30.11.09

Happy Birthday to You...yesterday



over the hill, but not above a sense of humor

26.11.09

Happy Thanksgiving Menu

Its Thanksgiving, the day of food and football.

This is our first Thanksgiving alone and, unfortunately, we must rely on ourselves for food.  In the past, we contributed a dish to the family dinner and then reaped the benefits of leftovers.  This year, with no family to speak of and a free 20lb turkey from the DOE, its up to us to cook a meal worthy of this most sacred of holidays.  Ideally, this dinner will be epic, but I will settle for edible.

Heres the menu


  • Roast Turkey from Simply Recipes.  However, I am roasting my bird breast up because thats where the pop up thermometer is.  Also, both grocery stores were completely out of rosemary and thyme so I used Da Salty Lady's Hawaiian Poultry Salt Seasoning instead.  Perhaps doing my shopping at 8am this morning was a poor decision.
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes thanks to the Food Network.    
  • Arrowhead Organic Stuffing
  • Green Beans (Ive got em - just sure what to do with em.  Boil?)
  • Pumpkin Pie - the one thing I am 100% positive I can make and it will turn out awesome.  No raisins this time though!

Thinking back to our pilgrimage earlier this year, I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude.  Life in Hawaii is so full of love and happiness. I am very thankful for my family and especially my kid.  Ive heard people say it and figured it was lip service, but its true - he is such a blessing in my life and I am truly, genuinely thankful that he's part of our family.  I also know that someday soon we will be able to spend holidays together with our entire family instead of having to rely on google to roast the turkey!   

Mahalo i ka mea loa'a!  Be thankful for what you have!

25.11.09

Life might be easier if I had...

rechargeable batteries (notice how I havent posted any original pics lately because I am out of batteries - AGAIN!)





a lock top rice cooker with a timer




a computer desk



a hand mixer

a bidet.  Life might be easier with the hose kind because that can pull double duty as a diaper sprayer - but these are cute too.

23.11.09

Frugal Gifting

Ive been giving Holiday gifts a lot of thought lately. I dont want to be caught off guard - making rash purchases at the last minute - so I have been carefully planning my holiday gift giving for the past few weeks. Being that we are on a tight budget, I thought I would throw out some tips today for pinching pennies while still giving quality gifts.

By the way, shop at my store for the holidays!!!

  • For starters, plan ahead. I make a list every year of who I am gifting to (surprisingly, its not always the same) and then I jot down some ideas of gifts that might be appropriate for them. I have two lists on the fridge right now, just to remind me how far behind I am.
  • In order to save sanity, I dont usually ask people what they want unless Im stuck for an idea of what to get them. Meeting requests is a sure-fire way to deviate from a budget!
  • With that in mind, I keep a careful ear to the ground for any hints my loved ones may drop as to their hearts desires. Its not always necessary to hit a bulls eye but its nice to at least shoot at the right target!
  • Making a budget should be a requirement for frugal gifting, but its the one thing I almost never do. Unfortunately, both my husband and I are extremely generous (to a fault) and going rouge with holiday spending is potentially disastrous! I would highly recommend setting a monetary limit on each person and trying to accomplish your giftgiving goals within that limit.
  • Homemade gifts arent necessarily cheaper gifts. Yarn costs money, as does fabric, notions, paper, picture frames, etc. Crafty gifts are a nice touch - but dont expect to automatically save money that way. Try to utilize your stash before heading to the store.
  • Thrift stores are a frugal gifters paradise! Giving second hand goods as gifts?! Not exactly. A good hour in a thrift store will often turn up some amazing treasures that can be incorporated into gifts you are already planning on giving. You can make a beautiful cover for a second hand book or repaint a picture frame for a family photo. Some discount store goods are spectacular enough to stand on their own, but most will need your loving touch before hitting the wrapping paper.
  • Hit the sales. This seems so obvious I hardly think I should write it, but combing through sales racks can turn up some pretty amazing deals!
  • When in doubt, turn to Ebay. If your family is anything like mine (with a strong affinity for the strange and rare) then Ebay is just the place to find it. Last year I received a compact that was cross stitched by the needlepoint queen of the Czech Republic, who consequently shared our last name! Best gift ever.
  • Etsy is just as good, but probably wont turn up the kind of deals Ebay does.

22.11.09

Christmas Rush and Crafty Craziness

I started my holiday crafting last week and I am now thinking I should have started it last month.

