Wednesday, November 27, 2019

even more sewing fun

i've been having a ball sewing through some of my cooler weather fabrics over the last couple of weeks.  i still don't have a picture of the old lady in the fabulous stretch corduroy bell bottoms she asked for, but i did make her this super soft chenille sweater that she's already worn a couple of times:


i tried to recreate a dress that the bean wore recently in a different color for family pictures.  as far as the actual style, i pretty much nailed it...too bad the fabric i picked up at joann's didn't drape quite right.  and this is the only picture i got of her trying it on:


and then i decided to try a short-sleeved version of a top i'd already made for myself in a different color.  this pattern is turning out to be one of my favorites. and don't mind the mess in the background.  the hub'll probably kill me for it, but honestly...anyone who sews or crafts knows, the only time your workspace is actually clean is - well, huh.  never?


and lest you think my projects are always a success, let me tell you - i bust out the seam ripper on a pretty regular basis.  sometimes i'm on a roll, sewing away happily and get a little too cocky...and end up sewing a neckband on backwards.  d-oh!


i'd been hoarding that fabric for a year, waiting for the right pattern to use it on, and i was so mad when i realized what i'd done.  and sweater knit is so hard to seam rip.  gah!  and so instead of ripping it out and reattaching it, i just folded the band over, sewed it down and it was totally fine.  i'd show you if i'd actually taken a picture but i didn't, so there.

i spent a good chunk of yesterday working on something i don't have much experience with - baby clothes.  my favorite barre instructor is expecting a little boy in january, and so i decided to put together a little present for her.  i'm pretty sure i giggled the whole time i worked on these pieces, because they're so cute and tiny.  i did everything in a 3-month size, and let me tell you...trying to sew cuffs on teeny-tiny sleeves and hemming itty-bitty pants is not the easiest.  still, i'm pretty stoked over how they all turned out.

the cutest little cardigan (which i almost sewed pockets on until i stopped and thought about how incredibly unnecessary pockets are for a 3-month-old):


here's the tiniest raglan top i'll probably ever make:


little pants to match:


and a little beanie with (slightly misshapen) mouse ears, because why not:


this little outfit is probably my favorite thing i've sewn up in a long time.


looking at the weather forecast for the next ten days, i think i'm going to get going on more sweater knit tops and cardigans.  i've got a lot of super soft, snuggly material that's begging to be sewn up into staples i'll likely wear often over the next couple of months.  i'd better get started!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

photos, friends, food. all the ffffffffs.

as soon as we got home from competition, i switched into party prep mode.  we were hosting our first "friendsgiving" with the bean's BFFs and their families, and while i was super excited to have everyone over to hang out and celebrate the coming holidays i knew we had a ton of work to do.  with the girls' help i'd managed to tackle 99% of the shopping, and so we all got started on picking up around the house and making it look pretty for the party.

just like we used to with our girl scout troop, we'd all decided to make this into a multicultural potluck.  my plan was to make some pancit, lumpia and puto to represent for my own homeland, and the hub had originally asked me to do a turkey ("because i'm white, duh").  but knowing that i was going to be cooking another turkey just a few days later on thanksgiving, i got him to let me switch the entree to a prime rib roast instead.  i mean...any excuse for prime rib, amirite?  heh.

but i knew i needed to get a head start on that lumpia, because it required a lot more prep that i knew i wouldn't have time to do the next day.  so i got to work on shredding carrots and mincing shrimp to mix up the filling, and then i sat down at the table with a package of lumpia wrappers and got started on rolling those bad boys up.  it was super time consuming, but after what seemed like 16 hours i was finally done.


i made a couple of batches of the puto as well before we all headed out to grab some dinner at a local ramen spot.  there was still plenty to do, but it had been a long day and everyone was pretty pooped, so we all hit the sack to rest up for the next day.

and because i'm a glutton for punishment, i'd booked our family photo shoot for the next morning.  it actually wasn't bad because we were going to try a studio session this time around, and we were doing a mini session which meant we were only scheduled for 30 minutes.  it's the perfect amount of time, and we only had maybe a 15 minute drive.  we got ourselves cleaned up and out the door, and the studio was just as lovely as i'd seen in the picture our photographer posted on instagram.  these aren't actual sneak peeks, but it's all i took in the little time we were there.



and yes...teddy and cocoa were there too.  they were amazingly well-behaved for most of the shoot, which was pretty surprising.  i cannot wait to see these pictures.


