Friday, October 28, 2016

My Favorite Halloween Memories

Let me clarify that these are childhood memories. Although I've had some pretty awesome memories as a Mom, too. And, yes, this post seems to be all over the place, but I was free-styling it the day I wrote it and decided not to go back and edit my original thoughts and writing. Kinda wish I had gone to my moms and got a few old Halloween pictures, but I was too lazy. Sorry. Would love to hear some of your favorite Halloween memories in the comments!

When I was a kid, Halloween was a big deal. Sorta like I guess it is for kids these days, but life was simpler in the 70's and 80's. I mean, the closest I ever got to a haunted house was at the fair, sitting in a little motorized car with my dad. I kept my eyes closed the entire time and held my breath until those last doors flung open to reveal the world as I knew it.

Let's see, I was Casper the friendly ghost, Wonder Woman two years in a row, a gypsy, a hobo, and an old woman, but for the majority of my Halloweens, I dressed up as a witch. Never a princess, which is really hard for me to believe now that I think about it. I'm not quite sure what my obsession was with being a witch, but one year, Mama made my costume and I thought I was so cool because my mama didn't sew. I'm not sure what possessed her to make my costume that year, but it was a black two piece outfit and the cape had tassels along the edges. I thought I was the best looking witch in the neighborhood. I actually got two or three years out of that costume. One year, Mama even painted my face and neck green, too.

That's me as Casper about 1976 or 1977!

I was so excited when Alise wanted to be Wonder Woman one year! The first picture is my brother, Michael and I. You can see the Casper costume got handed down! HA!

We lived in a nice neighborhood that wasn't too big but I learned the proper "Halloween etiquette." If the carport light wasn't on, then there was no sense in going to the door because those cheapos weren't passing out any candy! We could walk around our entire neighborhood in about an hour and fifteen minutes.  I think my parents played rock, paper, scissors to determine who would take us around the hood because of course, someone had to stay home and pass out candy because we weren't cheapos! My mom had this big Tupperware cake topper that she would dump all the candy in for us to pass out. Candy that she bought, of course.  And Michael and I may have dumped the candy that we didn't want from our stash into the Tupperware topper to "re-gift." We weren't allowed to open the door, though, unless Mama was nearby. I guess she was afraid someone would reach and grab us and take off running.

The first time I ever heard anything "bad" about Halloween was the year the news broad casted that someone had tried to kill a kid by sticking a knife in an apple. As a kid, I remember thinking that was so stupid because DUH!  Who has time for that? My mom replied, "Somebody who really wants to kill kids would do that, Laura." Good grief. That was when all the, "go through your kids' candy after they trick-or-treat" started and I vaguely remember  hospitals offering to x-ray kids' candy if you would bring it to them.  I kept my mouth shut on that one. And we never had our candy x-rayed.

One year, my mom invited one of her co-workers over the night before Halloween to make popcorn balls for her office the next day.  That was the biggest fiasco with her and Sandy that I've ever seen. They had crap everywhere and my mom may have had a few choice words that night as she stirred that popcorn and Karo. Michael and I just hung out in the den adjoining the kitchen and watched, "The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and a Bugs Bunny Halloween special back to back.  Kids these days don't even know who Bugs Bunny is.

We didn't have reflectors and glow sticks and all that fine stuff in the 80s. We were lucky if one of our parents remembered to bring the flashlight! There were street lights ever so often and that was enough. The weird thing was that Mama bought me and Michael Halloween bells. Like bells that you shake and they ring.  Weird. We were proud of those bells, though, and we used them every year!

I'm ashamed to admit that I've egged a house before, but it wasn't on Halloween. It was in February and I remember the incident quite well.  Let's just say it wasn't one of my finer moments.

My mama also made me another Halloween costume when I was in college. I was a 1920's flapper in a hot pink dress with black swishing fringe and fish net hose. I had the garter, the cigarette holder and I made my own headpiece.  That was a fun party! Ahem! Alise wore that costume for a pep rally last year! Now THAT was weird!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's Up Wednesday ~ October 2016

I'm just gonna apologize now for no pictures to this post, but it's because Stephanie has my laptop. She's working on a "huge paper" for one of her classes.  But if you follow me on IG and SC, then you're pretty "caught up" on what we've been up to anyway! 

