Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

November 1, 2016

Trick or Treating With Two

Can I just say how much I love how well my kiddos eat? Yesterday was their Halloween party at school. They had a room set up for the 2 and older kids with candy corn sprinkled across the table and a cupcake at each spot. Alexis, whose a month shy of two, was invited to join and she sat next to her big sister. Both girls rejected their cupcake in favor of fruit, although Nicole did eat a bit of the frosting on hers. I loved it because not only did they get something healthy, but Mommy got to eat the cupcake Alexis licked and subsequently set aside. (Hey, it’s not like anyone else was going to eat it!)

When we got home all Nicole asked if she could eat one of her candies from her school party, and I told her she could have two from her pumpkin after we went trick or treating. She was ridiculously excited with the concept of two. I figured we’d have more back and forth negotiation the amount of candy consumption allowed, but when Nicole accepted two I decided to roll with it.

The kids were feeling warm to me, so I took their temperatures before dinner. Nicole was fine, but Alexis clocked in at 99.6. She wasn’t acting sick, so we decided “daycare rules” applied. (If they’re not sick enough to be sent home from daycare, they can probably go trick-or-treating.) Luckily the two candy limit had already been established. At the time I was thinking her fever was probably just teething related, but you never know. Why jinx a stomach flu by letting them gorge on candy?

Initially we were planning on sending the kids exactly as they were last week, with a shirt or leggings underneath their costume if it ended up being cold. Nicole was really excited to wear her new boots. Alexis too. But as luck would have it, Alexis ended up with her first pair of light up shoes on Sunday. When I asked her which pair of shoes she wanted, she choose the light up ones. Light up shoes are great for trick-or-treating! They were way brighter than the glow stick bracelets.

lightup
(pictures the day of were on my cell phone and didn’t turn out very well. This was the best.)

Speaking of glow stick bracelets, those were a major disappointment. One broke and leaked purple fluorescent liquid all over the place. Next year it’s light up shoes for all!

We had been working with Alexis all week to say “Trick-or-treat”. She had an adorable “Ahhh…TREAT!” mastered, but was a bit shy the day of. They shyness was mostly just around speaking, however. When we arrived at the second house I had to stop her from grabbing the door knob and letting herself in! Ringing the doorbell is just too inefficient I guess.

We started earlier this year (one of our lessons learned from last year) and finished right at seven o’clock. Alexis is usually in bed by 6:30, 6:45 at the latest. I asked her if she was sleepy. In typical little kid fashion her response was an emphatic “No!” while rubbing her eyes. We decided to visit one more house, and it ended up being that of one of Nicole’s teachers! She loved that.

When we got home we let the girls pick their two candies. Alexis objected when we put their pumpkins away, but her objection was short lived as Daddy was also simultaneously opening her second piece of candy for her. Both kids went to bed very happy and very tired. After they were asleep we raiding Alexis’ pumpkin pail for all the candies she was too little for. They were put in Nicole’s pumpkin pail and replaced with them with more age appropriate candies we had left over from our own trick-or-treaters.

This morning both Alexis and I awoke with heavy congestion. I’d blame mine on the shared cupcake, but I’ve had the sore throat precursor since Sunday.

I’ll write my usually monthly business progress report tomorrow, assuming I’m feeling a bit less foggy by then.

October 23, 2016

Costume Dry Run

myheros

One of our take aways from last year was that it’s very hard to get photos the day of. This year we thought it best to do a trial run in our costumes and scratch that photography bug so Mommy isn’t tempted to bring her camera when we go trick-or-treating. Given that Alexis took off running as soon as soon as her feet hit the sidewalk, the camera most definitely will not be in use on the 31st!

