Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hot Halloween Mess

Yesterday, I spent my day making popcorn balls.
I was in charge of the snack for our church's Pioneer Club.
I picked the night of our annual Trunk-or-Treat Halloween Party for a reason.
Because I knew I could come up with something fun to make.
Unfortunately, as with all my ideas, this one bit me right in the tush.
It had seemed so simple.
Pop up some popcorn.
Mix up marshmallow goo.
Stir the two together.
Form into balls.
The end.
BUT, it all started out like this:
Stupid boyscouts and their impossible bags.
I dumped it all over.
All I wanted was a 1/2 cup of popcorn!
That's it!
When the kernels wouldn't come out, I squeezed a bit...
suddenly, the bag exploded and they ALL came out!
Not a great start.

The recipe I found said I could add some cute candies to mix in.
Fortunately, I have a bucket full of candy ready for trick-or-treaters.
Unfortunately, it took me forever to unwrap 60 tiny, individual treat bags to get what I needed.
Great planning?
I think not.
Even though I was running around like a crazy person, covered in marshmallow goo, I still had a family to take care of and feed.
In between making popcorn balls and trying not to burn the house down, I had to make lunch.
Tip: Watch what you grab from the fridge. Some items may appear similar at first glance, but their taste will be drastically we found out the hard way.
Sorry Declan!

Big oops from Mommy.
That will keep your bowels moving...right?
Not funny?
BUT, I did manage to make 42 popcorn balls.
Well, technically, I made 43.
But one got lost.
In my belly.

Messy but so delicious.
I decided, at the very last minute, to dress up as Doctor Who for this costumed event.
I had 2 hours to throw together what I had to make it work.
I was shooting for #10.
(For those that are unfamiliar with Doctor Who, it's David Tennant. He's my favorite.)
Here's what he looks like:
Here's my somewhat awful version:

I tried!
Cut me some slack...
I borrowed a suit jacket from my Dad and raided my husbands closet for a shirt and tie.
He couldn't stop laughing when I added the side burns.
I thought I made a handsome man...
No one knew who Doctor Who was anyway.
I had probably 4 people know who I was trying to go for.
The kids looked at me like I was crazy.
What else is new?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Playing Catch Up

I figured I would take a tiny break from all my Arizona posts and just give a small update on our week.

It's been awhile since I've written a "normal" post and have quite a few on the sidelines, just waiting to be published here.

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year.
It's Halloween week!
I go all out and make "themed" dinners and treats.
We even play games and watch Halloween movies.
Today I'm making chocolate cupcakes with a gory filling (raspberry pastry cream).
There are TONS of events this week that we are excited for as well.
Morgan has her ballet Halloween party tonight.
Trunk-or-Treat at our church tomorrow night.
Even has his hip-hop Halloween party on Thursday.
Then it's HALLOWEEN!
This Halloween is going to be a bit chilly (30 degrees) but I'm ready for it.
You don't live in Minnesota without being prepared for the cold.
That's why we buy our costumes a size larger.
You have to be able to shove the snowsuit UNDER the costume.
Suggestion, don't wear something like this:
Just don't. 
Yesterday morning, on his way to work, Jalon stepped outside and found a wooden cutting board sitting on our front step.
We both stood there in confusion, wondering where this wooden board came from.
It was a slide-out style, that we have in our kitchen.
We always had an empty spot for one in our kitchen.
It's been missing since we moved here.
4 years ago.
That's not creepy or anything...
Would it kill someone to leave a note?
I'm not sure where they found it, or how they knew it belonged here, but thanks?
Please tell me it wasn't used for something chopping human parts on.
That's all I can think of.
I can't use it yet.
It's too weird.
As far as Halloween goes, please consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project:
I hadn't realized how hard Halloween could be, until we found out we had Celiac Disease.
I'm not as bad as some, we are allowed many candy choices still.
But I'm going to be offering other options for those with allergies.
I will have a basket full of toys/games and even allergen free suckers.
Please help spread the word.
We can make Halloween enjoyable for ALL kids.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Arizona is the Australia of the U.S.

If you don't get what I mean by the title, let me explain:

Australia is known for it's critters/wildlife. Have I been there? No. But I internet enough to know. Google Earth people. It's just like traveling in real life, without the million hour plane flight. (Yes, this is called sarcasm. Chill.)

I'm not a huge fan of critters. In Minnesota, all we have are some wolf spiders, frogs, bees, and mosquitos. (My experience is based on what's in my backyard.) Don't get me wrong, there are snakes, but none that want to harm me. And I haven't seen a snake in the "wild" since I was 6.

I knew there was a chance of seeing some critters in Arizona, but did I know I would see 3 of the scary ones within 30 seconds of each other?

No. The answer to that is a clear NO.

We stepped outside the door and a giant spider skittered across the path. Jalon stomped on it for me. But I still freaked a bit.

Then we take 3 more steps and a frog jumps out from a bush.

Alright. Fine. I've seen frogs before. No big deal.

Then, 2 more steps, we discover a snake, chilling in the rocks, right in front of us.

I'm done.

Time to go.

Arizona, it was nice knowing ya, but I'm out.

Here are some pictures I was able to grab of the "critters" we saw. I did not have my camera for the dead scorpion we found in a garage. Missed opportunity. Part of me wanted to take it home to scare the kids. The other part of me wanted to learn to hover so my feet never touched the ground again. (Ever get that feeling that you want to curl up in a ball, so nothing can touch you, but you realize that you share the same ground as the bugs and no matter how small you curl up, they can still get you? Do I sound a wee bit paranoid?)

