Wednesday, October 31, 2018

so much halloween crafting

so i've been MIA all week, mainly because it's been a little crazy trying to get ready for halloween.

i don't even really LIKE halloween.  the bean's school doesn't even celebrate it.  but she definitely picks a costume every year and goes trick-or-treating with friends every october 31st. 

this year, she waffled between dressing as a masterchef jr. contestant (which would have been so easy because i could've just bought a basic apron and embroidered the logo and her name on it) and what i consider to be a pretty damn obscure character from a disney XD show that she loves.  this is star, from "star vs. the forces of evil."


i thought i totally had her convinced that the masterchef jr. idea was way better, but of course she decided just last week that she really wanted to be star.  i really didn't want to make the costume myself and so we turned to amazon to find it.  they came through with this dress, which came with the little star-shaped bag, headband and tights:


we, of course, put off opening the package and trying it on until the day of her cheer team's halloween party.  and that's when we discovered that while we'd used her actual measurements to choose a size, the dress didn't really work.  while we were able to get it on her, the proportions were all off and it just looked a little...funky.  faced with no other options - at least, none that she was willing to wear - she went ahead and wore the costume anyway. 

later on, she mentioned to the hub that she'd really wanted to have star's wand as it's apparently a pretty important piece of the ensemble (even though it's not in that picture up there).  she'd tried to hit me up for it too, but the only one i could find on amazon was $40, and i just wasn't having it.  nor was i shelling out the $80 for the boots that went with the costume.  we googled for some other ideas for that wand, and found someone's DIY version pictured next to the one from the show:


the old lady took one look at that thing and lit up.  "i'll make it for you!" she said.  and so after we dropped the bean off at school on monday and finished our workout, we headed to michaels to pick up the supplies to make the wand.  and because i'm a sucker, we also drove out to alhambra so that i could buy some cotton lycra fabric in just the right color so that i could recreate that damn dress.  SUCKER.

when we got home, i got started on mixing some molding paste with purple acrylic paint to create the main part of the wand.


meanwhile, the old lady got started on cutting out foam sheets into wings and a butterfly and molding a star out of air dry clay.


she asked me to work on the crown piece that goes on top, and after a little squishing and pressing and molding, i had this:


while we worked, stevie/bolt ran around underneath our feet, trying to make friends with mollydog through the screen door and enjoying some playtime before collapsing onto the grass in the sun.


once the clay pieces were sufficiently dry, we started painting them.


we used a hot glue gun to put everything together, and pretty soon we were done.


she was STOKED.


that night, i worked on recreating the dress in that nice, stretchy fabric that i knew would be much more comfortable for her to wear.  i totally winged that collar (and it shows, ha), added what amounted to almost 7 yards of scalloped lace trim to the hem and sleeves, cut out vinyl for the octopus and pressed it on, and voila:


a trip to the halloween store while she was at her math tutor yielded a blonde wig for her to wear:


and we even managed to find just enough time for her to put together an entry for the class pumpkin decorating contest.  she really wanted to recreate that mickey pumpkin i'd done a couple of weeks ago, but because it was so labor intensive and time consuming, i talked her into doing a unicorn instead.  i showed her a video i'd found on facebook, gave her all of the supplies and left her to work on it while i finished up her dress.  i'd say she did a pretty darn good job:


i can't wait to see her put all of her costume pieces together later today.  i don't have a costume to wear myself, but i guess it doesn't really matter anyway, does it?  heh.

Friday, October 26, 2018

girl scouts 4 lyfe

it's red ribbon week, and while the bean's school doesn't do the whole dressing-in-theme every day thing, they did give the kids the option to wear red one day.  i'd gone to target to pick up a plain red top for her to wear, along with a khaki skirt for the girl scouts rededication ceremony we were attending that evening.  i giggled a little when she tried them on for me, because with both pieces put together she looked like she was getting ready for a shift as a target cashier or something.


i halfheartedly tried to convince her to wear it for halloween, but she wasn't nearly as amused as i was.  kids these days.

a couple of hours later, she was ready for the ceremony.  it's amazing to me how much she's grown since she started girl scouts.  i mean, look at this...only four years ago (also, the pose still kills me):


and now.


two of her besties are in the new troop as well, and i'm glad we were able to keep at least a few of the girls together from our old troop.


these troop leaders have their shit to-geth-er.  unlike us, their troop is steeped in girl scout traditions.  they're ultra organized and participate in everything available to them and do things in a very traditional way.  attending their meetings always makes me feel like the biggest slacker troop leader.  heh.  although i know our girls had a blast when we were a troop, and i have to admit that although i don't miss dealing with the service unit and council and stupid politics, i really miss the meetings with the girls and all the fun we used to have together.

