31 Days · Being Mama · Color · Fall · five things · good life · Halloween

Five Things

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Hello! Happy Friday! It’s been a little quiet around these parts, but only on the blog. Life has been busy and crazy and FULL and wonderful for the last few weeks.

If you’ve followed along for a while, you know that I usually do 31 Days this time of year. I decided in September that with my schedule, there was no way I could make it happen. This was just not my year, but maybe next year will be. So what have I been doing? Here are a few things that have been on my mind this month:

1. Rummage Sale. The first weekend of October was our preschool’s HUGE Rummage Sale.

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In the week leading up to the sale, we transformed the MPR into collection central, with thousands of items being donated by the school, church, and local community. Over 75 volunteers worked long hours in preparation for this fundraiser, and it was a HUGE success! As in years past (see here and here), it was a CRAZY week of hard work, hilarious moments, exhaustion, and so much fun! I love the Rummage Sale, and I love being able to help raise money for scholarships and for aides for students with special needs. Another great one in the books!

Sunapee, HN

2. New Hampshire.

I just got back from a trip to New Hampshire. Adopted California Mom has invited us for years to join her in the fall when she goes to visit, and this year, Husband said, “Yes, you should do it!” And so I did.

It was my first visit to New England, and I am smitten.

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Now, I happened to be traveling during the fall foliage peak, which was definitely a highlight. I mean, I’m from Tennessee – I’ve done REAL autumn before – but this was unbelievable.

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I’ve never seen colors like this before.

New Hampshire in Autumn

We would be driving along, chatting away, and I would stop mid-sentence, forgetting my words to see another blaze of color before me.

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Aside from the natural beauty, I feel in love with the people (so friendly!) and the houses (such character!) and the pace of our days (calmer, simpler). As BB and BG said every night on the phone, “I can’t WAIT to visit New Hampshire!”

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3. Contrast. This word kept coming to me as we walked and drove among the beautiful color-changing leaves of New England.

This may sound silly, but I’m not a big evergreen fan. I am all about deciduous trees, but I don’t love the conifers. (It might have something to do with the painfully sharp needles that drop into our yard from a particularly unattractive one. Petty, I know. I’m not proud of this.) I realized, however, that the beauty of the changing colors was in part amplified by the contrast of these trees against their evergreen counterparts. A forest full of yellow trees would probably not take my breath away the same way one brilliant one does in a see of dark green needles. It’s the contrast that brings out the beauty. It provides a different perspective.

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The same is true about my time away. I love my kids fiercely and madly, but there was something wonderful about being away from the morning rush and the dishes and the laundry and the bickering. There was space to reflect and dream and plan. And I began to miss them – miss them dearly. Their phone conversations made me laugh harder and smile more easily. And when I returned, there was a level of patience that I haven’t known in several months. I was renewed and refreshed in a way that could only come from stepping back, from having time that wasn’t focused solely on them. Now I know it won’t be like this forever – my patience will grow thin and my nerves will feel a bit frazzled again – but I hope next time I will remember the difference the contrast made, and I will make time to give myself some margin so that I can once again return to them with a new perspective.

New Hampshire


4. That which is temporary. In addition to contrast, the changing leaves also stood as a reminder of things that are temporary, and that even those things have been filled with beauty, though fleeting. It reminded me of this mesmerizing video I saw a few weeks ago, and how there are things in our lives – even our lives themselves – that are not meant to last forever, but that have meaning and purpose anyway. It has helped me to remember to focus on the small moments, because they, too, are filled with significance and beauty.

5. Costumes. I haven’t done any sort of project in weeks, but I’ll start working on Halloween next week. This might be our last year with a theme (I said that last year and the year before), but for now, we’re all going to be superheros. We will each have a different superpower, and the kids and I worked together to design the symbols for our costumes. I’m pretty excited about it (you know I love Halloween) and am looking forward to showing you what we came up with. (Check out a couple of other past costumes here and here.)

As I was scouring the web for ideas on masks, I came across these. Aren’t they amazing? They are downloadable – you put them together yourself. I want to hang this one on the wall.

Move over, puzzles – I think I just picked up a new winter hobby.

What are you up to this weekend? We have family photos scheduled, a soccer game, and a fundraiser to attend. It’s western-themed. Which means I get to dress up. You know I’m excited about that. Also hoping to squeeze in a nap and some reading. Hope you have a fun weekend!


