31 for 21 challenge - 10/31 it's over!

pics of halloween will have to wait until i can upload them! 
i just had to get this last post in!
i don't even have a picture to go with it!

oh well - tomorrow it shall be

happy halloween!


31 for 21 challenge - Ode to Johnny!

since i assume tomorrow's post will be all about halloween - i wanted to spend today honoring Johnny - who is the inspiration behind this month's challenge for me

 johnny and his remarkable mom cindy

i've referenced my friend's cindy's blog here many times and if you've never followed the links to it before i urge you to visit this time.  in fact - let me point you in the direction of some of her really interesting posts this month about down syndrome and her family's experience with it.

this i loved - the preferred language guide from the ds society

a heartbreaking post about orphaned children with down syndrome in eastern europe

pic of johnny taken quite some time ago - its the best i could find by
stalking cindy's facebook albums without feeling any creepier!

hopefully those of us in the 31 for 21 challenge this month have done our part to bring awareness to this amazing group of children


31 for 21 challenge - gravewalk

here it is - 2 days before halloween and i have yet to  take my gravewalk.  throughout the year i'll pass a cemetary and think "oh - i'll have to remember this place and come photograph it around halloween!"  i'm not obsessed with death - or graveyards - or ghosts - or anything like that.  i just love me a good graveyard around halloween.

maybe b/c its been so weirdly hot this october that halloween kinda crept up on me. in fact - i was just trying to find a picture of anything to blog about tonight when i stumbled upon pictures from last year's gravewalk - and then i remembered that i had forgotten!!

oh well - tomorrow is supposed to be nice and sunny - and sunday too.  not exactly eerie gravewalk weather. i wouldn't have the time anyway - and i highly doubt the boys would want to come.  so no walk for me this year.

if you drive by a cemetary this weekend - take a moment to think about the history in there...maybe pull over and snap a cool picture or two.  i would - bet you won't regret it.


31 for 21 challenge - thankful thursday.....coming to an end and the library

ok - this is a total cop out but i am thankful this challenge is coming to an end! only 3 more days left - and 3 crazy busy days at that!!

so no more words...just a quick tour of one our most favorite places to visit - our local library!  i am still amazed at how many people do not go to their library on a regular basis. 

besides the shelves.....

and shelves of books that you can get for FREE

think about the hundreds of dollars you save by not buying books that once you bring them home - you regret buying!

oh and MUSIC - tons of cds that you can use to fill your itunes library without costing you a cent!

and all the free events - yoga, gardening classes, oodles of kid programs, lectures...you name it 

open spaces to run (or rather walk quickly)  our library tolerates some noise which is nice b/c it is hard to keep little kids from squealing!

community bulletin boards - free advertising!

a place to bring the stuff you don't want to toss but can't figure out what to do with them - esp glasses and cell phones!!! all while helping a great charitable cause

seriously - if you haven't visited your local library in a while - what are you doing? get over there and check it out.  its not what you remember as a kid - its so much better!!


31 for 21 blog challenge - 10/26.......asking for prayers

the power of prayer is great

if you will

for a family member finishing radiation and soon to start chemo

and a friend's 11 month old son undergoing heart surgery


31 for 21 challenge - 10/25...cubscout hayride

its been a crazy beginning of the school year - and because of that our cubscout meetings and events started later than usual.  one of funnest ones i think is the hayride and bonfire this time of the year.  my den was in charge of setting up the 'smores so while everyone piled into the wagons for the start of the hayride

 the parents in our den hung back and laid out the spread. 

  this year we had a huge turnout and needed extra wagons. 
its pretty neat how the wagons leave in the daylight 

and return in the darkness.  then the bonfire is lit and everyone patiently waits to roast marshmallows

and make their 'smores

even though the heat may be too intense at times - the end result is well worth it


31 for 21 challenge - 10/24 - the pennsylvania renaissance faire

yesterday we had the most beautiful autumn day.  last year around this time we hit the renaissance faire.  it was pretty much under the same circumstances - perfect fall day - nothing to do - jump in the car and off we went.

 what was cool this time around was that it was closer to halloween so there was trick or treating for the kids and many really neat costumes and decorations. 

my favorite part still is seeing all the items for sale.  i don't usually buy anything - but i love to see all the talented artists and their creations.

