Leighton’s First Halloween


Halloween marked Leighton’s first official holiday, and what a fun one to start out with! We dressed her up as a cupcake because I joked throughout my pregnancy that she might come out as a cupcake or donut due to the amount of desserts I ate. ūüôā I found the cutest knit cupcake hat on Etsy and finished off the simple costume with a brown onesie to look like the “cake” portion of the cupcake.



Our neighborhood gets really into Halloween and has a big potluck outside in our green space, followed by a parade of kids in costumes and trick-or-treating. Even before we had Leighton, we’ve always loved this neighborhood tradition. We’d set up shop in the driveway and hang out with the neighbors well after the last trick-or-treaters had passed through. This year, my mom got to join us for the fun and also helped watch L so we could enjoy the night with everyone. Craig set up our fire pit and Adirondack chairs on the driveway, as well as our new Coolest cooler speaker (that also holds drinks this time) and a wagon filled with candy. The fire drew in all sorts of visitors until way past the last round of trick-or-treaters!

Some of my favorites from the neighborhood costume contest were the tiny astronaut, the little green race car (complete with working headlights),the Orange Cabbage Patch Doll, and the family of vampires and a miniature bat.


Little cupcake managed to sleep snuggled up next to me in her carrier for the majority of the festivities, but she promised that she’d be up for more fun next year when she’s 1.

Fall To-Do List 2015


I’m sure most people would think I’m nuts for making any sort of to-do list when I have a 3-week-old baby at home. But I have a thing for lists, and there are so many fun (and a few practical) things going on this season that I don’t want to miss out on or forget to do.¬†Here’s my list of things to do¬†this fall::

1.Pick out pumpkins! We likely won’t make it to an actual pumpkin patch this year, but as long as we have some by our front door, I’ll be happy.

2. Find a Halloween costume for Leighton. We have a great neighborhood, and every year, we all celebrate with an outdoor potluck and kids parade through our streets for trick-or-treating. I’m so excited to finally have a little one to dress up this year!

3.¬†Scarecrows in the Garden¬†at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. For the past several years, I’ve gone to this event with my puppet coworkers, and it’s my favorite fall tradition. This time, I’m meeting up with them for the Thursday night Fest of Ale and am planning to bring my mom and Leighton along for some outdoor fun!

4. Celebrate Craig’s 33rd birthday in October — his first one as a dad!

5. Eat lots of pumpkin bread (from local Smyrna bakery, McEntyre’s).

6. Go back to the Center for Puppetry Arts for a spooky adult puppet show! The Ghastly Dreadfuls show is back, and it’s my absolute favorite! If you’re in Atlanta in October, I highly recommend getting tickets.

7. Make Craig’s delicious¬†chili recipe¬†and¬†several other soups and stews this season.

8. Make Leighton’s birth announcements and work on her baby book.

9. Take Christmas card photos and send them out before Thanksgiving.

10. Visit the Center again in November for the grand opening of the newly expanded Museum! This project has been years in the making, and I’m really looking forward to going back to my old stomping grounds to see the finished product. It’s such a huge accomplishment for everyone involved!


batman + robin do halloween

Well, folks…. another Halloween has come and gone. But before we get into full Thanksgiving/Christmas mode, here’s a little recap of Batman + Robin’s Halloween adventures.

We had a potluck lunch at work, and of course several of my fellow puppet coworkers donned their best costumes… I am partial to Ursula the Sea Witch (which is funny because I was absolutely terrified of her as a child).

My contribution to the potluck — Ghost Brains! (aka¬†Nutella S’mores Rice Krispie Treats)
Ursula brought a lovely concoction of Zombie Meat Hands. Yum!

Thanks to The Bert Show (a local Atlanta radio show), I got the great idea to hand out glow sticks to trick-or-treaters, and it was a big hit! I couldn’t give up candy completely, so we had both… and ran out of both. First time ever not ending up with a large bowl of extra candy for weeks!


Our next door neighbors LOVE Halloween. They take off work and spend the entire day decorating their lawn and house, and it’s gotten bigger and better each year we’ve lived there. The 100 lb pumpkins were smoking so much when I pulled in from work, I thought someone’s car was on fire.

Batman + Robin
Coco despises anything being placed on her, so she was not up for a costume this year. Instead, she chose to wear a glow stick necklace. 

And this is why I love our neighborhood on Halloween. We just set up camp on our driveway, and we get a parade of little costumed characters early in the evening, and then another round of older kids once it’s dark. This year, some of our favorites were Rick, the Sheriff from The Walking Dead, ¬†a pint-sized minion, a sister and brother dressed as Snow White and Sleepy Dwarf, and a dad dressed up as a life-size parrot.
Batman got the non-chocolate bowl.
The neighbors’ concoction for the adults, complete with gooey eyeballs
Coco got a little rowdy once things got going, so this is how she spent most of her Halloween night. At least she had a good view of the action.