That super girl costume is an exact duplicate of one we already owned, right down to the size. The skirt ripped off the previous one and I didn’t think about replacing it until after Nicole settled on being Wonder Woman for Halloween. I’m both glad (because the photos are awesome!) and annoyed (who likes to buy the same. exact. thing. twice?!) The boots were a splurge that I felt OK with since my business is picking up. The prices were reasonable to begin with, and one pair was 50% off. Combined, the boots were a little more than the extra revenue I expect to make this month compared to last month. The boots really do help make the outfit. I’m hoping to do some more fall themed photos to really get our use out of them.

As a personal aside, I really need to learn that it’s ok spending some money some times. I love the photos of the girls in their outfits this year. Last year I bought a monster costume for Alexis that was $10 cheaper than the one I really liked. That $10 wouldn’t have mattered to use financially, but I probably would have been much happier with the photos. Hindsight.

heretosavetheday

This year we’ll be a 1.5 costume family. One of the primary motivators for the two costume idea is ease of use and function at daycare vs warm for trick-or-treating. Nicole’s wonder woman outfit is basically a dress and not a problem. In theory, Alexis’ wouldn’t be either, but it’s not fitting as well as it should. It’s both a bit long, and a bit tight. She’ll have an easier time playing in the chef hat and apron from the dress-up corner. (She actually managed to keep the chef hat on most of the day last crazy hat day.) Hopefully her chef hat will be acceptable replacement to her supergirl dress. She’s very much big sister’s shadow these days, and I could see her insisting on wearing her costume if big sister get’s to.

In retrospect, my dual costume idea works a lot better in years where the school’s Halloween party is not on Halloween, or when there’s a large gap between the end of the school day and trick or treating. The kids’ daycare is having their party Monday until 5:30. We’re going to try and get the kids home earlier so we can have a quick (and hopefully healthy) dinner before hitting the streets by 6pm. They’ll be hyped up on sugar from the party, and excitement at the prospect of more sugar.

November 1, 2015

Our First Trick-or-Treating

This year was Nicole’s first as a trick-or-treater, and our first in neighborhood with young children. Our town home was gated and secluded, the apartment complex full of recent college grads starting careers. We received one trick-or-treater back in 2012 or 2011. That was it.

monsterface
Pausing only to snack on a piece of candy.

As much as it was Nicole’s first Halloween, it felt a bit like our first Halloween too. We were all excited. She counted down the days on her fingers. We bought another bag of candy every few days. For the trick-or-treaters, obviously.

Our big day went well, but there were a couple things we can improve upon next year.

Our Timing Was Way Off

Domingo and I weren’t sure when to start our trick or treating adventure. I remember spotting trick-or-treaters on my way to pick her up from daycare last year. That would have meant they were out around 5:30. Domingo was sure our neighborhood wouldn’t start until after six, as most of our neighbors don’t get home from work until then. (The fact that it was a Saturday slipped both our minds.)

We opted to wait until the first trick-or-treater stopped by our house: 6:20. We were in our costumes and out the door five minutes later.

By 7:00 all the “big kids” were out. Big kids as defined as bigger than Nicole. Normally Nicole is shy around other kids. That is, until candy is on the line. Still, she’d wait her turn standing next to the stoop while one group of kids would get their candy, only to be over crowded by anther group coming up the walk way. When we encountered our first group of highschoolers I decided it was time to turn in.

Next year we’re starting earlier. If some of our neighbors aren’t ready yet, that’s OK. They’re will be plenty of other houses to visit.

We had too much candy

Our home is on a Cul-de-sac on a hill. The slope necessitates the housing being a little more spread apart. The street below connects several circles of tightly packed houses on level ground. Our street is not prime picking. Not for an enterprising young kid who wants to maximize candy acquisition while minimizing energy expenditure. While on our way returning home Nicki and I encountered four other kids who warned us that there wasn’t many houses “up the hill”. They’re verdict: trick or treating on our street was only half worth it. Domingo handed out candy to 34 kids all night. Nicole and I easily encounter twice that during the brief time we were on the street below.

Next year we’re buying less candy. Or telling the kids to take more. One or the other.

