Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Countdown to Christmas

Thanksgiving is past, and it's time to start the Christmas countdown!
Pretty humbly decorated tree, but it's ours, in our living room!

See how smart I am? I made our countdown candy chain with 3 pieces of candy per day instead of 1, so that each child can get a candy every day.  Sometimes I amaze myself.

It hit me today how good it feels to be excited for Christmas.  I've been excited in the past, don't get me wrong; it's just been a long time since we've had any kind of security at Christmastime, and when I was stressed about what the future would bring, it was hard to really get into the spirit of Christmas.  When I think about it, it's easy to see what was giving me such stress: last year we were building and had just barely moved out of our temporary house, in with my parents (for which we were so very grateful, but it was certainly stressful); the year before that, we had just moved into our temporary house after the most horrendous and emotionally difficult months of our lives; the year before that we were hurting for money, big time, and it was only because of the thoughtfulness of others and blessings from the Lord that we had anything under the tree at all.  Well, of course it is always because of the blessings from the Lord that we get to celebrate Christmas to begin with, and we are always very grateful for our little bit of prosperity... but this year is different.  This is our first Holiday season in our own home, that nobody can take away from us.  Cody is making more money now than he ever has, and while we're still hunting around for new job opportunities, we have enough to buy the gifts we want to.  The knowledge that we have enough, and even a bit to give back to others, gives me so much peace and tranquility.  I am grateful that I get to focus on helping others and watching my children enjoy the Christmas traditions I treasure instead of worrying about what will happen in the New Year. 

I hope you are all getting excited for Christmas too!  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I was so thrilled to be able to make my first Thanksgiving dinner in our new house!  I want to kind of journal it, because the dinner worked out so perfectly.

The preparations started several days in advance.  I got the turkey out of the freezer (22 pounds!) and into the fridge on Friday prior to Thanksgiving.  On Tuesday, I made cornbread for the stuffing, roll dough and hung out with friends.  Wednesday, I prepped the stuffing vegetables, I made pineapple cheese jell-o, pomegranate and lime slush, and I went to my mom's house to make pies with my sister and mother.  We made 17 pies that day: Apple (using a few frozen pie fillings I'd made at the end of October), Pumpkin, pecan, rhubarb, blueberry, and mincemeat.  On Wednesday night we had "Pie Night" and cut into a few of those delicious pies.  It was nice to enjoy pie separately from the Thanksgiving dinner, although we had some Thursday as well. :)

Lastly on Wednesday, I put the turkey in the brine.  There was still slushy ice in the cavity of the turkey, but otherwise it was thawed and ready to go.  We used my pressure canner pot to hold the turkey and brine because the turkey was massive.  The brine had lemon and orange, and a bunch of fresh sage and thyme from my mom's garden--amazingly not destroyed by frost yet!  We took the insulation out of the vent of the cold storage room so that it would be plenty cool in there, and let the turkey soak down there for the night.  We monitored the temperature.  My sister Sara will be happy to hear that.

Thursday morning we spiffed up the house and kitchen, and then my mom and dad came over and we cooked.  I made a few snacks in the morning: coconut oil popcorn and a purchased shrimp tray, and my mom brought a vegetable tray with ranch dip.  I put cornbread sausage stuffing in the crock-pot, made Alton Brown's recipe for green bean casserole, orange glazed yams, mashed potatoes, and rolled out the rolls to rise.  The turkey actually didn't go into the oven until nearly 1 PM.  I didn't stuff it with stuffing, just the vegetation from the brine.  I rubbed it down with olive oil and then seared it at 500 convection roasting for 25 minutes.  Then I put in the probe thermometer into the deepest part of the turkey breast, covered just the breast with aluminum foil, and turned down the oven to 350, on the convect roast setting, and told it to hold temperature at 155.  While the turkey was roasting, my mom and I finished the cooking (already mentioned above) and Cody set the table, while my dad "napped" and the kids helped him "nap."  :) 

