Ok, my hands are killing me, but I wanted this post done before Halloween’s over. Here’s the Cliff Notes version:
Back in September, I covered my sunflowers with old white curtains to protect them from frost. My neighbor thought I was just decorating early for Halloween! Which was a great idea; I’d already tried coloring eyes and mouths with Sharpie but was a failure. I was muttering about the problem when Paul (aka Mr. Wonderful) suggested using fabric. “But it hurts to use scissors!” I whined. Then I remembered the cutting board and rotary cutter I invested in a few years when Cook got a quilt shop (Thanks again, Susan Covey of Cabin Quilting!)
Sewing hurts too, so Paul suggested fabric glue. Woohoo! We were business. I have almost no range of motion in my wrists lately, so he helped position the ghosts, too. One of the best things about making Halloween decorations is that they don’t have to be perfect! Get a kid to help. Or someone with crappy range of motion. It could be therapeutic. 😀
Another Halloween craft project that’s fast, cheap, and easy. Like my sister. Just kidding! Please Pin, Like, Share, or comment this project, or better yet, do it yourself!
A couple of years ago, youngest spawn was unexpectedly at my house for Halloween (it wasn’t my turn), without a costume. My sister came to the rescue and we took a quick trip to the closest store with costumes, 30 miles away. The plus side of shopping for a costume on the last day is that everything was on clearance, which worked great on the low-child-support budget! It felt so cheesy just grabbing something last-second, that I wanted to do something creative to the whole thing.
He chose a creepy werewolf mask and hands set that freaked me out. The clothing part of the costume was pretty cheesy so I got to thinking.
I wanted it to look like he was bursting out of his clothes, so we grabbed some jeans and a white button-down shirt from before the last growth spurt that were ridiculously small on him. Then came the hard part—talking him out of a toy that had similar coloring to the hair on the gloves and mask. No go.
Lucky for him, he has two older sisters, so I was holding out hope that I could find something…some doll or ratty stuffed animal no one would miss. I tore through boxes and totes from the basement to the attic, and the only thing I could find happened to be mine. Remember Beanie Babies? When the bottom dropped out of that market (thank you Ty, for flooding the market and thus reducing demand), Ty Co. created a line called Beanie Kids. They were homely yet cute in a Cabbage Patch kind of way. We ended up stuck with hundreds of the damn things, so I had one of each stuffed in a box in the attic.
When I got out the scissors, he bolted. When his sisters saw the remains they asked, “WTH happened here?”
I TRY to be a good mother, honest I do.
I scalped the dolls and sewed the pieces into holes we tore in his shirt and pants.
And he swears he wasn’t scarred from the experience since he didn’t have to watch me cut off the faces.
Not bad for $10 and an hour of work!
Here are a few other posts you may like: Feel free to Like, Share, and Pin away!!
I made a Fairy Cemetery for Halloween this year. It seemed appropriate, considering what a year of loss 2013 has been.
I’ve always liked cemeteries. We grew up close to the Cook (Owens Twp.) Cemetery. Micki, Melissa, and I would meet there on bicycle and ride around the circular drives, marveling at the children’s stones and looking for relatives.
When we got older, Lois and I would take dad’s pickup for an unauthorized joyride, we’d be forced to go to the cemetery’s circular drives (because it was a standard and finding reverse was tricky.)
As an adult, I spent some time mapping, cleaning, photographing and transcribing stones at a few small local cemeteries for a genealogy project.
This year, unfortunately, has been a year of visiting friends and loved ones at Hillside, a beautiful local resting place. And you know what? The closer I get to 40, the more names I recognize on the stones.
This year we lost Karla A., Katherine L., Vanessa C., Cindy P., Mrs. Oles, Rich W., & Dave B., and others in our little town. And though they are not human, the loss of Mr. Stinky Droolface and Mad Bird and The Dollar Barn has been hard, too.
If you or someone you love is grieving a loss (and really, who isn’t??), maybe something here will help:
Delta Rae, Dance in the Graveyards is a song our friends Kris and Dan shared with us. It helped them; it helps us. I hope it helps you, too. Please, please, please watch the video!! “When I die, I don’t wanna rest in peace. I wanna dance in joy. I wanna dance in the graveyards….And while I’m alive, I don’t wanna be alone, mourning the ones who came before, I wanna dance with them some more, let’s dance in the graveyards.”
Bertram’s Blog is about grieving, and I have found the author’s writing to be empowering and soothing.
It also helped me to be able to know that all these fricking FEELINGS will pass. It’s all part of the process. Check out The Five Stages of Grieving. Chop chop. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance will come and go, usually when you don’t expect it.