No photos

The sun had set 20 minutes before we left our house and the light was already mostly gone. I was planning on bringing my camera with us, but as soon as I stepped outside I knew it would be for naught. I took 1 way under exposed photo, and 2 extremely bury of Nicole trick or treating at our own house, then left my camera at home.

But ‘No Photos’ doesn’t always mean ‘No Photos’.

This afternoon we dressed Nicole up back into her costume and went outside to play. I ended up getting some great photos during the golden hour, a happy accident thanks to Daylight Savings Time. Since it was after Halloween, I didn’t care if she ruined her costume having fun. Basically it was ‘trash the dress’, Halloween toddler style.

Next year we’re also taking photos. Duh.

Happy Halloween from my monsters to yours!

mommysmonsters

My little monster love, love, loved her last year’s purple monster. She got a ton of extended us out of it with pretend play, so it was fresh in her mind when we started looking at costumes this year. When she saw the green monster she was hooked.

nickimonster

I wasn’t going to get Alexis a second costume this year, as she’s too young to go trick or treating. Then I was in Walmart and found an adorable baby monster costume and couldn’t resist the photo op.

alexismonster

I was afraid she’d hate the headpiece, but she didn’t seem to mind it much at all.

Material Cost
Nicole’s Costume – $16.15, or $0 depending on how you think about it. It’s her Trick or treat costume. (Amazon)
Alexis’ Costume – $15.97 (Walmart)

Total Cost – $32.12

October 27, 2015

Two Costume Family

It turns out that we are a two costume family, and not because we have two children. Each child apparently gets two costumes.

minimouse
Alexis as Mini Mouse (her daycare costume)

It all started two years ago when Nicki was super girl. Her not-costume, costume was a big hit and school. Since it was basically just a dress, it was convenient for diaper changes. It also lacked some of the bulk of traditional toddler costumes, making it easy to play in without getting uncomfortably hot. Her teachers loved the practically of it. I loved that my child was happy all day.

The following year, Nicki was a monster. The week before her class’s costume party I began to fret about her losing the fur cuffs at school, or ripping the tulle skirt. I loved her monster costume, but it just didn’t seem practical for a day of playing at school. I thought back to the previous year, and how much her teachers appreciated the non-costume costume. We opted to save the monster costume and got her a pair of cat ears and tail to pair with a black shirt and pants for the party instead.

The costume that’s comfortable for all day play is not necessarily the costume that’s comfortable when trick or treating at night. I’ve come to accept that fact, and that we are a two costume family.

Still, the thought of being one of those parents who spends $100 on costumes gives my inner cheap skate heart palpitations. I’m on the hunt for good, cheap costumes which can double for pretend play after Halloween. I want to get the most bang for my buck.

So far most of my daycare costume finds have come from the kid’s clothing section at Target. That’s where I got Alexis’ mini mouse dress, and Nicole’s super girl dress (Not quite the same one, but very similar.) They hold up well enough that Alexis was able to re-wear the super girl dress for Super Hero Day at school. Target seems to always have those not-quite-costume clothes, especially the super hero and frozen variety. I’ve also seen some at Babies R Us, but we don’t have one close by so I don’t shop there as often.

I’m also a huge fan of the costume accessories. The cat ears and tail cost under $5. (We got a similar bunny set for pretend play which can double as a daycare costume if we need it.) Add a $1 mask and now she’s a cat burger. Or pair the mask with a tutu and cape (already owned) and now she’s a crime fighter. Every year we check out the accessories to see if there’s anything good for pretend play.

The other place I like to shop is online. Once Nicole picked out her costume, I used the reverse image search on the stock photo. Most retailers use the same the stock photo created by the manufacture. By doing a reverse image search on the stock photo I can find all the websites where the photo is shown, i.e. all the retailers selling the same item. From there it’s a simple process to find the one with the best price.

This year I spent $33.12 in total on Nicole’s costumes, and $34.97 on Alexis’. That’s only $5-7 up from the $27.85 average, and each girl get’s two! I’ll take that!

