Monday, November 12, 2018

And Now, To Watch the Paint Dry


(And this post might be about as exciting as that activity.)

Everyone, your attention, please.

I have finished painting. I repeat, I have finished painting.

Well, as much as I'm going to finish before we move into our new house by the end of the month, anyway. 

I don't know how many hours I've spent total, but almost every Monday and Wednesday for the past six weeks, as soon as I put Poppy down for her afternoon nap, I would rush up to the new house, paint madly as quickly as I could, then rush home again in time to pick up the boys from school.

It was kind of stressful, actually, and also very tiring. But I knew that once we were moved in, I wouldn't regret a single bit of paint I had gotten on the walls.

I got the living room done, the dining room, Poppy's bedroom, the entryway, and the hallway. I did not paint any of the bedrooms besides Poppy's, the two bathrooms, or the kitchen, although they all could have used it. 

I also didn't do as careful a job as I might have wished. I just did not have time. And in this case, done is definitely better than perfect.

I'm pretty pleased with what I did get done. Wanna see*?

Let's start with the living room, shall we? And its infamous paneling.


Those afters actually don't show the finished product, because I painted the brown baseboards too. Close enough to get the idea though.

Now, Poppy's room. Remember how I said the whole thing was covered floor to ceiling in paneling even uglier than the paneling in the living room? This is it.


Seriously, what is up with this? It looks diseased.

I couldn't get a good after picture because there's no natural light in there and it's too dark. This was the best I got. At least you can tell the paneling has been covered up.


Next, the dining room. I wasn't going to bother painting this, because at least it didn't have any gross paneling in it. It did, however, have flat white paint on the walls that was covered in spots and stains. The whole house was painted in flat paint, as a matter of fact. Flat paint is impossible to clean.


Plus, it looks, well, flat.

I don't seem to have a picture of the whole thing done, but here's the progress picture.


Yes, that light fixture on the right is broken. That's on A.'s (very long) list.

I didn't take a picture of the entryway, but it had the same flat white paint as the dining room, and also had that same ugly border thing near the ceiling that the living room had. Now it's the same yellow as the dining room.

Last, the hallway. These walls had more flat paint, this time an odd pinkish white that just looked kind of dirty. I painted it a kind of ivory color. Though it's still a narrow hallway with nasty brown carpet.


All this paint, incidentally, was custom-mixed by me. And the reason it was custom-mixed is because the former owner left behind some paint that I decided I might as well use. Unfortunately, it was a kind of ugly orangey-yellow. So I pretty much just mixed that with white paint in different combinations to make various shades of light and lighter yellow, or just mostly white with a slight yellow tint.

As I told A., it means all the room colors are very harmonious, because they're all in the same color family. Sounds legit, right?

Of course, it also means that I can never touch anything up without painting everything all over again, because I'll never to be able to match the current random colors.

Anyway.

The painting is done. For now. There may be some more at some point--like those bathrooms, or maybe Cubby's room--and probably also some brown carpet remediation, but for now, I'm calling it quits so we can work on actually getting moved in by December 1. Wish me luck.

* I spent a minute trying to get the before and after pictures side-by-side before giving up and figuring you can get the picture (ha) as is.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Friday Family Fun: On the Road Again


A. and I thought it had been too long since the children had been forced to sit in the car for over an hour to get to a semi-urban center. So we loaded them all in the van yesterday morning at 10 a.m. and struck out for a large town an hour and a half away. The primary purpose of this trip was for A. to get a permit to cut firewood in the canyon.

The secondary purpose was to decide if we want to make this town our center of commerce. We have to choose, you see, which town we visit once a month for a grocery run and a library visit. The small city we had been going to is kind of seedy, so we thought we'd try another place.

And so, we drove. An hour and a half and many, "Are we almost there?"s from the children later, we arrived at the Department of Agriculture office where A. was to get his permit. I allowed the children to get out and run around in front of the office building while we waited for A., which resulted in a man stepping out of his office to see what the commotion was.

I apologized for disturbing him, but he didn't seem bothered. He also didn't seem disposed to go back to work, and stood there talking to me about firewood varieties and prices for some time. When it was time for us to go, he gave the kids some canvas bags.

Next we went searching for a place to have our picnic lunch. There's a lake about ten miles from that town, but we couldn't find the right road and the troops were getting restless. I spied a playground on a side street, which turned out to be on the grounds of an abandoned elementary school.

