The pièce de résistance: Halloween

After all the hoopla BEFORE Halloween, we all sort of flamed out.

I asked Grace how important it was for her to go trick-or-treating and she said, “Meh.”

So instead…

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We went to town for sushi.

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Halloween sushi. It’s a thing. This is the Oh My God roll.

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Then it was off to the Hotel of Terror. I hadn’t been there since high school when a spook chased me out and three blocks down the street with a chainsaw.

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Still we managed to make a friend.

And start a new family tradition.


Haunted Trail: Scary Edition

The first Haunted Trail we did for Grace’s class a couple of years ago was pretty tame. The kids said it wasn’t scary. This year, we turned up the scary.


 Of course before we even got the trail there was lots and lots of prep.

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Thank God it didn’t rain.


Me, Grace and Grandpa Medley.


The entrance of the Haunted Trail.


First stop, Terminus.

Of course none of the kids got the genius of this.

The trough…

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and the BobBQ.

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I KNOW, right?


Your last warning.

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One of three graveyards.

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The skeleton ‘guts’ were mushrooms.

Yeah, I know skeletons don’t have guts, but it looked too cool.

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We walked the trail in the dark the night before to make sure everything worked correctly. This grim reaper scared the crap out of Belle and she growled at it.

This ghost and the witch coming up next are motion activated but needed an assist in the dark.


We had about a dozen masked spooky volunteers stationed throughout the trail to make sure things stayed… interesting.

The Cook family provided half of them.

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The Tunnel of Doom was super awesome. We had strobe lights inside, a cackling reaper that said, “Come closer. Come closer. Let me get a hand on you.”

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The kids had to squeeze out the end and my brother, Mike, was there to spook them when they did.


This animal burrow was the perfect spot for a strobe light and bones. We threw the light down the hole when it got dark. And no, I was NOT the one who stuck my hand in there and fished out the light when it was all over.


Speaking of hands… Aw yes, the bloody stump.Gotta have it.


Graveyard number three.

Grandpa Medley was dressed as Dracula and sat in the coffin. That coffin has a lot of miles on it. My dad had it when I was in college. No. I don’t know why or how he came by it. I can tell you he used to stuff a pair of overalls and close them in the coffin with the legs hanging out the end, pile the whole thing into our pickup and drive around town with it on Halloween.

It’s a legacy coffin.


Nearing the end.


Of course another reaper.


I like to call him Bob.


My dad sat at the very end of the trail and turned on the four wheeler lights to blind the revelers as a spook chased them with the leaf blower…which sounds EXACTLY like a chainsaw 😀

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For me, the scariest thing of all was the fake snake Grace planted outside the back door.

I about lost my mind. Violet at least made an attempt to save me.


A patch of pumpkins

Bryon planted our pumpkins really late. September 1. They never should have made it but they EXPLODED in a sea of green across the garden and basically overtook…EVERYTHING.

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We ended up with an amazing harvest.

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And after all these years, Bryon and Grace finally got their giant pumpkins.

Think how big they would have been if they’d had another month!


Preparing for scaring


We spent much of October preparing for our Haunted Trail.

We did it for the first time when Grace was in second grade. We skipped last year and decided to do it again this year for her fourth grade class.

Last time, the kids said it wasn’t scary.
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We fixed that.

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Grace was so excited when I brought this scary clown mask home she went to check Bryon’s schedule to make sure what time he was getting home.

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She hid in the bathtub so she could jump out and scare him.

Of course her giggling and squirming gave her away before she could even jump out.

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I bedazzled the inside of house.

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There might have been a few real cobwebs as well.

IMG_7752 (1024x768)Is it bad that I have more Halloween decorations than Christmas?

Birthday, Birds and Basketball

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Here it comes, the October super post. Oops. Guess it’s November. See how that happens. Anyway, grab an iced tea and sit back.


Grace celebrated her NINTH birthday in October. We have had some giganitic birthdays and some small birthdays. Last year we had the first ever haunted trail for her birthday/Halloween party with more than thirty kids plus parents. This year we took it down a notch and had a sleepover. Fear not kidlets, next year the Haunted Trail is back on the agenda and it’s going to be SCARY! Some of the kids complained because it was not scary.

Trust me. We can DO scary. Just. You. Wait.

Sorry, Marah, you may have to go through in daylight.

Not to say there weren’t a few scary moments during the birthday party. Like the lead photo above. Or this…

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Somebody LOVES him some sleepovers. Bryon always wants to sneak outside Grace’s bedroom window, stick this face against the glass and scare the crap out of them but I won’t let him. Maybe when they are teenagers. Or have already watched Salem’s Lot which is the very reason I can’t sleep with the blinds open.

