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!




Palm Springs Sewing and Crafts Workshop

I have long wanted to connect with the sewing community by attending a workshop to meet new people and learn new skills. I’m finally going to get the chance. I’m going to Heather Ross’s Palm Springs Sewing and Crafts Workshop! I’m going to be sewing, having new adventures, and sitting poolside with cocktails in January! Did I mentioned I will be going by myself? Sans family?

Taking this time for myself will make a a better person, wife and mama. No, they probably won’t have magic ingredients in the food to accomplish this. But I do feel everyone needs time for themselves, to (re)discover who they are and what they want in this life. Even if it’s just taking a day for yourself. We need this. We deserve this. I feel fortunate that my family is supportive, even if the kids are freaking out that Mama’s not going to be there to make dinner.

You can follow along on my adventure on Instagram. Find time for yourself this weekend, and join me in reconnecting.



The Kitchen

I was reminded that I hadn’t yet shown you the completed kitchen! Everything wrapped up two months (almost to the day) after we started this project. Or I should say, two months after we moved out in July, and construction began.

Just to remind you of the old tile and the walls, here’s a picture from Halloween 2013:

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remodel_first days (7)After meeting several companies in town, we hired Kitchen Concepts to remodel our kitchen. They. understood the vision we had for the remodel (which included knocking walls down), and produced layouts to meet that vision. He provided various options for cabinets to fit our budget, and the quality of the cabinets we selected was excellent. Any questions we had were answered quickly, and the showroom at Kitchen Cabinets allowed us to visual better the quality of the cabinet construction. During the remodel, the cabinet installer at Kitchen Concepts worked with us to tweak the location of cabinets once they were onsite to our specifications.

kitchen  (1) kitchen  (3) kitchen  (4) kitchen  (6) kitchen  (7) kitchen  (10)The contractor (BMR Home Improvements) that Kitchen Concepts works to execute the remodel was outstanding. We had a few difficult issues to work around, (removing walls, relocating plumbing – which required trenching, & electrical upgrades). Their work was done in an exemplary fashion, and they even finished the job early! Every time we visited the job site, folks would stop their work to explain what they were working on – without us even asking. We felt fortunate to have found two trustworthy companies to remodel our kitchen.

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Our Bosch appliances were purchased through Tucson Appliance Company. Our dealing with this company was the only hiccup during the remodel. When I called to schedule our delivery date two weeks prior as I was told, I was suddenly informed that the stove we selected was no longer being made. They didn’t know what the replacement options would be…it seems they hadn’t wanted to call me to let me know of the changes. It took some time, several phone calls, visiting the store, and haggling…but finally, we knew what stove we were going to be offered instead. A bit ridiculous, if you ask me. This lack of communication continued right up until the moment they finally arrived to install the appliances. Four days after we moved back in the house – and I had small kids to feed! There is still a small fix they need to complete, but honestly, I’ve dreaded calling them again for anything.  As for the appliances, I’m thrilled with how well they work and look!

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Our counter top and wooden shelf carpenter was Norm Ulmer. Norm has worked on a number of projects with us – he is fantastic! The counter tops are zebra wood – and they are beautiful! The walnut shelves are also lovely – it’s so nice to have an open shelf-system so everyone can see where things are located & can help themselves!

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The paint color is by Sherwin Williams. The wall color is Repose Gray and the trim is Gauntlet Grey. It is very modern, but all the wood in the room really warms the space. We order the Meadow Green tile from Health Ceramics. Somehow we managed to order more than we needed, so we were able to increase the height of the back splash along the sink/stove counters, and add splashes to the bar and landing zone areas. We also increased the height of the tile around the fire place. The tile color is just so lovely – the variations of green really warm up the space. The new concrete floor overlay was installed by Ruben Reyes. I just love the distressed leather look – and it cleans up so easily!

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kitchen  (18)I made new slipcovers for our old Poang chairs in dark grey suede. The colors look nice by the green tile fireplace, and the material is so cozy! I found a shaggy white rug at Target – it washed up easily. Helpful with the pets. The kids don’t make messes on it (the animals do!), but they do love to roll on it. So do I…

The table is the Mid-Century table from West Elm, and the Globus chairs in wood are from Design within Reach. The lighting fixtures are the Firefly Pendants Lights from CB2. The stools are from Target.

I still want to install some new artwork on the walls. It’s a minor thing, but I would like to have some canvas-stretched pictures of places we love to visit on the walls. Soon. More reason to travel!

My favorite thing about the new kitchen is all the light that comes in, now that the laundry room wall is removed. It really makes a new space. Now that the kitchen is complete, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience or a better product in the end. Our kitchen is a timeless classic that will continue to bring us joy for many, many years.

Halloween Costumes

It’s still 100 degrees outside, but Halloween is approaching!We have an annual Halloween party to prepare for! We began planning our costumes months ago…which was great, until a certain little girl decided to change her mind. Now the entire family (except me) are going as vikings from How to Train Your Dragon. I know, how can I be a spoilsport and not join in? Well, I’m going as Maleficent.  Sophia was going to be Aurora…but changed her mind to be Astrid. At least she chose a strong female role. Gabe and Jon are Hiccup and Stoic the Vast. The viking movie was pretty amazing, and the kids (Gabe especially) are totally enamored with all things dragons.

We began by hunting the local thrift shops for costume parts: pants, shirts, skirts, and wigs.

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We clearly found the perfect wig and beard combo for Jon. It just needs a little grooming and a viking hat. Which we still have plenty of

Then we needed to find leather and furs (not real fur). I went to the local discount fabric store SAS, and loaded up. Then came some cutting and sewing. I started with Astrid’s costume. Here’s my pinterest board for inspiration.

2014-09-21 10.07.39I cut leather strips for Astrid’s skirt, which is actually two skirts in one. I used the brown skirt (with shorts) we found at the thrift store. I sewed leather strip to an elastic band, then attached the whole thing to the ready-made skirt. All it needs now are some spikes and skulls. We’ll make these out of modeling clay soon.

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Up next is making armor. I’ve read several ideas online for making armor, but I think I’m going to use cardboard instead. Stay tuned for more Halloween updates!


First Day of School

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My baby started school today. Kindergarten. Inconceivable! Didn’t we just bring her home from the hospital? It doesn’t seem like she should be off to school just yet. I mean, she’s been in montessori school since she was two years old…but this is different. It’s a different kind of school – more academically-focused than montessori. Not that there is anything wrong with the montessori method – in fact, Gabe is still going there. It was a great experience. We’re just very excited about the new opportunities that await her.

Drop-off went well, although it was a bit chaotic. Sophia attended a pre-school camp of sort last week (2 hours each day) to get her accustomed to the school and the other kids. She was a champ. She walked right up to another girl, introduced herself, and asked if she wanted to play! She was so excited about the day today, selecting the perfect outfit to wear. We have to leave much earlier than we did for the other school. So Jon or I will drive her to her school, which is on the way to work for us. The other parent will take Gabe to his school, which starts a half-hour later than Sophia’s. It will require a bit of scheduling as the year progresses. But we’ll make it work.

Such a happy girl today!