Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween To One And All!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Family Alternatives To Halloween

There are a variety of reasons why some families might choose to not participate in a traditional Halloween. This doesn’t mean you have to turn out your lights and sit with your children behind closed doors trying to ignore the trick or treaters.
Your children won’t like that.

Why not start a new family tradition for October 31st? You could have a family meeting and make your plans for your special evening. Choose some fun and creative things to do – maybe a board game marathon? Give everyone in the family a special responsibility – each of you can do something to plan, prepare and for your evening. Family times are too rare. Bake some cookies and make some popcorn. Have some family fun.!

One family goes Mystery Bowling as one alternative to Halloween. The bowling alley can be quite empty on Halloween. You can create your own game of Mystery Bowling. The family mentioned on the website,, has bowled some frames backward, some frames with a bowler's weak hand (left for a right handed bowler and vice versa), and some frames tiptoeing to throw the ball while holding the ball above their heads like Fred Flintstone. You might require that each bowler only have to knock down three or four pins in frame one, but six in frame two, and at least eight in frame three. Any bowler who does not meet the requirement could have to wear something silly in the following frame—a dunce hat, a big curly green wig. A bowler who does meet his scoring requirement could earn a piece of candy or a bag of chips.

As another alternative to Halloween, you might create your own family film festival—making your own movie. You might make a science fiction movie, a western, or whatever you can dream up. Motorcycle helmets could be astronaut equipment, or the equipment of space aliens. If you want to make a pretend western, you could dress up your dog or cat like a horse. Give every member of the family a part and offer advice and assistance. If you have your own camcorder and can actually see your movie when you are done, the activity could be even more fun. If you don't have one, you can maybe borrow one from a friend or your library. You might even want to show the movie to friends and relatives.

Design a “Noah’s Ark Party.” Every creature in the animal kingdom is available as a potential costume. You can purchase inexpensive fleece material in the color of the animal for the costume. Use fabric paint to add details. Instead of a mask, use face paint to draw a mouth, eyebrows, and other animal features.

If you do want to let your children go out to trick or treat on Halloween, there are still things you can do to make the holiday different and more in keeping with your family’s values. Have your children dress in acceptable costumes, like characters from history, sailors, cowboys, ballerinas, princesses, doctors, and firefighters. Accompany your children and go only to the houses of friends and neighbors. You could also find out what churches in the area are having harvest parties and take your children there instead.

Plan a progressive Halloween party in the safety of some of your friends’ homes. Arrange for children to eat a meal at the first home, play games at the next, and eat dessert at the last stop. Everyone joins in the work and expense.

Other fun alternatives to Halloween might be to take your children on a hayride, bob for apples, or even consider a nature hike with your family. First, choose a local park or trail that your family would enjoy exploring. Then, embark on a scavenger hunt for the most beautiful leaf, the smoothest rock, the most interesting stick, the perfect pine cone, or any other desirable treasures you might think of. Bring a paper bag or cloth sack for each family member to put his collectibles in. If you have a digital or instant camera, you can photograph things that can't be taken home with you, such as the prettiest view or the ugliest bug. If you have more time to spare, pack a picnic to take with you on the walk or bring along a species guide for birds or plants to help identify your findings. When you return home, have everyone share their entries for each category and vote on the winners. You'll be amazed at what each person has found. It might even be fun to display the winners for a period of time as a reminder of your hike.

Whatever your family’s beliefs, customs or traditions – Fun is still Fun and there is more than enough fun for everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Starting To Panic? Here Are A Dozen (Or More) Simple Last Minute Costume Ideas

If you are looking for a fast and simple costume for trick-or-treating or for a Halloween party, go over to and visit Sheri Osborne at Family Crafts! She has several last minute costume ideas you can make with items you have laying around your house. She's included a variety of costume ideas, along with a quick listing of the main supplies needed to make that costume. Click on each costume title to find directions for making that costume.
You'll find ideas like a Basket Full of Laundry costume, a Biker Costume, Autumn Leaves and a whole lot more!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Dangling Spider And Grinning Jack -o-Lantern From

A couple of fun decorations to work on over the weekend from Highlights Kids.

Dangling Spider
Give your family and friends a fright with a spider made from felt and a film canister. Directions Here

Grinning Jack-o'-Lantern
You'll be grinning when making a jack-o'-lantern from a balloon, glue, and yarn.
Directions Here.

For some extra fun - how about this Monster Puppet?