31 Days · creative habit · Halloween · Kids · Thrifts

31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 31: Halloween 2013

So, lately it seems “Creative Habit” is really “Creative Every Spare Moment of My Life!” I’ve been working on Halloween costumes around the clock this week. As I was working last night while everyone else in my house slept, I remembered how I used to regularly stay up late (before kids, obviously) working on sewing projects and other creative things. For some reason, late at night, I tend to get re-energized and filled with ideas. I’ve forgotten that, because, after a day as Mama, I’m in bed by 10:00.

So, costumes. It all started with BB. He is obsessed with all thing police related – cars, officers, handcuffs, walkie talkies, everything. He’s talked of being a police officer for months. After finding a police hat at the thrift store, I was sure I could piece together his costume with a dress shirt and dress pants, and that I would be sewing badges on in the wee hours of the night.

amazon costume

For the first time in my life, the thrifting gods were not smiling on me. Neither were Amazon or Target. It seems to be impossible to find a navy blue dress shirt. So, I finally gave in last week and ordered the costume online. (This photo is from Amazon – it’s not BB.) It arrived in two days (thank you, Prime) without accessories, but I pulled those together with items from the dollar store.


I turned this lovely orange floral notebook (4/$1)


into a ticket book using electrical tape. BB LOVES giving us tickets. I also found a toy pack with a walkie talkie, police badge, whistle, binoculars, and a gun. Which do you think was BB’s favorite?


All this time, BB thought BG should go as a police car. I thought this was fantastic. She was game for a little while, but then she saw kitty cat ears and a tail, and she was sold.

But I’ve kind of had my heart set on a family theme for costumes. I know there won’t be many years it will fly, so I decided to make her a police car costume, have her wear it for a few fun photos, and then let her choose.


I have never seen a police car costume, so I started by sketching out some ideas and raiding our cardboard boxes.


I used a large box from Costco and cut down two smaller pieces from other boxes. The large box is the base of the car body, the smaller piece is the roof and windshield, and the smallest piece is for the lights.

I cut a hole in the box for the body and for the roof so BG could wear it around her waist.


I painted everything and put the pieces together with duct tape.


This thrifted t-shirt has been the workhorse for Halloween costumes this year, as you will see. I cut the bottom part of the shirt into strips to use as straps over BG’s shoulder to hold up the car.


And here she is. The black turtleneck and tights are the base of her kitty cat costume, too.


She changed back and forth all day. This morning at breakfast, she told me she was going to be a Kitty Cat Police Car.


BB: “You can’t be both.”

BG: “Yeah, I DO!”

And now for Husband and me. Husband is not a costume guy. AT ALL. But, you know I love a good theme, so I assembled items for him, just in case. We’re going to be robbers.


I started with a mask and a toboggan (out here in California, they’re called “beanies”). Husband has a black Raiders toboggan that will work just fine. I decided to make my own out of the t-shirt.


I cut the sleeves off and then into strips, which were the perfect size to make masks. (I did go back and reinforce the seams as they fell apart quickly.)


I tried on the mask, marked my eyes with chalk, and cut out eye holes. So easy.

The remainder of the sleeve ended up being the perfect size for my head. I knotted the cuff of the sleeve and had a perfect robber toboggan.

I thrifted black and white striped tees for each of us, and I paired mine with black pants and boots I already had.


As Husband will probably never make an appearance on the blog, here’s a photo of me, post trick-or-treating and post raiding the kids’ candy buckets. (We went out this afternoon in our costumes to visit Adopted California Parents. When we got back, Husband was in full costume, waiting for us. Yay! I’ve won him over to the dark side!)

Made it to the end of 31 Days! Woohoo! I’m calling it a night early tonight – Trick-or-Treat wears me out WAY more as an adult than as a kid.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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31 Days · creative habit · DIY · Halloween

31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 25: Oops!

So, yeah, I did have a creative time yesterday, but I completely forgot to do a post. It’s been a little crazy around our house lately. Husband has been studying for a HUGE test, and it was yesterday. When he got home, we had dinner and just hung out the rest of the evening, and I completely forgot to blog.

DSC_0188But I had just realized Friday morning that I have less than a week to finalize Halloween costumes. That’s what’s happening here.


Cardboard boxes? Oh yeah, definitely a stretch in the crafting department for me. Told Husband tonight that I might need his engineering skills – stability, structural integrity, and the like – to finish this one. But I’ve started at least.


And it took me 45 minutes to find the box cutters. Not coincidentally, I have also now unpacked all the tools and random boxes on the workbench. Not really what I had planned for my Friday afternoon, but there you go.


Also spent some a few minutes repairing BG’s pink bracelet. The first time it broke, BB was attempting to use it as a slingshot. The second time, my shower was interrupted with screams and shrieks about the bracelet getting stuck under a door and falling apart. Hoping third time is a charm here.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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