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Happy Birthday, Noah!
Nov 18th, 2010 by Jessica

Happy birthday to my little brother, Noah, who turns a whopping 7 years old today!  I hope you have a great day, sweetie!

Noah, age 21 months

Noah, age 21 months

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Ty Beanie Baby Collection
Nov 13th, 2010 by Jessica

My Personal Ty Beanie Baby Collection

My Personal Ty Beanie Baby Collection

This is my personal Ty Beanie Baby and Buddy collection.  There are 332 Ty plush animals pictured, 299 of which are unique Ty Beanie bears.  This photo was taken on November 11, 2010 and my collection is still growing.  I also have thousands of Ty Beanie Baby Trading Cards that are not in the photo.

A large number of these Beanies reside in Holiday bins that are taken out and displayed throughout the year.  We have displays for Valentine’s Day, our Anniversary, Easter, July 4th, Memorial Day, Summertime, Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The Beanie that started it all was the 1998 Holiday Teddy – I was hooked by the thrill of the hunt and the bell inside the Santa hat on that particular Beanie.  My oldest Beanie is Chocolate the Moose from 1993, and my favorite one is Fuzz the Bear because he’s so soft.  I must say though, Quackers the Duck and Daisy the Cow may also tie for first place because of how much of an impact they had on building a relationship with my husband while we were dating!

One unique fact about my collection is that I once had to sell it.  Yup – I was forced to sell it when I moved to Boston in 1999 and couldn’t pay my rent one month.  I sold it to my dear friend Andrew (for $800 if I remember correctly) who moved in with me not too long after that and eventually we got married.  So technically, a large part of this collection belongs to Andrew!  Ironic, eh?

Take a look through my entire collection on Flickr.  Every piece of this collection (and my newest additions) have been photographed and posted in my photostream for reference.

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Halloween 1978
Oct 30th, 2010 by Jessica

Halloween 1978

Halloween 1978

To put you in the mood for Halloween this year, here’s a picture of me and my sister celebrating the holiday in 1978.  She was dressed in a flattering Pink Panther disguise, while I chose to romp around the neighborhood at the age of 13 months as Casper the Friendly Ghost.  From the looks of my mom’s arms holding onto me, I’m guessing I did more falling than walking that year.

We lived on a dead end in a bad neighborhood, so our house never got many Halloween visitors.  Mostly, people just drove down our street by accident and turned around in our driveway throughout the years.  Kathleen took me out trick or treating several times before she was too old to enjoy it, at which time I went with my friends instead.

Happy Halloween!

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Flashback: Halloween 2004
Oct 27th, 2010 by Jessica

As we prepare for another spooky Halloween, we can reminisce about the best year yet: 2004!  Here is a shot of our Haunted Maze that put our house on the map for trick or treaters all over the neighborhood.

Our Haunted Maze, Halloween 2004

Our Haunted Maze, Halloween 2004

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Video Archive: Halloween 2006 Flaming Pumpkins
Oct 26th, 2010 by Jessica

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Video Archive: Halloween 2004 Haunted Maze
Oct 24th, 2010 by Jessica

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Halloween 2010 Theme Preview
Oct 16th, 2010 by Jessica

Halloween 2010 Theme: Rock Band 3

Halloween 2010 Theme: Rock Band 3

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How to fix your Halloween Skeletons
Oct 3rd, 2010 by Jessica

Piles of Skeleton Parts

Piles of Skeleton Parts

If your stash of Halloween decorations contains a bunch of skeletons whose bones have ripped apart over the years, leaving you with piles of hands, feet and random heads, then this technique is for you.

It’s time to bring those old skeletons out of the closet!

Over time, the plastic pegs have been ripped off and broken leaving more holes than pegs, and our little buddies have been rendered into useless piles of random bones.  Andrew and I discovered a simple method for putting the pieces back together and resurrecting the skeletons for use in our Halloween display.  All you need are a few simple tools from your local hardware store:

From the Landscaping/Sprinkler aisle:

  • Plastic tubing (for watering the lawn)
  • Goof plugs (for plugging holes in the tubing)
  • T-plugs (used for larger holes)

From the Hardware/Tools aisle:

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Scissors

Simply take two goof plugs and plug one end of the tubing.  Use the scissors to cut about 1″ off the tube roll so you are left with a small piece of tubing plugged on one end.  Take a second goof plug and plug the other end.

