Ritchie’s 4th Annual Halloween Party


The Ritchie’s are party people, meaning we like to host them and usually insist that people dress up for the occasion.  And Halloween is the BEST reason to put on a costume, yes?  Our annual gathering of friendly ghosts and ghouls commenced on Saturday night and it was such a blast!  Thank you to those who were able to attend, and for those that weren’t – we look forward to seeing you next year hopefully (or there is always New Year’s Eve, this years theme is still tba).

Here is a recap in pictures!

The Costumes:

The Ritchie's as Popeye, Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea...


...Claire was a Spartan cheerleader from SNL


Perry & Amber as "Archer and Lana"..these two literally came through the front door shooting, nerf gun of course, I am still finding the foam darts under furniture...


The Moore's as Bumblebees and a very wiggly monkey ballerina


The Campbell's as A Stick in the Mud, Foliage and her adorable ladybug


George as Thor


Andi's Zombie clan (they were also participating in the Zombie Walk downtown on Sunday)


Amy came as a Dead Duck

Amazingly Enzo wasn’t totally freaked out by all the scary makeup faces.  He wasn’t too keen on me with my black wig on at first, so thankfully Grandma Trudie was there and not in costume, so there was one normal person for him to cling to until he got used to everything.  And Claire wasn’t very far from her normal self either, so he was happy to be in her arms.  Oh, and let’s not forget our buddy Drew, he wasn’t too scary either.

Uncle Drew and his little pea

 The atmosphere:

Room decor


The yummy spread!



a.  Pumpkin cooler with root beer & orange creme soda (I’m enjoying one right now actually as I write this)

b. Wonton snackers prepared by Grandma Trudie with apples, feta cheese and a vegie sausage filling – super yum!

c.  Pumpkin Vegetable Tray

d. Pumpkin spice whoopie pies with cream cheese filling.  Recipe here.

e. Graveyard Cake suggested by Claire, and she helped do the decorations on top.

f.  Apple Smiles – fun for the kiddos to make at the party

Food not pictured included black bean & corn empanadas and pickled green beans by Morgan.  Who’s hungry now?  I should add that all dishes were inspired by something online, I had fun building my Pinterest board along the way!

And this one needed it’s own picture because it was the most fun, I thought…

Guacamole puking pumpkin - pumpkin carved by Claire, guac made by my husband (this is called delegating folks.)

 The cuteness:

sweet ladybug


I believe this may have been after her second piece of cake...


Popeye made his own spinach can (yes, the same guy who claims to be "not creative". I rest my case.)


Men hugging with a baby - does it get any cuter?


Matilda was checking out Enzo's hair sicheeashun...

As promised, although it wasn’t our weekend with Veda so she wasn’t at the party, I asked Mark to get a picture of her in the jellyfish costume.  So without further ado…

Perfect idea when rain is in the forecast!


And that concludes my recap of our fabulous party brew ha ha.  I hope you have a safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 



The Pumpkin Patch

Last Sunday we drove north over the river to visit Bizi Farms in Vancouver.  This year I decided we should do something different, since the past several years we have gone out to Kruger’s Farms on Sauvie Island.  So we put the question out there on our Facebook page and got so many great suggestions (thanks friends!!).

Among them were (besides the two above):  Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island, Rasmussen Farms in Hood River, Bauman’s Farm in Woodburn, Fazio Farms in Portland, Fir Point Farms in Aurora, or Roloff Farms in Helvetia (which is in Oregon though I confess I have never heard of it and have no idea where it’s at).

We had a great time, it was easy to find and had ample parking.  We had heard from our friend Julie that rainboots would be a good idea on account of the mud they encountered when they went to a corn maze the weekend prior.  And I am sure glad I listened!  It was $8 to get in but that included so many fun things, including a pumpkin of any size!  We toured through the corn maze and had fun arguments between Claire and I (who felt that we needed to take the path less traveled) and Mark (who felt otherwise).



these last three photos by Claire

I kept trying to explain that if it’s less traveled (grass still visible on the path) then it must be right and therefore people didn’t have to walk back over it multiple times, if it was the way then they’d only have to cross it once.  But he believed the exact opposite logic.  We eventually found our way out and it only took us about a half hour.  I started out with Enzo in the Ergo carrier on my front, but after about 10 minutes I was feeling that extra 22 pounds in my thighs and had to hand him over to Mark!

