Geek Kid Costumes

This is my 200th post! It’s also the end of October, so I figured I’d commemorate by featuring my kids’ geeky costumes through the years.

2010—Doctor Who, Star Wars

Only a month old, and I subjected the kid to two different costumes.

His hair was pretty Tennant-y, so our #1 was #10…the tenth Doctor
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The Captain and I wanted to be Han Solo and Princess Leia for Halloween, so I made Champ an Ewok costume, too.

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I am no good at sewing, so most of these are no-sew. The pants from 2010–2011 were sewn, crappily by me, in an idiotic fashion. Basically I made no allowance for my poor child’s rear end, so the pants never fit over his bum. In 2012 (see below), I found a pair of pants from a thrift store. They were a size too small and had flowers embroidered on the back pockets, but they worked.

2011—Aladdin

In 2011, my neighbor and I thought it would be cute to take Champ and E out trick-or-treating together and do matching costumes. I can’t remember how we cam up with the idea, but we decided on Aladdin and Jasmine. E already had the cute headband, so I rifled through Target clearance for mint-colored clothes for her and fashioned a bikini top, and then cut out a vest and sewed two quick fezzes for Aladdin and Abu. It was chilly, so we put them in white layers to keep warm and modest (I had no luck finding skin-toned shirts!).

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2012—Hobbit

I got this shirt for Champ from Woot Shirt when it was the shirt of the day. (You can get your own here!) The wig and pants came from a thrift store, the cloak was just a piece of fleece I tied around him, and the feet were tan socks pulled over his boots with fake fur hot glued to the top.

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2013—Sherlock and John (from BBC’s Sherlock)

Now that I’ve got two little ones, and it’s probably the last year I can choose Champ’s costume myself, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to dress them up from my favorite show, BBC’s Sherlock.

If you are familiar with the fandom (which is completely insane due to prolonged hiatuses of the show), you might be aware of the animal comparisons between the main actors, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, to animals—an otter and a hedgehog, respectively. See Benedict otters here and Martin hedgehogs here.

So I decided to make my baby John a hedgehog and my Pre-K Sherlock part otter. Here were the results:

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John: baby snowsuit + fake fur + sweater vest.

Sherlock: Hat from Amazon, colored grey; wig from thrift store; Old Navy jacket; scarf we owned; sewn pants and tail.

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John after the Reichenbach fall.

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This kid is seriously a champ.

I’m hoping next year I can convince Champ that he really wants to be C-3PO so I can make Lion R2-D2. But he’s a cool kid, so whatever he picks is probably going to be awesome.

2014 update

Champ was four, old enough to pick his own costume, and he wanted to be Mike the Knight. So we went as a medieval family. I purchased all the costumes, since Captain had returned from a four-month long training just a few weeks before.

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2015 update

Champ was five, Lion was two, and they both wanted to be their favorite super heroes: Iron Man and Captain America, respectively. For the Denver Comic Con, Capt was also Captain America, and I was Agent Peggy Carter. For Halloween, we got Champ the Iron Man suit costume.

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Christmas 2012

Behold! The Post-Christmas Post! With over 20 photos!
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Make it to the end of this post, and you will be rewarded with some outtakes from the photo above.

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Fluffy White Pine purchased from the Boy Scouts.
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Captain’s brother spent the holiday with us,
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Yay for self-timers!

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On the mantle: Thrift Store finds (pine trees, pine cone, itty bitty porcelain houses, candle sticks), candles from our wedding, and a Scentsy warmer with the scent Iced Pine making our house smell like a forest. Stockings: Target, handmade from a sweater, my Santa stocking from when I was little, handmade from fleece and faux fur. Someday I’ll have lovely, matching stockings. The elephant and lion are Scentsy Buddies and are for Champ and Lion.

