Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

My last Halloween post of the season - Three Things I can Live Without on Halloween is up at the Jersey Moms Blog today.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Snotober!

Tomorrow, I'll be joining the masses for my first NaBloPoMo.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween, Kirtsy & Fair Trade Chocolate

Yes, the Halloween perseverations continue on...

Today, I'm over at Kirtsy sharing my picks for awesome Treat (or Trick) Bowls. There are some pretty amazing ones. I was so inspired by all the clever ideas I found that I even got all DIY crafty and made my own Halloween treat bowl.

With skull & cross bones Duck Tape of course.

And, thanks to Seeds of Change our Halloween bowl is all ready to get filled with chocolate for the neighbor kids:

And not just any chocolate, ethical chocolate. I usually just get super-fun erasers and tasty pretzels, but my husband thinks that is "completely and utterly unacceptable"so I caved and said we could give out candy this year.

Then I read Kristen Howerton's post Let me ruin Halloween for you... about how most commercial chocolate is made, and well, I just couldn't participate in buying piles of it for Halloween.

So instead, I found some fair-trade, ethically produced chocolate.

....and Halloween was saved for all the neighborhood children.

Thank you Duck Tape for the duck tape.
Thank you Seeds of Change for the chocolate.
Thank you Kirtsy for featuring my picks today.

And thank you Halloween for providing so much blog fodder.

To learn more about fair trade chocolate, read Ideas for an Ethical Halloween.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Feet {Wordless Wednesday}

Footwear choices in Picture 1: Native water shoes (inspired by mutterschwester), Michael Kors boots, Mommy's Tretorn galoshes and pink Uggs.

Footwear choices in Picture 2: Puma sneakers, Diesel galoshes, Trumpette rain boots (borrowed from his big sister) and Nikes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Few Fun Ideas for Halloween - Costumes, Jack-O'Lanterns and Creepy Treats

With this being the homestretch last-week-before-Halloween, I wanted to share some fun Halloween ideas I wrote over at New Jersey Family in case you still have kids to costume, pumpkins to decorate, or snacks to bring to the class party.

10 Easy Kids Costumes You Can Make Yourself

10 Easy (and Not So Easy) Jack O'Lantern Decorating Ideas

6 Fun and Healthy Halloween Treats

4 Ghoulishly Fun Duct Tape Halloween Projects

I am in the middle of making my own Halloween duck tape masterpiece, hopefully it will be done in time...

Have you made anything cool for Halloween? Please leave links in the comments below - I would love to check it out!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm Quoted in Publishers Weekly Today! And not about Monster High Halloween Costumes!

October must be my month for being quote-worthy, because just today I was mentioned in a Publishers Weekly article The Mighty Mom Bloggers, which discusses the relationship between mom bloggers and the publishing world.

Last October, almost to the day, I was quoted at the end of a New York Post article, Would You Let Your Daughter Trick-or-Treat in This? where I got the chance to complain about how inappropriate girls costumes for Halloween had become. I remember I was referred to as "Anna Sandler, a blogger and New Jersey mom," because it was the first time I had ever been referred to as a blogger, or a New Jersey mom, as we had just moved to the Garden State.

I re-read my quote today, and it's all about how my daughters wanted to be zombie cheerleaders. I can't believe how little my kids' Halloween costume choices have changed since last year, because again this year they just want to be zombie cheerleaders -- or, to be honest, anyone from Monster High:

I said a big, loud Mom-sized "NO!" to all of these, but I did allow Kay to acquire a "regular" zombie costume and for Magpie to get a Vampira costume, which let's face it are not exactly my top choices for either of my daughters, but they also aren't Monster High which I just don't think are appropriate for girls of any age.

And, with seven days and counting until Halloween, little brother Ziggy is still holding fast to the idea of being a cat. And I am still trying to decide if he should not only be a cat, but a cat dressed-up for Halloween, which would mean putting a second costume over his cat costume.