That scarecrow is totally staring at me...creepy!

After that we went and got our free hot drink (included in gate fee) which was a choice of hot chocolate or spiced cider.  Then we got in line to do the pumpkin slingshot (two free pumpkins to throw, included in gate fee).  It was quite a line to get in the netted off area that they were in, then it was another line to wait for your turn at a slingshot (there were about six).  We only stood there for a little bit when we decided that Claire and I should go stand in the line to get on the hayride out to the pumpkin patch.  Mark and Veda soon joined us though because it was taking too long for the slingshots and the hornets were being a nuisance.

Claire wasn't very happy about all the lines





We got out to the pumpkin patch and set out to find the perfect one!  And of course one small one for Enzo.



We had a lot of fun and will go back there again I’m sure.  When Enzo is bigger and wants to do the little kid things like the hay pyramid, petting zoo and of course face painting!  Actually I’ve never done face painting so I guess that would be up to him.

Then it was time to go home and do some carving!

Love this!






Claire did her own and Enzo's


Veda did a "pirate panda" and Mark who claims to be not artistic got all super-carver on us and did the dude on the right, with all the shaving and carving of a professional!

Tomorrow night is our party and we are very excited!  Enzo has caught a little cold but still seems to be his normal happy self, just with a runny nose.  I’ve giving him saline drops and lots of snuggles.  Hopefully he feels better soon.

Have a great weekend!



2nd Place goes to … The Pacers!

Claire and her mates!

Claire’s 8th grade volleyball team played for the district championship on Monday afternoon against #1 ranked Estacada.  The Parkrose Pacers were the only team that actually beat Estacada all season, and they had a really good chance at doing it again to be named the Champs.  But although they played a very good game and had many high points, they couldn’t quite overtake Estacada.  It was fun to watch and Claire had the largest cheering crowd (which is usually the case, I hope she appreciates that!).

From left to right: Uncle Jordan, Aunt Beanie, Claire holding little brother Ryder, Grandma Cindy, Grandpa Bill & Grandma Betty, Claire's Dad and me & Enzo (not pictured cause she's taking it, Grandma Trudie, and Great Grandma Phyllis who may have been in the restroom?)

Her Dad drove up from Arlington to surprise her, which was pretty awesome!  Ryder is the sweetest, cutest little thing and after the game he was picking dandelions to give to the girls.  Heartbreaker in training!

They look so much alike in this picture!

I even got a flower, which was really cute.  He loves Enzo, too, he had plenty of cheek pinches for him and even some kisses.  Ryder is now at the age where he can kind of make sense of the family structure that Claire has.  At first he didn’t like me very much because to him I was the lady who came and picked up his sister and took her away on the Sunday of her weekends at their house.  But now that he knows I’m her Mommy, he’s okay with me.  And he loves to see “baby Enzo”!

So now the school volleyball season is over and it’s time to start looking at clubs.  She has tryouts the first weekend of November and this year we are going to do the Oregon NW Juniors Nike team in Gresham.  I think it will be good to have practices be on our side of the river and plus it just seems like a more established and competitive club than what she experienced last year.  Club runs from December through April so Enzo will be up and running for the last half of it.  Grandma Trudie and I are already trying to think of ways to keep him busy (and happy!) during the all-day tournaments!

Congratulations to the Parkrose Pacers on a stellar season!  I can’t wait to watch the girls play for the high school Broncos next year!



Rock-a-bye baby


Several years ago I was given this rocking chair that used to belong to my Great Grandma Dickens.  She was my Dad’s grandmother and although I do not remember her specifically since she died when I was very little, I have small memories connected to visiting her in the nursing home.  I remember it was a very narrow room, and she had a lot of things so it seemed kind of “packed” inside.  But this wasn’t a bad thing, as I remember always enjoying looking at her trinkets on the shelves and how everything seemed to belong in it’s place.  I’m not sure why I was chosen to be the recipient of this chair, but I am forever grateful. 

Enzo has been sleeping in his crib since Saturday night.  He is doing great so far, and even though he wakes up the same amount of times (blaming that on the teething discomfort), I sit with him in the rocking chair and nurse him back to sleep. 

Thank you Great Grandma, I love rocking my baby in your chair. 



