Holiday Shopping and Buying Local

Holiday Shopping– I know…. let one holiday pass before you head onto the next, but if you’re anything like me you are already done… partially done or already scheming. I am a crafter by heart and if you have any intention of crafting it takes time to do them all. You have to plan ahead. Last year, I made over 20 coffee mug candles…. five or so scarves, some door signs I hand painted, and some fun printed signs we made and had framed- just to name a few. I also believe that holidays are just too much on kids- I have no money either, but it’s just too much. Holidays in my mind have become heavily sugared and over gifted. In turn, they are undercooked from scratch and not enough crafty type things. I know in my house this is true… and I’m trying terribly to turn the tide. The other thing is the holidays are freaking expensive!!! I think it is super important to buy local and keep the local economy going. So I try my best to use local places to serve my needs. So here are a list of holiday shopping thoughts and how to keep them local and simple.

Christmas cards…I try to send Christmas cards with the kids photo on it. I don’t give out a lot of photos, because we can’t afford those fancy portraits every year…. many people are lucky they get a picture at all. I get two birds with one stone on the Christmas cards. I have honestly purchased 100 to 200 every year from Walgreens photo center. It can be done entirely online and you can pick them up in store with envelopes. Stamps are so ridiculous so don’t be offended if I don’t send yours in the mailbox. I spend on average $75 on Christmas cards alone every year. I think Christmas cards are important… a special way to send your love and let people know you think of them throughout the year.

Local gift shops are good to find locally made crafts.

We frequent- Buy the Season– They have all kinds of crafts, antiques, and home decor things that are unique and fun. Go for a few hours, wear comfortable shoes, go without kids and take a cart at the front… you’ll want it.

The Stocked Market– This event hosted by our local Junior League sets up the Civic Center with all kinds of goodies from wine, soaps and clothing. There are all kinds of things. It takes a ticket to get in the door, but again go for a few hours, wear comfortable shoes and go without kids.

I know there are more local crafter type shops here where I live and if you know of some of them please post the link down in the comment section. I just don’t get much farther than those two places.

Gifting with Goodies-

Every year Alden and I make chocolate covered peanut butter balls and I buy baggies for candies at JoAnns, Michaels, or ACMoore. We put five in the baggy and give them to each teacher. This is always appreciated. Sometimes for his main teacher we will give a gift card to the local village area.

Know a Baker? I know a few, but a fun idea is to gift someone you know like a whole family, office or team with a cake. This is a nice way to hit a huge group at once with some love. You could always see if the baker will do a gift card for future use as well or have something specifically made for them. Here is the link for my friend in town that makes delicious cheesecakes- Lick the Spoon.

Another one we use often even for kids birthdays. Again kids are over gifted and maybe you can’t afford a $20 gift for every little kid, but a $5 to 10 gift card at these local places can get a scoop of ice cream or a cupcake… Sugar them later in other words. Viva La Cupcake and Pop’s Ice Cream and Soda Bar

A lot of people we know love coffee right??? Well gift them with some caffeine in the new year. Again I’m particular about this- go local people. Our favorite is CUPS Coffee and Tea. It doesn’t have to be much, but for some people that I know, that go there multiple times a week, it could be a gift that goes a long way for them.

Wine and Beer- My husband and I would take a 6 pack of locally made beer without an issue- trust me. It’s fun trying new spirits. Here are some local wineries and breweries in my area. Foggy Ridge CiderParkway Brewing Brewing Co. Roanoke Railhouse Brewery – Valhalla Vineyards… just to name a few.

Clothing– does not have to be at a big retailer. Although it’s easy to return things and there are multiple options. It doesn’t have to be huge- I personally love the scarves sold at these places and sometimes the jewelry is uniquely crafted. Try gifting someone with something from a boutique shop. This is a bigger financial deal, but these shops are unique and fun. Here are some of my favorites… Urban Gypsy and La De Da.

Nails and Hair- I love getting my nails done- don’t know many women who don’t. My favorite place is Polished. Gift cards for this loveliness is much appreciated. Hair places- I get my hair cut by a non-chain location a few blocks from my house. It’s cheaper.. more personable… and more fabulous. Gift cards to places like this or even just a card that says your next cut is on me and slip cash in there. It’s the thought that counts!

