Tag Archives: Halloween

Stow’n’go, baby

We held out as a station wagon family for awhile after we had a second kid… and then the VW Passat bit the dust. Joe had been advocating for a van for awhile, but I resisted because it felt like the ultimate “our children now rule our lives” purchase — and they are super expensive. Then we rented a van to take one of our frequent trips to Chicago and I was sold.


After a few weeks of searching, we found a reasonably priced used Town & Country with a DVD player and Stow’n’Go seating (the kind that folds all the way down to make a flat bed in the back for hauling things or going to the drive-in).

I road-tripped up to Minneapolis with the kids last weekend and – van-driving mom that I am, totally had enough room to pick this free kids kitchen off the curb:


We were in Minnesota because Joe and my cousin were at the same conference, and we tacked on a few days to hang out with them and see some other friends and family there. We stayed for Halloween and picked up some pointers from the Minneapolis trick-or-treating scene:


  1. Street party potluck. The neighborhood blocked off a street to car traffic and people brought things like Maple Bacon Crack to share.
  2. Walking taco bar. This genius Halloween treat means you don’t have to miss dinner while strolling through the neighborhood.
  3. Spiked cider and hot chocolate. Best served at front yard bonfires!


How cute are my trick-or treaters? Emmett was Super Why from the PBS show, and Eileen was a unicorn from the thrift store. My mom made Emmett’s costume – a cold weather sweatsuit version and a long underwear version he got to wear to the school party.


P.S. I am freaking out right now about the election results and blogging is the only way I can feel like there is a shred of normalcy in this world. 

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Filed under Family Fun, Travel

Tree crushes

Is it just me, is it just Iowa, or are the autumn trees especially vibrant this year?


I’ve been walking around in love with the colors. And, I’ll admit, developing more than a few tree crushes. Is that weird? Probably.


I work on the Drake University campus, which was actually named a “Tree Campus USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation. (On Arbor Day, many of the trees sport a big nametag identifying it and celebrating a fun fact about that species. Species? Is that right?) The leaves in our yard are now mostly fallen.

We took an unexpected trip down to the Cash farm in south-central Iowa on Saturday and spent the day traipsing around the property, watching Wilbur run wild and reading Anne of Green Gables. I finished it, which means I get to cross something off my “Before 30” list.

The PBS movie stays very true to the book, so much so that I found myself quoting passages aloud from memory, as I read them. Joe was amused by that, and the fact that I still sobbed when Matthew dies, even though I knew it was coming. There’s an earnestness, a sense of wonder and a celebration of imagination that Anne possesses that reminds me to set aside my sometimes cynical, sarcastic attitude and just gush about how magical simple things like the way the sun plays against the wall can be if framed in a positive mindset. The days I embrace that Anne spirit are always happier days.



Speaking of mindfulness, I attended a sit at the Des Moines Zen Center this morning, for a Des Moines Register story I’m working on. Sitting still and silent for 40 minutes was challenging, but the fellowship time afterward was lovely — lots of warm, welcoming people.

I just downloaded the (free) Fuel/Friends autumn mix “Amen,” we’re off to brew with family and there’s a delicious smell of fresh spent grain bread filling my house.

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Filed under Books, What I'm into