Dinner with friends

   Saturday was a very cool day.  Not only was the weather phenomenal, it was seriously t-shirt temperatures and managed to stay dry all day, but I also went to a huge clothing swap and got some fun stuff!  My friend Lacye put together a clothing exchange and about 25 women showed up.  I scored a couple pairs of hot boots, a couple skirts, a couple pairs of jeans (side note: can someone please explain to me why they call it a “pair” of jeans if there is only one of them?) and a bunch of tops.  It’s so nice adding new pieces to my wardrobe without spending money!  If you are in the Portland area and are interested in this idea, there is a site called Swap Positive and you can get in on the fun!

   Afterwards my friend Sascha and I decided it would be fun to do dinner so Mark and I loaded up the kids and headed over to Mike & Sascha’s.  Their darling girl Anika was having a great time with Claire and Veda.



And Enzo was chilling with the adults.

He started out in socks AND shoes, believe it or not...



       It was really nice to sit down at the table with our friends and have a family dinner.   I LOVE this.  I want to make this happen a couple times a month.  After a delicious dinner of chicken enchiladas, we played a little Rock Band and ate some peanut butter cups.

Anika was loving the avocado!

Mike on guitar

And Sascha & Anika on vocals



Very thankful for great friends.  My heart is feeling incredibly full this weekend <3



Enzo – 8 months!

8 months old

Our sweet boy is 8 months old today!  He is growing so quickly now, it’s hard to keep tabs on all the new stuff he is doing from month to month but I will try to give a recap since last time.  He is eating jars of baby food, usually 1-2 a day.  Our usual feeding routine is a jar of fruit after he wakes from his morning nap and then a jar of vegetables at dinner time.  I like to have him eat with us at dinnertime so that he can get a feel for family dinner routine.  This only works if we sit at the table for dinner, which I am happy to report that we are doing way more often with our beautiful bench setup.  Tonight Veda did the feeding and Enzo loved it!


He is sitting up like a pro, although we still put a pillow behind him because falling back on our hardwood floor is not nice.  He also has recently figured out how to make his walker go forward instead of just backward.  It’s much easier to push off and shove backward, but if I put shoes on him so he has some traction then he can “walk” forward.  When I am working on my dolls in the sewing room this is how I keep him contained.  Oh yeah, can paper be digested?  The other day he pushed himself over to my paper patterns hanging on the steamer and grabbed one.  I thought, eh, no big deal it’s thick paper so he can’t do much damage.  But the next thing I know I look over and there is an entire chunk missing and he has a tiny piece of it on his chin.  I looked all around but couldn’t find it, so I guess he ate it?  That’s okay, he did the same thing with a coupon a few months ago at the grocery store.  Those things wad up into a tiny little nugget in no time flat!

Get the foooooot...



He still loves his johnny-jump up and can be happy in it for quite a while.  Long enough for me to take a shower, which sometimes works but not always.  Mark likes to pull him up until his feet are off the ground and then let go so he swings back and forth, he loves it.  He also spins, a lot.  It makes me dizzy just watching him, but I guess when you are little those sensations don’t bother you yet.  I was okay with spinning until the 6th grade when I went to the fair and rode on the teacups with my friends.  They made it spin nonstop the whole time, and I spent the rest of the afternoon miserable, laying under a tree.

Oh hi!


Power to the littles!

I went to see my friend Leah and her baby boy Raine the other day.  While I was holding Raine, who is 2 months old, Enzo was okay at first but then he started to whine and reach for him.  He got over it pretty quickly though.  It was good to see them and Raine is just the cutest!  He weighs over 10 pounds now, which still seems so tiny to me but that’s because I’m used to my big boy.  I can’t wait for them to be able to play together as toddlers.  Next week I plan to go visit my friend Kira and her sweet baby girl Pearl.  I love babies!!

Speaking of babies – our good friends Scott & Connie had a baby girl yesterday!  We hope to get over and meet her soon, as soon as they get settled in at home.  They named her Roslyn Olympia, I bet she is the most beautiful little sweetheart!  Mark and Scott have been friends since they were like 11 years old.  So we are super excited to have our littles be so close in age!