Art– Now not to sound crazy, but shopping for local art can be fun and it has a fun connection to it. I know several local artists varying from watercolor portraits to abstract oils. Some are pricey and some come at starving artist rates. My mother sells her art locally- mostly oil landscapes. This dynamic duo make art on canvas and they do hair. One of our lovely friends teaches art classes for kids and also paints portraits- Rachelle Kuehl.

-All kinds of fun handcrafted things- endless possibilities with Etsy. It may not be your local, but if you carefully shop it’s still someone else’s local.

I love buying handbags from etsy- just be careful where you’re buying from. The last one looked super American- shipped from China and took a long long time.

Handstamped jewelry- this is one of my all time favorite gifts. It’s not as “clean as” a Things Remembered gift, but it’s still awesome. We got our kids names on discs for their godmother for Christmas- Hannah Designs.

This one is awesome- handcrafted jewelry made in Portland, Oregon. The owners and designers went to college with my husband John. He got to visit them in Portland last spring. Betsy and Iya.

I hope this helps you start your buy mostly local journey this holiday season. Now I’ve got to get my craft on already…. I’m running behind. This is the first year I haven’t already started by now. By the way, John and I had a lovely weekend here are some fun shots of our silliness the weekend before Halloween.

Breakfast at CUPS Coffee and Tea.
All girls in princess dresses and heels should climb trees… right?
We played beer pong at our friends Halloween party Saturday night. We had a great time. I didn’t notice until later that the eyeball pingpong ball is spot on in this photo.

Come on 6 o’clock- Ready for the weekend.

Dan Auerback- Goin’ Home

This week flew by for me, but I am so looking forward to this weekend. We have one kid tonight and none tomorrow. We have many plans and no plans. Since our vacation we pledged to spend more time just the two of us and we really need this weekend. The last time we planned this type of weekend it fell completely through. This Sunday is one of the busiest days of the year for my husband for his job- normally we dread October. He works so much in this month. I’m surprised I actually survived this one without half losing my mind.

Avett Brothers- Pretty Girl from Annapolis

We’re still on our flylady cleaning process and the house has come a long way. It has really helped us to feel relaxed in the home. We’re going to spend some time at home this weekend. We feel the need to escape less. It’s really simple in teaching habits. I would encourage you to at least try her system of cleaning.

Joe Purdy- Can’t Get It Right Today

I really liked my blog suggestion of the week on Rosie the Riveter. I can see several blogs stemming from that one alone. Felt my writing and teaching worlds collide on that one.


This quote from our daughter was up at daycare this last week. It warmed my heart. It’s something we do purposefully as a family and I love that she acknowledged it. Pretty awesome.

Capturing the Spirit of Rosie the Riveter

Blog suggestion of the week-  Rosie the Riveter; Were we better off in the home?  Women went from cooking, cleaning, and having babies to working outside the home, cooking, cleaning and having babies.  We’ve stepped up our game, but has this really led to equality?  How has the role of men changed in response?  Why do we still feel so torn so many years later? 

This has been processing in my mind for a long time and once it was suggested I’ve been chewing on it for a few days. How to approach this? How to say what really needs to be said appropriately and honestly? No matter how it is approached someone will be offended. So get ready to push those feathers down and take it as it is- my opinion.

I can’t find it now, but there was a picture of a rally where a woman was chanting something. It was an old black and white photo and the text over her body said- “The feminist movement is over.” This was a few weeks ago – going around facebook- and I had some time to think about it and I’ve had time to form my response in my head. If you think the need for equality is over you’re wrong. I thought – would Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lecretia Mott-  think we were done?  Really, April…. who gives a crap they’ve been dead for over a hundred years. What do our mother’s think? Do they think we should stop- their opinion and ours are the ones that matter.

I hope this baby was crying for joy- I know that wasn’t the intent. Suffrage- is simply the right to vote. So this baby is crying because his mother was working for her right to vote. Yeah- Thanks mommy suffragists for getting us the right to vote since 1920. It hasn’t really been so many generations since women got this right… embrace it more.


