Tag Archives: Halloween

Orange! Blue!

After our marathon drive Saturday, the 10 of us quickly donned our costumes to trip through a maze of scary scarecrows, aliens, and people hiding in unobvious places with the other 100 invitees.  My family quickly dissipated; a couple of them were used on the path to do the scaring, and the others found someone else to walk the path with.  So I cautiously stumbled through with a cousin-in-law and her family, and we giggled most of the way.  Most of the time I was scanning the barely lit path for the “monsters”  who were trying (successfully) to scare most of us.  I have to say, those that live on the farm (who we are joining next summer when we move here) did an AWESOME job of creating the spooky path. 

Sunday, we recovered from our 12-hour drive and wandered around the farm, feeding cows and checking out the different fields.  Some of us played cards and caught up with family members we don’t see very often.  Our friends’ youngest daughter and my niece (daughter of www.ouisaforpresident.blogspot.com) became BFF’s at first sight; both will turn 7 in January.  Even though neither spoke a shared language, they just knew how to communicate and played for hours together.

American/Swedish BFFs

American/Swedish BFFs

 Monday, we decided to show our guests something that you can’t see many other places than in Florida.  We took them to Alligator Farm to educate them on the differences between alligators and crocodiles.  We got to see all 20-something species of crocodilians.  The kids even got to hold a baby alligator and a boa constrictor for a few minutes.  Then we took them to St. Augustine to show them the oldest continuously settled city in the US.  We walked on the beach and played in the water for a little while, then saw the fort from the outside (we got there at closing time), and walked along a beautiful street and window-shopped.  On the way back home, we stopped at Sonny’s BBQ to eat some good American food for dinner.

Tuesday, we hung out in front of the tv watching the election results.  It was interesting to talk about the differences between the US and Swedish governments . 

Today, as I write, I am watching my youngest play Monopoly (his favorite game) with our friends’ oldest.  My son picked a Chance card which says he must pay everyone $50, but he only has $20.  He is 4 spaces from GO and says he’ll pay her when he gets his $200, but she isn’t buying it.  She wants a property.  I tell him he should give her his best puppy dog eyes, and maybe she will give in.  He tries and she laughs.  All is good until he takes his next turn.  He is such a wheeler deeler.  I keep hearing, “I’ll give you this for that.”  Yes, No, YES, NO!  I need to move.

But now the game must end, as we are off to Gainesville to buy Florida Gator t-shirts at the mall.  Yes, we convinced them that orange and blue are the best colors, and they are very proud to go back to Sweden wearing them!


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Theeey’re Heeere

If you entered our house right now, you’d wonder what country you were in.  There is a non-stop mix of Swedish, French, and English in the air (and the occasional, “Oops, that’s Spanish, not French!”).  Our (adult) Swedish friends speak English.  And their oldest daughter, who is 11, has been learning English so can carry on a conversation in elementary English fairly well.  All three of their children speak French (as well as Swedish, of course).  All but our youngest son can carry on a decent conversation in French, although he speaks as if he is fluent.  He likes to French-isize English words.  It’s quite funny!  And I keep bringing Spanish words into the French conversations.  So it will be interesting to see the interactions when we go down to the farm in Florida tomorrow where no one speaks anything but (southern) English.  After translating back and forth, my head should be spinning by the end of each day!

After they arrived yesterday, we did our best to keep them awake (their time zone is 6 hours ahead).  I took them to Wal-Mart after dinner.  The kids decided they wanted to see the costumes and each found one they liked.  And I wanted to get just a few grocery items to sustain us today and of course candy for tonight’s ghouls and goblins.  Our refrigerator looks so empty everytime I open it.  But we are leaving tomorrow for a week, and I don’t want to leave anything to go bad.  Not something I want to deal with when we get back. 

I’m off to finish a Red Riding Hood costume and make sure everyone else has all their parts and pieces for tonight. 

Happy Haunting!

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Bye Bye Now

Bling!  Bling!

Ow.  Ow. 

“Oh my gosh, my cheeks are killing me.  I can’t keep smiling like this anymore.  I am exhausted.  I need a break.  A little break?  Okay.  Whew!” (Barbie from Toy Story 2  =)

I spent the weekend with my sister at a women’s expo in Utah in a 10×10 booth surrounded by her Sashay wares.  I did my very best with smiling and selling and modeling and handing out catalogs and …  I think I earned my keep for the weekend, and I liked seeing my sister in action.  She was in her element. 

I, however, was in … a … different element.  My body never knew what time it was, and then we were inside a windowless convention center from sun-up to sun-down for two days.  But I had a great time hanging out and catching up and at the end seeing my nephews for a few hours.  It’s been 3 years, and it took them a while to remember which aunt I was (I am the oldest of three sisters).  But after all of about 5 minutes, I was a member of the family.

I’m going on another trip in a couple of days, but with the whole kit ‘n’ kaboodle … and more.  Our Swedish friends arrive tomorrow, and I am cleaning, decorating, shopping, packing, etc. for their arrival.  I am so excited; I just hope I don’t pass out from exhaustion when they arrive.  I usually just have to clean with company coming.  This time our friends are staying with us a couple of nights, so I am planning menus while decorating for Halloween at the same time.  But not too much because we leave the morning after trick-or-treating.  The 10 of us are getting on the road bright and early for a 13-hour road trip to the Sunshine State. 

