Archive for the ‘Halloween’ Category

  • Nighttime Parties and a Giveaway!

    Date: 2015.10.28 | Category: Family, Halloween, Health, Home, Life, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 0

    Over the past six months since the twins have come into our lives, I’ve struggled with ways to dedicate time to my older girls. Mark and I constantly “divide and conquer” though, and at night while he bathes and dresses the babies, the big girls and I move to the back of the house to begin their bed time routine – which is always a challenge as I constantly find myself physically wrestling an overtired two-year-old into the bath tub while her older sister screams, “SHE IS SPLASHING SOAP IN MY EYES AND HITTING ME!”

    One night Sarah asked me if we could have a “Halloween Party.” I was hesitant at first, because one more thing, but she looked at me pleadingly and melted my over-tired heart.  Her imagination is boundless and I knew that anything and everything could easily be transformed into a Halloween Party. I agreed and she cheered!

    I began to think of the things I could do to turn bath time into Halloween party time. What does any good party have? Music of course! So I turned on the Pandora “Halloween Party” station. Then I dimmed the lights, but that was a little too spooky, so I got a fall-scented candle and lit it in the bathroom. Perfect. Now as “Monster Mash” and tunes from The Nightmare Before Christmas flood our bathroom, we dance and laugh. Sometimes we add extra fun things like bath foam to make “costumes” or bath bombs to fizz and turn the water different colors (yellow, blue, red!).

    Now, when 7:00 rolls around, there are no more battles to get into the bathtub. Norah enthusiastically yells, “Tub time!” while Sarah says, “It’s time to party!”  and wiggles her hips. We rush to the bathroom, set up our party, shut the door to close out the babies, dance and play and they get mama’s full attention.

    It’s not elaborate, but it is fun and it’s the joyful time we all need together. Now I look forward to getting everyone ready for bed, and the only protesting that happens is when it’s time to get out of the tub (but even that is minor because we keep the music going while they dry off and get dressed).

    One of my favorite parts of all this are the things we use to create our party. The only thing I love more than shopping local is buying things that I know are safe and healthy for my family. My friend Kate owns Zombee Candle and Coven Co., and sells both products at her new store in Shreveport, The Sleepy Hollow: Books & Gifts. For our tub time parties, I’ve been lighting up seasonally appropriate fall scents – L’Automne and Bitches Brew (though the girls call it Witches Brew). Bitches Brew is purple and smells like apple cider, so it usually gets Sarah’s vote for party time. The candles are made with soy and don’t release any kind of nasty toxins into the air.

    Coven Co., is a line of natural and organic beauty products, including bath bombs and body butter (and the body butter even comes in the falltastic Hocus Pocus scent). The girls love waiting to see what color their bath bomb is going to release when we toss them in the tub.

    I am so excited to have the opportunity to share a little bit of our Halloween party joy with my readers! I’m teaming up with Kate during the week of Halloween to giveaway some of these locally made products from The Sleepy Hollow: Books & Gifts.

    You can win this awesome little bundle of healthy, Halloween goodness which includes:

    • 3 x small Coven Co. Aura Bombe bath bombs in Grove [lemon & sage] or Mandarin Royale [vanilla & orange]
    • 1 x 14oz Midi Zombee in your choice of Bitches Brew [mulled apple cider], L’Automne [orange, clove, black tea], Hocus Pocus [vanilla & pumpkin], or Hallowed Ground [tobacco, patchouli, cedarwood].

    Here’s what you have to do to enter. Make sure you complete all the steps – we’ll check!

    1. LIKE The Sleepy Hollow: Books & Gifts on Facebook.
    2. SHARE this post with your friends.
    3. TAG a friend in the comments.
    4. PROMISE to have your own personal Halloween Party, even if it’s just lighting up a spooky scent and relaxing in the tub with your very own bath bomb.

    The last day to enter is this Saturday, HALLOWEEN! We will announce a winner on Saturday. Good luck!

  • The End of the Year

    Date: 2013.12.31 | Category: Baby, Family, Friends, Halloween, Health, Holidays, Home, Kitties, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, Pregnancy, Sam Cat, Sarah, Travel | Response: 1

    As I was looking back through photos from this past year, I found myself in awe over just how big my Sarah girl has grown. She looked like such a little baby way back in January, but now she is a big, talking, silly little girl. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about 2013, but we, mostly, had a really fantastic year.

    I typed up a pretty lengthy summary, but feel free to skip all that and just watch the video. :)

    2013 from Jessica Rinaudo on Vimeo.