My mother was a great role model when it came to raising us three girls when it came to being a strong independent woman. The church we were raised in made my mother feel as though women had no role outside of the children and home. The church taught no respectful position for a woman.  My mother felt as though women were always projected as the subservient. My mother was in the first class at Liberty University although for financial reasons she was unable to finish. She traveled with Jerry Falwell and traveled the Holy Lands with him. She sang for the University- I grew up with my mom on the cover of albums- but she studied to be a secretary. See back then career choices were nurse, secretary or teacher as far as feminine career options. The first part of my childhood my mother was in the home and homeschooling us girls. As time passed, my mother started working outside of the home and I attended public school. I am very unique in that I was raised with two extremes- the life as a home-schooled kid and the life of a latchkey kid. I was one of the first women in my family to earn a college degree. Have we really come that far then? Could my daughter be the first to get a Masters or a PhD- or could I continue on to do so or my sisters as well? Only time will tell, but in my family line I am quite the accomplishment. To my family’s credit- they have an amazing work ethic- my grandfather still likes to work and feels bad when he’s not. My grandmother was still working until she had some heart trouble, but even after that continued to work. I was certain we’d have to take her away kicking and screaming. 

My mother was born in 1954. I gather that an advertisement like this one was one she grew up looking at- while she balled it up and rubbed it together to use as toilet paper in the outhouse- the best use for advertisements such as these.


The disturbing thing is that as much as ads like this drive me crazy my husband has purchased me a dishwasher- steam cleaner- a fax/copier/printer combo and food processor for gifts in the last decade. I accepted them with joy and wasn’t insulted by those gifts at all. In fact, I greatly appreciated them. I didn’t find it offensive, but this ad.. this ad infuriates me- although a new Hoover would make me happy at Christmas…. ::sigh::

On the flip side- my husband does the lawn work. This is mostly due to the fact that I’m deathly allergic to bees and after seeing my mom mow the grass and hit a yellow jackets nest I have never been comfortable doing it since. It doesn’t mean I wont get out there and do other things though, but I am currently physically unable to help for long. So I should mention in all fairness I have purchased my husband in the last decade- dual shop-vacs, a cordless drill and I’m sure something else that is gender discriminatory in its use. Still I assure you I have used that shop-vac and cordless drill a million times over the times he has used the food processor and steam cleaner.

I hate to say this but this ad still depicts so much of our lives even today. Not necessarily in our home, but it is so much worse in other homes than in ours. The problem is that these women in all likelihood did not pull an eight hour day pick up the kids from after-school care, cook dinner -while helping with homework, cleaned up dinner and then bathed the children before bed. I might bring my husband a cup of coffee, but dear Lord he serves himself. These women that I have described are exhausted… burnt out… feel unappreciated… feel like their husbands are lazy and not contributing. I don’t know if they have expressed these feelings with their husbands or if their husbands are aware of this at all. My husband and I have difficulty talking about this. I think it’s because I am so opinionated about gender roles, but at the same time I get my feelings hurt if he says the kitchen isn’t clean enough. We both recognize it as a responsibility we share and yet I take it personally. I know that some of the mothers I’m referring to want to do it all- they would like to feel like they can do it all. Husbands have picked up in the last few generations- diaper changing, laundry washing, and so on… 


Here is my personal hang up with this- We haven’t gone far enough and we’ve gone too far too fast. Now I know that makes no damn sense- here is the problem—- balance. Our families are out of balance, but women have a ways to go. Men want their wives to have jobs and make money to put them in a more comfortable position- after clothing- a second car- daycare expenses. Many of the women I know make just a little more than enough to maintain it all. They go to work because they simply would lose their minds at home and they worked hard for their degrees- to each their own. If you look up old ads you will find a lot for keeping women mentally balanced enough to do the housework so sad. Women want their men to work hard, but still spend time with their families and not lose time together. No one wants to clean the house, but to be perfectly honest most of the women I know do the majority of the house work, planning, shopping… and so on… For the sake of your families- our children- we’ve got to figure it out. We’ve moved away from latchkey kids to after-school care kids. Leaving your kids at home unattended carries a certain stigma these days. The time we likely get with our children is between the hours of 6 to 8 every night before bed- that is our quality time. Now I don’t care if it’s the woman or the man who stays home, but for the family it is the best though that someone is home. If you can afford an au pair awesome do it.

Again- I’m hoping this was another outhouse option for my mother. Really. We’ve come a long way- but honestly we’re still missing something. I think that is open honest less obtrusive conversations with our spouses regarding gender roles and working together so that women are not so exhausted. We’ve made it to work, but we need more balance in the home.