The Turkey was done at about 3:20, so we pulled it out, covered it, and let it rest while I baked the rolls and warmed up the green bean casserole.  My mom made the most fabulous gravy from the turkey drippings, using the extra long burner on the stove top.  The kids and Grandpa put slush and Sprite in the cups, and Cody carved the turkey after it had rested.  Everything was done amazingly on time, and we put it all on the table and sat down right at 4 PM.  The food was SO good!  The turkey was juicy and tender and flavorful.  The gravy was silky and delicious.  The mashed potatoes--to which I'd added some cream cheese and mom's homemade chicken stock--were divine.  My great-grandmother's recipe for yams turned out fantastic, as always.  The rolls were high and light and buttery.  I really liked the cornbread stuffing, but it wasn't as traditional as other types of stuffing, so yet again I'm on a quest for the perfect homemade stuffing recipe, that doesn't go in the bird or oven.  Hm... I'll have to ponder that one.  My dad made a very delicious whole cranberry sauce, and when we sat down we all held hands and prayed, each saying something we were grateful for.  Then we had a few toasts with our plastic cups full of slush--yum!--and dug in. 

After dinner, we put the turkey and food away, started the dishwasher, then went for a walk around the block as the sun was setting.  It felt good to stretch a bit after all that eating, but we were still too full for pie when we got back, so my parents left a few pies with us and they went home.  Then we watched a movie and ate pie just before bed, at about 7:30. 

On Friday, Cody worked a bit in the morning, and then we headed down for Thanksgiving part-two with Cody's family.  That was a lot of fun, and it was great to visit with family.  The kids loved playing outside in the gorgeous weather, and Cody's mom worked tirelessly to make the big Thanksgiving dinner--no small feat for 32 people!  We came back that same night and slept very well. 

I love Thanksgiving and the start of the Holiday season.  I hope you all had a great one!  We have much to be grateful for.  I know so many people without jobs or in poor health or other desperate situations, and I'm always reminded that no matter how bad things are, we still are blessed with much.  We have good friends and amazing family, God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, beautiful children who are happy with so little, and a wonderful world to live in.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful 20

Today I'm grateful for my parents and my parents-in-law and how they raised Cody and I.

I'll probably get in trouble for stealing this photo off my mom's blog.  I scoured my pictures on my computer and couldn't find a good one in the last year of my parents together.  Desperate times call for desperate measures. :D

Cody and I both come from wonderful homes.  We were both taught as children to put the Lord first, and to work hard and to be compassionate--things we both learned primarily by example.  Our parents love us and we love them.  They have always been sources of inspiration and guidance and I'm so grateful I have these marvelous examples of righteous, powerful parenthood to rely on as I raise my own children.  I hope someday my kids look up to me the way I look up to my parents. I also hope someday I get to go on a cruise around the Panama canal and snap a photo of Cody and I waving from the turquoise Caribbean...but even more I hope I can smile from the temple grounds while I wait for my daughter to emerge with her new husband... I am so grateful for the parentage we have and generations of examples that precede us; and I will forever be thankful that I was given the childhood I had--yes, even when I was FORCED to haul dirt to the garden.  I'm thankful that our parents are still our parents, and they all play such a special and beautiful role as grandparents to our children.  I'm grateful they were our parents, still are, and always will be.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful 19

Today I'm grateful for the grocery store just a few minutes away!  I love that I can drive to a cute, local store to do my shopping.  They have great produce, good prices, fantastic deals and best of all, awesome service.  And if I need to do a bit more intense shopping, bigger stores are just a few more minutes' drive.  I just love the services and the availability of items near me.  I'm so grateful for the beautiful town where I get to live, and that I can find what I need so easily, so quickly, and get a smile to go with it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thankful 18

Today I'm especially grateful for my husband's job.  I complain about it more than I should.  I complain that he doesn't get paid enough, that his managers don't recognize him often enough, that he's not able to use the degree he worked so hard to obtain... But the truth of the matter is, he has a job.  It is a good, stable job.  He is a dedicated, hard worker who is devoted to our family, and his income is enough to cover our bills and pay for our beautiful home.  I'm grateful for that income, especially when I think of the harder times we went through, and the millions of people still in those hard times.  I'm grateful for the opportunity Cody has to work and to support our family. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankful 17

Today I'm grateful for the quiet moment at the end of the day when I climb in bed and relax.  Today has been a very busy, fun, but demanding day, and I'm grateful for it.  I'm grateful for productive days, but even more grateful when they end and I can sigh and say to myself, "This has been a good day."  I'm also grateful for the hard days, because they keep me human.  But most of all, I'm grateful for sweet, rejuvenating rest and a fresh start each morning.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankful 16

Today I'm grateful for the garbage man.  I was going to take a picture, but not only did I decide that would be disgusting, I missed my opportunity because I was using the restroom when the garbage was emptied.