Because the move, the baby, and a slew of other reasons, money this year is tight tight tight and I am trying to craft as many gifts as humanly possible. This means that every free moment of my day is spent with knitting needles in hand and/or hunched over my sewing machine. Ive learned what I can and can not do when Ickey is awake (knitting = no, cooking = yes, sewing = sometimes), which has dramatically improved my time management. Despite my dedication, I still have the vague feeling that I wont be able to finish it all in time, especially considering all these gifts have to be shipping which cuts my time by an entire week!

Arrg! Im also annoyed that I cant share/brag about any of this stuff until after Dec 25th since I dont want to spoil the surprise for my loved ones. All that work and I cant even blog about it?! DENIED!

20.11.09

Why Week: Why Keep a Blog?

"Why Week": the week where I rationalize all my crazy behavior.

I love blogging. I love to read and write all different kinds of weblogs. Blogging has been such a positive and enriching experience for me. Everytime I read a great post, I feel so thankful to that person for sharing their knowledge and insight with me. Here are the reasons I keep a blog and you should too!

  1. Blogs cultivate a sense of community. The blogosphere reaches far and wide. We can connect to people around the world who share our passions and interests, whether we are moms, military families, knitters, scientists, or mechanics. There is a niche in the blogosphere for everyone. Not something that is always easy to find in our hometowns!
  2. Blogs exercise your creativity. Sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do with a blog. Pictures, text, video, audio, any type of media is fair game. Being an artist, I think that flexing your creative muscle is not only fun but necessary for a low-stress, fufilled life.
  3. Blogs keep you connected. I orginally began blogging to stay in touch with my family and, to that extent, this blog has been very successful. But, blogs can also be used to stay connected to your interests. You are not only able to access up-to-the-minute news on any topic, you also have a forum that allows you to contribute to the progress of knowledge. How cool!
  4. Blogs inspire. I love reading blogs that inspire me. I can always find some amazing idea about what to make for dinner, an activity to do with my son, a christmas gift to make, a movie to watch, what color I want to paint my kitchen, etc. I also love writing posts that I hope will inspire others! When I have thought of something particularly clever, or I find an idea that is cherry, I love posting it here knowing that the knowledge will be passed on to someone else who is looking for inspiration.
  5. Blogs teach. Anything you want to do - there is a blog about it somewhere. Usually, authors like answering questions about their posts - so its easy to get advice and tips directly from real people with real experience.
  6. Blogs are simple. It is so easy to create and manage a blog, anyone with enough computer know-how to be reading this should be able to keep a blog! Word Press, Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad...the software is easy peasy.
  7. Blogs are relaxing. I love keeping Keiki on Board. I usually write when the baby is taking his morning nap (unless there is a pile of dishes or a mountain of laundry) and I think its so much more relaxing then vegging out in front of the TV. I feel like Doogie Howser.
  8. Blogs are free.
  9. Blogging keeps the mind sharp. When you know the world is going to be reading your writing and looking at your photos, it makes you want to put some genuine thought into the content of your work. Writing helps me stay on top of my spelling, vocabulary and compostition (although its always a work in progress) Blogging also allows me to keep up with basic advances in technology and the internet, something I find I have less and less direct interest in as I get older. I dont have an IPod and couldnt tell you how to use one - but I can write basic HTML codes!!!
  10. Blogs (especially mine) are cute! And in the end, isnt that what really counts?

19.11.09

Why Week: Why Cook Meals at Home?

*Why Week: the week where I rationalize all my crazy behavior*

Almost anything you want to eat, from graham crackers to potstickers, can be found fully prepared and ready to go. Food has become accessible and convenient in all senses of the word. Life with kids is jam packed enough, so why should we spend our precious time making foods we can just buy at the store?

