Elsa for Halloween…A DIY Costume

*My daughter wore this costume for Halloween 2014 but I am just now getting around to sharing it now – complete blogger fail*

Like practically every other little girl in 2014, my 5 year old wanted to be Elsa for Halloween. I could have bought a costume but we kind of have a tradition that Mom makes your costume. As long as I can get away with it I’m going to stick to that plan.


Since my sewing skills stink I knew making a dress from scratch wasn’t going to happen. I needed to find a dress that already fit Caroline and add to that. I found a completely white dress that had been given to us, discussed the design with Caroline, took a trip with her to the fabric store, and just jumped in to making it.


Caroline picked out this blue sequined overlay (is that what this is called?) so I hand stitched it onto the white dress.


At this point the dress was too short for Caroline so I needed to add some length with the blue satin (aka old bridesmaid standard fabric).  I have no idea why there is a seam in the middle of the dress.



We made a cape which was made of the blue satin and then the blue sequin overlay sewed on top of that.


Add a little face paint for Halloween and we have one happy camper princess.


I also bought this accessories set on etsy for Caroline (I can’t find the store now). She wanted all the pieces and I thought why not. On the end of the gloves I added sequins to make them look even more “princessy.” This set blew the budget but I didn’t really care.


Blonde Elsa braid with brunette hair = little girls dream


What are your little ones going to be this year?

Posted in caroline, clothes, Holidays, sewing | 2 Comments

Halloween Gourd Fun

*We made these last fall but I never shared them so I thought now would be the perfect time*

Our church has a pumpkin patch each fall and we usually buy a few pumpkins. This year the pumpkins were outrageously priced (apparently collection plates come in orange now) so we walked around until we found some gourds which were only $5. We chose 3 gourds and brought them home to paint.


We used regular acrylic paint and had a lot of fun one afternoon painting the gourds.

Here’s my witch – Gourdita!


My 5 year olds – a little freestyle action going on here


But  my favorite is what my 9 year old saw in this gourd…



A snake slithering up to a freaked out pumpkin!

I simply love this. And my kid. What a funny guy he is.


Grab a few gourds this month and let your kids go crazy.

It will be so fun to see what they “see.”


Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Easy Harry Potter Wand

My son went to acting camp this summer and the theme of the week was Harry Potter.

One day he came home with this magic wand and I thought it was the coolest thing.



Here’s how he said they made it:

1) Take a chopstick and pour hot glue all around it

2) Wait for the glue to dry and then spray paint it black


What a great addition to a costume this could be!

Posted in Holidays | Comments Off on Easy Harry Potter Wand

A Home Made Ghost Pinata

I made this pinata last year for our Halloween party but never got around to sharing it. This project is easy and lots of fun as long as you are not a perfectionist with your decorations.

Since the name of the game around here is use what you have this project was totally free. I used newspaper, a balloon, flour, water, salt, crepe paper, and construction paper.

I started by covering an inflated balloon with strips of newspaper using a glue/water/salt combination. I would not use this method again since it was just difficult to spread the cold flour mixture all over. Instead, I would just use a mixture of half glue and half water. I’ve used that in the past and it’s a great consistency.


Over a period of days I added several layers of the newspaper. When I felt I had a sturdy enough oval I cut a flap in the bottom of the pinata and deflated the balloon in order to remove it.


Next I grabbed white crepe paper which was leftover from someone’s birthday party and covered the entire oval using a glue gun. *Remember to leave a spot open in the top so that you can hang your creation somehow.



The next step was to glue on long pieces so the “ghost” would in fact look like a ghost.

At  this point you can place the candy or trinkets into the bottom of the pinata flap and then glue it shut with some pieces of crepe paper.


My five year old then helped me create a face for our ghost which we glued on.


And here she is in all her glory getting whacked by my daughter at the party.


Once someone busted open the pinata and everything fell out it was as if they had never seen Halloween stickers, bubbles, pencils, toys, plastic fingers and spiders before.



I’ll definitely be making another pinata this year – this one served us well.

Posted in crafts, Holidays, paper craft | Comments Off on A Home Made Ghost Pinata

George Ezra…Listen to the Man

My kids and I are really loving George Ezra’s music right now. Afternoon dance parties! Such a deep voice from a young guy of 22. To listen to his whole album go here. To watch his funny video with Ian McKellen and quite possibly my favorite Ezra song “Listen to the Man” right now, watch below (go ahead and click on the you tbe link when it asks).

And if you really loved him he’s coming to Dallas on Oct 4th and New Orleans on Oct 7th! Go see him and tell him I said hi!

