Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to Have a Frugalicious Holiday

Like everyone, I'm trying to cut back because of the economy. It's also been a tough transition going from 2 incomes to relying solely on hubby to support us all. It seems like every month we go over our budget because of all the emergency room visits! (I just don't know why they can't get deathly ill during the doctor's office hours--why is it always midnight or the weekend?) Anyway, when I heard that RedPlum was going to have an event in LA entitled My Frugalicious Holiday to show moms how to cut back on spending and still have a fabulous holiday season, I knew I had to go.

I recognized RedPlum because I've been a proud coupon clipper since I was a tween and I've seen it on the cover of some of the coupon inserts in the Sunday paper and the mail. I didn't know they had a comprehensive website where you can also get money-saving tips as well as coupons and restaurant deals. It even has all the recent coupon codes for online retailers. At the event all of the RedPlum best holiday gifts under $30 were on display. I even met the RedPlum editor who had picked them! I think my favorite was the Brugo coffee mug where you can put the hot coffee and immediately take a sip because the technology cools it so it won't scald your mouth. If I were working in an office I would definitely get this for the commute, which kind of defeats the purpose of the event which was to find gift ideas for other people. And my other favorite item was the myperennial interchangeable headband that has a snap so you can change the headband just by switching the cute attachment. But I don't have a girl!

Ikea was also there with two table arrangements, one grown up and a kiddie table. The grown up table was done half in beige and half in black and white. The entire table was done for less than $150! I wish I could have a grown up party where I could set up a table like this without my kids destroying it. Even the kiddie table would be destroyed in 2 seconds. Just a few more years, right? The stager had sewn the tablecloths from everyday Ikea fabric. I never thought to do that, but I bet that is much more cost effective than going out and buying a tablecloth.

A couple ideas from the event that I think would be helpful at parties:
1) Have a signature cocktail prepared in advance so no one has to be stuck making drinks.
2) Have a tapas party so everything is hors d'oeuvres and you don't have to worry about keeping a main course warm. I think this is awesome because the appetizers are the best part of every party.

If you have tips on how to save money this holiday season, please share!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Time to Get (Wii) Fit

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My sister's awesome pumpkin cheesecake put me over the edge tonight. It was the first time my husband (mashed potatoes) and I (everything else) cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. Past turkeys were always provided by mom and/or Boston Market. Even though I left the bag of giblets in the turkey until midway through the roasting (emergency call to Butterball hotline confirmed bird was still edible and many people do this which is why the company designed the plastic bag to withstand this practice, thank God!), the turkey turned out all right. I used Martha Stewart's recipe, which called for a cheesecloth cover and basting liquid of a bottle of white wine and 3 sticks of butter.

So what did I do to combat the atherosclerosis and turkey coma? Fire up the Wii Fit Plus, of course! I've been trying to do something physical every day and it's quite ironic that some days I can't work out outdoors because of the weather, meaning that it is just too darn hot here in So Cal. (Yesterday it was so hot, the boys and I went swimming!) I nearly had to turn on the A/C today since it was 80 degrees outside and even hotter inside due to the oven being on all day. But I digress. I think God is trying to help me out with my fitness goals because lately he's been giving me a lot of opportunities to find motivation. Last week I had the chance to interview Jillian Michaels at the Guinness World Record setting Wii Fit Plus demonstration at the Torrance Sports Authority. Sports Authority is the only national sports retailer that has an actual training area and employees that can help you figure out how the Wii and Wii Fit work. I think one challenge for parents and electronics is how to find the time to figure out the instruction manual. When someone is actually walking you through the setup and how the system works, you're much more likely to use it.

Here is part of the interview (my friend @mintcool double-teamed with me and held the flip video since I was holding something else as you will see):

Obviously after meeting someone with abs like that, you can't help but feel the need to burn some fat. And I want you to burn calories with me! Sports Authority and Nintendo have generously offered a Wii Fit Plus balance board for one of my readers to win. It was one of the ones used in the world record setting demonstration so it's a part of history! Here is how to enter: Contest period runs from midnight Black Friday to 11:59 pm Cyber Monday (PST). Enter by leaving a comment stating when and what was your last form of exercise, and leave your email address. If you don't leave a comment about the last time you exercised, your entry will be disqualified. One entry per person; please do not use multiple email addresses for the same person. At the end of the contest period, I will utilize to randomly choose a winner. Winner will be contacted by email the business day following the end of the contest period. Winner has 72 hours to respond to my email. If winner does not respond within 72 hours, the Wii Fit Plus balance board will go to the second place winner as decided by Good luck!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