What We're Eating This Week...I thought I would share a few things that we've eaten lately instead of our menu for this week {because I don't have one! Ha!!}. If you're crazy for Italian like we are, I suggest Easy Baked Ziti. I also suggest using the two cans of red sauce.  I actually made this recipe a few weeks ago and froze it for another night and when we tried it, I told Alise we had another favorite pasta dish {besides spaghetti and lasagna}. We took leftovers to work and school the next day. Another great recipe I've tried this month was Six Sister's Ritz Chicken. I used the extra tenderized chicken breasts and they turned out so well. Definitely a new family favorite. I tried my best blog friend, Emily's, Tomato Basil Soup this past Saturday and it was so darn good! And last but not least, I tried this Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe Sunday night and it was delicious! I was a little wary of the tomato-y topping, but the family loved them!  

What I'm reminiscing about...Alise had her first middle school dance a few weeks ago. After changing her mind multiple times, she finally decided to go as a black cat. We usually visit a local pumpkin patch to take pictures every fall, but this year I've decided not to. Baby Girl is growing up waaay too fast!

What I'm loving... While I was off work enjoying my mental health days, I finally caved and bought a pair of peeptoe booties. And I'm loving them! The brand is new to me, but the booties are so comfortable.

What We've Been Up To...Football and cheerleading! But the season has finally come to an end. I have to say that I've enjoyed all the pep rally themes this year {Good job, Skippy!} and the Pink Out was one of my personal favorites because Alise finally got to be a flyer in the cheer stunt. She has been so patient all season and it finally paid off!

What I'm dreading... Nothing.

What I'm working on...My Christmas shopping. Baby Girl is finished! Can you believe that?! We're doing things a little different this year as far as presents go and I'll share more on that later in another post.

What I'm excited about...I never thought I'd be a basketball mom, y'all. Seriously. I still don't totally understand it when it comes to plays, but my girls love the game! For Alise, it's a sport that she and her Daddy enjoy together because he is one of the coaches for her school team. Of course, Stephanie has played all her life and is in the thick of practice right now herself. Last night, Wayne and I were deciding which road trips we were going to make to see Steph play this season, so I guess I'm getting excited about basketball season. Go Mustangs! Go Warhawks!

What I'm watching and reading...Since last month, I've finally gotten on the "This Is Us" train and guess what!  So has Wayne!  I mean, he's not a die hard fan, but he likes to watch it with me. A show that we've both gotten into is "Timeless." I guess we both like it because of the historical aspect. I finished reading, Damaged by Lisa Scottoline. I had no idea that this was a series, but I plan to return to it sometime soon. I also read Andrew Gross' new novel, The One Man and I really liked it! Right now I'm nearly finished with The Widower's Wife. You can check out what other books are on my to-read shelf by clicking here.

What I'm listening to...Still rocking with Prime Country on the XM. I listen to Hits One with Alise and Hip Hop with Steph when she changes the channel. Which is usually the second she gets in the car.

What I'm wearing...Wish I could show you! I'll save the wardrobe pics for another post!

What I'm doing this weekend...Our church's college department is coming to our house this weekend to make and bake pizzas in the pizza oven.  We're also having a bonfire that night.  I'm going to the movies with my girls to see Madea {heaven help me!} and we'll be carving pumpkins on Sunday afternoon!

What I'm looking forward to next month...The Alabama versus LSU game! Mistletoe Market with my friend, Jennifer. Having a weekend to myself when Wayne and Alise are hunting with friends at their camp! I've GOT to make plans for Thanksgiving!! Oh! And I'll be putting my Christmas tree up in about two weeks, too!

What else is new...Alise made all A's on her report card for the first nine weeks.  I may have had a glass of wine that night to celebrate! Whew!  It was a tough nine weeks! I'm a little bummed that because Halloween falls on a school night, that we won't be having an "after party" at our house like we've done for the past ten or eleven years.  The girls are older now and we, the parents, made the executive decision. But I'm still bummed.

Bonus question: What is your favorite Halloween memory/picture/tradition? Seriously, y'all, I was already working on a post for this before I saw the question so you'll just have to wait until next week!

Monday, October 17, 2016

One Word

I have only one word to describe our weekend: party!

Thursday night I had to go see my Big Girl. She didn't have a good week at practice and was "in her feelings" as she likes to say. She needed her mama to cheer her up!  I can't tell you how proud I am of this Girlie. Our relationship is still a struggle at times, but I wouldn't trade being her mom for anything.

Friday morning Alise and I were up early for the Pink Out Pep rally. Baby Girl finally got her chance at flying and she was so nervous.  She didn't have a good week at cheer practice, either, and didn't nail her stunt all week.  Until.  Until, the pep rally! I didn't get a good picture, but I could not believe how she bounced up twice in the stunt and never faltered. She was so excited! 

Our first official party was during Alise's reading hour. Her class got to celebrate a book they've been reading by having a tea party.  All the kids dressed up and they drank tea out of real china tea cups. The moms provided the sandwiches, cookies, and brownies.

