Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ready for Halloween?

 I've always loved Halloween, so I love that the Ithaca area has so many great events for Halloween.  This year we went to the Wegmans parade on Thursday, the Sciencenter on Friday and Ellis Hollow Nursery School on Saturday.  We still have a preschool party on Monday and Trick-or-Treating in our neighborhood in the evening.   When I was growing up in the Midwest, we only celebrated Halloween on one night!  I guess at least this way the costumes get a lot of use. 

This year my 4 year old will be wearing a homemade “Rainbow Unicorn” costume, while my 2 year old will be wearing the dinosaur costume that big sister insisted on having last year after falling in love with it in Halloween edition of One Step Ahead, despite the large box of dress up clothes that we already had to choose from (I need to remember to hide that catalogue).  At least we can get a couple year’s use out of it. Hubby will be a clown, per the children’s request; and I’m excited to step out in my homemade Dora the Explorer costume.  This will be the first time since having children that I didn’t throw my costume together that the very last minute. (For those of you who still haven’t put together costumes, Mama Goose, Trader K’s and Trader K’s 2 all still had good selection as of last week.)

I’ve always enjoyed making costumes whenever I have the time and creative energy.  Growing up, I remember my mom pouring her heart and soul into homemade costumes, the best of which was an elaborate Strawberry Shortcake outfit that I probably wore for about 3 years straight.  However, once I was older, I learned that my memory is a bit unreliable.  My mom recently informed me that she dreaded making homemade costumes and did so only because it was cheaper than buying them (which isn’t always the case anymore!).  Turns out the main reason I was Strawberry Shortcake so often was because she didn’t want to make anything else. 

How about you?  Do you make your costumes?  Buy them new?  Buy them used?   Borrow from friends?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Favorite: The SPCA Annex in the Mall

From time to time I’ll post a blog about my favorite things in the Ithaca area.  I’d like to start with the SPCA annex in the mall!  The Tompkins County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a great organization that finds “forever homes” for cats, dogs, rabbits, and pretty much any animal you could think of.  The Tompkins County SPCA is a no-kill, open admission shelter.  I highly recommend visiting their main shelter at 1640 Hanshaw Road. 

However, today I want to sing the praises of the SPCA Annex.  By opening this storefront, the SPCA smartly keeps their adoptable animals on the forefront of mall goers minds.  They also help to make the mall great place to visit on a rainy day.  When my 4 year old was a baby, the only place in the mall that really appealed to kids was the pet store.  Now the mall has Niki’s Party Place (bounce houses), Glow Golf, the arcade, and the SPCA (what my kids like to call “The Kitty Store”). My kids love to play with the cats using the cat toys available (if you can’t find a toy, ask an SPCA employee and they’ll find one for you). There’s an area near the back with toys and books that’s a great spot to kill a little time.  On Mondays at 11 they host a Storytime there too.  Best of all, this little nook is quiet and secluded.  Back when I was nursing, I found it to be the comfiest place in the mall to feed my youngest.  Plus the toys and books kept my toddler happy at the same time.

As great as the annex is, it is expensive for the SPCA to keep staffed.  They’ve had to reduce their hours of operation to 11-7 Monday -Saturday and 11-6 on Sundays.  However, it’s easy to help keep this great place running.  If every family visiting the annex dropped a dollar into their donation box, it would be more than enough to keep the annex afloat.  The Annex also accepts donations of everything from cat toys to paper plates.  For a full list of items needed, check out their web page.

Although we haven’t adopted an animal from the SPCA (our 10 year old cat wouldn’t stand for it!), they make it easy to find an animal that would be good for your home, creating and updating their animals' personality profiles on a regular basis. 

And finally, full disclosure, I am in no way affiliated with the SPCA.  I just love what they do and I love the smiles that their store in the mall brings to the faces of my kids.  They get excited every time they drop a dollar bill in the box to help feed the kitties.  Hope your kids do too!.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who knew?

So, apparently the Tot Spot opened for the season today.  I realized it was late October, so I called to check when they open, and sure enough, it was today.  Even though I browse the IYB emails I get, I had no idea.  Did you?

For those unfamiliar with the Tot Spot: The Tot Spot is an indoor play area with two slide/climbing structures, many push and ride toys, books and other fun things.  Located inside the Ithaca Youth Bureau at 1 James L. Gibbs Drive in Ithaca, The Tot Spot is generally open from the end of October to Mid-April. Days and times are as follows: Tues./Thurs./Sat. 9:30 - 11:30 am and Sunday afternoon 3:30 - 5:30 pm.  The Tot Spot is for children ages 5 months -5 years, but kids under 4 tend to have the most fun. $4 per child.  607-273-8364

Wednesday, October 12, 2011