Thursday, September 29, 2011

Birthday Excitement

Late September is always a time of great excitement around here.  It's the time when my big girl has her big day, and the very next day it's her dad's turn!  Yep 2 birthdays in 2 days.

Now for my daughter, since she's a kid, there's a great deal of anticipation. And there's a whole lot of "Is tomorrow my birthday?" type questions, so when the day arrives I try very hard to make things happy and fun for her, but since her birthday falls on a weekday and her parties (one with school friends and a nice lunch with family) are both over the weekend, the actual birthday DAY can be a bit of a letdown, I think.

One of the best parts of her day was getting to take in a special birthday snack to school.  And in the grand tradition of preschool snack restrictions, the school requests nutritious, nut and peanut free snacks.  And no cupcakes, and no brownies.  After a bit of thinking about what would actually be special we settled on Rice Crispy treats.  Not too special, but she likes them but instead of using just the RK cereal, I subbed in 2 cups of Fruity Pebbles.  OK, so I won't win any awards for brilliant recipe making, but she thought it was an AWESOME idea.  I wish I took a picture.  They're all gone now.

Next time I'll try Cocoa Krispies or perhaps some Apple Jacks.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Knowing When to Pull the Plug

Last Halloween the big girl had a definite opinion on what to be.  She's a Disney girl (much like her mom) and last year she chose Jessie from Toy Story 3.  It just so happens that it was the hot costume at the Disney Store and no amount of shopping around or phone calls could scrounge up a Jessie costume.  Lucky for me, Jessie's outfit was fairly easy to pull together with easy-to-find basics plus some snazzy and creative embellishments.

So this year's costume choice is Rapunzel from the Disney movie Tangled.  I decided to go the purchasing route again because it's easy and I was able to actually score a dress without too much difficulty - last one in her size (of course).  Unfortunately the dress was flawed, so it went back.  I figured maybe I should just make the dress. It would be fun and she'd get the dress she wanted.  So today I made my way to the store to acquire my supplies with coupons in hand.

I chose the sparkliest satins available, the shiniest pinks and purples.  Lace, ribbons, the works.  It rang up at a little over $123 before coupons.  Oh my word.  After coupons it was $77.  Yay for coupons, but it was still a heck of a lot more than I wanted to spend on a Halloween costume for a 5 year old, plus I hadn't even picked out thread, closures or eyelets.

Hemming and hawing all the way home, I called the store to ask about returns and they'll take it back!  HOORAY!  Talk about buyer's remorse.

Once I got home I hopped on the internets and ordered the dress from the  It's $50, and worth every penny saved.

#1 Lesson learned:  take a calculator into the store with me and calculate material costs BEFORE purchasing.
#2 Lesson learned:  there's no shame in pulling the plug on a project that just doesn't make sense

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Early Start to Christmas

I must start this post with a bit of history of my family.  My grandmother was a knitter.  Not a super-knitter churning out loads of sweaters but she did knit.  And when my mom and aunt were growing up, she knit personalized Christmas stockings for all of them.  And when my mom and my aunt got married, my grandmother knit matching stockings for their husbands.  And as they started families, she knit stockings for all the grandchildren and even a few grand-dogs.  Over the years, that woman knit at least 15 of these things each with the recipient's name on top.

Sadly she passed away shortly before I got married in 2004 and being the ambitious knitter that I was I decided to take up the cause and give it a try.  My mother had found the knitting supplies and she handed me the pattern.  Well I can tell ya, this was rough.  It was a photocopy of a photocopy of something that had been folded and refolded for probably 40 years.  It was barely legible, but the upside was that I had a zillion examples to work from and knitting this thing wasn't exactly rocket science to reverse engineer.

I had to adjust the gauge a bit as my grandmother used fatter yarn, but I was able to make a stocking for my husband that matched mine.  I finished it on Christmas Eve at about 4am.  I have since made 2 more and this year my brother has asked me to make one for his fiancee.  It's only September and I should be able to get it done on time, but I've been in this position before.  I'm pretty energized about knitting & crafting right now and I'm even thinking about designing my own stockings for sale on Etsy or something.

I'll let you know.

Twirly Skirt

In an effort to be craftier and more creative I decided to use up some of last year's Halloween costume fabric (she was Jessie from Toy Story 3) for a twirly skirt for the big girl.  She has been enjoying dancing lately (not in any formalized class, but just around the house) so I figured that she'd love a skirt that would spin beautifully.  And what better skirt for spinning than a circle skirt!

I found a great method for sewing a circle skirt here so I pulled out my leftover cow print fabric,  purchased some wide elastic and had at it.

It came together pretty quickly.  The tutorial says it should take half an hour or something, but since I'm a novice and I have major small-people type distractions, it took me about 2 hours start to finish.

I think she likes it!


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