    In January we found out we were expecting another baby, which changed our whole world. Sarah would no longer be an only child, and my yearlong obsession with getting pregnant again came to a close. We let our families know we were expecting by allowing Sarah to walk into their homes proudly wearing a “Big Sister” shirt.

    In February we took Sarah to her first Mardi Gras parade – the animal parade downtown. We missed the others we had planned to take her to thanks to illness. She also got sick on Valentine’s Day  for good measure. We also got to see our little bean on the ultrasound for the first time that month too!

    In March I quickly discovered that pregnancies show much faster the second time around. We spent a lot of time playing outside and going to friends’ birthday parties. We spent Good Friday at the pediatrician’s office after Sarah landed herself with croup. This meant we couldn’t go to church for Easter, but Nana and grandaddy were willing to let her come around them, so we visited there and hunted down a few Easter eggs.

    In April Sarah turned two and we celebrated with a Alice and Wonderland themed “Mad Tea Party” in our backyard. Friends and family came and jumped in the bounce house and ate homemade cupcakes. A few days later my nephew Jacob turned two and we celebrated at his construction themed party. Sarah also got to meet her “Italian granny,” Sr. Martinette Rivers, while she was home for a month.

    May was super exciting! Not only did we learn that we would be having another little girl, but we took Sarah on a big vacation that included her first trip to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We hit up the aquarium and ate lots of great food before heading to the beach in Florida. We stayed there with Susan and her family and had a great time in the sand and water. Sarah still talks about the beach all the time. We will have to plan another trip in 2014!

    In June my friend Tammy and her daughter Kiri came down for a visit from Indianapolis. I also got a new, bigger, family- sized vehicle that month to replace my tiny, but wonderful, Honda Fit. I also went to my conference in Denver in June with my friend Becki. In addition to the conference (where we won a big award for our magazine!), we ate at a lot of Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurants, went to the top of a mountain and checked out some campy museums. That was the longest I’d ever been away from Sarah!

    In July our cat Sam ran away and never came back. We held out hope for a long time without any good news. We also went to Austin in July to visit our friends Dana and Scott. We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool with the kids, and I loved the comfort the pool gave my growing pregnant body. Mys sisters also threw me a “Baby Sprinkle” in July, where close friends and family came and brought lots of goodies for baby #2, including some much needed diapers!

    In August I started having excruciating pain in my right side that lead to several rush trips to the OB’s office and lots of tests. A GI doc finally figured out that I had a bulging ligament that was pressing on a nerve. When the baby would move a lot, she would hit that spot and it would get inflamed. It was horrible! We also went to Baton Rouge in August to see my Aunt Amy get married and I had a great time with my whole family and spent more time in the pool!

    In September my coworkers threw me a baby shower and we started preparing ourselves for Norah’s scheduled c-section on September 23. Due to some horrible problems with Sarah knotting up her hair, we took Sarah to get her first haircut. On September 11 I was rear-ended and, for the sake of my 9 month pregnant baby, was taken by ambulance to a hospital where I stayed overnight to make sure we were both ok. I also had a false labor run on my sister’s birthday, and then went into labor for real on September 20, three days before my scheduled section. We welcomed Norah into the world at 12:38 p.m. and were immediately in love with our beautiful little girl.

    I started October off by turning 29! Cassie came to visit from Pittsburgh and helped us clean and paint our house while she was in town. October is also  when we began the long, hard road of dealing with colic. Norah kept us up every single night screaming hour after hour after hour. It quickly unfolded into months of sleep deprived torture. Mark and I learned the true meaning of being a team and worked out a way to take shifts with her all night long. It was terrible. We also took both girls trick-or-treating in October. Sarah went as Olivia the pig and Norah as Minnie Mouse.

    November gave us no relief from the colic, but we learned that Norah loved the Moby wrap and we put her in that often. Sarah also learned to start sleeping through the long nights of screaming. We also took Norah to meet her great grandparents who live an hour away. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents house.

    In December we started counting down until Norah turned 12 weeks – the magical age when the doctor and several friends said colic usually stops. At 12 weeks and 4 days old, Norah slept through the night for the first time because she found her thumb. We rejoiced! We took the girls to meet Santa (Sarah hated him, Norah liked his beard). We decorated for Christmas and then celebrated it with our families. It’s also the month Norah got her first honest to goodness cold – the same cold the whole family managed to share just in time for the holidays.

    A new baby, a couple of big trips, a new car and a lot of love. You were good to us 2013!

  • Happy Halloween!

    Date: 2013.11.08 | Category: Baby, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 1

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t do a post on Halloween – Norah’s first and the first time Sarah really understood what trick-or-treating was all about.

