Lulabelle’s Guide to a Stress-Free Halloween: Last Minute No Sew Costume Ideas…..

Well guys, that time of year is almost upon us. Tomorrow night the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch, bringing toys to all the good boys and girls. Ok, this is according to Linus from Peanut’s cartoon lore.Β 

By now if you don’t have a costume for your kid or yourself, you are no doubt starting to panic. But don’t fear, Lulabelle is here!

Figuring out last-minute costume ideas is kinda in my blood. Growing up in a time when Halloween costumes were more home-made than bought, I’ve learned a few tricks to making a great home-made costume. When I was a kid, not only was a store-bought costume not as popular, we didn’t have the money for it. Plus we lived in a secluded area where we had few neighbors. I’m not underestimating when I say we only went trick-or-treating at one place. Two if you count knocking on our own door after getting back from the neighbors across the yard. Because of this our various costumes were a bit limited, but we were creative. One year I went as a California Raisin. My mom stuffed newspaper into a large purple sack with leg holes she had sewn out of cloth. If I remember correctly, I had to go through doorways sideways, which ramped up the fun factor.

I’ve continued this tradition into adulthood. No, I don’t go around knocking on doors asking for candy, but I do attend an annual Halloween party with friends. This year I came as Queen Esther from the Bible. Basing this historical figure on the one created by Big Idea Productions and Veggietales, my queen had elements of purple and green throughout her ensemble. I wore a dress I already had from a wedding I was in a few years ago (shout out to brides everywhere that choose dresses that can be worn more than once. WeΒ β™₯ your faces), borrowed a tiara from a friend and put my hair up in a bun. My husband borrowed a jesters hat from the same friend, put on a punny shirt and went as Queen Esther’s royal Court Jester (bonus points for having costumes that rhyme). Here was the result:

Halloweenqueenandjester (2)

So, here are a few ideas, off the top of my head that take minimal effort and are made from things you have around the house:

1. Minion: If you came of age in the 90’s, you’ll no doubt have a pair of overalls. Don’t be ashamed to admit you still have them because now you can make them useful. Slap them on with pride! Then, take two of the rings from a mason jar and stick them to your face with gorilla glue (I saw this used on a pumpkin last week and thought, hey, this could work! Probably πŸ˜€ ). Don’t worry, my cousin just tried this tonight and it worked like a charm (I think. She hasn’t told me if it was easy to remove. I’ll keep you posted πŸ˜‰ ). The original suggestion was to use eyelash glue or spirit gum, but the rings may be a bit too heavy for those to hold properly. Next take electrical or duct tape to make theΒ frames of the glasses and help adhere the rings to your face. And BAM! Insta-Minion

2. For the rap lover in, er, most of us, Flavor Flav is an easy costume to construct. Put on something that resembles a track suit (bonus points if it’s made of velour) and take your large kitchen clock off the wall. Adhere a chain around it with copious amounts of duct or electrical tape and hang it around your neck. Slap on some shades and a baseball hat and you are good to go! Extra bonus points if you happen to use a Salvador Dali melting clock for an obscure mash-up twist.

3. This one may be the quickest and most entertaining (at least for the wearer) Cloudy with a Chance of Showers:

Take a blue sweater or t-shirt and adhere cloudy cotton balls with tape to the shirt. Next, fill a small spray bottle with water. When someone asks what you are, say you are cloudy with a chance of showers, and then spray them quickly with water. You may want to carry around an umbrella to give to the person as soon as they ask what you are so they can take cover.

Well, that’s it, guys. May you have a stress free Halloween with these quick and easy last-minute costume ideas!

Happy Haunting!

Lulabelle’s Tips For a Fun and Stress-Free Halloween…..DIY Mini Jack-o-Lanterns

HAPPY HALLOWEEN WEEK!! This week I’ll be sharing some tips on how to make Halloween extra fun and as stress-free as possible. Today I’ll show you a cute way to Halloween-ize your kids lunch box–or alternately, you could use these to make your spouses lunch more spooktacular ;-). It’s a craft that you can make alone, or have your kiddos help with. Transform regular oranges into mini jack-o-lanterns in 3 easy steps!

Step 1: Take out a piece of paper and sketch your jack-o-lantern face onto the paper. You may want to google pictures of faces to help you with your design.