Fun!  Fun!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Gat-o-ween

Happy Gat-o-ween

Glowing Gat-o-ween

Glowing Gat-o-ween


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Fall is in the Air

I think it’s officially fall here in Virginia.  It seems like on October 1, the temperatures dropped 15 degrees over night.  I’m not used to the cooler temperatures this soon.  I remember when we lived in Florida, it was in the 80’s until October 31, the (my) official mark of autumn there.  Last night, I actually grabbed another blanket after I got in bed.  I’m going to have to change the thermostat from a/c to heat.  I don’t love the cold – at all!  My fingers and toes can be cold even in the middle of summer.  But I do love the fact that Halloween will be here soon. 

When I started seeing Halloween items in the store in August, I didn’t like that.  And now there’s Christmas stuff out there.  I like to enjoy one holiday or season at a time, before I start seeing decorations for the next in the stores.  They started putting Halloween candy in our military grocery stores a month ago.  And it’s right at the front door when you walk in!  If I start buying that stuff now, it won’t last until Halloween!  Are they insane?  No, I guess that means more sales for them.  But I resist the temptation each week I do my shopping.  I am so proud of myself. 

But, now that it’s October, it is finally time.  I am going to pull all of my Halloween boxes down from the attic this weekend.  I love Halloween.  I love to make costumes and then help the kids dress up and put on make-up.  I love the excitement that’s in the air.  And this year, it’s on a Friday!  Oh, the parties that will abound.  We are going to be here in Virginia for Halloween night.  Our Swedish friends arrive a few days before, and we are going to show them American trick-or treating.  Two years ago, when we lived in France, we spent a two-week school break around Halloween with them in a large house in the country in southwest France in an area called Dordogne.  It was beautiful!  Since the French don’t trick-or-treat, we decided to do a scavenger hunt for the candy.  The kids all dressed up in costumes and searched the large yard with clues in English, French, or Swedish.  It was my husband’s idea so that they would have to help each other.  They had a ball.

The couple, who speak English better than some Americans do, is around my husband’s and my ages, but their oldest child is the same age as our youngest.  It has not, however, affected the great friendship that we have formed, even the children.  They share French as their spoken language, but I think there is a children’s language used there also.  They have a lot of fun together.   

The day after Halloween is when the big party takes place down on the farm in Florida (where my husband’s family lives).  I have heard about some of the Halloween parties held there when he was a child, so I am expecting big things.  We are still debating on what costumes to wear to the party.  We’ve thrown around a few more ideas, but nothing’s lighting any fires still.

For now, we’ll just put away the flip flops and shorts (boo hoo!) and start thinking about carving pumpkins and making pies (pumpkin and apple and pecan…yum yum!) and snuggling up with a blanket and a good book.

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The World of Make-Believe

My husband and I love to read and have encouraged our children to escape into the same world of the printed word as well.  Although my husband likes non-fiction more often, I usually prefer to escape from reality into another world through fiction.  Today I finished the book Standing Still recommended to me by its author Kelly Simmons.  At first I found it perplexing, but then as I got further into the story, I couldn’t put the book down.  I think I read it in less than 24 hours.  It moved back and forth from the present to different times in the past which was needed to explain the reasons the main character reacted to things the way in which she did. 

So now I am searching my bookshelf for a new read.  I have been told the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer is excellent.  My daughter has read all that are out and cannot wait to see the movie.  I thought since she read them, they are more for teen-agers.  But now my friends are telling me how good they are.  So now I am curious.  I am not into vampire stories whatsoever, but then I don’t think my daughter would have been either.  And it’s a love story; you forget there are vampires… 

With Halloween coming, maybe it is an appropriate book to take on next.  I love Halloween and making costumes for the kids each year, although there have been a couple of times that I’ve given in and gotten the store-bought ones.  We are going to a family Halloween party this year and are trying to decide what to go as.  My youngest son suggested the Flintstones, which I think would be kinda cute, but my husband and I want to be a little more unique.  My daughter piped in and said that we can all be elves – I’m not so sure about that for a family whose heights range between 5’8″ and 6’3″, plus I’m not so keen on the pointy ears.  My husband thought of Little Red Riding Hood; he could be the wolf, one son could be the woodsman, the other a squirrel (think Hoodwinked!), our daughter could be Red, and guess who gets to be Granny? – I was sort of hoping for something a little more glamorous.  So the search continues.

A bonus for Halloween this year is that our good friends from Sweden are coming for a 2-week visit around that time.  We’re excited about showing them how we celebrate.  And to show them where we are from in Florida.  My husband’s family owns a large farm (where we will stay for part of their visit) and is the perfect place for the Halloween party.  I am from the panhandle and hope to show them the beautiful sugar white beaches I grew up on.  We met them while we lived in Paris, and we got to visit their home in Sweden during one of the vacation periods.  It was so interesting to see similarities (and differences) first-hand of how we all live in the world.  Before we got to travel outside of the US, all the stories about other countries seemed magical to me, kind of make believe.  But now we’ve got real stories and memories to share with each other.

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