Saturday, November 10, 2012


We love Halloween at the Bradshaw house! We decorate the house every year, and now that Clay is older, we have other celebrating to do!

This was little man's first Halloween in kindergarten, and I signed up to help with the school party. Clay and I sneaked into the classroom the afternoon before and decorated. We put up streamers and paper lanterns, and another mom brought centerpieces for the tables. The day of the party, a big group of fun moms met up at the school with crafts and treats! We had arts and crafts tables, face painting, music, themed book readings, cookie decorating, and entirely too much sugar.

For the past several years, our family has also coordinated our Halloween costumes. Clay has been on a superhero kick, and I was soooo glad that he decided instead to be a policeman this year. Hubs and I dressed as convicts, and I have a secret to tell you. A convict costume is the most comfortable thing ever. It's like wearing pajamas or a gown. I may be a convict every year. (On Halloween, I mean. Not for every day, I hope.)

So, we suited and went out trick or treating. What fun! It was a gorgeous night, and the moon was up. It seemed like our whole neighborhood was out trick or treating (lots of "take one" bowls), and the families that did stay home came out onto their porches to hand out candy and enjoy the scene.

We went up to one house, and we saw a spooky fake man tied to the basketball goal. You know, stuffed overall and boots, ugly mask for a head? Well, there was another fake man on the porch, lumpy suit, scary mask, sitting in a chair with the candy bowl in his lap. As we approached (along with a tiny Captain America and a princess who happened to be going to the house at the same time we did), Clay was wary.

I walked up to the "man" and poked his shoulder. It was inflated, like a pool float.

"See?" I told Clay. "He's fake. He won't get you."

All three kids moved in closer, slowly. Clay poked the knee of the "man."

"Mom, he's real," Clay said.

"No, sweetie, he's fake. See?" I said, poking the balloon-like shoulder again to assure him.

Then the fake man moved. Captain America screamed like a little girl and went running back to the curb, where his parents were waiting. ("So much for the first Avenger," said hubs later.) Clay and the princess jumped back.

It was a very small pre-teen boy under all of that mess, with an inflated set of shoulders and his real hands tucked under his legs. It was completely genius, and hubs and I burst out laughing. I told the boy that he had probably given Captain America nightmares, but that it was a very powerful illusion.

We made sure to walk by the house a few more times that night, just to see the free show!

After we did our trick or treating, we sat on the front porch swing and handed out the last of our candy. Next year's gonna have to be pretty awesome to beat this!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Diving into SanDestin

In early October, I had the opportunity to spend a few days at the SanDestin Golf and Beach Resort. I very much enjoyed my stay. I had a studio-style room in the Pilot House building. Though not large, it was perfectly lovely and adequate for a couple with a child. (I had a queen bad, and the couch folded out. In addition, there was a small kitchenette (sink, coffee maker, microwave, mini-fridge) and balcony.

On one of the upper floors of the building, there is a beautiful rooftop garden, pool area, and fitness center exclusive to guests of the Pilot House. Additionally, the Pilot House abuts the Baytowne Wharf area, where the resort offers robust choices for shopping, dining (Acme Oyster House, Grafitti's, a fun little wine bar, seafood restaurants, pizza joints, you name it), and other activities. Rooms at the Pilot House don't have a bay view, but other than that, they are ideal.

I really enjoyed my time at the SanDestin. The property is large and beautifully maintained. One can spend time lounging by the pool, walking on some of the trails and boardwalks, admiring the bay, golfing, or renting boats and the like to actually get out in the water. Though prices are higher than normal at Baytowne Wharf, there is something to be said for the convenience of strolling to dinner and then ambling back to one's room.

Also, if you're wanting to get to the beach, no worries. The resort has a shuttle service that picks up throughout the property and delivers one right to the beach. They didn't even mind that we brought our daiquiris with us!

To consider: the property was not crowded in early October, and the weather was gorgeous. I would imagine, however, that visiting here in the summers would be more of a trick. I bet that lines at Baytowne Wharf come mid-June are rather heinous.