Mr. Potato Head Meets the Pumpkins

October 30, 2008

The thought of a large knife and two three-year-olds scares the crap out of me, so we have turned to pumpkin carving alternatives.

Argh Matey!  Pirate Pumpkin and Princess Pumpkin

Argh Matey! Pirate Pumpkin and Princess Pumpkin

A natural klutz, I’m even worse with sharp objects.  Add two overeager preschoolers wanting desperately to get their hands dirty so to speak and you can see where I’m less than willing to take on the challenge of carving not one but two pumpkins.

The year the twins were born we skipped carving all together, going with the natural pumpkin look.  The next year, we drew faces on the twin’s pumpkins with markers.  Last year, we took it up a notch and broke out the glue.  We used string, squiggly eyes, pom poms and pipe cleaners to decorate the pumpkins.

As you can see, I’m building up to (or avoiding) the year we finally carve pumpkins but I’m still not ready this year.  However, I had to do something new.

Enter Mr. Potato Head.  Or at least his accessories.  Target was selling these Potato Head kits for pumpkins.  And I’m a sucker for a gimmick.

But turning pumpkins into potato heads is a little harder than it looks.  So we had to turn to Daddy for help.

So on Sunday afternoon, my husband helped the twins decorate their pumpkins for Halloween. My daughter chose a princess kit for her white pumpkin.  And my son turned his orange pumpkin into a pirate.  Aargh!

The twins are very happy with their creations.  My husband had a good time helping the kids.  And I’ve put off pumpkin carving for one more year.

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The Halloween Monsters I Created

October 29, 2008

To help get my three-year-old twins in the mood for Halloween, I got a couple holiday CDs to listen to in the car on the way to school and other activities.

But they have become obsessed with these CDs.  If they aren’t in the car when we get ready to leave, they beg me to go get them before we drive away.  If we take Daddy’s car that day, they remind me to get the CDs out of my car.  And they want to listen to the CDs over and over and over again. 

I have listened to the same two CDs for two weeks straight.  I have created Halloween Music Monsters! 

But their obsession is nothing compared to their reactions to the songs.  They definitely have their favorites.  Here’s what’s topping their list:

Ghostbusters

This song has quickly moved to the top spot considering the twins had probably not heard it very often before this month.  But my son will quickly tell you it’s his favorite.  He sings it both in and out of the car.

We sat down to dinner the other night and my son looks at Daddy and says “Who you gonna call?”  Then he answers his own question with a resounding “Ghostbusters!”

My daughter mostly dances to the song but will pipe up every now and then with a chorus of “Ghostbusters!”

Scooby Doo Theme Song

The kids have watched this show so often that they know the song by heart.  Plus they have two plush Scooby Doo dolls – one dressed like a pirate, one dressed like a witch -at home that play these songs.

But more interesting is their reaction when the song comes on.  We have the same conversation every time the song plays.

My son:  Mommy, it’s Scooby Doo!

Mommy:  Yes, it is.

My son:  Can I watch Scooby Doo at home?

Mommy:  Sure, when we get home we can watch Scooby Doo

My son:  Scooby Doo Vampire?

Mommy:  Yes we can watch the Scooby Doo at Vampire Rock

My daughter:  I want Scooby Doo Zombies!

Mommy:  Yes, we can watch Scooby Doo on Zombie Island.

And by the time we finish this conversation the song is over.

The Witch Doctor

The twins like this song, but they are very specific about which version.  They only like the Alvin and the Chipmunk version.  If I play any other version, one of them has to tell me Alvin sings this song.  Yes, I know, I reply.

But even if it’s not the Alvin version, I see heads bobbing in the backseat and stains of “ooh eee oohh ah ah” coming from the backseat.

Purple People Eater

The fact that neither of the kids knows the words to this song does nothing to deter their enthusiasm for the Purple People Eater.  My daughter particularly likes to dance to this song.  She bobs and wiggles in her car seat.  My son likes to jump in and repeat whatever the purple People Eater say.  I think he likes the voice.

But the twins favorite part is at the end, when they shout “tequila”.  So my kids are running around going “tequila.”

We are suppose to be working on our “t” sound for speech therapy this week, but I’m not sure this is what their teacher had in mind.  And I just know when we go in on Friday and she asks them for a “t” word, they are both going to shout “tequila” and I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do.

The Adams Family

It never fails that when this song comes on one of the kids asks me “what’s this song?”  They don’t sing along but they are particularly fascinated with the song.  I found out why when I went on their preschool field trip last week.  The grace they say this month before snack is to the tune of the Adams Family.