The boys were thrilled with this. They started out playing on the playground.


Going old-school (ha) with a metal climbing structure. No plastic here.


Lots of good rocks, too. Poppy approved.

Pretty soon, they were just running wild around the grounds.

They darted up and down ramps.


About this time, Cubby said, "Well, I'll tell you, THIS was definitely worth the drive." Okay then.

They balanced on the perimeter wall.


The picnic went mobile.

They climbed entirely too high on the wall surrounding a court yard.


Well, Charlie did, because he is a monkey in boy's clothing.

And Poppy explored what looked to be a very decorative volleyball court.


She found a stick. It was apparently very tasty.

The school and its grounds, while now neglected, were actually very aesthetically pleasing in a way that modern schools definitely are not. A. thought the whole thing was probably built by the WPA. It's a shame it isn't used anymore. It didn't look as though it had been abandoned for very long, maybe just a few years.

Anyway.

After that, we went to check out (ha again) the library. Libraries are very important in our decision-making regarding where we choose to drive. This library, while small, was very nice, and the librarian was extremely friendly and helpful.

Next we went to the grocery store. I had been to this store only once, but remembered it as superior to any others I've been to around here. This was confirmed. It has a particularly good produce section, which is important to me.

So we decided this is our town of commerce from now on.

That decided, and the boys fortified with Mexican paletas (coconut for all three), we began the long drive home. Poppy and Jack fell asleep. Cubby and Charlie played a game with me in which I said a word and they had to think of a word that rhymed.

This is really fun to play with two little boys, because of course the greatest hilarity ensues when they can think of a rhyming word that relates to bodily functions. Cubby was particularly skilled at this. So it would go like this:

Me: Okay, how about . . . bird.

Charlie: Heard!

Cubby: Turd! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Me: Okay, how about . . . bush.

Charlie: Ummmm . . .

Cubby: Tush! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

And so on.

And that was it for Fun Friday. Next Friday will be the funnest of all, as we will be driving over 600 miles to my brother's house in Phoenix to kick off our Thanksgiving week in Arizona. That's a lot of time for rhyming games. Whee.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Food: Extra-special Vinegar Everywhere


Why is it extra-special vinegar, you ask? Well, read on to find out!

Friday

Short version: Laziness, thy name is Kristin.

Long version: I mixed up leftover chili with leftover rice in a skillet, added cheese, and called that good. Plus some leftover squash for a vegetable.

Saturday

Short version: Bunless cheeseburgers, fried potatoes, squash, collard greens

Long version: Um. I used some of the fat that rendered off the cheeseburgers to fry the potatoes, which I had cooked earlier in the microwave until they were soft.

I guess that's it. Boy, this is boring. Here, have some pictures.



This is the church we went to Saturday afternoon for Mass.  It was in the middle of nowhere--like, for real--and there were only three other people in the congregation. Pretty, though.


Here the boys are hiding in the back because they don't want to get back in the car to go home.

Sunday

Short version: Brisket, pasta, roasted beets, sauteed beet greens, squash, baked apples and cream

Long version: Okay, back on track!  Buckle up, because here's where it got really exciting!

I shoved the brisket in the oven first thing in the morning. I didn't have a bottle of barbecue sauce open, so I just put in a sliced onion, a little ketchup, a little mustard, quite a bit of salt, and some extra-special apple cider vinegar. It was extra-special because I made it with apple scraps when I was in the midst of constant apple peeling and coring for drying Mr. Billy's apples.

Speaking of apples, I had about half a dozen of those apples that were looking wrinkly and sad, plus a few random apples the MiL had brought that had little bad spots on them, so I made all those into baked apples that baked along with the brisket.

Because the brisket was in most of the day, I was also able to put in the beets to cook, and another squash. This squash was a variety called Honeynut, developed at Cornell University. The MiL brought it to me. It's very sweet and good.

So for those of you keeping track, I cooked four separate things in the oven during the course of the day. This is why I really need to get another rack for the oven at our new house, which currently only has one. I don't think the bachelor who lived there used the oven much.

I did not burn the brisket. Hooray for setting low standards.

Aaaand, here's a picture of beets, pre-roasting:


Hello, beets.

