Want to be scared this Halloween? Nine Kids. Live TV. Enough Said.

I know.  What part of that sounds like a good idea? 

Kids Halloween Costumes

Mayhem in the Green Room.

One of those delusional mommy moments I often have.

Carey is a great stage mom! 🙂

So Fox23’s brand new show – Great Day Green Country asked me to do a segment on last minute costume ideas for kids.  Sure thing… let me just whip up bunch of toddlers and pre-schoolers, dress them up in costume, ask them to behave and be quiet for 30 minutes and smile for the camera?  Ha – I can do that in my sleep. (insert sarcasm here).

Trick or treat, costume ideas

Trying to line up before airtime. It's as easy as herding cats.

Thanks to all my brave mom friends and my darling models….John Martin Willmann, Katie Baker, Allie and Colin Ihloff, Ryan Glasgow, Max and Mallory Gipson, Landen Tetley and of course, my Baby J. 

Baby J disguised as an angel...

Well people – here you go.  Click here and Enjoy.

The Gipson cutiesHappy Halloween!Cousins...the Angel and the Ninja.


And who the H-E-double hockey sticks is THAT in the mirror? (enter to win a makeover from Ihloff Salon and Day Spa!)

Okay peeps! All you tired, overworked and stressed out mamas…now is your chance for a makeover by the pros at Ihloff Salon and Day Spas.  Let me introduce you to a dear friend and fellow lunatic working mom…the fabulous Jillian Ilhoff – working mom of two with one on the way.  God Bless You.  Keep reading to find out how you can win a makeover!

Who is this in the mirror?  By Jillian Ihloff

Do you ever surprise even yourself? Are you ever afraid of what you are capable of? Let me

I have two children, a 3YO daugther  and a  1YO son. After the first child I started wearing my normal clothes within a few
weeks of having her. Let me clarify what I mean by “normal”. Normal to me is
nothing that constitutes worn holes, discoloration or all around evokes the “husband
don’t even look at me right now vibe”, like my beloved twelve year old grey
sweat pants.

mommy makeover

Marnie and Me in our most favorite and undeniably ugly baby sweats.

Then, with my second child it took me a few months to start
wearing normal clothes again. I just recently found out that we are (wait for
it-now gasp) expecting number three. Three kids under the age of four! Yes,
completely terrified out of my very nicely colored haired mind. And guess what?
Those non-normal clothes I was telling you about YOU guessed it. Those puppies
are already out and being used with pride. I may never actually put them up again.
I have a feeling that number three will take five years before I recover and
get back into my normal clothes again. Maybe longer if my husband doesn’t burn
them first.

On a more serious note, I have the privilege of working with some really brilliant,
artistic people at Ihloff Salon and Day Spa. Our biggest annual event is the
Ihloff Creative Team Fall Show which takes place on November 10th at
the Tulsa Convention Center and benefits the Arts and Humanities Council of

At the beginning of this show we showcase some of the makeovers that we have done on deserving recipients. This
is where you all come into play! 

 We would love for you to write a nomination for that woman in your life who always
puts others first and deserves to be the center of attention for once! It needs
to be a minimum of three sentences so we can hear your story. The winning woman
will receive a makeover from Ihloff Salon and Day Spa, which includes a brow
shape, hair color and cut and makeup application.  (Yay! )

Our winner will then get to
strut their stuff on the runway in clothing provided by The Gap!

makeover ihloff fashion show

Newly made over mama's strutting their stuff on the runway.

importantly she will be the center of attention like she deserves. Now go write
up that nomination before I put my sweats on again!  Just post right here on my sweet friend’s blog – and we will pick a winner.

Nominations close WEDNESDAY, October 26 at 5 p.m.!  (you can self nominate too!)

Good Luck!

And Visions of Pumpkin Patches Danced in Their Heads….

It’s my favorite time of year…cooler weather, clothes that hide my body parts, fall colors and visiting the pumpkin patch.  For our family it has become a rite of passage into fall (and a test of mommy’s patience chasing four kids up and down piles of pumpkins).

