Archive for October, 2008

Halloween Costumes of Yore

The other day Orison told me he wanted to be a dragon for Halloween. This surprised me for a couple reasons:

1. We don’t really do Halloween, so we don’t talk about it a lot.
2. I didn’t know he knew about “being something” for Halloween.

    So I searched “dragon costume” on Target’s site and the result I got was really cute. And… it also cost $40. Guess who’s not being a dragon for Halloween?

    When I was growing up, my mother’s version of Halloween costumes was very simple. Buy a sweatsuit in the color of whatever you’re being—a black one if you’re being a cat, a white one if you’re being a bunny, a camoflauge one if you’re being a soldier, etc.

    My mother’s highest priority on Halloween night was that we be warm. She had no time for frilly princess dresses that left you with bare legs at the end of October in Pennsylvania. I think the real motivation for this was that she knew we’d end up cold (and therefore complaining) for the whole two hours we were out, and she really didn’t want to hear it, or stick my dad with three whining kids.

    She always accessorized us well—cat ears, bunny ears, a gun, or some other accessory to complete the costume. And she always painted our faces with the necessary whiskers, battle wounds, etc.

    Now that I am a mom, I see the sense in what she did. It was a low-cost way to make us pretty happy with our costumes. They were never fully store-bought, but we never seemed to mind. And then we had a pair of sweatpants or a sweatshirt that we could use for the rest of the year! Genius.

    The only way to do it cheaper is to do it like Abraham’s family—with bathrobes, ice cream buckets, and paper bags.


    October 30, 2008 at 12:30 am 29 comments

    Dinner on Friday night is covered.

    We love Chipotle. It’s seriously my favorite fast food (I don’t even like calling it that because it’s so not in the same category as McDonalds or Arbys).

    For those of you who share the love and have one in your city, you should know that on Halloween night, they offer FREE burritos! All you have to do is don some tin foil, and the burrito is free!

    We did this for the first time last year with friends from our small group. They’re a family of seven, so this was a major deal for them.

    In our fair city, the festivities begin at 6pm. Call your location for details.

    October 29, 2008 at 2:18 pm 32 comments

    The Meat Sauce…

    Some of you have asked for the meat sauce I made a couple weeks ago. So here it is, compliments of Rachael Ray.

    I’ve used this recipe many times now. I’ve done it with the mushrooms, without the mushrooms, with more spices (garlic, allspice, salt, pepper), and sometimes with tomato paste to thicken a little.

    When I read through the reviews of this sauce, most people liked it, but the main complaint was that it was watery. I have to agree. I would probably add tomato paste each time. And the recipe calls for allspice, which is definitely unique for a spaghetti sauce. Personally, I like it. I think it’s interesting.

    Abraham really likes this sauce and requests it a lot—spaghetti is definitely his favorite food. It makes me feel good to make a sauce from scratch that will roll his eyes into the back of his head.

    October 26, 2008 at 7:57 pm 14 comments

    What’s up with our kitchen?

    Awhile back I solicited your opinions about countertops. For those of you newer to the scene, we are in the throes of a kitchen remodel at our duplex (which just happens to be next door to our current house). We are still living in our other house, but plan to move over to the duplex as soon as the kitchen is done or as soon as we secure renters for our current house, whichever comes first.

    We have wonderful tenants in the first-floor unit of our duplex, and we will move into the second-floor unit and finish out the attic/3rd floor this winter with the rest of our bedrooms and another bathroom.


    The original upstairs unit had two bedrooms, one that shared a wall with the kitchen. Since we’re planning to build 3 bedrooms in the attic (yes, it’s that big), we figured we really didn’t need that other bedroom, so we knocked out the wall between the back bedroom and the kitchen. We’ll use the old bedroom space as our eat-in area. I’m imagining that the kids will play there a good deal, too, since it’ll be right in my line of sight.


    For countertops, we decided to go with Quartz. We got a tremendous deal on them through a special that was running with Home Depot, and decided we’d just go for it. All the laminate we looked at was just not doing it for us, but we figured because of cost we’d have to go that way. We were pleasantly surprised with the deal we got.


