Cruella and Werewolf Sighted TOGETHER?

For Flashback Friday, we ask, Do YOU work as a candy checker on Halloween? For safety of course… and do you have a fee?

Ace Photojournalist Katarina Bones spotted two very rarely seen characters last night. “I’ve heard of Cruella Da Ville and stories of werewolves have passed my ears, but I never imagined them a couple!” Bones managed to capture not one, but two surprise snapshots, clearly indicating more than mere coincidence that Da Ville and Werewolf were seen together.

When the alleged Cruella was interviewed, she said, “Darrrrllling, if I waaaasss Cruella, would I really be together with a werewolf?” An evil laugh echoed through the valley for a moment before she continued. “Even though I imagine he’d be an excellent hunter.”

The werewolf’s answers were garbled but it came across as: ‘Me wanna candy. No wollipops.’

Cruella suddenly announced, ‘Children, I need to check your candy.’ She winked at Werewolf and they disappeared.
Sources report both Cruella and Werewolf work as ‘candy-checkers’ on Halloween night for a small fee of one Fun Size Snickers Bar.

Pumpkin Pie That Isn’t Pumpkin!?! (Also known as Celebrating National Dessert Day)

In our on and off again series of “Hijacking People When They Come Over and Making Them Teach Us Stuff,” the kids really wanted to bake something yummy for National Dessert Day.

I looked at the pumpkins on our front porch and wondered aloud if we should bake a pumpkin pie.  Our guest (a.k.a. Grandma Mary) scrunched up her nose and said, “That’s a lot of work.”  Then she pointed to the butternut squash straight from her garden and said, “This will be easier and taste exactly the same!”

I said, “Prove it.” And, thus, put her (and kids eager to learn) to work.

First, slice it into 2-3 inch sections. Doesn’t it look like a cantaloupe or melon when it’s sliced?  Bizarre.

2. Have helper hands (kids) pick out the seeds from the middle.

3. Slice off the skin from your sections.

See?  Here’s the section without pulp, seeds, or skins.  So easy!  (Says the writer who just watched.)

4. Cut up your sections into smaller pieces and throw it in a pot.  Add enough water to cover, and boil for about 10 min. or until tender when you fork it.

5. Drain the pot and use the cooked squash as a substitute in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe!

6. While your pie cooks, wash and dry those seeds.  Have your children put them into elaborate designs on the counter to fully dry.  (You can roast these seeds JUST like pumpkin seeds – so yummy and nutritious (30% protein).

7. While the pie cools, take 1 c. REAL heavy cream and whip it up till stiff.  Add a couple T of Sugar and a teaspoon or two of pure vanilla and whip it a little more.  I love real whipped cream!

8. Chill the whipped cream until you’re ready to eat.  Serve each pie slice with a huge dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!  I have no picture to show you this part as my crew was too eager to eat it!  It was delicious!  This pumpkin-pie-that’s-not-pumpkin was better than pumpkin pie, in my opinion. And has more vitamin A in it too!  Hope you try it!

The Picasa Game

For basic photo editing, I love the free software, Picasa. (Not an advertisement… Picasa doesn’t know me.) It’s easy for the kids to use and perfect in our multi-platform house. On a rainy, cloudy day, the kids discovered what they dubbed ‘The Picasa Game.’ What resulted was over an HOUR of laughter… until I kicked them off the computer.

Picasa, like a lot of other photo editing, has a section for people recognition. There is a file of Unnamed People where the program wants you to identify people. The funny part is, that once it knows a person or two it tries to figure out who’s who.

So when you click on ‘Add a Name’ it tries to guess who it is.  “What?!? It thinks I’m Sam!” Anabelle shouts and everyone dies laughing.

It’s pretty humorous, especially when the guesses are so far off.  I’m not showing anyone but family members right now, but when it thinks a random stranger in the park (in the background of a picture) is Mom or Sam, it is pretty funny.  So we added a category of random strangers, which the kids dubbed as ‘Weirdo.’  You can imagine the giggles when the software guesses that I’m “Weirdo.”

The software is so sensitive to faces, it even tries to guess drawings or faces on any packaging in the picture.

So when it zooms in on a picture Sam drew and guesses that it was Anabelle, the response is:  “Sam! I don’t look like that!”  (hysterical laughing)

“I wasn’t trying to draw YOU!” Sam responds in between guffaws.

It tried to identify the picture of Harry Potter on a DVD case as one of their uncles.

Katarina is glad her smile is good enough for the smiley face.

Hope you get to try the Picasa Game – it really makes for a good time when you’re cooped indoors!