Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

What a night! I love Halloween but I have to say I'm glad it's over. The day went smoothly. I went grocery shopping, made caramel corn, made cards for the neighbors, and even had time to shower and spruce up. Then I dressed William in his Batman costume and we were off to the San Jac to have dinner with Sean (he was stuck with ship duty today). My plans were to have dinner with Sean, stop at the mall to trick or treat, go deliver caramel corn to the neighbors, then go home and put William to bed and hand out candy to trick or treaters the rest of the night. My plans had to change because I heard that our city had a curfew tonight. No one was allowed to trick or treat after 8pm. What?! Gone are the days of freedom when you can no longer roam from house to house and beg for treats to your heart's content. I mean really, do we actually need someone to tell us when to turn our lights out? Anyway, we had a ton of candy in a large cheap cauldron and I couldn't wait to give it out so I nixed the mall and decided to head home. Oh man, the traffic! It was gridlock for an hour! It normally doesn't bother me except I had a curfew tonight, I needed to deliver the treats I had made, and I didn't want to miss handing out the candy. It was after 7 when I finally got home! I ran in the house, grabbed the caramel corn, grabbed William and his treat bucket, and ran throughout the neighborhood. Little did I know that I would be going as Really Sweaty Girl for Halloween. William could have cared less (and was getting tired) so I only went to the 6 houses closest to ours and booked it home to turn on the porch light and let the candy distributing begin. It wasn't long after I set William down and wiped the sweat from my brow when someone knocked on the door. Yay! Unfortunately, as I grabbed the cheap cauldron by handle, it broke and all the candy scattered across the wood floor in front of the door. I still had some left in the bucket so I opened the door and handed it out. While my back was turned, my little turkey of a Batman had helped himself to the foil wrapped chocolate and got it all over his face, hands, and costume! Oh what a mess! I was trying to take the chocolate from him as he helped himself to another from the floor, then the knocks on the door. I resumed my persona as Really Sweaty Girl as I threw candy by the handfuls at these kids so I could deal with William. Needless to say, he wasn't too happy about having the chocolate (and foil) extracted from his mouth. I was able to clean up the candy mess and the William mess before the next bunch of kids came around. But every time I would turn my back to answer the door, William would find more candy that had rolled under the couch, coffee table, or somewhere I had missed. Darn this single parenting! The worst part is that I wanted to capture the memory of William covered in chocolate, holding his treat bucket and I couldn't find my camera! After searching for a good 15 minutes, I gave up and gave William a bath and I just got him to bed and now I have some relax time. Hopefully I was descriptive enough to get away with not having pictures. I'm tired. I'm going to bed. Happy Halloween!

Halloween Caramel Corn

This year Sean is once again unavailable for Halloween. He has duty on the ship and has to be there all day until Thursday morning. To make it a special day I made a big batch of caramel corn for him and anyone else who couldn't get leave. To keep busy, I made another big batch and divided it up to pass out to the neighbors with a little Halloween note. I don't usually brag but I make the best caramel corn you've ever had! You can make the best caramel corn too because I'm giving out the recipe. Happy Halloween!
1 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
10 cups popped popcorn, eyeball it (I fill up my largest mixing bowl)
2 11oz bags of candy corn
1 12oz can of honey roasted peanuts
Large bag of plain M&M's

Melt butter, sugar, and syrup on medium high heat in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Add vanilla and stir. Pour over popped popcorn in a large bowl and mix thoroughly until the popcorn is coated. Mix in the peanuts and candy corn. To prevent melting, let the popcorn cool for a few minutes before you add the M&M's (even if the candy melts, it's still tasty). So good!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween on the San Jac

Last Saturday was the Halloween party on Sean's ship. Several sections of the ship were decorated for trick or treaters. We had a walled off section of the mess deck called the 1st class mess to decorate. We unscrewed the lights and made it dark and lit some spooky pumpkins and hung spiderwebs and shredded black trash bags. I had a large cauldron of candy to hand out. It was pretty good considering the lack of materials we had and little time to set it up. Out in the mess (right outside the door to our trick or treat room) there were kids activities like coloring and Halloween Bingo and a costume contest. It was a shame that William was a little too young to participate. But that didn't stop us from dressing up. William was Batman, I was a witch , and Sean was supposed to be Zorro but he forgot his mask so he was just guy in a cape.
Just as the party was starting, a construction crew came in and started working on the ship, right in front of our trick or treat room! There was no way anyone could come and even see the hard work we put into our room. What a shame! They moved the party to another part of the ship and Sean and I took off with William to go to lunch. We were still in costumes but we didn't get as many weird stares as you would think. Then we went back to the ship and Sean cleaned up the room then we went home. Oh well, at least we had fun doing it and got to dress up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Typical Day

People ask me what I do with myself without a car, without family nearby, and in a tiny house. Well, here is a typical day in the Payne house.

I wake up when William is sick of being in his crib. He will normally wake up and play with a few toys and his musical aquarium for an hour or so. If I'm lucky, I get to sleep in until 9am. But usually it's around 8am.

Then I watch JAG from the DVR as I feed William breakfast and get my own. I also check my email, myspace, blog, and other computer stuff. I'll also play some Webkinz games if William is occupied. Lately, I've been going out every 15 minutes to move the sprinkler on our newly seeded lawn in the backyard.