Monday

Short version: Asian pork, stir-fried vegetables, rice, baked apples and cream

Long version: "Asian" is a cop-out generic term for the fact that I marinated the pork hunks in a soy-sauce-based marinade. The marinade also included the extra-special (because I made it, remember) apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and ground ginger. This time I cooked the pork covered in a 400 degree oven for about two hours, uncovering it for the last twenty minutes or so to allow the liquid to evaporate. It got nice and tender this way.

The vegetables were carrots, bell pepper, onion, and frozen green beans with a sauce consisting of soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic powder (sound familiar so far?), a small amount of peanut butter, and cornstarch. Peanut butter is not strictly necessary in a stir-fry, of course, but just a very little seems to balance all the flavors perfectly.

Rafael stopped by in the morning with a bag of apples he had gotten from someone and had been storing in his basement. They were delicious, but quite soft, so I baked some while the oven was on to cook the pork. They were so sweet, I didn't even add sugar, just cinnamon, a tiny bit of salt, and vinegar. The extra-special apple cider vinegar, of course. Extra-special because I made it. Have I mentioned that yet?

Tuesday

Short version: Venison medallions with garlic butter, fried rice, squash, beets, sauteed mushrooms

Long version: "Medallions" sounds so fancy, doesn't it? What they really were were just steaks that were in odd, small pieces. But I did actually label them "medallions" when I was butchering and freezing Ray's deer leg. I already had my griddle pan out on the stove from making banana pancakes for breakfast and grilled cheese for lunch, so I figured I might as well use it one more time before washing it.

I just seasoned the venison with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then seared it on the griddle in bacon fat until it was about medium-well done. After I took the meat off, I cooked a little diced onion on the pan, then added some more bacon fat and some leftover rice. Then a little water so I could scrape the bottom of the pan and mix all that flavor in with the rice. Lastly, some frozen peas in there, and that was the fried rice.

I cooked the mushrooms because they were on the brink of no return, and also then I could use up the rest of the onion and the other half of the clove of garlic I put into the butter.

Mushrooms and wild game just go together. So good. Garlic butter is always a good idea with lean meat, as well.

Wednesday

Short version: Pasta with tomato/chicken/cream sauce, bread sticks, peas

Long version: I only had one chicken leg quarter left from the big bag of extra-cheap chicken A. bought awhile ago, so I simmered it in water with aromatics to get it shreddable, and to make stock. The tomato sauce was just drained and crushed whole tomatoes from a can, garlic, basil, and oregano. I added the shredded chicken to that, along with some cream and Parmesan cheese.

I made the bread sticks because I found I had too much bread dough when I was forming loaves for baking earlier in the day. This sometimes happens because I don't measure the water as I'm mixing, so if the dough seems too wet, I add more flour and then end up with more dough than usual.

The bread sticks would have been better if I could have added more salt and garlic powder into the dough, but as it was already made, I just brushed the tops of them with a mixture of butter, salt, and garlic powder. I left them in too long, so they were too crispy. I like soft bread sticks. They were still all eaten, though.

Mondays and Wednesdays are my painting days--while all three boys are at school and Poppy is taking her afternoon nap. Here's the dining room in progress:


New yellow semi-gloss paint on the left; filthy, flat white old paint on the right.

Teaser: I also used the drained tomato juice and some of the chicken stock to make something for the next day's dinner. Stay tuned . . .

Thursday

Short version: Man Skillet, pinto beans, raw vegetables and ranch dip, apple cake

Long version: I had to take Cubby and Charlie to their first ever 4-H meeting (my first too, incidentally) at 4:15 p.m., so I took out some of A.'s extra-fatty ground beef and told him he was on deck for dinner. He made the Man Skillet again. We didn't have any Velveeta this time, so he had to use sharp cheddar. Not quite as melty, but no one seemed to care.

The pinto beans were what I made the day before with the tomato juice and chicken stock.

The vegetables and dip and cake were leftover from the 4-H meeting. I had volunteered to bring snacks, so I made something healthy and something . . . not as healthy. Although this apple-yogurt cake isn't really too bad, sugar-wise. I didn't have lemon juice, so I used some of my (wait for it . . .) extra-special apple cider vinegar.

You remember I made that myself, right?

Anyway, this is the second time I've made this cake. It's very good, although it's best when it's still a bit warm. It does get kind of soggy as it sits.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Eavesdroppers Never Hear Anything Good


I was sitting in the bathroom with Poppy last night while she had her bath and overheard the following in the living room:

A.: You guys had better clean that up before Mommy comes out, or she will go ballistic.