Monster Mash

The twins’ only interest in this song is the bubbling at the beginning.  They always ask:  “is that water?”  After I answer yes, they just wait for the next song.

So for the last two weeks, this has been my life – narrowed down to six Halloween songs and the exact same reactions from my kids for each song.  I might sound like I’m complaining, but actually I love the fact that my kids are getting into the holiday spirit.

I finally broke down on Saturday and bought a new CD, but it doesn’t have Ghostbusters, so they don’t want to listen to it.

Thank goodness that Friday is Halloween.  Then we can move on to music for the next holiday.  Anyone know any good Thanksgiving songs?

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Related Posts

What’s Your Favorite Halloween Treat?

What’s Your Favorite Movie to Watch at Halloween?

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National Grouch Day

October 15, 2008

Feeling kind of grumpy today?  Not your usual happy self?  Or maybe you’re always like this?  Either way, you are in the holiday spirit because today – October 15 – is National Grouch Day.

Sure it’s a fictitious holiday, but who doesn’t need a day where it’s okay to grumble – especially with the slew of stressful holidays heading our way.  So put on your best grumpy face and celebrate.

While you busy being irritable and cantankerous, tell us who is your favorite grouch?  It can be a character from TV, the movies, your favorite book or even a real life person (be careful here this one could come back and bite you in the butt).

And what is your best remedy to get your self out of a grumpy day funk?


Valentine’s Day: The Best TV Couples

February 14, 2008

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I take a look at TV couples for shows airing this season (I’d say currently on TV, but with the strike we aren’t left with much but reality TV).  Here’s my rundown of the most romantic couples on TV today.

The TaylorsBest All Around Couple

Hands down, the best all around couple has to go to Eric and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton) of Friday Night Lights.  This pair has to be the most realistic, but yet madly in love with each other couple on TV. 

In two seasons, we’ve seen them fight and we’ve seen them make up.  We’ve watched as they’ve handled issues around career, parenting, sex, money and even in-laws as a couple.  Whether it’s their witty dialogue or the sweet way they look at each other, Mr. and Mrs. Coach are the couple to be.

Charlie and AmitaSmartest Couple

The combined IQ of Numbers’ Charlie Epps (David Krumholtz) and Amita Ramanujan (Navi Rawat) has got to be through the roof.  But even when they talk about their relationship is terms of simulations and game theory algorithms, this couple is too cute together. 

Amita seems to know just when to give math genius Charlie space to figure out his latest calculation.  And Charlie never seems to underestimate Amita’s talents and has gone the extra mile to support her career advancement even if it might strain the relationship.

Jimmy and ChloeYoung Love

Smallville’s Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) might have had a crush on Clark Kent (Tom Welling) and his super hero ways, but I think she’s found her real match in Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore).  Together they are the perfect Daily Planet duo – an unrelenting reporter and her every faithful photographer.

What’s better than watching this pair tackle the news?  Watching them discover each other and their own feelings in their first real relationship.  Remember what it was like to be young and in love?

Honorable Mention:  It took the murder of a rapist to bring Friday Night Light’s Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki) and Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) together.  But bizarre plot twist aside, it’s been interesting to watch these two kids from different backgrounds find each other.

Angela and HodginsOddest Couple

If in the first season of Bones’ you told me that Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) would give Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) a second look, let alone get engaged to him, I would have laughed you out of the room.

But as the romance began to kindle in the second season I couldn’t help but cheer for Hodgins in his relentless pursuit of Angela.  Then when they embarked on the adventure to find Angela’s long lost first husband (she needs to get a divorce in order to marry Hodgins) and I watched the depth of their love unfold, I knew that this couple, as odd a combination as they are, were meant to be.

Honorable Mention:  When Las Vegas Mike Cannon (James Lesure) and Piper Nielsen (Camille Guaty) got drunk and did the ultimate Vegas cliché – got married – I was shocked at the pairing since neither had showed a significant amount of interest in the other.  But I cheered when the two decided to forgo an annulment and give the marriage a shot. 

Chuck and LouI Can See Them Together Couple

When Rachel Bilson turned up on Chuck as deli owner Lou, I was very excited that Chuck (Zachary Levi) might actually have a chance at a real relationship for a change.  But alas, he’s still hung up on his handler Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski).

I continue to hold out hope that not only will Bilson return to resurrect her role as Lou, but that Chuck will finally realize that Sarah is not the right girl for him.

