Happy Halloween! - Painted Pumpkins

11:51 AM

Happy Halloween! Today is the day to put on costumes and get your parent[s] candy, kiddos! I am a horrible procrastinator, so just yesterday, we painted our pumpkins. I choose to paint them for the time being because the kiddo can be completely involved and I don’t have to worry about any injuries. I’m mostly worried about myself, the things I can do with a sharp object in my hand.
Izzy had been telling me again and again about how he wanted a white robot pumpkin. I get where this comes from, he watches the videos on youtube called, “Shawn the Train” and there are a couple of episodes he has mooshed together. One where a robot paints everything white because that is its favorite color and another where Shawn makes pumpkin faces out of shapes. Somehow these have become robot pumpkins, try to keep up with a three year old imagination, okay?
thought I had enough white paint for this project, but one bottle turned out to be all dried up, the second was half full and the third was metallic, metallic does not coat well. But we worked with what we had because these puppies are getting done a day before halloween. And then November 1st I will gut them and save their innards for pie… just don’t tell the kiddo.
His pumpkin is an artistic rendition of a robot, I drew the face on, he painted and I came back by and did the outline. Mine is a ghost! I saw ghost pumpkins in a magazine and had my mind set on it from there out. My husband asked if I realized there are white pumpkins out there, clearly he doesn’t get that half the fun it trying to squeeze out enough white paint to cover the orange. Why on earth would we want to do things the easy way?
My little artist at work, this kid clearly has my creative bug.
I can’t help but think I see a T-1000 in there. Sleeping with one eye open tonight.
And my ghost pumpkin, you can see where I didn’t have enough white paint for mine. We painted the T-1000 first, so he got all the white paint and the ghost had to manage with what was left.
He’s a happy little painter, anytime he can create.

Fried Potatoes and Sausage

11:48 AM

Well what do you know, I actually have a recipe of my own. I mean, I am sure I am not the only one that makes this but I’ve never used a recipe. This is straight and simple comfort food right here with starchy potatoes and fatty polish sausage. I think my blog leads people to believe I never eat healthy, I do, really I do! But why blog about my baked chicken and asparagus or steamed sweet potato? That’s my not so exciting healthy food most days [and the greek yogurt ranch I always mention] and these meals are few and far between. See, we don’t eat out very often, less than a handful of times a month. We eat so healthy nowadays that eating out will make me sick sometimes, then I spend the night in agony regretting whatever greasy food I ate. So in place of having pizza once or twice a week I throw in something yummy like this or chicken noodle soup. Boy howdy do I need to make the Pioneer Woman’s recipe again, maybe for Halloween since it’s suppose to snow.
This meal in particular my husband likes to request, probably because he knows I’ll get the sausage in bulk so there is sausage to be consumed later. He’s worked his butt off thinning down, building muscle and being healthy, mmmm, muscles. But just like me and my sweet tooth, he must oblige his fatty meats tooth every once in awhile. It’s as simple as boiling potatoes and sautéing veggies with meat. I lightly fry the potatoes before adding the rest and it gives them a light crunch and extra flavor. My sausage varies, sometimes I buy smoked sausage but my husband requested Schwabs [a local company] Polish sausage this time around. On a side note, Schwabs makes amazing hot links, I can devour them off the grill… it’s bad, real bad. I’m a total carnivore but I think my body is better suited for vegetarianism, it’s my internal struggle. 
This is one of the great meals that even my son will eat, he ruins it with a little ketchup but what can I do? I’m working on abolishing ketchup from my house. Right now, while it’s getting cold, this is easy to cook up for a warm and hearty meal. I keep my seasoning basic, salt and pepper, but you could certainly be creative to spice it up a bit. For this meal in particular I only added carrots and celery, I would have added corn if I had any fresh. You could improvise with whatever you have on hand, onions, bell pepper, jalapenos, you name it. Heck, I’d use purple potatoes if my husband didn’t act they were sacred. I’m not allowed to mash or fry purple potatoes, it ruins them, precious.
Be sure to read the entire recipe before cooking, just always do that, it will save you some pain. Recipe after the jump! 

Ugh, ketchup! [And then that squishy chin, oh my gosh, come here and let momma kiss you!]

