Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lazy Dog Cafe

Bryn was student of the month in November. 

Mrs. Woods wrote on her certificate, "Bryn, you come to school everyday with a positive attitude and a smile on your face.  You work hard and are a good friend to others.  I am so glad you are in my class this year.  Keep working hard."

Zander was also student of the month.

Mrs. Varner wrote, "Congratulations on being one of our student of the month award winners!  You sure have taken off here on Varner Island.  Keep soaring in your reading and math."

Along with their certificates, the kids were given a free kids meal at Lazy Dog Cafe.  I had a third one from when Brayden was student of the month last year.  And Kylie eats too much to order off the kids' menu so we'd have to pay for her anyways.

When we were at the restaurant I was having trouble figuring out how to take pictures with my new phone.  They plastered cheesy smiles on their faces waiting for me to take a picture.

Brayden got tired of waiting and decided to be a goofball.  Why do boys like to be gross?  Funny.  But gross.

Bryn and Zander ordered dog bone shaped pancakes.

There was a mix up with Justin's order so he had to wait maybe five minutes longer than the rest of us to get his food.  He didn't complain but the manager came out to assure us that there would be no charge for his food.  It really wasn't a big deal.  He still finished eating before the rest of us.  But it was nice to save a few bucks.  

On a different day, we decided to try Snowbellies.  It's a combination of shaved ice, flavoring and soft ice cream.  We weren't super impressed.  I think we're frozen yogurt fans at heart.  But it's always fun to try something new.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Run, Kylie, Run!

Kylie joined the middle school track team again this year.  They don't have funds to have an actual team so five times during P.E. they run 2 miles and they attend one track meet.  Kylie ran the same meet last year at Diamond Valley lake so she knew the course and, most importantly, the giant hill in the middle.  She and I went running together a couple times so she could be prepared for that hill.  One time we had Bryn and Zander riding bikes along with us.  Zander's little legs had a hard time on the bike that is way too small for him so he complained for the first mile.  Bryn was very sweet and offered to get off her bike and walk with him so his legs could take a rest.  Eventually, Bryn and Kylie went ahead while I stayed back with the whining child.  Once we got to the downhill part, he did fine. 

Kylie set a goal for herself to get a ribbon this year.  They award ribbons to the top 25 finishers.  She did awesome in the race!  She was the first girl from her school to finish.  She put on some speed at the end to ensure she got a ribbon.  It worked...she came in 24th out of 160 eighth grade girls.  Her time for the 2 mile race was 13:20.  She's got some fast legs and good endurance.

It's always a good feeling to achieve a goal you set for yourself...fabulous job, Kylie!!!!  She and I went to Soup Plantation for lunch to celebrate her success.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tales of a First Grade Zander

Zander's teacher has been good about trying to find things to challenge him.  One thing she did was ask him to do a book report.  Her book report ideas were very creative.  The one he chose to do was a TV show.  As Zander read "Magic Tree House Sunset of the Sabertooth", he wrote 1-2 sentences about each chapter.  When he was finished, we cut a hole in the bottom of a shoebox and wrapped it in wrapping paper.  Then we cut paper strips to fit the "screen".  On each paper, Zander drew a picture of what happened in the chapter and one sentence to go with it.  The papers were all taped together in a long line and taped to an unsharpened pencil at each end.  The paper strips were then wrapped around one of the pencils and the pencils were poked through holes in the top of the "TV".  In the end, you twist the pencils and the "TV show" scrolls across the screen.  He turned it in before I could take a picture of the final product and the teacher said she's keeping it so she can show the principal.  I like it when teachers have fun and creative ways to teach their students.

There was also the traditional vocabulary hat day.  Zander picked his own word...transportation.  We attached some Matchbox cars with twist ties and printed out pictures of other modes of transportation.  I had some black glittery card stock that looked like asphalt after Zander painted yellow dashed lines down the middle of it.

This kid likes to participate in school spirit stuff.  He was excited to dress up like a teacher for Freaky Friday.  I thought he was adorable.

