Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Best Costume that did NOT win a Prize

My niece Kelcy is quite the DIY girl. For Mason's first Halloween, she made him this costume....
SO adorable....
They went to the Princeton Halloween parade, and he entered the contest....
And he did not win! I believe that year, the winner was a child wearing a Bratz costume from Walmart...
Although that seems like just yesterday...our Kelcy has been busy...
And I can't wait to see what she comes up with this year...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Blast from Halloween Past...

 I first posted this in 2011.  And I CAN'T BELIEVE how quickly these kids grew up.  We actually never did get a large number of Trick or Treaters.

But ever since John's horrible incident, he insists on buying MULTIPLE BAGS of candy, just in case somebody drops off an Army of Trick or Treaters...

******************

My niece Amy brought her three boys....Cale tried to sneak up to our window to scare us. His make-up was pretty frightening...

Amy's three boys -- Cash, Garrett and Cale...
They were joined by Nicole's three kids...here's Garrett, Memphis, Cale, Cash, Landon and Parker. I was delighted they sat so patiently for this serene picture...Cash is enjoying a sucker...Amy had given up on their sugar intake...

And, suddenly, our little incredible hulk started screaming....

As the kids started to break it up -- Cash continued to scream, "I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME, I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME, I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME..."

And, in my brain, I'm thinking, "YOU'RE NOT STAYING HERE, YOU'RE NOT STAYING HERE, YOU'RE NOT STAYING HERE...."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

John and Trick or Treaters.

When our boys were growing up, I took them to a nearby small town -- McCausland -- for Halloween. For several reasons.  For one thing, there are too few homes in our country addition to make trick or treating worthwhile.

Also, my Aunt Glad lived in McCausland.  She was in her 80's at that time, and she couldn't get up and down to answer her door -- but she loved seeing the kids in their costumes.

So, to kill two birds with one stone -- I took the boys to McCausland, and they went Trick or Treating in the safe little town where I knew everybody, and I stayed at Aunt Glad's house to help her hand out candy.

John worked second shift, so he was never involved in this evening activity.  NEVER....

Until one year, when three things happened....

1.  Trick or Treat was on a Sunday night....(John was home)
2.  He left the porch light on (because he didn't know better)
3.  Several carloads of kids came to our housing addition Trick Or Treating (more houses had been built, so it seemed worth their time?)

So -- I am at Aunt Glad's house, and her phone rang. (before cell phones).  It was John.  This was the first and last time he ever called her house...She handed me the phone...

John: (sounding agitated)  Trick or Treaters are coming here...WHAT DID YOU DO WITH ALL THOSE CANDY BARS??

(I had purchased six bags of Snickers and Almond Joy, and the candy was in a bag on the counter for a week...)

Me:   I brought them with me -- to give away here, at Aunt Glad's house. (she normally bought one small bag of suckers)

I told John he had two choices.  He could make the 5-minute trip to Casey's convenience store to buy some candy.  OR -- he could simply turn the porch light OFF.

I hung up and went back to the business of keeping track of my own two boys, and dealing with the scores of Trick or Treaters coming to Aunt Glad's door...

So -- what did John do??

Of course, HE DID NOT LISTEN TO ME.

Instead -- feeling the pressure of the ringing doorbell -- he decided to GIVE THE CHILDREN QUARTERS.  Hey, at that time, you could buy a huge candy bar for 25 cents...

However, John realized eight quarters was $2.00...and this was going to get expensive.  So, he started to give each child a nickel....

When the nickels were gone...he looked around, and saw the decorative bowl of nuts which was the centerpiece of our fall table.

EUREKA!!  He started dropping English Walnuts and Hazelnuts in their bags.

Here is a defining moment of John's life...

As one group of Trick or Treaters is walking down our steps, another group is approaching...

Kid in Group #1 hollers out this glum warning,

"DON'T BOTHER -- THE ASSHOLE IS GIVING OUT ACORNS."

*********

Full disclosure....writing this, I laughed so hard I peed....







Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Make-up

Another popular way to play dress up is via make-up.

Elliott recently shaved off his beard -- but left a mustache.

With Halloween make-up, Lilly decided it would be cool to draw a mustache on her brother...

