with a little bit of water and several drops of black food coloring.

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The bat bile was a mint mousse that turned out delicious–just heavy whipping cream, melted white chocolate, powdered sugar, and a little green food coloring and peppermint extract.

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As for decor, the  Target dollar spot was ON POINT this year–flasks and beakers and test tubes, graveyard stones and almost everything else we needed. Throw some inexpensive spiders and snakes in the mix, drape some spider web, blast a fog machine, and everything turns spookatacular.

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Radioactive bat poop favors (Nerds).

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The brain cupcakes were super simple to make, and I swear I don’t mean that in a Martha Stewart “it’s so easy, all you need is 10 professional pastry bag tips, a blow torch and 6 free hours” kind of way. It’s just two shades of pink frosting. You frost the dark layer on first, gently slice a knife to make two hemispheres, and then pipe the light pink frosting on with a big Ziplock bag. (also, not my idea–found these on Pinterest).

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Madame Zelda came to the party too and set up a fortune telling boot.

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And giggling little girls all in witch hats, eating around the table in a mist of fog and illuminated by candlelight? BE STILL MY HEART. Magic.

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The fortune telling ended up being a huge hit. They all lined up and took turns as Madame Zelda read a fortune fish for each girl (have you tried them? So much fun!), and then looked into the crystal ball to see their future. I made up fun tales for all of them and included some that Lainey had written for them earlier–like “Tonight you are going to do the Dab Dance with a skeleton.” It is pretty easy to make fourth grade girls giggle. I’m not sure we can pull that off in another couple of years, but it’s fun while it lasts.

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We got this $20 plasma ball to use for our crystal ball, and the kids loved it. It’s definitely something fun we’ll tuck away and pull out for parties again.

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Little Ivy was all big eyes and 100% belief for her reading. It was precious.

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A few of our Instagram stories from the night:

The girls also made witch balm for their lips, and everyone got to take home their own tin. It’s a great party activity, is pretty easy to make, and kids have so much fun creating their own flavor concoctions. We made the balm from this post–four simple ingredients, and it’s my favorite lip balm. I keep a tub of it in my kitchen cupboard, and it lasts me forever.

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And what’s a sleepover party without s’mores? Halloween style, using black widow egg sacs instead of marshmallows, of course ;o) We love our indoor s’mores maker.  It’s so much fun to have for sleepovers and cozy movie nights–or breakfast, har har. Speaking of sleepover, does anyone have any tips for how to get a bunch of girls to STOP TALKING AND GO TO SLEEP?! Brett kept coming out and asking me, “Aren’t you going to tell them to go to sleep?” And I was all, “I did. Five times.” YONO. (you’re only nine once)

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A few easy ways to transform a party into a witchy good time?

*Switch out light bulbs with green ones–found in the regular light bulb section and a cheap transformation.
*Buy dry ice! We got a huge chunk of it at Publix for $12, and popped pieces throughout the night into our witch potion punch which kept it bubbling and fogging all night. You can also drop a small chunk into individual glasses–better with bigger kids as you don’t want little ones touching the actual ice.
*Fog machine. You’ll use it every Halloween. Makes everything look spooky.
*A candleabra. It added the perfect Halloween touch to our table and made for a great centerpiece. Very Hogwarts. The more candles, the better.
*A spooky playlist. You can find a ton of Halloween playlists on Spotify, from Monster Mash to Thriller.

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And the best part? We get a whole ‘nother round of Halloween fun tonight. Grab your brooms, witches!

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And a favorite Halloween post from the archives: Our Storybook Halloween.

Have fun tonight!

The Easter of Low Standards

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We’ve resorted to our low standard celebration this Easter. It goes like this: You know why this was an amazing Easter? Because we are breathing. We are alive, and we are going to let that fact have a lot of merit right now.

We’ve been in varied stages of The Flu Cocoon which is a lot like the horror movie The Fog except we get to keep breathing. Remember, WE’RE ALIVE! BEST EASTER EVER!

I have considered taking care of sick children one of those rites of passage in motherhood and one that can present itself to be quite beautiful actually–rocking warm little bodies, sweeping hair off hot foreheads, tucking covers, perfecting chicken soup recipes, feeling a surge of satisfaction from the call to nurture. But the other night when both Brett and I fell asleep with fevers and chills and awoke to the same fevers and chills plus two more kids with it, crying “Moooooooommmm!”? I did not feel a surge of satisfaction. I passed a kid to Brett–I don’t even remember which one–and bid him God Speed. “Here, you take this one. I’ll take the other one. Whoever survives until morning wins life.”

Turns out, we both won life, another thing to celebrate this Easter.

We had big plans for Easter–a giant spread of food planned, people coming over–all the Easter things. And I’m holiday girl! I live for this stuff.

But it just didn’t work out this year, and it was all we could do to take care of us. So we canceled all our plans and focused on breathing and staying alive. And you know what? I kind of liked it. Once in a while, it’s nice to be forced to step back and just do nothing.

Turns out we still did a few things. Quietly, slowly, and under the influence of Motrin.

Our eggs got dyed (made some speckled eggs from Martha Stewart Magazine–eggs tossed in a cup of lentils and food dye).

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And the bunny still came. Also, word is the bunny got smart this year and ordered eggs pre-filled with tiny toys like puzzle erasers and tattoos. Praise be for shortcuts when you need them.

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These tiny Calico Critters pups? Obsessed. All of us.

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I was actually feeding one with a bottle yesterday without realizing Brett was watching me.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“What? I’m feeding a bottle to a tiny plastic dog wearing a diaper, what is it look like I’m doing?”

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The kids tried on their Easter outfits at various times throughout the week, but mostly we just hung out in our pajamas yesterday. But look! For the record…BOWTIE. You’re welcome.

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The cake that didn’t get eaten, but it’s okay because WE’RE BREATHING.

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I did get through Season 2, Episode 12 of Parenthood after marathon sick watching and cannot begin to understand why I wasn’t watching it when it was on. My obsession with the Braverman family is so for real, I dream about them and count down the hours for the kids to go to sleep so I can keep watching.

And for once, I’m actually glad it’s Monday. New week, fresh start. Disinfecting the house and kickin’ last week in the shins.

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Fatema sandals, from my fave spring picks and a continued partnership with Børn Shoes.

Hoping you all had a great weekend and a happy Easter.