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family fun

Happy Halloween!

I feel like it’s been Halloween for a good week and a half what with all the parties and trunk or treat festivities, but tonight is the actual Big Night and my kids are raring and ready to go.  When it comes to costumes, are you Team Scary or Team Sweet? We are probably somewhere in the middle but thanks to the wonders of photo editing, I can pretend my kids’ costumes are way more involved and creative than IRL.

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Thanks to Picmonkey.com for all the fun filters and overlays. Thanks to Target and Menards and our closets for the costumes. Thanks to watching too much Stranger Things for my creative direction. No worries, these horrifying creatures won’t be showing up on your door step tonight. You’ll actually be giving your candy to this:

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Although MM’s mask is approaching the world of scary costumes:

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Don’t be scurred. Just give them all your candy and no harm will befall you. Bonus points if there are Reese’s in there for mom.

Happy Halloween guys!

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family fun mama kat's writers workshop

5 Halloween Costumes Ideas for Your Dog

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In case you haven’t already met him: This is my dog, Doctor E. Or Doc for short. Or sometimes: “Oh my god, shut up, we get it – the mail is here! Go lay down!” He’s a very handsome dude  for sure and he can be a lot of fun but I’ll be honest, the idea of dressing him up for Halloween is laughable at best. I mean – maybe on some level he’d think it was a fun idea but on all the other levels he’d either decide the costume was attacking him or that it was delicious. Either way, it’s going to be ripped to shreds. 

So to save myself the money for a costume that will be ruined in 5 minutes and the vet bill for when his Lemon of a Body can’t handle the toll that digesting said costume will wreak on his body… I decided to dress him up digitally instead. Just as cute and honestly about the same amount of effort, money and vet bills aside.

On the off chance that your dog is less insane than mine and wants to dress up for Halloween this year, feel free to steal my ideas and use them IRL. Also I’m jealous of your dog.

5 Costume Ideas for Your Halloween Loving Dog

IDEA #1 : Sketchy Musician Boyfriend Dog

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Is your dog a guitar playing ladies man with a heart of tequila? Help him dress the part this Halloween so he can score some canine tail. All you need are some cheesy sunglasses, a fake mustache, a tiny guitar and maybe some Axe body spray for bonus points. Walk behind him playing an awesome guitar solo on your iPhone and watch the chicks go crazy for him.

IDEA #2 Olympic Doggy Paddler

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If your dog lives for the pool and you have a pair of old goggles and a gold medal, you have everything you need for this costume. He totally won’t lose his mind when you try to put the goggles and swim cap on him, I promise.

IDEA #3 Rudolph the Red Nosed Retriever

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This costume is perfect if you are one of those people just waiting to put up their Christmas tree and start baking holiday cookies. All you need are tree branches and a red rubber nose (or red spray paint, no judgement here) and you are 100% good to go. Your dog can’t possibly hate it any more than the Grinch’s dog and if he happens to help save Christmas, well, it’s a good thing you were there.

IDEA #4 Have No Fear, Under Dog Is Here

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It is a good time to be a Comic Book Geek right now – There are dozens of Super Heroes for your dog to emulate for Halloween but I know my dog is definitely The Flash at heart when he’s whipping around the race track my house at 175 MPH. The BOOM and CRASH are already par for the course around here, so a Super Hero shield and mask are really just the next logical step. (Mask not shown here because my photo editing skills apparently have their limits.)

IDEA #5 The Doctor, Obviously

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I’m saving the obvious costume choice for last. My dog’s name sake may be playing it safe but honestly the costume is too cute for words. Bow ties are cool. Fezes are cool. We already have several sonic screw drivers lying around because #obsessed. Even if you didn’t name your dog after The Doctor, this would still be a cute costume and not too difficult to pull off (if you can keep your dog from pulling it all off anyway).

Would your pet wear a Halloween costume?

What costume idea would you put your pet in?

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat this week – you should, too!

Categories
family fun photography wordless wednesday

wordless wednesday | the pumpkin patch

Categories
books & reading family fun

9 of My Family’s Favorite Children’s Books

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I don’t think it’s any secret that our family loves to read. It’s a source of great pride that all four of us are “hiding under the cover with a flash light and a good book” kind of people. Perhaps the only thing I love more than reading a good book is finding other people a good book to read. So I thought I’d hop on a recent bandwagon of children’s book recommendations (Mommy Shorts has some great picks) and share with you some of our family favorites from the past ten years or so.

Board Books For Babies AKA The Books I Buy For Baby Showers

That’s Not My Bunny by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

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This is just one of like a dozen books by Usborne in which the reader flips through a series of bunnies (or dogs, cats, whatever) to find THEIR bunny. Each of the potential bunnies has a defining characteristic that you are encouraged to feel along the way. I love a good touch and feel book for the little ones and my kids were obsessed with this one. It’s a great first board book because there are not too many words, plenty of repetition and lots of bunnies to pet. Way easier than the petting zoo.

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen

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This is one of those books I have a tendency to buy for baby showers. It’s a delight to read out loud which is basically my number one requirement for children’s books. If I feel like I need to paraphrase to get through story time without losing my mind, you aren’t doing it right. This books nails it – it’s got that sweet spot of enough words to not feel brain numbingly simple but not so many that story time needs a glass of wine to get through. Which isn’t to say you can’t have a glass of wine, you just won’t need it to get through page one.

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman

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This was one of the few books that I managed to enjoy even after the 800th reading. My son could not get enough of this gorilla and his antics and just how clueless the zoo keeper is. It’s a very visual book so young non-readers will understand what’s going on before you even start reading but the words are good, too. Another well rounded winner for reading out loud.

