Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween costumes -- Doctor Who, Perry & Doofenshmirtz, Harry Potter

We tend to get some creative Halloween costume ideas around our house.  This year The Artist decided to be Doctor Who.  Surprisingly, this was much easier to pull off than I had expected.
Take a white dress shirt and black pants, add a thrifted tweed jacket, bow tie, crocheted fez and of course, a sonic screwdriver.  (We didn't get around to the faux-suspenders out of wide, grosgrain ribbon.) 
We tried some sock-bun curls.  (There are tutorials all over Pinterest.)  I think it's a learned art, but they didn't turn out too bad.
Oh, can't forget the "Trust Me, I'm the Doctor" earrings!
Shirt: JCPenney, Pants: ??, Jacket: Goodwill, 
Bowtie: Etsy, Fez: made by me, Earrings: Etsy, Sonic Screwdriver: ThinkGeek

Mr. Adventure and Buddy teamed up with a Doofenshmirtz/Perry the Platypus combination. 
 The Doofenshmirtz ensemble is based off of a Phineas & Ferb episode where Perry gets hold of a remote control and controls Doof's every move.  A hilarious rap song ensues -- "There's a platypus controlling me . . ."  Mostly this costume was thrown together with bits and pieces.  We found the records at Goodwill.
The cute Perry outfit was made by my SIL.  It's a simple fleece hooded jumpsuit with a foam tail sewn on the back.  We added a foam visor and drew the nostrils with black Sharpie.

Our Harry Potter robe is now in its fifth or sixth year of use!  Little Miss Sunshine wore it this year. 
I made the robe out of two black pillowcases:  a king-size for the robe itself, and a standard size for the sleeves.  (Hand-sewn when my sewing machine was on the fritz.)
Unpick the seams of the standard pillowcase and cut on the fold for two equal panels.  Resew the side seam on each to form the sleeve. (The finished edge is the bottom of the sleeves.)  Unpick part of the bottom seam on the king pillowcase for a neck opening.  Unpick the side seams near the bottom for a sleeve-sized hole.  Sew the raw edges of the sleeve and robe together being careful not to sew the opening closed.  And there you have a Hogwarts-style robe.  Add a house badge and a wand.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christmas Elf

I know it's a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, but as I've been browsing around Pinterest, I happened across a board full of ideas for a Christmas Elf. Have you seen the Christmas Elf idea?  Sometimes it is known as Elf on the Shelf.  The elf visits from the North Pole and reports back to Santa how the children have behaved.  In the meantime, the elf finds the most unlikely places to fall asleep and gets into lots of mischief.  This website explains it and links to message boards with some great ideas.

We started this tradition two years ago when Kayla was introduced to us.  (She is a Kelly doll that I found in Target's holiday section.)
Kayla did some fun things like hang candy canes from every knob in the kitchen and even on the chandelier above the table.  She used paper plates as sleds down the stairs.  We had fun finding where she went to sleep each night.

Then, last year we added Kyle and Ashley. (Found at Hobby Lobby with the other Christmas plush.)
With more heads, they were able to cook up even more mischief.  They got into a marshmallow snowball fight, had a movie night, etc.  One morning we woke up to this sight in the office chair:
Ultimately, the elves had a grand finale a couple days before Christmas when they took the car for a joy ride and drove through a nearby drive-thru for ice cream.
Of course, now I have to come up with new ideas to top that!  So, I'm glad I've found some new ideas via Pinterest.  Do you have any great suggestions?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My first WIW post

This post is a milestone of sorts, my first ever WIW post.  It is also a huge step out of my comfort zone.  Not to mention a many faceted learning experience.  
I decided to be brave and take some photos with the amazing jewelry I won a few weeks back from Terry at These Peas Taste Funny. Unfortunately, I don't have any great, cute clothes to show them off with.  I'll be honest, most of my closet has been with me for years.  Many of the newer items have either been worn to death or quit fitting right.
I know this is a lousy photo with my neighbor's house in the background, my eyes closed (not to mention my glasses that are completely the wrong size/shape for my face), general lousy posing that adds even more weight to the proverbial "the camera adds 10 pounds" concept.  Now I know better.
This is NOT the person I see in the mirror.  If these hadn't been the same clothes I was wearing, I would have sworn it was a look-a-like and not me.  Now I wonder, is this REALLY what I look like to others when I wear sweaters?  I love my sweaters for fall and winter.  I don't think I could give them up, but how do you fix the shapelessness?  At least I don't look quite so overweight here. ( I really should have a word with my photographer about these unflattering shots.) 
Ah ha!  How about if I take my glasses off.  That's a bit better and less blobby.  Lighting isn't so good, but 2 out of 3 isn't bad, right?
Sweater: ???
Layering tee: Motherwear
Skirt: JCPenney
Necklace, bracelet, earrings: These Peas Taste Funny
Flower clip: handmade by one of my girls with help from my SIL

Photos by The Artist :)

Now, see why my wardrobe is not very conducive to WIW posts?  How am I supposed to remember where I bought that sweater many, many years ago?  I read somewhere that "vintage" items must be at least 20 years old.  Sadly, that makes my sweater just a few years shy of vintage status!  I don't think the tee is even produced any more.  But, I love it for layering since it is really only half the length of a regular tee and doesn't add bulk.  Is there an Extreme Makeover: Wardrobe Edition out there?  I need it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bird nest necklaces

Have you seen the amazing bird nest jewelry out there?  I saw a fabulous tutorial for a necklace from Maria over at Agape Love Designs and immediately knew I wanted one.  At first I thought I would just buy one from her shop, but then as I looked at the tutorial, I thought, "Hey, I can probably do a decent job making that!"  I thought it would make a great Christmas gift, so Mom, if you're reading this, stop right now if you don't want to spoil the surprise!  You've been warned.