If it is Tuesday, I would have been up at 5am to take Sean to work so I can have the car. After breakfast I get William dressed and ready for playgroup. That goes from 10am to noon. If it's not Tuesday, then at this time I clean the bedrooms, do laundry, make phone calls, whatever.

It's lunch at noon and William goes down for a nap. Depending on what was for lunch, and how attentive I am, I usually have a big mess under the high chair to clean up. I sweep and mop the floor. Then pick up the front room and put the toys away. If I'm making a crock pot meal for dinner, I do it at this time. Then if I have some time left, I lay down for a little nap until William wakes up and is ready to get out of his crib, which is usually around 2:30-3pm.

Then it's Backyardigans (thank you DVR!) and toy time for William while I clean the kitchen and listen to talk radio to catch up on what's going on in the world. On Tuesdays, I have to leave at 3:15pm to pick up Sean from work.

Snack time for William around 4pm and then clean up again. Get dinner ready and pick up before Sean comes home.

Sean comes home around 5:30pm and immediately snacks unless I have a meal ready. I haven't got the timing down yet. If a recipe says 30 minute prep time, I take around 1 1/2 hours. I guess it's lack of tools, counter space, and food prep skills.

Then we relax and watch some TV and talk about our day. Sean has to do most of the talking because my day (as you can see) is pretty hum-drum. If you know Sean, you know that the talking does not last long. It's mostly TV and computer time. I'll read a couple of books to William, if he lets me.

Around 7:30pm it's bath time for William and he loves to play in the tub. He's usually done and dressed in jammies by 8pm, his bedtime.

Then I do the dishes (no dishwasher!!) and sweep and mop under the highchair again. Sean takes out the trash and we lounge about again. He usually goes to bed around 10pm. If I go to bed at this time, I usually wake up around 2am and can't go back to sleep. (like now) Most of the time I stay up longer until and watch Conan and do computer stuff until I'm tired and can stay asleep.

That's my life. Pretty boring. Until we get another car or William stays out of the Scrapbook room so I can get some work done in there, I'll continue my routine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens

Before Sean's deployment we wanted to do something big. Since active military and their families get in free to Busch Gardens and it is only 45 minutes away from our house, it was the best choice. We were hoping to go with the Candlands, but they were unable to come. That meant we needed to find a babysitter. Unfortunately, we were unable to find one that was available all day that Saturday. So, we had two choices, miss out on our vacation, or take William. It wasn't so bad. It was really hard to see all of the fun roller coaster rides and know we couldn't ride them. Once we got to the children's playground, we all had a great time. I laughed so hard when William went down the tube slide and because he wasn't heavy enough to slide, went in slow motion. I guess you had to be there. We got to ride the Rhine River Cruise and the Carousel. We watched some Halloween themed shows and went through a couple of haunted houses. It wasn't that scary because we had William with us and the costumed characters didn't want to scare him. It was funny to see the deranged ax murderer wave at William instead of jumping out and scaring us. I really wanted to ride a roller coaster, even go alone while Sean watched William, but the lines were way too long. Maybe next year. We'll have to go with another family or get a babysitter for sure.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Cousin Hustle

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!
Robyn sent me a Jib-Jab movie and I had to make one of my own. Check out Robyn's blog to see the Candland's movie

Sunday, October 7, 2007

William's First Bubble Bath

William was particularly dirty one night so I thought a bubble bath could be helpful. At first he was skeptical and tried to escape the bubbles but after some coaxing, he relaxed and had fun in the tub.

USS San Jacinto Dining Out

I love the traditions in the Navy. Before deployment, the officers of Sean's ship had a dining out. This is a black tie dinner with the officers and wives. I was expecting a stuffy boring night with pinkies out and everyone on their best behavior but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had.
First, I got to get all fancied up. I even did my own hair up do and it wasn't half bad. Sean and I showed up at the Waterside Shereton Hotel at our scheduled time (Ensigns are to arrive first), then we mingled with his shipmates. There are only about 30 officers aboard the San Jac so it wasn't too large of a crowd.

I was given a list of all of the rules to be observed during the evening. They ranged from the obvious courtesy to the ridiculous. For example, the rules state there is to be no cursing or profanity, a pretty standard rule, but there was also to be no using of first names or rank, no speaking in foreign languages, and no addressing the group without permission. Any violation was addressed publicly and consequences were due.

The one in charge of finding offenders was dubbed "Mr. Vice." He sat at his own table, with his wife and would sporadically (and loudly) address the room and name offenses and offenders.
This probably sounds awful but it was all in good fun. The rules were "supposed" to be taken lightly and punishments ranged from singing a song in front of everyone to taking a sip of The Grog (a gross mix of all alcoholic beverages you can think of, even moonshine!) Fortunately for Sean and I and any designated drivers, there was a non-alcoholic version which tasted like pineapple punch.
There was a lot of laughing and "shocking" behavior, especially as the night wore on and the junior officers got more hammered. The Ensigns had to put on the entertainment: a song, a skit, and an "epic poem" recital with accompanying tambourine and kazoo. There were formal and informal toasts, rolls and tomatoes being tossed at Mr. Vice, and my favorite, the Captain shooting an overcooked piece of meat (with a starter pistol) and demanding medium rare prime rib for all. We all laughed throughout the evening and I was sad when it was over, but thankfully there will be other Dining Outs and social events with the crew of the USS San Jacinto.

Also, Sean is so good looking in his choker whites! Mmmmmm . . . .