Halloween II

I am not a costume maker.  It is the one thing I give myself a break on.  I might individually label drinking straws for a birthday party or carve 100 baby carrots to look like dragon claws, but when it comes to costumes I give myself a break and just buy the darn things.

This year, unfortunately, my boys wanted to be Minecraft characters and, as I keep whining about, Minecraft has not sold themselves out to every possible merchandising opportunity out there, which makes them a scumbag company in my book.  It means I had to make my boys’ costumes this year.

It took forever.

And then it took forever again when I finally faced the fact that it was definitely going to rain on Halloween and I had to cover every inch of these masks with clear contact paper or they would return from trick-or-treating wearing plain boxes on their heads.  There is a very fine line between being a Creeper and being a kid with a box on his head.


The boys are: a tamed wolf, a Creeper, and a zombie.


Actually, Rocco really went more as a sexy creeper, as this next picture demonstrates.


Anyway, on no other night of the year would I put a box with two tiny eyeholes in it on my young children’s heads and tell them to walk around the neighborhood on a pitch black, rainy night.

Maybe Halloween isn’t the miracle holiday I made it out to be earlier this week?

Nah.  It totally is.

Need advice—quick!

Okay, readers, we are getting close to the finish line with the Big Boy room.  Here’s what we’ve got so far:



Okay, so it doesn’t look like much but this represents a solid month of weekends spent painting, skim coating, repainting, trimming, buying, assembling, touch-up painting, and moving of stuff from one room to another.  Not to mention the hour it takes me to clear things off the bed and desk to actually take these pictures!

But I need some advice on the desk area.  We bought a bunch of magnetic boards to hang above it and will buy some white cabinets to hang above those.  Here’s the general idea:


The question is this: do we leave the magnetic boards silver, as they are, or should I cover them with lime green cloth?  Here’s the general idea (the board will be centered over the desk):


Here’s a really crappy Photoshop attempt to show about what it will look like green, though I would do more of a chartruse than a grass green:


What do you think?

Chicken stew in pumpkin bowls
White chocolate seckel pears

Pumpkin Farm

It was Pumpkin farm weekend for the MrsMouthies!  Here are a few of our top moments:


Actually, Vincenzo’s glam shot looked like this—we’ve been too busy to get him a haircut.


But who needs haircuts when you have Photoshop?  Anyway, to continue…


The kids played in the hay, went in the bouncy houses, ate kettle korn, looked at the animals, rode the train and canoes and roller coaster, putted around in the old timey cars…but the one thing they didn’t have time to do at the pumpkin farm was ride the wagon out to the field to pick pumpkins.  Oops.

To end on a funny note, here is my second favorite picture from the pumpkin farm:


I love how he tilted his head just so.

…and my favorite picture of the day, from my mom’s collection:



Corn bread
Steamed broccoli
Pumpkin pie

An Eye for an Eye

I used to have a cat. I loved him more than I loved my children. Of course, I had no children at the time, and lucky for them.


This fluff ball turned grew into one of those super silky, soft cats who flopped like a rag when you picked him up and who felt like he was weightless when he jumped onto your lap. His name was Rocky.


At Christmas time we’d send out cards with his pictures on it. In summer I’d put him on a leash and try to walk him. When he got his man-cat parts chopped we even threw him a Ball Voyage party.

(One of the food tags from the party)

My SIL found a little replica of Rocky that she gave us.  We named him Bizarro Rocky.


Bizarro Rocky was present at the birth of our first son, naturally.


Sadly, the real Rocky died of a lung infection when he was just four years old. Around that time, a very mangy version of Rocky showed up in the neighborhood—he was ratty, his tail looked half-eaten, and he seemed to be missing an eye. We named him Pirate Rocky.  It is comforting, somehow, to see Pirate Rocky roaming the neighborhood from time to time.

The other day the boys were downstairs playing and yelling at each other when the yelling got louder than usual and turned to all STOP! LEO! NO! NO LEO! LEEEOOOO! OH NO NOW YOU BROKE IT!

Then Rocco* came up the stairs carrying this:


(Technically he was just carrying the thing on my hand—not my actual hand.)

Apparently Leo had been swinging Bizarro around by his tail until Bizarro whacked a wall and lost an eye and became…


Pirate Rocky!

But as they say, one cat’s eye is another man’s treasure and I have taken to wearing the eye around myself in a version of me I call Bizarro Mommy.


Bizarro Mommy gets to do anything she wants, any way she wants.  I’m sure you haven’t seen the last of her here.

*I should point out here that we did not, in fact, name our son after our cat.  Rocco was named after his father, whose middle name is Rocco, and his name was chosen because Kevin’s dad really liked the Rocky movies.

Chicken and dumplings
Salad with roasted pumpkin, pepitas, and goat cheese
Sugar cookies

Thing #5

Thanks, Tricia, for the suggestion.  To add onto yesterday’s post:

5) What do you do when your husband asks for this 7-layer Pop Rock cake for his birthday?


