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Showing posts from October, 2013

More Halloween Bash Photos

Just sharing a few more pictures from the Halloween Bash. Silly me, I didn't take any pics of the actual party, but a few friends did -- so I'll share them when I get a copy.

Happy Halloween!

Nicole is My Hero!

I'm addicted to "Addicted to Rehab." I'll admit it.

Watching tiny Nicole Curtis tear it up in historic homes in Minneapolis is what good TV is all about. "I just want brick!"

And she inspires me. If that teeny little women can fix a broken window, hang chandeliers and scrap-up old tile, why can't I? And I think I've tackled a lot of home projects that I likely would not have, or been nervous to, if I didn't think Nicole could do it, too.

I'm not blind. She's clearly working with a team of carpenters and other skilled men. And I love how she bosses them all around. (Glee!) So I'm not going to tear down a wall, or start retiling the kitchen. I'm not crazy. Nicole's just a good role model.

Although, I need to remember this is her full-time job. She doesn't work full-time at an office and have young kids to distract her. And she's got the advantage of commercial breaks and time-lapse filming. That bathroom might take her…

1st Annual Halloween Party!

The town we moved to in Illinois does Trick or Treating the Sunday before the actual Halloween. WHY?! To "keep the kids safe." Because, you know, it's terrible dangerous to walk around your neighborhood at twilight. And to not disrupt dinner or our normal after school/work chaos.

It's total bunk. 
They're in just as much danger wandering around on a Sunday afternoon. They're still knocking on stranger's doors begging for candy -- day or night. 
We played along last year and it was a total let down. The girls begged all Sunday morning to get in their costumes -- which we did after lunch. It took them all of 20 minutes to get into costume and face paint. We headed out at 2:30 and as we hit up the neighborhood for free candy. But no jack 'o lanterns were lit. The scary lighting and music neighbors had strung up where summarily ignored. And we were back at the house less than an hour later -- completely DONE with Halloween.

That's was it? Even I was d…

A Yogurt a Day ...

I had my annual little visit to the lady doctor today. It was thrilling, as always. And, pretty short. This year, she asked a lot of questions about my calcium intake. Am I on supplements? Is it part of my daily vitamin? It's important to make sure I keep my calcium levels high, "at my age." Don't want to lose bone density and all that ...

What I heard was: eat more ice cream, yogurt and cheese. 


Scary Sister Transportation Connection

Many years ago, my sister Liza and I bought the SAME EXACT BIKE (model, color, etc.) at about the same time. She used it for navigating Georgetown, where she was studying. And I (with David) picked mine out for "riding" in the Bay Area on weekend. (Mostly, though, it just hung in the garage. Let's be honest.)

We always thought this was funny and weird. Our tastes just match-up in some things, I guess.

The day after we purchased our new SportWagen (see earlier post) I get a call from Liza. Guess who also owns a VW Jetta SportWagen (in a slightly different color) that she bought last weekend? Yeah. We spent 10 minutes oohhing about the moon roof and comfy seats.

Scary sister connection!

A Wizard and an Owl at the Door

A wizard and an owl hit the neighborhood up for candy on Sunday.

So, everyone thought Leah looked like a turkey. I should have re-thought the color choices for the wings. Good news is, if anyone wants to be a turkey for Halloween next year, I'll be prepared.

Then is was back to the house for the Halloween Bash! (More on that later.)

New Ride ... So Long Prius

This weekend, because it was the absolute worst weekend to spend in a car dealership (but that's just how we do these things -- we leased a car the weekend we got married, for pete's sake!), we turned in our leased Prius and bought a Jetta SportWagen TDI.

The lease to our 2010 Prius was just about up, and while I loved it, there were two main issues we need to correct:

First, the Prius, which is light-weight for ultimate fuel economy, was not built for Illinois winters. A strong wind had me gripping the steering wheel. And the snowy, icy commutes home from work stressed me out. I wasn't confident I'd stop at lights or stay on the road. And when the snow piled up on the driveway, the sad little car no longer made it into the garage. One night, it got stuck midway so we just abandoned it for the night -- in the middle of the driveway, in a blizzard.

The other, is we simply need more cargo space. But not THAT much more. We weren't looking for a SUV, but we were willin…

Pumpkins Carved ...

Following drawings made by the girls, I carved the pumpkins. Bring in the Halloween party!

The Mermaid Tail Tale

This weekend we had some special guests from New Jersey -- Grandma and PopPop! It was a great visit and a very busy weekend. We went on the Jelly Belly factory tour, had brunch at Wildberry, Grandma watched ballet practice and we gave a quick driving tour of downtown Chicago with lunch at Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders. YUM! I'm still full.

Meanwhile, I'm still sewing costumes! I finished Leah's owl tutu -- so I think her Halloween ensemble is now complete.

Then Alice got into her head that she wants to be a mermaid, using some shiny, scale fabric she spotted at Jo-Ann's. But, with "just a bra. It's okay if everyone sees my belly button."

Not in this climate.

So, we've compromised, and she's going to be the agreed-upon wizard for trick-or-treating, then change into Ariel the mermaid for the Halloween party. Similar to a wardrobe change employed by most pop music divas.  This means, I have to quickly sew up a mermaid tail.

And quick!


Spookier Entryway

I wanted to spookify the entry way for the Halloween party in a few weeks, so I got this lovely fabric, added some hem and laid it out on the console table. It will be the first thing visitors see as they enter the house -- setting the mood.

Or something like that.

In three quick and easy steps:  First, iron a hem into the fabric. This makes sewing sooooo much easier. If you need a metaphor, it's like taping up the baseboards before you paint. It's tedious, but it makes painting go faster and cleaner.