Material costs for the above photo
Mini Mouse Dress – $18 (Target)
Bow – $1 (Walmart)
Backdrop – $12 (JoAnns – not purchased for this photo session, but I thought I should include it anyway)

Total cost – $31

monstersmile
Mommy’s Little Monster!
monster dance
Monster Dance!
monster hair whisps
I love those hair wisps Daddy is putting her monster “shoes” on her, which is why she is distracted.

I’m sure the time will come when she tires of “photo time”, but it doesn’t seem appear like that time will be any time soon, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Forgive me, I’ve had a bit of an adrenaline crash after moving, defending and starting a new job. My intention was to be completely unpacked before starting work on Monday (ha! We’re still no where near unpacked), and finished my final version of my thesis (also didn’t happen, but I’m still waiting on feedback from one member). I think I managed one box since Monday.

These were taken at the beginning of October, before our house and apartment both started resembling something out of hoarders.

supergirl

nonaps
Supergirl stands for Truth, Justice, and the rights of toddlers everywhere to refuse naps

supergirl1

We purchased the shoes thinking they would double as holiday shoes. The photos here are out of order, the last one was actually taken first. Nicki was having a hard time walking in the shoes on the backdrop, so we nixed them.

Normally Nicki loves her dress-up for a photo time. The skirt and pearls she couldn’t get enough of! This time she wasn’t as into it. I think it was the tulle skirt she didn’t like. In the past she’s loved the skirts that were soft and flowy. The tulle doesn’t move the same way; it’s scratchy.

We had a fairly good idea that she’d like the fan (super girl needs a breeze in the hair and the cape!) and we got quite a few smiles with it. Once the novelty of the fan wore off, we were done with picture time. There weren’t as many cute photos this time around. I am tempted to get another super girl custom, one without a tulle skirt, in an after Halloween sale and take a few more photos. I can be forgiven for doing ‘Halloween’ photos in November, given everything that’s going on, right? Of course, with the holiday’s coming up, I’m sure there will be no shortage of photo opportunities!

Material Costs
Shoes (Target) – $10, originally $12.95
Outfit (Target) – $18.00
Backdrop (Joann’s) – $9 (50% off!)
Ribbon for Hair – $3.25

Total Cost: $40.25, but we can reuse the outfit for pretend play and the shoes are pretty basic and can do with just about anything.

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

We decided to skip Halloween costumes this year. Nicki is too young to understand, and, since we weren’t planning on going out, a custom didn’t make sense for us. We did have her skeleton sleep and play, so when I started feeling the momma guilt of skipping her first holiday, we thought we’d do a Holiday photo shoot and send out cards to family.

Nicki was only a little over three months for this photo. She’s obviously not sitting on her own yet, but can sit while propped up. To create the card I envisioned I needed to get a little creative.

For this photo I started by folding two towels and placing them on the floor for padding. We have hard wood floors, and Nicki will kick when excited. I didn’t want her to hurt herself by accident. Next I got the plush backrest pillow and put it on the towels. I had bought it umpteen years ago when I was off to college, but never really used it. Since I can’t ever throw anything away, I still had it. I placed the backrest on top of the towels so I would have a cushy spot to prop Nicki up.


The setup

I draped a black backdrop over my setup and with a few props and I was good to go. I adjusted my camera settings so my metering light showed a bit dark and upped the contrast in post processing for a spooky effect.

We got a couple good ones, it was hard to pick a favorite. Ultimately I decided to go with the smile, even though a few of these invoke a more halloweenish feeling. Grandmas adore the smiling babe.

Nicki kept scooting forward in what Domingo called the ‘limp skeleton’ pose. Gotta love her facial expression. I predict she’s going to be quite the little ham!


Another good limp skeleton.


Here’s one were she’s holding a pumpkin between her two hands.


A good one of her ‘sitting.’