About a week ago John said, “I really want to take you out on a date. Just the two of us.” So we headed out for a lovely evening to a romantic restaurant followed by beers at another location. While we’re sitting at the bar he says to me, “What do you really want to do when you close the daycare? Is teaching what you really want to do?” I replied, “Honestly, if money were not an issue I would just stay at home.” He was floored. I mean the man I’ve been with for nearly twenty years in complete shock. He said, “I always thought you didn’t want to ‘just stay at home’. ” I chuckled, “I don’t just stay at home... so I don’t like it when people say that. I work hard and it’s insulting when someone says I don’t. If I could in a day pay the bills…do the laundry… Run to the grocery store…. Take a run on the greenway… then swing by the school and pick up the kids help them with their homework and make dinner- that’d be awesome. It would really change our evenings and our stress level together.” He said, “Oh I thought you were insulted, as a woman, by that statement. Isn’t that what women worked so hard to get away from?” Me- “Yes I guess so but honestly, I didn’t get away from it did I? I still do the majority of the house work and still work full time.” He responded, “Well then maybe we should figure that out. I would love to have less chaos in running around attempting to get things done. Lets look at what we could do financially to make this happen. Maybe not this year or the next three, but I want you ultimately to be happy and our family to be happy.”

This is an example of a healthy conversation. I’m just aware that some of the women around me are not having such healthy conversations. One such woman wanted to resign from her job and her husband said he wanted to pay off debt within a certain time and refused to “allow” her to resign- she didn’t resign… their debt is worse than before and yes the word allowed was used.  Another said her husband refused to ever change a diaper since his father never had… he never did. Now I realize some of these things are cultural and religious based, but I think this is a conversation worth having premaritally and opinions may change over time, but it needs to be a healthy conversation. My mother taught me to not allow a man to treat me like the above photo and I married a man unwilling to treat me that way intentionally. I think being a parent puts these things into perspective even more so and it’s okay when you’re a working woman, but when you’re a working mother it’s a whole new ball game. When I was nursing our babies- I woke an hour early to pump. I lost my break during the work day to pump. I had to get both kids in the afternoons and then I would be up several times a night nursing babies. It was so exhausting… I wish I had just been home to make things run smoothly.

It is unfair to say that we were better off in the home, because it’s presumptuous in assuming permanent gender roles for all women. That’s where we were. I’m glad that women stepped out of the norm- if my daughter wants to dream to be an astronaut, a doctor, or a lawyer I will let her dream. I don’t have to say – oh sweetie that won’t happen, but you can be a secretary for any of those men. I do want for her at the same time if she marries and wants to stay home with her babies to have the respect from other mothers for doing so.

During WWI and WWII , there were lots and lots of posters like the one below- it’s properly termed Propaganda. It was used to encourage people from all walks of life to participate in the war effort… anything from gardening and canning to recycling your nylon pantyhose for parachutes.

navy girl

As Americans, we’re in a constant rat race- the men and women having- jobs- daycare- home- and activities. I’m so frustrated with this society behaving this way- stop freaking racing and just live.  It’s this one up mentality- so many people striving for more and not appreciating that they already have enough. If we can look back at how being latchkey kids for our generation of thirty somethings changed us – just imagine how our children are going to feel. Many of my friends are starting to figure this out, but mostly because of the economy it made people have to slow down because they couldn’t afford childcare or couldn’t find a job. If you both want to work fine- great but both of you need to take care of the home and the kids. If one of you wants to stay home- great make it work financially and make sure the house is ready for just family time when the spouse gets home. If you can homeschool- great do it. If you work inside the home- great take care of the home as best you can (dear Lord knows my situation is crazy and unique), but otherwise split it down the middle so you can both have fun when it is all said and done.

My favorite piece of propaganda from WWII- the infamous Rosie the Riveter. During the war, the majority of capable men were sent off to fight the war, but the machinery needed to defeat the Germans, Italians and Japanese took extreme effort. We were fighting in so many theaters during WWII- we fought in the Pacific, Africa and in Europe. We needed tanks, planes, ships, and sadly used two atomic bombs to end it and they needed to be built fast. Women were encouraged to roll up their sleeves and do their part in the war effort- they helped build and worked all kinds of machinery. Americans needed them to do it and in the end their efforts did not go unnoticed. Many of those jobs following the war went back to men and women were expected to roll down their sleeves, wipe off the grease and find a nice house dress. Then while popping out those baby booming kids- that ultimately caused a huge wave in the population growth. They were expected to continue carrying on like they didn’t know how to roll up their sleeves and work hard like a man.