You tell him absolutely not; that is a completely ridiculous request.  Then you make him this 6-layer Pop Rock cake for his birthday.

poprock cake

(Each layer is sprinkled with a bag of Pop Rocks, the outside is covered in Pop Rocks, and the recipe calls for TEN POUNDS of frosting.)

Hot dogs and hamburgers
Fried daikon radish cakes
6-layer cake remnant cake pops

Little Things

1. Kevin’s parents gifted us with a pose-able skeleton for Halloween.  Rocco spent five minutes outside with it and I found Skelly looking like this:


Skelly totally gets me–that’s the same way I feel when I spend five minutes with Rocco.

2.  Vincenzo just finished his thank-you cards.  You don’t need to read them but just look at their overall style:


I just love how very Charlie Brown-ish they look.

3.  Last week Rocco’s voice was a little hoarse.  Kevin’s dad asked if he was sick or something and Kevin said, “Nope; he’s just been talking for the past five years.”

4.  Vincenzo closed a book he had been reading all afternoon.  I asked him if he finished it and he said, “No—I just turned it off.”

It feels weird to end on #4.  Does anyone have a #5 to toss out there tonight?

Citrus halibut with braised fennel
Butternut squash risotto with fried sage
Green beans with dill
6-Layer PopRock Cake

I Spy a Postal Mom

1. Me: I spy with my little eye something that is green.
Leo: I give up.  What is it, Mom?
Me: The trees.

2. Rocco: I spy with my little eye something that is brown.
Vincenzo: Is it the dirt?
R: No.
Dad: Is it the dirt?
R: Yes.
V: That’s not fair!  I already guessed dirt!
R: Yeah, but you had to guess it twice.

3. Leo: I spy with mine little eyes something that is blue.
Me: Is it the sky?
Leo: No.
Me: Is it a car?
Leo: No.
Me: Is it a sign?
Leo: No.
Me: I give up.  What is it?
Leo: It is a song.

4. Kevin: I spy with my BIG eyes something that is red, and you have to guess what it is twenty times.
Vincenzo: Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight? Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?  Is it the stoplight?
Kevin: No.
Vincenzo: Is it the stop sign?  Is it the stop sign? {and on and on and ON and on and on}

5. This last one, unfortunately, is the most common version played in our car and the reason I HATE the game of I Spy more than anything else I’ve encountered in all nine years of parenting:

Rocco: Hey, I have an idea.  Let’s play I Spy!
Leo:  Yeah!  I spy with my little…
R: NO!  I get to go first.  I spy…
Leo: NO!  I GO FIRST!  I spy…
R: NO, ME!
L: NO, ME!

(At which point Mom loses it and goes off the rails *a bit* and makes the kids promise they will never, ever, ever attempt to play I Spy EVER again.)

(They always do.)

Fresh spaghetti and meatballs, made by Chef Rocco (and his sous chef, Mom)
Crudites (i.e. sous chef was either too lazy or too busy to actually cook the vegetables)
Thunder cake

Awesome Sauce Turns 9

You didn’t think I would let Vincenzo’s birthday pass without a post where I make fun of him, demonstrate his complexities, get soft on him, then turn him into an immortalized icon, did you?


It’s just hard to write about V without it sounding like a bunch of bragging. He has mastered the English language so I can’t write about the hilariously misspoken. It’s no longer appropriate to post pictures of him doing absurd things in his underwear, even though I have plenty.  Now I have to draw clothes on him so he doesn’t get embarrassed:


Vincenzo is calm, studious, well-behaved, polite, social, hard-working, generous, and of course brilliant. Seriously, for birthday presents this year he asked friends to donate to the Wolf Conservatory. How can I make fun of that?! It’s like he doesn’t even care that I have a blog anymore!

Of course, he sometimes forgets to put his homework in his backpack.

And once he went to bed without flossing.

So I guess there’s that.

Vincenzo is just a go-with-the-flow guy who is as happy being enrolled in a singing/dancing class as he is being enrolled in a karate class. If he could plan the perfect day he’d spend half of it reading and half of it playing with friends. Actually, he’d first ask if he could spend 100% of it playing video games and when I told him “no,” he’d go for the reading and playing with friends thing.


Every time he has a play date, it’s with a different person—everyone likes him and he likes everyone. He is just at home playing with Rocco’s four-year-old friends as he is having sleepovers at his 12-year-old cousins’ house.

Well, there is one kid who always strikes a nerve with Vincenzo and who Vincenzo wishes he never had sleepovers with, but that kid’s name is Rocco so he’s going to have to get over it. We don’t have enough bedrooms for him not to.

Vincenzo knows how to laugh at himself, like when he looks over at dinner to see me and Kevin slurping noodles straight off our plate because that’s what we saw him doing a minute ago. Then he might cry because I tell him he spelled the word “scool” wrong on his homework. Then he laughs when I tell him that he is crying about the letter “h.”


He has never spent a cent of his own money on himself, but he donates big chunks of his money at a time when Hopelink or his school’s jog-a-thon come around. He reads absolutely anything that is made up of letters. He understands and can explain the sun doesn’t go down at night but that our part of the world is actually rotating away from the sun.


He also runs around the house in his undies yelling, “Me want fight Daddy now! Me want fight Daddy now!”