Teacher by day...

...Kung Fu warrior by night.

Zander played his second season of soccer.  His coaches were terrible, but, since they're volunteers and we didn't volunteer ourselves, we can't complain too loudly.  We kept our grumblings away from little ears and Zander happily chased the soccer ball around the field.  He even scored a goal!

And that's life as a six year old.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Arrow of Light

Brayden earned his Arrow of Light in scouts.  They make a really big deal about it.  They have this whole skit, complete with an Indian chief and braves, a teepee, torches and Brave Bob shooting arrows at a target.  I thought it was all kind of strange.  Maybe I just don't understand the significance of it.  The kids liked the free popcorn and hot chocolate.

Check that one off the scouting to-earn list.  Not all scout stuff is drudgery.  Brayden and Justin built a rocket and we all went to the park to watch them launch it.  There were some technical difficulties at first but it eventually made it pretty high up in the sky.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Halloween 2014

Last post about Halloween, I promise. 

Every year our elementary school puts on a fall festival, complete with overpriced carnival games and a gourmet hot dog dinner.  This year Zander's teacher begged me to be room parent and, as such, one of my responsibilities was to put together a basket to be raffled off at fall festival.  I had no clue what I was doing, seeing as how I had never attended fall festival, but I managed to put together a pretty good basket, if I do say so myself.  Our theme was "Ice Cream, You Scream".  I asked parents to donate $5 or items relating to ice cream, mostly toppings.  The parents were very generous.  I also begged Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Stater Bros. and Yogurt Factory for donations.  I didn't like asking, but they all gave $20 gift cards.  In the end, our basket was worth about $250 dollars.  It was a little bit stressful and a little bit fun putting it all together.  I wanted to win the basket, but, alas, the $5 worth of raffle tickets I bought wasn't enough.  Hope the lucky winner is enjoying lots of homemade ice cream.

The fall festival itself was actually fun.  I bought the kids $20 worth of tickets and told them to spend their tickets however they wanted but when they were gone, we were done.  The funnest booth was pouring colored flavored sugar in a test tube.  It's like a custom-made Pixie stick.

The lamest one was the bounce house that cost $1.50 to run from one end to the other.  No stopping and jumping.  Dumb.

As you can see, Bryn chose to be a pirate for Halloween.  Her costume was all items from around the house.  I offered to make her a pirate skirt, but she was content tying one of Kylie's scarves around her waist.  Brayden was so tortured by all the attention he got last year with his awesome vending machine costume that this year he wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible.  He decided to dress all in black, throw a cape on and a mask and hope nobody noticed him. It worked.

 Silly pose...

On Halloween day Bryn's third grade class took a field trip to the San Diego Zoo.  I'm not sure why they chose that day.  Poor little Bryn was so tired from walking around at the zoo all day that she fell asleep when she came home.  We had to wake her up to go trick-or-treating and she barely had the energy to walk up to each house.  Everyone had a pretty good candy haul though.

 And they all loved me enough to give me lots of Almond Joys and Butterfingers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DIY Will Treaty or Robin Hood Costume

Zander's costume request for this year was to be someone who carried a bow and a quiver of arrows.  Since we love the "Ranger's Apprentice" series by John Flannagan, we immediately thought of Will Treaty.  Most people thought Zander was Robin Hood, so it would work for that, too.

Just like with Kylie's Little Red Riding Hood cloak, I used the hooded cape sewing instructions from Natalie at Doodlecraft.  I used one of Zander's jackets to trace the hood and then added about three inches all around.  With his hood up, he'd be camouflaged as he moved steathly through the forest.

I was informed that Will Treaty is serious when he's in ranger smiling.

While searching for a clasp, I found this leaf button at JoAnns.  Ranger's are given an oakleaf when they complete their training so it was perfect.  Also made me think of hobbits and the leaves on their cloaks from the elves.  This cape has lots of possiblities and I'm hoping it will get used for future Halloweens.  I didn't sew a button hole for the leaf...that's above my skill level.  I sewed a hook and eye clasp on first and then sewed the leaf on top of that.  I would suggest you have your child put the cloak on after you sew the clasp on so you can see how it hangs and where to position the leaf.  I had to take the leaf off twice because it didn't look right when he put it on. 