3-2-1 No Contact

H's contact sport career is over before it began. Five months ago he suffered a concussion by falling in our neighbor's garage. A week ago he had another fall, this time by falling face first off one of our cheap IKEA dining chairs (we were waiting till the kids were past the crayon scribbling stage to get a "real" dining table and chairs). The first time was worse since he fell on the back of his head--disorientation, vomiting, loss of focus. We went to the ER and they did a CT scan, luckily no internal bleeding in his head. This time was not as bad but he is still out of sorts and not acting like himself--he even asked for medicine because he felt sick. What kid does that? So basically he can't have any more concussions because there is a well-documented risk that it will increase his chance of having Alzheimer's, already in his family history. After a week he seems to be getting back to his old self, but definitely no contact sports for him.

I was the manager of my college football team. As a perk of that role, I met a lot of future and former NFL players. I have autographs from Charles Woodson and Peyton Manning before they entered the NFL. I've been on the field at Soldier Field and Giants Stadium. One of my dreams was to have a son who could play on my college team and/or be the first Korean-American player in the NFL. Those dreams are now dead. It's strange how small things dictate the course of someone's future. I have to believe that he can still be an athlete. If he doesn't do something physical to release his enormous amounts of energy, I don't know how I will survive his childhood. Perhaps he can race in the Tour de France or outswim the Thorpedo one day.

This Black Friday I will be shopping for heavy heavy wood dining table and chairs.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My latest LA Moms Blog post.

You can click on the widget and scroll to the second post.
Los Angeles Moms

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mommy Makeup

A couple weeks ago, my friend Heather came by to borrow a baby swing for her third child. She was decked out in full makeup, a slinky black dress, and 3-inch heels. I asked her if she was on the way to a party and she said that was how she had to look to go pick up her oldest daughter from pre-school. Apparently she dropped her off 1 day without putting on makeup and her daughter told her not to pick her up unless she was wearing makeup because, without it, she was not pretty enough. O-kay! That is the difference between the mom of girls and the mom of boys. The girls keep their mommy looking pretty and trendy and the boys keep their mommy looking like she just stepped off the rugby field. And that is exactly what I look like most days. If I can get some lip balm on my lips, I'm lucky. So when my friend @mintcool told me she was hosting a makeup party a few weeks ago, I gladly signed up.

The makeup was provided by e.l.f. (eyes lips face) and the party was catered by Fresh Brothers. Hollywood makeup artist Shannon Hughey was there to give us tips and pro photographer Laura Joyce was there to capture all the fun. Since it was my birthday, Shannon picked me to be the makeover model. I was so excited! She taught me how to do a 5-minute face and then layered on smoky eyes to complete the makeover. I definitely looked like I was ready to hit the club! I wanted to keep it on and surprise the mommies at pre-school drop off the next day, but I knew there was no way I would be able to sleep in one position and not get makeup all over my bed. Since that night I've been trying the 5-minute face a few times a week. It's strange how doing something so simple can make a difference in how you hold yourself. I think it's not really about layering on the makeup, but the act of doing something for yourself to prepare your self mentally to present yourself to the world instead of just trying to sneak around as quickly as possible without having people look at you (my usual m.o.).

There used to be (and may still be) an email going around that Nordstrom had bought e.l.f. and the makeup was on clearance for $1. This isn't true, but the low price of the makeup is true. A lot of people think that something cheap must be bad but Shannon said that wasn't the case. You pay for the name of the higher end makeup but the makeup inside is the same, compare the e.l.f. duo blush/bronzer at $3 to the one from NARS for $45. I think I know which one I want. They just started selling the e.l.f. studio line and the mineral line at Target. Maybe I'll see you at the endcap.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Portland Recap

Having grown up in Chicago I think about snow nostalgically, especially when it's November and 80 degrees in the blazing sun here in LA. I was even planning on taking the boys to Chicago for Christmas this year. That was before this past weekend in Portland. More on that later.