Honorable Mention:  The sexual tension between Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) is one of the reasons we tune into Bones each week.  But if the Christmas kiss is any indication of the depth of their attraction that we are in store for a great romance between the two some time in the future.

What’s your favorite TV couple past or present?


A Garden Fest of Lights to Delight Children of All Ages

December 23, 2007

This year we started a new tradition with the twins – a visit to Lewis Ginter’s Garden Fest of Light.  It was so beautiful; I wanted to share some of the sights with you.

A Christmas Peacock

The peacock was my favorite.  If you would like to see more pictures of the lights at Lewis Ginter, click here.

Once a hunting ground for the Powhatan Indians, the property now known as Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens was bought in 1884 by Lewis Ginter, an entrepreneur and philanthropist.  He built the Lakeside Wheel Club as a haven for Richmond Cyclists.  When he died, his niece Grace Arents inherited the property and turned the Wheel Club into a convalescent home for children.  Upon her death, she willed the property to a friend with the stipulation that it be turned into a botanical gardens honoring an uncle.

A hundred years after Ginter’s original purchase, Arents dream was realized when

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens was chartered in 1984.  Since then the gardens has grown leaps and bounds.

And each December it hosts, the Garden Fest of Lights – truly a delightful sight.  There are more than a half a million lights to delight.  But they are not just strings of lights; they are works of arts.  In beautiful sculptures, the lights build peacocks, flowers, fish, leaves, unicorns, frogs and more. 

The twins loved the Children’s Garden best.  Not only could they run through the maze of lights over and over again, but they also got to go into the treehouse where they could look at lights for as far as the eye could see. 

If you are ever in the Richmond, Virginia area in December, I encourage you to take the walking tour through the Garden Fest of Lights.


A Toddler’s View of Christmas

December 22, 2007

 At 2 1/2 year old, my twins are really getting into Christmas for the first time this year.  They are taking it all in and they’ve already got certain ideas about this merry holiday.  Here’s a look at how toddlers (at least these two) view Christmas.

It’s all about the lights

The twins got their first glimpse of Christmas lights on the way home from their aunt on Thanksgiving.  They were instantly smitten.

So the following Tuesday, my husband and I took them to the GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.   With more than half a million lights sculpted into flowers, butterflies, fish (my son really liked the fish), candy canes and a giant peacock, the twins were enamored.  My son couldn’t get enough of the maze of lights and my daughter loved climbing up the tree house in the Children’s Garden where she could see lights in every direction.  But their favorite thing was the train that went through the little fairy village in the conservatory.  The photos on the Christmas card were taken in front of the gingerbread house in the conservatory.

I spent the entire next day while out running errands trying to explain to the twin why they couldn’t see the lights in the daytime.  By nightfall, I was exhausted.  I gave up and took the twins back to Lewis Ginter for a second round of GardenFest.

In the two weeks following Thanksgiving, my husband had to travel for work, finish a project for school and study for an exam and a final, leaving little time to hang Christmas lights.  But because the twins were so fascinated with the lights and I couldn’t drive around the neighborhood every night looking for lights in response to cries of “Mommy, I want to see lights,” I made a trip to the store and came home with three lighted Christmas yard signs – Mickey Mouse, Tigger and Snoopy on his doghouse – that I could set up easily.

Every day on the way out, the twins stop to check on these displays.  If one has fallen over, they demand that “Mommy fix it.”  And every evening when they come home, they must stop and look at each display regardless of how cold it is outside. 

Now that my husband has finally got the rest of the decorations up, we can hardly get the twins to go into the house.

Snowmen are cooler than Santa

The twins still aren’t to sure of the man in the red suit.  Therefore, I still doesn’t have a picture of them with the jolly ol’ elf. 

They know who Santa is.  They’ll both tell you he says “ho, ho, ho.”  But they won’t go anywhere near him. The closest they’ll get is to hold out their hands for candy.

I did get my daughter to sit on the little stool in front of the Santa at the mall.  Clinging to me for dear life, she cried out her wish list – “I want a Dora [the Explorer] book.”

Their Christmas icon of choice – Frosty, or rather any snowman.  They scream in delight every time they spot a snowman decoration.  They had no problem walking up to the snowman character at the arrival of Santa at Short Pump Mall and they love the Frosty cartoons.

They even made their own snowman.  It didn’t matter that we didn’t have snow.

Somehow though, I think it might be hard for Frosty to start shimmying down fireplaces.

