Friday, October 29, 2010

#960 Strategic trick-or-treating

One of my favorite happy, blog spaces (as I've mentioned a few dozen times before) is 1000 Awesome Things blog.  In honor of the upcoming, grandly ghoulish holiday, Halloween, I'd like to link to #960 on the 1000 Awesome Things blog.  Enjoy!

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#960 Strategic trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating ain’t no game.
No, it’s a life lesson in goal-setting, planning, and tactical execution. Kids who master trick-or-treating go on to become successful world leaders. Kids who don’t could possibly also do the same, but with less chocolate to show for it. The point is that chocolate is delicious, and you should fill your pillowcase with as much of it as possible. You just have to master the 4 Rules Of Strategic Trick-Or-Treating first:
4. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. In terms of where to go trick-or-treating, there’s always a lot of chatter about getting a drive over to the rich neighborhood for the big score. People would have you believe that the rich enjoy lavishing children with unopened boxes of twinkies and full cases of root beer. But that’s a lie! Rich people got rich by being cheap and their massive front yards will just slow you down. That’s right, you’ll be navigating wrought-iron fences, duck-shaped hedges, and koi ponds instead of ringing doorbells. Instead, aim for the new neighborhood with little kids and the all-important densely packed homes.
3. Dress for success. Trick-or-treating is a race against the clock, so set yourself up for success by wearing running shoes and avoiding masks that affect your visibility. No ballet slippers, high heels, or sandals. No robes, capes, or togas. And none of those cheap plastic masks from the dollar store that attach with a thin elastic and a couple of staples. Basically, keep simplifying your costume and then timing yourself running up and down the basement stairs until you’ve found a winner. If in doubt, go as Carl Lewis.
If she can run, probably a good partner. Just upgrade the shoes.
2. Partner up. It will be tempting to form a trick-or-treating posse and move from door to door as one big, shifty amoeba of fluorescent tape and facepaint. Resist that temptation. The amoeba will cause two problems: first, the group will travel at the speed of the slowest member. That means one kid with flat feet and asthma ruins everyone’s night. Secondly, a big group triggers the rationing instinct in the person handing out candy. They become overwhelmed and default to the “One for you, one for you” candy-for-everyone technique. You don’t want that. So instead, you need to pick one partner. Qualifications for that lucky someone include a low resting heart rate, winning smile, and really cute costume. The last one is key. The costume must trigger the “Aren’t you adorable!” reflex, which inspires extra candy. The gold standard here is a fit toddler in a ladybug costume with new Reeboks.
1. Timing is everything. The last rule is all about the three key stages of Halloween candy collecting. Times may vary depending where you’re from, but they go something like this:
  • The 4 – 6pm Start Up: You must be very active and running around here, before the street gets too busy. This is your time to hit the houses at the peak of their inventory levels, when they may hand out more because of excess supply or poor foresight.
  • The 6 – 7pm Rest Up: This is when the streets are their busiest. Don’t get caught in other people’s amoebas. Now’s the time to go home and dump out the pillowcase and refresh the face paint. Also, it’s a good time to hit your local fast-food joints. McDonald’s is usually pretty generous.
  • Late night scrapsThe 7 – 9pm Clean Up: Now it’s all about picking up the scraps. Some houses will be left with too much candy and they’ll start giving handfuls instead of fingerfuls. Others will feel guilty about running out and start handing out creative treats from their kitchen like cups of pudding or boxes of Jello powder. The Clean Up stage is a real test of your cardio fitness levels, as many houses will have turned out their lights by now, forcing you to zig-zag the street in search of the remaining bounty.
Now that you’ve got a game plan, just remember to keep it clean out there. Under cover of night and camouflage facepaint some folks venture into the murky trick-or-treating ethical gray zone. Stay away from these folks, because while they’re telling people it’s their birthday too, collecting a second bag for a ‘sick sibling at home’, or body-checking toddlers into bushes on their way up the walk, you can rest knowing that you came out to play by the rules.
And you won.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What type of SuperHero are you?

Evidentally, I'm...

Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
The Flash

You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


For Tuesday's Tunes this week, I'm loving John Lennon's lyrics from "Imagine".  The song is absolutely epic and was on Glee last week (repeat from last season).  So let's all relax as we enjoy one of the many, many, many versions of "Imagine".

Lyrics by John Lennon

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Monday, October 25, 2010


I have just survived a Halloween Party with ten girls (ages 10-11) with my Girl Scout troop.  I am utterly exhausted and can't say much more than that right now.  I'll post photos tomorrow...  SIGH!

I'm going to bed!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Be A Feminist, Just Don't Be A Housewife!