we can do it

Should we stop the women’s movement… no not at all. Not all women want to have babies or get married- and we have to pave the road for them to be successful too. What we do need though is balance in the homes we already have. No one should feel like they are doing it all. Balance makes for happy marriages and I do believe this has something to do with the divorce rate in the United States. How you were raised is irrelevant- the spouses need to find balance to find happiness for all. I don’t want this for my marriage and I count myself lucky that my husband and I are capable of communicating. It’s not easy for even us to have these conversations.. so I can only imagine that in other homes it’s even harder. There is no better time to talk then now instead of continuing to have overworked exhausted women and husbands that may not even be aware that they could help make it better. We marry for love and sometimes for convenience. I’d like to think that the exhausted women in my life could be heard not just by their friends, but their husbands love them enough to listen to what they need to find the right balance. We still feel torn because it is still not balanced and granted there are some things physically that I can’t do, but that doesn’t mean other women can’t do them- that’s again presumptuous. We’re still torn because we have unequal pay. We’re still torn because we are still unequal in political seats being filled by women. We are still torn because we are still tearing each other apart- as long as the woman is happy leave her alone in your judgements. If she’s happy plating her husbands food- leave her alone. If she’s happy staying at home- or working- leave her alone. If she’s happy doing all the house work- leave her alone. It’s the unhappy people I’m worried about.

 I hope that I can capture the spirit of Rosie the Riveter in my life. I am strong and capable and I hope that my son sees me as strong and I hope he sees his sister as strong. I hope that both of my children learn to clean house and may they both learn to change the oil in a car.. may they both get their hands dirty and learn how to clean up a mess. May my daughter grow to see herself as capable, intelligent, and not finding herself having to be subservient to anyone based on societal expectations. 

capture the spirit

The thought of Friday- Like Music to My Ears

up high

The new Avett Brothers album came out Tuesday- Magpie and the Dandelion– and I’m in the double digits as to how many times I’ve listened to it already. I have disconnected from the world in my musical obsession. The best way I could describe it is to say I have curled up in their back pocket and followed them along for a while.

In high school, I can’t think of any major obsession other than I listened to Nirvana, Jim Croce and Queen a lot. When John left for college he gave me a Leonard Cohen album. Then I found Tom Waits… which I’m pretty certain John fell in love with Tom more than I. I fell in love with his Mule Variations album which to many “Raindogs”- big Tom Waits fans – would say that Mule Variations deviated far from the norm and is their least favorite album and it is in fact my favorite. So anything that followed- Mule Variations-  I did not connect with as much. Now in Tom’s “earlier years” I adore the piano ballads… but otherwise I haven’t been able to connect to him for some time. My attempt to connect with a female artist never lasted long nor did it become too intense- Alanis Morissette… Norah Jones… Fiona Apple… Feist… Gillian Welch…. believe me I tried. I’ve always enjoyed ladies of Jazz- Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and so on…  Our wedding musical mishap created a love for James Taylor. We stopped on our way to our honeymoon and got James Taylor tapes for the trip. James Taylor forever will remind me of our wedding and our honeymoon. You can’t erase that- it’s permanently embedded. Following our wedding, I lost music for a while… I was working so much and when I found the time I listened to John Mayer- Will Hoge-  Johnny Cash- Plain White T’s- Gavin DeGraw. During this time any time I exercised- Justin Timberlake has been my goto for years. I went through a small Adele obsession but she was overplayed and fizzled out fast. I should also refer to this whole parenting thing where I got lost in the toddler tunes for a while- a previous blog about this problem… It should also be mentioned that it’s hard to stick to an obsession when many of the artists you love have passed on….

So for some time I have listened to the radio and didn’t feel a major connection. On June 20th, we attended the Avett Brothers concert in Roanoke. I loved it- I knew some of the songs, but not much off the Carpenters album. We left the concert completely in awe… both of us. There is just something so raw about a couple of guys and strings- not all this technological fluff.  A week following the concert we left on our anniversary trip. On the train ride to Philadelphia, we decided to download the Carpenter album and we shared ear buds and curled up together. I ran along to the music in Cape Cod and in Central Park. We spent a night in Cape Cod cruising down the road with the windows down and the Avetts turned up. I downloaded I and Love and You, but there was just something about the Carpenter album that stole my heart. It must be said that our anniversary trip will be forever be connected to the Avett Brothers. Much like in my memory for James Taylor is connected to our wedding and honeymoon. In these moments since our vacation it is easiest to describe our trip as to falling in love all over again. The Avett Brothers and particularly the Carpenter album songs define falling into a deeper love with my husband. Those who followed our trip this summer… now you may understand how amazingly fitting it was when we were sitting in Boston and the people on the dock, by the Charles, were playing the Avett Brothers.