Enzo and his favorite blankie

Mark was teaching Enzo about baseball tonight, as he was watching the World Series on TV.  He thought it was pretty funny…


While he is not rolling over yet, he seems to be getting stronger on his legs so I am thinking he might just stand up one day and skip the rolling over/crawling steps.  But who knows.  He’s a big boy and has a big booty to roll over with his big cloth diaper on, too.  Big, times three.  It does factor in.  Anyway, only time will tell.  He is learning all the time, like a little sponge soaking it all in.  It’s fun to watch a smile spread across his face when he’s figured something out.  He has started pounding on things to make noise, and this week he discovered that he can scream very high-pitched.  Which was cute until he did it while out to lunch with Grandma Trudie and her co-workers on Wednesday.

Now if I could only figure out how to get him to sleep more than 2 hours at a time at night, that would be aaaaawesome!  I am still nursing and I have been thinking lately about trying to give him a bottle at night before bed to see if that helps him sleep longer.  Maybe he isn’t getting enough from nursing to get his tummy full.  But we also still have him sleeping in the co-sleeper in our room so perhaps he would sleep longer if he was in his crib, in his room and not be disrupted by me coming to bed, and then Mark a few hours later.  I don’t even know if that affects him but there have been a couple times where he wakes up to nurse when I get in bed around 11pm.  So maybe he wouldn’t have woken up if he was in his own room?  It’s all such a crap shoot!  Haha.

Oh parenting.  So much fun.  So much to learn still!


Happy 8 month birthday son!



Such a beautiful October day!

hey you, are you paying attention???

Did you get outside and enjoy the sunshine today?  It was such the perfect fall day, with a slight chill in the breeze and blue skies.  These are few and far between in our neck of the woods, so I will enjoy them while I can!  My friend Julie and I went to the mall today, Washington Square to be exact.  I don’t remember the last time I went to the mall to just go to the mall.  I usually have one thing in mind from a particular store and I’m in and out.  Or I am just there to see a movie, which has been the case the last like four times I went to a mall.   But today was different, I didn’t have an agenda I just knew of a couple things I wanted to get and a store I had to visit.  And I definitely accomplished all of that!  This was my list today:  eye shadow primer (I finally got some Karen, aren’t you proud?!), sexy jeans and check out the store Naartjie for baby.

Done, done and done!

I am super excited that I found a hot pair of jeans at Express that give good “butt” (not Mom butt, and all you Mom’s know what I am referring to here).  They are the kind that are super faded on the rear, which I normally don’t like cause I feel like it looks like I sat in something.  But Julie has a pair and she rocks them so I thought, why not!  And I can’t wait to wear them tomorrow!

And let me just say that it’s a good thing Enzo isn’t a girl because the girls section at Naartjie was twice the size as the boys and it was packed full of the most unique and beautiful things!  The boys section did have awesome stuff too, don’t get me wrong.  Enzo scored a couple outfits and some booties.  And I will definitely be making that a regular stop.  Oh, suuuuuper cute hats, too!

I made a couple more dolls in the last few days, going back to the more simpler version (body as a dress, not a removable one).  And I really like them.  I think I will do the majority of my dolls this way, and then have a half dozen of the ones with dresses for bigger girls.


I like that the simple version has nothing that a baby can get off and put in their mouth.  I know that’s something they do, since it’s the first thing Enzo does when you put something in his hand.  And I am constantly trying to keep him from getting something small enough to choke on. I’ll be happy when that curious phase is over!  …. it does end…right??

hello baby!

One more pic to share… a self portrait of Claire…


Have a lovely Monday!



My favorite season!

For so many reasons, this is my favorite time of year!  I think Fall is perfectly timed as I was just starting to tire of the heat, and had started gazing longingly at my boots and scarves.  And this season also holds my most favorite holiday – HALLOWEEN!  We decorated on Sunday and now it really looks like October at our house!

going through the boxes of decorations and costumes

hanging the bats

our living room



We purchased a few new items this year for our decor.  One of those things was a drop-down spider.  Enzo was NOT impressed by this.  It’s still up but I took the batteries out so he wouldn’t set it off anymore.  He seems to have just the right pitch in his voice to activate it and this was not making him happy on Sunday evening.  He had a hard time going to sleep that night too.  He kept staring up at our bedroom ceiling like he was waiting for something to happen.  We don’t usually decorate in our bedrooms, so he has nothing to worry about there!  Claire is still undecided on her costume, some ideas she has thrown around so far are cheerleader (Glee inspired), zombie prom queen, and beaten up volleyball player.  Veda changed her mind about four times, and that was just on Sunday but then got very creative and decided a jellyfish was what she wanted to create.  And that we did!  I wish I had taken a picture, I will have to get one cause the costume turned out great!  Every year we host a huge Halloween costume party and I am super excited for this years.  A few of our friends have had babies (including us of course!) in the last year so it will be really fun to see all the kiddos dressed up!

