Where Did November Go?

So…uh, what happened to November folks??  I don’t really know where to begin because the post I’ve been thinking about posting is irrelevant seeing as how Halloween is long over and gone.  So just imagine, I walked around my neighborhood and took pictures of the decorations people put up and some of them were pretty cool.  A lot of people around here did some sort of decorations even if it was minimal.  One of my favorites was a ginormous spider a guy built out of PCP pipe with glowing green fangs and put up in the front yard.  I’d post the pics but they didn’t turn out all that well now that I’m looking back at them.  We even decorated our porch which was a cross between nice harvest with pumpkins and hay bales and typical Halloween with spider webs and ghosts.  I even tried to make this:

It didn’t quite turn out exactly like this but good enough.  Another reason I’m not posting pictures is because my computer is going through a freak out period.  I just got it a few months ago and there’s already some sort of hardware glitch.  Lovely.  I’ve talked to tech support on two separate occasions and all I’m wanting them to do is send me a box to put my computer in so I can send it to be repaired.  It is now a month after my initial call and I still don’t have a box.  Grrr.  I will be making yet another call tomorrow and may have to ask to be transferred to their complaints department or something.  It’s frustrating and annoying.  And I’m annoyed that I have to talk to some guy in India who I can’t understand and who can’t understand me.  Double Grrr.

With the semester coming to an end I’ve been bombarded with papers, projects, assignments, etc.  The good thing is I’m starting to see the end.  Whoo hoo!  We had family in for Thanksgiving which was fun.  I was a cooking fool last weekend.  I made a big dinner the night before then cooked the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and made four pumpkin pies.  I love pumpkin pie.  All the cooking is just the warm up for the Christmas desserts that need to be made.  Last year I baked a little over 400 cookies, 5 loaves of bread, three batches of fudge, 2 batches of cream cheese brownie bars, 2 or 3 batches of homemade oreo cake/cookies, and tried divinity which I ended up being sidelined for because that’s really hard to make.  Maybe this year.  Speaking of the Christmas season, all the holiday movies have started up which I’m apparently a sucker for.  So odd because ordinarily I can’t stand Lifetime or Hallmark but sprinkle in Christmas and I can’t turn it off.  Go figure.

Well for some stupid reason I woke up at 3:45 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I hate that.  So I”m going to go attempt to do that now.  But I’m going to leave you with what I discovered making a web outside my window:

Ok, ok so it wasn’t really a goliath birdeating tarantula out there but it may as well have been.  It was totally big and creepy.  Well, pleasant dreams!

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Alrighty Then

I got a message from someone (ahem DJD) to update this little diddy of a blog and I told him I would by the weekend because I thought for sure I could think up enough fodder from the past two months to write about.  Well…I’m not so sure.  Now that it is officially fall (it is officially fall right?) there is a holiday smell in the air and a little bounce in my step.  Spring/Summer are my favorite seasons but let’s face it, this past year felt like living in a crematorium so I welcome the lower temps and humidity.  Not just welcome them, I have a spare bed and bath reserved and am prepared to be at their beck and call if they promise to stick around for a while.

We have now started the months of uppers – October, November, December – when everyone starts being nice and a little more charitable which will be followed by the months of downers – January and February – when everyone is annoyed and irritable.  Ok maybe that’s just me.  Regardless we’re in an upper and I’m actually excited it’s October.  Colors will start becoming vibrant and of course Halloween is merely a few weeks away.

I won’t even attempt to write an entry on Halloween because compared to some of you who are Halloween enthusiasts, my entry would be pathetic and sad.  And admittedly I haven’t always been so jazzed about it.   I think working at a preschool has definitely helped.  There are just so many cute crafts and songs and the kids are uber pumped about dressing up.  Yesterday we went on a field trip to a pumpkin patch and I was probably more excited than they were.

Our school Halloween party is a week from tomorrow and I’m still trying to put together my costume.  Last year I went as a Ninja Turtle and this year I want to go as a Ghostbuster.  I’m borrowing a pack back vacuum to serve as my proton pack but am having a hard time locating a jumpsuit to wear.  Today a friend said he would mail me one of his old flight suits from when he was in the Marine Corps which would be perfect but I’m a little nervous it won’t get here in time.  Fingers crossed.