We happen to live next door to our garbage man, and we built houses with him.  If we forget to take out our can, he sends us a text before he goes to work.  Today it was particularly full because of all the cleaning Cody's been doing in the basement (for which I'm extremely grateful!) and I was thrilled to see it all go. 

I'm grateful for all the amazing maintenance and City workers who keep our town looking beautiful and make it a safe place to live.  I'm grateful for the police and firemen, teachers, and councilmen who not only do their job, they do their jobs well.  I'm grateful for the marvelous place I am privileged to call home.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful 15

Today, I am--beyond words--grateful for good friends.  Since moving to our new house, we have made so many new and wonderful friends, it is fantastic.  Story time.  About two years ago, on an after Christmas clearance sale, I bought a bunch of fabric that I intended to sew Christmas stockings out of.  I thought I'd buy the fabric in December, then just hold on to it and sew stockings in the summer when I had "plenty of time."  Yeah.  Right.  So the fabric sat nicely stashed away in my basement through building our house, and got packed up and moved here, but since we packed the basement in such haste, I wasn't sure where it had been put.  A few weeks ago, Cody went gung-ho in the basement, cleaning and organizing and unpacking.  He did a great job, and we are now officially unpacked!  (For which I'm very grateful, but that's not the subject of this post... this is about friends...)  During the unpacking we found the fabric and all my crafting/sewing stuff, so I thought it was high time to finish the Christmas stockings.

Of course my vision in my head wasn't simple.  I wanted to piece my fabrics together like a patchwork quilt, line it with white felt, and somehow, I wasn't sure how, put our names on the front.  I really lack confidence in these kinds of things, and that's where friends came in.  I showed my fabric to one friend of mine who is a fabulous seamstress, and she thought it would be darling.  She offered her help, which I gladly took.  She loaned me her rotary cutter and let me go to her house where she gave me tips and advice on how to lay out the pieces.  After that, I still had the issue of getting the names on the stockings.  I went to our neighborhood Facebook page and pleaded for help.  Within 12 hours, I was able to go to another friend's house with the lining of the stockings and she gave me more suggestions and more confidence, and when her machine didn't work, she called yet another friend in the ward who has one of those awesome fancy embroidery machines.  Within another two hours, and more generosity and kindness, I was done with the embroidery and it looks gorgeous.  I was able to come home and finish the patchwork with Cody's help, and last night I put together the stockings.  I think they are adorable.  Wanna peek?

I'm grateful for the help others give me, and that I have so many fantastic people I can call friends.  I don't possess even close to all the talents in the world (closer to one percent of the talents in the world), and so I'm so grateful that kind people are willing to band together in friendship and help fill in my missing pieces.  I hope I can fill in their missing pieces as well and return the favor someday. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful 14

I'm grateful for modern medicine.

Last week Annalisa cut her finger as she was trying to get a drink with a glass cup.  It shattered in the sink and I'm not sure if she tried to clean it up or what, but the gash was deeper than any I've seen in my time as a parent.  I've never taken a child in for stitches before, but this felt different to me.  I raced around trying to gather insurance information and take care of Lee and Katie and stop the profuse bleeding and try to clean up broken glass, and finally I got to the doctor's office.  She didn't need stitches because of the location on her finger, so they merely wrapped it carefully to help immobilize her finger.  (Thanks again, Emily!)  I'm grateful that it was such a simple solution.

Also, we have a friend who was recently diagnosed with lukemia.  It could easily have been fatal, but after his first round with chemotherapy, his bone marrow biopsy showed no signs of lukemia.  What a miracle!  I've also been thinking a lot about vaccines and what an amazing thing they are.  A hundred years ago, the "normal" childhood diseases could leave you disfigured, paralyzed, or be deadly.  Now, because of vaccines and new medicines, we have nearly eradicated many of those most horrific diseases like Polio, Measles, whooping cough, and tuberculosis.  Amazing! 

I'm grateful that people have devoted their lives and their means to help others be healthy and strong.  I'm grateful for preventative medicine that gives me so much peace and assurance that not only am I keeping my children safe, I'm also protecting others by slowing the spread of disease.  I'm grateful for bleach and antibiotics and humidifiers and Kleenex, and doctors who are kind and nurses who are caring.  I'm grateful for my health and the health of my family.  As we enter cold and flu season, I'm grateful for all the sacrifices of others that keep us safe.  It truly is a blessing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thankful 13

Today I'm grateful for the funny things that happen all the time around our house.