Posted in music | 2 Comments

Moms…Just Exercise At Home

I was watching TV the other day when a segment came on about how moms could easily exercise at home. Now, before you get onto me about watching the segment, I was doing what most moms do, I was multi-tasking – watching the segment, folding laundry, and monitoring my youngest in the shower.

What the host said about exercising went something like this, “Moms, it’s so easy to exercise at home. You just have to make the time.”

Yep. I agree. You just have to make the time.

But the “it’s so easy part?” Nope.

Every single time I try and exercise at home while my kids are there something like this happens:


Now a few things are happening in this picture:

1. I am being real with you and showing you that when I attempt to exercise at home I do it in my pajamas. I feel no shame.

2. Our play room is a mess.

3. Little people always seem to gather around once that rocking jazzercise type music comes on. I feel like the Pied Piper.

In this case, I was attempting to exercise with a you tube video on the computer.  Little person hears the drums and synthesizers and join me. The exercise I am supposed to be performing is to swing my leg back and forth then up and down. Therefore, my little partner is trying  the same thing but she sticks to mainly just kicking forward and laughing hysterically as she rams her foot into my rear end.

Moving on from that exercise we attempt to strengthen our backs by rolling over and laying down on our tummies. This naturally leads to the “Mommy is a horsey” exercise. It is neither productive nor comfortable for Mommy horse.

Trying to do crunches?

That of course leads to little one leaning on your legs trying to start the well known parent exercise of “flying airplane kid.”

So it is usually at this point that I just give up. It’s just not worth it TV ladies.

For now I will just stick to biking with my kids to school and my swim workouts which are away from home. I’ll still watch the TV exercise segments of course but I will probably just work on building those folding t-shirt muscles.

Posted in caroline, observations, parenting | 2 Comments

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day Everyone!


Hope you are able to enjoy your time off work and school!

Posted in Alex, Andrew, caroline, holiday | Comments Off on Happy Labor Day

Mom Fail…Number 8,745…the School Supplies Edition

After returning from vacation in the middle of July my soon to be 4th grader asked, “Are we ever going to buy school supplies?”

“Well son, seeing as we still have five weeks before you start school I think we are okay.”  My reply didn’t really satisfy him or his sister who also had a case of school supply mania.

Three weeks before school started I caved and took them shopping. We bought everything required except for the folders my son needed. Somehow I missed seeing those on the list.

My 4th grader needed blue, red, and yellow folders with brads for school.

First off, why in the world do they even sell folders without the brads in the middle?

No one buys them and they are quite useless.

Moving on.

Fast forward to two days before school starts.

While out shopping I found the blue folder that was needed and scooped that up but could not find a yellow or red folder.

All together, my husband and I went to about 6 different stores looking for these folders.

School started and by the 3rd day of school my son said that he really needed the folders.

I suddenly remembered that I had a stash of school supplies saved in case any of the kids that I teach need something. Old folders, binders, erasers when they go on sale. You name it, I probably have it in my box.

Searching through the box I found a yellow folder with brads but it had someone else’s name on it. I crossed that name out and handed the folder to my son. He was less than thrilled when I showed him the folder. I promised that this was just temporary and that I would still look for new folders.

Cut to the next day and another store folder failure.

So desperate times come for desperate measures.

I asked my husband where the electrical tape was. Somewhere in the back of my mind I seem to recall us having red electrical tape. He found the tape and we were in business “making a red folder.”


I proclaimed the folder perfect.

My husband said, “really?”

“When Andrew looks into his desk he will know which one his red folder is, it’s great.”

Great is probably not how my 10 year old saw it the next morning but he took the folder and put it into his backpack without a fuss.

A few days later I was cleaning out a drawer and happened to find an old plastic red folder with brads that was already labeled with Andrew’s name.

Thank you to hoarding school supplies from kindergarten!

Andrew was happy to take that red folder to school and bring back the green and red folder.

I thought all was good on the school supply front until yesterday when Andrew brought home a note saying he needed an extra blue folder with brads for a different class.

I shouted to be husband, “Honey, have you seen the blue electrical tape?”

Posted in Andrew, observations, parenting | 1 Comment

Mission Accomplished…Saving Money with a Chart

Look who accomplished her mission of saving for a stuffed animal!


Last time we left off my six year old was busy working odd jobs like folding towels around the house in order to save enough money to purchase a Build-a-Bear stuffed animal. She was keeping track of her savings using the chart I made for her.


Caroline had saved about $23.00 when I received an email from Build-a-Bear announcing a 40% off sale on the stuffed animals. This meant that the stuffed animal Caroline wanted that originally cost $28 would now be on sale for $16.80! This would be a big savings for her.

