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Friday, September 23, 2011

Fake a Homemade Costume

As a young Girl Scout, I learned to sew. Both Shelley and I took classes in sewing, quilting, and knitting (What can I say, we're dorks). In fact she makes the most amazing crochet animals. (Hey Shelley you should post photos of those). I even own my very own Martha Stewart recommended sewing machine. It cost way too much money and was a tough sell to my husband 15 years and several tax brackets ago. I wooed him with promises of never having to hire out his tailoring and mending or pay retail for curtains and bedding again—it would practically pay for itself.

After the birth of our 3rd child, my craft room became a nursery and I haven’t seen my sewing machine since. Frankly, sewing projects take space, time, and patience, all of which I no longer have. (It’s sad how I loose a little of myself with each new child, but that is a conversation for another day. I know, not a super mommy thing to say, but tell me you haven’t felt the same way at least once in your life).

Our dear friends throw the best Halloween party every year—costumes mandatory. One of the highlights of my 11 year old daughter’s life was winning the “Best Costume” award at their party when she was 6. She has been trying to regain her crown every year since. Each year she picks the theme and the two of us create the costumes together—after convincing (and sometimes bribing) her brothers to participate.

I stopped buying costumes years ago, partly because I’m cheap and partly because costume manufacturers have decided that our daughters are never too young to start dressing in slutty little costumes. Last year Superstar (my pet name for aforementioned daughter) chose the theme Alice in Wonderland. I started my search online and this is what I found.

OVER MY DEAD BODY! What are these companies thinking? And what kind of parent is buying this? They wouldn’t be selling it if someone wasn’t buying it. Cyber Mommies, please tell me I am not alone on this.

I searched everywhere and could not find an age-appropriate version of this costume. It was time to fake it. No one knew. In fact, they all thought that we spent a ton of money. Here is my no-sew creation:

Darling Husband: I purchased the wig. The top hat belonged to my grandfather. The coat, scarves, vest, messenger bag, gloves, socks, and shoes came from my closet. Total cost $14

Superstar: I purchased the dress at an upscale consignment shop for $10 (Which she wore again on Easter Sunday). I ordered the apron from Ebay for 4.95 (and it makes an appearance every time we bake cookies). Superstar made a “Drink Me” bottle and “Eat Me” cake that she carried in a little purse.

Woobie : I purchased the hat, nose, and clock at the local party store for $13. Everything else was from our closet.

Total Price: $41.95, Winning the “Best Costume Contest”: Priceless

FYI: I dressed as the Queen of Hearts. I have been forbidden from posting photos of the other children and I can’t find one of myself without them. I absolutely respect their request and will do a better job of taking photos this year.

Stay tuned for this year’s totally top secret costumes—the costume contest business is cut-throat.

Apologies for my Extended Absence

Thank you so much for all your kind email messages. I apologize for my unexplained neglect of the blog. After a lengthy conversation with Shelley yesterday (It was two hours and I used up all my nap-time me-time, but it was totally worth it.) I have decided that it’s time for me to return from my unofficial leave of absence. Thank you Shelley for filling my size 9 ½ shoes (Although, borrowing each other’s shoes is not exactly new to us.), holding down the fort, and responding to email messages.

I often tell my children that you never really know what is going on in other people’s homes. That is why you should never judge others. Seriously, how many times have you been totally shocked when the “perfect” neighborhood family is split apart because of cheating and financially monkey business? I must be the world’s worst judge of character because I NEVER see that stuff coming.

Anyway, there is no cheating or financial monkey business going on here (At least none that I know of and please don’t tell me if you do. Denial works much better than Zoloft.) However, we have been going through some major life changes. We are in the final stages of adopting our 4th child. It has been several months of endless, sleepless nights, court dates, room decorating, new sibling rivalry, and life. Even Wonder Woman can’t hold it together all the time—although, she always looks good trying.

Over the last few months I hosted two children’s birthday parties, a 4th of July picnic, and a back to school party-- photos and details to follow. I totally stole Shelley’s Toy Story party--games, cake, alien cupcakes for school, etc.. She even shipped me the decorations. It was the easiest party I have ever thrown. Thanks for all the ideas!

I am knee-deep into Fall Festival and Advent Workshop. Stay tuned for details. I am sure that Shelley will be updating us soon on her recent life changes. Spoiler Alert: Ethiopia (that is all I am going to say and no, that is not where our new child is from).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back-to-School Party...

Here's an idea, why don't you schedule the party like a school day?  As soon as the kids arrive, you can split them into groups, and have them rotate throughout the party.  We suggest decorating in simple primary colors; red, blue, and yellow.  As the "students" arrive to your party, have them randomly pull a color from a basket.  This will be their homeroom color.  They then gather at their designated homeroom spot.  As the party continues, ring a bell between the following sessions... PE (games and activities), Art (arts and crafts), lunch time (refreshments), and recess (free play).

Here are some ideas for games and arts and crafts!

  • paper airplane contest 
  • twister
  • Simon-Says
  • Pencil Walk: (Just like the traditional Cake Walk game but with pencils as prizes instead)
  • Teacher’s Bag:  (Get a paper lunch bag and put in various small items in it, like paper clip, eraser, chalk, gluestick, etc.  Let each person close their eyes and try to feel and guess what is in the bag)
Arts and Crafts:
  • Decorate a Pencil Box: Buy some inexpensive plastic pencil boxes and use stickers, permanent markers, to decorate a pencil box. Favors like pencils, erasers, stickers, can be given at the end of the party together with the pencil box as the perfect Back To School favor.
  • Make your own bookmarks
  • finger painting
  • oragami
  • clay/play-doh

Suggestions for free play:
  • Four square
  • relay races
  • water guns/balloons
 Stay tuned for decorating ideas and party menu!

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