Do you see his little head poking out?
So adorable!
I don't know what the heck this was. Sorry.
I left my wildlife dictionary at the hotel.
I wanted to take him home...but the kids would squish him.

I know that this doesn't really show the size of the ant, but it was huge.
I promise.
We don't grow them like that up here.
This ant was so large, that those rocks you are seeing are actually boulders.
(You can trust me...why would I lie? No, I'm not overly dramatic, Jalon. This ant could have worn my shoes.)

I do not know what this is.
But it's huge.
I did not squish it.
It looks like it would have a HUGE crunch factor.
Nothing worse than hearing/feeling the crunch of a bug. Bleh. 

Do you see it?!
(I keep spelling it snack, it's driving me crazy. I might need to eat something...)
He didn't try to attack us or anything, but I can't say I lingered long after this to find out.

A very blurry picture of the frog.
I'm not typically afraid of frogs.
But in Arizona, I have a feeling that a healthy dose of fear with ALL wildlife is a smart thing to carry around with you. You never know which one will kill you eventually.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Arizona Adventures, Day 2

This trip was a little more exciting...almost too exciting.

Our trip through Oak Creek Canyon, to Sedona, was on winding roads that tend to make me very motion sick. Because of this, I decided to take a Dramamine before we left.

That left me a little loopy for the rest of the day.

Just as a warning. And explanation as far as some of these pictures and videos go.

So far, so good!
(Someone looks a wee bit grouchy...) 

Rolled through lots of elevation changes.
My ears were going crazy.

Lots of sleeping breaks in here. 

Where are we?
No clue.
Pretty though.

After a big nap, we made it to Sedona!
(By the way, I napped, Jalon drove. Just in case I needed to clarify that.)

This machine...
I wanted an actual paper fortune, as a souvenir.
Here's my reaction to that:
After all that napping, I really needed some coffee.
We had to hunt for some, but found the perfect spot to enjoy it!
So pretty!
Then Jalon takes this picture...
I look drugged.
Well, to be fair, I was.
After this, we went to Jerome, AZ.
A living ghost town.
Pretty cool.
Great views!

The toilet garden?
Kind of interesting...I guess.

I LOVED this building!

Really cool garden area.

Found lots of goodies inside!
Couldn't take pictures of the inside though.

Buildings that were original parts of the "ghost" town.
Lots of fun walking through here.
After this, we went to Black Canyon City, which is where Jalon grew up.
Pretty small, but it was cool to hear his stories and see his Grandpa!

Found an old Stage Stop in his town.
I was mad.
I really wanted to go inside.

Well, that's it for now.
That night we went back to a new hotel room, near family and hung out with them that night.
I went to a hockey game.
My first one.
I will share my experiences with that in another post...
I only have so much space here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Adventures in Arizona- Day 1 Part 2

I'm just going to jump right in. After that hike back to the car, despite how long it felt it took, it was only noon. There was no way we were ready to call it a day.

But, we quickly realized that the Grand Canyon was only about 40 minutes away from us.

Well, why not?

(We had already been there, many years ago, but one time is never enough...)

The Grand Canyon!
I took a selfie to send to my son back in Minnesota.
I don't think he was impressed...

A giant,


in the ground.
Don't get me wrong.
It was beautiful and very cool.
But still...just a big hole.
A very popular big hole.
Time to go...

Damage from fires.

That hill looked like someone got hungry and just cleaned it off real quick.
Poor naked hill.

Very beautiful Aspens among the pine trees.

Jalon wanted a picture of the pretty trees, but he wouldn't actually stop the vehicle for a photo.
I had to stick my head out the window and hope for the best.
I got 2 photos out of 800,000,001 that turned out OK.
Pretty sure I didn't exaggerate that. 

On our way back down to Flagstaff, we found an old Pioneer Museum.
We really just wanted to see the train, but, turns out, they had more for us!
Like a creepy house/museum, full of weird stuff.
See Above: Buffalo head.
(You may not find that weird. However, I was confused as to why it was there in the first place. Did the Pioneers hunt those and save the heads? Did that one attack one of the pioneers? WHAT'S ITS STORY?!?)

They also had an authentic pioneer house to explore.

Pretty neat.
Pretty darn small.
Still, give me a book and I could do it.
(For a few days...I would seriously miss my Target.)

Inside the train caboose.
Jalon wanted to see the bathroom.
I hope this isn't being used anymore.
We were exploring this caboose and I had some extra "air" that was trying to escape.
(Not sure if you get where I'm going. Just in case, we call it a toot here.)
Unfortunately, we were not alone.
There was a random man wandering around the train at this time.
(Of course there was...)
I felt as if I could have powered this train, with all that "wind" I was carrying around.

(Just in case you were worried, I felt better by this point. And yes, that means I tooted. Probably in this picture.)

Adorable, aren't we?
Despite my powerful "wind" he still loves me.
Shortly after this, we found a hotel, showered and decided to hunt for gluten free food.
We scored BIGTIME!
Check that out!
I'm going to write the owner and plead with him to open more!
I really, really, really, need one of these next to my house.
Here was my food:
See that?
Gluten free and organic.
I was in HEAVEN!

Oooooh...just looking at this is making me hungry!
It was a Cajun pasta. (Warning: Major spice factor)
Gluten free.
They had 2 things that weren't gluten free on the menu.
I almost moved in.
If it weren't for the fact that Arizona is 800 degrees F. year round, I would.
Day 2 is tomorrow!
Are you excited?
Well, try to be, ok?