This silly monster is easy to make with a shoebox, construction paper and some imagination. Directions Here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Thirteen Halloween Treats That Aren't Candy!

I'm not anti-candy for children, it's just that

1. it's not good for their teeth (or their tummies)
2. they will already be getting too much candy at their other Trick or Treat visits
3. it's not a very imaginative treat.

Here's my Thursday Thirteen for this week -

Thirteen Alternatives To Halloween Candy Treats

1. shiny, new pennies - three for good luck.
You can go to the bank and ask them for two or three rolls of new pennies.

Visit your local dollar store for a bonanza of inexpensive treats -

2. temporary tattoos
3. stickers
4. glow sticks
5. pencils, pencil toppers
6. party favors of all kinds
7. sidewalk chalk
8. snack crackers
9. juice boxes
10. toy insects - spiders, flies, snakes
(yes, I know snakes are not insects. Technically, neither are spiders. Don't email me.)
11. whistles
12. microwave popcorn
13. a new toothbrush

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Check Out The Halloween Ideas From Woman's Day Magazine!

This month's newsletter from Woman's Day Magazine is packed with Halloween Fun for kids and grandkids.
They have

7 Super-Easy 1-Hour Costumes
Last-minute disguises for kids, including a pirate, a hunchback and more!

15 Print-and-Color Halloween Masks
From butterflies to pandas to pirates, hit Trick-or-Treat Street with an easy-to-make DIY mask.

20 Halloween Crafts
Toast the ghosts of the season with these spooktacular decorations.

There's plenty here to keep you and the kids busy right up to Halloween night!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Great Recycled Craft - Make A Handbag From Plastic Bread Bags!

This weeks edition of Make it From Scratch is up and running over at And Miles to Go Before We Sleep. Just like every other week, there are a lot of recipes and ideas being shared. I especially enjoyed this one from Cindy at My Recycled Bags. This project is a fun one for older children (and grammies!), while providing another opportunity to discuss the importance of recycling. Cindy says "I saved about 30 or more bags to make this multi-colored handbag. It’s really durable and will definitely be a conversation piece when you use it."
It's a beautiful bag, Cindy.
Go on over to My Recycled Bags where you'll find the full instructions for making a bag of your own. Then start saving those bread bags!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Prisms And Rainbows - Another Story In Pictures

We hung a prism in the window and spent the morning chasing rainbows.

Want to know an easy way to remember the order of the colors of the rainbow?
Remember this man's name : Roy G. Biv


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday - Rain, Glitter And Ghosts

A rainy day - a great day to work on some Halloween projects. We painted and glittered a tiny pumpkin, then decided to make handprint and foot print ghosts. Very Spooky! And fun. And easy.
I painted the bottom of Maya's foot white and she painted the bottom of Grammy's foot white. We both stepped onto a piece of black paper, then did the same with the palms of our hands.
I was prepared with a container of wet wipes to remove the paint from our hands and feet on the spot - paint footprints would be Most Unfortunate on the carpet.
We waited for the paint to dry, added eyes with a black sharpie marker and painted all over the place with silver glitter glue.
Splendidly Spooktacular!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Halloween Page

The Halloween Pages are up and running on my website - COPD and So Much More.
You'll find a page of Great Halloween Links; pictures of Jack-o'-Lanterns and Dogs in their Halloween garb will entertain the children, grandparents might be interested in our trip to the Voodoo Temple in New Orleans. You'll find other articles on the Halloween pages too and while you're on the site, drop by the Grandparent Pages to see what you may have missed on your last visit there.
After you stop by for a visit, please email me or leave a comment and let me know. I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween And More At Thrifty

I found a great new site this morning - Thrifty Fun! I stumbled onto their Halloween Page with it's Frugal Costume Ideas, lots of crafts, and even some ideas for Halloween Alternatives for families who don't celebrate Halloween.
From there I discovered that the site is really a community - a site where regular folks can share their knowledge and ideas.
There are also free newsletters to sign up for - if you're like me, your email box is already bursting with all the great newsletters out there - but there is always room for a few more!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Make It From Scratch - Autumn

Check out the 35th edition of the Make It From Scratch blog carnival at Nini Makes.
Lots of great recipes, a really cute scarecrow template (Grammy and Maya will be working on that this afternoon!), a tinker bell costume - a long list of fun ideas. Of course, Maya's pumpkin is there too!

Monday, October 15, 2007

This is it - Blog Action Day!

