Sunday, October 30, 2011

Owl love you forever! Happy Halloween!

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Peanut had an absolutely fantastic birthday party today.

We really have the most amazing family and friends.

There were so many people at the party I didn't really get to spend much time with any one person...
so I just wanted to say thank you all so much!

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Peanut was a trooper and we didn't have a single meltdown.

The kids all did great in their costumes, despite the heat.

I had to take off his undershirt, socks and shoes but he really didn't seem to mind the costume.

He was being really cute in the picture above... until he pulled the mask back and snapped it on my face.

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He had a great time and I'll be blogging about the party this week.
The cupcakes and the party!

Pictures, pictures and more pictures!!

I pulled together costumes for B and I at the last minute.
Really last minute as I made B's shirt last night at around 10 pm.

Oh I can't wait to show you pictures of the kids.
For now I'll have to sort thru the 383 pictures I took today
and see whats left after all the blurry pictures of the kids.

What are you up to for Halloween?

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From Mama Owl, Baby Owl and Daddy Tree,
A Very Happy Halloween!!

My little monster

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Today we celebrate Peanut's birthday with our fantastic family and friends.

I'll be sharing approximately 457 pictures of the party, I'm sure.

It just came up so quickly.

A year ago today I was taking long walks, eating spicy foods 
and wondering just how late this baby was going to be.  

I had a deadline to meet Peanut.

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And then Halloween came around
and brought us The Great Pumpkin.

Or The Great Peanut actually.

My little monster, where has the time gone?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sneak Peak

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While Peanut has been reading his Halloween book,
my mom and I have been busy, busy, busy
getting ready for his birthday party.

We like to go with a "less is more" design aesthetic.

Bwahahahaha!

If you know us at all, you are shaking your head right now.

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The thing is, the more time I have the more details that get added on.

You would think that I would start early and then finish early.

This is always the idea.

This has never happened.

Instead, every day another project gets added.

We started a few crafts back in September.

I still have a ton of things (like food and cupcakes) that can't be done ahead of time.

And maybe B & I will have little half-costumes, if I can give up sleeping and pull something together.

Yes, I know he's only turning 1.
But I figure I don't have that many years until he wants input on his parties....
and the 1st is always the biggest one.

Anyway, reinforcements are on their way.

B's parents come into town today and will be devoted to taking care of him 
so I can decorate 70 cupcakes and set up all of our Halloween decorations.

How do you celebrate Halloween?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Lanterns

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These easy-peasy lanterns are great because they 
pack a lot of punch and look great during the day or at night.

They would be a great craft for kids or you could get really creative and elaborate with them.

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We bought the lanterns in China Town for super cheap 
but you can also find them online and at stores like Ikea.

I like to get a variety of sizes.

These would also be great in different colors... like a green frankenstein or purple bat.

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My personal favorite is the jack with the mustache.

All you need is construction paper, scissors and your choice of tape (double sided preferred),
elmers glue or hot glue.

It really depends on if you want to be able to take them apart to use again.

I figured either way I'll have to cover holes next year.

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For all of these I folded the construction paper in half, sketched out a shape and cut 2 
so that they would appear even.

From jack-o-lanterns to owls, there are just too many possibilities.

You could do bats, cats, witches and ghosts.

You could add personality to you jacks' with eye patches or hair bows.

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These can be as simple or elaborate as you like.

Don't worry if you make a mistake...

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like the notches in the yellow wings.

Those are there because I cut the wings front he same paper as the nose and it overlapped a bit.

The hardest part about this was deciding which faces to make.

Have fun with it!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch, Irvine

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Last week my mom and I took the boys to Tanaka Farms in Irvine.

This time of year they run a fantastic pumpkin patch.

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It was really bright and a bit hot out but the boys were troopers.

I forgot a blanket to sit them on but I think they were too preoccupied 
with the mounds and mounds of pumpkins everywhere.

Except for the fact that Daniel really doesn't like the great outdoors.

He's wondering why we want to be in the sun and heat and sitting on prickly seats.

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Tanaka Farms is a working 30 acre farm that also has a produce stand and
a CSA (community supported agriculture) program.

Aren't the pumpkins on the left so pretty?
They would make a great decorations for Thanksgiving.

We also loved the flying saucer squash.  
I've never seen them before and they are so interesting looking.
The shape and the color variation is so much fun.

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We walked around the farm, checking out pumpkins.

Daniel didn't like the pumpkins.
He kept pushing them away with his foot. 
He kicked one right off the stroller.

Peanut tried to eat his.
It's organic but I don't think that stem is great to chew on.

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You can pick your pumpkin right off the vine
or head to another area where you can pick veggies to take home as well.

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They also have a corn maze (and smaller hay maze)
 with great information about growing corn and what not.

They pride themselves on teaching kids about farming, eating healthy and where your food comes from.
There are quite a few programs for children and schools.

Can you tell how excited the boys are about the maze and fun corn facts?

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Eventually we made our way to the area near the produce stand.