Fried Sausage and Potatoes
5 medium size russet potatoes, skinned and sliced
5 Schwabs Polish Sausage or 1 Large Eckrich Smoked Sausage [Or brand of your choice]
4 Carrots, Diced
2 Celery Stalks, Diced
1/4 Cup Oil, Vegetable or Canola is fine, I always use olive because I have it stocked
Any Extra Veggies You Desire
Salt and Pepper 
Put sliced potatoes in a large pot, add enough water to cover them and bring to a boil on the stove top. When water begins to boil, set your timer for 5 minutes, you want the potatoes tender but not so soft for mashing. After five minutes, check tenderness with a fork, boil another minute if needed. Strain potatoes and let them set in the strainer for 5 minutes to dry.
While potatoes are boiling put meat and veggies into a frying pan. I don’t add any oil because the meat puts out enough of it’s own naturally, but if you feel the need to, add a teaspoon of oil. Keep it light, you don’t want to make this any greasier than necessary. Cook meat and veggies for 8-10 minutes, until carrots are slightly tender but not mooshy. The meat will blacken and crisp where it fries in the pan, this is desirable to me for a little crunch and flavor. If only want the meat warmed, add the vegetables to the pan without the meat and cook for five minutes in a teaspoon of oil. Add the meat and cook until heated through, at least five minutes. Turn off and set aside.
Add the oil to a large frying pan and heat. You can test the heat by tossing a tiny piece of potato in the pan, if it sizzles it’s ready. Add your potatoes to the hot oil and let it fry, turning with a large spatula about every minute to allow potatoes to crisp. I usually fry mine for about 5 minutes, it’s up to you how long you fry and how crunchy you want them. Alternatively, you don’t have to fry the potatoes at all, you could completely skip this step if you don’t want them fried. Salt and pepper potatoes to taste.
Once potatoes are done, at meat and veggies to pan. Stir until it is well mixed and serve warm.
I suggest a side of bread and butter for added fat… I mean comfort, it’s all about comfort. You may even top it with ketchup if you so desire to ruin it like my adorable son does. Eat it in front of a warm fire place with a cup of cider while you watch snow fall or at the table with the family. 

2013 Halloween Costume - Link, The Legend of Zelda

11:43 AM

Happy ALMOST Halloween! It’s Tuesday and it’s starting to look like the rain may rush through Wednesday and give us a clear day for Halloween. Watching the weather has been a nightmare, but at least they aren’t saying snow anymore!
I thought this year, for sure, my son would want to choose his costume. But as the time approached, I kept asking and he wasn’t giving a solid opinion. So I made the call, probably my last time to ever do it, and made him Link. Who doesn’t love classic Nintendo? And yes, he has already been called Zelda once. 
He loves the costume, he only has a small idea of who Link is from watching my play Skyward Sword but he likes the attention he gets from me and the few people that do recognize him. I am actually shocked this year that less people know Link than they did Doctor Who! My little geek heart aches, just a little.
I had to make his costume because obviously no one carries a Link costume. I studied a few different versions of Link from concept art and the figurines my brother loaned me. He’s basically a combination of Skyward Sword and Windwaker Link; Windwaker being one of my absolute favorites. Overall, it turned out better than I expected, the gauntlets are perfect and the little slip over boots help pull it together. I wanted to sculpt my own sword, but sadly I did not have time for that. Yes, I am an over achieving geek mom.
I skipped the elf ears, they were a bit pricey for a kid that may choose no to wear them at all. I did decide to spray color his hair yellow and that’s one of his favorite parts. Plus, you can hardly see it in most of his photos but he has a heart container hanging from his belt! 
My only regret is that I didn’t have time to make myself a Zelda costume.

We only ended up going out for two events this weekend and it was raining for one so I didn’t get as many photos as I wanted. I’ll make up for it this week with Halloween and a photo shoot, this costume needs a photo shoot.

