Sunday, October 31

A Toy Story Halloween, Part 3, Final Chapter

Halloween day had arrived.

With the move and unpacking, we did not do our usual decorating of the house, but Ken put out a few tombstones on the lawn and a snake on our doorstep for a bit of Halloween spirit. We had asked Nonni (Ken's mom who along with Pap Pap, Ken's dad, was in town visiting us) to make her mom's famous spaghetti sauce for us. This meant that a lot of the afternoon was spent working on it since it required a lot of prep work. Dinner got pushed back further than I had anticipated so by 6 pm we were eating but saw that the trick or treating had begun.

ARRRRGGHH! Although I had bought all the pieces for Ken's "Bullseye" costume, I had only put together part of it! I had planned to make him ears to go along with the mane and tail I had cut from felt but in the end, the ears were pretty sorry looking. Nonni ended up pinning the ears to the brown skiing hood Ken had produced from God knows where (he sometimes just appears with things that I never knew we had despite this being the 3rd time we have moved and unpacked things together. Funny, isn't it?) The hood worked great in any case and after safety pinning the mane to the hood and the tail to the backside of the brown sweat pants, he was good to go.
Oh, no.........WAIT!! Joe found the plastic donkey mouth we had from last year's Eeyore costume and proclaimed that Bullseye just HAD to wear it. EGADS! As usual, Ken agreed and he was ready to go. Buzz Lightyear did not fare as well and was crying hysterically that he did not want to get dressed up. Not that it really mattered. I mean, did he really care that I had spent hours calling Halloween stores and scouring Walmarts and Targets in search for the elusive 2T size Buzz lightyear costume? In truth, it serves no purpose to fight a toddler if he doesn't want to wear a costume so he agreed to put on his jacket and we were ready to go.

Just imagine Thomas in a Buzz lightyear costume....

Bullseye and the boys. I think we should have made a big bullseye for his chest as I don't think anyone knew who Ken was portraying.

I read in another blog of parents that carry handy little "to-go" cups filled with tasty adult beverages while their kids make the neighborhood rounds. However, with 3 kids under the age of 4, I thought it borderline irresponsible to do that....hmmm, maybe next year when Joe is 4!

The boys in action....

We managed to keep Joe and Tom walking for our entire jaunt around the neighborhood (which was basically down to the end of the street then back up) but had to take turns carrying the quite heavy Rex. Interestingly, ALL the neighbors seemed to know who we were yet we had not met any of them. Hmmmmmmm. A bit strange...... Despite having no costume, Tom scored lots of candy and both boys had half-filled plastic pumpkins by the end. Of course this was when Joe piped up, "But we have to fill them all the way to the top!" Curse those Little Einsteins and their Halloween special. Those of you who are forced to watch these annoying little children ride around the world on "missions" know what I am talking about. And for those who don't, just call yourselves lucky. On a sidenote, I actually had to ban Mickey Mouse Clubhouse from being an available choice (they get to watch one show a day, usually in the morning while I am feeding Will) when I realized that I had seen the episodes more than once. While I will allow that repetition is good for kids to learn with things like reading "Fix it Duck" a hundred times in a row or doing puzzles, it is definitely not good with cartoons! At least not for the crazed mother who is watching the hot dog dance for the millionth time!

Anyway, I digress......after the trick or treating, there was much happiness with all the candy that was collected and eagerness to eat it all once we got home. They were each allowed to choose one piece before heading off to get a bath with Nonni and Pap Pap. Thomas chose a HUGE lollipop which horrified Nonni but we grinned and said 'BYE!' and raced out the door to catch a movie for Date Night (an almost forgotten ritual with us now that we have no free babysitters, aka grandparents or Aunt Ann, on a regular basis.)

We had fun during our movie date and came home to bliss.....three sleeping children and a clean kitchen. YES! What a nice end to a truly funny and chaotic Halloween. I can only imagine what Joe has in store for me for next year. Not to mention, by then, Thomas will be able to contribute to the madness as well! I am ready for whatever they throw my way! Hoo-wah!

Friday, October 29

A Toy Story Halloween, Part 2

The Halloween Parade.....
The preschool put on a parade today. It was a funny sight. They had an area roped off in the front of the building around which a huge crowd of parents converged. Surprisingly (ok,not so surprisingly) we were running late what with issues getting Woody's costume pieces together from every room in the house and Buzz refusing to wear his costume. I, of course, had been told that I needed to wear my Jessie costume, so obligingly I put it on for my dear son. This meant that in addition to being late, we had to duck under the rope and walk into the school in front of everyone. Did I mention that I was the only parent wearing a costume? Well, at least I had on something that made me look only partly ridiculous. PLUS, the teachers were all wearing costumes so that made it ok.....well, at least I fit right in! First sighting of Joe with his class...
That is one cute cowboy!
One of the teachers dressed up as Jessie too!