This year I’m even planning on helping to decorate the outside of the house and have already bought a few things to get the ball rolling.  Who knows, with this festive attitude I may even go to a haunted house.  Yeah right.  I had a traumatic experience (oh it was traumatic alright don’t you worry, that is if you’re a wimpy 10 year old girl) when I was in the 6th grade and have never gotten over it.  I tried going to one in the 9th grade but it didn’t work out to well and I break into a sweat and start having heart palpitations just thinking about it.

There won’t be any watching of scary movies either as I will most likely stick to the lame TV crap available on ABC Family this holiday season.  Baby steps, baby steps.  I “watched” Quarantine a few months ago but that viewing was done at high noon through my fingers with the remote firmly in hand ready to change the channel with the click of a button.  I also tried to watch The Strangers but only made it about 2/3rds of the way through.  Had to read the ending on IMDB.  A wimp I am.

On to something happier about the fall season, I made caramel apples today and am going to get apples tomorrow to make applesauce.  And while I’m mentioning food, I made some homemade chicken noodle soup last weekend that was to die for.  Another great thing about fall, hearty soups and a kitchen that smells heavenly.  Well there you have it.  Stay tuned this next week for pics of (cross your fingers) my ghostbuster costume.

Picture Update

I really didn’t mean to disappear for a couple of months but every time I came to the computer to write something I decided against it and before you know it, it’d been nearly two months.  So here’s what I’ve been up to during that time.

I had a month long break from school before starting back up again about three weeks ago.  This first summer term I’m taking Research Methods and just typing it out makes me snoozzzzzzzzzze.  In about another three weeks I’ll be adding Child Development to my load before getting a two week break before starting fall semester.  See what I mean?  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

During my month of May break, I had a whole list of stuff I wanted to do but you know, time passes quickly and I didn’t do nearly half of it.  I did manage to read 8 or 9 books which more than doubled what I had read this whole year up to that point.  Yay me.  And I’ve still been keeping up with my garden which has yielded barely any vegetables so far:

I have since picked and eaten the veggies in these photos and they were really good.  I’m sure more cucumbers are to come because the plants are huge and full of flowers.  So is the watermelon plant and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that one because I have become obsessed with watermelon this summer.

I added to the backyard by planting a lot of flowers and bushes.  It needed it badly and I was in the mood to experiment.  So far the majority of the flowers are thriving and slowly but surely our backyard is looking better and better.  I can’t wait for the sunflowers to finally get big and bloom but it might not be for a couple more months.  In the meantime here are some pics of just some of the flowers I’ve got back there:

I did notice the other day one of the flowers looked like it had been chewed and it didn’t take long to discover the culprit:

Every year we have wild rabbits that seem to roam through our neighborhood.  I have no idea where they actually live and I usually don’t mind them in the yard.  Just not when the eat my plants.

I also went on a little trip with my mom and sister down to Hot Springs.  We did some horseback riding and went to a wax museum among other things.  I’ve gotta be honest.  The wax museum was horrible.  It was so random and no one really looked like anybody they were supposed to.  Here are some of my favorites:

Ack!!  Seriously?!  Prince Charles reminds me of a rat and Queen Elizabeth hasn’t looked like that for at least 60 years.  I had to read the plaque to know who she was.

It was so dark in this section of the museum I took this picture mostly just to see what it was.  And then I had to laugh.  But the laughter really got going when we went into what I suppose was the kids/Disney section and saw this:

Gah, let’s take a closer look:

Hey what do you know, my new facebook profile picture.  I absolutely love his face.

In the beginning of May our town celebrated its annual Toad Suck Daze celebration.  In its honor, we had the kids at the preschool bring toads to school for some toad racing.  Imagine 16 preschool kids with toads but believe it or not, it was fun.  There are a couple of toads that live in the yard of the preschool and the kids LOVE to play with them.  I feel bad for the toads.  We had a frog fatality and I’ll spare you the details but will say barefeet = dead frog.

I hadn’t actually gone to the Toad Suck festivities since I was in high school but my brother and I decided to go and check it out this year.  This included walking the parameter and then leaving.  Too many people and a lot of lame stuff does not a good time make.  Trust me.  Although, one of the booths had a karaoke machine and was inviting participants.  When we waked by some white trashy girls (I know that sounds harsh but you weren’t there) were singing quite loudly and off key to R Kelly’s song Ignition.  It. Was. Hilarious….and terrible.  My brother got some video of it that I will have to get and post.

The only other thing I’ve been busy with is watching TV.  While I’m waiting for the summer shows like Burn Notice to start, I’ve become obsessed with Bones.