Halloween Costume Review: Doctor Who in 2012

11:36 AM

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this on my blog, but I am a GEEK. I’m not sure if that’s sarcasm or not, I am really unsure if this has come up. I grew up, in a small town with one older brother. We are 16 months apart and we were each others playmate most of our childhood. So, of course, I did whatever my brother wanted to do which normally meant action figures, sword fights and video games. And Star Wars. Lots of Star Wars.
My geekiness only grew as I got older and I found my own things to fall in love with from Mecha Anime to Final Fantasy video games. My brother and I bought soundtracks and collectables, we are really geeky. Last year for Christmas he bought me a Commander Shepherd [Mass Effect 3] and I love it. She’s boxed for safe keeping right now, since I have little hands in the house. But you get the idea, I’m a geek but it also helps me be a little more relatable with my son. I get what is appealing to a little boy and more than once I have pretended to be a robot and have been caught in a nerf shootout.
My love for Doctor Who didn’t come from my childhood, I had no idea what the show was until the new series released. And, if you’re a fan, you know how low budget season one was. I wasn’t an instant fan when the Ood came out to talk to Rose and the Doctor [Number 9]. My husband wanted to watch it for a very long time due to his friend’s recommendation but I remained skeptical until number 10 arrived. HELLO David Tennant. You never forget your first Doctor. I’ve since rewatched the entire new series several times and even a few of the older episodes Netflix has. 
So now that I’ve explained my geek history, somewhat, I can explain the costume… finally. By this time the series had moved onto the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, and he’s the bowtie Doctor! My son already had the shaggy hair and at 2 wasn’t really giving me an opinion on what he wanted. I took the lead and began shopping for what we needed. I LOVE this costume, the bowtie, the suspenders, the fez! It’s perfect! I skipped on the sonic screwdriver because I didn’t want to buy one and lose it. The Buzz Lightyear flashlight worked well enough, he didn’t know what he was missing. He would now, he watches it now and he’s might fond of the Daleks.
My real joy came when we went out to a local halloween event, a lot of people didn’t get it. But the people who did, enjoyed him that much more! Finding another Whovian in the wild is always wonderful.
I didn’t do a photoshoot this year but I took pictures while we were at an event of him collecting candy and running around. It makes my geek heart sing!

He’s kind of got a Matt Smith look to him, it really works! I’m still in love with this a year later.
We took him out in his new costume this weekend for a few events, I’m about to go through photos and hopefully I have a few good ones! 2013 is the last one, for now, see you tomorrow! 

Halloween Costume Review: Batman in 2011

11:30 AM

I disgust my husband and many of our geeky friends because I turned my son into a Batman fan… at least according to his last instagram video where he chose Batman over Superman. It’s an issue in our house, I am a Batman fan and my husband is a Superman fan. I have nothing against Superman, I grew up watching the animated series’ back to back every morning before school, I just liked Batman more. I think Cat Woman has something to do with it, meow.
So for 2012 I picked Batman! I was going to buy the costume, but as fast as my kid grows, it seemed like a $40 waste. It wouldn’t even last long for dress up, I swear. And we weren’t planning on formally trick or treating that year, so why bother with the fancy stuff? I went cheap and paired a batman tee with black sweats because it was going to be cold. Made the cape and mask and just tied a yellow belt on him. He was 1 year old, he’ll never be able to tell me how cheesy that was. I get it but I was going for inexpensive at his age! I’m investing more in costumes now days.
I did an entire photo shoot for my friends and all their kids, the only problem being, mine likes to play. I got one blurry photo of him as Batman and while I planned to take more later since he’s my kid, it never happened. Boo. Or at least I only have one blurry photo on my hard drive and I assume that must be the best one if I saved it. I’m reasoning with myself here and myself agrees.
So without further ado, my adorable Batman! [Play the classic Batman theme in your head!]
I cannot for the life of me figure out why this keeps uploading to horrible. Sorry folks.
Yes, I made that mask. It actually fit well when he wasn’t fussing with it. Parenting pro tip: Don’t try to put a mask on a one year old. Oh, who am I kidding, I’m not a pro.
We’ll be out doing things in costume this weekend [well, he will, I’ll be going as a Mom and my husband doesn’t “do” costumes], if you follow me on Instagram you can catch this years costume before it’s posted here. Username:Pandabeara or you can click the instagram logo on the sidebar to view my stream in your browser.
2012 is next and one of my favorites, forever. See you Monday!