My niece, Amy, is quite the Halloween make-up artist....she gets pretty elaborate.
Her three boys....
Cale -- notice the Jester hat...
Garrett
Cash
Yes, I sewed the hat.  And it was spectacular...
John, handing out Halloween treats...
OH MY GOD...that sooo reminds me of my favorite Halloween story...if I can, I'll write it up...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy Halloween

I have many proud moments in my life. One of them was several years ago -- my niece Nicole called and said, "Aunt Rita -- we decided to dress up for Halloween this year. Do you have anything in your basement that would make me look like a pirate?"
Do you see my Pirate niece? Embroidered black skirt, peasant blouse, leather belt, red overskirt and a bandana? GORGEOUS, EH??
And I LOVE THAT SHE KNEW WHO TO CALL...and WHICH BASEMENT was most likely to have buried Pirate Treasure. YES -- THAT WOULD BE ME...!!

 Even when it's NOT HALLOWEEN, I think dress-up is fun for kids. Lilly has always enjoyed a closet full of semi-wedding-dress-formals...
I have at least 40 pictures of Lillian and Memphis, playing dress-up...

Last summer, I sent Pirate costumes (with American Flag capes) to Pennsylvania for these three little boys. (the three little girls got Elsa costumes). 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Project Runway

Sadly -- watching Project Runway has turned into a job. You know, when you dread getting up on Monday morning...but feeling like it's something you MUST do...

This year has really been a joyless exercise. Honestly -- there has not been one single outfit I remember. They were down to five designers before I knew any of their names. Except for Ashley -- the fat girl I REALLY, REALLY WANTED to root for...but then, she lost me with a horrible stiff cape during the early Hallmark challenge...and she kept making boring circle skirts...

One of my biggest disappointments this season has been the RARE TRIPS to Mood Fabrics. What's up with that? Not a single sighting of our favorite fabric store dog mascot, Swatch -- WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?? Sooo many unconventional challenges...really??

Last week, with only four designers left -- it was FINALLY a chance to go to Mood, pick out some fabric, and make a red carpet look...

Here are the  final four...

Ashley made the gold sequins gown,  Candace made another Darth Vader dress, Edmond did the colorful short dress, and Kelly made the form fitting jumpsuit.  Who do you think won this challenge?
Kelly won.  And I was fine with that.  She created the textile, and the fit was amazing.  PANTS IS A RARE THING on this season.  (and, for good reason).

Edmond was the loser.  And, they edited the episode so you think Edmond is going home...BUT THAT JUST IS NOT POSSIBLE..!!

THE TIM GUNN SAVE IS STILL OUT THERE.  And, c'mon, Tim -- Edmond had an entirely different gown on the mannequin, BUT YOU TOLD HIM TO BE BOLD. 

Edmond had so much fear about this Rainbow Bright sequins fabric, he couldn't make the first cut until the second day. 

At the end of the episode, Tim always sends them to the workroom to pack up their kit.  BUT THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN....

So -- If there is a fashion God looking over our universe -- TIM WILL SAVE EDMOND. 

Even if you missed the entire season (and you weren't wrong) -- you might want to tune in for the Finale episodes.  (Thursday on Lifetime).  I love seeing their homes, where they actually sew, what their inspiration was, and how they developed a collection.

WE COULD DO THIS, GIRLS!! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Family Birthday Cake

I originally wrote this post in 2011.....and I have had several requests for it.  (Yes, Bonnie, IT IS THE BEST FROSTING OF ALL TIME...and thank you, LaVonne, for making it YOUR new Family Frosting.   Cheryl -- I am glad Chad went nuts for the frosting!!)
************

When Ross was a student at Western Illinois University -- on his 21st birthday, I drove 4 hours to deliver a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. Even though he told me not to do it. Even though I knew he would be working. Even though I completely understood he wasn't going to take a five minute break to say hello to me. I drove the cake to Macomb, Illinois, dropped it off with his house-mates, then got back in my car and drove home.

I did it because one day, I was hoping it would be something Ross would "remember".

God only knows what your children will remember...so my theory is to keep trying different things, hoping something good or kind STICKS in their memory...

Anyway, in 1971, the first year we were married, John made me a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for my birthday.  And I've made it for HIM -- and for our boys -- for every birthday since...

If the boys are home for their birthdays -- it is a JOY for me to make the Farro family birthday cake. But, if they're not home -- I ask somebody at THAT END of their lives to make the cake. Of course, Emily is in charge of the Elliott, Lillian and Warren cakes...

There were several years when Ross was living in Minnesota, so I put his friends, Shawn and Melissa, in charge of his birthday cake.

Melissa was delighted when I told her the cake was a Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake Mix...lol...

