Friday, October 30, 2009

Costume Party Fun!

Once a month the ladies at church have a Ladies’ Night Out. Somehow I ended up being the fearless leader of this group. I’m not really sure how that happened, but it did, and I’ve been doing it for about five years or so. We have a few ladies that come every time and then a few others that come about half the time and still a fewer others that come about once a year. But, no matter who is there, we always manage to have a great time.

For the past two years (three counting this year) we have had a costume contest in the month of October. The October gathering is always at the home of Janice Jennings, who really goes all out for Halloween. The costume contest has been a lot of fun over the years and everyone always manages to come in a different costume than the one they wore the year before. We’ve got a lot of creative gals in our group.

Here are some photos from this past Monday night’s Ladies’ Night Out:

Dena was a pirate and Deborah was one of two deviled eggs

Shelia was "just  waking up"
Janet was a chef
Myrtle was Myrtle

Faye was the other deviled egg

Sandra was Michael Jackson

Janice Jennings was our hostess for the evening and a go-go girl

Peggy was a 50s girl

I was a rock star

Elaine was half-dressed and also the winner of the costume contest!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cake Update

The cake competition just wrapped up. There were four categories that were judged – scariest (that’s the one I entered), prettiest, funniest, and most creative. I won the scariest category. There was also a fan favorite category and the winner had to have the most votes (money). It was 25 cents a vote. Well, I recruited all my friends to vote and I won the fan favorite too! So, I won two $20 gift cards. I’ll be giving one of them to Erika for all her help! Thanks, Erika!

Cake Making With Erika!

This week began the United Way campaign at work. I love it when United Way time rolls around. Not necessarily because I love supporting the United Way, but more because it’s like a three week long fall festival at work. There’s popcorn every afternoon; Bingo on Wednesdays (I Bingoed twice yesterday!); and all sorts of other games and contests throughout the campaign. It’s fun and it makes work so much more exciting.

Today we are having an extreme cake contest. I think this is the first year we have ever done this. Yesterday, at the last minute, I decided I was going to enter the extreme cake contest, and who better to recruit for help than the lovely Erika – extreme baker herself!

Obviously I've known Erika a long time!

Erika swung by my house after work where I had buffalo wings and French fries at the ready for her dinner. (Nope, I didn’t make those; they came from Best Wings – so good!)

While Erika was eating dinner (I was rude and scarffed mine down as soon as I got home with them) I mixed up the cake and put it in the oven. The cakes finished baking just about the time Erika finished eating.

After the cakes cooled, it was time to slap on the icing. I’m terrible at icing cakes so I let Erika do this handy work.

While she was icing the cake, I made ghosts out of marshmallows and also some homemade tombstones.

After Erika finished icing the cake, I stuck in the ghosts and tombstones. While I was doing that, Erika began her attempt to make spiders inspired by Bakerella.

Sticking in the tombstones.

Erika's got the chocolate ready for those spiders!

Let’s just say that Erika is going to stick to cake making, rather than spider making.

Since we had so much room on the cake board and the spiders didn’t turn out as planned, Erika came up with the idea that we should spell RIP on the cake board with licorice. After contemplating how to do it, she decided we should cut the licorice in small pieces and then spell it out. We were going to glue it doen with icing, but that wasn’t working too well. So, we went for the Elmer’s Galactic Glue, which we kept calling galaxy glue. We also sang about the galaxy glue, but you don’t want to read about our fits of insanity.

Elmer's Glue - you can't beat it, but don't eat it!

The Tide was hoping for a crumb or two

We really needed an official photographer to come and document our progress in the kitchen, but Tony was redesigning his drum set and couldn’t make it. I haven’t quite figured out my new camera yet, but Erika brought hers and took a picture of us using the auto timer. She’s supposed to send it to me today and when she does, I’ll post it on here along with an update on the outcome of the cake contest.

Yes, I used the name Cornelia Marie - I hope I didn't put a curse on the boat by doing that!

The finished product turned out awesome in my opinion. If it doesn’t win first place then I’m demanding a recount and am going to ask about the hanging chads. The cake we were making was a Martha Stewart creation. Ours didn’t turn out quite as polished as Martha’s. I consider it the Alabama version of Martha’s cake.

Our cake compared to Martha's

The finished product!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Today is my Dogiversary!

Today is my dogiversary! It’s like an anniversary, only with your dog. I got my dog, The Tide, seven years ago today. I found her at She was born in a litter of seven puppies and they were at the Pitt County Animal Shelter in Greenville, N.C., which is where I lived at the time. It was $50 to adopt and as soon as I saw that little gal, I knew she was going to be my dog! Today, it costs $75 to adopt – I guess the animal shelter has to change with the times too.

The picture at the top of this post is The Tide on the day I adopted her. She weighed only five pounds and you could see her rib cage. She didn’t like to eat a lot when she first came home. My assumption was that she was used to sharing food with other dogs and wasn’t used to having so much food at her disposal. Plus, I think she may have been the runt of her litter; but, I could be wrong, because she certainly isn’t a runt these days.

I was told by the animal shelter that The Tide would only be about 20 pounds, but after her first vet visit, I was given some large breed dog food and when I questioned it, they said that she was going to be about 75 pounds! Well, I couldn’t take her back so I was gonna have to deal with it.

A few months after I adopted The Tide, she started limping and after a trip to the vet, it was discovered that she had hip dysplasia, which is common in large dogs, but not usually until they are much older. My vet back in Alabama told us he could do surgery – replacing the ball and socket joints in her hips – and so my dad came and picked her up and drove her to Alabama to have her first surgery. While she was having her surgery and recuperating, I packed up to move back to Alabama myself. A few months later, The Tide had her other hip operated on.