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.
While we are all global citizens, the smallest of us - our very young children - live primarily in small environments - our homes. It is vitally important to them that we keep their home environments as free from damaging pollutants as we can.
We can All keep our homes free of ETS - Environmental Tobacco Smoke.
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is the mixture of smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and smoke exhaled by the smoker. It is a complex mixture of over 4,000 compounds, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals and many of which are strong irritants. ETS is often referred to as "secondhand smoke" and exposure to ETS is often called "passive smoking."

Health Effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke
In 1992, EPA completed a major assessment of the respiratory health risks of ETS (Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders EPA/600/6-90/006F). The report concludes that exposure to ETS is responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in nonsmoking adults and impairs the respiratory health of hundreds of thousands of children.

Infants and young children whose parents smoke in their presence are at increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections (pneumonia and bronchitis) and are more likely to have symptoms of respiratory irritation like cough, excess phlegm, and wheeze. EPA estimates that passive smoking annually causes between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year. These children may also have a build-up of fluid in the middle ear, which can lead to ear infections. Older children who have been exposed to secondhand smoke may have slightly reduced lung function.

Asthmatic children are especially at risk. EPA estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the number of episodes and severity of symptoms in hundreds of thousands of asthmatic children, and may cause thousands of non-asthmatic children to develop the disease each year. EPA estimates that between 200,000 and 1,000,000 asthmatic children have their condition made worse by exposure to secondhand smoke each year. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes eye, nose, and throat irritation. It may affect the cardiovascular system and some studies have linked exposure to secondhand smoke with the onset of chest pain. For publications about ETS, go to Smoke Free Homes web site, the IAQ Publications page.

Reducing Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke
Don't smoke at home or permit others to do so. Ask smokers to smoke outdoors.
The 1986 Surgeon General's report concluded that physical separation of smokers and nonsmokers in a common air space, such as different rooms within the same house, may reduce - but will not eliminate - non-smokers' exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

If smoking indoors cannot be avoided, increase ventilation in the area where smoking takes place.

Open windows or use exhaust fans. Ventilation, a common method of reducing exposure to indoor air pollutants, also will reduce but not eliminate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Because smoking produces such large amounts of pollutants, natural or mechanical ventilation techniques do not remove them from the air in your home as quickly as they build up. In addition, the large increases in ventilation it takes to significantly reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke can also increase energy costs substantially. Consequently, the most effective way to reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in the home is to eliminate smoking there.

Do not smoke if children are present, particularly infants and toddlers.

Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of passive smoking. Do not allow baby-sitters or others who work in your home to smoke indoors. Discourage others from smoking around children. Find out about the smoking policies of the day care center providers, schools, and other care givers for your children. The policy should protect children from exposure to ETS.

Why not go that extra step and take The Smoke Free Home Pledge?
It's easy. Here's how:

1. Go to the Pledge Page and read helpful information on making your home and car smoke-free.

2. Simply enter your five digit zip code and push the submit button. (Your pledge is completely anonymous).

3. You're done! You can even get your own Smoke-free Home Pledge Certificate by double-clicking on the certificate. Proudly display this to let your children, family and visitors know you have taken an important step to keep your home and car smoke-free.

Choose not to smoke in your home or car.

Choose never to smoke around young children.

to be a hero!

Remember: It's not enough to move to another room, open a window, turn on a fan, blow smoke away, or use air fresheners or candles.

Keeping your home and car smoke-free may not always be easy, but it is something you can do to protect children's health.

Next Steps

Talk to your family and visitors about the health benefits of a smoke-free home and car. Sign and display your certificate

If someone must smoke, ask that person to do so outside. Be understanding, but let people know that tobacco smoke affects everyone, especially small children.

Make sure that all places your children spend time are smoke-free.

Remember that secondhand smoke can trigger asthma attacks. If your child has asthma, talk to your doctor about how to manage asthma triggers in your home.

If you want to quit smoking, talk to your doctor or call the American Cancer Society's Quitline: 1-877-YES-QUIT (937-7848).

You also order the Smoke-free Home Kit which includes the following Smoke-free Zone awards:

*picture frame magnet to display your favorite photos - perfect for the kitchen

*beverage coasters for family and friends to use around the home

*window decal for the home or car

To order your Smoke-free Home Kit [EPA 402-K-04-001], please call the IAQ Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-438-4318.

Additional information on secondhand smoke is available at

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Story In Pictures - Maya Carves Her Halloween Pumpkin

Maya's third Halloween, Maya's third Halloween pumpkin - this is the first Halloween that Maya has been able to carve "my byself". (okay - Grammy did help a little, but it is the first year Maya has been able to use the pumpkin carving tool )
Maya's Pumpkin...