When we got to Portland, my good friend from the Korea University summer program picked us up from the airport. She let us use her daughter's old car seat so we only brought the backless booster for H. Not traveling with a car seat really helps, especially these days when we're only taking carry-ons and a car seat would mean having to wait at baggage claim just for that item. We got a tour of southeast Portland on our way to Pine State Biscuits, but the line was too long and we made our way to Hopworks Urban Brewery, aka the Hub, where I had my first organic handcrafted beer. The great thing about this place was that half of it was a bar where kids aren't allowed, but the other half is kid-friendly where parents (at least the non-driving parent) can kick back, drink beer, and watch their kids play in the toy corner filled with a train table, dinosaurs, books, a chalkboard, and more. I wish there were places like this in LA. The food wasn't so great, but the beer, excellent! We later checked out the OMSI, where H and R ran around like crazy till I was about to pass out from exhaustion chasing them.

The next day we went shopping and walking in downtown Portland. Oh, did I forget to mention there is NO sales tax in Portland? We ate at the food trucks and got our obligatory Voodoo doughnuts. (I didn't get any Stumptown coffee, but bought some beans to brew at home.) When we walked into Voodoo, I smelled bacon frying for the bacon maple doughnut. Does it get better than that??? H ate mostly the topping off his doughnut, but I think he thoroughly enjoyed it. R was conked out during the entire walk.

Over the weekend we spent time on Mt. Hood for a family wedding at the Timberline Lodge, where the exterior shots for The Shining were filmed. It may have been the lingering presence of whatever evil was portrayed in the movie (I'm not really sure because I can't watch scary movies), but H and R were unable to sleep (screaming in the middle of the night) and we were all zombies the day after the wedding. Unfortunately we were in one of those bunk rooms and subjected other relatives to their craziness. Never again. Whenever we travel, we will get our own room. I don't know what possessed me to think that sharing with other people would work.

Sleepiness aside, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Portland with all of its sights and eclectic personalities. The boys especially enjoyed playing with their cousin C--Pump it Up Party anyone? But what we discovered is that H is no longer the same boy that was born in NYC and spent his first winter playing in the snow by Riverside Park. I thought Portland would be a great place for him to reconnect with nature, snow and the four seasons. We all discovered that H didn't share that goal. When we went to a playground after a light sprinkle (light by Portland standards), H went down a slide and got his pants soaked. He immediately started moaning, "I am not OK!" He said this repeatedly until I went to the car and changed him into disposable pants. (These boxers have saved us on several occasions. I would never use them for sleeping, though, they're just too expensive for that!) Then when we were on Mt. Hood and finally playing in the snow, after five minutes H started whining about his wet pants, "I'm wet, I have to change it. I don't like it." So a year and half in the LA sun has turned my snow angel into a beach boy. Say it ain't so!

I am going to abandon the plans to go to Chicago for Christmas and fly my parents to LA instead. I guess the only White Christmas we'll have is if we go to one of the pristine beaches in Dana Point where the sand is almost white. I think the hardest part is to admit that I had just as much trouble with the Portland weather as H did. I feel like a traitor to myself.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunny Day...Sweepin the Clouds Away

Tomorrow is one day I will let H watch TV before preschool. The new season of Sesame Street premieres tomorrow. First Lady Michelle Obama will be featured in a segment promoting growing vegetables as part of the show's new two-year "curriculum" called "My World is Green and Growing." I had the opportunity this past Friday to meet puppeteers Carroll Spinney (Big Bird and Oscar) and Fran Brill (Zoe and Prairie Dawn) to discuss their history with Sesame Street and its past 40 years.

I remember from my childhood that there were a lot more new shows a year and they confirmed that the show had been cut from 110 shows a year to 26. Mr. Spinney revealed that the producers wanted to do 25, but then someone said, "which letter of the alphabet do you want to cut?" Hence the 26. I was surprised to hear that the show that basically taught my sister and me English after we moved to the US has also been hit by the downturn in the economy. I thought, if there is any show that should get public support, it's Sesame Street! Instead the show has been hit by layoffs and funding cuts along with the rest of America.

Talking with Ms. Brill really made me think about things I hadn't thought of before, like the disproportionate male/female ratio of monsters on the show. She also pointed out that the male monsters were free to do whatever they wanted, but they had to be extra careful with what the female monsters did because everything could create a backlash. Consider the example of Cookie Monster--it's ok for a male to be eating everything in site but if a female did that, people would say she had an eating disorder. I began to appreciate even more how much thought went into planning the show and the responsibility the puppeteers took on in creating their characters.