magic wands

mystical puppets 

beautifully sewn wool clothes 

shiny things - who doesn't like shiny things in the sun?

the boys dragged me to every sword and weapon shop

hobbit ears - picture taken by my son! up shots are never very flattering!

 my husband loves the shows.  the human chess match is a favorite.

the fire juggling comedian was a big hit this time around too

it really is such a cool place to visit.

if you ever get the chance to go i'd highly recommend it


31 for 21 challenge - 10/23......not today either!

out all day with the family - then went to watch the phillies at my cousin's.......

they aren't winning

but i managed to get online before midnite!

hopefully i won't be the only winner tonight

31 for 21 challenge - 10/22........oh no!

i was lying in bed last night - slowly drifting into sleep when suddenly my eyes opened wide and i thought

"i forgot to blog today!!"

i honestly feel terrible......

i won't forget today though - i'll come back on tonight with something for today


31 for 21 challenge - 10/21......thankful thursday

 you know - i can write a post today about all the usual things i am so thankful for - my family, friends, health and so on....and it would be true.  those people near and dear to me are special and fill my heart with gratitude - a gratitude at times that is so overwhelming i feel like my heart will explode.

but that is not the group i want to talk about.  there is a another group of people that i am especially thankful for....the ones i don't even know by name. in fact - i don't know anything about them...and i'll probably never see them again. 

i don't talk to them.   i'm usually not even that close to them.  this group of people just causes me to stop and simply


they are the ones who capture my attention and force me to be present

 the ones who in the middle of the day don't think twice about getting together, blaring some music and skating.....just because its a beautiful day - and they can 

they are the ones who are so passionate about a hobby that their intense seriousness about it - makes me wonder if in fact - i am missing out on something fun.

the ones with character - with a spirit so beautiful that you don't even question their ability to produce some of the oddest - yet most amazing music......you just know that that is what they are supposed to do

the ones that make you suck in your breathe and wonder - how does he DO that?

the ones that make learning fun

and finally the ones that make you look at them - for just a moment longer

today i am so thankful for the strangers who enter my life


31 for 21 challenge - 0ct 19...... pumpkin carving party!

it was time for our annual pumpkin carving party and we couldn't be more excited.  as usual my sil sandy laid out quite a spread.  we came in - stuffed our faces - then hit the garage for the competition.

there were pumpkins everywhere and in all different sizes.

 paints and stickers and other fun stuff for the kids to use.  adults had cutters and scrapers, clay tools, scapels and my brother pulled out a dremel! did i mention how serious this was?

my sil's brother and i like to trash talk each other - both of us trying to come up with something new to raise the bar.  this was my warm-up pumpkin.  simple but introducing PROPS!  i couldn't get a decent pic of him in the dark because his nose would just disappear in the black.

this was my actual entry.  it was supposed to be a shadow.  the front was a cut out of 2 mice.  what you can't see (and i just could not photograph) was that there was a smaller cut-out of a cat on the back.  when a candle was put inside - the shadow of the cat was projected behind it.  well - that is what was SUPPOSED to happen.  it was pretty hard to carve a small 4x4 menacing cat - and i kept trying to fix it - so much so that the projected pic looked like a distorted skull and crossbones.  but at least the mice look like mice!

when everyone was done - it was time to vote.  my son voted for mine - because he is so darn cute and i swear i could smother him with hugs and kisses all day

this was the 3rd place winner.  it was done by a first timer to our party!  

my sil's brother took second place.  he got nervous when he heard i was using props for mine - and he went all out with the multiples.  its hard to see but there are 2 huge pumpkin hands holding most of the pumpkins being eaten!

i have no idea what happened to my picture of first place - but the winner was my cousin.  her's is the first pumpkin in the picture.  it was AMAZING and she did it freehand.  she snapped a pic of a pumpkin with her camera before the party and just carved away.  she is a 2 time winner.  we are thinking of ganging up on her next year...... 

 there were about 15 entries this year.  i had a really hard time snapping decent pictures of them - which is a shame because there really were some good ones!  even the kids had some great ones!

i didn't win or even place in the top 3 again this year.  my ideas are good - but my execution of them stinks!  i'm thinking i'll forgo tricks next year - and try to wow them some other way!

this competition is definitely one our family's favorite autumn traditions