But it is the frosting that makes it SPECIAL. Here it is:

Cook 1 cup of milk with 6 TBL of flour until it's very thick. It will be a big glob....At this point, I put it in a shallow dish, cover it with plastic and stick it in the freezer to COOL COMPLETELY.

With electric mixer -- beat until smooth:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
1 cup of sugar

Scrape the cool flour glob into the butter/sugar bowl and continue to beat. (it will be grainy at first).

Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla at the last minute.

PERFECTION. THIS FROSTING IS SO GOOD -- you could eat it on a saltine cracker.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Corn Nuts -- The new snack??

My sister Ronda and her husband Dean enjoy their stand at the Farmer's Market.  Ronda bakes the most wonderful pies, and since he retired, Dean raises a huge truck garden.

The other day, I was at their house, having a cup of coffee -- and Dean started making his hot new snack product -- Corn Nuts. Which I had never heard of....

Dean said this is THE HOT NEW PRODUCT -- and he simply couldn't make enough to satisfy the demand...

It starts with sweet corn that did not get picked. He lets it dry in the field...then, when it's completely dry, he takes the kernels off the cobbs...
Of course, THAT's the hard part...
Then, he cooks it off in an iron skillet....
Testing a few kernels, to make sure the pan is hot enough...
Waiting, until the subtle popping sound stops (it does NOT sound like regular popcorn)
This is the finished batch
Dean uses a little seasoned salt to flavor each batch.
This is what the finished Corn Nuts look like...Pretty tasty
Who comes up with this stuff??

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Goodbye Porch...

Our house is small by today's standards. But, in the summer, our screened-in porch makes all the difference. We are out there every single day.
Last year, right after I finished the new sofa...
Then, I found these two great new chairs!! (mostly, for Kim and I sit here for our frequent visits)
We eat a lot of meals out here.  Warren having a hummingbird breakfast with Uncle Ross...
But, alas, winter is on the way. So it's time to put the cushions away...right??
The thing is -- as it happens, these sofa cushions spend almost as much time IN THE HOUSE as they spend out on the porch!!
Uncle Ross, wrestling with Warren...the cushions are a nice safety net...

Lilly loves to make an impromptu bed -- or watch television with Frankie...
The kids build forts with the cushions...
So I'm not sure what's going to happen....some of the cushions might have to live in the living room this winter...maybe another set of covers?? Humm....thinking....

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Freedom Rock

In 2010, I was a pretty new blogger -- and I wrote about the Freedom Rock.  Here's that original post.

Recently, it was just me and my cousin Linda for our Tuesday breakfast. We ended up in LeClaire, Iowa -- enjoying the new Scott County Freedom rock, recently placed on the Mississippi Riverfront.

It took me awhile before I realized our rock was painted by the same artist, Ray Sorensen...

Every side of the rock has a different scene...
This rock focuses on Scott County
Beautiful river setting...
Me, taking a picture of Linda, taking a picture of me...

How our county came to have it's own Freedom Rock is a fascinating story about a talented young artist who has figured out a way to make a living with his art.

His goal is to paint a rock for every county in the State of Iowa. He charges $5,000 per county. Here's his website, explaining how it works:Freedom Rock, painted by Ray Sorensen. It's about a man and his art.

Doing what he loves to support his family...honoring our veterans...and yes, people, my favorite thing -- MARKETING.

I am in awe. Genius!! Go Bubba!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Homecoming Traditions

My great-nephew Parker, a senior this year, was on the North Scott Homecoming Court.
Parker in the middle, with some of the other girls and boys on the Court.
Apparently, one of the "traditions" at North Scott is that the girls on the court sneak out in the middle of the night (the week before the dance) and T/P the homes of the boys on the court...
This is the outside of Parker's house the morning after the TP attack...
The patio furniture was stacked up, the trees were loaded...
Yep...the Kearaney's got it pretty good.
But one thing the girls did NOT COUNT ON....
Was this ferocious team of troublemakers....Parker's mom, Nicole, and her sister, Aunt Amy.
Word of the T/P party leaked out -- and Nicole decided to launch a counter-attack. She, her husband Bill, her brother Cory and her sister Amy. The four of them dressed in their black Ninja outfits, and spent the evening preparing their defense. They had buckets of water balloons, some firecrackers, and police grade flashlights.

It will be a night long remembered by both sides, I'm sure.  The Black Ops adults had to wait for three hours before the girls arrived...But, by all accounts, it was worth it!!