Friday, October 8, 2010

Weekly State Department Blog RoundUp – Halloween Plans

Welcome all, and thank you for dropping by my blog as I take my first turn hosting the RoundUp. I hope that those who wrote blogs following my suggested theme had fun doing so, and that the ideas we have blogged about this week that I am compiling here are found to be useful and entertaining. I certainly enjoyed your responses!

Lets go ahead and get this over with… Announcing the winner of our RoundUp Halloween decorating contest: Shannon, at Cyberbones in Malawi.

Did you know we were holding a contest? I didn’t. I hadn’t planned any contests, but I suppose we can find competition everywhere.


I’m not going to copy any of Shannon’s photos, go check them out yourself for the full effect, I’m sure you will agree that she wins, hands down, and while it is creepily inspiring, I’ll probably skip using this idea this year as there will be little ones (and me) at our party. Maybe when the kids are older. Shannon’s prize is one gift suggestion directed at all those who are responsible for sending her prezzies: Duct tape, Caulk, Spackle, and/or chewed up pieces of gum, to plug up EVERYTHING that even resembles a hole or gap or teensiest of crawl space in her walls, fixtures, windows, plumbing, etc. (btw, these items are to be sent in addition to, not in place of, the good stuff she should be receiving… just sayin’).

Chelsea of A Fisher Out of Water nominated a post that inspired her to embark upon her own decorating adventure. As she says, “Those rats are pretty sweet!”  They really are! I completely understand having vast landscapes of blank white walls to fill in, what a great idea!

Zoe of Something Edited This Way Comes has been busy decorating, but in order to do so, first had to embark on an eerie stuff-finding expedition into the depths of her home. Those are some crazy keys! I thought our laundry room key was weird.

A Daring Adventure claims that she’s been lazy, but it looks like she’s ahead of me in prepping for the holiday. I’ve been planning, but not doing much actual ‘doing’. What a great apron, and I love the idea of using books to decorate! Oh, and thank you for sharing the donuts … sigh… there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…


When was the last time you visited a Pumpkin Patch? I never went to one as a kid. I lived in Florida where it was too hot and humid to leave a carved vegetable out on your porch, unless you really like the ghastly rotting effect… but I learned how very special a visit can be when we took our children to one (in a colder climate!) when they were very small. If you haven’t had a chance to visit one recently, tag along with the Perlman family. How cute is that?? I don’t know of any pumpkin patches locally, but I know that Amman has pumpkins because we carved some at school last year. I hope we’ll find them again this year, if not, I suppose we could carve a watermelon??

If I can have a Decorating Contest Winner, then I’ll name a winner for ‘suggested’ Halloween recipes too.

It’s not wing of bat or eye of newt, but leg of frog and bowl of turtle is close enough for me. Again, I don’t think I’m going to follow this idea, even though it is rather creepy and Halloween-y. Maybe next time… or not! (Although I get the impression that the entrees were not what freaked out Kolbi the most.) Her prize is our continued adoration and appreciation for starting this whole RoundUp business… sure, I know that she already owns this prize, I’m just putting it in writing to make it official.


What would Halloween be without Costumes?

Donna at Email from the Embassy managed to fit the sewing of a darling little mermaid costume into her very busy schedule. How Sweet! (and very creative too!)

Zoe at Something Edited This Way Comes, with the help of her storage room exploration assistant, has previewed the most adorable little gnome costume I’ve ever seen!

While Sara, at Wife – Mommy – Woman is still working on the costumes for her kids this year, she has shared some wonderful photos from years past. My fave is the gangster baby!

Overdosed on cuteness yet? Ok, I’ll cut you a break and share with you an awesome Devil Mommy illustration posted here at Tuk & Tam.  … oh wait, my mistake, that is totally cute too! So, is Nia planning on a career in law? She presented a powerful case against pot pie… much better than I ever managed, way back when, when my mom made me eat that stuff.



Party planning, when you are posted overseas, often must happen weeks (months) in advance, which is one of the reasons I chose this particular theme at this particular time. As much as you may want to shop local and make from scratch, often it’s simply not feasible, not available, nor reasonably priced, or, maybe you do NOT want to do these things and would rather someone else did the work. Mail order can be a life (sanity) saver, but you have to start early!