After my fellow LA mom bloggers and I wrapped up our discussions with the legendary puppeteers, it was time for H and R to meet Oscar and Zoe. H was so excited. He ran right up to Zoe and gave her a big hug. He showed her his best ballet moves. R was scared as usual. He preferred to hold onto the friendly PR representative for support. Finally he let me get a picture of him with Oscar. I don't think they made the connection between the puppets and the puppeteers so they're still safe in their magical world where little furry monsters are real.

We were lucky enough to be able to preview the new DVD Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days. They have been watching it nonstop since we got home. It can be credited with getting H to pee standing up (because I said he could watch more if he did that), a huge milestone after ten months of sitting down. Thank you Grover! This DVD set is awesome and may tie their all time favorite, the Sesame Street 25th Birthday Celebration. (That DVD's last segment with the African acapella troupe, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is the best rendition of Sing I have ever seen/heard. H could probably watch that over and over again for hours.)

I hope to see Mr. Carroll and Ms. Brill at a 50th anniversary Sesame Street event. It was truly special to meet people who have made such a positive impact on the world. These days there is just so much bad news, it's nice to know that there is a place where there are friendly neighbors and the air is sweet. Let's hope for many more sunny days.
Update 11-11: I watched the show this morning and guess what the letter of the day was---H! The segment with the First Lady was really funny because of her interchange with Big Bird. At one point, Big Bird says to her something like, "We could be in the same family." On Friday Mr. Carroll told us that he was a distant cousin to President Obama, so this was clearly an inside joke. Watching Big Bird and knowing there was a 75-year old man in there was pretty surreal.

The format of the show was a little different, every so often Murray would come out and say what was coming up. I'm not sure why they inserted that and took up time they could be using to focus on the letter and number of the day. The past seasons definitely spent more time on showcasing the letter and the number. Perhaps it was a special episode to commemorate the milestone. I'll definitely be paying attention to that in future shows. All in all a great show!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fitness and Fun at Home

Ever since the fateful day of the pool party when another mom told me to my face that I was fat, I've been looking for ways to slim down. Yes, I know, I shouldn't care what she says since my BMI is in the normal range but I've been socialized enough by American culture that when someone says something like that, you just can't ignore it. So I've been going for run/walks with R while H is in preschool, but twice a week just doesn't cut it. I think God has been noticing my efforts, however, because in the past two weeks I've had the opportunity to go to a Wii Fit Plus party hosted by fellow LA Moms Blogger Kim Prince (check out her blog for info about the LA holiday playdate she's hosting next month to collect diapers for charity) and the EA Games Annual Winter Gaming Wonderland event.

At the Wii Fit Plus party we were given a tutorial on how to get started with the Wii Fit balance board. I think that's the biggest hurdle, at least for me. A lot of times electronics have so many different steps you have to do, that if you're not a tech savvy person, you'll probably give up. I'm really glad I went to the event because now I think I can actually use the Wii Fit to exercise at home when the kids are asleep. I've done Denise Austin yoga at home, but always wondered if I had the right form. Well, the Wii Fit measures your center of gravity so if you drift off, you can see it right on the screen. The Wii Fit also comes with fun games that helps you burn calories while you're playing. There is a game where you move your hips side to side and front to back to add up to 10. I said to my friend, "oh, it's a game for Asians." She said, "yes, Nintendo is Japanese." I can't help but wonder if this was the Japanese being ironic by playing into the Asian stereotype and also if I'm the only one who's thought about it. In any respects, the game is fun and burns calories so the rest is besides the point. At the end of the night, the sponsors surprised us by giving each participant her own Wii Fit Plus to take home. So cool!

At the EA Games event, Stewart and the boys went nuts. They hopped from game to game, from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to Boom Blox Bash Party to Hasbro Family Game Night 2. For me, however, the best game was the Active More Workouts. I think I've found the perfect indoor workout. The More Workouts program integrates the Wii Fit balance board to give you as complete a person trainer you can get that is not an actual human being. I tried one of the demo workouts and I got so pumped up, I had to take off my jacket. The Active game monitors your leg as well as arm movements and has you working with a resistance band, so it seems like you get a more intense cardio workout than the Wii Fit Plus. So Wii Fit for core strengthening and Active for cardio, I really have no excuses now.