Some people asked what I was doing for stocking stuffers. I think next year, early December, Lord willing, I’ll blog about stocking stuffers. But my favorite ones I’ve given the Captain and/or his brother are designer playing cards from Theory 11, something fun from ThinkGeek, a bundle of online games from HumbleBundle (they change weekly), and homemade candied pecans. Each cost less than $6.

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We opened up the presents on Christmas Eve like good Norwegians. Champ passed out all the gifts with the aid of photos I printed and taped to each present. Christmas morning, Champ opened up his stocking,
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which consisted of three cars and the Scentsy elephant, and some extra Santa gifts (pots and pans, a 101 Dalmatians plate he picked out at the thrift store). But his big Santa present was waiting for him in the Kitchen.

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We scrambled to get Little Champ’s present—a DIY Kitchen—ready in time for Christmas. It still needs a bit of work, but it is definitely serving its purpose! We’ll just remodel his kitchen the next time we move. The first sighting:

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Examining the sink.

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He checked out the fridge…

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…which was stocked with about 20 fruit and vegetable toys I got for a grand total of $2.

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We decided to make cookies. Wash your hands, first! Then mix up the batter.kit7

He was very excited about the cookies.

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After he took them out of the oven (“Hot!” he reminded me), he ate ALL OF THEM.kit9

Didn’t even leave some for his own mother.

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His mother who was 20.5 weeks pregnant on Christmas. It’s okay. I made Chocolate Revel Bars (stay tuned for the recipe).

We spent the rest of Christmas Day with my extended family. After Christmas, we visited the other side of the family and Champ got to see his first Hockey game.

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He was entranced. And the Zamboni hadn’t even come out yet.

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I think he enjoyed himself.

That was our Christmas! There are a ton of tutorials on making play kitchens. Ours was thrown together, so we didn’t take photos of the process. The only new things we purchased were the silver handle for the fridge, the drawer pull we used for a towel rack, the sink faucet, the bowl for the sink, and the tiles. I know we paid less than $30, but probably less than $25. I guess it depends on how much the spray paint cost us. My favorite play kitchens are this one from Britt & her Boys, this one from Creative Carissa, and this one from Young House Love.

You made it to the end! As promised, here are just a few of my attempts at capturing a happy, adorable child in front of the Christmas tree.

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Happy New Year!

I’ll post the Chocolate Revel Bars recipe soon.

 

Holiday Crafts

Last month we made Turkeys with our hands and feet.

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This month was Christmas ornaments. I’ll start with the photos on the tree, then explain how we made each ornament.

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Handprint Reindeer

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We used the recipe from Martha Stewart to make the cinnamon dough. I traced Little Champ’s hand onto a piece of paper and used that as a mold, then poked two holes with a chopstick (one to hang, one on the thumb for the antlers) and baked according to the recipe, turning once.

The next day I put on the finishing touches. I got micro bells and micro pompoms from Michaels. I strung the three bells onto a wire, bent around the “neck” and twisted it in the back. Then I glued the bells down, the nose, and the googly eye. I think I used three pipe cleaners for two reindeer—one cut in half made the two smaller sets. I pushed both one long and one short through the hole, folded them in half, upwards, and curled the ends.

Handprint Ornaments

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These actually didn’t work out too well. First I squirted paint on the inside of the bulbs and turned them around to get the insides fully coated with paint. That took a while, and then they took a long time to dry (I kept turning them around every few hours). Once I thought they were completely dry, I hung the plastic kinds on the tree, and now the paint has pooled to the bottom, even though I had them drying for a week. We still have them up on the tree—I’m pretending the abstract look was intentional. Same results with plastic and glass ornaments, house paint and acrylic paints. (It also took a few tries to get good-looking hands on the bulbs.)

Button Trees

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I’m hoping these are pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll post images below. I got a jar full of green buttons from Walmart for a few dollars. I tried a few different combinations, but I ended up liking the trees that were similar in color best. The transparent tree is my favorite because it looks great against the Christmas lights, but it doesn’t photograph well for that same reason.