The Tide's Hips

I’m happy to say that both hips have healed nicely and she is living a normal dog life. She still doesn’t realize that those hips of hers work well – after all, she could probably jump a fence if she put her mind to it, but she doesn’t think she can.

The Tide has been a great source of joy for me over the years. We have been loyal companions of one another and she had provided me with hours of laughter. She has quite a personality. Some of the funniest times are when she chases her tail – I can hardly quit laughing. My favorite moments are when we snuggle up together. She’s a great snuggler and a good protector. I am so thankful I adopted her – despite all the money she has cost me over the years. I hope we have at least seven more years together and even more if possible! Here’s to you The Tide – I hope you read this post!

My mom, me and The Tide  - on my 26th birthday

The Tide and my dad!

It's me and The Tide

The Tide - ears poked behind her head

The Tide usually keeps one ear up and one ear down.
My mom says she looks like Scooby Doo!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trunk Or Treat

After church service this past Sunday night, we had trunk or treat. I don’t know when this started, or what church started it, but once it did, it caught on like wildfire and now everyone goes trunk-or-treating, and hardly anyone goes trick-or-treating. Weird.

When I was a kid, I loved going trick or treating. There were always a ton of kids out in the neighborhood and I loved dressing up. My dad would walk with my brother and me and sometimes he would even dress up. It was awesome! Sometimes our friends would go with us or sometimes it would just be my brother and me, but we always had a good time. I wish I had some old trick-or-treating photos on hand to post – maybe another time.

So, like I said, I don’t know when this whole trunk-or-treat phenomenon started, but it is the big thing these days. Kids dress up and go from trunk to trunk instead of from house to house. I guess it’s safer for the children, but I think they are missing out by not trick-or-treating! Oh well, what do I know? It seems like the kids enjoy it, and that’s really all that matters. Plus I scored a coupon for a free frosty, so, I’m not complaining.

Here are some photos from trunk-or-treat:

Here are Troy and Ashlyn - AKA Harry Potter and a witch

I remember when my brother used to chase me - why do brothers do that?

Here's my friend Candy and her sweet daughter, Jane Claire.
JC is almost as tall as Candy now!

Here's Candy's son Silas - he's a pirate!

Amy's daughter Chelsea was a pig

She even had a tail!

Here's my sweet student Greg! He's Thomas the Train.

This is Sara's boy, Blaine - he's a cowboy and Sara made his outfit.
You can read about her costume making experience here:

Sara's boy Bryson was dressed as a dog - so cute!

Last but not least is Jack, dressed as Woody from Toy Story.
I was in his mamma's wedding 14 years ago!
So weird that it's been that long.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Field of Screams Haunted Corn Maze

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. It brings back fond memories of trick-or-treating as a child and fall festivals at school. I have always loved to carve pumpkins and to me it seems that the Halloween season means that fall has officially arrived.

One thing I have never really cared about during Halloween, however, is Haunted Houses! I really don’t understand why people fork over their hard earned money to get scared by strangers. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Plus, those haunted houses, trails, and mazes terrify me! I hate it when the people follow you and I especially hate it when they have chainsaws! But, over the years, I’ve been one of those people that have paid for the experience – only because my friends have dragged me to these wretched events! You know, come to think of it, they should have paid my admission all those times! Oh well.

This past Saturday, I went with Jackie, Maria and their children to the Field of Screams, Haunted Corn Maze! Why in the world anyone would take young children to a haunted corn maze is something I cannot understand, but I’m not a mom so what do I know? It seems like terrifying your children would only make for a miserable night for yourself. So, I went along and screamed and ran and was frightened – and the kids were not. I am pretty sure I screamed more than the children. In fact, Troy led the way with his light up shoes and was scared of nothing! The kids probably thought it was funny that I was scared and they weren’t! A few times Jackie would tell me there was someone walking behind me to make me scream and run! She would then proceed to laugh her butt off at me. A few times I screamed and held on to her so tight I would not be surprised id she had bruises on her arm!

At the end of the corn maze you had to walk through this enclosure that was black and probably made of parachute material. It was blowing at you from both sides so it felt like you were trapped. This is probably not a great description, but it really is hard to describe. After you got out of that insanity there were more masked men with chainsaws. I ran like the dickens to get out of there and then started laughing so hard I almost peed myself! I thought about it during church a few times yesterday, and it’s amazing I didn’t laugh out loud during the sermon.

The kids got to ride the cow train after the haunted corn maze experience. I was a little jealous that I didn't get to go, but then again, I'm not sure my heart could have taken it.

Here are some pictures from our frightening experience:

Here's the group before the haunting began!

Look at these kids! They are so excited!

There they go - into the corn maze!

Here are some of the terrifying creatures in the corn maze!

Here's one of those fools with a chainsaw!

Ths guy looks like he's going to kill poor Ashlyn!

Walking through the corn maze.

An "aerial" view of the corn maze

Finally, something pleasant - the Cow Train!

Troy and Ashlyn on the Cow Train.

Jackie, Troy, and Ashlyn - they still love their mom even though she took them to the corn maze!

Jacob, Maria, Regan, and Jordan - they love their mom too!

Since I don't have to kids, I had to borrow Jordan. This is not the most flattering picture I've ever taken. That coat is making me look like a sumo wrestler!

I borrowed Jacob and Regan too!