Second, run it through the sewing machine using corresponding thread. You'll likely need to iron the whole thing again once it's all sewn. I got 3 yards of this, so it's long and got wrinkly when I pre-washed it. 
Third, arrange on the entryway console table. Add spider webs and spooky accessories. 
There's nothing like 40% off fabric -- especially Halloween-themed!

Halloween Illuminaries Project

I'm hosting a big Halloween party this year (more on that later) and using it as an excuse to get crazy crafty. So, you've seen the awesome owl wings costume. Here's another little up-cycling project that cost me ZERO dollars.

1. Start with salsa and pickle jars. I've been collecting these for the last few weeks. (We eat a lot of salsa.)
2. Paint them a base color. I choose acrylic paint from the kids' craft set, in white and green. Let them dry completely. (If you'd rather glue, get out some crepe paper in similar, spooky colors and glue to your hearts content.)

3. Paint ghostly and Frankenstein faces on the glasses, drop candles inside and ... viola! ... fun and almost FREE Halloween luminaries! 

Relate posts:
Read more Craft ideas

The Owl Wings Are Done! HOOT! HOOT!

The owl wings are done! And I'm more than just a little proud of the work I did on this. Hooray!

Here's the breakdown:
It took about two weeks (in the evenings, while watching TV) to cut out the "feathers."Most of the fabric is upholstery that I got at Loomcraft. Some was scrap I had left over from other projects -- like the red corduroy. The yellow-y fabric is from a set of napkins Mom found for me a few years ago. Because I used upholstery fabric, the wings are heavy. So I tacked them to the orange shirt she is wearing. I also used ribbons to tie the wings to her wrists -- so she can fly! And, more importantly, hold on to her trick-or-treat loot bag. I could have used the brown base-fabric and fashioned a smock or vest to sew the wings to, but decided against it. Too much work and not much return. The best time-saving advice from the instructions I used was to sew bias tape around the borders for a quick, clean look. I may hand-sew more "feathers" onto the…

Names for Alice

I was cleaning out my igoogle account (they are shutting down the service at the end of the month and it feels like I'm unpacking old boxes ... sniff ... reminiscing) and I came across this list of names ideas I was keeping while pregnant with Alice. I would add names to the list as I heard and re-sort them every few weeks by new favorites.

Sure glad Dave talked me out of #1.

Happy Book Release Day

I love those days when a sequel I've been WAITING for ... for a book I've been thinking about since I finished it ... finally comes out. It feels like my birthday!
The following has been circling through my head since March: What happens next? He just opens the door??? What? WHAT! 
Well, the wait is over. It's here. The sequel in this two-part YA romance-a-thon. Joy! 
Don't call me this weekend. I'm locking the doors. Putting on a princess movie marathon for the girls and will be reading. Until it's done. And I'm sobbing or somersaulting. 
The review I wrote for the first book is here
Funny story: When I finished the first one I immediately emailed a fellow YA reader friend in NYC that I hadn't emailed in a while (Diane). It was a short note. It said READ THIS! She wrote back a week later: with anger. How could I make her read a swoon-worthy book with the sequel so far away!? Anyway, two days ago I get an email out of the blue from Diane ... celebratin…

That Desk!

I'm working from home tomorrow (as I now do most Fridays), so I should probably clean off my project table in the office. Ugh!

No wonder it takes me so long to finish a project. What a mess!

Ask Me a Question!

I get asked a lot of inquisitive, thoughtful questions by my girls. Questions that range from personal stories to prehistoric history. It's like being followed around by surprise pop-quizzers. You never know what's in their heads.

If I had know they were going to show such an interest in their birthdays, I would have documented the day better. And how I picked their names; they love "I took one look at you and thought you looked like a Leah." And "I wanted to name you Beatrice but your dad, Auntie Liza and Auntie Kiki put their foot down." At this point, Dave chimes in "your welcome."

Alice has a lot of questions about growing old and what happens when your face "gets all squishy." Will my face get all squishy? Will her's?

Then there are questions that come out if left field. This morning while snuggling with Alice, she sighed deeply and asked about the dinosaurs. "Where are they now? Where did they go?" Um. I told her we&…

Deadline Owl Wings

I've given myself to this weekend to finish the owl wings for Leah's costume. So here they are, feathers are sewn down and bias tape ready to be zipped through the machine.

One problem: That's not going to get it done. Sigh   

Strippers and Bunk Beds

I've started the project of stripping off the white paint of the bunk beds my sisters and I shared when we were kids. When we were little, the beds were a dark wood stain. But since, my mom freshened them up with white paint. Call me nostalgic, but I want to see them the way they once were.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a citrus-based stripper and other supplies at the hardware store. I wanted something not-so-toxic, since kids will be sleeping in these beds. And with one layer of paint, there's really no need for highly-corrosive strippers. 
I started the project this weekend, and still not sure what exactly I'll find under the paint. I'll strip and sand and hope for the best.

If the paint is stubborn, I'll just repaint. Alice has requested the color lavender. 
I'll keep you posted.

Anti-Barbie Is Anti-Possible

In my feminist-fueled 20's I thought that if I ever had girls, I'd dissuade them from Barbies. By doing so, I'd protect them from feelings of low self-esteem and bad body image. In their place, I'd find ugly, wooden doll-like figures who have no interest in today's fashions or dramatic accessories.

I see now that keeping my girls away from Barbie is about as possible as keeping them away from a playground on a sunny day. 
In retrospect, the logistics of banning Barbie would have been a nightmare. It would have meant telling all my relatives and friends not to buy Barbie products at every birthday and gift-giving holidays (repeatedly). I'd have to write "no Barbies" on all their birthday party invitations from age 4 - 14. Potential playdates would need to be screened and warned of our preferences for non-Barbie play. We'd have to guide our girls to change conversational topics away from Barbie movies and new dolls on the playground and in school.