Step 2: Take a regular pen and carefully draw your design onto the surface of the orange. The brilliance of using a pen is that if you make a mistake, it can easily be removed with just a bit of water (or you can just lick your finger and swipe it off–hey, your kid is gonna be peeling them anyway. πŸ˜‰ )

Step 3: Go over your design face with a black sharpie (I also used gold in the photo below but it didn’t pop as much as the black).

And viola’! Cute, easy, tiny pumpkins that are ADORABLE!!

Final quick tip: Try and find oranges that have slightly larger stems that stick out. Otherwise, you can cut a tiny piece of green pipe cleaner and gently drive it through the top.

Happy Lunching!

Laura's Blog Stuff

Baseball, Superstition and Loyalty: Ode to the Chicago Cubs…..

**WARNING: Most of what you are about to read sounds completely insane but there is a logical explanation: Fierce loyalty for one beloved baseball team, and the hopes and dreams of half the city of Chicago. And unicorn glitter**

On Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs were eliminated from the National League Championship Series in baseball. For what seemed like the thousandth’s time in the league’s over 100-year old history, Cubs fans around the world felt an emotion that we are all too familiar with; disappointment.

I’ve been a devoted Cubs fan for over 30 years. Living close to Chicago, the Cubs (and White Sox-but black and white stripes wash me out terribly) are the closest professional baseball teams in our area. My family and I were even lucky enough to attend a few Cubs games when I was a kid. I remember once I almost lost a Cubs hat after swinging it over the stands where we were sitting, right behind home plate. Blogger’s word of caution: Don’t swing a baseball hat by the brim over a tall railing-even if you are trying to get Darryl Strawberry’s attention! πŸ˜€

So yes, the love of baseball is literally in my blood. My maternal grandfather recently admitted that there was a point in his life that he considered trying to make it into the minor leagues. Although he ultimately chose farming and later, trucking, as his occupations of choice, baseball remained a hobby.

Now, I tend to be an upbeat, positive person just by nature. Someone that tends to try to find the positive in any given situation. So it makes sense that I’m a Cubs fan, to a point. Every time they lose a game, as the old saying goes, “There’s always next time!”

As I’ve grown up, my relationship with Cubs baseball has gone from just casual liking to all out obsession. Seriously. Now I am in NO WAY a superstitious person, except when discussing the Chicago Cubs–and fortune cookie etiquette….FYI, it is considered bad luck to pass someone a fortune cookie.

Anyone familiar with Cubs history can understand what I am getting at. They are said to be cursed. In an effort to keep this blog from being 10,000 words, here is a brief background of the controversy: Another layer of superstition was added in 2003 when an errant fan infamously thwarted the Cubs effort. With four outs to go in what would have been the last game of the series, a game to decide who’d go to the World Series, this happened. Yep. That one took more than a day or so to recover from as a fan. I do feel sorry for the guy though, as he received death threats and has to live the rest of his life knowing what he did.

Which leads me to my superstitions. To this day, especially during baseball season, I can’t utter this man’s name. I don’t even want to hear it. Now looking at what I just wrote, I realize I sound pretty crazy. The thing is, it gets worse. As a Cubs fan, it’s widely known that during baseball season, some words and phrases are bad luck/off-limits. There is one phrase that should never be uttered, no matter what season. One should never say, “When the **baseball team I’m writing about but can’t name in this sentence due to the above mentioned superstition** win the world series, won’t that be great??” Yeah, you can’t say that and expect life to go on as normal. One also can’t mention the name Steve Bartman, or reference billy goats. That’s just all kinds of bad ju-ju. (Apparently you can write that name though. Viva la loopholes πŸ˜‰ )

Except maybe it’s not. What if all of these elements have absolutely nothing to do with a team’s ability to play? So why do some teams in the league do better than others? No, I am not going to suggest the pithy explanation that they suck. I’ve thought about this over the last week and have come up with a few different explanations.

1. Stadium Lighting Changes: So, it’s been over 100 years since the Cubs have won a World Series. In 1908, lighting was probably dim at best, considering the evolution of the light bulb was in its infancy. With this to consider, it makes sense that the Cubs may be spooked by the bright lights of a stadium. Especially the brightness of the lights post-season.

2. Attack of Reverse Psychology: In this last series, the Mets beat the Cubs in 4 games straight. Despite the fact that in the regular season, the Mets fell to the Cubs each of the 7 times they played. It’s almost as if the Mets got together in the pre-season and had the following conversation: “Hey guys! Let’s really fake the Cubs out. We are scheduled to play them 7 times this season. Let’s throw each game, lulling them into a false sense of security. If we happen to play them in the post, we’ll really cream ’em” (I’m pretty sure that’s how it all went down.)

3. The Standardized Test Theory: We all know that kid in school. We may have even been him. You know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about that kid that was bright and knew all the answers during the school day. But when it came time to take the test over the material, he choked. That kid is the Chicago Cubs.

Especially taking the last explanation into consideration, I am changing my strategy for rooting for the Cubs. I will stop avoiding certain words and phrases. I will stop knocking on wood when certain words and phrases are uttered (I may have started to get pretty serious splinters this season). I will also remain positive, because I am a Cubs fan. The most loyal and supportive fans in the League. No matter what next season brings.

Go Cubs!


Not Alone: Fighting Depression and Unpacking Gilead’s Balm

*The following blog is recalling this past weekend when my depression came back in full force and how it lifted, for the moment. This is what worked more me. I’m not suggesting this as a cure-all. If you have been diagnosed with depression, please follow all medical advice and continue to take any medication prescribed. πŸ™‚

On Saturday my husband and I and our best friends drove to a concert 3 hours away. It was SO fun, but driving a total of 6 hours, and getting back home at 1am, is a bit much. The next day I awoke mentally spent. Seriously I hadn’t felt my depression bubble up as strong in years. I was also enduring PMS–quite a combination! Yes, even a blogger that writes about life with anxiety isn’t immune to the bad days πŸ˜‰ .

With the help of my husband, he really is my rock, and lots of rest, I made it through. After waking up to severe depression, I went about my normal routine and opened Facebook. In my messages was a note from a church friend. She hadn’t seen my husband or myself there and was checking in to see if we were OK. Now, we go to a fairly large church, so if someone doesn’t see us on a particular Sunday, it doesn’t necessarily mean we weren’t there.

The moment I saw the message on my Facebook inbox, my spirits lifted.

Later in the day, my husband and I decided to start going through some boxes and organizing one of our spare bedrooms. I unpacked years of old things. One of the things I did was go through old papers and letters. Letters from students and parents of students I had taught, thanking me for helping them. This was healing to my soul.

I also unpacked old sermon notes I’d kept from my old church. Sermons on the power of Jesus in your life. How He’s there even in the hard times. Like winter giving way to spring foliage, my depression slowly wafted away. For now anyway.

So tonight I sit in our living-room, remembering how the Lord led me through my latest bout of depression. I’m also listening to the Cubs game, knocking on wood, and breathing deeply (this is a ritual I’ll be blogging on a bit later πŸ˜‰ ).

Remember if you live with depression (and are a Cubs fan πŸ˜‰ ) you are NOT alone!


Dear Fruit Flies: It’s Not Me, It’s You……

I know what you’ll say, “But Lulabelle, we have a deal! This is the time of year that I come to your house and land on any available food surface. Living in the Midwest your whole life, you should be used to us by now!”

To that I say, ***wait, how do you spell the sound of blowing a raspberry??*** πŸ˜›

I’ve been sick the past few days and unfortunately this is the time you chose to descend on my house. Your letter of intent to come must have gotten lost in the mail. By the way, it’s not a fair deal if you come uninvited. Without even a good bottle of sangria for your hosts–didn’t your mamma teach you any manners??

What I also didn’t appreciate is that you brought along several of your free loading friends who’ve taken it upon themselves to take laps in my sink, mainly to their detriment. I found most of them belly up this morning. Their teeny tiny goggles still clinging to their teeny tiny free-loading heads. They were also sans swim trunks. Ewww. Trust me when I tell you finding a sink strewn with dead, naked fruit flies is not what you want to find when you go for your morning coffee. Which leads me to my next gripe.

Finding you in my coffee pot was unsettling to say the least. If you wanted coffee, all you had to do was ask. I probably wouldn’t have given it to you, but whatever. Although, while we are on the subject, I was quite impressed with the way you McGyver’ed your way into the pot. I still can’t find the tiny bungee cords you obviously deployed, but that part is still under investigation.

So after I cleaned out the sink, took out the trash and cleaned the coffee pot, it was frustrating to find you hiding… my shower. Seriously guys? This is just getting ridiculous! The water wasn’t even running. Ya’ll were just sitting in there, on the shampoo bottle, huddled…… WATCHING TV!! How the? Where in the?? There’s no outlets in there!!!

OK, I’m done. Ya’ll gotta leave. Now. Take your nasty old swim trunks, your teeny tiny goggles, your TV (seriously, how did you…?? Oh never mind) and GO!

If this notice goes unheeded, I’ll be forced to file a restraining order. You wanna swim in a hot tub of vinegar?? Yeah, I didn’t think so.


Weirdest Bucket List Ever….

Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head that you sing it all live long day? Welcome to my Friday! Actually this song has been stuck in my head today because I wanted to write about it. Today’s song selection: Veggie Tales: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything!

When I was in college, Veggie Tales (a children’s cartoon that teaches Biblical values. Also all of the characters are either a fruit or vegetable) was hugely popular among Christian college students all over the country. Stories were told of young college students going over to their adjacent Christian bookstores and plunking down in the children’s section with a bowl of popcorn, watching an endless stream of Veggie Tales videos. Ok, that may have been just me. πŸ˜›

So today I thought I’d go through a Veggie Tales Silly Song and do a bit of commentary. So sit back, relax and enjoy!:

1. I never have been to Greenland, but I do like sheep.
2. I’ve been to Denver once to visit family. Great city. Annoying airport. Interesting aroma πŸ˜‰
3. I’ve never buried treasure in either St. Louis or St. Paul, but I have been to St. Louis numerous times. Including once when I tried to take a picture of The Arch from the highway, but when I saw the photo it was of a blurry truck IN FRONT of The Arch. Oops!
4. Ah, Moscow. Never been. Can’t speak Russian either, but I agree it’s a beautiful language.
5. To my knowledge I’ve yet to visit Tampa. I did stand in line at Disney World for the Dumbo ride though. Fun times.
6. Oh, and I’ve never been to Boston, ever. In any season. However I DO remember where I was when the Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years in 2004.
7. I’ve never hoisted a mainstay. My dad enjoys sailing, but I’m water phobic. Plus I don’t know what kind of balance is needed in hoisting the mainstay, but it seems like a bit more work than I’d be able to do. Don’t you have to be a certain height anyway?
8. Does it count as a poop deck if you regularly clean out litter boxes and swab toilets on land, or does the place have to be on water??
9. I’ve never veer to starboard, and don’t have any idea what that even means.
(At this point I feel like maybe we ought to buy a boat)
10. Nope. Never walked the gangplank. Scared of heights.
11. Never owned a parrot either. Although there was that one summer where I really got into ornithology. At this point with two cats at home, I feel like it’d be a horrible environment for a parrot. Unless the parrot could hold its own and argue with the cats. That could be entertaining. πŸ˜€
12. Plucking a rooster….hmmm….never done it. Having never lived on a farm. Although urban farming is beginning to become a thing…..hmmmm…..
13. I kinda do suck at ping-pong. It takes a bit for me to find my stride. But if you want to see joy on a child’s face, play ping-pong with them and when they aren’t looking, grab an extra ball in your hand and when you go to serve, release them both! πŸ˜€
14. I DO make a mean pan of mashed potatoes, so it’d be a shame if I threw them up against the wall. Seems a bit messy. I suppose if I didn’t have to clean it up, I’d be cool with that.
15. Kissing chipmunks: OK, things just got weird. No. I’ve NEVER kissed a chipmunk. I don’t know where the chipmunk has been. Are we equating chipmunk kissing with the practice of swallowing live gold-fish from the ’60’s? No. Just. No.
16. Head lice. Ugh. My head itches just from thinking about it. YES, I have had head-lice. And because of that, I never shared a locker with someone again after 3rd grade.
17. Nope. Never licked a spark plug either. A battery, yes (gross I know. But what curious kid hasn’t? πŸ˜€ ).
18. Sniffing stinkbugs….hmmmm….Does this mean we physically picked it up and smelled it or smelled it after crushing it? I need clarification on this one.
19. Painted daisies on a big red rubber ball sounds like it would make an awesome decoration. I need to get on that.
20. I’ve bathed in oatmeal, but not yogurt. Although I hear it does wonders for your face.
21. And finally, for the record, I think I look great in leggings! (Dear world, leggings are great-as long as you wear something that covers your bum! Repeat after me: “Leggings are NOT pants and NEVER will be!!”)

