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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Halloween Festivities

I thought it would be fun to decorate our front door for Halloween this year.  We looked at some ideas online then made our own door monster.

Zander and I worked on the mouth.  I cut out various sized teeth and he glued them on.  His mouth was the model for our creation.

Bryn and Kylie cut the tissue paper hair into strips.  The hair got caught in the door every time it was opened so by the end of the month he was a half-bald monster.

Brayden designed the eyeball.  Justin provided moral support.

We had one scary door.  Not creepy scary.  I don't like creepy.  Fun scary.  Okay, not scary at all.  Just fun.

Bryn liked the door so much, she turned our toilets into his little monster friends.  Creative girl.

We also made monster eyeball cookies.  In case you were wondering, the candy eyeballs don't taste very good.  And you might break your teeth on them.  But they look cute.

We put the cookies in bags with chocolate eyeballs and boo'd a few friends.

Cheapest entertainment ever for the kids...leaving a bag of goodies on someone's doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running away.  All of them were so excited at every single house you would've thought it was Christmas.  Five times.  In one night.  I'm going to have to remember this.  Brighten someone's day with a secret delivery and keep the kids busy and excited.  It's a win-win.

And, of course, there were pumpkins.  Only three this year.  Brayden was in a bad mood the day we decorated and he refused to participate.  So we eventually cooked his pumpkin and will be enjoying many pumpkin desserts.

Bryn's mummy and spider pumpkins.  The girls' orthodontist had a pumpkin decorating contest on Facebook and Bryn won!  She got a $25 gift card to Amazon.

Zander's Skylander character, Crusher.  Pretty good likeness for a pumpkin head.

Kylie discovered just how much work a jack-o-lantern is.  

Looked pretty cool when the "Boo" was lit up though.

When we started discussing costume ideas, Zander decided he'd make paper costumes for his stuffed animals.  There's an elephant wearing a skirt, a farmer hamster with a carrot, a puppy king wearing a crown and a monkey with a mask.  Zander took the picture himself, too.

Kylie thought about being Gimli.

Next post I'll show you the pretty sweet costume she picked instead.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Brayden's 11th Birthday

I'm alive!  And I have some major catch-up to do.  Life got crazy-busy and I fell off the face of the blogging world.  I've missed it.  So I am rededicating myself.

First, we must go back in time to Brayden's birthday.  His birthday was on a Tuesday so we celebrated the Saturday before.  We had a double party and celebrated Grandma Jake's birthday, too.

 Brayden requested ice cream with brownies and hot fudge sauce in lieu of a birthday cake. While Justin took everyone to Zander's soccer game, I whipped up some chocolate magic in the kitchen.  With the help of my good friend Ghiradelli. 

I believe Brayden got everything on his wishlist...with the exception of a laptop.  He likes to dream big.  He wanted Minecraft for the PS3, a watch (which came from China without helpful instructions and we can't get it to stop beeping every hour), an MP3 player to replace his broken one (he was going through Percy Jackson withdrawals when he couldn't listen to his books for two weeks), Nerf guns, Legos and some frosting and graham crackers. 

Bryn was feeling a little grumpy that day.

Grandpa gave him a pocket knife for earning his Arrow of Light in scouts.

The boys wasted no time testing out the new Nerf weaponry.

Looks like the birthday boy won the battle.

The morning of Brayden's birthday Justin made a doughnut run.  It was early, you can tell Brayden is still half asleep.


We gave him something to enjoy during his day at school...the latest Percy Jackson book, "The Blood of Olympus".  He had resigned himself to having to wait for an available copy from the library so he was excited to have it for his very own.

Brayden requested shish-kabobs and yams for his birthday dinner.  Strange combination but, it's what he likes.  I do not like making shish-kabobs.  It takes so long to put all the little pieces of meat and veggies onto a stick just so people can pick them off in two seconds and eat them.  Love makes you do things like put meat on giant toothpicks.