I found out that they looked best when I made a single half knot between buttons (not a square not, which is two half knots), and on the four-hole buttons, I thread through the diagonal. I finish with a square not on top of the tree, and then knot the strings at the top to create a loop to hang the tree.

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Guess What?

It’s November 1st, and you probably won’t hear much from me this month because I am participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Since I’ll be doing so much writing this month, during my breaks from writing, I’ll probably not be blogging here much. But I did want to start the month of right by showing you something…

That’s right! We are expecting a baby in May! Though I’m hoping for a late April babe.

Those pumpkins we painted were a hint.

Little Champ, Gandalf (what we call Neville when his fur hangs in front of his eyes), and our newest addition, Baby Lion!

I’ll be 13 weeks on Saturday. Baby Lion is very active already (as we’ve seen from ultrasounds) and very healthy. Every once in a while, I feel what could be a kick already, but until I can rule out air bubbles making their way through my intestines, I’m not counting those as official.

We probably will find out the sex of the baby, but right now we are planning not to tell, especially if it’s a girl—we’d rather not be inundated with pink stuff from excited relatives!

And we have two names picked out, a boy name and a girl name. We also learned our lesson not to share baby names with the public, because that’s when some people decide to show their true colors…

AND I just found out that one of my friends is due the same day! I’m really excited to have a “due date twin.”

If I get the chance, I’ll take a break some time to blog about how we found out we were expecting. I had to go on a little adventure to find a pregnancy test.

Also, at some point Little Champ will make a handprint turkey, so I’ll share that. Here’s what he made last month, a handprint spider and footprint ghost:

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Our family has never decorated pumpkins together before!


Little Champ got to paint the first coat on his.

I helped him finish it. The Captain painted Gandalf for Neville’s pumpkin.

 

I painted a chevron pumpkin just for fun, and a little lion on an itty bitty pumpkin!

The Captain and I went to a costume party as Tintin and Captain Haddock.

Captain carved a dragon.

I, Wifosaurus, carved Yoshi and Baby Mario.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for. Little Champ’s costume—

 

May Day! (Free Printable)

Have you ever left May Baskets on a friend’s doorstep on the First of May?

Usually May Baskets are filled with treats or flowers. You put them on the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run away. Apparently the tradition is that if the person catches you, you exchange a kiss.

Well this year, I decided to make little goodie bags for all of the houses on our street, all 29 of them. I filled treat bags with candy and inserted a little card that had a Bible verse on the front, and on the back, an invitation for all the neighbors to come to our house the last Saturday of the month so everyone can get to know each other in a casual environment. (We’ll have a bounce house for the kids).

I’m still filling the treat bags, but thought I’d put the printable up for you in case you’d like one for yourself or would like to do something nice for your friends or neighbors this May Day. You could even have a little office May Day :)

Click the image to download. Each sheet has 9 cards.

This, that, and the other.

I started taking pictures for a tutorial on how to make a tutu out of tulle, but then I forgot to take a picture of the finished product before I gave it away…

Sorry about that. Anyway, it’s basically the same tutorial as this, only instead of elastic, I used 3 ft of Twill tape so that it was adjustable (just tie in a bow around the back, like an apron). I measured 8 inches in on each side to make a 20in tutu.

I also was going to show how clean I got my vents, but even the clean pictures look nasty due to the chipping paint.

Anyway, sick of using rags, vacuums, and Q-tips (because they didn’t really work to get the stuff out), I figured out a new method:

I took an old foam craft brush (you know, that had crusty paint stuck to it) and dunked it into my favorite all-natural cleaner, which was diluted with water, 1 part cleaner to 64 parts water. In bewildered mommy terms, that’s 4 cups of water for each tablespoon of cleaner.

The foam brush gets into the nooks and crannies and scrapes both the top and bottom at the same time, reducing my time in half. It still made a mess, since the grate I was cleaning was on the ceiling, but I caught the water back in my trusty bucket.