  1. Knowledge is power. Sure, you can read an ingredients label, but do you really know what "spices" means? Food manufacturers are regulated by complex laws that allow them to fudge on their descriptions, so its often difficult to know whether whats on the box is whats really going into your mouth. Making foods at home allows you to be fully enlightened when it come to what you eat.
  2. The ingredients can be modified. Dont want sugar or oil? Foods made from scratch can easily be modified and ingredients can be substituted so you are in control of what goes into that muffin. You can beef up the nutrition of favorite recipes by adding things like wheat germ, flax seeds, etc. You can customize your favorite foods by adding more of your favorite foods and less of the stuff you dont like.
  3. Its not as time consuming as it seems. I guarantee that you wont be slaving in the kitchen all day everyday. Because God gave us the freezer, we are now able to spend one day a week power-cooking and the rest of the week enjoying the fruits of our labor. Seriously, a few carefully planned items will go the distance and make a big difference for your health and taste. Like anything else, once you find a routine that works for you, whipping up homemade goods will seem as benign as folding your own laundry.
  4. It can be healthier. This is one of the main reasons I made things I could buy instead. When it comes to the babys food, knowing how much sugar, salt, etc. goes into his meals is critical. I can buy muffins but they are usually made with white flour and loaded with sugar and oil. I could buy ramen noodles but 99% of the time it comes with a side of MSG (Asian food lovers beware: label read carefully because MSG is in practically everything and you dont want to be eating it)
  5. Making food at home is fun! This may be a matter of taste, but I love the challenge of cooking something. If its edible - I win! Maybe you want awesome cupcakes like these vampire cupcakes at your New Moon premiere party (dont deny it). Or you could go for the zombie ones - but I dont think an English walnut came out looking too much like a brain. Whatever. Cooking, creating, its fun and it should be enjoyed!

18.11.09

Eccentric Baby Dancing to Reggae Music

Since no post yesterday, you get 2 for the price of 1 today!

video

Here is my son - in batman PJs and a necklace I never wear (hes starting to get into dress up) - getting lost in a dance trance. Please appreciate the "wing flapping" in the second video. He stole those hot moves from his mother!


video

Why Week: Why Use Cloth Diapers?

"Why Week": the week where I rationalize all my crazy behavior

When one thinks of babies, three words typically come to mind: food, sleep, and diapers. How do we chose what is right for our baby? Breast or formula? Crib or co-sleep? Decisions like these plague the minds of expecting and new mothers every day.
Luckily, advances in technology and lifestyle mean there are more choices available than ever before, especially concerning diapers. Cloth diapers are often thought of as an antiqued technique that was replaced by the "better" modern disposable. I disagree! Yes, there are drawbacks, but no system is perfect. Here are the top 5 reasons why I use and love cloth diapers.

  1. Cloth Diapers are GREEN. There is no waste (after you are done using them for diapers, use them for rags), there are no questionable chemicals, and there is little manufacturing (esp if you use dipes from repurposed, recycled, and/or organic materials).
  2. Cloth Diapers Encourage Cleanliness. There is no putting off changing a cloth diaper. If it is wet or dirty, you are going to know about it right away and you are going to change it. Using cloth diapers usually encourages thoughts of moving on to the potty (for both child and parent!), which is the ultimate clean convenience. Also, solid waste is not meant to be thrown into a landfill. Using cloth encourages proper and hygienic waste treatment because no one wants their own washing machine full of crap.
  3. Cloth Diapers Are Safe. If I caught Baby Ickey chewing through a 'sposie I might have to call poison control. If I caught him chewing on a prefold, I might have to chuckle (depending on the context). Futhermore, I chose what products I use to wash my diapers, so I know exactly what is making contact with his skin.
  4. Cloth Diapers are Convenient. It may take a month or two to develop a system that works, but the rewards are well worth it. I always have diapers. Sure, I had to use the occasional emergency dish towel here and there, but I have never had to run to the store in the middle of the night. This is the diaper shelf in our linen closet and I keep a plastic bin/diaper pail on our lanai (porch). Simple.
  5. Cloth Diapers are Cute. We arent relegated to Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh, with cloth the options are virtually endless. And in the end, isn't that the most important part?



    these cutie diapers are from Starbunz!

    16.11.09

    Why Week: Why Pack Bento Lunch Boxes?

    "Why Week" - the week where I rationalize all my crazy behavior.


    Some days (more than others) I feel I should have been a Japanese housewife. I think I would thrive on the competition. After all, I am able to find a great deal of satisfaction in cooking a meal from scratch and I believe the kind of writing utensil you use says a lot about you as a person.


    My newest housewife obsession? Bento box lunches! These culinary darlings are Asias adorable answer to "brown baggin it" and here are 10 reasons why you also might want to consider the switch.