For example, the other day at our house, Annalisa just discovered some Christmas gifts that were sent up by Cody's parents quite a while ago... they are on the ball!  But anyway, she found them and decided she needed to put them somewhere safe (although they had been in a perfectly safe location... her definition of "safe" is somewhere she can sneakily open them without anyone noticing...)  So after she hid them in my bathroom on the floor, she came to Cody and I the following discourse ensued:
Anna: "I need to open my Christmas presents!  It's Christmas!"
Cody: "No, it's not Christmas."
Anna: "Well, it snowed!"
Me: "It's not snowing right now, take a look."  Anna takes a gloomy peek outside at the glorious sunshine.  "Besides, Anna, it snows a lot of times when it's not Christmas.  It snows during the Wintertime, not just Christmas."
Anna: "Well, well, it's Thanksgiving!"
Cody: "It's close to Thanksgiving, and then it will be a few more weeks until Christmas.  No opening gifts until Christmas, okay Anna?"
Anna, ponders briefly: "I'm going to go check on my presents and see if they ripped themselves open!"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankful 12

Today I'm grateful for good deals!  I've been stocking up, getting ready for Thanksgiving.

My sister Sara and I worked out an "extreme couponing" adventure last week that was lots of fun for me.  We loaded a full cart and had a coupon for everything in it, except for 2 cans of corn (which we used as an item on which to use a catalina coupon, so I guess we even had a coupon for that).  We came out of there saving roughly 52% on our deal... but better yet, the items we purchased weren't just junk food, they were Thanksgiving items (like stuffing, chicken broth, etc). 

I'm grateful I have a well-stocked grocery store I can go to.  I've been heartsick watching all the news on Hurricane Sandy and the devastation there.  I wish I could do more to help.  I'm so grateful for my warm home and my food storage and being able to stock up while the price is right and save money while still enjoying the comforts of a nice home.  I'm grateful for my mom saving her coupons for me. :)  I'm grateful for the ability to live simply, but beautifully.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thankful 11

Today, I am grateful for my faith.  I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), in case you didn't know.  I'm grateful for the guidance I receive from reading the scriptures and praying to God.  I'm grateful for my relationship with my Savior, and for the privilege I have been given to repent of my mistakes and to receive forgiveness.  I am grateful for those who have worked and who continue to work hard to ensure my ability to worship as I choose, where I choose, when I choose.  I am grateful for the peace in my home and my heart when I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.  I'm grateful that I have some kind of a path laid out for me, as life becomes increasingly treacherous.  I'm grateful for God's love.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thankful 10

This morning there was an inch and a half of fresh snow on the ground, so naturally the kids wanted to go play in it just as soon as we would allow.  After breakfast and donning every piece of snow gear they could fit in, Cody took them outside to build a snow fort.  While I was out there with them, I heard the nail guns and air compressors running as the new teams build houses on the street adjacent to ours.  Wow, the memories came flooding back.

A year ago, on a day much like today, I spent the morning making chicken noodle soup and hot biscuits, and took them out to our build team at lunch time.  I took extra socks and pants and gloves for Cody, since his were soaked through.  I remember the evenings of frost and slick roofs and soaking in a warm tub for half an hour just to regain feeling in my legs. 

I love my house enough to not feel sorry for the new teams, but I do feel for them.  Today it is so surreal that we actually built our own house--that we survived those horrible cold nights and snowy roofs, and are better for it.  I'm grateful for those memories.  I'm grateful we built our house, and that we worked hard and endured the cold and wet and lived off of hot chocolate and caffeine for those months of building, because it has put us in such a better position.  But today, I'm very, very grateful to be done.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thankful 9

I'm grateful for a little break today.