If you can't quite tell what that would look like, here are examples of a panda dressed-up like a pumpkin, and a bear dressed up like a mummy. So, based on what we have at our house, Ziggy could be a cat dressed-up in a dragon costume, or maybe a cat wearing a fireman's hat. It's funny, right? {Crickets.}

And last, if you haven't entered yet, the Awesome Duck Tape Giveaway closes tonight, Monday, October 24, at 9pm EST - so enter for a chance to win a cool assortment of Halloween Duck Tape so you can make cool pumpkins like these:

The Gene O'Lantern


Monday, October 17, 2011

AWESOME Duck Tape Halloween Ideas and a GREAT GIVEAWAY - CLOSED

This giveaway is now closed.

Congrats to the winner, Brittany C.!

Neither my obsession with decorating Halloween pumpkins or with Duck Tape seems to be on the wane, so why fight it? Instead I'm bringing them together here.

Just look at the incredible Halloween creations you can make with Duck Tape.

Amazing and creative Jack O'Lanterns:

A cool candy corn loot bag for your Halloween candy haul:

Or black bat decorations to spookify your home:

And... I have AN AWESOME DUCK TAPE HALLOWEEN PRIZE PACK to giveaway courtesy of Duck Tape!

To enter just leave a comment here with your email (or make sure your comment links to where I can find it) and tell me your favorite Duck Tape color.

For extra entries leave a comment for each of the below letting me know you already/do now:

If it's easier, you can also tweet or leave a message on the Facebook page that you follow/like and you don't need to also leave another comment below.

If you do ALL FIVE of the additional entries above, you can just leave one comment along the lines of "home run!" "the whole enchilada!" or even a reference to a trifecta or hat trick will work fine.

~ Good luck! Enter Now! Entries close on Monday, October 24 at 9pm EST ~

Giveaway small print: Contest open to U.S. residents age 18 and over. Contest ends at 9:00pm EST, Monday, October 24, 2011. Winners will be randomly selected via and announced here as well as emailed or messaged on Twitter with the good news. Entrants must provide contact information in their comment. If winner does not respond within forty-eight hours, a new winner will be selected. Prize supplied and fulfilled by Duck Tape. Colors of winning products will vary. I was not compensated for this post or for promoting this contest. I received a similar prize pack to review.

For more information and full giveaway rules, please contact
Good Luck!

And one last thing, if you have mad Duck Tape skillz, you should enter Duck Tape's Stick or Treat! Jack-O-Lantern decorating contest, full details here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sukkah in the Suburbs

Our friends up the street made a sukkah for Sukkot - for those of you who are not observant Jews or do not have children attending a Jewish preschool, Sukkot is a Harvest Festival of many customs, including building a little hut (literal translation is "booth") to remember the time spent wandering in the desert all those many years ago.

In addition to building a small, makeshift building in your yard another tradition of the holiday is to eat meals in the Sukkah that celebrate the fall harvest, favorite recipes include butternut quash lasagnastuffed zucchinisweet potatoes in orange cupspumpkin cookies and apple custard pie.

For those observing, Chag Sameach!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Instructions for My Husband: When You Start a Sentence with "In My Opinion" You Do Not Need to Always Add "Which is Undoubtedly Correct"

Usually, when people give their opinion, it is something they believe to be true. I'm too lazy to Google/Wikipedia/ it, but I am betting that is even the actual definition of opinion.

So, you don't need to (always! every single time!) be redundant and say "My opinion, which is undoubtedly correct, is that you are doing blah blah blah totally the wrong way." I know you think you are correct, even undoubtedly correct, and that is exactly why you're saying whatever stupid thing it is you're saying.

Why would you be saying something you didn't think was correct?

Because in my opinion, which is undoubtedly correct the day is not going to come when I hear you say "My opinion, which I'm not totally sure about and might be incorrect..."


