Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Last minute Halloween costume ideas

 Hey guys? Did you know that Halloween is next weekend? And even though you already know that I spent last weekend crafting cute little homemade costumes like a smug lifestyle/diy mommy-blogger, I also need you to know that we kind of forgot about Halloween until Instacart recommended that I add candy (more candy) to my cart. It's my birthday and it wasn't even on my radar.

I threw a few fake pumpkins out on the yard, let Averson run amok with the skeletons, and called it good. The boxes of indoor decorations (I'm adult enough to have boxes of "indoor decorations") remains exactly where I left it, where it will stay until I muster the energy to put it back in the attic. I bought a black cat kitchen towel and I'm confident that's plenty of holiday cheer. We will NOT be carving jack-o-lanterns and I suspect that there will be no cutesy social-distancing delivery system this year. Whatever. So in the spirit of "Oh shit. That's happening already?" I  thought I'd help you all out with some easy last-minute costume ideas. 

The Sock Basket: Basically the scariest thing known to family homes everywhere. Spray your kid with spray adhesive and let him roll around in the actual sock basket. For siblings, I'd recommend covering the other one with disposable forks that people insist on putting in the dishwasher or tupperware lids that obviously don't match anything

MaskBeard: Make them wear last year's pirate costume, but tuck a bunch of masks under their chin. Behold! The Dread Captain Maskbeard! 

A 90s girl: Remember last year how all the tweens wanted to dress up like a VSCO girl, but it was just a ploy to get a new outfit? Same gig, more butterfly clips. Oh? Was that just my kid pulling that? Coolcoolcool

Boss Babe: Dress your little girl in a pair of leggings and a tunic and slap a "Ask me how I replaced my full-time CEO income by selling snail urine!" sticker on her. Teach her to say, "I found this amazing product that I think would be perfect for you!" instead of "Trick or Treat!" 

"I did my own research"er:  'Merica t-shirt, reading glasses, and a horse tail. Smug face make-up and righteous indignation really bring this one home. 

I hope this helped! Remember, the kids will remember every moment of this super special holiday so make sure you do everything in your power to make it amazing! Or if you're like me, throw a couple boxes of full-size into your delivery order and call it a day. 

A retrospective of some of my favorites from Halloweens Past

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

A near perfect weekend

If I had to script a near perfect weekend, it would look a lot like this. 

Eli went to Homecoming! He and his friend went with two girls to the girls' school's dance, which made for a weird and slightly awkward parental fact-finding at the last minute, but details were secured and cute awkward teens were sent on their way. He was SO excited to wear this suit and now I'm looking for any opportunity for him to wear it again since the cost-per-wear right now is...not great. So he's going to be an MIB for Halloween. And we may rent him out for any usher/butler/pallbearer gigs we can find. 

C finished my walk-in pantry finally and the pantry table is GONE! As I was organizing and loading everything in, I realized that for a house of very casual drinkers, we had a ton of booze and wine. Like an embarrassing amount. Like three bottles of Bailey's and two of Fireball. So I threw it up on Facebook, made a couple deliveries, and voila! Happy friends and empty shelves. 

The rain started in earnest on Sunday (we got 80% of last year's TOTAL rainfall on Sunday alone) and C and my mom went to the casino, so I had the perfect excuse to spend all day crafting. Two Peppa Pig dresses, a dragon tail, a Mushu hat, and a vat of pumpkin soup (btw, significantly better the next day) later and my heart is happy. 

I missed winter. I really hope that we get tons more rain (though maybe not all at once again) and that the next few months look a lot like this. It felt good to bust out the glue gun again.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Disneyland Photo Dump

We planned this trip months ago, thinking that poor Averson last went as a baby and is the most perfect age and disposition for DisneyLand. We also thought that with Eli getting to be (so, so very) teenager-y, our window of opportunity was closing. Given that it was likely going to be our last hurrah, and the last couple of years have been...rough, we went all out. We stayed at a Disney hotel, splurged on a couple big experiences, and planned to approach the whole trip with an attitude of YOLO. If you're planning to try a Disney vacation, I HIGHLY recommend using a Disney travel agent (thank you, Danielle!). She made it so, so easy and even gave me some insider tips (like bringing our own backpacks for the droids so we could save some money.) 

Turns out no one is over Disney and Sydney, our most over-everything of all the kids, said on our last night, "I think we might be Disney people?" So now I'm exploring annual passes and matching t-shirts...

Our pool had a water slide and C showed all the other dads up by FLYING down it. A mom asked if he was covered in baby oil, which I think was more of an innuendo than he gave it credit for. 

First ride! The Haunted Mansion, which is my absolute all-time favorite

This was the last time we took the kids to DisneyLand
And on this trip, multiple people mistook Syd for an employee

We planned the trip thinking that this might be the last time Eli would be into it. We were totally wrong and he is ALL IN

The girls built droids in StarWars Land. Eli and C built light sabers and C is still on a high from it. 

This is the face we make when the ride is lamer than we'd hoped AND it gets stopped because someone took off their seatbelt (and by "someone" we later learned that their names rhymed with Schmeli and Bldney)

My brave girl wanted to try the Ferris Wheel and since letting 8 year olds ride with strangers is frowned upon, I ALSO had to be a very brave girl

The only meltdown of the trip happened right after this picture was taken. Art is hard and wrought with emotion

OMG. SO MUCH FOOD. One night we had reservations at Storyteller's Cafe, a fancy buffet dinner, and I off-handedly mentioned to Eli how much each person cost. I don't know if the kids had a staff meeting or what, but they approached that dinner with a work ethic I didn't realize that they had. Averson ran the numbers and by the end of dinner she proclaimed that they had eaten 18 plates of food, not counting dessert plates. There were a lot of dessert plates. YOLO. 

