Sunday, October 31, 2010

super cheesy goodness with a side of halloween

Halloween is something new for us, this is the first year we've actually done anything for it. I don't really like the spooky and scary aspect of it, ok, I don't like that part of it at all so I try to keep things light and fun. Last year I cleared out Target's Halloween section the day after Halloween so we'd have plenty of decorations and fun things to look at for years to come.

I bought plates and cups and silly straws and towels... The kids have been using the plates and cups for the past month and the towels, well, they got turned into a dress by CB so who knows where they are. Our new house has a rockin playroom and I really wanted to do that area up for Halloween but wasn't sure what exactly to do. Then I saw this little craft project from and was inspired. So, 6 black socks, 2 sets of leggings and 2 sets of baby socks from the Dollar Spot, a package of fluff, a bunch of pompoms, a whole lotta pipe cleaners and googly eyes and 16 sticks of hot glue later, I had a wall-o-fun.

W really wanted a "super silly haunted house" so I got some cheesy garland and lights and tried to outline a house. On a side note, can we please talk about those new stupid LED lights they are putting into light strands?? Putting those things up was almost deadly. Those lights are evil! I didn't realize they were the LED lights until I plugged them in and started to hang them up. My eyes started crossing and the headache hit instantly... I don't really care if they reduce energy consumption by 88% or whatever. If they are giving me a migraine and/ or a seizure every time I look at them, the lower energy consumption isn't really going to matter, ya know? I'll pay the extra $3 a month to light the regular ones! I keep having to tell the kids, "DON'T LOOK AT THE LIGHTS! YOU'LL BURN YOUR EYES OUT OF YOUR HEAD!"

If you're looking for aesthetically pleasing pictures of perfectly done little Halloween craft projects, you aren't going to find that here. My pictures are snapshots, at best, and the projects, well, I'll just say the kids helped, even though they didn't, it was all me... but it looks as if a 4 year old did them. And that is fine, it is all in good fun. Good, cheesy, Halloween fun. So cheesy... really, really cheesy.

In keeping with the festive spirit, we took the kids trick-or-treating for the first time. Rather, M took them while I stayed behind with MJ and passed out candy and made sure no one smashed our pumpkins or egged our house. This was the first time I've ever passed out candy and it was definitely interesting. I'm shocked our house wasn't egged or t-peed when we woke up, given the amount of times I told teenage girls to go home and put some clothes on. I asked one girl who was probably 14 if she borrowed her little sister's costume. That thing was so small, I'm pretty sure it was a 4T and she, well, was not.  As it got dark I kept seeing how there were all of these kids in pure black, without any kind of illumination or reflective fabric on them, so I broke out the glow sticks I had bought for my kids and started handing them out, thereby turning me into the over paranoid neighborhood safety patrol. I was half tempted to break into M's stash of reflective belts he wears for running and pass those out too. What are these people thinking, sending their kids out in all black on a dark night?? Hello!

I was well prepared for a barrage of greedy kids, but they were for the most part, polite and kind. Except for 1 kid who hit my house twice and was apparently pretty pissed off I only gave him 1 piece of candy the first time, so he decided to raid my candy bowl himself the next time. He was quick too! Little punk pulled like 15 pieces while I was sitting right next to the bowl, only stopping after I told him to get his grimy little paws out of my bowl or I'd take his entire bucket. You steal mine, I steal yours.  I'm already that scary cranky old lady that lives down the street and I'm only 28... No, I wouldn't really do that, but seriously? Where are your manners?

Overall, the day was a blast and I loved every second of it. It was the 2 year anniversary of M coming back from Iraq and coincidentally, I made the same exact meal I made the night he came home. We had a great time with some new friends and their little girl and the kids had a blast.

L, here is the recipe for the soup and crisp! :)

Minestrone Soup
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 large potato, peeled and cubed into bite size pieces (use 2 if you like a thicker soup)
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squashed, diced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
1, 28oz can diced tomatoes w/ juice
6 cups chicken stock
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can great northern white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 lb kale, washed and cut into small pieces

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over low heat in a large heavy pan. Add the onions and garlic and let cook until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a couple of minutes. Once those get soft, turn the heat to medium add the potatoes, zucchini and squash along with the dried spices and bay leaves and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a slow boil. Add the beans and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. When the potatoes are soft, add the green beans and kale and cook for just a couple of minutes, until the green beans are bright green.

Serve with a good crusty bread and Parmesan cheese.

You can add a small pasta, like mini penne or shells and if you do, add about a cup when you add the beans.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Happy Halloween! Be safe out there and don't forget your glow sticks! And don't dress like a ho, or I'll yell at you.


Hilary said...

Jo, that looks so cute!! You did a great job and it does *not* look like a 4 year old did it.

Sarah said...

Happy Halloween! Glad you had fun!
Where'd you get your toy bin/shelves? Are those Ikea? Love them! I need to upgrade some of our toy storage so its a bit better organized.

Joanna said...

Thanks, Hil. It was kinda fun, I'll admit it.

Sarah, yes, they are IKEA and I LOVE them. They are pretty much indestructible and have been through an international move and 2 other huge moves without any damage. I like them because each one holds a certain kind of toy and you can get different size buckets to go in them. They even have shelves if you want to use them as book shelves. And the bins on the side are also IKEA. Love them!