I have said we took away two things from our vacation- one we need to spend more time alone together and dare not wait that long ever again and two we need to declutter our home because being in the open environment of the bed and breakfasts made us so at ease. Really I have to admit we took away three things- the third -and most crucial for me in particularly-  that the Avett Brothers have made a connection to a moment that I would like to freeze in time- the moment when my husband and I fell completely into a deeper sickening pit of love.

On the new album- Once you have listened enough you realize that they’ve been playing these songs for some time, but the album makes it more official so to speak.

Souls like the Wheels

Morning Song

Apart From Me

Out of all of the song- I connect to this one personally on the new album-

Never Been Alive

Seth Avett with Bob Crawford singing Jim Croce- How could I resist even though it is not on the new album?

john ukulele

With all the music added to the house recently John felt inspired to purchase a ukulele last Saturday. He thought it would be fun to learn something new. So this is him playing one of my favorite Avett Brothers songs Murder in the City.

Halloween Costumes

My friend requested this blog—- Halloween Costumes- I’m very opinionated about not pouring a fortune into kids clothing. I mean I like for my kids to look clean and neat, but some of this stuff is just OVER the top…. Halloween costumes are maybe my one thing I like to spend money on for the fun of it, but I try not to spend too much and I shop around for the right thing at the right price.

So here are my shopping for costume tips in respect of being fiscally responsible and having a good time.

Alden's costume scored from amazon... super cute. shipped and fit perfectly.
Alden’s 2006 costume scored from amazon… super cute. shipped and fit perfectly. Maybe $25

Make a decision for what you are looking for before you ever leave the house- let the kids see stuff online and ask well in advance as to what they want. If they don’t care- great this makes things sooo flexible, but otherwise know exactly what they want and all decisions are final.

1. If your child isn’t too picky something like a Costume Swap is a great idea- Check out your local swaps.

Alden's 2007 costume- Purchased second hand at Once Upon a Child- he wore it for years. Just got rid of it this year in 2013
Alden’s 2007 costume- Purchased second hand at Once Upon a Child- he wore it for years. Just got rid of it this year in 2013 – Less than $10

It’s too late to swap here in Roanoke, but maybe next year….Roanoke’s Costume Swap.

2. Goodwill– I have found some hilarious things at the thrift store. You may find exactly what you are looking for, but if your costume is like a witch or something you can make happen in this fashion do it!!!

Fall 08 059
2008- Alden’s costume purchased from ebay. He wanted to be an itsy bitsy spider. We made it happen and thank the Lord I plan ahead. It shipped from China and took forever. Then it didn’t fit to the charted size. I had to cut the legs off the costume and put the top with some slacks he already had. $ 25 max.

3. Consignment sales and stores– I have gotten plenty of Halloween Costumes and play clothes at Once Upon a Child– click here and find one near you. They even Halloween t-shirts and hair clips for the season….I should add I get them a size too big when I do buy them. Alden has been wearing the same Halloween shirt since he was 4!!! I just store it in the Halloween bin every year and get it out so it is not over used.

4. Ask in advance for gifts– one of the coolest presents we got was for our baby shower. Someone picked up a baby costume on the clearance rack. Saved me a lot of stress when our daughter had her first Halloween.

5. Rent them– If your child wants something random- you’d be surprised what you can rent from the local store- actually it’s rather scary.

2009- Alden’s costume was purchased from amazon and Maggie’s was a baby shower gift. – Maybe $30

6. Amazon and Ebay– Yes they have awesome costumes. Read carefully the reviews and the shipping. Many of the costumes are shipped directly from China- the sizes are wrong and the shipping takes FOREVER! —- I speak from experience. 

Halloween 2010
2010- Alden’s costume was purchase from ebay- I ordered early and larger. Maggie’s I made from a pattern. I spent more money on this one- closer to $50, but it was by far my favorite.