anyway, the meeting started off with the usual stuff...pledge of allegiance, girl scout promise, etc.  and then they moved on with a short bio of juliette gordon low, founder of the girl scouts and whose birthday is on 10/31.  scouts celebrate her birthday in some way every year.


and then the rededication ceremony started, consisting of the leaders kicking off the recitation of the girl scout law line by line, lighting a candle for each one.  two girls were called up at a time to recite the rest of the laws and light the candles.  it was all very official.


after she'd done her candle, she did the official girl scout handshake with one of the leaders, who then handed her a rededication certificate.


now, because she's on two teams with her cheer squad this year, she's not able to attend a good number of the regular meetings.  luckily she isn't the only one who's faced a situation like this and i've heard that the leaders are fantastic at helping the girls keep up with the troop by doing badge work at home and having them attend when they can.  for the bean, that won't be until about mid-february.

that's okay, though.  i'm just happy that she's still in a troop and still happy to be a girl scout.  and we'll be working towards a trip to san francisco over spring break for the bridging ceremony.  it's going to be so cool for them to walk across the golden gate bridge to signify their transition from junior girl scouts to cadettes.

looks like we'll be ramping up our cookie sales goals again.  watch out.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

it's a dog-eat-dog world

even before the old lady and her special friend made their big move into their first apartment together, they were already talking about adopting a pet.  the old lady has always wanted a cat, although after our visit to the cat cafe a couple of months ago she came to the realization that maybe she really wasn't much of a cat lady after all.  and her special friend has always been more of a dog fan, so they decided to start casually looking at what was available at the local shelters.

and then they decided that things were still a little too hectic as they were getting settled into their new place and figuring everything out, and the dog got put on hold for a bit.

while they were on their hawaiian vacation last month, they revisited the topic and decided that since they'd blown all of their vacation days for a while and wouldn't be going away anytime soon, maybe it was a good time to look again and see what their options were.  they knew they couldn't have a big dog, especially in a second floor apartment, and thought maybe a dachshund, a terrier  or a chihuahua mix of some sort would be a great addition to their little household.

she texted me one afternoon and said that they'd fallen in love with the cutest little terrier mix who'd been brought to the pasadena humane society.  he was still a puppy, not quite a year old, and the previous owner had decided after just two days that he wasn't the right match for their family.  the poor little thing had some anxiety issues, but had warmed up to both of them within just a few minutes.  she was ready to take him home right then and there, but after some discussion they ended up leaving without him.  the lady who was helping them told them that if they changed their minds they could call to see if he was still available when they opened again a couple of days later.

of course, they regretted not taking him home as soon as they left, but the office had closed by then and they had to wait two long days before they could go back to get him.  the old lady asked me to come with her to pasadena bright and early after dropping off the bean at school, and so we headed out to fight rush hour traffic and get to the humane society when they opened their doors at 9:00.


there was already a line of people there when we arrived, even though we were a good 15 minutes early.  a staffer came out and had everyone sign in, offering applications for adoption to those who hadn't yet completed one.  and it seemed that everyone who was there had already turned one in and knew exactly which pet they were there to adopt.


sadly, when it was the old lady's turn, we found out that their puppy had been adopted later in the afternoon on the day they'd met him.  she was so upset and i felt so bad for her, and then we headed out into the kennels to check out the other dogs available for adoption and she seemed to cheer up a little...especially when she walked up to this super cute little guy who was really excited to see her.


they had met him the other day too, and it turned out that he was a stray who had been brought in just days before.  they have to keep strays for a certain amount of time, to allow anyone who might be their owner to come and claim them.  she talked to the office to see when he would be available for adoption, and then we left.

she called the office again the day before he became available, only to find out that there were four other families who'd expressed interest in taking him home.  adoption is done on a first-come, first-served basis and we'd already seen how busy that particular humane society is even on a random weekday morning.  and so to avoid disappointment, they decided to go back together and go through the kennels in search of a friend who was available to go home right away.

that's when they found stevie.  and through a somewhat convoluted string of events, they ended up having to leave him there one more day because the office had closed by the time they left the kennels to start the adoption process.  but the next day, they raced over right after work and pretty soon my phone buzzed with their first family photo:


he's still a puppy too, estimated to be around 14 months old, and he's some sort of chihuahua mix.  mixed with what exactly, we're not sure.  they seem to think maybe he's got a bit of corgi in him.  anyway, he had also been returned by some dude who took him home and then realized that he was going to have to leave him alone for 12-14 hours every day while he was at work.  sheesh.

when i finally got to meet him, he was pretty skittish and took a little while to warm up to me and let me pet him.  but he's going to learn to love me.  because, duh.

the bean and i went over to their place one evening, invited to share a home cooked meal by the old lady, and she was super excited to meet stevie.  as with me, he didn't play with her right away, but she exercised some patience and eventually he came over to let her love him.  he hung out down by our feet as we ate, and this is when i realized that he looks exactly like bolt, from the disney movie.


i'm campaigning real hard for them to change his name.  because come on...he's clearly a bolt!  we'll see.  i'm still working on it.  i'm prepared to lose though, so he'll just have a secret second name with me.  heh.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

the final, final recap of the bean's birthday bash, 11.0

so, the bean's birthday.  yeah yeah, it's been over two weeks now and i'm still screwing around with the final recap.  i skimmed through that memory card from the photographer, checking out the roughly 2,600 photos she took in three hours' time, and finally just started earmarking some of the ones i liked best.

we'd booked some surprise vendors for the party that the bean didn't know a thing about, and i was super excited when the first one arrived.  she started setting up on the patio, laying out a tarp and creating a play area with a portable gate she'd brought with her before bringing in the crates that contained ten sweet puppies for us to play with.


the old lady and i did our best to keep the bean distracted with random party errands, but once those puppies were in the back yard there was no mistaking the sounds of their playful barking.  the bean heard it right away and lit up like a christmas tree when she realized what was happening.


she made her way to the door and the hub's idea of keeping it all a secret during the party planning process paid off with this face:


with guests due to start arriving any moment, she dropped that box of plastic flatware and made her way into the pen to have a little birthday girl alone time with all ten doggies.


and as her friends started to arrive, they got a briefing of some basic rules before stepping inside to have some playtime.



i knew the old lady was dying to get in there too, but she waited until all of the kids had had a turn before happily climbing over the gate and finding a empty spot to sit for a bit.


i was crazed with hosting duties, greeting everyone, making sure the kids all made a beeline for the puppy pen as we only had them for an hour (which went by in a flash).  but the puppy lady was nice enough to make sure i got a few minutes of cuddle time with one of our fluffiest, sweetest visitors.


as the kids tired of playing with the dogs and started checking things out, they took in all of the other fun stuff we had available, like this:


and this (the candy buffet was adorned with the most awesome wooden cut-out of the bean's name by my friend delovely details, i wish i could show it off!):


and this.


the moms were particularly interested in this:


and as the puppies were packed up and taken away to their next engagement, the party shifted over to the waiting pool.  it was a overcast, cooler day - but the kids didn't hesitate for a second once they stripped down to their swimsuits.




they frolicked in the warm water for a good long time, giving us time to get lunch picked up and set out on the tables inside the house.






they'd all worked up quite an appetite by then, so it wasn't hard to get them to come out to dry off and make themselves plates of food.  the bean had requested hawaiian bbq again, which was a big hit.  there was a huge tray of spam musubi, plus hawaiian bbq chicken and kalua pork with rice and macaroni salad.  and once they'd grabbed some grub, they spread their towels out on the astroturf picnic-style and enjoyed lunch with their friends.


as they were finishing up, the next surprise vendor arrived and started setting up.  the bean had found the original slime co. on our first 626 night market visit of the summer, and after checking out the slime for sale had picked up one of their business cards.  "mom, they do parties!" she said.  and after dodging her questions over the following weeks, she caught my eye and beamed with happiness when she recognized the logo on the vendor's t-shirt.



before we let the kids get started on making their slime, we gathered everyone around to sing the birthday song and get them all hopped up on cake.




and i made my family stop for a second so we could get one nice picture together.


my gram was funny, just kind of staying out on the sidelines and watching all the action from afar.


meanwhile, the kids were in seventh heaven as they made their first batch of marshmallow-scented slime.



the "kids."


i'm not sure what happened to put this look on her face...


their second batch of slime was watermelon-scented, with black glitter for the "seeds."


they even had these awesome containers to keep their goods safe and dirt-free.


meanwhile, the parents were super amused watching their kids with that slime.  some were old pros who could have taught a master class, a few had never been allowed to make it at home and shockingly enough, we only had one episode that required some cleanup.  and the funniest part to me was watching my mom and aunt get their slime on once the kids had cleaned up and jumped back into the pool.  "this is so relaxing," my mom was overheard to have said.


so between the puppies, pool, slime, photo booth, food and treats...it was one hell of a party.  i didn't even do a ton of decorating for it like we've done for other parties, and yet it seemed like the most elaborate.  despite all of the other shenanigans we've pulled in the name of the bean's birthday in the past, i'm pretty sure this one is the one to beat.  a year may not be enough time to figure out what to do for the next shindig.

god help me.
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