I ran to work in time to celebrate another party for a co-worker.  I was a sandwich making lady that day!

I had promised S on Thursday that I would go to her open practice on Saturday. Since it was ULM's homecoming, a few of her teammates' parents were there and I got to meet and talk to them. I thought she had a great practice, but she is forever so hard on herself.  It drives me insane.  I just don't get it. She also had a cold and wasn't in the greatest mood - I've learned to keep my distance when she's being hard on herself or they have a loss. So after a quick good-bye, I went home to watch the Alabama football game with Wayne and help Baby Girl get ready for her first ever middle school dance!  Eek!

I can't tell you how many times her costume changed. We went to the Halloween store TWICE to find a costume - and to return the one we picked out the first time! She really wanted to be a red devil because she liked the sparkly costume, but she said, "Moma, I feel so guilty about being a devil because I have Jesus in my heart." Happy mom moment. She ended up going with a simple black cat costume that we pieced together. She did her makeup and hair all by herself.  There was a "pre-party" at a local Mexican restaurant and then the dance started at 7 o'clock. It broke my heart that she and her best friend, Aden, wouldn't let me walk them in and take pictures. I mean, literally, my heart was breaking as they got out of the car. Wayne and I joined friends at a local restaurant to kill time until the dance was over.  She had a great time and I loved seeing all the pictures on her Snap Chat!

We went to church on Sunday, went to lunch, and invited Brooklyn to spend the afternoon with us. She needed a little fun time away since her baby brother was born a few weeks ago. We went to get ice cream, made and decorated cookies, and she and Alise hung out upstairs in the the theater room.

I tried a new recipe Sunday night that was really, really good and I'll be sharing it soon.  I cooked all afternoon with plans of taking food to Steph and her teammates, but alas! They went to the Japanese Steakhouse and my new chicken recipe just couldn't compare I guess. They missed out on chocolate cake, too.

I was so proud of myself for actually getting up and hitting the pavement Saturday morning.  I got two miles in and fully intended to walk Sunday, but cooking got in the way. I'm still not over being sick. Didn't feel like myself all weekend and now suffering from the effects of being on a high-powered antibiotic for a week. I also haven't had a Diet Coke in two days. Baby steps. Hoping and praying that this is a better week for all of us!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Favorites

Hello Friends and welcome to Friday! It's been a long week, but a good one, I guess if you overlook the fact that a week ago, I was dying with a double ear infection and strep throat. Thank goodness for another weekend! And hopefully a sick free one, too! Be sure to catch up with all of us at Momfessionals to see what everyone is faving today!

{one.} You may have seen a lot of the fashion bloggers sporting this bag this season in their pics. I'm in love. I'm not even quite sure what this pattern is? It reminds me of a baby deer - and that's probably not the most appropriate description, but whatever! And when I found out that the bag wasn't really fur, I was slightly disappointed and began - once again - looking at the leopard St. Anne Tote. I've had that sucker in my cart forever and let's just say that after spending the day home on Monday recovering from a double ear infection and strep throat, I thought I finally deserved it! A woman should not be left recovering at home alone with a laptop!

{two.}  I happened to find these snacks a few weeks ago in our Neighborhood Walmart and I love them! They're only 150 calories, quite tasty, and I may or may not have even eaten them for breakfast a few mornings! So yummy!

{three.} I wasn't the only one in love with Mrs. Trump's hot pink blouse this past Sunday night during  the Presidential Debate. Social media went NUTS over it!

I've been surfing the internet trying to find one in my price range because - Hello! Gucci! $1,100? (which is the one Mrs. Trump wore) - I really do expect them to become a hot item on into spring. I remember my mother had one in the 70's or 80's and I thought it was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. Her blouse was white and I hated the bow.  Back then, they were called "secretary" or "teacher" blouses, contrary to the modern day name. You'll have to google that one!

{four.} I ordered my first Christmas gift this week and I'm so pumped about it!  I got a good deal and someone in our family is going to be oh-so happy on Christmas morning! I wish I could share more details about the purchase, but I can't because of inquiring little minds!  Ha! This is our first Christmas when "she knows that I know that she knows" and it's breaking my heart. You moms with littles out there, enjoy those precious years of them believing in Santa! 

{five.} Alise won THIRD PLACE in our middle school's reading fair this week!  She was so excited!  The very first project she did completely by herself! 

{six.} I picked up this LBD this week when I decided to do a little retail therapy before heading into the office one morning. Surprisingly, I've had some pretty good luck with Target lately after nearly a year of not being able to find anything I liked. Key hole and floral dresses have been on my radar this fall and I just haven't been able to find the perfect floral print yet. But this lace key hole dress will be on repeat all season! 