7. Etsy– if you want something unique and you are willing to pay for someone’s craftiness this is the place to go!!!!

Maggie's costume was purchased at k-mart. Black tights at Once Upon a Child and she already owned the shoes. Alden's costume was a $5 score at a yard sale and hairspray paint from K-mart.
Maggie’s costume was purchased at k-mart. Black tights at Once Upon a Child and she already owned the shoes. Alden’s costume was a $5 score at a yard sale and hairspray paint from K-mart.

8. K-martWalmartTarget I shop online personally. I read the reviews and pick out the best costumes from each place and make checkout boxes for each company. Also pay close attention to those shipping dates- yes they ship them separately. If you get all the costumes from one location you can get free shipping!

9. The Disney Store– again pricey but I’m sure they are lovely costumes.

2012- John had shirts made for us as animal control officers. Alden was a puppy again- Score! Maggie was a black kitten. I used scraps from my mom to make the tail and ears. She wore her black leotard and black slacks. $20 for the entire family.

10. Post it on Facebook exactly what you are looking for- If I had it in my closet I would loan it to my friends. I know I would. My kids like to keep their costumes every year…. so they don’t get passed on very often, but it doesn’t mean I can’t loan it out for a few nights!

Sneak Peek for 2013- Spent less than $50 by getting free shipping and ordered from Walmart. It was cheaper than K-mart and Target when I compared them. They got exactly what they wanted and I saved my sanity by not trying to make them or run around store to store. They picked them out from the computer at home. I take sanity this time…

11. If you can sew you could always make your own. Find good Halloween Patterns here. I have done that and it was probably my most favorite of all… Going to second hand stores you can find used patterns there too… just keep your eyes on the look out for them. I know I have some stored in the closet myself- again I would loan it out if I knew someone needed it!

Friday Whistle While You Work

I’m so looking forward to my friend April visiting this weekend. We met in January 2000 and we’ve been friends ever since. We lived together for two years of college and have grown to enjoy each other more since we graduated. She lives a few hours away but we’ve made time for each other about twice a year we visit each other over the last ten years. We’re always up to some kind of shenanigans…. April number 1 and April number 2.

I am number 2 since I showed up second to RU. We were part of a group of ladies that were referred to as the Peanut Gang and we were a great support system for each other along the way and even today. Some of us are closer and some have grown apart, but they are all a blessing in my life. April number1- aka Chipmunk- Me – aka Lolli. Michelle- Pnut. Jessica- Heinz. Nicole- Toadie. Jamie- Dew- Da… Dew- Little… crap I don’t remember- Tonya aka Puffy-T and T-Dog. It was silly innocence and precious to my heart.

Pnut- Heinz- Me- John- T-dog- Chipmunk and Toadie… Jamie didn’t make it that day.

This list of songs are just ones I particularly enjoyed this week. Enjoy!

John Prine and Iris DeMent- In spite of ourselves

Scott Avett— “trying” to sing “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”… this sums up parenting.

Matt Costa- Astair

Brett Dennen- Sydney

Timmy Curran- Blue Eyes

Band Of Horses- The General Specific

Bucket Lists… You’re never too young

I see bucket lists as fluid documents. The things you can do now or want to do now—things we wish we were brave enough now to do but we hope that some day we will have enough courage to do it— things we can’t afford to do— as a parent, I often excuse something for when the kids get bigger or out of the house—things that are unreasonable like go into space… probably not going to happen— things you’d like to change about yourself… sometimes these are huge and sometimes they are really small.

We started a dinner group at church where you have dinner with about seven other folks it is called Feast. We read scripture and discuss it and then talk- keeping it simple. So when we were introducing ourselves we had to say our name and something on our bucket list. John said he hadn’t really thought about his bucket list and our friend Brad said, “Well sweetie that’s ’cause you’re so young.” John later asked me if I had thought about a bucket list… yes! I absolutely have. You are never ever too young to start a bucket list- life is short. I don’t plan on trying to jam pack my plans in my older years or look back at my life with regrets. Some things have been important to me and in five to ten years I may not even remember that they were so important in the moment.

This photo is from a year ago a from now.