    1. Bento are healthy. Any way we pack a lunch for our kids, it all boils down to the nutritional content of the food. Bentos are arranged with dietary needs in mind - 3 parts carbs, 2 parts veggies and 1 part protein. Because everything has to exist harmoniously in one box, candy, treats and snacks are going to get the boot first!
    2. Bento are fun to eat. Even the pickiest eaters will eat vegetables if they look like a robot! Although complex and highly artistic (re: time consuming) kyaraben style bento are popular - even the simplest bento can be made fun with a few quick tricks. A humble octo-sausage or rabbit apple can really spice up an otherwise ordinary lunch.
    3. Bento are convenient (to use). Bento are compact, easy to use and easy to clean. All you need, including utensils, are wrapped up in your furoshiki of choice.
    4. Bento are convenient (to make). That Japanese housewife slaving away at 5am making intricate 3-D edible sculpture need not be you! Modern conveniences like the freezer and the microwave mean you can prepare a delicious bento with a variety of foods in about 15 minutes. Its usually a matter of learning how to stuff the box properly.
    5. Bento are green. Almost every part of the bento is reusable. Because there are no plastic baggies or wrappers to throw away, the chances of accidentally losing a lid or a fork in the rubbish bin are small. Less waste = happy planet!
    6. Bento are tasty. Oishii!!!
    7. Bento are compatible with your eating habits. You dont need to eat rice everyday to have delicious bento box lunches. Western lunch favorites - including sandwiches, spaghetti, salad and chips - are all perfectly suited for the box lunch. Sometimes its a matter of preparing your leftovers in a way that makes them easier to box up, but in the end you can eat what you like and still experience the benefit of...
    8. Bento are ideal for portion control. There is only so much you can fit into a box. Japanese theory is that the amount of milliliters your bento box holds is about the same as the amount of calories. Fill your 600ml bento to the brim and you've got yourself a 600 calorie meal without the guess work. Considering how shockingly out of whack restaurant portions are nowadays, this fact alone makes it worth 15 minutes of your time.
    9. Bento are available in a wide variety of styles. Thomas the Train to Hello Kitty and back, there is something for everyone in the world of bento. Newer products like the Laptop Lunchbox take the bento concept of compartmentalized food and make it more user friendly for those of us who might be scared off by the teeny tininess of the Japanese bento box.
    10. Bento are cute. And isnt that the most important part?

    so classic - reminds me of Kyoto!


    This is ideal for Mr A because he eats a lot of sandwiches. But I cant figure out where to order this model - it seems like the sandwich thing is always separate.

    13.11.09

    Study Skills: Organizing Your Time Effectively

    Studying is difficult when parenting a small child. Getting anything done is difficult, but studying is particularly challenging because it requires a systematic approach and a focused routine - things that typically dont jive with a toddler.


    Mr A is taking the PRAXIS in January and needs to pass on the first try. In my (professional) opinion, this is going to require diligent preparation and a consistent study plan. Behold, my study guide!


    I organized important dates, reading goals, practice tests and everything else so he has attainable daily goals. In theory, this should take about 10-20 minutes a night. Its color coded, too. How fancy!

    A calendar like this takes a larger goal (passing the PRAXIS) and breaks it down into daily goals (Read pages 10-22) that move you towards the larger goal. The key is to make the daily goals something that you can realistically finish during the day. Some things a format like this would work for:
    • Diets/exercise plans
    • Home based business
    • Christmas shopping/decorating
    • Party Planning (weddings, baby showers, etc)
    • Children's study schedules

    12.11.09

    Reading Video: someone get this boy a dog!

    video

    It is almost as if he is trying to will that dog off the page ala Inkheart...

    11.11.09

    Fireproof: A Movie About Love and Marriage



    Fireproof is a movie about marriage, God, and unconditional love.  Caleb is a successful firefighter but his seven year marriage to Kathryn is falling apart.  She serves him with divorce papers and it seems there is no hope for either of them.  Caleb's dad challenges him to hold off on the divorce and do "The Love Dare" - a 40 day activity meant to teach him about unconditional love.  In the process he learns about faith, God, and what truly loving someone means.

    Last night, Mr A and I put the boy to bed, snuggled up on the couch with hot tea, and watched this together.  We were both choked up at the end and we were still talking about it over breakfast this morning.  Fireproof is faith-based without being preachy and at the same time humorous without being corny.  This movie was not only inspiring, but very thought provoking about a number of topics.

    I have to ask myself - am I working on a daily basis to strengthen my relationships or am I doing just enough to get by?  Am I loving my family because I am comitted to loving them unconditionally or am I loving them if and when I think they deserve it?  Of course, the basis of all faith is forgiveness.  So, Im not expecting perfection here - just effort and self awareness on my part.

    10.11.09

    Bilingual Children Without a Bilingual Parent: where to start?