On weekends they do a harvest festival with crafts, games and food.

Daniel does not like sitting on the hay.

Peanut just wants to pick it apart piece by piece.

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Peanut was watching some other kids run over to the petting zoo.

He loves other kids.

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We didn't go in the petting zoo but some of the animals made their way to us...
hoping for some food.

Peanut let them nibble and lick his fingers.
He thought it was really funny.

After a few minutes of this I wondered if they bite.
Which of course they do because, um, they're animals.

Rest assured that everyone left with fingers in tact.
Yay parenting!

I love how the one goat is in the food.
Sometimes you just want to lie down in your food, you know?

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Daniel had a much better time when his legs weren't getting poked from every direction.

Peanut was still picking straw.


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We had a really good time and I can't wait until next year when the boys can run around!

1 week until Halloween!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sacramento Zoo

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One thing I love about having Peanut is the excuse to do all these things with him.

On our recent trip to Sacramento, while B was on a long ride,
some of the rest of us went to the zoo.

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I loved the giraffes!

Even though I witnessed one drink the others pee mid-urination.

I'm sorry, I had to mention it because it was just as we were walking away
and I was thinking about how cute they were when it happened.


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Alex had a half-day at school and was able to show Peanut around.

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They had a great time together, as you can see.

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I loved the otters!

He looks sleepy.

The otter utters by the lake, 
'tis getting hard to stay awake.

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You know that feeling when you get out of the water and the sun feels sooo good?

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I loved the flamingos!

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Did you know that flamingos are pink because the beta-carotene in brine shrimp
 causes their feathers to turn pink?

I believe at zoos they add something artificial to their food to keep them pink.

I wonder if they could turn them blue and purple or red and green for Christmas, ya know?
I mean, since they are already artificially coloring them.

I'm just sayin'.

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We actually took a little train ride around as well and he pretty much had this expression the whole time.

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I loved the tiger!

He was awesome just lounging around.

So close to us, it was kind of odd.

At one point I was taking a picture and looking thru my camera when he
stood up and turned around.
It sort of startled me.

This big face looking at me.

Then he got sleepy.

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But not as sleepy as Peanut.

Look at those eyes.

This was our second day there and he was still too excited for napping...
so this is what we got mid-day.

So go to sleep, my sleepy child
the tiger whispers in the wild.


As tired as he obviously is, he only slept in the car ride home and
I could not get him down at the house.
We had a get together that night and he was fine.

Why this kid hates to nap, I'll never know.

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It was a great day,
we loved all the animals (in case you didn't notice)
and had a fantastic time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Fun in OC

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Orange County has tons of ways to celebrate Halloween between now and the 31st!

Check out this article for my favorite Kid-Friendly Haunts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2 Little Lemurs

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You know it doesn't have to actually be Halloween for me to dress up the Peanut.

I figure I only have so much time to dress him up in whatever I want...
and my friend Gina gave me this costume in the beginning of the year (or was it the end of last).

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I didn't get any pictures of Peanut's gorgeous tail...
as we were having issues with the crawling/walking aspect in this.

And it may have been a smudge small, length-wise adding to the awkwardness.

He didn't seem to mind it a bit.

I suppose he's used to these kinds of shenanigans by now!

We saw this awesome lemur at the Sacramento Zoo.
Don't you just want to pet them?

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I'm going to be completely honest and say that my favorite picture is the 3rd.

Let's get a closer look at that expression....

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It's like I caught him changing or something.

Poor lemur, can't ever get any privacy around there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No-Sew Owl/Bird Wings

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These wings are super easy and require nothing more then felt and hemming tape.

OK and scissors, a piece of paper, a pencil and an iron.

At the end I've listed several costume ideas, there are just so many possibilities.

This project is super, super easy (although a bit time consuming) so don't let all the text throw you, 
I've given extremely detailed directions.

Here is the short version for you naturally crafty people:
The base of your wings is a half circle of felt (cut in half for each wing),
the length of your child's "wingspan".
Cut feathers in whichever size and color you like and apply them using hemming tape (or stitch witchery).  OR HOT GLUE
Attach to a shirt, hoodie or onesie with the hemming tape 
OR to a ribbon at the neck (to tie like a cape) 
and ribbon or elastic for the wrists (using the tape or hot glue) 
Done!

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Start by folding a piece of paper in half and drawing your feather.

Mine were about 2 1/2" wide and 3 3/4" long and I used nearly 80 of them.
The longer and wider the feather, the less you need to use to cover your wings.

I used the paper as a template to cut the first felt feather.
After that I used the felt feather as a template as felt on felt doesn't slide like paper on felt.
Use a different color than what you are cutting to make it easier.

A note about the felt:
I preferred to use the kind of felt you buy at the fabric store by the yard as opposed to crafters felt.
Crafter's felt is fine but is less durable.
Depending on how active your child is you might want something that isn't as easy to pull apart as crafter's felt (the stuff that comes cut into little squares in the art & craft section)
Either are pretty darn cheap.

