Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween goodies part 2

Here are the treat bags for Hank to take to school

They include a pencil, glow stick, 2 toys, and a small candy. I later found some reflective bracelets that would have been better than the glow sticks, as they wouldn't have stuck out the top of the bag like the glow sticks. Next year!

I also put together a little present for the teacher. The cute box is from Daiso. It is filled with candy corn flavored M&Ms, and topped with a little clip on hat that I adorned with the spider from a toy ring (other adornments were already part of the hat).

The pumpkins are carved, seeds roasted and pralined (so good!), the Great Pumpkin has put out his presents for the kids -- just a couple of costume adjustments to make, and we are ready for Halloween 2014!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Playing with our food

I have been having fun this week coming up with spooky and fun food ideas for the the kids. Here are a few things I have made in anticipation of Halloween

Monster burgers

(they were supposed to have green olives with pimento and something red for the mouth, but oh well)

Mummy hot dogs

Eyeball pasta

Vampire victim donut holes

and for Hank's lunch, I am trying to add in little costume elements each day this week. Vampire teeth sandwich

and here I included a pirate's eye patch with his Pirate's Booty

Off to raid the costume bin for additional things to send for the rest of the week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I fell in love with these multi-colored fangs, found at Target. I found a free printable with an appropriate sentiment -- I think you are fang-tastic -- to add to the fangs. I haven't given my co-workers a monthly gift in some time, so they are the intended recipients. Love how they look all piled up!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trunk or Treat basket

As mentioned, I have been assisting with some of the room parent activities for Hank's kindergarten class. One of the events I helped prepare for was the school's Trunk or Treat event. I will have an update this week on our family's entry for the car portion of the event.

As room parent, I was also responsible for preparing a basket for a silent auction. Most rooms had a theme for a basket. If everybody brought in just one item for the basket, you can imagine they get big fast for a class of 30 students! Hank's classroom basket theme was Disney Mania. I am not sure what to attribute our large basket size to -- the theme was very appropriate for a classroom full of 5-year-olds. The Disney theme is pretty easy to do, with so many items available at the dollar store, and people may have already had items at home in their gift bins. Or maybe it was just the great comunication letting folks know about how to participate with the basket activity, lol.

There were 8 of these boxed puzzles. I bought a metal lunch box to present them in. That plus a few items from the - you guessed it - dollar store was my contribution to the basket.
In any case, the basket was H-U-G-E! The basket itself I had obtained the month prior from another silent auction. I covered the bottom in red felt and added two large white buttons. The items kept coming and coming. There were multiple types of items, such as the 8 boxed puzzles shown here, but surprisingly only one repeat in terms of being the exact same item with the same character. I had a hard time assembling the basket due to its size, and used so.much.cello.wrap. All told there were 80 items included for a total estimated value of $200.

I put stuff in as I got it, so did not lay everything out to get a picture. Should have got one before wrapping, though.
After getting all the cello wrap on, I added two posterboard ears. I think this took the basket wow factor over the top. It sold for $100, which is not reflective of its total value, but is $100 more towards PTA activities.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween 365

We have had a small flurry of activity here at the house as of late. I got the green light to set up a few projects if I took on the responsibility of setting up the appointments, verifying contractor licenses, etc. myself. I found a great website called that aids in that process. You can list the projects you want done, and then receive responses back from interested contractors. Maybe we just got lucky so far, but have had really good luck identifying guys through this site that are not just good at what they do, but provided straightforward no nonsense pricing, and go a little above and beyond. In talking about the site with people, it has the same feeling when you were letting people know about Pinterest. Everybody I have talked to about it have been looking for an alternative like this, and many get started on their own Thumbtack projects shortly thereafter.

Case in point -- our front door. Remember there was a bit of a debate about buying a new one versus refinishing our old one? In pricing doors I realized one important thing -- they don't make them like they used to. Many new doors are made from composite materials. Solid wood doors are very, very expensive. We had a solid wood door that just needed some TLC. So, I threw the project up on Thumbtack. We received a bid back from a guy whose primary work is fine woodworking. I could tell from his website that he was very detail oriented. He did a GREAT job with the door! I picked out the paint and hardware -- most from Rejuvenation. I am not sure I saved any money versus buying a new door, but felt good to give new life to an original piece of our house.