A friend and I are getting together and holding a joint party at our home for Halloween. We’ve been shopping, gathering ideas for food and games, and contemplating decor. I’m also set for costumes for our kids, and have shared a couple of good resources on my party planning post.

Emily of Our Life has gone past the planning stage, straight through to the decorating for, and successfully pulling off of, a Fall themed dinner party. She even offers priceless advice, in convenient list form. What a beautiful job with the table… and yes, I’d have probably cried too, after the assault upon the chocolate! (Smart kid!)


Life After Jerusalem completed her first 8K race. Finishing is a great personal accomplishment in itself, but she was running for a more important cause, the Brain Aneurysm Race for Awareness in memory of her mother. Way to go! (and I hope your ‘marathon’ of home repairs has reached it’s finish line too.)

Jill posted about an accomplishment that was not a happy one for her. It was a stressful situation and she had to make a very tough choice. Being a single mom is hard no matter what, but there’s an added level of difficulty thrown in when you are not really a single parent, but suddenly and temporarily become one due to your spouse’s deployment. Psychologically, that’ll get you. Your learned ‘I can do this’ confidence is confused as heck because half of your team is not there, even though it is, but is not physically present! (Does this make sense?!) Keep on hanging in there Jill, it’s tough work to adapt to the situation you are in, but you are doing an amazing and inspiring job handling everything that comes your way!

Tour & Travel Adventures

Donna at Email from the Embassy and family had a visit to a most spectacular historical site here in Jordan this past weekend. They visited the baptismal site of Jesus.  (Next time read the guide book, ok? We really do not want you melting into the landscape and becoming a permanent part of the local relics.)

Lydia at Here, There and Everywhere is enjoying her new home in Manama and, as is true in many places where English is a common lingo, she is also having too much fun finding English used in random ways.

The Monestel Family has made it to the one year mark in Bangladesh and has a lovely post, reflecting on the past 12 months in their current home. I loved reading about how well their children have adapted to the expat lifestyle.

I posted about Shannon’s close encounter of the creepy kind above, but you have to admit, living in critterville may be worth it for moments like this

Newly arrived in Africa, Nomads by Nature are working hard settle in… but not so hard that they aren’t able to sneak in a bit of fun on the water near Catembe. Prawns and beer and a day in the sun!


Ok, I think that’s it. If I missed something good, I apologize. I posted the items submitted, and even managed to browse a good number of blogs myself (thank you fickle internet!). If I’ve made any mistakes, please don’t be shy. Let me know and I’ll fix them.

Next week the RoundUp will be hosted by Lydia of Here, There and Everywhere. She’s currently broadcasting from Manama, Bahrain, but was formerly blogging in Cairo, as my (almost) next door neighbor, and more recently from the US. She’s married to a great guy, she’s the mother to four wonderful, not to mention quite adorable and sweet, children and has a great sense of fun and humor - as demonstrated by this little (in theme!) video which I happened to find when I popped by her blog to check the link.

A big thanks to all who participated – writing, contributing, reading, etc. I appreciate your taking the time to help keep the RoundUp going ‘round.


A Daring Adventure said...

Great, GREAT job, Connie! ROTFL!!!

You are too funny!

Okay, I wholeheartedly agree that Shannon's spider post takes the prize- ANY prize- it was scary! And then she took a shower in that thing!!!

And I totally hear you about the whole growing up in Florida thing- I've never been to a pumpkin patch, either! We totally need to do that while we're in DC...

Leg of frog and bowl of turtle... ROTFL! You are so funny- that cracked me up!!

Thank you so much for doing this! :)

Camille said...

Love it! Way to go!

Jill said...

Connie - you are just darling! You managed to cohesively pull together an entire round up using one theme - regardless of whether or not people wrote about it. My hat is seriously off to you!

BTW, I wholeheartedly agree - the fact that Shannon took a shower in a ROOM that had a spider with that much fur, automatically makes her queen bee in my book too.

Can't wait to see your pumpkin (or watermelon) carving. BTW - loved your kids costumes! My daughters would go gaga over Honor's!

Connie said...

Thanks all! I had fun doing the RoundUp!

Emily said...

Connie, that really was a great roundup. I loved your commentary. Very well written. Thanks for your hard work.