Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween in Brooklyn

I wasn't even sure I wanted to take the girls trick-or-treating. I mean, they're still very young and wouldn't know the difference. Ed wouldn't be home to make it a real family activity. Our beloved trick-or-treating friend Violet moved to Connecticut a mere 1.5 weeks ago (sniff, sniff.)

Hazel (ladybug) and Violet (bee) trick-or-treating last year:

I thought we could just let Halloween pass by this year and it wouldn't matter. But in the end I couldn't resist. We had to go out to get milk anyway. I had gotten Hazel a costume anyway. We all like candy anyway.

Ginger had a costume, too - the same one Hazel wore two years ago. It was super cute and she wore it to the church Halloween party last weekend, but for trick-or-treating I just bundled her up in regular clothes for her ride in the stroller.

Ginger in 2007 (left) and Hazel in 2005 (right):

Hazel was Little Red Riding Hood this year. We walked out of our building about 5pm tonight and before we'd even gotten to the corner, before we'd knocked on one door, a sweet old lady walking by stopped us and, nearly in tears at how cute Hazel was, made us wait while she rummaged in her bags for her wallet and put $1 in Hazel's basket.We made our way up four blocks to 3rd Avenue where the shops are, stopping at houses with decorations or lights on and collecting quite a load of sugar along the way. Hazel climbed into the stroller while we ducked into the grocery store, and when we came out I saw that groups of kids & parents were stopping in at the shops, trick-or-treating. So we joined in, getting a treat at each little place that we walk by every day. I thought it was a rather unique and enjoyable way to trick-or-treat with the community.

At the nail salon:And at the Italian bakery. They handed out paper-wrapped cookies. After that Hazel just wanted to get in the stroller and eat her cookie, so that was the sweet end of trick-or-treating this year.
After dinner I let Hazel choose one candy out of her basket, and being a smart girl and my daughter, she chose a Hershey bar with almonds. Ah, Halloween. How did you spend it?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Applique Onesies

Always desperately seeking a creative outlet, here are samples of my most recent projects: appliqued onesies. I have some tough constrictions on creative projects I'm allowed to get involved in - mostly, it has to be started, finished, and cleaned up within a few hours or at least a day. Someday I'll have a "craft room" where projects can be spread out and left out over time. But for now I have limited space and two mobile kiddos!
So I raided my mom's 20-years-worth supply of quilting fabric scraps, bought a nice pair of pinking shears and some plain onesies and voila! The white ones are Ginger's, and my first experiments.
The other ones were baby gifts for a friend. Who knows, if you are expecting soon you might end up with one or two as well.
(For larger view, click on images.)

Now my next project is Ginger's Christmas stocking - I've put it off for 9 months and now it's time to get cracking - wish me luck!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall Art

Fall has FINALLY arrived here in New York, after two months too long of heat and humidity. So to celebrate we invited Hazel's friend Kaleigh over for a playdate and fall art projects.
First we went out to collect fall leaves. There were a few squabbles over the basket, but mostly we all got along.Then we came home and made leaf rubbings (with crayons) and leaf crowns (with staplers). Afterwards we had apples and graham crackers for snack and let the girls do their favorite activity - cutting!What a perfect autumn morning it was!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Money Money Money

UPDATE 10/25/07 - After 3 weeks I have made $302 and after 1 week my referrals have made $245 altogether!

So some of you have been kind enough to inquire in one way or another why I haven't been blogging so much lately. Well it's not that I've been sitting in front of the computer any less, I've just been doing something else - making some money from home. Granted, it's not much, but money is money and comes in handy for all sorts of crazy things.

Here's what I've been doing:
Two weeks ago my friend Jen (Price) Carver emailed me information on GPT websites. GPT stands for "Get Paid To". Her brother is in dental school and doesn't have time for a "real" job, but has made some good money working with them, and referred her. Then she referred me.

You know those internet "surveys", that often come in pop-up windows, that make you think you're really taking an opinion survey and it turns out to be a bunch of trial offers and sign-ups that you don't want? Well through GPT sites you can get paid for taking those surveys, without risk or cost, and if you know a few tips and tricks you can avoid all the spam and telemarketers, too.

I had some success my first week so referred a few friends, and they have also had some success. In two weeks I've made $200, and at least $40 of that has been bonuses, contest prizes or referral commissions. Yea, $200 isn't much but I'd guess that was for about 8-10 hours, and it's also $200 I didn't have before, and will be really helpful in the upcoming holiday season (especially after buying 3 plane tickets to CO!)

The sites are legal and legit, and if you make $600 you have to fill out a W9. This is especially good for students, stay-home moms or other people who need money but don't have time or availability for traditional employment. If you're interested, see below. If not, pass it on to anyone you think might be.

If you are interested: Comment or email me - I will email you a tutorial I wrote that helps you get set up and navigate your way through the GPT world. Reading the tutorial will save you a ton of time, it's worth it. It's about 6 pages so too long to post the whole thing here. Once you've read the tutorial you can go to the GPT sites and start making money. I would appreciate it if you use my referral links below (they are in the order I suggest using - Race4Offers being the easiest to navigate.) Feel free to ask any questions here in the comments.
Note: You must be prepared to register with the site immediately upon using the link, so the referral will be credited. You should start with one for awhile, then try the others as you become more familiar with the process.

