Friday, October 31, 2014

Party Time

This year I volunteered to bake Halloween cupcakes for both Julia's and Evelyn's classes.  The mini cupcakes on the left are for Julia's class (egg- and dairy-free), and the vivid orange cupcakes on the right are for Evelyn's class.  Sugar, anyone?
 As one of the room parents for Julia's class, I helped organize the games and activities for the class party - everything is packed and ready to go.
 The bonus to helping out with Julia's class party is being there and seeing my little Sunshine.  First, the class played a few games and read some picture books.
 Then came the all-school costume parade.
 Finally, everyone got to eat some tasty treats back in the classroom.  All in all, everyone had a great time!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Carving 2014!

The Luster girls are ready to carve their pumpkins!
 They each had chosen ginormous pumpkins to carve, which gave them plenty of room to be creative.
 Julia did more gut-cleaning than last year.  It still grossed her out, but she didn't mind scooping out the innards as much.
 Evelyn, the old pro, got right in there with both hands to scoop out all the slime.
 Next came punching out the pattern.  I helped Evelyn choose a pattern that wasn't too intricate; last year, she got frustrated with her super-tricky design.
 Julia made up her own design, punching out the face as she went.
 Say cheese!  Julia cut out the smiling mouth!
 Evelyn was completely independent this year, doing all of the cutting on her own.
 Julia's finished pumpkin - she especially liked the eyelashes and the cheek circles.
Ta da!  Evelyn's ghostly graveyard!
 All lit up, both girls' pumpkins looked fantastic.  They will be very festive, sitting on our front porch tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Evelyn's Class Field Trip to Boston

Today Evelyn's 5th-grade class went on a field trip to Boston, to see the sites that contribute to the history of Massachusetts.  They walked ALL over town, seeing the State House . . .
 . . . an old cemetary . . .
 . . . Old City Hall . . .
 . . . the Old State House . . .
 . . . Paul Revere's house . . .
 . . . tons of city streets . . .
 . . . Paul Revere's statue (with the Old North Church in the background, on the left) . . .
 . . . and inside the Old North Church.  Evelyn has visited many of these places already, on our family trips into town, but it was still fun for her to learn new things from the field trip's tour guide.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sleeping Touchdown!

Was Julia dreaming about football tonight?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Pictures . . . A Few Days Early . . .

Sunset on Halloween (this Friday) will be 5:40.  Evelyn has ballet until 6:00 on Friday.  Today was sunny.  Neither girl had activities immediately after school.  Combine all four of those ideas, and that's why I took the girls' pictures in their Halloween costumes today.

Here are Julia and Evelyn with this year's inspiration - Evelyn's doll, Kit Kittredge, and Kit's beagle, Grace.  The costume idea stemmed from Evelyn wanting to use her birthday outfit again, and she managed to convince Julia to be a puppy dog.  Enjoy this year's Halloween costumes!

Rosie + Warm Laundry = Happy Cat

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Double Duty

On Wednesday of each week, the Nutcracker rehearsal schedule is posted online.  In other words, we don't know our exact weekend plans until cross-referencing with the rehearsal schedule.  This weekend's schedule had something new on it for Evelyn, something called "Opening Coda" and "Final Coda."  After thinking about it, Evelyn and I realized that she is one of the "sweets" that both welcome and say farewell to Clara and the Prince in Act II - which takes place in the Land of Sweets.  So now Evelyn has four parts in the Nutcracker - whew!