DIY reusable daily and weekly planners

Are you ready for the week to begin?

I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with daily planners and notebooks.

But instead of telling you about my love affair with planners and walking down the aisle in the office supply store, I’m just going to cut to the chase and show you what I do know.

I could write down all of the things I needed to do in my planner, easy. The problem was actually opening up my planner again to do those things I wrote down.

Now I use dry erase boards that are hanging on walls all over my house. I figure that “out of sight, out of mind” also means “in sight, obnoxiously nagging you.” I also figure that it gives me some accountability to anyone else that can read…

Here’s an example of one. I’ll explain the layout and give more examples below.

All you need is a dry erase board, a Sharpie, and an idea of what you want to be planning. Ruler and nail polish remover optional. Basically, you draw the outlines with a permanent marker and draw inside those outlines with dry erase markers.

Step One

Use the Sharpie to draw out the permanent layout on your dry erase board. If you mess up, you can erase the permanent marker in one of two ways.

  • For small areas, take a dry erase marker, scribble over the permanent marker, and erase.
  • For large areas, use nail polish remover and a Q-tip or cotton square to apply.

Note: If you accidentally draw over a permanent marker line with a dry-erase marker, the permanent marker will come off. That’s why I don’t draw lines for writing on—I draw boxes to write in.

Step Two

Actually, that was pretty much it. I suppose at this point, you start filling in your planner. Woohoo!

My examples

Here’s a close-up of the board shown above. I got the days of the week magnets at Target. The first row of seven is for daily appointments. The next is for menu planning and lists the menu theme of the day, as well as daily chores. The bottom section is the Honey-Do list, which LT and I both contribute to.

This one is a more elaborate weekly planner in a “checklist” format. On the left are things that need to get done every day, ordered in the rough progression of the day. The squares on the inside are either blank or I write in what needs to happen during that time. For example, I have two slots for “projects.” In the boxes I write which projects I need to work on that day. When I finish a chore or activity, I put a magnet on that square. The first column reads: Vitamins, breakfast, chores, lunch, projects, work out / go outside, snack, projects, dinner, dishes, brush teeth, mini bedtime (bedtime for the mini people in our family, aka the kids), before bed tidy up. Yes, I often forget to eat three meals each day.

If it would appear that I haven’t done anything this week, then I should point out that today is Sunday, and the board is for tomorrow–Saturday. Tomorrow I will put the magnets in the squares as I complete each item.

This format will be adapted or duplicated, probably, when I have more children. With this layout, each child could fit a magnet in one slot, or you could have a board for each child.

Here’s the daily one I made today.

The one on the left is the blank version. On the right, I filled in the planner and made a couple of additions.

When I saw these Free Daily and Weekly Planner Printables from AHolyExperience.com, I thought that they were great! And I thought maybe I’d try them out, and then I’d design my own. However, I haven’t gotten to that yet, and I wanted to use my third dry erase board for daily planning, so I did this.

The printable downloads are lovely! If you go that route, enjoy them heartily. Be sure to check out Ann’s book and the rest of her blog, too! She’s an inspiration. You can even try laminating her planners and reusing those with a dry erase marker (or overhead markers, if those are still around). When I come up with my design, I’ll post it here, on my blog, for free. I’m wanting a smaller size, I think, hence designing it myself. We’ll see, I suppose.

  • Top row: Devotion? check box | date
  • 2nd row: Blank space to write out memory verse, practicing every day |Domestic duties | business
  • 3rd row: Imperatives (things that have to get done) | things I should do | things I could do, if I have time | things that need to get done eventually
  • 4th row: menu for the day | Schedule for the day (when I will do what I wrote in the “to do” section)
  • 5th row: workout? check box | Water? Check box

Have fun planning out your days and weeks!

TUTORIAL: Greeting Card Box

Have you ever been in one of these situations?