Vincenzo is our absent-minded professor who dresses himself in a purple plaid button-up shirt, blue striped shorts, black knee-high socks, and fluorescent yellow flip-flops. Sometimes I let him go out like that; sometimes I try to help him. Either way he goes out, he will tell everyone who asks that he is doing “awesome.”

And he is. He is our sometimes silly, often thoughtful, usually sweet, always awesome boy.


Here’s to another year of awesomeness, Baby Number One.  We have never stopped being as proud of you as we were on the day you were born.


See how proud we were?  See how proud we are.

Jackfruit enchiladas
Chicken quesadillas…just in case
Jackfruit coconut creams

Random Funnies

How many blog posts have I given that title to?  Lazy MrsMouthy.

1.  I always decorate the table for my boys on their birthdays.  I asked Kevin to add something to the birthday wishes this year.


I live with some regrets.

2.  Either Rocco’s head is on backwards or his shorts are—either way, this picture is confusing.


3.  Leo wanted some trail mix so I gave him a handful.  He spent about five minutes saying, “One for me…one for Mama.”  Can you guess whose pile is whose here?


4. Rocco kept asking for a box to keep his rock collection in and I kept saying, “Just a minute…I’ll find you one later.  So he found his own box.  Behold, Rocco’s rock collection:


5.  I got Leo a Lunchable the other day.  He made this sandwich:


And for his second sandwich:


I got so thirsty watching him eat the second one!

Pork and pinto bean soup
Parmesan broccoli
Maybe apple pie.
Maybe not.

Ultimate Minecraft Party!!

For those of you who don’t know Minecraft, picture our world only everything is formed out of neat little boxes and everyone is carrying some sort of ax or sword they have crafted on their own.  Plus add Creepers.

The invitations were easy to make—there are a ton of Minecraft printables on-line.


They had to be hand-delivered but fortunately pretty much all of Vincenzo’s friends live within a one-mile radius!

I set up for this party early in the day, knowing I wouldn’t have much time to photograph once the boys all arrived. I was right, too—this is the only picture I got of the food table. Imagine each plate heaped with food, plus a cake on one of the big boxes.


Kevin has started cutting me off on my party planning. We still had two hours before the party started, everything was set up and we were just hanging out, and I wanted to draw Creepers on all these balloons. He said no.


But he wasn’t able to stop me from making this…


…or a couple dozen Creeper and Skeleton plates to hang around the yard for the boys to shoot and whack!


Here’s how much I’ve changed in the past nine years: I’ve gone from the mom who didn’t let her son own any guns (which she referred to as “shooters”) and who, when her son did shoot her with sticks or fingers or whatever, pretended it was whipped cream or confetti coming out…to the mom who sends out an e-mail before the birthday party asking everyone to bring Nerf guns, saying, “The more guns the better!”

The boys loved shooting and whacking the bad guys for about five minutes, at which point they turned on each other.


In fact, throughout the party about every 15 minutes everyone would stop what they were doing to spontaneously shoot, hit, wrestle, and/or pummel each other.


When it got to be too much for any of them, they’d sit and quietly make Minecraft perler bead creations. It was the perfect thing for kids like Vincenzo, who are about a head shorter and 20 pounds lighter than the other guys—though the other guys got into it, too.


Some of them got really creative! I turned the creations into necklaces, pins, and key chains on request.


Ironically the only injury incurred during the party was perler bead related. (Half of the table crashed down onto one boy’s leg, taking his half hour’s worth of perler beading plus about 10,000 perler beads with it.)

Speaking of iron-ically, I have never spent so much time ironing during a birthday party. It felt good to be needed, since third grade boys really don’t have much use for mamas anymore.

The boys loved the food display, despite Kevin telling me 9-year-old boys don’t care about details like labels and cobblestone-covered boxes. They loved seeing what food each Minecraft icon was translated to. Some were obvious (melon, golden apples) and some were more creative (blackberries for coal, cheese cubes for gold).


I also put out a couple just-for-fun items from Minecraft:


(Everyone should know someone who owns a dried puffer fish, am I right?)

The table was super simple to set up and looked impressive.  The boys were obsessed with these grass mats!


After dinner they all popped their “TNT” poppers on Vincenzo.


Then it was back to playing Minecraft, perler beading, and bashing each other. The bashing-of-each-other reached a fever pitch around 8 so we put on a movie (again the perler beads came in handy, as not all the kids wanted to watch the movie). Afterwards we played a game I found on-line called DON’T EAT STEVE! Pure awesomeness.


And…the cake!


For favors I made TNT boxes, but it felt wrong to stuff the boxes with so many Twizzlers. It took an entire bag of Twizzles to fill up one box! I ended up putting two rows of Twizzlers in, then stuffed the back of it with silver-wrapped chocolate bars (to represent iron ore), candy pumpkins (to represent pumpkins, duh), and Kit Kats (more dynamite). I don’t know why that felt better, but it did.


And that was it!  Now this boy of mine is the big oh-nine!


Pot roast
Pasta with roasted vegetables and garlic
Rice Krispie Treats