Any serious archer wears bracers, of course.  Don't mess with this scary ranger.

I had some leftover faux suede fabric from another project.  It looks a bit like leather so it was perfect.  I measured the circumference of Zander's wrists and the circumference of his forearm where I wanted the bracers to end.  I also measured the distance between those two points.  I drew a line the length of the wrist circumference, plus half an ince for seam allowance.  From the middle of that line I drew a line down that was the length of his forearm, plus half an inch for seam allowance.  At the bottom of that line I drew another line perpendicular to it that was the length of his forearm circumference, plus half an inch for seam allowance.  Then I drew lines connecting the top to the bottom on both sides so in the end it looks like a trapezoid.

I wanted nice finshed edges so I folded each side under 1/4" and sewed them.  After that, I sewed three snaps on, one at the top, bottom and middle.  Pretty easy peasy.

We pulled out the quiver we made out of a wrapping paper tube for Kylie's Katniss Everdeen costume a couple years ago.  We wrapped the tube in the same faux suede fabric I used for the bracers and hot glued it in place.

Zander's pants and shirt were things he had in his closet.  The shirt we turned inside out to hide the Indiana Jones picture.  We brushed some brown eye shadow on his face to make him look like he'd been wandering the forest for a few days.  This was an easy costume to put together and Zander was happy becuase he got to carry a quiver...even though I wouldn't let him take the bow trick-or-treating becuase I knew Will would get tired of holding it and I didn't want to be his pack horse.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Teen Little Red Riding Hood Costume

I discovered that it can be challenging to find a costume for a teenage girl.  Let me rephrase, it can be challenging to find an appropriate costume.  Halloween is an excuse for some women and teenage girls to turn innocent fairy tale characters, like Red Riding Hood, into little floozies.  This Halloween Kylie wanted to dress up and look nice doing it.  After scouring the internet for ideas, we settled on Little Red Riding Hood.  Who wouldn't want to wear an awesome cape like Red?!  Plus, Kylie has been watching "Once Upon A Time" so she was psyched to dress like a fairy tale character.  We did a simpler version of Red than in the show, but fabulous nonetheless.

I used the hooded cape sewing instructions from Natalie at Doodlecraft.  I bought 3 yards of crushed panne velvet fabric from JoAnns.  After my coupon, it only cost $12.  Following Natalie's instructions, I used one of my jacket hoods to make an outline and then enlarged it by about 3 inches on all sides.  I used the remainder of the fabric for the length of the cape. 

The hood is big but that's exactly what we wanted.  It looks awesome when it's hanging down her back and billows a bit when she has it on her head.

I also found this clasp at JoAnns.  The intricate design adds some interest to the cape.  Also, it's just cool.

We found a simple, cream-colored dress at Forever 21 for $20.  Normally, I wouldn't spend that much on a Halloween costume for one night, but Kylie will be able to wear this dress to church so she'll get plenty of use out of it.  The dress was a little short for my liking, though.  Our solution...add lace to the bottom.  I used the wide lace so it added about four inches to the length.

I bought the basket at Salvation Army for $2 and spent another $2 on red and white checked fabric to line it.  Kylie used it to keep her candy in while trick-or-treating.  

For her hair, we tried Cute Girls Hairstyles' no-heat paper towel curls.  They worked really well!  Kylie's hair does not curl easily.  We rolled her damp hair up in the paper towels before she went to bed and in the morning it looked like this...

Even after a full day at school, including running in P.E., her hair had enough curl left for her transformation into Little Red Riding Hood that night.  I did two rope twists on each side and pulled them back and tied them together with a red ribbon.

This was a fun costume to make and Kylie was excited to wear it, which was the best part.  She made one beautiful Red Riding Hood.