Happy Birthday! Brayden

Sunday, September 14, 2014

All About Zander

Zander was chosen to be the High Flyer (code for student of the week) a couple weeks ago.  He was pretty proud of himself.  I got to stand in the hot sun and watch him walk up and get his certificate.  Why oh why do the teachers and principal feel it necessary to make the kids sit on the hot blacktop and swelter in the sun every Friday?!  If they can't bring themselves to move it indoors, at least keep it short and sweet.  I don't care whose class arrived on time every day, I don't need to hear the school cheer chanted over and over and you already sent home the forms for the latest fundraiser and brainwashed my kids into wanting to participate during the assembly last week so for heaven's sake don't talk about it anymore.  Just let us get into the air conditioned building!!!! 

I think he was squinting into the sun, hence the weird face.

Zander's teacher had him do an "All About Me" poster. 

I am 6 years old.
My favorite animal is chickens.
My favorite color is black, orange and red.
My favorite food is sushi.  (As in the rice krispy treat sushi Grandma Jake makes.)
Wet 'n Wild is my favorite place.
When I grow up I want to be a video game tester.
My favorite thing to do is play with my brother.
If I had one wish I would wish for a TV in my room.

Zander also finally lost his first tooth the week before school started.  And he lost his second tooth the next day.  

You know how the tooth fairy has had issues in the past making it to our house in a timely manner.  When Zander lost his first tooth she set the alarm on her fairy phone to remind her to leave a dollar under his pillow.   All went according to plan.  She seemed to have finally found the key to successful fairying.  When he lost his second tooth the tooth fairy did the same thing again since it had all worked out so well the previous night.  Sadly, she wasn't so lucky this time.  Apparently, she went to bed early and her alarm went off all night, leaving her with a dead fairy phone in the morning.  She dispatched her assistant to help Zander look for his dollar the next morning.  Only eighteen more baby teeth to go.  Eighteen more tries to get it right. 

Zander is also a little entrepreneur.  He found out that they'll be serving pizza for lunch at school on Monday.  My kids can buy lunch whenever they want...but they have to pay for it.  So Zander opened the "Awesome back massage palace".  You can get a back massage for $.05.  Or a foot, hand, cheek or ear massage for $.50 each.  He got enough customers to earn the $2.25 he needed to buy lunch tomorrow.  Hope he enjoys his pizza!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy 13th Birthday! Kylie

 I would say it feels weird to have a teenager in our house except that Kylie has been practicing the eye rolls and big sighs and other teen behavior for the past few months so it's not like anything has changed really.   She was warming up I guess.  Besides the occasional, and completely normal, bouts of teen-ness, Kylie is a joy to have in our family.  I'm constantly impressed by her level of self-confidence, yet she doesn't use it to put others down, instead she reaches out and often befriends the friendless.  She is smart and works hard in school, at swimming and playing the piano.  She tries to do her best at everything.  She is fun-loving and has picked up the art of sarcastic humor.  Kylie can be kind and helpful to her siblings, when she wants to.  She'll still play "don't touch the ground" tag with them at the park.  In short, I just love this girl and watching her grow up.

Since there was no school on Monday, we celebrated her birthday a day early.  We had gooey, delicious monkey bread for breakfast.  Grandma Jake joined us for a spaghetti and meatballs lunch.  Kylie opened her gifts and then we had cake.  It was a simple affair.

Brayden's gift to Kylie was suspiciously heavy.

Books from the thoughtful.  
Brayden thought he was hilarious.

Good thing Kylie has a sense of humor.  And good thing Brayden also wrapped a bag of mini Kit Kats for his sister.

Modeling her new swim parka, as well as some lip gloss from Zander, Taylor Swift perfume from Bryn, and jewelry, duck tape and scarf from Grandma Jake and Papa Bob. 

Who wouldn't be glad to be born into this crazy bunch?!?

I was a little sad that there was no themed birthday cake to decorate.  Kylie asked for a strawberry cake, which was a lot less work, so I got over being sad pretty quick.  I baked a white cake then poked holes in it with a fork after it cooled slightly and poured strawberry jello over the top.  Put the cake in the fridge so the jello sets, then top with Cool Whip and strawberries, drizzle chocolate syrup over the top.  It was a cool, refreshing cake on a hot day.

