At the Movie Theater Concession Stand Halloween Costumes

Halloween is over all ready. November 1 starts my unofficial boycott of Christmas. Not that I have anything against Christmas. I love it! But I’m sure like many others, I like to enjoy the fall and Thanksgiving, rather than rush into the holiday. It gets old by the time December 25th comes around.

So my boycott begins by again dwelling on Halloween. This year we were “At the Movie Theater Concession Stand.” The weather was beautiful this year. Jack joined in with Trick-or-Treating with his older cousins. I think he enjoyed the walking better than the candy, although he did dip into his bucket a few times during the walk. I took Daisy along too. Her costume was so good, most people didn’t even know she was there!

moviefamily

 

Like last year, I made costumes for almost everyone so we could walk as a theme.  I based the theme off Daisy’s costume: the popcorn bucket. I saw a version of it on Pinterest and knew I wanted to do it months ago, but my version was a bit more extreme. My version was made with a felt blanket I painted as a popcorn bucket using stencils I made from my Cricut. I used tissue paper as the popcorn and glued it to the blanket and to a baby hat for daisy. I just wrapped the blanket around Daisy’s carrier and tucked it in the sides. Her little head stuck out but was covered with the popcorn hat. I put on some 3D glasses and it looked like I was just walking around with a giant tub of popcorn at the movies.

angelaanddaisy

 

Jack went as a movie ticket and Matt was the Box Office Ticket collector, both costumes made with cardboard, Cricut cut vinyl, paint, and ribbon. The “over the shoulder” type costume was good for Jack because it was easy to put on and take off when he was fussy.

matt-and-jack

 

The rest of my nieces and nephew also joined the theme. I made 3 of their 6 costumes. I made Laila a cardboard Kit-Kat bar costume (I have a lot of cardboard on hand between boxes of diapers and wipes.) Olivia was Button candy, made with an old dress and painted Styrofoam balls. Myla was our cup of Coca-Cola, made from a small hamper, craft paper, paint, and vinyl. I especially liked her straw hat (complete with “Diet,” “Regular,” and “Other” buttons).

lailaoliviamyla

 

The store bought costumes were cute too – Craig was also popcorn, Angelina was an M&M, and Jenna was Nerds. I think we made a really cute concession stand!

movies

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We Haven’t Found Out the Gender Reveal

Happy April Fools! It’s no secret that I like to bust my family’s chops. I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t see this coming. Every since my family found out that the baby’s gender could be determined by a blood test much sooner than an ultrasound, they’ve been hounding me about finding out if Giacomo will have a brother or sister and having a gender reveal party.  They have been convinced that I already know the baby’s gender. At my last visit, my mom came to the Dr with me only to be disappointed. The results weren’t in yet. She convinced herself that me and my Dr are in cahoots and we do in fact know the gender. We don’t, but because it’s April Fool’s Day I had a gender reveal anyway, only we used white balloons instead of colored balloons to reveal…nothing.

Now I’m not so mean. I did call my Dr. today to see if the results came in, but they still haven’t. We didn’t find out about Giacomo, and I still don’t know if we are going to find out about baby #2, but we did have fun pretending we would.

 

Grinch Ornaments for Giacomo’s 1st Birthday

It’s crazy to believe a whole year has gone by since my Mr. Man came into the world. I always say that the day he was born it felt like an explosion, that my heart grew 3 sizes that day like the Grinch. So for his first birthday, we had a Grinch themed party. Giacomo had such fun playing with his cousins, family, and friends.

Jack s party 2

I would have just had pizza and subs, but my sisters and mom took over and insisted on cooking a feast of antipasto salad (Truffula Salad), chicken cutlets (Roast Beast), sausage and peppers, kielbasa, pierogies, baked beans, pasta, potatoes and peas (Who Hash), and a 6 foot sub.  For I took over and went crazy.I couldn’t have done any of this without their help. I definately have the best family!

Jack s party 3

For dessert nieces made chocolate dipped marshmallows and decorated sugar cookies, while I went nuts making cupcakes, chocolate pretzels, Rolo pretzels, Oreo balls, pumpkin cheesecake, Rice Krispie Treats,  a regular cake and a smash cake for Jack, and Who Pudding. The kids even enjoyed a Hot Cocoa bar.

Jack s party 4

To thank everyone for celebrating, I made Christmas ornaments of the Grinch and his heart.

IMG_3680

For the Grinch ornaments, I swirled green paint inside the ornaments and left them upside down to dry. After two days I had to recoat. I let them dry about a week before adding the Grinch face.

Grinch

I layered yellow vinyl over black vinyl cuts for the ornament. Using the Cricut Explore, I cut the Grinch face by uploading  as a simple image. (I uploaded it twice, once for the face and once for the eyes). grinch clipart

I’ve made glitter ornaments with Glitter-It in the past, but I finally decided to try the mop & Glo method I’ve seen on craft sites and Pinterest. It does work, and it’s super quick! Just swirl the M&G in the ornament, drain out the excess, add in glitter, shake it up to coat, and tap out the extra glitter. Glitter-It works great, but so does M&G, and the giant bottle is way cheaper.

IMG_3227

I feel like the heart ornaments went with my whole year’s theme. All year I’ve been writing about the joys of the heart as well as heartache. The year started with my heart growing with Jack’s birth, and since then I’ve written about the joys of being a mom, the heartache of leaving baby, The Mighty Quinn’s Heart surgery, my dad’s heart attack, and now again, the joys of being a Mom.

Jack s party 1

I was driving home from the party, I was thinking how it was the first time I did something really “Mom,” and it was the first time I felt like Mom. Feeling like mom is subtly different than feeling like a mother or a mommy, and I’m not sure how to explain it, but giving my son a fun birthday made me feel like a Mom, and I loved it.

Our Halloween in Florida

Monsters Inc for Halloween on the road.

Monsters Inc for Halloween on the road.

Myla's Surprise Party

We gave Myla a surprise party, and oh she was so cute! She really was surprised.

It’s just 2 weeks after Halloween, but if you walk into any store you’d think Christmas is next week. I even got sucked in buying a Christmas book for Jack and catching myself planning Christmas decorations. So, I’d like to regress and talk about Halloween, my vacation, and how Christmas can wait so it doesn’t get stale by December 25!

Jack, Sally, and Zero

After driving down to Florida (about 18 hours), we started the vacation by going to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It was a blast. Adults are allowed to dress up and the park is open until midnight.

Splash Mountain in Costume

Since most people crash around 10, the park became pretty empty for the last 2 hours. We even met the Seven Dwarfs, a very rare occasion that only happens on Halloween and Christmas.

The Rare Seven Dwarfs!

We found out that the secret to going to Disney’s Not-So-Scray Halloween party is to go the day after Halloween. That way, we still trick-or-treated, there was (I think) less of a crowd, and the tickets to the party were less expensive

We all dressed up as characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas. For the most part, I made the costumes. My favorites were The Mayor (Jenna), The Boogieman (Olivia), and Dr. Finkelstein (my mom, though she didn’t take many pictures in the wheelchair).

Boogieman & Mayor Dr. Finklesforth & Ax Head

The three little ones were Lock, Shock, and Barrel, my dad was the character with the ax in his head (We gave him the most minimal costume), and Angelina was the demented vampire toy. Jack was Zero, but it was so hot he could only wear his hat in the park. When I post how-tos, I’ll post the whole of all the costumes.

Happy Halloween!

Matt was Jack Skellington and I was Sally, and they were the only costumes I didn’t make. I bought my dress at Hot Topic rather than a costume store. It was the same price, much more comfortable, and the pattern went around the whole dress, not just the front like the costumes. The most home made thing I did for my costume was my makeup and nails.

Sally's Dress Nails

We went to all the other Disney parks and Universal Islands of Adventure, and met some celebrities. Did you know Mickey Mouse TALKS when you meet him in Magic Kingdom!? I was starstruck!

Mickey Mouse

Then we finally crashed at the beach in Daytona for a few days. There was a heat wave our whole vacation, so it was about 100 degrees, but by the beach, the breeze felt awesome.

We needed some beach time!

On the way home, we spent the day in Charleston, South Carolina and spent the night in “The South’s Most Haunted Hotel,” Charleston Embassy Suites. We didn’t witness any ghosts, but there were some noises and creaks, and all the drawers in one of the dressers were inexplicably open (Ok, so maybe Giacomo opened them when I wasn’t looking, but that’s not fun.)

Haunted Hotel

Now that I’m home, I am in full end-of-year mode. I’m playing around with some recipes for Thanksgiving, and I’m starting to get ready for Giacomo’s first birthday! I can’t believe a year is almost here! I’m so excited to give him a fun birthday, even if he won’t remember it.

Simple Halloween Wreath

This week has been one of the most emotionally, physically, and mentally draining weeks of my life. One day I’ll be able to write about it with enough composure for a public blog, but in the meantime I’ll share my other stress coping mechanism: crafting of course. I made a very simple light up wreath for Halloween.

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I started with a black wreath and wrapped it with berry garland. The berries are orange, black and purple, and some are glittery. I made sure all the berries were arranged towards the front of the wreath.

You could keep the wreath just like this, but I found these LED lights in the floral section. They have a lot of different colors (and I might have stocked up on a variety), so I used purple for the wreath.

One strand of the lights are not long enough to wrap around the wreath, so instead I only kept the lights to the front of the wreath by threading the lights around the berry garland.

I hid the switch in the back and it’s all finished.

I could definitely add to this, but I haven’t decided what yet. Maybe I’ll cut some cute things out with my Cricut, but in the meantime it’s ready to go.

I couldn’t go all out with the Halloween decorating, partly because of a hectic life but mostly because we are going to be on vacation for Halloween. That’s my other crafting project. I’ve been making costumes for everyone. My parents, nieces and nephew, Matt, the baby, and I are all going to be characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas. When I’m finished all be posting the costumes. We’re going to Florida and will be in Disney for Halloween. It’s the only time of year adults are allowed to dress up in the park. I am so excited! I’ve been having such a great time making the costumes not to mention that I definitely could use a vacation!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Unfortunately my hands have been so swollen and my carpel tunnel  has gotten worse, so I haven’t been as crafty as I’d like to be. But even still, in these past few weeks I’ve certainly have had a lot to be thankful for. Two weeks ago, my family threw me a beautiful baby shower. They really surprised me, too. I thought my shower would be the next day, so when I walked into a room filled with my friends and family I was truly surprised. Based on a bunch of owl ceramics I’ve made for the baby’s nursery, my sisters and mom planned an owl theme shower, complete with a cake and even an owl basket.

Owl ThemeOwl Theme

The amount of loved ones and the generous gifts they brought for my baby was so overwhelming.

My Wonderful Guests My Awesome Family

I still haven’t disassembled my diaper cakes, owl, or carriage because they’re so pretty!

Diaper Creations

My favorite gesture was all the books everyone brought to start baby’s library.  My friends at my weekly ceramics class also threw me a small shower. Even though I haven’t been able to paint, they still made sure I had opening gifts and eating some adorable cupcakes.

Ceramics Shower

Since the showers I’ve been spending my spare time putting together baby furniture and toys (which takes a lot longer with swollen hands)and trying to get everything in order.  I could go any day now! I actually really enjoy being pregnant. I’ve been very lucky. I didn’t get any morning sickness, and my biggest complaint is some back pain which mostly comes at night.  It’s so amazing feeling a little person dance around inside me. I think feeling the baby’s movements is what I’ll miss the most.  Of everything I’ve ever been blessed with, this baby is the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

Owls!

Last night I designed a Thanksgiving shirt to show my gratitude. I designed the shirt on my computer and printed it on iron on paper I had left over from a few other shirts I’ve made. You can buy iron on paper and print your own designs to custom make anything. The shirt may only be good for one time use,  but I love it!

Thankful

Thankful Me and Mom

Halloween Week

Happy Halloween everyone! This is a favorite holiday of mine. I love Halloween week, especially!

I’m trying not to watch scary things while I’m so pregnant (I don’t want my heart racing too much), so we’ve been watching more fun Halloween movies. Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus,  and all the fun Halloween TV show specials. Matt did try to sneak in one of the Friday the 13th movies, because I’ve never seen them, but I couldn’t stand how cheesy it was. I’m more into psychological thrillers like The Shinning or Psycho, or ghost/possession stories. Not so much the gory slasher stuff. They are always too corny. Last night we watched Adams Family Values and put together our crib, and I was thrown a work shower, complete with crafty decorations from my buddy Meg. This baby is starting to feel more and more real!

Work Shower

I worked from home on Halloween, so I was able to see all the trick-or treaters. I was surprised how many little kids loved my address pumpkin!

Address Pumpkin

Obviously I didn’t go out this year, but it didn’t stop me from dressing up. I used a Styrofoam sheet we got from the packaging from a crate to make my costume. I just cut a hole in the middle, measured out my belly, and then cut the edges in a sloppy circle shape to be an egg! I used Lilu’s costume from last year, a piggy, so we could be ham and eggs together :). If Matt didn’t have work, I’d have made him be a slice of cheese (aka himself). I made my nieces and nephew special little cauldrons of candy, complete with ghost pops. All you have to do is wrap some tissue paper around a lollipop, tie with some curling ribbon, and draw a ghost face. Aren’t we a cute bunch?

Halloween_2014

Tuesday was the season finally of my favorite (and very Halloween-esque) show, Face-Off. If you don’t watch it, you should! It’s a movie makeup competition show but with no drama or negativity, and based solely on the talent of the contestants. They even help each other even though they’re competing against each other. For the occasion, I made dinner with our baby wine.

So what’s baby wine? For my bridal shower, my bridesmaids gifted me a basket of wine. Each bottle had a special label designating the bottle for all out “first” occasions, including Christmas, new year, dinner party, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and our last bottle, our first baby.

Here’s the poem written on our baby bottle if you want to recreate it:

“The news that a baby will soon share your life
will make you a mother, not only a wife.
You’ll see it through good times and sometimes through bad,
Angela the loving mother and Matt the dearest Dad.
Sadly Matt must drink this one alone and Angela with an empty glass.
Sit back and relax; nine months will quickly pass!”

Baby Wine

Since I can’t drink the wine, and Matt didn’t want to drink the whole bottle alone and on a work night, I finally busted open our baby bottle to use in my FaceOff dinner.

I don’t really measure, but I don’t think you could mess this up.
I first sautéed spinach with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and a few cloves of diced garlic. When the spinach is nice and wilted, remove from the pan and add some more oil and a few pats of butter. When the butter us melted and hot, add a diced onion and LOTS of diced garlic. I probably used 9 maybe 10 cloves. After the onions and garlic are sautéed, add in frozen shrimp and cook until they are almost done, then remove from pan. Add about half the bottle of wine, a ladle of pasta water, and some some oregano, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, and bay leaves.

Baby Wine Dinner

Simmer away until the alcohol is burned off. Put in the pasta, shrimp, and spinach back into the pan and toss it all together with a handful of breadcrumbs and another handful of Parmesan cheese. The shrimp should finish cooking in the sauce, and you’re ready to chow down! We had some fresh mozzarella with balsamic on the side, and I pretended to be fancy with my water in a wine glass. It was great food, a great finale (my favorite contestant, Dina, won!), and a great Halloween week.
Baby Wine Dinner 2

DIY Necklace: Wearing the Beach all Year

Beach Necklaces

I grew up here, ten minutes from the beach. I can’t imagine having to plan on going to the beach. It’s something I do so casually that I still forget what a special place it is. I usually go to the beach during the week, after work, and alone. We love Island Beach State Park. If you drive past their first two bathing beaches, there is some amazing scenery. I don’t think people realize there is so much beauty right in NJ. Pictures of the walk to the ocean rival some you can find on a tropical island. I love the walk to the ocean. As you walk through the trees and sand, at first all you hear are birds. Then the smell of the ocean comes and you start to hear the sound of waves, and finally you get to the view. When I head to the beach most people are leaving it, so it’s like my own private oasis. I always keep a blanket or chair in my trunk, and if I know Matt will be late coming home from work I just head to the beach and read for an hour or two.

Walk to the Beach

But I didn’t really get to do that this summer. I was afraid of going to the beach alone. I’ve never had fainting spells or anything, but I didn’t want to risk overheating by myself while pregnant. I only went to the beach a few times, and I did have to plan around it. It made me appreciate my proximity more. I don’t think I’ll ever want to live far enough away where I have to plan a beach trip. I know that with a baby I’ll have to be more structured with my beach time next year, but I’m glad that if I ever am bored and we have nothing to do we can always walk to beach to pass the time.

Beach

September is a great time to go to the beach. There aren’t many people and the water is super warm. Matt and I went recently for no reason other than we were bored.  We collected seashells, put our feet in the water, and watched as the tiny clams and sand crabs burrowed into the sand. It made me sad that summer is pretty much over. I can still walk the beach in the fall and winter, but it’s not really the same.

SeaShells

So I’m going to wear the beach all year long. I made these simple beach bottle necklaces to keep the sand close to my heart. I found a set of tiny bottles at Michael’s. Attach the ring to the cork (You might have t trim the metal with some wire cutters. put some sand in the bottle. It’s easier to scoop the sand rather than pour it. Then I used needle nose tweezers to put in a tiny sea shell, apiece of sea glass, and a piece of faux moss (to look like seaweed). Use some leather cord as the necklace, and you viola!

beach necklace

I made a second charm as a message in  a bottle. With less sand, I added some small shells, and I wrote a note on a piece of scrap paper (I ripped the paper so the edges weren’t so straight). I realize I could have just scribbled or not have written anything at all, but I like an ocean quote for my ocean necklace. I know it’s there, after all.  My message is from Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” I rolled up the scrap and put it in my bottle. How sweet!

message in a bottle

If you don’t live near the beach, you could make your necklace with sand and shells from your favorite vacation destination and keep it close to your heart too.

Cape May and Fairy Gardens

I’m kind of sad that summer is unofficial lye over, but I can’t complain. I’ve spent the last few weekends of summer happily. A few weeks ago, Matt and I decided to go on a mini road trip down memory lane to our old Stockton stomping grounds. Normally our trips to our old college town would take us to the winery, but since only one of us can enjoy the wine, we ventured down to a Chinese take-out place we often went to through college. They have the best sweet and sour chicken ever. We continued south to Cape May where we explored the shops (where i found a lot less antiques than I expected, but some great craft ideas), walked the boardwalk, and enjoyed an indirect flashback to our alma mater again. Despite a few holes in one, I fell apart and panicked at the end of our game, and Matt beat me by 5 points.

a lovely time

Even though I lost, Matt still treated me to a beautiful had beaded bracelet in my favorite color. I can’t even tell you the shop he bought it from because there was no sign on the building.  We had dinner at an Irish pub where I, of course, ordered the butter lobster rolls, and stopped for smoothie desserts.

 Making the cake!

We also celebrated my niece Laila’s birthday. The night before the party, the kids all came over to watch the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (which they loved) and help bake Laila’s tie-dyed  cake and cookies. Everyone was in charge of mixing and poring a color.

Laila's Frozen Cake

 

They turned out great!I decorated the cake for a Frozen theme party with blue frosting and white snowflakes.

Happy Birthday Laila! Laila & Olivia, or Ana & Elsa

To add to the birthday festivities, we made a fairy garden in a hollowed out tree stump.

Fairy Veggie Garden Fairy table

We used a fairy garden kid along with a few mini items I found at Michael’s.

Adding to the fairy garden All the kids helped

I glued floral pins to the bottoms of everything to stake them into the ground.

Welcome Fairies!

The only thing left to do is plant some pretty fall flowers. with a hideaway like this, fairies are bound to make this their new home!

Fairy Garden!

 

Gardening Wreath

I’ve been behind posting my wreaths, but here is my gardening wreath I made to hang before and after my flag wreath.

Gardeoning Wreath 2

So cute! The base of the wreath is a 10ft. leader hose in a wire wreath. You also need twine, gardening gloves, flowers of your choice, and a toy gardening kit.

Use twine to tie the hose in a circle.

Then tie the hose into the concave part of the wire wreath.  You can add a dab of hot glue for reinforcement. You can also cover the twine with the flowers and gardening tools.

tie to wire wreath

 

The flowers I chose pop right off their stems.

pop flowers off stems

 

Just hot glue them onto the hose.

 

The base of the flowers fit nicely in the hose crease.

 

flowers!

For the opposite side, I used the gloves and the toy kit. The handles are bulky and hard to attach, so I unscrewed the heads off the shovel and hoe.

detach heads from handles

I screwed just the heads together and used glue because I didn’t have a small enough washer.

use glue as a washer

Tie the toy tools to the hose.

tie down tool heads 

Glue the gloves down to cover that the handles were removed.

glue down gloves

The toy kit I bought had flower markers, so I used white nail polish to write in some flowers before I glue them in.

sprinkle in flower tabs

Finished! And adorable! Happy gardening!

Gardening Wreath

 

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