Am I the only person who thinks an opinion doesn't need a qualifier?
This is my twenty-fifth instruction for my husband in my ongoing series Instructions for My Husband.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Who Wore It Better - The Frog Halloween Costume

Both my daughters were a frog for their first Halloween. So of course I have to ask, who wore it better?

My son insists he wants to be a cat this year, and will not carry on the proud tradition of the Halloween frog.

I'm trying to decide* between these:

Yes, those are the choices that come up when I searched for "toddler cat costume." I'm kinda appalled.

*I'm not really trying to decide between these options. I would not let a ten-year-old girl wears these get-ups, let alone a two-year-old boy. What has happened to our world that these things are even for sale for toddlers?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Creepy Pumpkins and Jack O' Lanterns - Halloween Gone Good

My last post was all about awesome Halloween pumpkins made by some exceptionally crafty people.

This post, I bring you seriously creepy Halloween pumpkins forcing me to ask how do people think up this stuff?

Check out this creepy mouse house pumpkin from Martha Stewart:

And how 'bout this Snake Pumpkin:

Photo from Martha Stewart
There's this wicked Witch Pumpkin:
Photo from

And I saved the creepiest for last:

Leaving me to ask once again, how do people think up this stuff?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Incredible Pumpkins - Halloween Gone Good

Last year, I spent much of October complaining about Halloween - the slutty children's costumes, the over-the-top yard decor... in short, the commercialization of the holiday.

But not this year. No, this year I am just going to publish post after post of ridiculous Halloween stuff I find and call it Halloween Gone Good.

Today, I present Incredible Pumpkins - clearly some people think there are better ways to create a Jack O'Lantern than just hacking up a pumpkin with a kitchen knife. And while I admire them and their handiwork, there is not one of these pumpkins I think I could make myself.

I love this Polka-Dot Pumpkin, made with an apple corer, and putting pieces of one cored pumpkin into the other pumpkin:
Photo from Better Homes & Garden
Here is a close-up of the polka dotted pumpkin:
Photo from Better Homes & Gardens
In fact, Better Homes & Gardens as a whole slide show of fantastic Super-Fast Pumpkins with No-Carve Designs but there would be nothing super-fast about me doing any of these - I feel like it would take the better part of a day for me to even find an apple corer.

Better Homes & Gardens also has a slideshow entitled Quick and Easy Painted Pumpkins though  again, if I was the one doing the "quick and easy" painting it would actually be slow and agonizing... just look at these incredible pumpkins!

The Silhouette Pumpkin:

Photo from Better Homes & Gardens

The Stenciled Design:

Photo from Better Homes & Gardens
I'm sorry, but those do not look quick - or easy - to me.

Real Simple had some spectacular (but easy! really!) no-carve pumpkins, too.

I love this Chalkboard Paint Pumpkin:

Nothing says fun like kids wanting to change their pumpkin every day from now till October 31.

And last, I really love these thumbtack pumpkins.

Real Simple has initial and house number ones:

Photo from Real Simple

And MadiganMade has these simply stunning gilded pumpkins that are completely covered with gold thumbtacks.

At least she has the decency to admit it was not easy and that it took forever to put in all those brass tacks. 

And if you, like me, find that all this pumpkin awesomeness has left you feeling perhaps a little bit inferior, I leave you with one last equally cool idea that luckily requires almost no execution: The Masked Pumpkin:

Photo from Country Living


What's the most clever pumpkin you've ever seen? My husband's pick is this old favorite, the puking pumpkin:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October Handprint Crafts: Columbus Day, Pumpkins & Halloween

October brings many things - the Columbus Day holiday, fall weather, changing leaves, pumpkins and their patches and at the end of the month... Halloween!

Here are handprint crafts to celebrate it all:

Columbus Day is on Monday, October 10. Almost Unschoolers has this great Hand Print Mayflower Craft, which I'm thinking is the same style boat Columbus sailed over on, and can be re-purposed for this holiday, but to be honest I don't really know for sure. Any tall ships experts who can weigh-in here?

