A Frightfully Fun Halloween Party for Any Age

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My daughter, Shyanne, is the queen of Halloween.  She drives an old, lifted Jeep Cherokee with a life sized skeleton named Victor in the front seat all year.  When Shyanne invited me to her Halloween day with my other daughter and granddaughter, I didn’t hesitate (never turn down opportunities to be with loved ones).  I hopped in the car with my witch hat and headed to the eastern plains.

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Now there is nothing quite like the sound of a five year old’s bent-over, belly laugh.  And that is what I was met with.  “You look like a unicorn!” Maryjane wailed, a twinkle in her eye.  “I am a witch!” I declared.  “Looks like a unicorn to me.”

There were crafts laid out, and snacks galore, spooky music met me when I entered through the door.  I got straight to work, for this Grammie has a role.  I make the best Halloween hamburgers (veggie burgers) this side of the veil.  I sneaked the bits of cheese from cutting out eyes and mouths to my scary granddog.

Witch’s brew was put on, just like when the children were small.  Ah, it does not seem like it was that long ago at all.  A jug of apple juice or cider, a handful of brown sugar, a good sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice and let that begin to simmer then serve.

Shyanne put on a spread of easy treats, crackers and chips and cookies.  We decorated warm sugar cookies with edible watercolors and sprinkles.

We made puppets out of tongue depressors glued to construction paper cutouts that we glued googly eyes to.  Shyanne had carefully pre-cut Frankenstein heads, pumpkins, bats, and ghosts out.  We painted and glued and sprinkled our way into the Halloween spirit.  I did notice that is hard to get into the spirit when no children are present.  This was a welcome party for me.

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“The neighbors are going to wonder what is going on,” Emily said, as Maryjane and I danced to Disney songs and howled loudly like werewolves.

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Emily posing with her pumpkins. She is very ready for the new baby to come! (a few more weeks!)
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Maryjane’s broom. It’s a compact like my Fiat.

Pumpkins were carved, and we danced, and sang.  Halloween parties can be impromptu and easy.  For any age, for us older children regress rather quickly in the sight of sugar cookies and glue sticks.  I hope you find a few ideas to incorporate into your own spooky Halloween day!

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It’s Halloween!

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I walked to the mailbox and found inside a letter.  It was from my dear friend, Pat, who sent us a Halloween greeting.  I love her poems and wanted to share it with you!

It’s Halloween

It’s Halloween!  It’s Halloween!

The moon is full and bright

and we shall see what can’t be seen

on any other night.

 

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls

Grinning goblins fighting duels

Werewolves rising from their tombs

Witches on their magic brooms.

 

In masks and gowns

We haunt the streets

and knock on doors

for trick or treats.

 

Tonight we are

the King and Queen

for oh tonight

It’s Halloween!

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The Milk Maid
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Tonight we will light a fire in the wood stove and add a few chairs for wandering souls.  Make a warm meal and pour a pumpkin beer.  We will fill a bowl with chocolates for the neighborhood ghouls.  And enjoy Halloween in our new home.

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Shimmer the Genie

Wishing you all a fun filled Halloween, a sweet Samhain, and a happy New Year.

Simple Christmas Decor

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Decorating for the season is one of the great delights of the year for me.  I adore the fresh greenery and candlelight, the crooked tree (and when you think you have enough lights on the tree, add one more strand), the star alight, the stockings waiting for Santa.

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When the children were little our house looked like North Pole south.  Dollar store trinkets and cutouts, lights, and vintage decorations took over the house and filled the space with cheer and magic.  Visitors were often surprised then enchanted by the decor.  We love holidays in our home.

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As the children grew up and moved out and the dollar store trinkets broke, cutouts tore, things faded, my decorating took on a fresher take.  Strings of fairy lights still capture my adoration (and I refuse to get the LED lights…I will clean out Walmart’s shelves of twinkly lights if I must!) and oil lamps are humble and sweet.

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Places to sit that are cozy and private.  Vintage and children-made decorations from over the years dazzle and cause my heart to swell as I admire funky Santas and photos in homemade frames.  A life of raising children brought forth each season.