My precious daughters love all the things I have always wanted them to love. And although I may seem like a control-freak of a mom, the kind of mother who made sure that my daughters chose the things I wanted them too, I'm really not. I am almost ashamed to admit that I have had very little influence, if any, on Princess’ decision she's obsessed with all-things pink, and nail polish and jewelry.  Diva has decided on her own to love showers and being a clean-neat-guru, and playing home, babying her dolls, etc. Obviously the wee ones see me use this stuff and do these types of tasks. Even when my girls are into the things I abhor (i.e. pink, Barney, Calliou, gymnastics, cheerleading [seriously?!?!?!?! ICK!], polka-dotty dresses, jewelry, Miley Cyrus, etc) I still tell those sweet, impressionable daughters that it’s fabulous that they love those things.

So, I've been pondering all the things that Diva and Princess think and say about what they worship -- princesses and princes, their play kitchen and all that entails, the baking, the cooking, wearing an apron. Those two girls LOVE to talk about getting married. Princess always says, “When I get married…” and she positively adores loves taking care of her baby!  To be completely honest, all of this scares the sh*t out of me! It’s not exactly that I’m not afraid I won’t be able to teach my daughters what I want to, but their talking like this just wakes me up and makes me realize… I don’t like the way it’s headed and unfortunately, it’s one of life’s battles that I do not have control over.  In allowing my daughters (and son) to make many of their own decisions, I’ve given them the grandiose idea (and right idea) that they can control their own destiny.  They can choose to like what they like, even if it’s not a popular choice.  I have tried to raise independent thinkers and apparently, I’ve been successful (so far.)

The point here is that I don’t want to raise daughters who think that their role, or the things they should be excited about and enjoy, are traditional women’s activities. I don’t want them to think they are supposed to love baking, sewing, or princesses. I most definitely do NOT want them thinking they are supposed to want a prince, that someone is EVER supposed to come rescue them, or that they are even supposed to get married. I don’t want them thinking they are supposed to have children (even though I really, really,REALLY want lots of grandchildren someday!). I want to teach my children, especially my daughters, to love the things they love no matter what they are. If they get older and hate baking or cooking, God love them! I’ll tell them to hire a chef when they grow up. If they hate princesses and want to be a soccer player, I’ll tell them to Bend It Like Beckham! (Then I’ll blush in embarrassment for myself). If they want to be single for the rest of their lives, I’ll tell them to enjoy themselves and their friends. If they decide they love women, I’ll tell them I’m proud of who they are. I want my daughters to understand that exactly who they are is beyond enough. They never have to get married or have children or do the things I’ve done or like the things I like. They are great just the way they are. I want them to think of marriage as something that is an option, something they can partake in if they choose, an added extra that they could certainly live without. Not a necessity.

I might offend a thousand people right now, but I don’t really care. I never want my daughters to end up housewives with children and thinking that's all they are. I understand that some women like that that is all they are, and think it’s more fulfilling than anything else.  However, for me, if I end up with daughters who feel that way... that will be hard for me to deal with. I have to balance this extreme, because chances are they will get married and they will bake at some point, and I want to be happy if that is what they choose to do. But it makes me want to hide my scrapbooking stuff and teach them to be feminists.

I know my daughters will look up to me and therefore may want to follow in my footsteps of marriage and children.  No matter how much it pains me, I will grin & bear it by loving and supporting their choices. The most important thing to me is to ensure they know that this is NOT the only choice, but one of many options that they could choose. Although I’ve already made the marriage and baby choice, I want to lead by example in other areas too. I want to show them that I am so much more than just this and I want more in my life than only this, and my choices of wanting more is not “just acceptable”, it’s great!

I want to learn how to give them a balanced view of marriage and children, and I’m not sure quite yet how that works but I am sure as hell not going to have my little girls running around saying things like 'when I grow up and get married', or 'when I grow up and have babies' as if it is their only choice.


I am lucky enough to tell you the "Six Truths in Life."

1. You cannot stick your tongue out and look up at the ceiling at the same time. It is a physical impossibility.

(No, this is not my ceiling.)

2. All idiots after reading #1 will try it.

3. And discover #1 is a lie.

4. You are smiling now because you are an idiot.

5. You soon will forward this to another idiot.

6. There is still a stupid smile on your face.

I know how you feel... another idiot friend of mine sent this to me in an email. I sincerely apologize for this posting. I was so sure that I could do this trick especially since I have such a talented tongue. I never stop talking, so my wagging tongue gets lots of exercise.  Evidently my pride got the worst of me and obviously, I'm an idiot since I tried this out immediately and, well, since I needed company, there isn't a better place to go than to my friends…

Good times!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Poet Laureate

My sweet, darling Precious loves to write poetry.  I suppose the fact that she goes to an arts-focused school helps her adoration of poetry.  More often then not, she and her fellow students get to create dances and movements that follow their poems.  In any case, I wanted to share one of her bestest poems because I am so very proud of all of her creativity.

Do We Give Up Hope?
By Precious

Do we give up hope...
When the birds don't sing in the morning?
Do we give up hope...
When there are no flowers to pick?

Do we,
do we...
give up hope...

When there is no one to talk to or have fun with?

Do we give up hope...
When we are lonely?