It's taken me some time to round up everything.  I've never made jewelry before, so this was a bit daunting.  I looked high and low for glass pearls but either didn't find any that I liked or didn't want to buy several strands to get the colors I wanted.  I asked Maria where she get hers and she steered me to Etsy.  (What did I ever do before I started browsing there?)  A quick search still wasn't finding what I wanted, but then I happened across a shop that offered strings of multi-colored potato pearls that seemed really reasonable.  I thought, "Hey, this will be great, I just cut the string apart and I have plenty of pearls.  They're even kind of egg shaped.  Perfect!"
I got my pearl string in the mail and loved the great jewel tones.  Hubby and I both decided it was just too pretty to cut apart and should be made into a necklace, so I went to order another string.  What's this, a listing for five strings?  I'll take it!  I'm so happy I did, my second order has some great egg-shaped pearls.  I think they look amazing in the nests.
I sat down with all my supplies and was surprised at how quickly my first nest came together.  
This one is for me.  I tried a different color to represent each of my six kids.  They like to argue over who claims what favorite color, so I know who I represent with each one, but I figure I'll let them decide which one belongs to each child. Overall, not bad for my first attempt.
I put it on a chain and I love it.  I can't wait to wear it in public and see what kind of comments I get.
I tried something a little different on the one for my mom, I noticed as I was sorting through pearls that I had ones that corresponded well to the birthstones for all of my siblings.  So, starting at the top there is the dark green for me (May) then August, March, May, November, May, April and February in the middle.
What do you think?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Finally, here is our sixth child.  He goes by many names (Buster Brown, Bucko, or the ominous Your Son when we're frustrated), but the most common are Buddy/Bud and Bugaboo.
He is starting to exert his independence more and more.  This is a common sight when he is outside.  He runs more than he walks.  It's cute to see him throw spontaneous jumps in, too.
He thinks he's big enough to do whatever anyone else does.  It's a good thing most everything around him is washable.
He is great at problem-solving and figuring out cause and effect.  I'm just not sure the rest of us enjoy his experimentation. He loves anything with switches or buttons.  For hours.  If you have a two-year-old, you know what I'm talking about.
Still, his hugs and kisses are priceless.  His cute little voice can melt your heart.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Meet our fifth child, Princess.
She absolutely loves being in front of a camera and posing.  Sometimes this creates very comical photos, but most of the time she keeps us all laughing with her antics.  (I bet you've never thought to try laying on a shelf in the linen closet, have you?)

Like her older sister, Little Miss Sunshine, she knows what she wants and persists until she gets it.  After The Artist and The Author spent a week at camp, Princess decided she needed to have 4-year-old camp.  She persisted with this idea for several weeks, so we finally sat down and asked what she would do at camp.  Together we came up with some ideas:  do a craft, read some stories, have a treat.  Short and easy, but since 4-year-old camp only lasts for eight minutes, it worked!  She was super proud of Starry, the bear that we stuffed and dressed.
She still has a curiosity streak that can get her into trouble.  One day this summer I looked outside to see this sight:
She told me that she was trying to find the seeds. (I think we may have a little scientist on our hands.)
It's looking back at moments like this that I love being a mom.  They are frustrating at the time, but the memories I cherish afterward.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Little Miss Sunshine

 This is our fourth child, Little Miss Sunshine. 
Other nicknames include Miss Determination, The Reason My Hair Will Someday Turn Gray or All Be Pulled Out In Exasperation, etc.  But, Little Miss Sunshine embodies her general personality.  She is very fun-loving and loves being around people.  She's not afraid to let her craziness come through.
She is an avid fan of the Nebraska Husker football team.  She was on cloud nine when we attended a game last year.
Speaking of games, she is the queen of gaming around our house.  She is always pulling out a game and asking if anyone wants to play with her.  She is a master at the best game ever created:
Seriously, if you have never tried playing Perpetual Commotion, you should.  It is a riot.  It is even Little Miss Sunshine approved. :)

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with Goldbrick Games or any store selling Perpetual Commotion.  It is simply one of THE most enjoyable games we have ever played.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mr. Adventure

Meet our third child, Mr. Adventure.
Admittedly, when you grow up with four sisters, life is always an adventure.  But Mr. Adventure sometimes takes bravery to the extreme.  Ride a giraffe?  No problem.
(Particularly the brass statue variety at the zoo.)

Brave Mom & Dad's wrath by sitting atop the car (what they don't know . . . )?
He just has to watch out for those sisters and The Artist's camera skills.

Allow his younger sister to hit him over the head with a bamboo stick?
Yep, he does that on a regular basis.  (The kids and Dad practice kendo, Japanese swordsmanship.)

Dress up for crazy day with barrettes and other hair clips?
For Mr. Adventure, it's just another day, another chance to try something new.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Author

This is our second daughter, known as The Author.  She's beautiful, too.
This is probably one of her favorite spots in the house, or at least where we always find her after she disappears.  She spends a lot of time in her room either reading or writing.  She has written a novel and started a sequel.  Someday she hopes to get her books published.

Oftentimes we find that she is a bit camera-shy.  (Great hair-flip photo, however!)
She'd much rather be behind the camera than in front of it.  (I can't say that I blame her there.  I'm much the same way.)

Still, she loves to read and has ruined more than one story by telling us exactly what happens.
When she isn't writing or reading she is listening to CDs amongst her penguin collection.  She even has her own blog for our family's favorite computer game, Wizard 101.  Check out Little House in the Spiral and see what you think.