It’s been an unbelievably busy month. Thanksgiving flew by, and Christmas is only a few short weeks ahead. Gabriel had a special event with the preschool down the road from his school to share a Thanksgiving Feast. He was so cute up on stage!


We went to Phoenix for the Thanksgiving holiday. My brother and his wife flew in from Washington, and we cooked the meal at my sister’s house. I was surprised at how much fun it was cooking with everyone in the kitchen! My dad sat by the fireplace, and the cousins had a blast playing together (except when waiting for the food to be served!)

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Can't you feel the joy?
Can’t you feel the joy?



On Friday, we took some family photos, visited a brewery, and checked out the Phoenix zoo lights. Saturday, Sedona turned 8 years old! We head back to Tucson to settle in for a few days of rest after our trip. My sister sent the kids home with a new toy, which they adore.

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Ursala the Sea Witch

I like dressing up for Halloween. I especially love dressing as a villain. Lots of fun, if you ask me. This year I was debating between Ursala and Cruella DeVil…lots of fun make-up and costumes.

cruella ursalaI decided to go with Ursala. It would be a challenge to construct a dress with those octopus tentacles. I turned to pinterest – here’s my board.

I was inspired by the elegant dress and movable tentacles by  I bought six pool noodles, some leather and sequin fabric in black and purple, and three hula hoops to make the layers underneath the skirt, and grabbed some rope. I sewed eight tentacles (each one side with leather and sequins), stuff the pointed tips with some polyester filling, and put the noodles inside. They were lovely, just not bendable. A trip to the hardware store and eight two-foot pieces of copper tubing later, I had flexible tentacle I could shape any way I wanted. I had found a short strapless dress at the thrift store to use as my base for the outfit. I tied them to the three-tiered hula hoop skirt I made and, voila – tentacles! (This is how I kept my mind busy during my father’s surgery…)

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I then sewed a black satin circle skirt with a gather waist to cover the tentacles. I liked the look of the black satin skirt alone, but the material was different from the base dress…and it just didn’t have a bit of glamour I was looking for!

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I remembered a tulle skirt I had made last year and didn’t end up using. I put it over the top…and liked it. But when I cut the tulle into little strips to allow for additional movement – that’s when it worked!

Here’s the finished product, complete with make-up. I love it!


Happy Halloween!

Halloween Costumes

We are pretty serious about our Halloween costumes around here. We start discussing ideas just after Halloween, and during the summer – really narrow our focus. The kids love to dress up, so it’s pretty much understood that the costumes will become part of the dress scene eventually.

They had a ton of fun being Astrid and Hiccup last year. Jon even joined in the fun as Stoic the Vast, while I continued my tradition of being a villain – Maleficent.

This year, the kids decided what they want to be: Twilight Sparkles (a my little pony character) and Spike (the dragon sidekick). They drew pictures for inspiration, and then looked at pinterest. Always a nice place to look for ideas…the kids each made a board and off we went!

We were looking at the thrift store when we found the perfect dragon for Gabe! It’s actually a dinosaur from Toy Story, but he could wear it (and he did all over the store), and I added some spikes. After we got home, I realized the color scheme was actually reverse from the character, but Gabe didn’t care. He also had me add a purple belly to a green shirt to complete his outfit.


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Sophia wanted a massive tulle skirt with lots of purples. We found a unicorn mask that she just had to have at the thrift store, along with some purple hair we decided to attach to a crown. We were thinking of using some of that spray paint for hair on her hair for the evening, but when we read that it shouldn’t be used on blonde hair…we decided not. She’s also quite thrilled with her costume (especially the cutie mark).

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As for my costume, I’ll have to show you in another post. I am so excited about this costume – I’m going as Ursala the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid. Lots of sewing and construction went into this costume!




Flagstaff Trip

Lots going on this month. My father unexpectedly had open heart surgery – and he’s doing amazing in his recovery! He’s walking nine miles each day, getting stronger every day. The kids had the first two weeks of the month off (well, Sophia had only one week). We decided to explore Flagstaff for a couple of days, with a few days in Phoenix to visit family.


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We stayed in a little cabin at the Flagstaff KOA. It was tiny – a bed with two bunk beds, a small fridge and microwave. That’s it! It worked for us. The weather did not quite cooperate…it rained our entire trip. There went our plans to visit Wupatki National Monument and other outdoor hiking spots. Even with the rain, we had fun – in fact – any weather other than HOT was fantastic.

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We visited a couple of breweries in town. The Lumberyard Brewery had tasty food to go with their tasty beers. The Lowell Observatory didn’t have any hands-on activities for kids, other than watching a short film. We decided not to visit. We also visited Beaver Street Brewery after working up an appetite at the park during a lull in the rain, which was more like a restaurant than a brewery. But it was good too!2015-10-05 16.52.18

We ate breakfast at Crown Railroad Cafe one morning. Yummy pancakes and lots of trains!

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And we watched the many trains roll through town. Endless fun for the kids…2015-10-06 17.05.26

We stopped on the way back to Phoenix to visit my grandparents.

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And then back to Phoenix to celebrate my Mom’s birthday! It was so good to see everyone!

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Little Moments

My son said something to me this morning that made me stop and focus. Mama, he said, when my cup is empty, I am sad. When it is full, I’m happy! Here he was, drinking milk from his cereal bowl, just as happy as he could be. He was fully in the moment. I just looked at him. His cheerful smile, the tousled hair, milk all over him…and it just made my heart grow. When did he get so insightful?  He may have been talking about his milk at first, but then he went on to list the things that make him happy: his friends, his bike, the kitty, even mama.

It’s been a bit stressful this week, with an unforeseen medical problem for a family member. I haven’t been the best mama or wife this week. I’ve been trying to get from point A to point B and get things done – just checking things off my list. I’ve been short with folks, and grumpy with myself. Seeing his complete joy in that moment, well, it just makes me want to stop. Why don’t I approach my day like this? I’ve been choosing to be grumpy and stressed. I can choose to find something to be happy about – it’s really not that hard. Life isn’t always happy, but there is always something good. If you just look for it.

I just want to remember to take the time to enjoy the little moments like this:

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