Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

From Lemon Meringue and Strawberry Shortcake

and from one mischievous,

yet cautious,



  happy little elf.  

Fashion Friday

What a week!  And it’s only going to get crazier!  Is everyone ready for the Halloween madness that is about to ensue?  We have several parties on the weekend’s agenda.  YEA.  One I have to bake something for.  BOO.  I’m quite sure a good time will be had by all.  Despite the baking.  But before it’s time to costume up, here are a few things I’ve been wearing lately.

First I’m sharing some of the purses I’ve been using this Fall.  I never spend a crazy amount of money on purses because I like to mix it up and use a different one about every other week.  A lot of times I’ll use the same one for a few weeks during the day, but switch purses when we go out at night on the weekend.  Here are a few of my recent favorites…

My go to when I’m wearing grey.  

This brown hobo purse is a fall favorite (sorry you can’t see it great, this was the only picture I had of it.  But how perfect that it is sitting next to some Christmas scrapbook supplies!)  I love this purse because it’s big and aside from holding my regular wallet, sunglasses, keys, it also holds the sippy cup, the binkie, and the fishy crackers.  
Love this purse I bought last Fall at The Limited.  
Mostly because of all of the organizers inside of the purse.  When I was a little girl one of my favorite things to do was to organize purses.  My mom would buy herself a new one and then just hand it over to me.  I remember sitting on the carpet beyond giddy organizing all of her credit cards, lipsticks, and loose change.  Yes.  I had one happy childhood.  :)  (Oprah “ah ha” moment… beginning to realize why it’s so fun for me to switch out my purses so often….)

This purse used to belong to my sister.  But then I saw it and fell in LOVE with it.  Isn’t it fabulous with that orange lining and green zipper and stitching!?  My sister agreed it was way more of an Erin purse than a Carly purse.  So after she used it for a few months, she mailed it to me.  That was several years ago and I’ve used it every Fall ever since!  It’s too small for every day, but I use it a lot when I go out.

Another forever favorite.  My one other splurge from our trip to Italy four years ago.   

Had to get a purse to go with the boots.  
Nothing like a fun purse to complete your outfit.    
Now on to the outfits! 
When we went to New York I wore a black dress to see The Lion King.  I had actually just bought it the day before!  While shopping on 5th Avenue I stopped by Ann Taylor Loft and they had so many things on sale.  This was a 90 dollar dress on sale for 40 dollars and they only had two left.  One of them was my size!  Oh happy day!  Love it when that happens.  

I loved the scoop neck and knew that my black belt would be a perfect accessory!  
You can’t go wrong with a simple black dress and while I already own a few, they are all short sleeved.  Not only is this long sleeved and warm, but it is so comfortable!  Soft, cozy material.  I feel like I’m in lounge clothes in this dress.  I wore it last week to church with black boots.  Not because it was cold, but because my legs were too scary white to wear my heels.  True story.  

Wanna hear the best part about this dress?  When I got up to the counter to pay for it, it rang up for 24 dollars!!  The sales lady said it was marked down again!  I seriously could not believe my luck.  I loved my simple black dress so much, I would have paid 90 for it!  The heavens opened at that moment and I knew.  I knew it was going to be a good shopping day.  

Speaking of scoop necks, I wore this simple grey scoop neck top this week.  Bought it last year at Express?  Maybe Limited.  One of the two.

Wore it with dark skinny jeans and my grey boots.  I’m starting to get so bored with pictures of myself in this mirror that I find myself trying to mix things up.  A different pose, maybe twist the camera the opposite way.  I know.  I’m wild and crazy like that.  
But wait.  Something is missing from my usual bathroom mirror shots…

There’s my little fashion buddy.  Now this post is complete.  :)
A few of you asked about my cowl neck sweater from my “bad weekend turned good post.”  Bought it from The Limited last year.  Love the color of that sweater.  I also loved all of your comments on that post!  You were all so sweet and funny.  It was fun hearing from so many of you!  
{Ariel says thanks too :)}

Another simple sweater.  I like the button on the neck.  This one is from Banana Republic.  Funny.  When Car and I were in New York we walked in a Banana Republic and both said at the same time “ahh…feels like home!”  We love that store.

Wore it with my Citizens and wedges.  
This is a top I’ve had for a couple of years from Forever 21.  
Fun sleeves and a belt.  Do you feel like my Fashion Friday posts are Groundhog Day all over again?  Just call me Bill Murray.  

For part of one day last week I wore it like this.  

In the morning and evening when it was cooler, I added this blazer over the top.  Another New York find.  This is so NOT something I would normally buy.  But.  On What Not to Wear, I’ve noticed that Stacey and Clinton are always talking about layering and how this type of thing is a must for every woman’s wardrobe.  Plus my sister made me buy it.  She wears a lot of stuff like this because she is a working mom who spends time in an office.  I’m a working mom who spends time at the park and I was worried I would feel too dressed up/stuffy in this for my day to day activities.  