    We all gathered at my mom’s house, who lives in one of the best trick-or-treating neighborhoods around.

    My sisters and I dressed up as the  Sanderson witch sisters from the movie Hocus Pocus. My youngest sister orchestrated all of our costumes and hair. It was so much fun and everyone who saw us recognized our costumes and loved it!

    Sarah went as Olivia the pig, a famous children’s book character who also has her own TV show on Nick Jr, and my nephew went as Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

    Sarah was not an elf, as several people thought she was.

    Norah was a baby Minnie Mouse and quite enjoyed the trick-or-treating in my and her Aunt Marthy’s arms.

    We pulled the kids around in a wagon, and Sarah absolutely loved it.

    She only hesitated once when she was halfway up a driveway and saw a man sitting there in a scary clown mask. She turned around, looked at me and shook her head no. I agreed with her assessment and we moved on.

    But the best part of the night was, of course, the candy. And after we finished trick-or-treating, Sarah took it upon herself to inspect what we were handing out (while Norah passed out).

    It was a great night with beautiful weather – a perfect Halloween!

  • Happy Halloween!

    Date: 2013.10.31 | Category: Baby, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Norah, Photography, Sarah | Response: 1

    Olivia the pig

    And Baby Minnie Mouse

    Wish you a spooktacular Halloween!

  • Pumpkin Patch

    Date: 2013.10.28 | Category: Baby, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Life, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 3

    For our first real outing with Norah, we went to one of the local Pumpkin Patches. After a couple of rained out attempts, my sisters and I all happened to be off work on a Monday, so we went in the middle of the day and conveniently missed a pre-school class that had visited just 10 minutes before.

    I’m not going to lie, getting two kids dressed and ready to go required way more energy than I anticipated. Thank goodness I am so much more laid back this time around with the baby. We breastfeed on the go instead of frantically trying to make sure she’s topped off before we leave. It didn’t matter anyway because Norah slept through the whole thing.

    And, fortunately, my youngest sister MC came along and claimed baby duty so I could focus on chasing Sarah through the pumpkin patch.

    Sarah and Jacob had an awesome time running through the patch and picking out pumpkins, with only one scary run towards the highway.

    After much discernment, Sarah picked out pumpkins for each member of our family.

    And my nephew picked out pumpkins for his family.

    And, of course, we took the opportunity to pose the baby in the cutest way possible.

    And they had a scene all set up for photo ops. We were all over it!


    And cousins.

    Say it with me now…. AWE!!!

    Even with a newborn I refused to miss the Pumpkin Patch. And for Sarah’s sake especially, I’m so glad we went!

    I love my sisters so much, and this outing ended up being as funny and entertaining with them as it was with the kids. I can’t wait for Sarah and Norah to share that bond one day.

    We followed this great adventure with decorating Halloween cookies. But I’ll save that for another post.

  • Trick-or-Treating

    Date: 2012.11.08 | Category: Family, Halloween, Holidays, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Sarah | Response: 16

    I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work, which means I haven’t talked about how trick-or-treating went!

    Mom’s neighborhood it the trick-or-treating mecca of where we live. All the kids and churches pile in, and the streets are packed. It’s a lot of fun (though you have to go early, otherwise people run out of candy).

    This year was Sarah’s first to trick-or-treat and I had no idea what to expect. We let her pick her own costume: a kitty cat ballerina.

    And surprisingly, she loved the ears and kept them on all night. She also loved her Madonna gloves.

    My nephew was an adorable little Charlie Brown.

    After a brief squabble over who got to hold Snoopy, we loaded them up and headed out.

    Do you know that wagons come with seatbelts now? They proved to be quite handy when both kids decided to abandon ship when we approached a house with scary clowns on the front porch. Jacob left in an attempt to go to them and get more candy and Sarah, ever her mother’s daughter, screeched and nearly made it out of the moving wagon to get away from those awful things. I scooped her up and we both left immediately.

    It worked out though, because Sarah liked walking up to the friendlier doors and holding her bucket out.

    We made it all the way down one long street and halfway down another (where they were handing out full sized Snickers bars for parents!) And since we managed to avoid the rest of the scary faces, we both enjoyed ourselves.

    When we knew they were done with their trick-or-treating, mom, Mark and I hung out with the kids on the porch and handed out candy. There were only a few frightening masks, and she had so much fun dancing and playing with dad that it didn’t matter so much.

    We also let her have her first dum dum sucker, and learned how much fun things get when suckers get stuck in hair.

    Over all, it was a rousing success and I know next year will be even more fun!