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The newest generation is mesmerized by her first viewing of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  Dinner is served on melamine Rudolph plates from Pottery Barn Kids.  She asked Santa for a dollhouse.  The magic continues.  The warmth of the season resonates in our home.

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Decorate simply.  A beautiful tree.  Branches of greens gathered where we got our tree decorate each space.  Light a candle.

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Enjoy the season, Friends.  Even if you had loss this year.  Even if you have sadness.  Let the beautiful joy of the season, the charity, the lights, the smiles, the music, the hope sweep over you and let you rest easy in front of a fire with a good book and a cup of tea next to a well lit Christmas tree.

Lazy Days of Summer (a new experience for these farmers)

We’ll be getting a homestead soon.  Farmgirl school isn’t done.  In fact, it may be just getting revved up.  We have really been enjoying our summer.  We can’t remember the last time we had weekends and so much time in the summer sun to play and restore.  We’ll be soaking up every last bit of this season and saving it to memory.  Hope all of you reading this are having a relaxing, inspiring, and sunny summer.  Keep the good times rolling!

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Lughnasadh and the County Fair

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Lughnasadh (loon-ah-sah) is one of the Gaelic harvest festivals of old.  The word is from old Irish text and is a Pagan holiday celebrating the first of the harvests.  A harvest festival is always a welcome holiday in this farmgirl’s mind!  Tonight is also a full moon and I can just imagine my grandmothers of old times dancing under the moon celebrating the harvest of grains and other summer bounties.

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I study all religions and see the similarities in all of them, the same God with different names, the same holidays, many customs “borrowed” by other faiths, and the joy in all of the different ways to honor the great Creator.  Paganism was not a religion pre-Christianity since everyone from childhood was brought up with great respect for Mother Nature and the holidays were based on the agricultural calendar.  Paganism reminds me greatly of the Native American ways of worship a continent away.  The Christians use many of the same elements and traditions as the early Pagans.  I was always brought up thinking that Pagans were Atheists, this is not so apparently.  I love the various celebrations.

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Did you know that the local county fairs were originally the celebration of Lughnasadh?  The first harvest festival, showing off goods and livestock, morphed into what we now know as the county fair.

There I am on the Swingers, again 11 years old!
There I am on the Swingers, again 11 years old!
The ride that bankrupted Grammie and Papa!
The ride that bankrupted Grammie and Papa!

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This year’s county fair was more fun than ever with rides and a two year old who loved everything from the young people competing with their horses to the motorcycle ride she would not get off of until we were completely broke from buying tickets!

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Our friends at the annual Dutch oven cookoff.
Our friends at the annual Dutch oven cook-off.

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So tonight, the holiday brings with it a bright full moon, a promise of more crops, and a sense of peace.  The traditional way of late is to enjoy a beer (grains) and a bit of bread (or pizza?) and celebrate and have gratitude for the harvest.  And maybe a little dancing in the moonlight is in order!

Taking a Day of Rest

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Time to stop and smell the flowers.  Doug snapped these beautiful photos yesterday.  Beautiful evening.

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In our hectic society we are taught to go, go, go!  The more one can get done, the better.

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But the whole reason behind taking a day of rest is to recuperate so that we are more efficient and healthier during the week.  Taking a break and a day off should be as simple as breathing.  We only get to live a few minutes in the whole scheme of things…

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A day of rest doesn’t have to be on Saturday or Sunday….one doesn’t have to go to church to make it a day of rest (God is everywhere.)….

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We just need to take deep breaths, enjoy food and drink and friends, and look around at the astounding beauty of nature and all the gifts and blessings and simple pleasures that encompass us, surround us with joy.

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Maryjane’s first swimming day was yesterday at my grandma and grandpa’s house (her great, great grandparents’ house!) and we intend to take Mondays off every week.  Between the shop being open during the week and four farmer’s markets a week, plus keeping up around here, we would be wise not to get burnt out before July!  So every Monday we will alternate between Grandma’s pool and Doug’s parents’ pool.  Every week we go see Grandmas and Papas.  Sun, rest, fun.  A day of rest for everyone! What will you do on your day of rest?