When we started this money saving process I told Caroline that if she bought the stuffed animal I would buy an outfit for the animal. Any other accessories she wanted to buy would be her responsibility. Once we knew about the sale I told Caroline to kick her saving into overdrive because we needed to get to the store in a few days in order to use the 40% coupon. The sale would give her an opportunity to buy the animal and an accessory.

The day of the big purchase came. Caroline laid out all of her money and counted it. We made piles 100 (when counting the coins we counted to 100 and she knew that meant she had one dollar).


Just a quick note about how I taught my daughter to count nickels and dimes. We worked on knowing that 2 nickels has the same value of 1 dime. So when we lined up the coins we lined them up into ten cent amounts. Looking at the coins in vertical groups you see 10 cents, 10 cents, 10 cents, and 5 cents. By having her line up the 2 nickels on top of each other she knew they were the same value as the dime. Putting her fingers on these coins she would count: 10, 20, 30, 35.


After all the money was counted, Caroline had saved $27.93. Not quite the $30 goal but I knew with only 1 day left in the 40% off sale we needed to go to the store now.


Caroline walked right to the stuffed animal she wanted – Risa the Rock Star Rabbit. With each rock girl you  get to choose a star that goes inside of her. Caroline chose the word, “fearless.”


I turned down every opportunity the Build-a-Bear workers tried to extort get more money from Caroline. Don’t you want a talking heart inside for $5? Don’t you want a bubblegum smelly in your animal for $4? No we don’t. It’s not in the budget.


After getting her bear stuffed , choosing an outfit and pair of shoes for the newly named “Blueberry,” we made our way to the check out. Caroline gave the animal and pair of shoes to the clerk who totaled up everything. In what I can only call fate or a small miracle from the money gods the total came out to $27.93! The exact amount Caroline had.


I had Caroline count out her money and give it to the clerk. Yes, I am that mom who will make everyone else behind me wait. It was a big moment for her and I wanted her to be able to see it through to the end. After all, since we had exchanged all of the 100’s into dollar bills at home she only had to count out $27 in bills and the 93 cents in coins.

Here’s the end result!


Caroline really loves “Blueberry” and is proud of the fact that she worked hard to get her. I am sure she’s going to request another money saving chart at some point and that will be fine. What I am most excited about it when she gets to the money counting lesson at school and she kicks some serious coin counting butt.

Well, that and when she starts folding my towels again.

Posted in caroline, observations, parenting, school | 4 Comments

A Texas History Bow Hunt

Now that school is in session around here let’s talk about ridiculous homework.

Last year my son studied Texas History in 7th grade. It’s not really a topic that thrills him which is surprising because he is such a history buff. Give him US History or World History and he is set. But Texas History for a whole year can be a bit much.

At  some point when studying Texas History one must cover the Indians. When my son got to this part in the curriculum his teacher gave the class the assignment, “How to Make a Bow and Arrow.”

Sounds kind of cool.


But some of the specifics of this assignment are kind of crazy. Below it says, “Choose a piece of wood for the bow. Find a piece of dry, dead hardwood – oak, hickory, yew, black locust, or teak.”


Now teak wood is found in Indonesia and Myanmar while there are several types of yew wood some of which are found in Europe, Pacific, Canada, China, Japan, Florida, and the Himalayas.

What the assignment should have said was find a piece of wood at your neighborhood park.

We did just that.


The directions above say that the wood should be free of knots, twists, or limbs.



The next step in bow making comes in selecting a bow string.



Yep, you read that right. Just go back outside and grab some strands of silk from your caterpillars.

We used string. Good ol’2015 string on our bow and arrow.


Next you need to make your arrows. “You can straighten the arrow by gently heating the shaft over hot coals – be careful not to scorch or burn the wood.”

I feel like there’s a lawsuit just waiting to happen with this assignment.

We skipped the hot coals part.


The results…



The arrow ended up flying about 5 feet.

At  school the teacher had set up a large paper buffalo on a string. The idea was that the buffalo was pulled back and forth so the kids could try and hit it.

My son did not hit the buffalo with his wooden bow and arrows.

Guess which kids hit the buffalo.

The ones who used PVC pipe for the bow and proper arrows.

Man oh man was my son angry when he found out they got the same 100 that he did for the assignment.

I did have to point out to him that he too kind of broke the rules when building his bow and arrows – no wood from the Himalayas, no hot coals were used, and certainly no caterpillar silk.

Can’t wait for homework in US History this year.

Maybe he’ll get to practice medicine on his brother using only tools that were available during the Civil War or perhaps he’ll get to brew his own beer while studying Prohibition.

Posted in Alex, husbands, parenting, school | 4 Comments