Halloween Costume Review: Dinosaur in 2010

11:23 AM

This week I finally finished my guy’s costume for the year, it’s certainly the best one I have made so far! This is our fourth Halloween, which means we have had four costumes and I haven’t had this blog THAT long. I suppose it was still a photography blog back then, but I’ve moved it a few times so there are no archives to be found. So let’s review what my little handsome guy has been
October 2010 was my son’s first Halloween, he was 10 months old and still adorable and squishy. I’m mean he’s still pretty cute now, but his attitude is progressing to dramatic teenage way too early. And he’s not squishy, he’s tall and thin with less than two feet to go to outgrow me. I’m the house hobbit, can’t help my height.
Finding photos from past Halloween’s is a bit of a challenge for me since I don’t want to dig through my external hard drive. So I went to my facebook and I have ONE photo from this Halloween. He was a dinosaur! I love dinosaurs, have ever since I was young and continued to after Jurassic Park scared the daylights out of me. I wanted to do his nursery in dinosaurs but couldn’t find anything at the time [the next year they were everywhere] and didn’t realize I had the skills to sew it all. So I chose a dinosaur costume for that year!
The look on his face says that he clearly loved the costume. The funny part is you can see his little feet hanging out the bottom. That is an 18 month costume and he was already too tall for it by time Halloween came around. Lesson learned, don’t buy the tall kid’s costume too far in advance. This halloween was certainly the best because I wasn’t letting him have any candy at this age. Yes, I shamelessly used my child to get free candy. 
You’ll have to excuse the poor quality, I did say I ripped this thing from facebook. [And I was still learning how to work my camera back in those days. The exposure is so bad on the green!]
I present, CUTE SQUISHY DINOSAUR! Enjoy the cuteness.

Beautiful October

11:20 AM

We had a beautiful, warm day last week before the cool air moved in, I think it was in the low 70s, but now its a bit cold out there. We’re in OK, 50s is freezing to most folks. It’s not cold enough for me and I often day dream of running away and living in Idaho or Oregon near my husband’s family. With it being October, everyone is focused on fall and I am focused on Halloween! Why am I focused on it? Oh, because I am one of those over achiever mom’s you read the passive aggressive posts on facebook about. Yes, I make things for my kid, I photograph things and I take pride in my ability to make things. So next time you see that “SomeECard” trashing the mom that sews her kid’s halloween costume, I’ll be over here bouncing up and down with my hand raised, “That’s me! Me! Me! Me!”
Ah, so there is my workspace! I take over the entire kitchen table when I sew, it’s actually much worse when I am quilting. Notice the double dose of caffeine over there? Big panda coffee cup and some high fructose corn syrup, must get my juices running. What am I making? Well, it’s kind of a secret until I get it done… I mean, I’ve told friends but most people don’t know what I’m making… sigh, curse of being a geeky mom. 
Oh, here is my extent of fall decorating… Which only happened due to the incident with the sunflowers. Which was totally sweet when my heart stopped pounding. 
Back to the work space. Notice all the cords under the table hooking up everything, I keep it behind the table because it is such a disaster. And small feet running about will surely try their hardest to take everything down. My dog killed my last sewing machine, I don’t want to see this one come crashing down if someone trips. Safety first, I suppose.
I’m pretty proud of this costume, I’ve made it all on my own. I used a few statues my brother loaned me to sketch out my design and from there created the pattern from scratch. I’ve sewn enough in my lifetime to know some tricks to make this look nice, so much clipping. I’m really excited to get this one all put together! 
Ah, entertainment is also important. We all have our guilty pleasures, right? Okay, so don’t judge me, I have to keep up with America’s Next Top Model. I’m like half a season or more behind so I have plenty of entertainment to keep me busy. I love seeing the end results of all the photographs by a variety of professionals. And the clothes. I’m rooting for Phil because he’s the bearded beauty of the bunch, but I have huge doubts about him making it to the end. If he’s already been kicked off, don’t spoil it for me!
While I am busy sewing, my son is pretty content to play and entertain himself. I’m lucky I have such a happy kid! He asked if could go outside and play with bubbles and with it being so pretty outside, I couldn’t say no. But once he got started, all I could see where the photos I could take. Kids really do grow up fast, he’s coming up on his fourth birthday but I still remember the day he joined us like it was last week. I decided it was time for me to take a break and spend a little time with him outside in the sunshine.
I mentioned buying this bubble blower on instagram earlier this week and I still vouch, best $3 ever spent. I refused to spend $12 on it the whole summer but when the little guy found it on clearance, I caved. I regret not caving sooner! It blows tons of bubbles and entertains him to no end… until it runs out of bubbles.
Oh how I love that messy bed head of his! It’s starting to look like a trend around here. I swear, I brush his hair! Just not on lazy days.
And, of course, he’s lovingly loyal to his mom. So when I ask him to give me a few good photos, he’s stops and obliges me. And I melt!
Oh and let me explain the “dirt” on his face. You can’t see it but he’s wearing socks, with mustaches on them and a t-shirt with a mustache on it. So he asked me to draw one on him! He doesn’t have a dirty face, just a fading mustache.
This is just another day for the two of us, but now I should stop blogging and get back to finishing his costume. If we want to do anything this weekend, it must be done!
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