No, no, we will not give up hope,

Hope is 
the people of the world.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Happens in Vegas...

At the end of September, I took an awesome road trip with the most fantastic friend ever.  We moved said friends mom from St. Paul, MN to Las Vegas, NV. 

And let me tell you!  Driving from Minnesota to Nevada in a 22-foot moving truck (aka the most massive of semi-trucks -- I can't believe the rental company didn't require us to have special training in "truckology" and some type of crazy drivers license specifications... that was towing a 9-foot trailer with her mom's sedan on top) was INSANE!

 Exhibit A:

On Day One, we drove through Southern MN and Western South Dakota, which had recently received record amounts of rain that, unfortunately resulted in excessive amounts of water left STANDING in the fields and more than one detour because the highways were also flooded.

We drove through the night and finally ended up in Rapid City, SD on night one because we took a small side trip to visit the World's Only CORN PALACE in Mitchell, SD. 

While walking back to the parking lot that held our lovely moving van (ahem, SEMI TRUCK), we both saw smoke and I made the intelligent and obvious comment, "Hey! It looks like there's a fire over there or something."  as we neared the parking lot (in the middle of a residential neighborhood), there was, indeed, a garage that went from tiny wafts of smoke from the roof to an entire blazing fireball in less than three minutes. I kid you not!  A massive three-alarm fire in less than 3-4 minutes.  It was totally freaky!

As we drove out of the parking lot, next to The Fireball, it quickly became apparent that the entire neighborhood was feeling the effects of the fire because several blocks (over a mile) away, we witnessed the following smoke-filled neighborhood...

We had hoped to make it to Wall Drug, but didn't make it near them while they were still open.  We ended up having to settle with waking up bright and early the next morning to take in the beauty of Mount Rushmore before heading out for another long day of driving -- with the hopes of making it all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Unfortunately, on Day Two we only made it as far as ... I can't remember the name of the Wyoming city. (Shucks!) The drive through WY was gorgeous to begin with, but it very quickly got flat and REALLY boring.  I cannot express to you how hideously boring it got.  My highlight of WY was...  [drum roll, please]


Oh!  And I was first allowed to drive the massive moving van in WY...

Day Three dawned and we were on a mission!  We wanted to be done with the Road Trip portion of this fantastic trip.  We needed to make it all the way through Utah and into Nevada to reach our destination of Las Vegas where more fun awaited us -- in the form of unpacking a 22-foot moving van.  WHO-HOO!!!  Utah was beautiful and a welcome reprieve from the flat, vastness-of-nothingness of Western WY.

Oh!  And my very favoritest part of Utah was the psychotic highway signs...  Really, People?  Check out these signs!!!

We finally made it to Arizona, which led us to Nevada, which brought us to Las Vegas.  PRAISE JESUS!  No more long, but highly enjoyable, hours in the moving SEMI.

We were able to unpack the moving van between 8:30 and 10:30pm on the eve of Day Three.  After unpacking all day on the morning/day of Day Four, we finally went out for some well-deserved fun on the Vegas Strip the eve of Day Four with Friend's brother and nephew.  YAHOO!

To sum it all up... Friend and I had the most fantastic, fabulous, grandiose, blissful time ever!  Go us!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Support This Cause

On October 20, 2010 people are encouraged to wear purple for "Spirit Day" to show support for LGBT youth and remember the many recent gay suicides in the U.S.

This day is the result of a call to action on a girl named Brittany McMillian's Tumblr blogShe hopes to show that gay people are not taking this kind of treatment anymore.

On her post, she writes the following:

"Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that's exactly what we'd like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality."

This idea has spread like wild on the Internet, but needs your support too. Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Eric Mohat, Meredith Rezak, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas are all youth who have recently committed suicide after being bullied for their sexuality.

But really this support needs to be for all the children of the world who are bullied. Being the victim of bullying will affect a child for the rest of their life and it must be stopped.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rest In Peace

In honor of Barbara Billingsley, the mom from "Leave It To Beaver", who passed away this week, the theme song from "Leave It To Beaver."

Saturday, October 16, 2010


"Strong and content I travel the open road."

Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

Friday, October 15, 2010

Family Love

Last weekend I had an awesome time on a Girls-Only Get-Away.  It was a crazy, fun time that only included my mom and two sisters and I.  It has been forever since my mom and sisters and I have taken the any time away from boyfriends, husbands, children, friends, etc.  I guess I can't honestly remember the last time it was ONLY us -- my sweetest mom and two wild, younger sisters!  Perhaps over a decade ago?  Before I had children?  before Katie was married?

In any case, I cannot properly express to you how much that time away with my mommy and sisters meant to me.  I love all of them with all of my heart.  They are truly my bestest friends (no matter how high-maintenance.)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Schoolhouse Rocks

Tuesdays Tunes is following our school theme this week... Who remembers "SchoolHouse Rock"?  If you haven't seen it, check out the videos on YouTube.  Love the 1970's-ish-ness of all of them.