I’ve seen the show a number of times and like it but can’t watch it during the season because it’s on at the same time of a number of other shows I watch.  Lucky me, the reruns are on constantly.  There are about 12 episodes that get put on the DVR each week and I recently discovered all the seasons in their entirety on Netflix that I can access through my brother’s Xbox.  Lucky me indeed.  It’s taken me a while to actually be able to tolerate the character of Temperance Brennen.  Admittedly I watch the show for Seely Booth and his sarcasm.

I also spent a day making a ton of homemade strawberry jam that was/is absolutely heavenly and could quite possibly make applesauce a little later in the summer.  I might just be one of the oldest young people I know.

And there you have it – a run down of my two month hiatus.  You missed me didn’t you?

My Garden

The other day I decided I wanted to try my hand at gardening.  We have an area in the backyard where the grass has stopped growing so I converted it into my little makeshift garden.  I have no expectations for it and I probably just spent $40-50 to dig in the dirt but that’s just the way it goes.

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I realize this doesn’t look much different but even if you can’t tell I did anything, my shoulders sure can.  No tiller, just a hoe.  I don’t recommend it unless you have built up stress and frustration in your life.  In that case, have at it.

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There’s not much there but in my mind it looks like this:

Heroes in a Half Shell

Last year I was the grim reaper for Halloween but this year I went as something much cooler…a Ninja Turtle!

“Raphael is cool but crude..Gimmie a break”

Turtle Power!

At the Preschool party I’m about to be attacked by Shrek while Fiona pretends not to notice

Yeah!!  I love Halloween!

Bat Cupcakes

We’re having a Halloween party for the 8-11 yr. old girls I’m a leader over at church this week.  I decided to do something a little different in the way of an invitation so I borrowed this idea I found and voila!

Later today or tomorrow I’ll start on the first round of pumpkin sugar cookies.  I love Halloween!

It’s A Party

I celebrated my birthday like any self – respecting 31 year old should, with a party! …with 16 preschool kids.  Holla!  Ok, well maybe it wasn’t the party of the century but it really was cute.  When I walked in, all the kids were sitting down in a circle and at once they all yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS NATALIE!!!  Then they all jumped up and ran over to give me hugs.  Very sweet but little over powering.  I had to grab the wall so I wouldn’t fall over on top of them.  There was birthday banner strung up and this is what the white board looked like:

Apparently ‘E’ is a favored letter with someone.  Later in the morning they sat down again and handed me cards they had brought or made.  Here were some of my favorites:

I was told the drawing in the top left card is a picture of me, the red lined drawing in the card underneath is a picture of a house (floor plans maybe?).  In case I am ever curious about who sent me the card on the top right Anna made sure to write her name in it over and over, only she spelled it Anno and Aiden just might be the next Picasso with another self portrait of yours truly in the bottom right card.

When Anna handed me her card she was positively beaming.  Not only was I presented with a card but with this:

I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing.  EEK! Creepy!!  But according to her mom, Anna felt I just HAD to have one of her dolls and wouldn’t be consoled until she was granted permission to bring it for me.  The sentiment is very sweet.  The doll however, well, is not.

For morning snack my mom had brought over cupcakes with plastic rings sitting on top.

Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture until most of them were gone.  I don’t know what kind of dye was used in that frosting but it stained fingers and faces.  Hands down the messiest cupcakes eaten at the preschool to date.  But they were so much fun!

Here we have Jeremiah who was so kind as to draw my picture in his card, Anna the doll giver, and Haley.

The little boy in the red shirt on the right is the one who designed my future house in his card.  I know neither one of these pics makes it look all that messy but trust me.  These were taken within seconds of them receiving their cupcakes and the rest of the time I was on frosting control.

As soon as the cupcakes were finished and kids were cleaned we pulled out the playdoh.  Another totally messy activity that’s a pain to clean but fun never the less.  And as soon as I had scraped off the last piece of playdoh from the kitchen floor it was time for lunch.  What could we possibly eat that would top the mess of cupcakes and playdoh?  Oh yeah, spaghetti.  On the positive side, no one had dyed purple and blue fingers and faces anymore.  Instead they were all orange.  It looked like we were holding oompa loompa try outs in that kitchen.

This was hands down the best work birthday party I’ve ever had.  I really wish this last picture wouldn’t have turned out so blury.  But I didn’t have my camera and this was the best I could get.  Here are my kiddos: