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.


2015-10-18 08.35.19

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).

2015-10-17 16.46.01

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.


2015-10-05 13.08.03

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.

2015-10-05 14.31.22 2015-10-05 15.39.56


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!

2015-10-06 08.39.53 2015-10-06 08.41.32 2015-10-06 11.51.57 2015-10-06 13.58.22 2015-10-06 14.49.32 2015-10-06 17.04.28

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.

2015-10-07 10.27.04 2015-10-07 10.27.22 2015-10-07 10.28.00 2015-10-07 11.11.56

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

2015-10-07 16.45.54 2015-10-07 17.29.36 2015-10-07 17.34.30 2015-10-07 17.58.43


We were so fortunate to receive two days of monsoon storms this weekend! The washes were flowing (and we had a small backup due to a downed tree branch and debris in one wash), and the cisterns are filled completely. The humidity was totally worth it! Some of these pictures are blurry, since we took them from the safety of indoors. The lightening was hitting pretty close to the house!

monsoon (2)
You can see the water backing up here behind the trailer!
monsoon (7)
two washes joining

monsoon (1) monsoon (3) monsoon (4) monsoon (5) monsoon (6) monsoon (9) monsoon (12)All of the rain is great for the plants in the garden. Not much in the veggie beds currently (give me two more weeks until I plant more seeds), but the plants in the ground and pots sure appreciated the rain. I cut all my tomatoes back by 2/3, so I’m hoping they bound back once this heat goes away. Which may be never, but hopefully by mid-September it will be less intense. I’m hoping to plant my fall garden by then…

Sewing Together

For Mother’s Day, I wanted a little time to myself to sew something for me. Something new. I had seen on SouleMama the Gathered Skirt for All Ages from PurlsSoho, and reallky liked the BIG pockets. I had some great Lotta Jansdotter fabric I knew would be nice for this project.

I quickly cut out my fabric and got to work. I managed to sew most of the skirt before the kids went to take naps (or quiet time, in Sophia’s case). She didn’t want to have quiet time (big surprise), and instead came out to ask what I was doing, and could she sew a skirt too? How could I say no? I put my skirt aside, and she picked out her fabric. Pink and flowers.

We measured together and cut out the pieces. Then we got to work together. She sat on my lap and helped push the fabric through the sewing machine. She learned that we need to be careful near the needle. She didn’t like the ironing part, but left that for me to do.

2015-05-10 13.15.57 2015-05-10 13.15.35

When we were almost finished, she lost interest in sewing (we were at the elastic threading part) and simply began asking me when it would be done. Soon, dear. Soon.

And just as Gabe was getting up from his nap, she had her skirt. It was a little long, but it had pockets for storing her treasures. She could twirl in it. It made her happy. She asked when we could sew together again. Soon, I replied. Soon.

2015-05-10 13.15.51

The best gift I received for mother’s day was her joy in doing something I love – sewing. It didn’t matter that I didn’t finish my skirt. I got some sweet time with my little girl.


2015-05-10 17.06.59

A Rainbow Sally Dress

Our friends have a little girl C, who turned five this past weekend. Her party theme was rainbows…which got me thinking of something I could quickly sew up for her. I wanted to make a dress for her last year for her birthday, but just didn’t have time. I was just as busy this year, but I found time in twenty minute intervals all week before work to sew a little bit each day. Can I just say how much more relaxed I was when I started my day? I may be onto something there.

I turned to my good old standby: the Sally Dress. I have made this dress several times now, and don’t even need the directions out anymore.  Simple, clean lines, and fun to sew – with variations for the sleeves. This time I made a sleeveless version. C is a bit petite, so I worried about making the dress too big. I found some great rainbow colored fabric at JoAnn’s.

rainbow dress (1)rainbow dress (3) rainbow dress (2) IMG_8615

It was a little big, but she loved it! Everyone should have a rainbow dress in their wardrobe, I think.