Once the weather cooled down, we went to the park and pulled each other on the sled.  It was Bryn's rather brilliant idea.  When Justin was pulling, he'd slingshot the kids into the soccer goal.  It was a fun ending to a nice, relaxing family day.

Happy 13th Birthday!  Kylie

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


What I'm about to tell you may be one of those things where you had to be there to find it funny.  I was there and thought the dialog was hilarious and I want to remember it years from now when I'm lonely and missing my kids and need a good laugh.  Before I continue, I have to explain that my kids refer to homeless people as "hobos".  I don't know why.  I'm not sure where they heard the term "hobo" since the train-hopping lifestyle is not so common these days.  I must admit, I always crack a smile when one of the kids sees a scruffy-looking person walking down the street and asks, "Is he a hobo?"  The word just makes me giggle. 

Getting on with the story...

Brayden, Bryn, Zander and I were at the park.  It's a super-cool park with a three-story play structure and a twisty tube slide.  It was nice to see the three of them having fun together and laughing out loud almost the entire time.  Who knew an extra story could up the fun factor so drastically.  We stayed until it got dark.  As we began our walk home, we came to the corner where Zander and Bryn proceeded to continue straight.  I told them home was to the left and they needed to turn.  They insisted they were right and that we should continue straight.  Brayden, being older, and I thought wiser than the younger ones, agreed with my direction that we turn.  So we did.  We walked past the model homes and then I realized that I couldn't see any other houses.  Only a plastic orange construction zone fence.  This was not the way home.  We turned around and walked back the way we came, at which point Brayden became a little concerned and asked, "Are we going to be hobos?"

We joked and laughed about how the two oldest in our group were lost and the two youngest were the ones who actually knew the way home.  We talked about being a hobo and I pointed to a nice corner in a vacant lot and said, "That would be a good place for us to camp tonight if we can't make it home."

Brayden:  "Yeah, and we could knock on doors and asks for blankets." (or directions maybe? lol)

Zander:  "Wait.  We won't get lost.  You can just look up directions on your phone."

Me:  "I didn't bring my phone with me."

Brayden:  "What?!?  We're hobos without a phone?  That's the worst!"

Amidst the laughing I could see moments of genuine concern in their eyes.  I guess it could be scary when the adult, who is supposed to know everything, doesn't come through for you.  Once we made it to the street that we were certain would lead us safely home, Bryn was so grateful and relieved she said, "Mom, I love you so much sometimes I don't have a big enough word to say 'I really 100 times love you!' Do you know a word that big?"  My mom smartness that had briefly left just minutes before when I tried to walk home, came back to me and I said, "There's a saying that says 'Actions speak louder than words'.  So when you hug me or brush my hair that's you saying you really 100 times love me."  I may have trouble finding my way home from the park, but I can dole out wise words when it matters.  At least I'd be a smart hobo.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stenciled Desk

This desk has been sitting in my garage for so long that I can't even find the "before" picture of it.  It was plain brown, nothing exciting.  I found it for cheap and thought it would be a fun make-over project.  Little did I know it would take me months to get around to it.

I painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White and used Paris Grey diluted with Old White for the stencil design on top and for the drawer.  I've found that a dense foam roller works the best for stenciling.


As you can see, the edges got a little gloppy and you can see the line where the stencil overlaps.  

To get rid of the glops, I first went over it with a sanding sponge and then with 150 grit sandpaper.  I was going for a slightly distressed look so if the sandpaper took off a little more paint in some spots, I was okay with that.  Some shapes were misshapen because paint had gotten under the stencil.  It was easily fixed by going over the grey with white using a small paintbrush.

I distressed the edges of the entire desk just a tad.

I'm so happy with the way it turned out that I wish I had a spot for it in my house.  I didn't realize how attached I was until I sold it.  Watching it drive away in the back of someone's car made me a little sad.  But I'm sure it will look fabulous in it's new home.