Cubby: Yeah, she'll kill us.

Charlie: I'll go distract her.

Immediately after that, Charlie sauntered casually into the bathroom and said, "Oh, hey, Mommy. What are you doing? Poppy sure looks cute in her bath, doesn't she?"

This wasn't distraction enough to keep me from noticing that one of his hands was almost entirely colored green.

Cubby and Jack appeared shortly thereafter. Cubby ratted out Charlie, telling me it was his idea to color the faucet and then turn the water on to see if the water would turn colors.

Because I never keep anything but washable markers in the house, I found this more amusing than enraging, though I did tell them they'd better make sure it was cleaned up.

It was. And now we just have to hope they don't do anything more permanent in this rental house before we move out in a few weeks.

At least life is never dull with them around.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Friday Family Fun: Doing Without Daddy


A. had his own fun this Friday doing some masonry work (that's not sarcastic--that genuinely is fun for him), so it was up to me to make fun for the four kids.

And me, but I don't ever anticipate actually having fun myself. That way, I'm always pleasantly surprised when I do.

Anyway.

I was planning on taking them up to the new house after Poppy's morning nap, but despite many attempts, she refused to actually take one. And in the process of trying to get her to sleep, the boys got bored and started fighting and it was getting ugly.

So I made the executive decision to give up on the morning nap and haul the whole crew up to the new house right then.

I quickly threw some stuff in a bag for a picnic lunch--a chunk of cheese and a knife to cut it with, Nut Thins crackers, salami, a bag of grapes, and water bottles--made sure the stroller was in the car, and loaded the whole happy lot of them up for our admittedly lame adventure.

When we got there, I turned Poppy over to her brothers while I went into the house to do some work on the hallway walls.


Don't worry. I made sure she had a plastic bottle to keep her entertained.


Although with these three maniacs racing around, who needs more entertainment?

I left instructions with Cubby to come get me if she got too fussy and went inside to start sanding the spackle and washing down the walls of the hallway.


Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about the (yet MORE) brown carpet.

When we bought this house, A. remarked that it was nice it was so clean, considering it was occupied by a bachelor. Bless his heart, A. is a bachelor himself in perspective if not actual fact, so he didn't even notice that the place was not actually clean. Had he seen the black water I kept having to dump out as I washed the walls, he would not have been so positive.

Anyway again.

I got about twenty uninterrupted minutes before Cubby came in to announce that Poppy was getting fussy. I told him to wheel her over to the house in her stroller, thereby buying me another five minutes. And then he volunteered to push her around outside and keep her happy for another fifteen minutes or so. This meant that she only crawled around my feet and cried for a few minutes at the end while I finished up.


A portrait of the neglected child and her mean mom.

After I finished my self-imposed task, I set up the picnic lunch for everyone.


This bench A. made is a perfect children's picnic table.

The boys were pretending that they were eating at a cafe. I brought them their water bottles, and they called me the waitress.

Not too far from the truth, as a matter of fact. Although the tips around here are terrible.


Charlie while watching the leaves blow briskly away in the wind, "Do you think they're fleeing from winter?"

I let them play a little longer in their fort/ship/tractor/whatever its current incarnation was:


Otherwise known as A.'s trailer.

I finally took pity on the drooping baby and took them all back to the house with a crib so she could have a much-needed nap.

Unfortunately, the much-needed nap only lasted a piddling 45 minutes. Fortunately, her brothers had set up an elaborate ship game on the front porch that provided plenty of opportunities to crawl around and grab things.


She was allowed to do this because she was the princess in the game. As in real life.

And that was pretty much it for the fun this Friday. It would have been a lot more fun without The Incredible Fussing Baby, but that's the way life goes sometimes.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday Food: Halloween Revelry on Repeat


Not listed in our menus: The large quantities of sugar my children (and, okay, me) have consumed at various Halloween-related parties and events. 'Tis the season.

Friday

Short version: Chicken tacos, leftover pork, canned black beans, zucchini, squash, carrot sticks

Long version: I had a few pieces of chicken left from the previous night's dinner, so I shredded the meat and made it into tacos by making a sauce with onion, garlic, and tomato juice left from draining the tomatoes I roasted the week before, plus spices. I used the same sauce to simmer the zucchini.