And it's really this boat or nothing, as I'm guessing none of you really want to make handprint crafts depicting genocide or the slave trade.

The end of the month brings a much more cheerful holiday - that's right, October 31 is Halloween!

First of all, how great is this handprint Jack O'Lantern:

And here's another cute pumpkin handprint from Little Giraffes, who have a whole Calendar of Handprints:

Ramblings of a Crazy Woman has these not-too-wicked handprint black spiders:

One of my favorite craft sites is Handprint and Footprint Art, and she has directions for a ton of great Halloween crafts from witches to Frankenstein to ghosts and candy corn.

And don't forget, pumpkins are the perfect surface for handprints! Full directions for these are also at Fun Handprint Art:

If you're looking for fall crafts celebrating autumn leaves and foliage, apples and apple trees, they're all in the post for September crafts. You can also see all the handprint crafts for the entire year here.

This post completes twelve months of handprint crafts, next month brings us full-circle back to where we started with the handprint-iest of all the crafts - the handprint turkey.

Thirty Dollars

My son (he's two) thinks a credit card is thirty dollars. Exactly thirty dollars.

Ziggy will go rifling through my wallet grabbing cards and squealing "thirty dollars!" every time he gets one in his little toddler clutches.

Would you like to know the fascinating story about why Ziggy thinks a credit card (or a Gap gift card or a Costco Membership card) is thirty dollars?

Because in addition to liking credit-cards-he-thinks-are-thirty-dollars the kid likes cars. So we go once or twice a week on a mother-son outing to get gas for our car.

And every time we get gas, the same things happen: we pull into the station, I open the car window, the attendant comes over, I hand him a credit card and say just two words: "Thirty dollars."

For those of you who chat with me on Twitter, you know that my darling son recently put all of mommy's cards (except for her driver's license and gym card) through the wall vent in our dining room, which cannot be removed.

When he was done he said happily, "Need more thirty dollars!"

I'm linking-up to Finding the Funny. If you don't know it, check it out at Kelley's Break Room and My Life and Kids!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Lil' Pumpkins and the Black Winter Coat - Who Wore it Better?

Who wore it better?

There's a lot of sibling clothes sharing in our house, sometimes even with little brother Ziggy. So I've decided to start a new feature, who wore it better?

So, who do you think wore it better? Magpie's on the left, and Kay (holding someone named Kelly's pumpkin) is on the right.

Winter coat from Lili Gaufrette via the one-and-only Natan Borlam in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They have incredible prices and service, and will even help you shop by phone.

{All opinions my own. No compensation received.}

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Instructions for my Husband: Five Guys is not Good For You.

Let me just start by saying I also think Five Guys burgers are delicious. And yes, I also wish that Five Guys Burgers was good for you, or even just sorta-ok for you.

But, sadly, Five Guys burgers aren't even ok to eat every once-in-awhile.

They are straight-up as bad as fast food, which completely surprised me too, but it's true. And as you know, I don't eat fast food. So I guess I'm not eating Five Guys anymore.

Here are the numbers, directly from Five Guys nutritional guide:

A single burger (which they call a little burger) is 480 calories and 26 grams of fat.

And the double burger (which they call a burger) is a perfectly frightening 700 calories and 43 grams of fat.

And last, just in case you're thinking it's not that bad, take a quick comparison to the McDonald's nutritional guide:

A Big Mac is 540 calories and 29 grams of fat, not as bad for you as a Five Guys burger.

And a McD hamburger? Is actually less bad for you than a Five Guys Little Burger - 250 calories and 9 grams of fat.

I think the McD serving sizes are smaller than the Five Guys ones, but still... it's pretty bad.

And no, I don't think Five Guys is lying on their nutritional information sheet to make the food seem worse for you then it is.

This is my twenty-fourth instruction for my husband in my ongoing series Instructions for My Husband.

Image source: Clip art licensed from Clip Art Gallery on

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