This post is my (and Maya's) entry to this week's Make It From Scratch blog carnival.
The full carnival will be posted on Tuesday, October 16 at Nini Makes. Be sure to stop by and read all of the entries - there are always some great ideas being shared.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's That Time - Yearly Flu Vaccination Is Recommended for All Kids Aged 6 Months to 5 Years

If you have children 6 months to 5 years old, they're due for their yearly flu vaccination, and new research shows that those flu vaccines may mean fewer trips to the doctor's office.

The CDC recommends yearly flu vaccinations for children who are 6 months to 5 years old. It's just about time to make that appointment, since the CDC says October and November are the best months to get vaccinated (though you can still get vaccinated in December or later).

Last year's flu vaccination won't do. Experts make a new flu vaccine every year, based on the flu strains they expect to be most common in the upcoming flu season.

A new study shows that if half of the 18 million children in the U.S. who are 6 months to 5 years old got a flu vaccine, the number of children in that age range hospitalized for flu during that flu season would drop by about 2,250 kids and up to 650,000 fewer children would see doctors for flu.

A more effective vaccine would further cut hospitalizations and doctor visits, write Elizabeth Lewis, MD, and colleagues in the journal Pediatrics.

Lewis worked on the study while with Vanderbilt University's medical school. She now works in the pediatrics department of MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston.

She points out that vaccinating children against flu may also benefit people who spend time with kids.

"I'd advise parents to have their children vaccinated to protect their own health, the health of grandparents and other family members, and the health of other children they are around," Lewis says in a news release.
Read Complete Article At WebMd

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ten Weeks of Fun Fall Activities to Enjoy With Your Kids

Here's a great offer from Jennifer Wolf, Your Guide to Single Parents at

She has added a new (free!) E-course to her site called "Ten Weeks of Fun Fall Activities."

You can either sign up to receive a different fall activity in your E-mail each week, or read through the list of suggestions online. The idea is to plan one weekly outing or activity with your kids throughout the fall season.

Related: Free, Printable Pumpkin Carving Templates

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Visit To A Lighthouse

Here we are, home again, after a fine fall weekend away. I think the highlight of the trip for me was the tour of the lighthouse on point of Stonington. I'm very happy (and a bit proud) that I followed through with my impulse to climb all the way to the top of the lighthouse.

The stairs spiraled up a stone tower - charming and Rapunzel-like. The stairs were stone too, it all felt very safe, very solid, very charming. I did not anticipate the metal ladder leading to the platform at the very top.
not so much charm there.
After a few minutes considering this development, and after watching Grandfather disappear into the opening above my head, I finished the climb.

A Splendid Adventure.
If you have the opportunity to visit a lighthouse with (or without) your children, seize it.
If you aren't anywhere near the shore or a lighthouse, here's a link to the website of the Ponce De Leon Light Station on the coast of Florida. They have a fabulous virtual tour that includes the tower, the keeper's dwelling, even the ship's store.
Be sure to also check out their kids' pages for some coloring, history and a story of life in a lighhouse.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Columbus Day Weekend

Grandmother Wren is taking an extended weekend break and heading for the ocean - Hooray!
I won't be here again until next Wednesday - Miss Maya has promised to take very good care of Sir William the Beagle and Annie, our guinea pig while I'm away.
To keep everyone busy here's a link to DLTK'S Columbus Day Crafts For Kids.

Have a great weekend!
See you next week!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Maya's Daddy!

Some may own castles on the banks of the Rhine,
Or dine with an orchestra each evening at nine,
But richer than I, they will never be,
For I had a daddy who spent time with me

Happy Birthday To A Super Dad!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

October Fun From

The October Newsletter from was in my email box this morning and it's a good one!
Here are a few samples :
They have two Fall games - Build A Scarecrow and John's Leafy Puzzler. Hidden Pictures with a Fall theme - Acorn Collectors and Pumpkin Pickers , a Halloween craft - Ghost House for Halloween Treats and this month's story player - Monster Me.
Follow the links for some real October fun from

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Halloween Decor!

Maya and I pulled out all of our fall decorations yesterday and began decking our halls for Halloween.
I have a page of our decorations from last year Here
Once again, It's Autumn At Our House!

Monday, October 1, 2007

October First And A Free Calendar!

October is the beginning of that Magical Season that closes each year.
Celebrate by going over to Miss Mary's and getting your free October calendar!