We went for a modern look. I think I have mentioned before that our house wants to be midcentury modern. There are a few houses in our neighborhood that fit squarely in this category. Our house is more aligned with this style than, say, the traditional and Spanish style houses in our neighborhood, but we will have to do some upgrades to make it look retro cool. Although you would think the bright orange color would add the most drama, the real gasp inducing change is that we took down our security door. About a quarter of the houses in our neighborhood have security doors. I don't think it is as much for security as it is for air flow, as central heat/air was not a standard feature of houses in our neighborhood, and only the few smart ones who have added a/c experience any degree of comfort in our 90 degree + summers. We know we will regret this decision at times, but we do still have the side security door, and we also have a freestanding a/c unit. Style over function. As for security -- I know we live in a neighborhood where unsavory people would be inclined to try the front door to see if it is unlocked, but it is not the type of neighborhood where somebody would, say, kick in the front door to get in. Knock on wood.

Let the light in -- every morning there is a shadow puppet show in the circle of light made from the now unobstructed peephole. It was crazy day at school this day, if you were wondering about Everett's outfit.
Anyway, we are very happy with how the door came out. If we were going to stay, we probably would have added lites to the door. Not sure all future buyers will find an orange door to their liking (it's orange on the inside too, lol), but having a pulled together look goes a long way. Assuming we do get everything pulled together (haha), I think we will attract people who have similar tastes to us. If it is any indication, we receive a flurry of compliments from folks who come to our house for Craigslist purchases and the like about our style (ohh -- I love your doorbell! Did you see their chairs? You have a record collection!) The other projects we undertook this month were way less glamorous -- installing a bathroom exhaust fan, trying to hide our hideous upgraded electric panel, and moving a whole mess of exposed and oddly protruding gas and water pipes. I told BT I needed something visual to set the tone for what we are striving for, and I think the door fit that bill. Glad we found a good person to help out with this project. And look -- he even gave me a pair of earrings he made :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Goodies part 1

We are in deep with Halloween prep this week. Longing for last year's minimally homemade costumes and Trunk or Treat display that was set up for the most part at the school (versus needing a lot of prep ahead of time).

We all have homemade elements to our costumes this year, and BT is going all out making the display for this year's Trunk or Treat event this coming Friday. I have some additional activities this week to do in relation to this event, so we'll be having some late nights at our house this week.

When I get overwhelmed thinking about how to make certain elements of our costumes, I like to work on something easy to get me in the right mindset to tackle a new craft project. I had fun assembling these goodie bags for Everett's school during one of these breaks. The bags are from Daiso. The foam pumpkins and stickers were from 99 Cents Only store. The remaining toys were probably from Hank's 1st birthday party -- just unearthed when I helped my mom put up her Halloween decorations.

I finished the bags, and had a breakthrough on a costume piece I was working on. Coincidence? I think not.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Baby gift 6/7

Winding down on all the baby gifts! Just one left after this one -- the hardest to complete, of course

This gift is for BT's sister. She and her husband have a claim to fame. A couple of years ago, they were on the show Wipeout. At the time, they were parents to 5 kids, but you would never guess that based on their energy and Katie's flat tummy. The show hosts capitalized on their incredible talent for making babies, and donned them with the nickname The Baby Makers. Here is the Wikipedia write up about the episode they were on. They did really well -- like, so well I overheard two conversations involving strangers talking about a couple who kicked ass on Wipeout after the show aired. I proudly interrupted to say that they were my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

This was not Katie and Eric's first time on a game show. Each had previously made it to contestant's row on The Price is Right. I was at the show Katie was on, and she announced her 3rd (I think) pregnancy there. They also were recently on Wheel of Fortune. A dream show they still want to try out for is Shark Tank. You can imagine they have a lot of ideas for baby products raising (now) 6 kids. I had saved the gag box (first picture), purchased at Target after Christmas on clearance, for Katie and Eric. I was having a mental block about what to buy and/or make for them when I ran into Target's current display of products that were featured on the show Shark Tank. There were two baby oriented products -- a sippy cup with a weighted straw and a small lightweight take anywhere blanket. So serendipitous! Wish I could be there when they see the joke box. Hope they make it to Shark Tank one day :)