{seven.} Wayne and I are traveling to Baton Rouge later next week and I can't wait to stop in at one of my favorite little boutiques located in St. Francisville, Grandmother's Buttons. They have the most gorgeous antique and unique pieces around. My best friend, Angie, bought a necklace that she wore at her son's wedding and the piece was just amazing! You can read about Grandmother's Buttons' story by clicking HERE and if you're ever headed south in Louisiana, I certainly suggest stopping! I mean, isn't this picture gorgeous?!


{eight.} Baby Girl has her first EVER middle school dance this weekend and I'm torn between feeling sad about it and being excited for her. The dance is casual with a Halloween costume theme and I'll be sharing pictures next week...don't want to give anything away right now, but suffice is to say that I may be feeling a little overly dramatic about the whole thing! Oh my gosh, where has the time gone?! While the kids are dancing the night away {for two hours!}, the parents will be enjoying a cocktail hour at a restaurant. I hope I don't cry in my cosmo!

{nine.} Something that I'm REALLY loving these days...a few weeks ago, we took the plunge and got Alise an iphone. It was the same time that Wayne got me the new iphone 7 - which I'm learning to like a little more each day! I was REALLY having a hard time with deciding to get her one, but I feel like we can trust Alise and so far, we have our bluff in. So, anyway, I have SO enjoyed getting texts from my daughter on her way to cheer or waiting for a ride, or even from her bedroom while I'm soaking in a warm bath. It has opened up a whole new world for us. Does that sound strange? I mean, I certainly don't want to take away from us actually having a conversation, but it's nice and weird to get a text from your eleven year old in the middle of the afternoon.

{ten.} I told y'all a few weeks ago that I spent a Sunday afternoon making freezer meals and Wednesday night, we tried one of the new recipes. I have to report that it's a winner!  So easy to make and really, really good! Definitly a freezer repeater! Here's the recipe for Easy Baked Ziti.

We have a very low-key weekend planned.  No high school football game tonight, so we're free to watch one of S's friend's volleyball games, so we'll be at our second home for the next six months, the colesium.  Now that the reading fair is over, Alise has a little more free time on her hands and her daddy plans for it to be spent practicing basketball.  I plan to actually get outside and walk this weekend!  If you can believe that! And then, of course, there's the school dance on Saturday and church on Sunday. Whatever you're doing, I hope it's fun and relaxing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My To-Read Book Shelf

I'm excited about some new books that I've recently added to my "to read" shelf on Goodreads. And if you're not currently using Goodreads, you might consider giving it a try!  I love it and enjoy seeing what all my friends are reading.  You can read book reviews, rate books and even give your own review of a book. It's actually where I find most of the ones I read these days. So on with the books!

Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti. I actually found this book on someone's blog a few weeks ago. I usually like to try and read seasonal books around the holidays to put me in the Christmas spirit {and I highly recommend Mistletoe Kisses}. There's nothing I enjoy more than reading a good book in front of a warm fire!

Here's what Amazon has to say: "Alexis Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing, not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer, is going to stand in her way. Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?"

The One Man by Andrew Gross. One of my favorite authors! I really enjoyed 15 Seconds. I like his writing style and suspense and this book grabbed me because of the historical setting.

The Widower's Wife by Cate Holahan. New author for me.  I found this book on my friend, Vicki's blog , last week and I'm really excited about reading it!

Here's what Amazon had to say, "Ana Bacon, a beautiful young wife and mother, tumbled off a cruise ship into dark and deadly waters. Ana is gone--leaving behind her wealthy husband and adorable daughter--but not everything about her disappearance adds up. What secrets did she leave behind? Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten-million-dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall, and the official ruling seems to hold up. Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall."

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge. This is the first book of a series that I would like to begin and I discovered it because the latest book, Little Boy Blue, has just been released. I'm always game for a great new series! If you love murder and mystery, I highly recommend the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines. No fixer upper fan can pass up this long awaited read! Can't wait to get my hands on this one! I just know it is going to be a good one!

And last but not least, I'm considering giving Mr. Sparks another shot. His latest book, Two by Two, has just been released and I'm still on the fence.  Even though Mr. Sparks and I have met in real life and he was oh-so dreamy, my love for his books have wained over the years and I have not enjoyed them as much.  My BFF Leigh is actually reading his latest now and I'm waiting to see what she has to say about it before I jump!  Love you Nicky!

Would love to hear what's on your to-read shelf! What have you read lately that you just couldn't put down? What fabulous book should I be reading, too!?