Children’s Halloween Costumes – 80s Flashback!

Let’s talk children’s Halloween costumes!

I was born in 1978.  That means I was a child of the 80s.

My family didn’t have much money, so most of my costumes were handmade.  My mom didn’t have a whole lot of crafting ability, so there are some humorous photos.  My sister and I were Indians, punk rockers, ghosts and bags of jelly beans.

I remember having two store bought costumes, though.

One was Ernie from “Sesame Street.”  (My sister was cookie monster that year.)

The other was Apple Dumpling, the little orange haired toddler from the Strawberry Shortcake universe.

These costumes came in a cardboard box and were made of itchy, sweaty, gross vinyl.  They had plastic masks that were attached by a string on the back.  They had eye and nose holes, but seeing and breathing out of them was still a challenge.

Still, I was so proud to be Ernie and Apple Dumplin!

What were your favorite Halloween costumes as a kid?

Fitbit Zip

Women’s Halloween costumes that aren’t slutty

Do you dress up for Halloween?  I don’t go far int to the women’s Halloween costumes section.

I like to get into the spirit of the holiday by throwing on a witch hat or some cat ears when I take my daughter trick-or-treating, but that’s about it.




However, my girl is 12 now and needs to move into adult costumes.  Finding something that isn’t slutty is a huge chore!

Seriously – just because a woman wants to dress up for Halloween doesn’t mean she wants to be a naughty nurse, naughty clown or naughty monkey.

She might not want to be naughty at all.

My daughter wants to be a police officer. She has plans to dress our dog up as her prisoner.

The cop costumes are all cut very low with extremely short skirts.  Some also have bare midriffs.

She wants to be a “pretty police” so a male costume just isn’t floating her boat.

I think I’m going to have to get a plus size costume just so there’s enough fabric to cover her!  And she’ll still have to wear a tank top and leggings under it!

I’m going to be a witch….again.  Black pants, black shirt, purple witch hat I got from the Target dollar section a few years ago.  Done.

Will you dress up for Halloween? What will you be?

Fall flavors: Pumpkin, apple, cinnamon – oh my!

I’m participating in the BlogHer NaBloPoMo October challenge.   Yesterday’s prompt was about my favorite autumn flavors.  Actually,  it said, “What is your favourite autumnal flavour?”

I didn’t know “autumnal” was a word.

And I was surprised by the British/Canadian spellings.

My WordPress spellchecker is, too!

Oh, and, did you notice that I already messed up this blogging every day thing by skipping day two?


Anyway, my favorite fall (or “autumnal”) flavors… (or flavours)….

Pumpkin, of course, in all forms.  Canned and fresh.  Pie (but I’m not a fan of crust), muffins, cakes, cookies, smoothies, bread. I even like adding it to savory dishes like black bean soup or chili.  And, of course, pumpkin pie spice hot beverages!  Kashi used to make a great pumpkin spice granola bar, but I haven’t seen it in a while.

And pumpkin seeds, too!  NatureBox has amazing sea salt and cracked pepper pumpkin seeds.  User code REFER25 for 25% off your first delivery.

Apples.  Raw, baked or used in dishes.  Hot apple cider.  Homemade applesauce.

Cinnamon.  Kind of goes in line with the pumpkin pie spice.

This is one of my favorite fall dishes:

Cabbage, turkey sausage, apple and onion

It has cabbage, turkey sausage, apple and onion.


What are your favorite fall flavors?


I love October

October is finally here!

It’s my favorite month of the year.

It means a slight reprieve from the boiling Florida heat.

It gets darker earlier and there is a tiny bit of crispness in the air.

I love seeing pumpkins everywhere.

Oh, and I love eating pumpkin goodness, too!  Muffins, coffee, cakes, cookies – even chili!

Everyone is calm before the craziness of the holiday season kick in.

Kids are so excited about Halloween.

Oh, and October is the month I saw my sweet daughter’s face for the first time while looking at photos of children waiting to be adopted.

That makes the month even sweeter!

My own October Pumpkin!

Quick & Easy Homemade Garlic Knots

My local grocery store (Publix) has their bakery balls of pizza dough on sale for buy-one-get-one-free this week.  I bought two last time they were on sale and still had one in the freezer.  I thawed it out today to make homemade garlic knots.

This is the “after” photo.  There weren’t many left after dinner.

Homemade garlic knots

Here’s how to do it:

  • Mix olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian season and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.
  • Tear pieces of dough and roll them into balls.
  • Dip the balls in the olive oil mixture and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400 degrees until golden, about 15 minutes.
  • Brush the tops with more of the olive oil mixture while warm.
  • Enjoy!

These were a huge hit.  We ate them with spaghetti and salad.

I’m going to buy more dough while it’s on special this week, but the homemade garlic knots were so good, I don’t know if I’ll ever make pizza with it again!

Zebra print business cards: Tacky or awesome?

I got new business cards for the BlogHer conference.  I ordered cards for the first time right before the conference last year, but my phone number has changed so I needed new ones.

I played it safe last time.  They were classy with a retro typewriter theme.

I’m in a different place now than I was even a year ago, so I was excited to redesign my cards.