In fact, you can read about my last pumpkin patch misadventure here.

The photo says it all.

Yet, I am still polly-anna enough to keep visiting pumpkin patches year after  year.

Baby J loves the pumpkins.

Here are some of my faves pumpkin haunts in the great state of Oklahoma.

kids fall pumpkin patches

One year later. Much better photo. We are getting the hang of this thing.

Pleasant Valley Farms – Sand Springs Oklahoma. 

This is a great family owned place west of Tulsa – (we also get our Christmas trees here too!).  They have over 95 varieties of pumpkins and squash.  Got hay?  No worries, they sell that too.  And they have a darling gift shop with awesome candles.  Kids will love to pet the goats and ride the tractor pulled hayride.  Located at 2235 W. 71st St. South, Sand Springs.  Open daily.

Carmichaels Pumpkin Patch – Bixby Oklahoma.

This pumpkin patch rocks!  We’ve been coming here since Nicholas was a baby.  Not only do they have pumpkins out the wazoo – they have a huge petting zoo, pony and camel rides (nothing says Fall like riding a camel), corn maze and a spooky cave.  Baby J does not like the spooky cave.  But she liked throwing her food at the animals.  They also have an indoor concession area that serves everything from homemade fudge (YUM) to jams, jellies and hot peanuts.  Located at 171st and Mingo in Bixby.  Open daily 9-6 p.m.

First United Methodist Church of Owasso Pumpkin Patch.

Whew!  That is a mouthful.  But hey, Tulsa Kids Magazine thinks this is the best place for kids in the fall.  This award- winning pumpkin patch not only has lots of activities for the kiddos – the proceeds go back to the church for mission work.  YOu can even host birthday parties there.  Located at 169 and 106th E. Avenue in Owasso.  Open daily through Oct. 31st.

Mikles Family Farm (aka the Shawnee Corn Maze) in Shawnee.

Hey, I had to include my hometown on this list…plus it also makes the rank of one of our family favorites!  This family run farm’s corn maze will give you a run for your money.  Even my little Indiana Jones adventure loving boy had a tough time finding our way out of this one.  For the older kids – they stay open after dark – for a spookier time.  You can also reserve a campfire – complete with Smores and the whole bit!  That’s right – how cool is that?  And you can even get pumpkins still on the vine!  Located at HWY 18 at 42610 Wolverine Road in Shawnee, OK.  Open daily through November.

This list should keep your family busy for the rest of the season! You can also check out Baby J and Michelle Linn’s darling kiddos playing at the pumpkin patch  on this tv segment from Fox23!

pumpkin patches fall fun

Happy Fall Ya'll!

And remember – stay tuned for my guest blogger – Jillian Ilhoff of Ilhoff Salon and Day Spas…we are going to be giving away a makeover to some lucky duck reader next week!  And the winner will get to be in their annual fashion show…  Whee!  I can’t wait.  Too bad I can’t win.  I could use a makeover.

"Before" shots of Jillian and Marnie. Too bad there won't be "after" shots. But one of you readers will get one!

There’s a Pill for That

I admit it.  I am over-medicated.  I blame it on my mom (it’s okay, she’s in Europe right now, so she can’t read this…). 

 My mom had a pill for everything.  Too tired to practice the piano?  Here’s a Vivarin sweetie – it will perk you right up…(I actually got busted at church camp for pimping out Vivarin to my friends…thanks Mom). 

Wake Up Nicholas.

 Can’t fall asleep?  Here honey, have a muscle relaxer. 

 Are you sad?  Well, goodness gracious – we can’t have that – take this little happy pill!

 And Lord Have Mercy – when I was diagnosed with adult ADD?  I became the poster child for adult Ritalin. 

 So I may be exaggerating just a tad (I love you mom…I really don’t blame you…)  – but it does seem a bit ridiculous. 