Claire is almost done with her 8th grade volleyball season.  They are 7-2 with one last game to play on Monday (a team they already beat once this year, so most likely get another win).  Her team has played exceptionally well this year and it’s been really fun to watch.  They had a nail biter on Tuesday against Estacada (who was undefeated at the time, already beating Claire’s team earlier in the season).  I thought I was going to have a heart attack, but they kicked some serious booty and pulled out a win!  They will play in the playoffs on Thursday and have a good shot at being district champions!

can I get a woop woop?


after the win, with her "lucky" gatorade bottle

I think Enzo should be made the honorary mascot for her team, since he never misses a game!

at her game in Hood River last Monday

Now it’s time to start looking for a club team for the Winter/Spring.  I have my eye on one by Nike, tryouts are the first weekend of November.  I’m so happy that Claire enjoys the sport so much!  Now if I can just talk her into letting me bring a pom pom to the games!

Yesterday I was inspired (or out of my mind, you pick) to try a new recipe for dinner.  It involved me being on my feet, in the kitchen, for most of the afternoon but it was totally worth it.  Enzo wasn’t very thrilled by this, but he was a trooper.  Hopefully he will be handy when he’s bigger and actually help me make things.  I made sweet potato and black bean empanadas (recipe here) and avocado fries (recipe here).  And of course there had to be a yummy dessert to go along with that, so I whipped up some spice pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  My Mom brought me over some Food Day magazines awhile back and I used a recipe from there.  It all turned out really well and my family approved!  I even made some extra empanadas and put them in the freezer for later.  Look at me, thinking AHEAD!  Who would’ve thought…

This weekend I plan to do a lot of sewing and crafting.  And we may take a trip to the pumpkin patch.  I have a Martha Stewart tutorial bookmarked that I want to do for our halloween party, and it involves a bunch of tiny pumpkins and some plastic fangs.

What’s your favorite part about Fall?



Nap time = Craft time

girly shoes

I made these last Friday, another pair of shoes but this time in fun girly fabric.  These are also a size smaller, 3-6 months,  but look a little bigger than that.  I might not be doing a large enough seam allowance.  I do a 1/4″ because it feels right, but I suppose I may need to do a 3/8″ to get the proper sizing.  Anywho.

new doll

And I made this doll today.

Question:  What do you think of the ribbon “hair”?  My husband says it makes them look like they are foreign, like from Asia or something.  I was trying to be different, but I don’t want them to appear ethnic.  They are just dolls with different colored hair and skin.

I apologize for the grainy photos, taken with my crappy samsung phone.  The colors are much more vibrant than this!

Happy Monday!



The answer is no.

Just recieved this from the folks at Crafty Wonderland:


Thank you for applying!
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for applying to Crafty Wonderland’s Super Colossal Holiday Sale. We are incredibly sorry, but we are not able to offer you a booth at this time. This year was by far the toughest yet – we had more amazing applicants than ever before! Even after we had narrowed the field to our very favorites, we were still about 100 vendors over capacity. This meant we had to make some incredibly difficult eliminations. The decisions were so hard that we ended up turning to a random lottery system in order to make the difficult final cuts.
We had to say no to friends, regulars, vendors who currently sell in our retail shop and amazing new talent. This is by far the hardest and most gut wrenching part of what we do and we hope you can understand our position. Please don’t take our decisions personally! Keep crafting and keep being amazing!
While we don’t have a waiting list, we do keep your information on file. In the event of a cancellation, we will look through our pool of applicants to find an appropriate replacement to fill the opening. Thanks again for taking the time to apply. We are continually amazed and overwhelmed by the number of talented people out there!
(image added by me, not them)
Suuuuuuuuper bummed.  But there is always next year.  And I will definitely keep on crafting.  My husband/web designer is helping get my online store built so look for that coming hopefully very soon, in time for holiday shopping is my goal!