Since this blog is called “Gingerliciousness- Growing in Gumption” I think I should explain that more. If you didn’t get the gingerliciousness part- Well my daughter Maggie is obsessed with Pinkalicious. It is a play and a book series. She saw the children’s play at Roanoke Children’s Theatre and has been hooked to the character and books ever since. I have been adding licious to the end of everything for a while. Ginger is a slang term for a redhead and I just put the two things together… we are kind of fond of our redheaded family. About the gumption part- I needed to grow personally. I wasn’t being my true self and allowing myself to be “owned” by opinions and thoughts of others. It was sort of my new years resolution to grow in gumption and lose weight. I have accomplished both things this year. I am not an introvert or an extrovert. I’m one of those mystical people that fall in-between. My weight and my back/hip pain had turned me into an introvert more than I was appreciating. I used to write all the time as a child. It was my therapy and it’s really what I wanted to do when I grew up. I wrote so many poems- you’d be surprised. I started writing at eleven years old and two poems were published by the time I was thirteen. I journaled to get so much out of my head all throughout high school and college. I knew if I was going to grow in gumption this year I needed to write. I love telling stories- any of my former students will tell you I can tell a good story, but most people that are not in my close inner circle didn’t see this before my blog. In this blog I am telling stories, opinions and my thoughts on this process, but mostly it is about me having enough gumption- guts, balls, stamina, strength- to say what I’m honestly thinking. I used to duck behind what I thought and I’m not willing to hide anymore.

october 2012
This is me this week a year ago.

My bucket list goals / new years resolutions for 2013 were folding out in front of you. As we head nearer to 2014, I would like for you look back on the blogging of 2013 with this perspective- I am pretty open about my life and have a whole lot more gumption and a deeper personality than many people had any idea. I am about 30 lbs lighter. I have a new hair style. I can run— oh yeah buddy that’s a big one. I exercise regularly. I have stood my ground on a few relationships that I needed to up my gumption with- they weren’t healthy. I took a pottery class and learned about throwing on a wheel… I’m not good at it. I plan on taking this again at a later time. I went on a train ride… ha several train rides. I sort of came out of the closet about where I attend church, because being quiet about it isn’t showing my true self. I got a new doctor… this was a big step for me… she helped me get the ball rolling on a few issues and I feel cared for and listened to ~  before this year I didn’t even have enough gumption to detach myself from the doctor that wasn’t helping me at all. In summation, I came to the decision at the new years turn to change and really change. I prayed a lot about how to make these changes in myself. 2013 still has some more big changes in store for me… I have 3 months left and I’m not done yet.

May 2013
John and I May of 2013

My Bucket List

It had other items on it, but I can’t remember them now… I have never written this down like this as I’m young, but it is time to write it down to keep track of it. There are some more private goals that are not on this list, but I’m looking forward to making this a fluid list full of accomplishments along the way.


* Travel by train-  √ summer 2013

* Travel to England/Scotland/Ireland

* Travel to Canada

* Travel to Vermont

* Take a Mediterranean Cruise

* Hot air balloon ride

* Take the kids to a Disney theme park

* Go to SeaWorld


* Walk a mile without pain- √ spring 2013

* Run a mile- √ spring 2013

* Run 2 miles – √ summer 2013

* Run a 5k- √ summer 2013

* Run a 10k

* Run a half marathon

* I can swim but I’d like to improve my skills.


* Learn to throw pottery on a wheel- √ summer 2013

* Take a dance class with my husband

* Take horseback riding lessons

* Healthy enough hips and knees to take ski lessons

* Voice lessons

* Learn to play the clarinet- why specifically this instrument I have no idea…

Cooking/Baking- Note most of these are completed… that’s what working in the home does for ya!

* Bake a cake entirely from scratch for my daughter’s birthday- √ summer 2010

* Bake a pumpkin pie entirely from scratch- roasting pumpkin and all – √ fall 2010

* Bake an apple pie entirely from scratch- √ fall 2011

* Learn how to stuff and bake a turkey!!! I didn’t lift it but I did stuff it November 2013

* Master soft cookie making- summer 2010

oct 6
This is a picture of me today.



* Find a church to attend- √ spring 2010

* Volunteer for a pet shelter

* Serve on a Board of Directors – √ fall 2011

* Swim with a dolphin

* Write a book

* Do the voice for a cartoon character

* Positive self image- That’s always a work in progress

* Dye my hair a silly color- I have never colored my hair not even highlights.

* Sing karaoke with my husband

* Parasailing- me and heights over water are not friends.

* Sing at church in the choir