But I did love the color and I did love the lining so I bought it in an attempt to branch out from my clothes comfort zone!  And because my sister can be extremely persuasive when she wants to be.  

And I actually really liked the way it looked.  It took the place of a jacket and was warm in the morning before the sun peeked through the clouds.  I didn’t love these boots with it though.  I’m hunting for some dark brown flat boots that are good for every day.  Hopefully Santa will find just the pair!  With a little guidance of course.  

The whole time I wore this I was feeling a little too dressy and wishing I had on different boots and thinking “I bet this is the last time I ever wear this.”  Then I went to Costco and the man standing in line behind me said “I wish my girlfriend would wear boots like those.”  I thanked him and we started chatting.  Kole was being his charming self so the man was entertaining him and asked if I had other kids.  When I told him I had three he said “you don’t look like you could have had three kids!”  I kindly thanked him again, paid for my groceries with a big smile on my face and walked out of the store thinking “hmmm… maybe I actually will wear this again.”
Like tomorrow. 
And the day after that.  
And maybe the day after that too.  
**Linking up at The Pleated Poppy

Our Halloween Traditions

I can’t believe Halloween is here in less than a week!  Soon it will be time for Christmas!!  YEA!!  Sorry.  I know.  I’m totally one of those annoying people who bypass Thanksgiving and leap to Christmas the second November 1st arrives.  I know some people get annoyed when stores start putting Christmas stuff up in August but I’m not one of them!  I say BRING. IT. ON.  I can’t help it!  December is too much fun!  But even though I’m ready to deck the halls and trim the tree, my kids are pretty pumped for Halloween.  We are having fun around here doing a few things that have become October traditions in our house so I thought I’d share them with you!

First up – our spooky spiders.  My girls and I love blow pop suckers so this is a fun little treat we like to make.  Very simple.  You just need suckers, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners.  You can find the full directions here.

Our neighborhood has such a fun tradition of doing the “BOO GHOST” each October.  We just got “boo’d” last week.  When you get “boo’d” you receive Halloween treats and a picture of a ghost along with a note on your doorstep.  Here is what the note says in case any of you want to start this in your neighborhood (probably next year since I didn’t have my act together soon enough to share this before the last week of October).

Happy Halloween – you’ve been Boo’d!

This treat is for you, we hope you enjoy.
The idea is simple, one we hope you employ.
You pass “BOO” along to two other neighbors.
Along with any kind of Halloween favors.
If we all do our part, and spread the good cheer,
By Halloween night it will be very clear,
We’re a friendly bunch, we like to share fun.
So please do your best to keep “BOO” on the run!

You’ve been Boo’d!  Now it’s your turn to Boo two other people in the neighborhood.
*You should Boo these people within two days of receiving your treat.
*Hang the picture of the ghost on your front door so you won’t be Boo’d again.
*Include treats, letter, and ghost in your package.
*After dark, Boo two of your neighbors.  Don’t let anyone see you!
It will be fun to see how many ghosts appear in our neighborhood!
This tradition is SO much fun for my girls.  They get just plain giddy when we get that bowl of treats on our door and can’t wait to “Boo” some of their friends right back.  October wouldn’t be the same without our little Boo ghost hanging on the front door!
Another fun tradition I started a couple of years ago is Halloween Bingo.  

I found these free Halloween Bingo cards on-line.  I just printed them on white cardstock and then glued them on black cardstock and laminated them.  Oh how I love to laminate!  
And oh how my girls love Halloween Bingo!  (October 2009)
(October 2011) 
Person calling out the pictures gets to sit on the table.  Because…well.. that’s just more fun.  You’ll also notice the lovely spider sitting on the table as well.  A gift from grandma.  Can’t say that I’m too fond of him, but my girls sure are.  He’s currently sitting in a bush in our front yard.  I like him much better there than on my kitchen table.  
Another thing we LOVE to do in October is to read our Halloween books. 

 I always set out a basket to hold seasonal books – easy access for the kiddos.  I keep these Halloween books tucked away until October.  Makes them seem extra special.  

Our all time favorite Halloween book is called Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian.  Cutest story ever.  We read it over and over every year.  Another fun Halloween book my girls love is called Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson.  We must have a thing for witch literature.  

I started a little tradition of buying my girls a fun Halloween Activity Book from Barnes and Noble each year.  I didn’t mean for it to be a tradition.  I bought them Halloween Activity books a few years ago and they loved them so much that now I do it each year.  Just a fun little Halloween book to color when they are waiting for daddy to get home or taking a break from homework.  This year I bought them each a Halloween My Little Pony workbook.

They came with stickers and have been a huge hit!  We have pictures like this one all over the house.  Some may prefer skulls and werewolves.  We prefer pumpkins and ponies.  :)

And this weekend we are planning on making our traditional ghost pancakes!

Complete with chocolate chip eyes.  Always a hit around here!  
Also on this weeks’ agenda is our traditional “Halloween movie marathon.”  