Here is my wonderful rice cooker and bread machine.  I also have a crock pot, a freezer full of fast cooking foods, and some nifty settings on my oven that reduce the amount of work I have to do.  With a little effort in the morning (and I do mean little, very little), I can have a delicious hot meal ready at 5 without doing a bit of work in the last three hours.  I'm also grateful for my dishwasher and washing machine, vacuum, steam mop, and everything else I'm forgetting that make my life so much easier.  But my biggest help, above all, is my husband, who can tell when I'm hurting or tired or just need a break.  He is very service-oriented and does so much to help me out.  I'm grateful for the blessings I have that allow me to occasionally put my feet up for a few minutes and just exist.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful 8

Today I'm grateful that my happy memories far, far outnumber my sad ones.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful 7

Yesterday I voted.  Last night we watched the results come in.  Today I'm grateful that I live in a country that is peaceful, allows us to elect our officials, an for all the people who have paved the road that I'm privileged to walk.  I'm grateful for the founding fathers who wrote the constitution.  I'm grateful for the revolutionaries who fought to obtain our country's independence.  I'm grateful for those who paid taxes to purchase the lands I enjoy, and develop them and build the city I live in.  I'm grateful for the women and men who campaigned tirelessly for my right to vote.  I'm grateful for the candidates who put so much on the line to stand up for their own right to vote, and that this election provided me with a whole ballot full of worthy people who want good things for our country.  I'm grateful for checks and balances the help weed out corruption, and I'm grateful for the kind poll workers who helped me change my address because I was a bozo and forgot to do it when we first moved here.  I'm grateful for this wonderful land, and that the democratic process was so beautifully demonstrated yesterday. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankful 6

I'm so grateful to have good food to eat.  I've been worried a lot about the people affected by Hurricane Sandy--and every other disaster for that matter--and it makes me appreciate the bounty the Lord has sent our family.  We don't have a lot of money, but we can afford good food, and I have been given a special talent, that I've worked hard to develop, in cooking.  I love being able to gather together with my husband and children and share a meal together at least once a day.  This is a huge blessing and one that always brings me joy.  I've also been able to put away a lovely cellar full of food and 2 freezers full of frozen goods, in case the time comes when we need to live off of our food storage.  But today I'm especially thankful for my tastebuds and that something as simple as eating can be such a special, fun experience.  Like this.

Fresh apple pie.  And, there's 2 more pie fillings just like it in the freezer, ready for Thanksgiving, or just any day.  I love food!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thankful 5

I'm grateful for sparkly, twinkly, pretty Christmas lights.  And since my dad's on a cruise, he won't even be around to give me slack for putting them up at the beginning of November.

I'm grateful that they are fun, that they decorate our beautiful home, and that we have a home to put them up on.  I'm grateful for a storage room so well built with shelves and totes to keep Christmas lights in when not in use.  I'm grateful for after-Christmas-clearance sales from last year, where I scored big time on all these lovely LED icicle lights.  I'm grateful for the plug installed in the eaves of the house, operated by a switch behind the front door so I don't have to go outside to plug them in.  I'm grateful (again) for my awesome husband who put these up and involved the kids in the process.  I'm grateful for good neighbors who let us borrow their ladder at a moment's notice.  I'm grateful for the sunshine and the warm enough weather that Cody could wear shorts and a T-shirt while hanging these lights.  I'm grateful for the upcoming holiday season and the excitement and joy it brings!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful 4

At age 4, my mother started teaching me to play the piano.  I took piano lessons until I went to college, at which point I majored in Music Education (including even more piano lessons).  I'm grateful for each of those lessons, because it brought music into my life, and brought me to music.  Yes, those are two different things.  Being able to express myself through music, and having been granted this opportunity to develop my talents and find beautiful ways of sharing them with others, is something I will forever be thankful for.  It is a special part of my life, and I am grateful for my parents and their unending support--paying for lessons, listening to Hanon exercises every... single... morning....  I am also grateful that I now have the same opportunity to pass my love of music to my children, and I enjoy teaching them Piano lessons and starting down this new road with them.  I love music!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankful 3

When Katie saw me get out the camera, she came zooming over saying "Eees!  EEEs!"  (Cheese)  It was adorable.  So while I had intended on just capturing the sunlight streaming in through the windows, I got a bonus of Katie standing in said sunlight. 

Today I'm grateful for the beautiful weather we've been enjoying.  I love having my bed parked right under my window and during the afternoon I'll camp out there with a book, basking in the warm sunlight like a cat.  Because we've got a goodly amount of windows along the south side of the house, we really get a lot of warm daytime sun.  It makes the house feel so nice and comfortable, and keeps the heating cost down.  In fact, between the sunlight, how often I cook, and the excellent insulating job, we've hardly had to use our heater at all!  But today's gratitude is not about the house... it's about the sunshine and how happy it makes me.  The kids are still riding their bikes outside, we've been able to plant bulbs and hang outdoor decorations and bed down the yard for winter without much trouble.  So, I'm grateful for the sun today!