There was enough chicken for the boys to have tacos. A. ate a couple of leftover pork ribs and tortillas and cheese. I ate the beans and zucchini with leftover squash, cheese, and sour cream. Cheese and sour cream make anything good.

Saturday

Short version: Restaurant food

Long version: This was the day of the village Halloween celebration. The restaurant had a buffet with a baked potato bar with a lot of toppings, plus hot dogs. I had a plate full of pulled pork, chile beans, and Fritos, and it was exactly what I wanted to eat.

There was also a dessert buffet that featured the dessert that is also always exactly what I want to eat: cake. There was a chocolate cake and a red velvet cake. I had some of each. It was a very happy dinner.

Sunday

Short version: Chicken-fried venison with cream gravy, mashed potatoes, cauliflower with garlic, green peas

Long version: On the previous Monday, Rafael's son Ray showed up at our door with this:


Hello, deer leg.

I took it as a compliment that he handed it over to us in the exact condition it came out of the field. No nicely trimmed roast this time.

I didn't have room in my refrigerator at the rental house for that chunk of flesh, so I brought it up to our new house and stashed it in the refrigerator there. I left it there until Saturday to age a bit, then brought it back here and did the initial butchering. Meaning, I cut it all off the bone into rough cuts and trimmed off all the dry outside part. A. also hacked the bone into pieces and made stock with those.

I used the leanest and cleanest chunk to cut off some steaks for dinner on Sunday. These I pounded with my rolling pin:


The extra-burly rolling pin my dad made for me. It's so heavy, I had to make sure not to pound too much and ruin the meat.

Then I dredged the steaks in corn flour that had been mixed with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika, and fried them in tallow.

I very much dislike frying things like this, but this is one of A'.s favorite preparations for meat, so I indulged him.

I even made the cream gravy--milk in the pan after the meat came out, scraped the bottom, then added cornstarch dissolved in more milk, plus a bunch of salt and pepper.

I indulged myself with the cauliflower. I just steamed the florets in the skillet until the water was evaporated and the cauliflower was tender, then added olive oil and a clove of mashed garlic, plus salt and pepper. The cauliflower got a little brown and a lot garlicky, and it was so good. Too bad I'm the only one that eats cauliflower. That's why I also made the peas.

I usually have a photo of a cute, smiley baby somewhere in these posts. Unfortunately, this week's baby has looked like this most of the time:


"Abandoned on the kitchen floor yet again. WHYYYYYY MEEEEE?


"Mother, your care this week has been unacceptable. I'm considering filing a complaint."

I'm gonna go ahead and blame those convenient infantile villains, The Emerging Teeth.

Monday

Short version: Pork, pasta, roasted sweet potatoes/onions/bell peppers, roasted beets, sauteed beet greens with garlic

Long version: Man, those pork things A. bought are HUGE. Extra-thick, with a thick layer of fat on the top and they took forEVER in the oven, even at 425 degrees.

The beets--and the greens--were from our very own garden.

I pulled out the smallest ones because I wanted them to cook through in the oven while the pork was cooking. Big beets take like two hours to roast. Then again, so did the big pork chunks.

Anyway.

The beets were delicious. The beet greens were fine too, but I don't grow beets for the greens. That's also why I don't grow swiss chard, which is essentially beet greens without the beets. I prefer collard greens.

Anyway again.

The children were pleased to have beets again. So was I. Yay for A. and his foresight in planting those beet seeds way back in July.

Tuesday

Short version: Oven-fried chicken, roasted potatoes, roasted bell pepper and onion, green salad

Long version: Am I possibly over-using the oven-frying method with corn flour? Yes. Does my family care? Quite the contrary. I made five leg quarters--so five drumsticks and five thighs--figuring I'd have some left over to make chicken salad for Cubby's sandwich the next day. There was none left over.

I put a few raw beet leaves in with the lettuce for our salad. No one noticed, and it's a good way to stretch the store-bought lettuce.

I made bell pepper and onion again because I noticed after I got home from the store that one of the peppers I got already had a bad spot and thus needed to be cooked pronto. I hate it when I do that.