Swat Cash
Squishy Cash
My Doggie Dollars
Monster Pays Cash

So yes, I have been a little obsessive with this while reading the forums, exploring the sites, trying different surveys. I haven't forgotten the blog world, though, and have many posts floating around in my head. So as always, stay tuned.

Uncle Eric Comes for a Visit

"Uncle Eric?" say the Younces. "There's not an Eric in our family."
"There's not?" say the Hickmans. "Well we don't have an Eric either. Who is this Uncle Eric?"

I'm talking about Eric Wilson, our good friend from Colorado. In fact, he is one of the very few Ed refers to as a "buddy" (as in, "My good buddy Eric took me to this awesome fishing spot...") Much outdoorsy male bonding takes place between Ed and Eric. And Wilson was the very first person I met at the Boulder Institute, and he took me on a date on the spot, so we have a bond as well. The fact that he has known both of us as long as we have known each other, and that he has made an effort to stay in touch, has earned him the honorary title: Uncle Eric. And since at least half of my readership of 4-6 people probably knows him, it was worth a post.
Yes, Wilson was in town last weekend. He is dating a wonderful woman Julia who is a theater arts teacher and lived in NYC for 7 years, so she decided the Mountain Man needed some culture, and she brought him to NY for a weekend to take in some shows. He might be the only 32-yr-old I know who had never seen a professional stage play until this weekend. (Julia's got her work cut out!)
Anyway, we met them Saturday afternoon and spent a few hours together in Central Park, enjoying perfect fall weather and scattered live music as well. Last time Eric saw Hazel she was 3 months old so he did some bonding with the kids, too. Ed's going to see him next week hunting in the mountains, but it was still fun to see him here in New York. I gave him a hard enough time on Saturday about never coming to visit us, so I will abstain here.
But see how happy we all are? Makes you want to come visit, right? You've only got 9 months left to get on the stick. Ed's been sending out resumes and starting to interview, so come on people! Anyway, great to see you Eric!

Monday, October 01, 2007

New England Trip Phase 1: Vermont

Thanks to many of you who have inquired about our vacation. I knew it would take me awhile to get organized enough to write about it, and I will try to keep it descriptive but brief, plus include pictures!

Phase 1: Vermont

We only had one day between returning home from Utah and leaving for Vermont, and that day was supposed to be spent unpacking, doing laundry, repacking and picking up the minivan we were renting. Instead Ed spent it in the office, and I did laundry with the girls, unsure whether to pack, unsure whether we were going anywhere the next day. Long story short, we got the green light from The Man Wednesday morning, so rushed our preparations and pulled out of town about 2pm.

The whole point of the trip was to get a look at, and taste of, New England, especially for Ed who has not seen it at all. The drive to my sister Maren's house in Middlebury, VT was uneventful except for the usual road-trip-with-kids stuff, and we made good time - about 6 hours.
Maren and I with Torin and Ginger

We spent two days and three nights there and highlights included:
  • meeting our almost-1-yr-old nephew Torin
  • having them meet Ginger
  • watching the other girls play
  • apple picking
  • walking around downtown Middlebury and lunch at a funky deli "Noonie's"
  • swimming in Lake Danbury
  • playing in the back yard sprinkler
  • admiring (and using) their awesome new bathroom addition
  • catching up and hanging out

Playing in the back yard

Apple picking

Ed and Ginger swimming at Lake Danbury

I am always so relaxed when I visit their house. I think it's a combination of Maren's inherent ability to make a house a home and the quiet calm of their neighborhood and town. Whatever it is, it was a wonderful start to our trip.The cousins : Ginger, Laurel, Hazel, Sonja and Torin

A farewell round of ring-around-the-rosie

We left the Mecham's on Saturday with hugs and kisses and a full day of delicious fun ahead of us. We first headed through Green Mountain National Forest and enjoyed the scenery at some overlooks, but unfortunately it was quite cloudy and foggy so we missed out on long-range views. Especially memorable was the overlook where, when it was time to get back in the car, Hazel threw a kicking fit as Ed forced her into the carseat. When he stood back up we realized Hazel had stepped in dog poop and it was all over her shoes, her pants, the carseat, Ed's shirt and Ed's pants. And we had just done laundry at Maren's.
By midday we arrived at Ben & Jerry's, where we took the factory tour and lucked out in the sample room - the sample that day was Half-Baked, which is YUMMY. Unfortunately Hazel thought so too and we forgot to bring the food smock along. (Souvenirs: NY Super Fudge Chunk dessert bread mix, B&J fridge magnet, cow socks for Hazel, ice cream cone bib for Ginger.)After a picnic lunch on the B&J grounds, and a visit to the graveyard of past flavors, we drove another hour or so to visit the Cabot cheese factory, where we also took a tour and helped ourselves to samples of everything. (Souvenirs: several sweet and savory infused maple syrups.) Along all the drives we passed plenty of dairy farms, so we really got a well-rounded taste of the Vermont dairy industry.
After Cabot we headed into New Hampshire - see Phase 2, coming someday.
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