Anyway - what that meant for today was she had rehearsal at 2:30.  Julia had a soccer game at 2:30.  As an assistant soccer coach, I was Julia's chauffeur, while Troy took Evelyn to ballet.  Here they are, ready for their Sunday afternoon activities -

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bagel Date

Evelyn and I had an early start to the day.  She and I were signed up (Evelyn as part of her Girl Scout troop) to volunteer at a bake sale from 8:00 to 9:00 this morning.  *Yawn!*  Afterwards, we headed over to a bakery I had heard of but hadn't been to yet - Blue Moon Bagel Cafe.  Evelyn and I each got monstrous bagels and cream cheese for only $1 each.  While there, I also noticed lots of yummy things on their lunch menu.  We'll have to go back another day to try their soups and/or sandwiches.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Homework on the Sidelines

On Julia's two-fer-Tuesdays (when Julia has ballet at 4:00 and soccer at 5:30), Evelyn has the option to stay home during one of Julia's activities.  When Evelyn stays home, she can do her homework.  But today was parent- (and sibling-) watch day at ballet.  Since Evelyn wanted to watch Julia in her ballet class, that meant doing homework on the sidelines of Julia's soccer practice.  Only one more week of crazy Tuesdays (aka, only one more week of soccer practice).

Julia's Ballet

Julia is on the fence about ballet.  She loves dancing at home in her ballet shoes and leotard.  But when it comes to class, well, that's a different story.  We can tell she pays attention in class enough to learn the skills because she repeats them at home.  But her mind seems to wander during her hour-long class.

Today was parent-watch day, and Julia was totally focused.  I tried to get some silly pictures of her, but there just weren't any.  (I'm ornery, I know...)  So enjoy these cute pictures of our pink-clad ballerina!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Post-Game Hot Chocolate

Notice how Julia is wearing long sleeves and long pants at today's soccer game?  It was a chilly one.  How chilly?
 We needed cups of hot chocolate for our post-game treat!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Haunted Train Ride

One of our town's Halloween traditions is a haunted train ride.  As the evening progresses, the ride gets scarier.  Last year we went a little too late and it was a tad too scary for both girls - the October sunset has a way of sneaking up on me here.  So this year we made a point of getting in line before sunset.

The verdict?  Still too scary for Julia.  She was glad I recorded the ride because her head was buried in my shoulder for the entire three-minute ride.  But Evelyn said she wishes it was scarier.  Our compromise (next year) will be going a little later.  Julia will probably hide, and that way Evelyn can see the scarier things.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Leaves' Last Hurrah

This morning yielded a cloudy sunrise.  That made the last trees with leaves in our backyard area seem to be on fire.  The leaves were so vivid and bright - I have a feeling this will be the last of the fall color back there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October Birds

The other day, while sitting in the window room, I saw a hairy woodpecker on the suet feeder.  The camera was on the end table next to me, to I took a picture of the woodpecker.
 The next thing I knew, a little downy woodpecker landed on the suet feeder.  So I snapped his picture.
 And then, a red-bellied woodpecker landed on the suet feeder.  Three of our regular woodpeckers landed on the feeder within five minutes of each other, and I got some great shots of all of them.
 A few days later, I got this cardinal, perched in what the girls call the "waiting tree."  This is where birds wait before landing on their favorite feeder.
 The next day I saw a female goldfinch in the waiting tree.  If you look closely, you can see that she's losing her summer color, and the drab winter brown is creeping in.
 I also got this nuthatch as it hopped around the tree trunk.
 And today I saw a regular visitor - Julia's favorite bird, the Carolina wren . . .
 . . . and I also saw a new-to-us pair of birds - purple finches.  This was the first time I've seen these birds at one of our feeders.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

When we lived in Maryland, our trip to the pumpkin patch was an all-day ordeal, where we would stay for several hours, doing as many activities and games as possible.  Last year, our first year in Massachusetts, we found a smaller venue for our pumpkin patch experience...and we really liked it.  So we returned this year, which basically makes it a Luster tradition.

We went on a short hayride around the farm . . .
. . . where we stopped to pick out some small pumpkins.

We all found our sugar pumpkins!
 They have paint sitting out to decorate your pumpkin.
 And the girls really enjoyed getting creative with their pumpkin painting.
 The girls probably spent close to half an hour running through the hay maze in the basement of the barn.  We learned last year that we should bring our own flashlights, which we did this time.  (And that also explains why I don't have any pictures - it's too dark!)  The last thing we did was splurge on their homemade ice cream, chocolate of course.  See you next year, Tangerini's!