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss

51+BkXslZSL._SX367_BO1,204,203,200_I’ll be honest, this might be the only Dr. Seuss book that doesn’t make me want to run screaming for the hills. Most of his books have that “I need a glass of wine after the first page” quality but this one is awesome and everyone loves it. I fall into a rhythm with this one and still love reading it to babies now. I have the voices and cadence down and get annoyed when other people read it because they don’t do the sound effects right. Yes, I know, I’m a lot.

 

Picture Books You’ll Love More Than Your Kids

We Are In a Book by Mo Willems

51YSqwj-U2L._SX363_BO1,204,203,200_Mo Willems is basically a master of children’s literature and his Piggie and Elephant series is the one you need in your life when your kids start learning to read. There are like a dozen of them and they are all fantastic but this one is my favorite.

Your kids will laugh out loud as you read this to them – it’s one of those stories where the reader kind of becomes a character which is always makes for a lot of laughs. And the repetition is just the right amount to help with beginning readers but not so much that you find yourself dying inside as you read it.

Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman

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This is the first in a series of books about Lulu or Ladybug Girl. The illustrations are stunningly beautiful and kind of turn me into a puddle of emotions. This series captures childhood in a way that is remarkable to me and I have a tendency to gush about it.

This book has a tendency to bring out my inner child and makes for a very impactful story time.

 

The Monster At The End of This Book by Jon Stone and Mike Smollin

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Is there anyone alive who doesn’t love this book? My kids still get a kick out of this story. Heck, I still get a kick out of this story which I remember reading when I was a kid (like a few years ago). It’s kind of similar to the Piggie and Elephant books in the way they play with the fourth wall, bringing the reader into the story. The illustrations are awesome and you will hear Grover’s voice in your head when you are reading it (bonus points if you can pull off a good Grover voice out loud while reading it to your kids).

This one wins the nostalgia for days award in addition to just being an excellent book.

Literally Any Berenstain Bears book

61NKiO9R64LAny time I have some kind of life lesson or milestone that I’m trying to solidify for my kids, I have a tendency to turn to the Berenstain Bears because they have a book for literally any life situation from eating too much candy to talking to strangers to welcoming a new baby into the family. But they never really feel like one big long lecture full of bears. I loved this series as a kid and I’m so thrilled that my kids enjoyed it as much as I did.

I also love their easy reader series and highly recommend it to beginning readers.

Or Little Critter book

61H3NZ5BQ8L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_My kids love this series, too. I think we have one for every major holiday and I loved All By Myself because I think literally every kid in the universe can relate to this and every parent remembers this phase vividly. The illustrations are so sweet. I love looking to see what the mouse is doing on each page.

What are some of your family’s favorite children’s books?

Categories
family fun what I'm into Lately

What I’m Into: Fall 2017

I’ve been a tad bit neglectful of my poor little blog lately. I think this is typical when Fall gets into full swing and life just happens and happens and happens. I thought I’d touch base on what we’ve been up to for those of you following along at home and wondering where I’ve been. Show of hands?

LIVING

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I’ve been a field trip chaperoning machine this fall. And by that I mean “I’ve been on two field trips this month! Woah!” They were both pretty fun. BB’s class went to a local cemetery for a “ghost walk” where local actors portrayed Wisconsin residents involved in the Civil War who told the kids all about their lives. My daughter was particularly smitten with the ghost photographed above who was admittedly a captivating story teller and perhaps more importantly to BB was wearing a gorgeous dress.

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In typical Wisconsin fashion, October has no idea what temperature to be. We’ve been getting a healthy mix of sunny high seventies and dreary mid fifties. My wardrobe is very confused but the kids are just going with the flow.

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I went to my first paint nite with some friends this month and painted the lovely masterpiece photographed above. It’s now hanging in my living room and my kids are pretty sure I’m an up and coming artist. I’m happy to give you a tour of my “gallery” for a very reasonable price. The event was a lot of fun – the teacher was funny and well a good teacher.

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After ignoring my optometrist for ages about not wearing my glasses when I’m reading, I finally bought myself a little chain for my glasses so they can hang out when I’m not wearing them. They are basically the opposite of reading glasses because I like to be difficult.

EATING

My family has given emphatic praise to these recipes recently:

One Pot Stuffed Pepper Casserole from Damn Delicious (accurate)

Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies from The Kitchn

WATCHING

 

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image source | http://www.thewrap.com

 

Are you guys Jeopardy fans? Can we talk about Austin because he’s seriously the most impressive human I’ve ever seen. I’m a few episodes behind so no spoilers but I love it when funny, clever people have success.

I’ve also been watching old Will & Grace reruns because I’m behind the times and enjoying all of my old favorites coming back for the fall like Big Bang Theory and The Good Place. What are you watching this fall?

READING

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My book club is discussing Before the Fall by Noah Hawley this month which has gotten a lot of good reviews. The first few paragraphs were a little stiff but now that I’ve settled into it I’m really enjoying it. It has a lot of different characters and stories to tell and the initial plot to suss out. Have you read this one? It seems like an ideal book to read on a dreary October afternoon.

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I’m also reading Anne Bogel’s new book, Reading People, and definitely loving that as well. I thought I was pretty familiar with personality types but even just a few chapters in I’ve already had several Ah Ha moments. Anne is really good at getting to the root of how to make your personality work for you.

I’m afraid I might be turning into one of those people who likes to preface my conversations with, “Well as an Introvert…” but hopefully my friends don’t get too annoyed with me. Speaking of personality types, my husband shared this gem with me and if you haven’t seen it yet, well…

So that’s been my life these days. What have you been into lately?