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Gratitude Day 1 & 2

Yep, I'm going to follow suit and post something I'm grateful for every day.  Since I forgot yesterday, I'm going to do the biggest thing I'm grateful for right now, all in one, so that I'll have to dig a little deeper throughout the month.

I am grateful for this.

Eight years ago I fell in love with a wonderful, amazing man who works incredibly hard to support our family, take care of me, and puts up with all my crazy.  He highlights what I am, fills in what I am not, and gives me unconditional--truly unconditional, even when I'm sick or grouchy or downright mean--love.  He is an incredible father and husband.  He comes up the stairs from work and before he even has a chance to use the bathroom, he's asked me how he can help me.  I am grateful for this companion who makes me laugh, who helps me grow, and who I can help grow in return.  I am grateful for Cody.

Since our wedding seven years ago, three fantastic, beautiful children have entered our home.  They are each unique, special, and so precious to me.  I am grateful that they are healthy, eager to learn, and eager to please.  I'm grateful for their curiosity, even though it often ends in messes.  I'm grateful for their independence, even if I have to wash the bathroom mirror every single day.  I'm grateful for their sweet spirits that reminds me how amazing and fragile youth is, and how imagination is only as limited as we force it to be.  I'm grateful for the nightmares that mean I get to hold my child for another night, and I'm grateful I can sing them lullabies and touch their soft hair and smell their sweet skin.  I know so many people who don't have this opportunity, and my heart aches for them.  My children are my greatest source of joy.  They are my world and my life.  I am so grateful that I was chosen to be their mother.

I'll try hard now to post something I'm grateful for every day until Thanksgiving, as a constant reminder of all I have that is special and wonderful to me.  Some might be silly, some more sacred, but I am excited to discover just how much I have to be grateful for--probably enough that I'll still have a bunch I didn't even think of in 20 days!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

This year's obligatory Halloween Post

This has got to be one of the best Halloweens we've ever had.  Being here in our own house in a neighborhood that is WAY into Halloween and Trick-or-Treating (the real kind, going door to door) has been a lot of fun.  Last year we got a sneak-peak of our neighborhood on Halloween and I've been looking forward to it ever since. 

We carved pumpkins on Monday and a few weeks ago we cut out some cute little bats and ghosts and painted them and used them to decorate the front porch.  Cody and the kids also made a "scoopy scoopy hantened house" (Spooky Haunted House) out of an old build-a-bear box that looks like a little house.  We put our cool mist humidifier in it so it would smoke and bubble.  It was pretty fun.  Have I mentioned that Lee is way into decorating for things recently?  Ever since watching a Curious George episode where they said that you need three things for a party: decorations, friends, and food, he's been on a decorating kick.  (for parties, which usually involves cutting out miniscule pictures he's drawn and trying to tape them to the front door.)

Anyway, I digress.  So we decorated the house a bit and I washed the costumes and Anna wanted to go trick-or-treating at eight in the morning, she was so excited.  Lee had a Halloween party at school, and finally it was time for dinner.  I made soup in breadbowls and we had family come up for dinner and the start of the candy collecting.  After a few houses, I went back to hand out candy so my mom could head home, and then Cody took the kids out while I dished out candy for the kids and homemade doughnuts for the adults.  I made about 6 dozen doughnuts, we ate probably about a dozen, I only gave them to adults, and we ended with 4 left.  So that's about how many people we had.  I also purchased 6 bags of individually wrapped Starbursts, and Cody's sister left a lovely bowl full of sucker ghosts, and we augmented all that with a bag full of leftover parade candy (sneaky, I know), finally equating to one of my largest Tupperware bowls full to the brim with candy, and all but a few handfuls was given out.  So, however many that all adds up to--that's how many Trick-or-Treaters stopped by.  My guess is around 150.  It was so busy from about 7-8 that I just sat in a chair on my front porch and handed out candy instead of coming inside.  The weather couldn't be beat, and it was fun to watch the droves of people coming up and down the street.  When I had a spare second, I did run doughnuts over to our neighbors who were handing out candy at their own houses.  I called it reverse trick-or-treating.  :)

The kids came home a little after eight and didn't even touch their candy, they were too tired.  They barely got their teeth brushed and pajamas on (which looked oddly like their undershirts from their costumes...) and they were out like little light bulbs. This morning the neighborhood is quiet.  I can kind of feel the sugar hangover in the air.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  I know we sure did!