I also played the Sims 3 expansion pack World Adventures. Ok, this might be weird but I've always wanted to kill a Sims character to see what would happen so I got my character to starve to death. The grim reaper came out and he became a ghost. The demonstrator told me that there were ways to bring him back to life, so really, no harm done. I think a lot of my frustration at being a mom is that I expect my real life family to act like a Sims family. I want my kids to eat and sleep when I dictate, I want my husband not to leave his clothes all over the house, and I want the ability to control time. Then I think that if that actually happened, then the Matrix would probably be real. So it's a good thing that my family is the way it is, right?

Another game our family got to try out was the Wii Fifa Soccer game. Stewart was so enthusiastic about it that he even wrote a review of it that he wanted me to post on my blog.
Without further ado, Stewart's global internet blog debut:
Growing up, I was firmly entrenched at the bottom of the video game totem pole when it came to success on our family’s old 8-bit Nintendo console. Sports games in particular were highly mystifying with complex game play which often devolved into a series of unresponsive button mashing. I bought the Nintendo Wii in the hopes that its motion-sensing technology would make video games more accessible for the casual gamer like me. Wii Sports is the perfect example of a game that can be both simple and fun to play. But would more hardcore games be as easy? After trying Fifa Soccer 10, I can say that the answer is yes. Sure there is a bit of a learning curve, but with its simpler “All-Play” mode, there really are only limited set of options to worry about: shoot, pass, sprint, standing tackle, and sliding tackle. And thankfully, two of those options are executed with a simple flick of the remote. Sure it’s a dumbed downed alternative, but most of the fun is actually getting to play Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and seeing him score some killer goals without having to press a million buttons and perform some odd sequence of directional movements to make it happen. And since I’m not a hard core gamer, it provides the right amount of thrill with the precise amount of needed complexity. And for those of you who want to really dig into the intricacies of the game, you can simply change the settings to open up a wide breadth of additional controls (e.g., trick moves and shots). But for now, that header by Rooney over the Chelsea keeper during my 10 minute break is sufficient enough for me.
I think it can be summed up as, "I like it." I know he likes it since he's been up till 1:30 am the past couple of nights playing it. Crazy man. With him and my two boys I predict my entree into the world of late night video gaming is just beginning. Hopefully, they will give me enough time on the Wii so I can reach my Wii Fit BMI goal of 22 by the end of 2 months. So now I have the tools, I just have to go and do it. Please cheer me on!

Friday, November 6, 2009

How to Crush It?

Today's inspiration is Sgt. Kimberly Denise Munley. I pray that God will heal her quickly. She is a true hero, responding without regard to her own life to serve and protect others.

I really wish I could do something to change the world for the better. My pastor gave a sermon recently on taking Revolutionary Risk. We have all talents and gifts, and not to use them is just plain lazy. One thing he said that resonated with me was his question along the lines of--does anyone grow up wanting to be average, to have a mediocre life, just to get by until they take their last breath and die? When I was young I wanted to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. When I got a C+ in organic chemistry in college, I realized this wasn't going to happen. Then I turned to law and the goal of becoming a Supreme Court justice. I found myself practicing corporate law so that also isn't going to happen. So what is left for me? I don't know yet.

Someone I greatly admire is Paula Deen. She suffered from agoraphobia in her 20s and didn't really come into her own until late middle age. So there is hope for me, right? A friend of mine gave me the book "Crush It" for my birthday, which basically says go after your passion night and day until you attain it. The biggest problem I think is that I don't have a passion. As long as I've known my friend Rayray, her passion was to become a doctor. She didn't pursue it right away after college but went into the peace corps, but she planned to go to med school afterwards. Unfortunately, the peace corps gave her malaria meds that made her hallucinate and eventually she had to be medevaced. She had some brain damage (not as bad as it sounds since we all only use 10% of our brains) but managed to overcome that and got into her choice of med schools (40 on the MCAT!). She'll finally graduate from med school next year, a 12-year journey from college graduation. To me, that shows true passion. To go after something so doggedly without ever contemplating defeat. I don't have anything close to that.

Except one thing. I wanted to be a mom ever since I was young. I wanted to have lots of children and be home with them. I wanted to cook marvelous meals using my 20 different cookbooks and have wonderful sit-down family dinners where we would all talk and enjoy each other. But it's not working out the way I wanted. There are so many days when things blow up and I feel like a complete failure as a mom. Everyone says you do such a great thing for your kids just by being there, but really? I don't think that's true. If your kids want you to go to work and their dad to stay home instead then isn't it time to throw in the towel on that dream? If your kids ask for macaroni and cheese or just plain rice day after day, what does it say about my cooking? And if the only way I can get them to eat is by chasing them around and shoving a spoonful of food into their mouths, what does that say about my parenting skills? I just want to go inside a hole and hide there for a week. What is the cure for mom burn-out?