This week, I started decorating for Halloween. I don’t feel like it. I hurt physically and emotionally, but am trying to do something I would normally do were I not grieving.
So back to my Fairy Cemetery… A year ago, I found this lovely old Planter’s Peanuts cookie jar (it was probably my grandma’s), and decided it would make a lovely terrarium for my Venus fly trap, Audrey Two. This year, I found some Halloween miniatures and added them to the terrarium for Halloween. Fast, cheap, and easy. And it makes me smile,
As usual, thank you for reading. If you found this useful, pass it on. Like, Share, and/or Pin at will.
This is northern Minnesota.
Bitching Bragging about extreme winterness is in our Nordic DNA. When hell freezes over, Minnesota schools will start 2 hours late. There are four seasons in Minnesota: Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter, and Road Construction. The majority of cars and trucks have block heaters, standard. And on and on…
I used to
hate detest abhor dread winter. Winter can be cold, dark, expensive, depressing, and we love to complain about it. However, as part of my ongoing quest for better health, personal growth and general serenity, I have been looking for ways to be more positive. I have come to realize that hating winter does not make it shorter, dreading winter does not prolong its arrival, and preparing for winter internally and externally reduces my stress levels about it. Less stress translates into less physical pain and reduces depression. This may be first-grade stuff to most people, but for me it was a revelation. Winter may never be my favorite season, but I can accept hate it less and find its unique moments of beauty and joy.
You will need:
2 containers of Cool-Whip
2 plastic tumblers
rocks or sand
First, eat the Cool-Whip. If you are from North Dakota, mix it with Jell-O and cottage cheese. If you are in Minnesota, combine it with a can of fruit cocktail and Jell-O to make a “salad”. Wash out the Cool-Whip containers, after licking them mostly clean.
I brought everything outside, having had a VLE (Valuable Learning Experience) while making Ice Gems/Marbles . I centered the rock-filled tumblers in the Cool-Whip containers, then filled them with hot water* from a teapot and added a few drops of food coloring. *I was told that the boiling water would make the ice less cloudy and add cool bubbles, but with a project this small, and my overuse of food coloring, it didn’t seem to matter.
Freezing times vary, depending on climate. These small containers freeze faster than their traditional 5-gallon bucket counterparts. And I can lift these without hurting myself. Once frozen, I tapped the whole works gently and popped the tumbler out.
As usual, if you enjoyed this post, let us know. “Like”, share, or comment. Loveyabye.
PS: This is just another glowing example of how I am working ’round the clock to help Cook Dollar Barn. This is Employee of the Year stuff, if you ask me. Vote for me here. Or send my sister a postcard. Better yet, bring us a plate of Christmas Cookies and tell Lois in person that LAURA ROCKS!
A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend Paul and I traveled to North Dakota for the funeral of his grandpa. I never got to meet him, but I enjoyed hearing all the family memories and seeing pictures of his life (and his beautiful guitar). It got me thinking about my own grandparents, who are all gone now.
I suppose every family has secrets, and drama, and feuds. But today, I want to share some good memories of my maternal grandfather, Ralph Peterson.
Good things I remember:
- He was 6’4″. To this day, when I have to calculate the size of something I picture how many Grampas end-to-end. (60 feet=10 Grampas.)
- He drove a school bus. Nearly everyone in Cook rode this bus. He parked it in the basement of the house he built–the house I’ve raised my kids in, too. Everybody who goes to the Cook end of Lake Vermilion has seen this house. It’s kind of a landmark. We used to sit on the stone steps and wave to the tourists.
- He had one lung (tuberculosis took one), and one kidney (cancer, I think).
- He built wagons for Lois and I. (He and Gramma Marge cared for us while our parents worked.) These wagons had brakes and steering, and went like hell down the gravel pit banks.
- At his house, there was a plastic school bus toy, a life-sized doll with red hair, and four million National Geographic magazines.
- He let me have Hamburger Soup (Campbell’s Sirloin Burger) anytime I wanted, and gave me all his little hamburgers.
- He drove his green Ford pickup SLOWLY because it took less gas, (he remembered rationing well) and had a whisk broom in it to sweep out the sand.
- He smiled a LOT.
- He liked to grow things. My garden is now in the same spot, and the apple and plum trees, asparagus, and chives feed our family to this day. Many of his perennial flowers are still here, too: tiger lilies, campanula glomerata, rugosa roses, and lilacs.
- His brother Uno lived next door in their parents’ original homestead (The Funny Farm), where my sister lives now). Uno was housebound with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Grampa maintained that place, too. We’d visit Uncle Uno several times a day, driving through the gravel pit that’s between the homes. We got to ride in the back of the truck sometimes, since we weren’t going on the highway. Sometimes we walked the deer trails through the woods to get there also. My kids have run those trails too, and I love the continuity that comes with living here.