I’m confident calling myself a freelance writer now.  I have been able to create a patchwork quilt of steady work.  I have areas I write about more than others.

My days of slaving away writing about portable toilets for a penny a word are over.

I wanted all of that reflected in my business card.

Basically, I wanted “me on a card.”

And I got it!


Aqua.  Zebra print.  A pink chandelier.  A photo of me wearing my chunky lime green beads.

I actually made two cards.

And one is double sided, so it’s actually three if you count both sides.

The double-sided card has my general information on one side.  The other side is devoted to my weight loss blog, Shrinking Momster.

At the last minute, I decided to do a card showcasing my Examiner work.  I have nine titles there.  I chose a folded card and listed each title on the inside.  I wrote some other places my work has been featured on the back.

My husband teased me about all of the pink, lime green, aqua and zebra prints, but I think they are pretty awesome.  And I got a ton of compliments at the conference.

How did you go about designing your business cards?

Get your own Royal Baby labels while you can!

Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed their first child, Prince George, on 7/22 and in celebration, Mabel’s Labels is offering limited edition Royal Baby Sticky Labels for only $9.95! The Sticky Labels are super durable, dishwasher/microwave safe and create a fun and easy way to organize all of your belongings. Don’t miss your chance to shop this great promotion because these labels won’t be available to purchase after 8/13. Happy Labeling!  Get your Royal Baby labels while you still can!


10 things I didn’t do at BlogHer 13

I can’t believe a whole week has already passed since BlogHer13.  I’ve seen dozens of posts on what attendees did and learned at the conference.  I’m going to tell you what I didn’t do instead.


10 things I didn’t do at BlogHer 13:


Leave my child at home.  I brought my 12-year-old daughter with me on her very own full conference student pass.   I loved seeing her be inspired by “The Pioneer Woman” and Lourds Lane.  She networked her way across the expo hall, set second row at the fashion show and helped me take notes during sessions.  She played Sims when she got bored during sessions.  She was so fired up by the experience that she started her very own blog while we were still in Chicago.


Tweet during sessions.  I was way too busy taking notes –the old fashioned way, with pen and paper!
Blog.  I didn’t blog once while I was gone.  I thought about writing on the plane on the way home, but stashed my laptop in the overhead bin and pulled out a novel instead.  My brain was full of info and needed a break.
Get tipsy.  I didn’t have one sip of alcohol at BlogHer – not even the free wine, cocktails and champagne flowing in the expo hall.  I prefer to eat my calories, so the sponsors giving out pizza, chocolate and donuts were much more my speed!
Enjoy Chicago pizza.  I tried it.  I hated it.  I’m definitely a New York pizza kind of girl!
Explore Chicago.   I put pressure on myself to see all I could of New York City last year and was absolutely exhausted.  I decided not to do that this year. I was only in Chicago four nights and three of those were filled with conference activities.  I took a water taxi tour and saw the city on shuttle rides.  My daughter and I walked to Navy Pier and bicycled along the river.  Other than that, we stuck to the Sheraton and McCormick place.
Spin the “wheel of pleasure.”  In case you missed it somehow, Trojan was giving out free vibrators and lube if you spun their prize wheel.  I skipped it because I had my daughter with me and the line was always huge.
Pay a fortune to ship swag home.  We flew Southwest Airlines specifically because they allow two checked suitcases per passenger at no charge.   I only brought freebies home I will actually use and left the rest in the swag exchange room.  It all fit into the extra suitcase I brought.
Go to CheeseburgHer.  I went to all of the parties last year.  They were loud and crowded.  After a bit of networking and eating delicious food at the fashion show after party, I went up to my room to pack, shower and read.  I was asleep well before CheeseburgHer came to a close.
Scream and hug anyone.  I didn’t stalk anyone and I’m not big enough for anyone to recognize me, despite rocking a sticker that said, “I’m a big deal,” courtesty of Queerie Bradshaw.  Maybe next year? (However, I did get my photo taken with the Pillsbury Doughboy.)



I attended the conference in NYC for the first time last summer.  I was so overwhelmed by all that was going on and tried to do/see/experience it all.  I left feeling like I didn’t accomplish much of anything.

I scaled back this year and focused on what was important to me:  learning how to improve my career as a writer and making connections with those who could help me do it.

Finding my own path to enjoy BlogHer made it an amazing experience.  I can’t wait to do it again next year – with my daughter at my side!

Easy, Fun Ways to Personalize Boring School Uniforms

Most of the public elementary schools in my area require uniforms. My daughter was looking forward to wearing clothes of her own choosing when she started middle school. Then her father and I decided to send her to a charter middle school that also requires uniforms. She was upset about it, but with a little creativity we have found some ways to help her feel unique amongst the sea of navy blue and khaki.

Add pops of color with costume jewelry, belts, socks, shoes and hair accessories.  Let your child pick patterns and styles that help their personality shine.
Always read the school’s dress code carefully before getting wacky with the uniform. Some schools are very strict about what can and cannot be worn. However, if your school has some wiggle room, a lot can be done to personalize a school uniform.
(Note: This is not the complete article.  This article was originally published by Yahoo! and is available to purchase as a reprint.)