    Abraham’s brother is our contractor, and he has a wonderful company called Piper Construction. Working with him has been great.


    We’ve really liked our designer with Home Depot. He’s been awesome through this whole process. I’m sure the experience varies dramatically depending on the designer you’re paired up with, but the guy we got has been wonderful.

    We also ordered our cabinets through Home Depot. Planning that out with the designer was a lot of fun. And our designer took a lot of time to explain things to us, which helped us to trust him a lot more.


    The drywall is hung and the mud is dry. That means it’s time to paint! Here’s the fabric I’m basing my color choice on:

    It’s brighter/bolder in real life. I really want a funky kitchen. If I go with my default color choices, it’s all going to be earth tones. It’s just who I am. But I want to be funky, so I’m just going for it! I really want to be Anna Marie Horner, but don’t have the creativity or gumption on my own. My color scheme usually ends up looking like something you’d see in Indiana Jones.

    BUT… the paint is going on the walls today! Here are my color choices… (I’m nervous, so nervous).

    The orange and blue are for sure. I haven’t decided on the third green color so I just put that one in as a place holder. It’ll probably be something close to that, though.

    What’s next?

    The cabinets will be hung, the floors will be refinished (hardwood), the appliances and countertops will be installed, and we’ll be good to go. Sounds easy, right?

    In all seriousness, there was a point in the early days of planning this remodel that we thought we would possibly live over there in the duplex while the construction was going on. When I look around at the mess that will someday be my home, I think I would have literally gone insane with a new baby, a curious 3-year-old, lots of dust, nowhere to put our stuff, etc. It’s good that God derailed that initial plan.

    October 22, 2008 at 8:40 pm 32 comments

    My first poll: Are you like me?

    Here’s a simple equation for getting me to fall asleep:

    Movie + Laptop + In bed

    So now I’m curious (and eager to try out this new polling feature on wordpress):

    October 21, 2008 at 7:57 pm 26 comments

    Team Cooking

    I’ve been doing some research into the concept of team cooking. I got to thinking about it because there’s a group of gals from my church that get together and do this every month or so.

    Here’s how I think it works:

    • Create a group of people you want to cook with.
    • Set a date and time to do it (maybe a Saturday morning when husbands can watch the kids?).
    • Find a few recipes that freeze/preserve well and plan to make a few.
    • Buy supplies and ingredients and do some prep work (especially if you’re hosting).
    • Cook a bunch of stuff together and everybody gets to take some home to freeze!

    Here’s why I think it would be cool to try:

    • Getting to hang out with my friends on a Saturday morning.
    • Having a couple freezer meals always on hand (maybe even one per week?) would be awesome!
    • Sharing the cost probably makes it cheaper (I’m just guessing).

    If any of you have ever done anything like this, let me know! I’m really interested in the practical (“How would I actually set this up?”) aspects of such an undertaking.

    October 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm 28 comments

    Cake Wrecks

    These days, I really appreciate the laughable moments in life. They’ve been fewer and farther between in the past few weeks, but there is one blog that makes me laugh every time I go there.

    The Cake Wrecks blog is absolutely hysterical. All the cakes she features are “professionally” made. But the best part is the way she writes about these wrecks. I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried.

    In the past I’ve harbored the guilty pleasure of reading a couple blogs that make fun of celebrities’ fashion choices, but felt like that might not be the best way to spend my day, laughing at other people. But when it’s a cake, you can just laugh!

    I totally didn’t know this was happening when I originally wrote this post, but Cake Wrecks is in the running for “Best Humor Blog” in the 2008 Blogger’s Choice Awards. You have to set up an account to be able to vote, which annoyed me, but I had to vote for her. After you read a few of her posts you’ll know why.

    October 15, 2008 at 9:25 pm 25 comments

    Older Posts

    We're the Pipers!

    Sponsor a Child!

    Sponsor a Child with Compassion!

    On Browsing and Commenting

    You may be a stranger,
    but you're not a stalker.


    What the Tweet?!?