When I read about someone like Sgt. Munley shooting down an insane gunman, I just appreciate so much what a strong woman can do out there in the workforce. Kudos to her. And anyone who says she should have been home with her kids instead of working needs to be kicked out of this country because they obviously don't appreciate the freedom we have to make that choice to work. Thank you Sgt. Munley, job well done.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I'm trying new looks for my blog. Why? Because it really irritates when there is a lot of empty space on the page. So I had to stretch it and there aren't a lot of stretch templates on blogger. I could try to edit the html and adjust the box sizes but I don't think I'm ready for that.

I'm in a bit of a mood now because H has peed in his car seat yet again after he fell asleep in the car. When will he become fully potty-trained? He just can't physically hold it when he's sleeping. I read a book in college of this writer's memory of the year when she woke up. Became aware of herself as a person, existing. When will this happen for H? I'm waiting to speak to him coherently. Will this day ever come? It makes me feel like a horrible mom because I feel like I'm doing something wrong or not doing something right that he needs to develop. Being here just isn't enough.

I told H's friend that we had a crawl space in our house because that's where we're going to hide when the aliens come. He then said he didn't have a space like that in his house and I told him he did and he should ask him mom where it is when he goes home. What a fun conversation. It makes me feel sad that I'm not talking to H like this. I know you're not supposed to compare kids, but that's what you say to other kids' moms when they are saying how their kid isn't up to speed. Ugh. I'm waiting...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Redux

Can there be too many Halloween parties? When my family came to the US we didn't really do Halloween. I remember going trick or treating only a handful of times during childhood. In fact, I've never had a store-bought costume for any occasion (although I guess my wedding dress is the ultimate princess costume). Once in college I wore a friend's dress that she had gotten at the Salvation Army and said I was a hippie (because the dress was so old). Another year I put on my sister's Stanford Law shirt and said I was a law student. So this year has become the bonanza of Halloween parties to make up for all those fun times I think I missed out on when I was a kid.

Over the past three weeks we've gone to 9 parties/events and the circus. The Got Chocolate Milk event kicked everything off, then we went to a neighborhood pumpkin party, then the Moms Club party, Borders Halloween party, the circus, three events on Friday and two yesterday. H has become a party animal. He never wants to go home now, but expects to go to the next event. I have started him on a path that I can foresee leading to beer pong and jello shots in college. What have I done?

The saving grace of all this is that H doesn't really like candy. He licks a lollipop three times and then says he's done. The only thing he really likes is chocolate, but now I've trained him to think that is a prize he gets only after going no.2 in the toilet. R, on the other hand, is a candy junkie. I think it was the gestational diabetes that did it, but there is no food with a discernable sugar content that he will turn down (except raisins, but what kids would pick raisins over candy?). Funny to see an 18-month old wrestle you to the ground before giving up his trick or treat bag. Luckily he's too young to realize that we took all the candy last night and put it in a box to give away.

So the top ten things I've learned this Halloween:
10) Bad candy should be outlawed, nobody wants to get mints in their Halloween bag.
9) If you're going to multiple events, you should have more than one costume otherwise all your photos will end up looking the same.
8) It's not a good idea to skip breakfast and eat candy instead. Both Stewart and I had bad headaches all day Friday and realized why parents have been saying this for ages.
7) Giant Elmo costume on an adult is NOT cute.
6) Toddler boys do not want to carve pumpkins.
5) Your kid should not be the only one not wearing a costume at a Halloween event.
4) Tootsie rolls have been reformulated and now taste like chalk.
3) If you are in high school and over six feet tall, you shouldn't be trick or treating. And if you are, you should at least have a costume.
2) It's not about the candy, but the thrill of the unknown, of going up to each person and saying trick or treat not knowing what their response will be.
1) You don't have to do everything, one event per day max should be the rule.

I think this year's frenzy of activity has cured me of the desire to go nuts at Halloween. Next year, it will be very sedate. Perhaps we will even skip it and move right on to Christmas. Time to get the ornaments out...