I made this fun little treat for my girls one year and now they beg for it every October.  I just tossed some of their favorite snacks together – popcorn, pretzels, fishy crackers, m&m’s and of course candy corns!  I mixed it all up in our favorite pumpkin bowl and wa-la!  A Halloween treat that is perfect to munch on while watching your favorite spooky shows.  And since I’m sharing our favorite Halloween books, I’ll also tell you our favorite Halloween movie.  It’s called The Teacher from the Black Lagoon… and More Slightly Scary Stories (Scholastic Video Collection) and it’s a good one!  I would recommend this for 5 year olds and up (not toddlers).  Very spooky tales.  The last story seriously scares me more than my girls.  Not that that’s saying much.

This treat is almost too good to share!
Happy Halloween week everyone!  What are some of your favorite Halloween traditions?
{Only 36 more days until December!  WOOT WOOT!!}

Our bad turned good weekend

Well.  We had quite a weekend.  Family pictures were first thing Saturday morning.  I was so prepared.  Cute, coordinating outfits for the family – check.  Everything ironed and laid out the night before – check.  Kids to bed early so they would be well rested – check.  Kenny prepared to grin and bear it – check. Girls bribed into cooperating – check.  Kole bribed into cooperating – NEGATIVE.  Not only did Kole NOT cooperate, he decided to cry during the whole shoot.  We didn’t get ONE picture without him pitching the biggest fit.  Screaming, kicking, trying so hard to escape my arms and be free.  In Kole’s mind, being contained = death.  So not only is he screaming in every picture, but I look equally awful because I’m trying so hard to contain him.  I knew this would happen.  I did.  I don’t know why there was still this little part of me that thought maybe.  Maybe he’ll cooperate.  Just for a minute or two.  Maybe we’ll get that Christmas card photo after all.  
I cried.  I came home after the photo shoot, looked at the pictures on the disk and cried.  Not because it’s that big of deal.  But just because it’s so much work.  So much work for the mom (especially the mom of little kids) to plan the photo shoot, get the outfits, and get the whole family up and picture perfect.  It’s so hard working around the nap, the not very excited husband, and everything else that may get in the way.  So much work to have a blurry, screaming baby in the middle of every photo.  
After I had a 10 minute pity party, I got over it.  I’ll figure something out.  I’ll use some pictures I’ve taken or just embrace this stage and use a picture with Kole screaming his little head off.  It is what it is!  I’m sure someday I’ll look back at those photos and smile.  
Not smiling yet.  
The good news was that I had a fun date planned for Saturday night.  A date with fun friends.  At one of my favorite restaurants.  A restaurant that happens to be located right next to my favorite store.  (That may or may not be why I love the restaurant so much.)  

Cheesecake Factory!  Located right next to THE CONTAINER STORE!  (What was that? — angels singing in the background?…I know I wasn’t the only one who heard them…)   I told my cute friend Darci we would have to get sitters earlier or eat fast so we would have time to shop after dinner.  I can’t be that close to this beloved store and not pop in!  Lucky for me there was a 50 minute wait for dinner.  50 minutes?  Hmmm… I knew just how we could spend our time!

Not only were we in the Container Store (one of the most magical places on earth), but they had their Christmas stuff out!!  Talk about being in my happy place!  Christmas and organizing — it just doesn’t get any better.  Suddenly all of my tears from family pictures seemed like a distant memory.  I was on cloud nine.  No.  I was happier than that.  I was beyond the clouds!

Now tell me these pictures don’t make you giddy too!  Admit it.  Anyone else beyond the clouds!?

Darci and I loved this gift wrapping station.  Hmmm… wonder if Santa heard that.  

And what did our husbands do while we shopped?  They had a delightful time catching up.  Just look at Kenny.  Patiently waiting and visiting while holding my camera bag and future purchases.  Now that is a good man!  Our husbands had so much fun visiting that the time just flew by.  Darci and I decided this is how we are going to do all of our Christmas shopping.  The men can come along and keep each other company and hold our stuff while we tear it up.  Win win for everyone!

Aside from the obvious location of being next door to my favorite store, this is reason #2 I needed to head to Cheesecake Factory.  Their pumpkin cheesecake.  Is your mouth watering yet?  It’s seasonal so you can only get it for a couple of months.  And it is HEAVENLY.  It’s an October tradition to eat our pumpkin cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory.  Talk about a perfect date night.  And a great end to what started out as a not so great day.

And in other weekend news.  The girls decided it was time to dress up Kole.  In their clothes.  
To quote Ellie — “who says Kole has to be a boy?  Just because some silly doctor says so?” 
 It was then decided that Kole is now a girl and her name is Ariel.  

Ariel was dressed up in an assortment of the girls’ clothes over the weekend.  Here she is modeling an off the shoulder rose shirt in a lovely magenta.  
Sometimes Kole was ok with the gender change.  

Sometimes he wasn’t.  
By the end of the weekend we had all embraced it.  
Ariel admitted defeat and pushed her little shopping cart all over the house.   
Poor kid doesn’t stand a chance.  
(I’d feel sorry for you buddy, but you ruined my pictures.  What’s that they say about payback?)