When your teenager asks to take a picture with you, you don't ask questions

Radiator Springs Racers. Note Sydney's vacant look of terror. She spent the entire hour in line reviewing videos on-line to decide whether she wanted to try it or not. Ultimately she went for it, and was happy that she did. My favorite memory of this ride though is Eli freaking out because he didn't have a shoulder belt. I was teasing him and said, "I'm sure this guy [the random biker guy covered in chains that filled the empty seat on the ride] will hold your hand if you're scared." The guy offered his hand and without missing a beat, Eli grabbed it and proclaimed "I'm confident in my sexuality, but less so in my stomach right now" and his new BFF replayed, "Me too, Man. And even less so in my choice to eat a green chile burrito." I nearly died laughing. 

A successful trip should be measured by how long three kids can sit in the backseat without bickering. The drive was seven hours and no one complained, so I think we did alright :) 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Crafty post: It's been a while

 I think I overdosed on crafting in the early pandemic but we did one last weekend that was 1) super easy and 2) came out SO CUTE. I got the idea originally from a TikTok video (I still don't know how to use it but I do love me some instagram reels so maybe I'm getting closer?)

These came out so well and the final result is something that the girls were really excited about. And just in time for spooky season! We started with plain black cotton t-shirts (3/9.99 at Joann's, BTW). I bought a few packs of holiday foam cutouts and at the last minute threw in a couple of the unfinished wood shapes. I think all told I spent about $10 on shapes and $10 on the shirts. So NOT an expensive project. 

We laid our shirts out on a drop cloth on the driveway. I think you could skip the drop cloth and just put the shirts on the concrete? We laid the shapes on top of the shirts, and then spritzed them with a mix of 50/50 bleach and water. And right before our eyes we watched the black turn orange where the bleach had been sprayed. We played with various amounts of bleach spray (Averson was a little heavy handed, I was more conservative.) Once the bleach dried, which took literal minutes, we moved the shirts to the washing machine and ran a load on its own. 

They're the perfect October shirts and now we're thinking of non-seasonal options like doing jeans (you may recall my sister buying bleach-dyed jeans off the street in San Francisco) or other shape ideas. This, like most crafts in my house, will likely get out of hand. 

A few tips: Less is more. I'd start with light sprays and add. 

Spend a little extra time on shape placement. Sydney tried to "redo" a few sections and was frustrated. 

I really liked how the wood cutout worked. The Halloween cutouts were 50% off when I went and it was totally worth it. Also, we used both big and small foam shapes. I'd use big ones only next time. 

Don't forget the backs if you're going for an all over look! I flipped ours over and did a quick spritz so it didn't look like they'd face planted into bleach. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Random memories of kindness

 My dad, (who admittedly was the king of planning age-inappropriate activities), became obsessed for a while with the Hearst Castle. He loved the Hearst Castle. He went far more times than is reasonable, and loved to take other people with him.  When we went to visit he wanted to take us and he was just so excited that we couldn't say "no" even though it would be me, my toddler, my infant, and my exceptionally enthusiastic dad.  

I started to realize my mistake as soon as we entered the visitor center. There would be a long bus ride up the hill to the castle, where we would then tour the property, which has been maintained and staged to highlight it's opulence. There were no strollers allowed. But we were here and we were doing this. Sydney was nestled cozily into her sling and Eli was pretty well behaved generally. 

The bus ride was great, as I remember it. There's wild zebras and Eli was riding in a bus. What's not to love? That was the last moment of calm. As soon as we disembarked, we were greeted with dozens of "do not touch" signs. DOZENS. I'm an anxious guest as is, and now I had to manage to keep a three year old from touching gold plated everything while also trying to keep the baby quiet so as not to disturb the rest of the tour. As you can imagine, it did not go well. It was so miserable that I think I truly would have abandoned ship, except that we'd taken a bus. To the top of a mountain. To a castle where no one was allowed to be unescorted. I had no options but to suffer and try to avoid the glares of the other tour members who'd paid a ridiculous amount of money to see the real life version of Gatsby. 

About halfway through, after the 27th dirty look from the tour guide and a near constant refrain of "Please don't touch that. No, it's not real food. No, you can't touch that. Please just put your hands in your pocket. We're almost done", a rogue docent quietly approached me and asked me to follow him. I could have died right there. Not only had I been trying obviously in vain to be inconspicuous, now I was getting kicked out of this tour. 

But no. This kind, kind volunteer ushered us off of the tour and into a huge kitchen behind the scenes. He showed Eli all the fake food that was stored back there and let him touch it all, encouraging him to try to pour out the drinks and crack the eggs. He showed us the wall of ovens and talked about how what it was like when there were parties. He walked us through the ballroom and told us how the volunteers had Christmas parties there, and once a year were allowed to swim in the pool. From there he took us to a garden NOT filled with breakable antique Roman artifacts and showed us the koi pond full of fish. It was amazing. Eli was enthralled. Sydney was quiet because we were actually moving so she was lulled into a nap. I could breathe. And my dad and my step-mom were able to take the tour they'd wanted. 

I'm not sure what made me think about this today, other than lately life has been peppered with small acts of kindness that it seems always mean more to the recipient than to the giver. I'm sure that lovely docent stepped in mostly to avoid disruption of an over-priced tour full of affluence-enthusiasts, but to me it meant enough that it remains a vivid, and fond, memory fifteen years later. 

I tried to find a picture but this was in the age before selfies and I'm sure that there was no way I was juggling both kids AND the camera. So I'll leave you with a few pictures of the cute little disruptors instead