Wednesday

Short version: Venison chili, tortillas and cheese, canned black beans, sauteed zucchini/peppers/carrots

Long version: Based on what I've been seeing online, chili appears to be the cool thing to serve for Halloween dinner before trick-or-treating. Chili eeeeeverywhere. I like feeling I'm hip and trendy because I served the right food on the right day. Even if the only reason I served it is because I had all the rough bits left from cutting up a deer haunch and it was 42 degrees that day and thus the perfect day for simmering tough meat all day.

Anyway.

My chili is browned stew meat+onions+garlic+canned mashed whole tomatoes and juice+chili powder+cumin+a little vinegar. And definitely enough salt. Under-salted chili is a bummer.

I usually serve it with rice, but this time I just microwaved tortillas with cheese, rolled them up, and stuck them in each bowl of chili for dipping.

I ate the vegetables with mine. The zucchini was the very last that was in my refrigerator. The end of an era.

The bell pepper and carrots came from Jack's lunch box. I guess his tuna sandwich was too filling for him to get to the vegetables. Good thing he had his Halloween party a few hours later so he could fuel up on Mummy dogs, deviled eggs with spiders made out of olives, and Ding Dongs and cupcakes to fill in the nutritional gaps.

Thursday

Short version: Scrambled eggs, leftover chili, leftover black beans, rice, pureed squash

Long version: A few weeks ago when A. was at Walmart, he was lured in by the display of "decorative" squashes. He bought three of the larger, more unusual ones. He was pretty sure they were actually edible squash, despite not being labeled as such. The pinkish, pumpkin-y looking one proved to have a bad spot on it yesterday and thus needed to be cooked immediately.

This squash was about the size of a basketball, and I was reminded why I don't ever buy squash that size. Because processing one takes up the entire kitchen and results in way too many dishes.


An autumnal mess in the kitchen.

I ended up with a gallon or so of pureed squash. Some of it I made into a creamy squash soup using a jar of the venison stock we made with the bones of the deer haunch. We brought a jar of the soup to Ray--along with a loaf of bread, which is an excellent trade for about eighty dollars worth of meat--and a jar of it to Rafael. There was still plenty of squash left over for dinner.

The children were less than thrilled with this. I still haven't won them over to squash, but I haven't given up.

We went to church at 5 p.m., which meant that dinner needed to be something that could be ready more or less immediately after we walked in the door at 6 p.m. The squash and rice were made ahead of time, so scrambling the eggs and heating up the leftovers was all that needed to be done before we ate.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

How They Roll


When we were at the village Halloween celebration last weekend, I asked the dad of one of Cubby's classmates if kids still went trick-or-treating in the village, or if that celebration kind of took care of the holiday. He informed me that not only do they trick-or-treat, they all do it as a big group. And they don't walk. He drives them around on a flat-bed trailer pulled behind his truck. With picnic tables in the back to sit on.


All aboard the party trailer.

Apparently, before he started doing this, ALL the parents would drive their kids around in their separate cars. So this is more efficient. More fun for the kids, too, although I have to say I find the lengths people go to avoid walking here very amusing.

Anyway. Last night the boys and A. climbed aboard the party trailer and spent two-and-a-half hours cruising around our tiny village. It took so long because everyone had to climb on and off at every house*, plus there was a lot of talking with whoever answered the door at the house, because of course everyone knows each other. 

Besides all the houses, they stopped at the restaurant, where there was hot chocolate and freshly-baked cake. They stopped at the market, where they got full-sized candy bars. They even stopped at the bar, where they were appropriately admired by all the patrons and thankfully given candy instead of beer.

Poppy and I stayed home to answer the door (and to keep her from crawling off the side of the trailer, because that is what crawling babies do). Besides the trailer-load of trick-or-treaters the boys were a part of, only two other kids came to the door. I have a lot of candy left.

At 8:30 p.m., the revelers arrived home. Charlie collapsed on the floor, moaning that he ate way too much chocolate. Jack slumped in my arms, moaning that he was tired and couldn't wait for bed. Cubby bounced around telling me about how Charlie fell over some scrap metal in the dark and cried, and how he (Cubby) was NEVER going to be able to fall asleep.

Sounds about right for Halloween.

They had a great time, though, and I suspect their candy hangovers will be miraculously gone by tonight when it's time to choose dessert from their huge bags of candy.

And they didn't even have to walk to get it.

* Charlie and Jack apparently impressed all the men along for the ride with their dramatic and spectacular leaps off the trailer at every stop. Yup. Those are my boys.