Happy Halloween!

As I prepare for a crazy pumpkin/costume/treat-filled day in the Kindergarten trenches, I wanted to stop by and wish everyone a Happy Halloween! With Halloween falling on a Monday this year, we kept our celebrations low-key with a few festive events over this past weekend. Instead of heading out, tonight we plan to cozy up on the couch with our favorite- Hocus Pocus and a big bowl of tasty candy- perfect night! 
On Saturday evening, we hosted an impromptu pumpkin carving party for the neighbors of our building. The event had a decent turn out and we had fun getting to know the neighbors and enjoying "ghoulish spirits" (as my hubby likes to say).  And yes... I'm wearing a winter coat to carve my pumpkin- such a wimp... I'm not sure what I'll do if we ever move out of California!
Nick and I jointly carved a pumpkin this year; which means I scooped out the pumpkin and drew our design, while Nick did the cutting.  We decided to carve our initials instead of a typical face, for a little change of pace. I drew an R in between an N and J- nRj, not to confused with the NRA... 
I hope everyone had a lovely Halloween weekend and stay safe tonight!


you know you're a kindergarten teacher when...

You are at Lucky's at 6:30 am filling your trunk with pumpkins for your upcoming pumpkin unit...


a wedding

This weekend one of Nick's best friends got married at a beautiful vineyard in Pleasanton, CA. The wedding was a gorgeous and heartfelt event, and it was so special to be a part of the big day. Nick was a groomsman in the ceremony, along with many of his high school friends. It was fun to reunite with friends that we don't see often and dance the night away. Ryan and Courtney are a beautiful couple and the wedding was very elegant, with an old Hollywood theme and black and red decor.
Lovely venue:
Pre-wedding Pictures:
Good friends:
The candlelit ceremony:
Ryan and his parents:
Courtney walking down the aisle:
Handsome groomsmen (especially #3!):
First Dance:
Nick and I:
So happy for Ryan and Courtney! Enjoy your time in Paris!


what about the tree?

Today our school participated in The Great California Shakeout, where we had our first earthquake drill of the school year, along with millions of others in the state of California. Since it was our first earthquake drill of the year, I took plenty of time to explain and model the procedures during an earthquake drill. I explained that the reason we go underneath the tables is so that nothing falls on us while the earth is shaking.
One of my students raised his hand and asked, "What about the tree? Are you going to save the tree?" You see, we've been studying trees in our science unit, and have a small planted pine "tree" on the window sill. My students were very concerned about the safety of the tree during the earthquake. It was decided that the tree should also go under the table, to make sure it didn't fall off the window sill or have something else fall on top of it. So cute!
Ironically, we had a minor earthquake later on in the day, and my students were prepared, with several of them diving under the table the minute we felt the shake!


apple hill

This weekend we took a fall-themed day trip to Apple Hill with our friend Erin. Apple Hill is a community of apple farms two hours outside of the Bay Area. My family used to visit Apple Hill to pick apples and return at Christmas to pick out a tree. Yesterday, we picked our own apples in a small organic orchard. The experience was lots of fun and a lovely way to spend a fall day. Nick took care of the apple picking while Erin and I collected our "harvest."
A miniature apple:
After apple-picking, we did a little mid-morning wine tasting and then found ourselves at a local hamburger stand for fries, shakes, and other tasty food:
A perfect fall day! 


autumn pasta

This is the easiest pasta dish to make! It has simple ingredients that remind me of fall. I can't take credit for this recipe; my aunt and uncle made this same meal for me and my family on my birthday. I love this meal, because it takes less than 15 minutes to make. The combination of walnuts and apples make this a perfect fall meal. All you need is cheese ravioli, 1 apple, 1 cup of chopped/roasted walnuts, and parmesan cheese. Chop the apples and walnuts. Add them to cooked ravioli, along with the parmesan cheese. That's it! 


B&A: Spooky Lamps

Remember the creepy lamps from our console vignette
A quick and mostly free DIY took these lamps from their former glory to their current haunted-house vibe. 
I got these lamps (which are actually candleholders with shades) from my mom. She bought them at a consignment shop, but didn't find a use for them and passed them on to me. I painted them turquoise (standard!) but didn't like them enough for anywhere in my home. So, I decided to spray paint them with a shiny blackish/bronze. 
Then I draped my dyed cheese cloth around the shades. I used scissors to cut a jagged edge and small holes in the cheese cloth to make these lamps extra creepy.
This super-easy DIY could be done to any lamp. The black cheesecloth provides just a little Halloween cheer and is a fun accessory for the season! (Plus, this project is easily reversed when Halloween has passed.)


pink party

Last weekend, we celebrated our niece Hayley's first birthday! It was a sweet party full of family and friends and the birthday princess was all smiles.
Of course, I had my hand in a bit of the decorating, making pom-pons and banners for the birthday girl. Her mother, Emily and I decided to use a pink and orange theme for a girly/fall-y party. 
Hayley loved the sweet caterpillar cake that her mama picked out for her.

Present time was also a big hit.
It was a lovely party for a very special little girl! 

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