  • Fall Festivities

    Date: 2012.10.23 | Category: Baby, Dogs, Family, Food, Friends, Halloween, Holidays, Home, Puppies, Sarah | Response: 11

    In case you couldn’t tell, we love Fall around this place, even with the air conditioning blowing and the 88 degree temps outside. Over the years, I’ve made an effort to make October a month long celebration of fun. This year is no different, and actually more fun now that Sarah can get in on the fun.

    As I mentioned previously, we’ve already made a trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

    After we picked out our perfect pumpkins, I carved one:

    And Sarah colored on one:

    I roasted the pumpkin seeds after carving the pumpkin, and they were delicious. The easy recipe is here.

    We’ve colored Halloween pictures together too.

    Last night though, was our ultimate Halloween tradition: decorating Halloween cookies. This annual event manages to bring together my entire family, including my sister who is in college and we never see. I also invited Becki to come, though she had no idea how much chaos she was in for.

    And, just for good measure, there was also more love time with the puppies, who now have their eyes open!

    On that festive note, it’s time to wish you farewell for the weekend. I’m headed to Pittsburgh to see Cassie, photograph Carly’s wedding and finally meet Katie! I plan on having a great time while they all attempt to distract me with food, exercise and booze so I won’t cry over being away from my baby for four days. See you on the flip side!

  • Pumpkin Patch

    Date: 2012.10.13 | Category: Baby, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Life, Me, OMG YAY!, Photography, Sarah | Response: 12

    When I was pregnant, I used to get so excited thinking about the holidays with a child. And with good reason, because we take advantage of things like pumpkin patches all the time now under the pretense of “bringing the kids.”

    But it’s so much fun and provides the perfect opportunity to take adorable photos.

    I’m really impressed we got so many good photos, because Jacob kept attempting to throw the pumpkins and Sarah kept trying to eat them.

    But this is my favorite.

    Oh and this one too.

    We finally set them free after the photos, and these two had a blast running through the pumpkin patch, knocking over pumpkins, lifting them and carrying them around. Good thing it was early and no one else was there yet.

    Hi Mr. Scarecrow. Hugs please!

    Mimi was kind enough to entertain the babies while my sister and I paid for our pumpkins.

    We came back to my parents after the pumpkin patch and I made an effort to get one good photo with little bit, you know, despite the warm Louisiana humidity spiraling my hair out of control.

  • The Beauty in Ordinary

    Date: 2012.09.10 | Category: Family, Food, Halloween, Home, Life, Mark, Sarah | Response: 21

    The first spark of fall sifted it’s way into the air this weekend. I know it won’t last. The weather will spike up and down for a while still before it settles into a few crisp, beautiful days. But just the hint of this gorgeous weather sent my mood soaring this weekend.

    I find that I always keep myself busy, looking forward to the next big thing or trip. But this weekend, I stayed put and enjoyed every moment of it.

    Sarah is such an amazing little person now, and hanging out with her can be so much fun! I think our good moods were feeding off of each other. We went grocery shopping at Target, where several strangers commented on her personality. The fact that they can see her spunk in just a few quick moments makes me laugh. She murmurers this phrase now that sounds like, “what is it?” and points to objects around her.

    We visited my parents, cleaned house, folded laundry and cooked. I made pumpkin gingerbread, one of my all time favorite recipes. We went on a walk with the dogs and Mark “revved up” her stroller and sent her into a cascade of giggles. She ran outside and dumped buckets of water on herself.

    I set up an art station for her with big sheets of blank newsprint paper and lots of crayons and she colored for a solid 30 minutes. As she was coloring, I leaned over to Mark and said, “that was one of my secret hopes, you know, that she would love to color and make art.” I don’t know if it will stick, but right now it makes her so happy.

    Even at church this morning, after Sarah rebelled against sitting in the pew, she calmly and happily went to play in the nursery – that was the first time she went and actually seemed to enjoy it. And the homily spoke personally to me today, easing a worry I’ve been gnawing on for several months now.

    I picked up pumpkin spice lattes during Sarah’s nap today (with a gift card no less) and enjoyed the start of the football season with my husband.

    This weekend was ordinary and entirely perfect.

  • Halloween with the Babes

    Date: 2011.11.02 | Category: Baby, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Nostalgia, Sarah | Response: 19







    I have to say, having a child certainly brings back some of the joy of the holidays. Even though we didn’t trick-or-treat, we helped Shannon, Robbie, Jacob and mom passed out candy to over 200 trick-or-treaters and let Sarah gnaw on a Skittle bag. Overall, a success, especially since the weather was gorgeous.