This is what greeted Kullervo when he came home from work the day before the extended tax filing deadline, after pulling insanely long hours for weeks.  He jumped and hollered.

There's a rat right outside our door!

There’s a rat right outside our door!

I giggled.

I giggled again when he took some food scraps out to the compost bin, stepped on it, and hollered again.

It's obviously fake, but in the dark...

It’s obviously fake, but in the dark…

This is especially timely right now because our neighborhood has been battling a rat problem for awhile, although our cats and dog keep them far away from our yard.

Recycled Halloween Decorations

I will be the first to admit that not only am I absolutely awful at doing arts and crafts with my kids (I have a rare inability to draw a recognizable stick figure), but I hate it too (the mess!  the drama! the stickiness!).

However, I am a big sucker for the fall holidays.  I love Halloween.  I love Thanksgiving.  I love that you (not me, but you) can draw a turkey with nothing more clever than two hands.  I’m also a big fan of reusing stuff that we buy, because it teaches my kids values and responsibility and junk like that.  (Also, it’s cheaper.)

So I have taken it upon myself to have my kids help me make decorations.

For our spiders below (which are soon to decorate our doorway), we took an egg carton, cut it up and painted the body and faces, added some pipe cleaner for antenna–which I kept calling antlers, much to Oliver’s dismay–and legs.  I used a meat thermometer to punch the holes into the cardboard to put the pipe cleaners through, as well as to make holes to tie some twine to.

Oliver was able to do most of the work himself–he put the pipe cleaner in and drew the face on his (the green one).  Hazel didn’t particularly want to try, so she just chose the colors for the things that she wanted, and I helped her put it together.

The Wonders of Halloween

Our apartment complex had early trick-or-treating this evening (similar to early voting, I guess?), so while Conner was in his night class, I attempted to dress up the kids and take them out to visit the buildings.  Here is the chain of events:

1.  I attempt to put on Oliver’s Thomas the Train costume.  (He chose it.)  He refuses to have anything to do with the costume and only wants to wear the hat.

2.  I attempt to put on Hazel’s ladybug costume.  The costume comes with cute booties, so I’m trying to slip those over her black tights.  They’re a bit oddly shaped, so they don’t slide on easily.  I get one on, and work on the other… while Oliver pulls off the first one.  I put on the second one, and go back to work on the first one.

3.  I go to work on Hazel’s ladybug mittens.  She starts crying.

4.  I finally get Hazel’s entire costume put on.  She’s still crying.  Oliver is sitting on the couch telling me that he wants a sandwich.  With soybean butter and jam.

5.  I ask Oliver if he wants to put on his costume.  He refuses.  I ask him if he wants to go get candy.  Predictably, his eyes light up.  I tell him that if he wants candy, he’s going to have to put on his costume.

6.  Hazel is still crying.

7.  Oliver is crying.

8.  I drag Oliver over to the mirror and put the costume on him.  Now that he can see himself, he says, “Oh, cool.”  Hazel is still crying.

9.  I strap Hazel into her baby carrier and drape her cape on the outside of it so that her costume shows.

10.  We’re off!

The best part about the evening is that I was trying to explain to Oliver that he should say, “Trick or Treat!”.  After the second time I said it, he turned to me very seriously and said, “No, Mommy.  I say please.”