Phew! That’s the whole song. And it seems like I have a few things yet to do in life. Now, can anyone tell me where I can buy a rooster?? πŸ˜€


Β **Mr. Lunt, Larry the Cucumber and Pa Grape appear courtesy of Veggie Tales and Youtube

“Exhaustion” And Other Relative Terms…….

It has felt like a Monday all day today. I am SO tired. It may be in part because I was kept up till 2:30, worrying about the sounds coming from our oldest cat. After an emergency call to the vet, all is fine. But I am really dragging today. This is something that I’d normally post to social media. A narrative along the lines of, “I am SO beyond tired today.”Β  But something stopped me today. It was the fear of the inevitable comment, “imagine having kids!”

OOF! Talk about a punch to the gut. For someone who is CNBC/BC (childless not by choice/by choice), these 3 words are a painful reminder of what we’ll never have. Get ready, kids. I’m about to get upon my soapbox…..ehem…..

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to retire the all too common practice of parents lording it over those without children how difficult parenting is, including the accompanying exhaustion. As if the exhaustion experienced by parents is somehow greater than that of a person with severe anxiety and depression. Or the person who has just lost a friend or parent. Or the person who has a chronic illness that will never go away.

Now, just to clarify, I’m not talking about parents posting on their own pages about the trials and exhaustion of parenting a tiny human. I’m simply pointing out the frustration of those of us that are CNBC having parents post these things on our pages.

Guys, I know you all mean well, but without realizing it, when you post things like this, it makes you look like a jerk. Especially if you know the history of the person who’s expressing their tiredness.

Moral of the story, when you see a post about someone expressing their extreme level of tiredness, think before you comment. The best thing you can write is a message of encouragement. Saying you are sorry and hope tomorrow is better. In this way, you are making social media a more welcoming place for those of us that are CNBC.


Monday Morning Life Hacks…..

Let’s say you wake up on Monday morning and go to pour yourself a cup of coffee, but you get to the end of the pot before the cup is filled. Your brain is screaming for caffeine and after a short conversation with said brain, it’s obvious that it can’t wait for a new pot to brew. So, what do you do??

1. Do not panic. This is a quick fix that will get you through the day.

2. Grab a can of Ovaltine (I recommend the chocolate malt as it has less sugar), and pour this into your cup to your desired chocolaty-ness.

3. Enjoy the extra energy buzz and increased productivity!

What Monday Life Hack have you tried? Let me know in the comments below!



*Monday Morning Life Hack that may leave you in the ER appears courtesy:

Letter to My Parents on My Birthday…..

The following blog was started yesterday but as the day unfolded, I was unable to finish it until I came back from birthday dinner #1……

Today I am on holiday. Yes, I’m still at home, but I am celebrating my favorite holiday….it’s my birthday! πŸ˜€ Already today I’ve gotten well wishes from all over the world. Thanks Facebook (and Mark Zuckerberg….whom I’ve never met in person. Was that weird? Never mind)

If you think about it, birthdays are strange. Seriously. We celebrate a person that basically slid out of a hole the size of a dime. Which I suppose is pretty amazing. But the real work and literal sweat and tears was accomplished by my parents (I guess I also cried a little when I arrived all naked and covered in goo. TMI? Nope? Let’s move on…)

So, on my 30-something birthday, I’d like to thank my parents.

Thank you for deciding, after raising both of my sisters, to try again and have me. After all, perfection sometimes takes numerous attempts. πŸ˜‰

Thank you for the way in which you raised me to believe I could do and be anything, despite my disability. Thank you for instilling in me confidence, grace and humility (even when I don’t show it, I promise it’s there πŸ˜‰ ).

Thank you for teaching me how powerful prayer and a faith in Jesus can be. How to look to Jesus in times of trial and frustration. And how to praise Him always.

Thank you for having the faith that the Lord knew what He was doing when he called me to college out-of-state. I can’t imagine the apprehension of letting me go. But you did. And I was able to grow in ways that I would not have otherwise.

I love you, mom and dad!

your Lula-belle β™₯