As a former teacher, I know that free time is your enemy with a room or a houseful of kids, so I planned some activities.

I bought shirts for them all and they decorated them with Sharpies. This is a cool activity Grace learned at summer camp and we’ve used it several times since.

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They had some very creative results!

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I also bought little pumpkins and they each carved one.

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It was messy but they had fun. Grace’s molded in two days.

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Gotta love a vampire pumpkin.

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Of course they stayed up ridiculously late. They also slept upstairs in the playroom for the first time. Did I mention the playroom is DIRECTLY over our bedroom? Yeah, we heard every thump, bump and giggle. Which were many.

Nine is a pretty good age.

Grace got this chair and a few other things. IMG_4486 (768x1024)


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My hens are old and lazy. I’ve been getting one egg a day until recently. Now I get NO eggs a day. In August we tried incubating some eggs and ONE hatched out. You can read that post and see the chick’s birth here.

Then I bought it some friends. That post is here.

A few weeks ago, Bryon and Grace gathered up the new chicks for me and tossed them in with the old to get acquainted. They still aren’t exactly friends, but we haven’t lost any of them. I left them cooped up together for the first three days. The first night after it got dark, I went to count and make sure they were all back in the coop together.

Yep, twelve chickens. Just like I had hoped.

I shut the coop door and said goodnight.

About an hour later, Bryon hollered from the bathroom that I had a chicken squawking outside the window.

Erm, not I didn’t. I cooped them all up.

I went outside to investigate. Nothing. No squawking. No chicken.

I went back to the coop and counted again. Yep, twelve chickens, just like I… wait a minute. Where’s the little Buff Orphington? The one chick we HATCHED? Not there.

I have thirteen chickens.

We all three looked with flashlights for the little buff but no luck. I hoped it had roosted in a tree somewhere and would make it through the night, because there was nothing else to do. I wasn’t going to leave the coop door open for it and leave all of the rest of them in danger.

The next morning, the buff was trying to get into the old coop and was very happy to join it’s friends.

They’ve all made it back into the coop every night since.

I guess we both learned a lesson that night.


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Grace has become quite the little basketball player. A couple of the Niangua dads have been coaching them now for two years and their little team has really improved.

They even have REAL uniforms now which makes them much more intimidating than they really are.

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We told Grace we’d pay her a buck a basket. This last session of six week ball we paid out a total of five bucks. I know it will get more and more expensive but it seems to be a good motivator. I was never very good at sports. I’m glad she is and is interested. The good thing about playing sports in a small-town school is if you are on the team you WILL get to play. Every game.

We have a break until January (a short basketball camp in a couple of weeks) then it’s back at it.


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For Halloween this year we went on a Haunted Float with our friends Lynsey & Brayden. It was the first year for the canoe rental place to host the float so it had a bit to be desired. The Type A part of me had an entire list of suggested improvements for them but I resisted. Not. My. Baby.

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I had to repeat that to myself a few times.

On actual Halloween we all three dressed up and hit the good churches and neighborhoods. I made an unfortunate shoe choice so I waited in the car most of the night until it was time to go eat Chinese food.

Still, I looked good. We all did.

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IMG_4415 (1024x1024)Grace and I participated in the Niangua Red Run. I walked. Still I totally beat Grace and the chick with the stroller so WIN! Bryon had to work or he would have been there too. The run was a fundraiser for playground equipment. One boy in Grace’s class one the whole thing! He’s smokin’ fast!

We are NOT smokin’ fast. Or at least I am not smokin’ fast.

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This may be why.

Haunted Trail & Hay Ride 2012

This year we decided to have a blowout Halloween/Birthday Party for Grace for her big 8th birthday.

Last year after Halloween, I picked up a few creepy crawlies that might be fun to use decorating a part of our wooded trail. Then things went crazy. I am not even going to add up all the receipts but suffice it to say it ended up being one expensive party.

We invited her entire class (twenty one kids) and about a dozen other kids plus their families. I’m pretty sure almost all of them showed up. At one point I counted twenty-eight kids…some may have been running through the woods.

Notice the grave For You!

I made fifty-five mummy cupcakes and only had about ten left.

Now keep in mind, these were eight year olds so we kept the overall creepiness of the trail toned down, but Bryon came up with some awesome ideas.

No bones about it…
Yep, that’s a real casket.
The end of the road.
Last man hanging.
Medusa and a Zombie Hunter

Many of the kids screamed their heads off while others complained about how NOT SCARY it was.

Huggler #1 & Grandpa
We were safe, ’cause there were lots of ninjas.


Yep, another ninja.
Costume Contest Winners.

Whatever my little complainers…wait until next year…Bwahahahaha.