    On any given day in our house you are likely to hear English, Hawaiian, Filipino, Thai, or Japanese.  We, like most people in Hawaii, pepper our speech with words, phrases and expressions from other cultures.  Although Mr A and I speak only English fluently, we both have a basic understanding of at least one other language.

    Being a student of language myself (a student who regretfully has yet to attain the level of mastery she desires) I strongly believe that a more systematic approach to communication is going to prove to be the most fruitful for my children.

    Take my husband for example.  Raised in a similar environment of synthesized speech, he has an impressive vocabulary of about 500 non-English words and phrases.  However, he doesn't have enough command of the grammar to use any of these in a non-English speech pattern (unless its HAE/pidgin English, which is grammatically closer to Hawaiian).

    Living in this house, its a given that our kids will pick up the vocabulary.  I want them to also be able to communicate (speaking and listening, reading and writing) in another language. But I dont even speak Hawaiian!!!  So where do I start?

    1. First things first, pick a language.  For the purposes of our house we have picked Hawaiian - something that is culturally significant to us and has available resources in our community to supplement our lack of knowledge/fluency.
    2. Read books in your language of choice.  You might not understand what you are saying, but to a baby its all the same anyhow - besides, reading aloud is good practice.
    3. Watch movie or listen to music/stories in language of choice.  It helps to familiarize you with the speech patterns and pronunciation, not to mention gives your kid an opportunity to hear some native speakers.
    4. Learn some basic phrases and commit to using those phrases in your second language only.  Things like "come here" "stand up" "sit down" "be quiet" "what's this/that?" "good job!" are all good places to start.
    5. Take a class or find a language immersion play group. Aha Punana Leo (the Hawaiian immersion school) offers free Hawaiian language classes here on Monday nights.  I went last night for the first time and it was good fun!  The more native speaker you can interact with, the better!
    These are just a few ideas for how to get started introducing another language to your infant or toddler, especially if you aren't bilingual yourself.
     My guess is that I am going to get out of this what I put into it.  So, no mo' hilahila (shame) - dive right in and start speaking today!

    9.11.09

    Green Cleaning Routine for Kid Safety

    I take my cleaning products seriously.  I am the lady who litterally stood up and cheered when her favorite company came out with dryer sheets made from vegetable oil.

    And this is not without good reason!  We play on the floors, sleep in the sheets, and breathe in the air in our house - its only natural that we would ingest a large amount of whatever product we are using to clean.  My place has an extra set of super small hands that pry into everything and want to taste whatever they touch.  It's critical that my household cleaning products are safe before, during and after application.



    Pictured here are the cleaning products I use for our two bedroom apartment.  With the exception of laundry soap and a few essential oils (not pictured), this is it.  One of the best ways to green your cleaning routine is to simplify.  Gentle, multipurpose products not only go the distance dollar-wise, cutting down on the number of products around the house cuts down on opportunities for accidents.

    My favorite of these is Shaklee Basic H.  This product can clean ANYTHING in a pinch.  Mirrors, counters, laundry, dishes, floors, carpets, cars, people, there is almost nothing this product can't tackle.  The formula is super concentrated (two drops with 16oz of water = window cleaner) so it lasts forever.  The best part is that if someone should happen to drink the concentrate, the worst you could look forward to is a bad case of diarrhea.  A superior quality multipurpose cleaner and a few spray bottles can replace hundreds of bottles of conventional cleaning product.  Its well worth the $10 investment!

    6.11.09

    Healthy Eating Rampage

    GO TO SUPER HEALTHY KIDS.COM!
    I love this woman's blog, her recipes are always fantastic, and she is really good about answering any questions.  Its just a great resource when cooking for older children and adults rather than infants.



    I dont know if its fasting or what, but Ive been cooking like a maniac.  Heres a brief list of whats been pumped out of my kitchen in the last 48 hours:

    A large majority of this is going into the freezer, which is fantastic for quick and easy meals.  Its especially important to have a stock of things for the baby because otherwise I end up feeding him junk.

    The pancake mix is really my pièce de résistance because we have been looking for something here in Hawaii that could replace our much beloved Trader Joes MultiGrain Pancake Mix.  If I had known how simple it is to make my own I never would have thought twice about leaving TJs behind!  And this way I can pack it full of any other goodies or extra healthy bits I desire!  Long live the pancake!

    For those of you who think Hawaii is always palm trees and balmy breeze, check out my view yesterday.  Bleh!  This also may have been a contributing factor to my insane cooking spree.