 I have a pill to help me sleep because I have hideous insomnia (that I blame on my sweet Baby J).  So when I’m groggy in the morning and can’t even remember my kid’s names – I need a pill to wake me up (or coffee, but same thing, right?).  Then in order to accomplish everything in my day so my whatstheirnames kids have food, clothing and can make it to school in sort of one piece – I need something to help me focus.  Which in turn wires my brain and I can’t get it to turn off.  Oh, and did I mention that depression runs in my family?  Welp – add another medication to my list.

Vicious Freaking Cycle.

vicious cycle

 So which comes first – Insomnia or lethargy?  I dunno.  But I’m not ready to let go of my vices to find out.  Hmmm.  I am waiting for my friends to do an intervention.  BUT, I’ve talked to enough of you to know that I am by far NOT the only one who medicates themselves to get through the day (and night).   

 My husband is the complete opposite.  He despises medicine and will only take it if he is on his deathbed.  And for those of you who know Shane – he’s got a freaking ridiculously high pain tolerance. 

 He makes fun of me for my pill organizer – (and rightly so – I mean, I’m only in my early 40’s – what in the hell will my pill organizer look like in 20 years?  I doubt they make them that big).

pills pills pills

I think this is as big as they come

 Yes, we live in a society that has a pill for every possible ailment or mental issue.  And while I agree some of it is necessary – somehow it’s become a bit of overkill.  I mean I’m a reasonably healthy person – exercise, eat well, the whole nine yards…I really shouldn’t need to be on so many pills right?

 Right.  I’ll re-read this blog post at 3 a.m. when I am beyond desperate for sleep. 

BUT – silver lining to my mom readers who also over-worked and over-medicated…I am teaming up with Ilhoff Salon and Day Spa to help them pick some deserving mom for a total make-over AND a chance to be in their fall fashion show!  AWESOME!  Syay tuned for deets – we will post more info next week. 🙂

Attack of the Purple Dinosaur

I’m not sure this is politically correct to say – but what the hell.  I HATE BARNEY.  There, I said it.  I’m sure lightening will strike.

I can’t put my finger on it – but the large, purple, nasally sounding fake dinosaur gets on my every last nerve.  Give me Sesame Street ANYDAY over the nauseatingly cheezy “I Love You” theme song.  GAG. 

todllers and barney

Seriously? Is this dude creepy or what?

We managed to escape the Barney-madness with Nicholas.  I thought I was home free. 

Then somehow – some way  – horror upon horrors – Josie has been bit by the Barney Bug.  And there is no cure.

Just seeing the purple monster sends Josie into an orbit.  I try to distract her to no avail.  She cannot be deterred from Barney, Baby Bop and all of his other weirdo friends. 

Oh – and to rub salt into the wound –  in my former life in Texas – I used to work at the Fort Worth Zoo. 

Heard of the movie – “Barney Went to the Zoo”?

Yep.  Filmed at our zoo.  During the time I was working there.  Really?  Why couldn’t Ernie and Bert visit the zoo?  Why did it have to be the purple dinosaur?

And people, let me tell you.  THere was more security for Barney than for the president.  Children went APE-SH** when they saw purple.  I can only equate it to a toddler Elvis sighting.  It was not pretty.

And Barney was also a bit of a diva.  Talk about high-maintenance.  We had to drive his purple butt all over the zoo – he couldn’t walk anywhere.  (Really?  You are a disgrace to your species). 

Our zoo was so proud.  We had local tv crews covering the story like we had just acquired a baby elephant or something really cool.  It was disturbing to see all the frenzy over a plush purple so-called dinosaur and his creepy entourage. 

And guess what we received for all our help for the Barney shoot?  About a gazillion “Barney Goes to the Zoo” DVDs.  Which I’m quite sure are at the bottom of some land-fill at this time.  (My friend Sean was actually IN the video with Barney – he will never ever live that down).

My friend got paid in Barney videos.

So, as you can see – my Barney trauma goes way back.  It is a cruel evil joke that my daughter is smitten. 

Parental control over PBS?  It just may come to that.

Life Without Barney

And for those of you who missed my healthy snacks segment (complete with antics from Tristan).  Here ’tis!