This is a WordPress Gallery of my favorite pictures of Grampa Ralph. Clicking on any picture will start a slide show, but I recommend starting at the beginning. Here’s another gallery of green things I found while we were hunting on Sunday.
I’d love to hear your stories about my Grampa or yours… Like, share, or comment if you enjoyed this. Pleeeease?
What you are about to read is a true story. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Okay… I could. But I didn’t.
After an un-Minnesota-like (no snow or rain), pleasant evening of trick-or-treating, The Boy and I hurried home to light our Jack-O-Lanterns and relax a little. The Barn was crazy busy the last few days with people getting ready for Halloween, and I was pooped. As I came back into the house, talking to my boyfriend on the phone, Danny came running out of the living room, Wii remote in hand.
“Mom!!!! There’s a BAT in the house!!” I thought he was kidding. Any self-respecting bat should be hunkered down for the sub-zero temperatures that are on the way. And I have a few fake bats hanging around as Halloween decorations; maybe that’s what he saw. Just then a flying rodent swooped past my big purple witch hat.
“Holyshitgottagoloveyabye!” I told Paul.
I’m pretty sure he replied, “Holy Criminy!” because I talk enough like a trucker for both of us.
Everything I know about bats flashed through my mind. Later, while researching this post, I found a short, sweet article by the MN DNR about Living with Bats. My favorite line is: “Actually, bats are proficient flyers and can easily catch insects while avoiding people.” Good to know. Very reassuring. It’s one thing to know this intellectually, and another to remember it while one is flying around one’s house while the cat and the kid are freakin’ out. On Halloween.
Yes, I know bats make Minnesota summers less miserable by eating billions of mosquitoes, don’t want to suck my blood, won’t get caught in my hair or big purple witch hat, rarely have rabies, that they are a valuable part of the ecosystem, blah blah blah. That’s why we don’t shoot or otherwise try to kill them on sight.
I also found an informative WordPress blog written by MN Wild Animal Management, a company from The Cities (aka Mpls/St. Paul if you are not from the Midwest). Please read this BEFORE you have a bat in your house. They gave great advice, but were too far away to remove this particular bat.
“If you do encounter a bat flying in a room, follow this procedure:
- Shut all doors leading into other rooms to confine the bat to as small an area as possible.
- Open all windows and doors leading outside to give the bat a chance to escape. (Don’t worry about other bats flying in from the outside.)
- Remove pets from the room, leave the lights on, stand quietly against a wall or door, and watch the bat until it leaves.
- Do not try to herd the bat toward a window. Just allow it to calmly get its bearings, and don’t worry about it swooping at you. When indoors, a bat makes steep, banking turns, so it flies upwards as it approaches a wall and swoops lower near the center of the room. Within ten to fifteen minutes the bat should settle down, locate the open door or window, and fly out of the room.”
The Pajarigirl Procedure for Bat Removal, however, went a little differently…
- Snag cat as he races by after bat.
- Toss cat gently into bathroom and close the door.
- Tell boy to join the cat in the bathroom.
- Catch cat again when it escapes through open bathroom door.
- Wait for bat to fly back out of bathroom.
- Duck again.
- Reassure child that even though it’s Halloween, this is not a vampire bat.
- Toss cat and boy into bathroom and slam the door.
- Open both outside doors, and wait for bat to come out of boy’s room.
- While standing in doorway to living room, don’t duck, and explain to bat that you are not that kind of witch; he needs to leave, there’s the door. Use big purple witch hat to block entrance to living room and encourage exit through kitchen door.
- After bat escapes, shut both outside doors before letting cat and kid out of bathroom.
I had assumed that since we have had snow on the ground, the bats were hibernating. Looking back, I should have known better. The Guinea Monsters From Hell are still finding plenty to eat, very close to my house. Bats and Guinea Hens both eat bugs, and even though the nights have been cold, and I haven’t had a mosquito bite in weeks, there are still enough bugs around to keep their predators alive. I even killed a mosquito a few days ago while brushing snow off the Jack-O-Lanterns. Point taken, Mother Nature.
I loved my wedding dress; it was the marriage that was the problem. So, after one of my daughters wore it to a formal, we decided it would make a great Halloween decoration.
Tomato cages are the best option I’ve found for making ghosts; this time of year I am taking them off all the plants, anyway.
Because I didn’t want her to blow over or away while dancing in the wind, we pounded a few large stakes to hold down the fixture.
Tomato cages have three legs; I used two for her chest and one to hang off the frame.
Another GREAT, fast, cheap and easy idea brought to you by the Pajari Girls 🙂 (pronounced, PIE-ree)!