What am I going to do with this decades-old greeting card that I just can’t seem to throw out?

How can I recycle/reuse my Christmas Cards?

I should have left for the party an hour ago, but I can’t find a stupid box for this small gift! I’m about to throw it into a security envelope and be done with it!

Never fear, the Bewildered Mother is here to rescue you. These boxes are perfect for giving jewelry or stocking stuffers or notes or other little gifts. Chocolate is always a good idea.

A few things:

  1. These can be made in any size, out of pretty much any kind of paper. Yes, even that ridiculously thin copy paper. I haven’t tried it with tracing paper…now I’m going to have to.
  2. The boxes will always be square shaped.
  3. When closed, they don’t make a cube; they make half of one.
  4. Use the same size paper for the top and bottom. You can use the back and front of a folding greeting card, if you’d like.
  5. Have fun making nesting boxes for really small gifts (like, maybe an engagement ring, perhaps?) The smallest I’ve tried was less than half an inch wide.
  6. Best part? You don’t need wrapping paper or tape. If you are an expert at ripping/tearing, you don’t even need scissors. Booyah!
Oh, and if the tutorial images below don’t all load, just refresh the page.

Have fun!

Wrapping Paper and Christmas Cards

Wrapping presents and Christmas cards can be one of the most fun (or most stressful) parts of Christmas.

Here are my solutions to two common headaches of the holiday season:

Christmas Cards

Mailing out cards and letters every year can be really expensive, so we decided to save some money by making a couple of changes.

  1. First, while gathering our Christmas mailing list, I asked who would prefer receiving a digital copy. That slashed my price in half right there, because about 50% of our list said they would prefer emailed cards.
  2. I designed postcards myself and had them printed on card stock. Mine are 5×7 so they are frame-able, and they fit 2 per 8.5″ x 11″ sheet, but you could fit divide a sheet into fourths and make a smaller postcard. Print on the back side in black and white, or leave blank when printing and hand write on the back. Postage in 2011 for postcards is $0.29.
  3. On the back of the postcards, I included a link to where our family and friends can find our Christmas letter online. If you have a blog, post yours on there and make it password-protected.
  4. For the couple of families who are not internet-savvy, I am printing the letters in color and sending those with our postcards in a manilla envelope.

How are you doing Christmas cards?

Speaking of Christmas cards, I am always wondering how to display them and can never find an idea I really like.

Today, though, I saw this idea: Use a beaded “ribbon” and lanyard hooks! Brilliant, cheap, and pretty!

Find the instructions here.

Wrapping presents

Little Champ has already unwrapped several presents under the tree, which is why I am anxious to finish the project I am currently working on.

My grandmother would sew pillowcases, put our presents in them, and then tie them shut with a ribbon. You can use these “bags” over and over again! Sure, wrapping paper can be pretty cheap, but think about a time you had to wrap a really awkwardly shaped gift, or you cut the paper juuuuust a sliver too short, so you have to cover the opening with an extra panel of paper, which you tape all the way around.

If you’re considering tossing the paper and scotch tape out the window, this craft might be for you!

If you want these to be multitasking bags, sew a bunch of pillowcases. I decided on drawstring bags, though, of various and random sizes. While I still have to sew them all up, I thought I’d let you know I’m doing it NOW, so that if you think, “Hey, that’s a good idea. I’d like to try it,” then you can buy the fabric now and make them before Christmas, instead of waiting for me to be done procrastinating, which might very well be Christmas Eve at 7 pm.

The best part? I don’t have to post a tutorial because so many have already made drawstring bags and put tutorials online!

To watch a video tutorial, go here.

Or to read a tutorial, go here.

Or, if you want to skip the sewing all together, gather up some pillowcases and those drawstring bags your sheets come in (you know, the kind you get in the college section at Target), and use those instead!

Let me know how it goes! I’ll post photos when I’m finally done.