And Halloween 2013 is done! Batman + Robin OUT.

pretty pumpkin projects

October is one of my favorite months… and it seems to be the case for a lot of people I know (and follow online). In honor of one of the best things about this month — PUMPKIN EVERYTHING — here are some fun decorating ideas! I’ve really been drawn to painting my pumpkins this year, but I really love the shiny thumbtacks used to create funky patterns.

Country Living

Woman’s Day

Better Homes & Gardens

Neon Fresh

Country Living

Madigan Made

Martha Stewart 


Thistlewood Farms

Country Living

Kelli Trontel

The Swede Records


happy halloweenie festivities

How is Halloween already over?? Here’s what we were up to on the spookiest day of the year!

One of my favorite things we do at work (Center for Puppetry Arts)¬†is the Halloween Potluck. It’s one of the very few times each year when most of our staff can gather all in one place. The assortment of food is always interesting with so many people attending…. this year, some of¬†the dishes included “Tape Worm” pasta salad, “Band-Aid” graham cracker treats, mini sloppy joes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin floats, and some really yummy bread inspired by a couple of our coworkers’ trip to Bahrain earlier this year for a cultural¬†arts¬†festival.

The two Melissas at the Center (also known as Martha, according to some people we talk with on the phone)::
(and thanks to Jeff Domke for the fun photo!)

I love our neighborhood – there are so many kids and fun friends, and it’s the best on Halloween. The streets turn into a block party of sorts, and this year, all the kiddies did a loop around the neighborhood in a little parade to show off their costumes. Lots of super heroes and princesses, as to be expected. We hung out on Craig’s tailgate to watch the festivities and hand out candy until it got dark… I’m amazed at how much earlier everyone trick-or-treats these days! After the flow of trick-or-treaters slowed, we enjoyed some¬†chili and witches brew with our neighbors until it was way too cold to be outside anymore. I can’t say the same for poor Coco — she was a little too excited for all the action taking place, so she had to settle for watching from the window inside.

Had to share this funny photo of Coco hiding under one of the guest beds — it’s her favorite spot in the house::

Coco’s ready to pass out candy::

Little Miss Elephant dropped her candy::

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween! Now onto the most festive time of the year!

DIY project:: sparkly pumpkins

It’s officially fall!!! I don’t know about everyone else, but I can feel it in the air in Georgia, and it’s glorious! I am quite enjoying the cooler weather, especially in the morning, and not getting sweaty walking 20 or¬†30¬†feet to my car after work. To help get into the fall spirit, I decided pumpkins needed to be purchased. Not real ones just yet since it is still September…. so plastic ones would have to do the trick. But I wanted something a bit less “pumpkiny” than these guys below. So, enter the spray paint.

I¬†had the hardest time deciding on colors…. I must have spent 15 minutes staring at different¬†bottles and color combinations at¬†Michael’s. I ended up¬†deciding on some super glittery spray in both gold and silver and got the “sparkling canyon” in satin to round out the metallics.

Craig was sweet and set out a big drop cloth for me to work on in the garage. I set them all out in groups so that I could divide them up among my 3 color choices. The large pumpkins were fairly easy to spray, but it was a bit difficult to control clumping where the spray rolled around to the bottom side of each pumpkin. The little mini pumpkins were almost impossible to cover! Every time I sprayed one, it would go flying across the drop cloth. I don’t know the best way to remedy that problem…. buy heavier pumpkins, I guess.

After a couple light coats on each¬† pumpkin, it was clear that the awesome glittery spray paint was just not cutting it for this job. The silver spray bottle got stuck in the “on” position and proceeded to just spray tons and tons of glitter everywhere…. everywhere except for the pumpkins. The gold did something similar. So it was on to Plan B with those sets…. this time, I went to Home Depot — and was AMAZED at the assortment of spray paint they have!! I chose non-glittery metallics in gold and silver to cover up the crazy, half-glittered pumpkins. These cans are great — easy to spray and they don’t stick like the others did.

And here’s the finished product! Lots of sparkly pumplins in various shapes and sizes… some a little more glittery than others, thanks to the first round of painting-gone-wrong. I tossed them (meaning I actually very carefully placed them so you can’t see the dried clumps of paint here and there) in a big glass bowl on our dining room table.

And then I accented them on each side with two of¬†these guys!! Our family friend Leslie had gotten several of these gems at the local Dollar Tree in Arcadia, and I just loved them, so I had to get some of my own. Next time, I’ll stick to the pre-made glittery items. Happy Fall, y’all!