We got William into his costume once we got there since the Rex outfit was a bit too bulky for the carseat. He was good to go in his outfit and looked adorable.
Nonni and Pap Pap with a scary Rex!

Yeehaw! Jessie and Rex are ready for action!

A Toy Story Halloween, Part I

Well, it has been too long since I posted and I am sure all of you out there who occasionally drop by are wondering where the heck I have been. In a nutshell, I finished my manuscript for a medical journal and am busily working on setting up my practice.

In my spare time, I decided to become all "Martha Stewart-like" and make some of our costumes for Halloween. I mean, how hard could it be to make a Woody costume anyway??? (For those who don't know, he is the main character in the Disney movie, "Toy Story", which is Joe's current obsession). The costumes-to-go are not great and cost a pretty penny so I figured, why not??? Famous last words...

Joe had already made costume assignments (Joe -Woody, Thomas - Buzz Lightyear, Will -alternately assigned Rex, the dinosaur and Ham, the piggy bank, Mommy - Jessie the cowgirl, and Daddy - Bullseye. I am not sure why Ken always gets the shaft but well, he is a good sport and goes along with anything so we are pretty lucky!

Ok, so I start by surfing the internet to see if there are any ideas and lo and behold, I found an article on the website where an industrious mother made a Woody costume for her son and a Jessie costume for herself. I look at and think, "I can do that!" and then rush off to Hobby Lobby (a Texas version of Michael's or A. C. Moore) to get supplies. I had already found a white dress shirt at Goodwill so I loaded up with the necessary cow print fabric, yellow fabric, some yellow dye, red fabric paint, a vest pattern, thread and other random stuff I think I need. Then I realize that you really should have a sewing machine if you want to sew something. And maybe the knowledge of how to sew would help......BUT NEVER FEAR! Type A personalities like me are never fazed by such details! We had to go to Walmart after we picked Ken and Thomas up from the airport since the airline had sent the luggage to Phoenix (including the car seat) and the car seat they loaned us was just DISGUSTING!!! While there, we picked up a sewing machine because after all, you can't sew a vest without one! Hahaha.

Ok, now to make the costumes. Turns out dyeing the shirt was the easy part because painting the checker pattern onto the shirt took about 4 days (you have to let the lines dry on the front before you cross hatch them, then you have to do the same thing all over again on the back). The shirt looked pretty good after I was done except for some minor paint smudges.

I then began on the vest. I am pretty sure I can read English fairly well after 26 years of schooling however, even though I could read the words on the directions to make the vest, I was not sure what they said. Perhaps this was for people who ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO SEW??????? ARGH! Too late now. A very optimistic Joe asked me every day, "Is my vest ready yet, Mommy?" Can't let the kid down now! Ok, back to deciphering the hieroglyphics on the pattern directions. I managed to get the pieces cut and somewhat put together. Oops, don't sew the armholes closed! Boy that seam ripper was a really good purchase! In the end, I had to wait until Ken's mom arrived and between the two of us, we put it together. An unfortunate mishap with the needle on the sewing machine (it bent into a weird angle and it was too late to buy a new one) forced us to hand-sew the double bias tape around the edges. I did not even know what double-bias tape was a week ago of course.

Anyway, I finished my costume at about 1 am while watching the final episode of Project Runway. I blame Tim Gunn for making me think that I could sew at all! Stay tuned....the Halloween parade at school and trick or treating to come soon!

Wednesday, October 6

Bombas de crema (Cream puffs)

Since I love to cook, I am going through my grandmother's recipe book that my mom gave me and making each recipe. These are Uruguayan recipes and were ones that my grandma and mom would make throughout my childhood. There are some I haven't had in years, this being one of them. I am translating them from Spanish so there may be some errors in translation but it is basically how I made the recipe. This one is a bit of work, but SO WORTH IT!! Yummers! The boys devoured the bombas with gusto!

Bombas de Crema (Cream puffs)

Masa (dough)
1 c. boiled water (allowed to cool a bit)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder

Place boiled water and butter into a medium saucepan. Sift together flour and salt. Bring water and butter to a boil then add flour and salt. Stir rapidly to mix the ingredients well then remove from heat. Let mixture cool. Add eggs one at a time until mixture is creamy and ingredients are well combined. Add baking powder and mix well. Let dough rest for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Form little balls, about 1 tbsp in size and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 then lower temperature to 400 and bake another 10-20 minutes until puffs are golden brown (time varies depending on your oven). Let cool then make a slit about ¾ of the way across the lower part of the puff. Fill with about a teaspoon of pudding or dulce de leche.

Crema pastelera (Pudding)
1 eggs
1 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and flour in a medium saucepan. Add milk. Place over medium high heat and stir constantly under mixture thickens. DO NOT LET IT BURN! Remove from heat and cool a bit before adding vanilla.