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Measure your child from wrist to wrist while they have their arms straight out in a T.
This was the hardest part of the whole project.  
Try getting an 11 month old to stay still for measuring!

Cut that measurement in half, say 12 inches and that is your wing width.
I used a piece of butcher paper but you could open up a paper bag or other large paper for this.
If using newspaper go for the glossy color ads that won't get your felt dirty with print.

I used a measuring tape, tacked down in the corner of the paper
and marked every several inches from one side to the other.
Then simply connect the dots and cut out your wing.
At this point you are ready to go.

This is totally unnecessary but I decided that I wanted the wings to be shorter then they are long
so he isn't sitting on them when I try to take pictures.
I took my template and cut another inch off and then adjusted it so I could cut the inch off the bottom with a nice smooth transition.

Note:  I really should have adjusted it 2 inches as my feathers are hanging off the end but really... 
noone is going to notice so I will try to control my OCD :)

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AT THIS POINT YOU COULD JUST HOT GLUE IT
-Note that hot glue will make the wings a bit stiff but it would be faster.

Cut your hemming tape or stitch witchery (I used the 5/8 inch, regular weight) 
into the right length to fit across the top of your feathers.

Some hemming tape comes with a paper backing and some does not.
We don't need it.
Line up your feathers on the ironing board (you can do 2 rows with the tops towards the middle)
cover with a piece of parchment paper and iron on medium.

It takes just about 5 or 10 seconds and 
when you peel the parchment off your tape should be stuck to your feather.

If not then just press again.

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Now you are ready for my favorite part which is laying out your design.

Start on one side and lay out your feathers to your liking.
If they go off the end of your felt don't worry about it, we are going to trim later.

I adjusted the right side to my liking and then actually ironed on the left side to mirror the right.
When the left was done I ironed the right.
This ensured that I always had a guide... because I'm a little crazy,
You could also just put them on as you go.

Again with my right wing as a guide I started on my left wing.
Always start from the bottom.

Lay out one row, cover the felt you are attaching with a damp, clean cotton washcloth
and press with a hot iron (set to wool) for 15-20 seconds.
Just press with that iron, don't slide or you might move your pieces.

If you are using a really thin cloth try just 10 seconds.

You want that sizzle when the iron hits the cloth as the steam is going to melt the tape
 and fuse the fabric together.
You will need to occasionally re-wet your cloth.

Give it a little time to cool (30 seconds or so) and then make sure it bonded.
If it isn't then press again.

Repeat until all the rows are completed.

If you like you can flip over your wings so the inside is showing and trim the top and inner feathers.
This isn't necessary :)
Be sure not to trim the feather on the bottom/curved part!

Note: If for some reason things get really out of whack you can always re-press/steam and then remove the feather while the glue is still hot.  You'll need more hemming tape to re-stick it.


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What to do with these awesome and adorable wings?!

Attach them to a hoodie, add a few felt feathers to the front and maybe a cute face to the top
and you have a costume!
The same goes for a shirt or onesie.
Attach only at the top so the bottom has give for movement.

Attach to ribbon to wear cape-style as shown HERE
which was actually my inspiration for the whole project.

Wouldn't this be cute attached to a leotard,  feathers in the front or around the neck of the leopard,
with a tutu or fluffy tulle skirt?
Add a mask of felt and tulle or feathers to tie it all together.
Then take no less then 100 pictures and send me at least a dozen.

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I'm going to add it to an owl costume by cutting small slits in the top of the wings
for the buttons that will be on the costume body.
I'll sew or hot glue elastic for his wrists.
I wanted the wings to be removable because I'm not sure how well he'll like them for the duration
of both his birthday party on the 30th and Halloween itself.

I have no idea how long this took me as I did it piece by piece during nap time and after bedtime and whenever I could over the course of several days.

I hope you enjoy your wings!!

Here are some pictures of the finished product- they are taken from his birthday party and it was hot so we took off some of the pieces but he was ADORABLE!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Feeding the fish

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These pictures were taken the last day of our visit in Sacramento.

One of the major advantages of staying with grandparents is that when Peanut would wake up
at 6 am we could pass him off and go back to sleep.

B's mom wakes up at like 4 am.
Seriously.

Anyway, one morning I came out and they were having some kind of dance party.
Apparently Peanut really likes oldies, jazz and classics.
That's my boy!

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Other mornings, after bundling up they would go the the pond in the back yard and feed the fish.

Yeh-yeh is obviously very helpful in bundling up the baby :)

Yeh-yeh (pronounced yeah yeah) is what Peanut will call grandpa when he gets bigger.

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Peanut loved sitting with Yen-yen (grandma) and and watching the fish.

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I don't think he understands that you can get into the water like you can a pool.
Thank God.

 I feel like he might have been spending his time trying to splash around with the fish.

Isn't it incredibly relaxing and pretty?
You can hear the water through the window in our room and it just lulls you to sleep.

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Fish are funny.

Peanut has perfected the nose crinkle.

Thank you Yeh-yeh and Yen-yen for taking such good care of him!
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