Giving can be hard

When the Toys R Us catalog arrived, my daughter buried her nose in it first and then my son.  Next the toy commercials on TV doubled and then the cries from my daughter of “Mommy I want mine” and “Mommy, brother wants” (my daughter can always be counted on to take care of her brother) started ringing throughout the house.  My son limited his pleas to “p-l-e-e-e-a-s-e.”

When I could no longer hear myself think, I knew the twins needed to be taught that it’s better to give than to receive.  So I decided the twins should do a stocking in the Salvation Army Stocking Program.

Together we shopped for items to fill these stockings.  Then I packed the stockings and off we went to deliver them.

The twins both proudly carried their stocking into the drop off location.  But when it came time to put the stockings in the box, they had a little trouble.  After a bit of coaxing the stockings were firmly placed in the box and my little man cried all the way back to the car.  Life lessons are so hard.

It’ll be interesting to see how it goes when it’s time to distribute gifts on Christmas.

Mickey Mouse Still Rules

The twins have really enjoyed watching Christmas specials from the Rankin and Bass classics like Frosty and Rudolph to holiday episodes of their favorite shows. 

But they are their mother’s children; thus huge fans of Mickey Mouse.  Given a choice, their holiday favorites are Snowed in at the House of Mouse and Mickey’s Twice upon a Christmas.

However, the new Shrek the Halls came in a close second as my daughter is a big fan of the green ogre. 

The Grinch is the only one they really didn’t care for.  My daughter kept burying her head in her my shoulder and my son watched with his hand over his eyes, peeking through his fingers.

Christmas Carols are to be Sung Loudly

The twins think that Christmas carols are to be sung loudly wherever they are and can be accompanied by dancing.

The twins were shopping in Target one day with me when my son decides to belt out a chorus of Jingle Bells in the middle of the store.

The twins went to a Christmas Concert by the Community Choir with me and a friend of ours. 

The twins enjoyed themselves immensely.  However, I’m not sure that the lady in the row ahead of us appreciated my son’s rendition of the songs.  Or the amount of dancing both children were doing.

We were out on an adventure with a little friend of the twins and his mother.  Suddenly from the back seat a chorus of three different songs being sung at the top of each little ones lungs made its way to the front seat where the two adults could do nothing but laugh at the toddlers’ enthusiasm.

Christmas Cookie Dough is the Best

The twins are becoming quite the bakers.  They’ve already made seven batches of Christmas cookies, much to their daddy’s delight. 

However, their favorite part of the baking experience is still licking the spoon.

Bells are the Instrument of Choice

The twins went to a Christmas Puppet Show.  As part of the show, they got to be in the Christmas Band.  My son played the tambourine and my daughter the bells.

Still, the twins instrument of choice for the holiday is bells.  They have wrist bells that they took to Williamsburg to play during the caroling.  They have bell necklaces and there are even bells hanging from all the door handles in the house.

Christmas Train

The twins love their Thomas train set, but nothing compares to the motorized train around the Christmas Tree.  It must be turned on when they wake and can’t be turned off before bedtime.

My son will lay on his belly in front of the tree and watch the train for long periods at a time.

Christmas is about Making New Friends

During Christmas caroling in Williamsburg, my son tired to use his skills to impress a new friend.  He walked up to this boy of 10 or 12 and just started performing.  He sang, danced, played his bells and even did some rolls on the cold ground.  And a new friend was made.


Mistletoe Etiquette: How to Graceful Manage those Awkward Moments Under the Sprigs

December 17, 2007

Every year I put mistletoe up in my house.  For me, it’s a fun reminder to appreciate the loved ones in my life.  I never dreamed that mistletoe came with it’s own etiquette.

MistletoeI’m sure that everyone has a story about an awkward moment under the mistletoe.  Mine involves a party I went to with a friend and a sailor I’d just met.  But I was single, he wasn’t a bad kisser and we were all having a good time. 

Overall, not a terrifying story and something to laugh about now with friends.  But I can think of a few situations where being caught under the mistletoe can cause some serious discomfort.

What do you do when you are married, but are under the mistletoe with someone other than your spouse?  What if you find yourself under the sprigs with a co-worker at an office party?   What if you are caught under the mistletoe with a new neighbor, or worse yet, a complete stranger?

Well etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore has all the answers for you in The Clarisonic Mistletoe Manifesto: Make Merry but be Wary When Exchanging Kisses Under the Mistletoe.  She offers lots of options including the air kiss, the hand kiss, the cheek kiss and the corner kiss.

Hope these tips help you avoid any awkward moments this holiday.  Happy kissing! 

Photo by darwin Bell. (License: Creative Commons Attribution)