Plug the piece into one side of the bone you want to reconnect.  Using the flathead screwdriver, gently force (cussing optional) the other end into the second bone.  There you have it!  Your bones are reconnected.  If the hole is larger than the goof plug such as where the pelvis and skull parts connect, use a t-plug instead.

Soon your plastic skeletons will be dancing the night away in your Halloween displays.  When it’s time to store them in the attic, simply pull the bones apart and throw them into your favorite storage bin.

Homemade Plug out of Goof Plugs and Water Tubing

Homemade Plug out of Goof Plugs and Water Tubing

Press in the Plug with a Screwdriver

Press in the Plug with a Screwdriver

No bones about it! This skeleton is ready to dance!

No bones about it! This skeleton is ready to dance!

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Pumpkin Picking at Apple Annie’s
Sep 25th, 2010 by Jessica

Picking in the Orchard
Picking in the Orchard

Today we took a road trip down to Willcox, Arizona to visit Apple Annie’s Orchard and their sister site for Produce and Pumpkins.  It’s about four hours southeast of our house.  Tucson is about halfway there.  Along the way, we passed Kartchner Caverns and The Thing which we have visited several times already, so we kept on truckin’.  I had never been picking in an orchard before, nor had I ever been in a pumpkin patch and it was quite a fun experience!

We first stopped at the Orchard where we had lunch at the Burger Bar.  Andrew tried their Apple Smoked Burger and I settled on a hotdog and some Fritos.  Lunch also included drinks and dessert but for $18, we still thought it was a bit overpriced.  There wasn’t really an option to buy lunch without the peripherals so if you only want a hot dog, you’re out of luck.

We grabbed a picking pole and set off to get some fruit.  We picked some Gala and Fiji apples, as well as some Granny Smiths and also some Asian Pears.  I couldn’t believe how many fire ants were on the orchard – it was hard not to step in their anthills and I was scared of getting bitten.  Andrew got bit a few weeks ago at his parent’s house and his legs looked terrible with dark red marks from the bites.

I found a big one!
I found a big one!

After checking out and paying for our loot, we visited the gift shop where I picked up some Apple Butter with no sugar added.  We stopped for our “included” piece of apple pie a la mode and finished it off before getting back in the car.  From there, we drove a few miles further to the Apple Annie’s Produce and Pumpkins fields.

At the Produce and Pumpkins fields, we hopped on the $3 hay ride and rode way out about 3/4 of a mile to the place where they were allowing people to pick fresh pumpkins.  It happened to be the very first day of the pumpkin picking season, so I expected a lot more people to be there.  We never had to wait in line or anything.  Many of the pumpkins were still too green to be picked, but we found some massive ones that were beautifully orange and ready to be snagged.

Andrew Claims his Pumpkin
Andrew Claims his Pumpkin

I had my eye on a really big pumpkin, which was naturally too big for me to pick up and carry back to the wheelbarrow they gave us.  Apple Annie’s supplied the carts as well as the long clippers so you could go out into the field and pick any pumpkin you wanted.  Andrew settled on a large one about 10 yards away from the one I decided on.  He clipped and loaded his, and then came back to help me with my monster pumpkin.

After we selected our main pumpkins, we walked around and bought a few smaller ones just for fun.  Total pumpkin damage was $47 plus $6 for the hay ride.  It was worth it for the experience of picking our own pumpkins right out of the patch!  I had a lot of fun and think Andrew enjoyed himself too.  It was still pretty hot in the low 90’s so we didn’t stay out there longer than we had to.

We are on our way to a Happy Halloween, 2010!

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Happy Birthday to…. me!
Sep 4th, 2010 by Jessica

They say it’s my birthday.  Ok, really – it IS my birthday.  Since this is my blog, I figured why not wish myself a happy one.  Can’t hurt, right?

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