    5.11.09

    Inflatable Toys - FOR KIDS!


    My wonderful and always creative sister managed to get the baby something I would never have thought of -but wished I had- for his birthday. Meet the Seahawks Tackle Buddy (who constantly startles me by lurking around in the darkness).
    The boy loves his Milwaukee Brewers blow up baseball bat, so it would seem only natural that he would enjoy this. I also dig inflatable toys because they can deflate to 10 times smaller and easily be put away/hidden.  

    video

    There has been a little injury and a lot of fun! *I know this video is quite dark, sorry*



    4.11.09

    Healthy Meal: Berry Baby Breakast Smoothie Recipe

    In the Arrayan house, we love breakfast!  Food just tastes yummier in the morning.  Digestion is at its peak after a restful night.  Now is the time to give your body food it can use!

    Heres a recipe I used this morning for the baby, but its delicious enough for even the most discerning adult.  The thing I love about smoothies is that there is no one way to make them and its very difficult to mess them up.  Its also super easy to sneak extra nutrition in, which is always fun with kids!


    Berry Baby Breakfast Smoothie

    1C almond milk (any milk will do)
    1/2 banana
    1/4C blueberries (or berries of choice)
    1.5Tbs Shaklee Protein Powder (either flavor)


    Add-ins (this is the fun/sneaky part)

    1tsp Shaklee Kids Multivitamin Powder
    1 tablet chewable Cal-Mag
    1Tbs wheat germ
    1 squirt flax seed oil

    Put it all in a blender and blend until smooth.

    Serve with a handful or two of Oat Os for a fanastic, delicious breakfast!

    3.11.09

    When Is the Right Time for the First Haircut?

    The way this originally was explained to me, it is considered bad luck to cut a child's hair before they are a year old (Filipino superstitions).

    Now that the boy is a year and some change, I think its time to give those golden locks a buzz, or at least a trim.  Mr A has been surprisingly resistant to the idea!  People have started mistaking our son for a girl, but not even a question of manhood could compel my darling husband to trim those curls!  I wonder why he's so anti-haircut?



    I started putting his hair in ponytails in an attempt to drive home the reality of his androgony (the pink barrette was a bit overboard - but drastic times call for drastic measures) and Mr As only reply was that the baby looked like a "sumo wrestler!"



    Hair grows back.  So do I cut it when Mr A is at work and let that be the final word or should I just let it grow because, in the end, its not that important to me anyway?   ..and that ponytail sure is cute.

    2.11.09

    The Master Cleanse




    Two years ago I did "The Master Cleanse".  Its basically a 14 day fast where you only drink lemonade thats made of lemon juice, maple syrup, water and cayanne pepper.  You take laxative tea at night and flush your bowels by drinking salt water in the morning.  I liked the results and want to give it another try.  Ive been feeling all weird since giving birth and would like a fresh and clean slate (not to mention my acne is starting to act up again).

    This time around is different though because Im going it alone, Mr A and Baby Ickey will still be eating regularly.  In the interest of keeping this blog about babies and not about my colon, Ive decided to tweet about The Master Cleanse and keep the blog business as usual.  So follow the link in the side bar and follow my fasting on Twitter!

    Trick or Treat! Sticky Rice and Mango Pumpkins


    Halloween was a blast!  We went to an awesome party down in Waikoloa.  We were even able to squeeze in 3 houses of trick or treating between poker and ping pong!



    Some people pulled out all the stops!  This garage in particular, with its rabid Easter bunny and ambiguously real or fake inhabitants was super spooky.  Ikaika did go all the way inside (walking on his own - I didnt carry him in) and after several enthusiastic encouragements ("look at the cute bunny!"  "Kaika, look! A mouse!"  "What a precious little dragon!"" etc) he even seemed to like the decorations, especially the anamatronic undead animals.



    One person gave us pretzels and another gave fruit snacks so Im encouraged to see people chosing different options than straight up candy.  And the pretzels complimented by beer-in-a-plastic-cup perfectly!



    I made these cute rice pumpkins for Halloween.  Its sticky coconut rice with mango slices underneath.  The pumpkin tops are celery greens.  I got the recipe at Super Healthy Kids and changed it slightly by using sweet/mochi rice (coloring the soaking water orange) and mixing the steamed rice with a coconut milk and sugar mixture.  I think they turned out so cute and they were good (although not as sweet as normal because I couldnt add too much milk or they wouldnt stick together).