once we got home, it was time to get ready for our friends.  we changed out of those pretty clothes and went right to work.  i got the prime rib in the oven while i worked on assembling hors d'oeuvres, cooking the pancit and getting the table ready.  the hub made a quick home depot/home goods run for more table decorations to complement the few pieces i'd found, and along with the fabulous custom-made place cards i'd ordered from my friend delovely details we had ourselves quite a festive friendsgiving setting.



he'd also made our new backyard couch extra festive with some fun pillows and a blanket:


and then just before everyone was scheduled to arrive i got started on frying up that lumpia.  i'd asked him if there was a way i could cook it outside to avoid stinking up the house, and so he set me up on the barbecue like this:


it was perfect.  while the first batch was cooking the old lady's BFF rock-ell arrived...and we finally got to meet junior, her baby boy.


there was tons of food, and these were just the appetizers we put out.  our friends brought even more, plus their own entrees and desserts.  we definitely didn't have a shortage of food, that's for sure.


as with pretty much every other party we host here, i was so busy trying to make sure everything was in place and socializing with everyone that i didn't take a lot of pictures.  although i guess that's good anyway, right?  it's always best to just spend time with everyone and live in the moment.  and we definitely did that.  we sat down together to share a prayer and give thanks for our friends, and then from there it was time to chow down.


while the adults hung out and drinking wine and laughing and sharing stories, the girls had a blast just being together.  the pie face game did make an appearance, and it was hilarious to watch them get up from their seats one by one with whipped cream all over their faces.


i'm kind of bummed that i didn't gather everyone for at least one group photo, but that's okay.  we had so much fun that we pulled out our phones to pick a date for another gathering to celebrate christmas...in less than a month.  wowzers.  but we're ready.  bring on those holidays!

Monday, November 25, 2019

guess who's back...back again

i think that's the longest break from blogging i've taken in like ten years.  sheesh.

but i'm back!  i'm sure you missed me.  or not.  i don't know.  anyway, cheer competition season started this weekend.  yay!  and we got off easy for our first one...with our other comps out in vegas, san diego and phoenix we got to start off just a half hour way - in anaheim.

because comp mornings are always a little hectic, we'd booked a room at the anaheim hilton for the night before.  it's right next to the anaheim convention center, which made for a super easy and stress-free day.  the team had practice that night, so the bean and i packed up all of our stuff and then headed on down to anaheim as soon as it was over.  we stopped at an am/pm for some water and snacks and picked up some burgers at carl's jr. next door, and then we checked into our room to relax and eat.


the old lady and her special friend joined us a little while later, and we all passed out fairly early.  the next morning, we ordered up some room service breakfast.  the bean went with the "mouse-inspired" waffle...guess they'd gotten into some hot water from disney when they'd used mickey's name on their menu.



the bean had just taken home her new makeup kit a few days ago and i wasn't totally sure how the coaches wanted their makeup to look this year, so i'd put her on the list to have them do it for her.  and she's so excited because they changed up the hairstyle too - no more gigantic teased ponytail!  no more heavy, uncomfortable hairpiece!  this year their hair is much sleeker and simpler...two french braids.  but there was some sort of snafu with the uniforms, which hadn't arrived in time for this first competition.  and so i'd had to go up into the attic to dig out last season's ensemble and hope that it still fit her (it did).

while the old lady and her special friend headed downstairs to grab coffee at the starbucks, i got her dressed, packed up her sparkly new comp shoes and went upstairs to drop her off in the coach's suite. a lot of the girls were already there, dressed and made up and ready to go, and once everyone was ready they all walked down to take a group photo and find seats in the arena.

the kids and i hung out in the room sipping our coffee and relaxing until it was time to go downstairs, and then we loaded our bags into the car and headed over to buy our event wristbands.



it was pretty crowded in there already, and so we found seats way up in the nosebleed section.  we could see the girls from where we were sitting.


as usual, they were running about 20 minutes behind schedule and so it was a good hour and a half before the girls finally took the stage.  i headed down to the sidelines to watch, and cheered as i tried to watch them while taking still photos (knowing that the old lady and the hub were upstairs taking video from a higher, better vantage point).  i love watching her perform, and the dance portion of their routine is always her favorite part.  she's always beaming during this part, and i'm so happy that she's right in the middle for it.




from where i was watching, it seemed like they'd managed to nail the routine...but i found out later that a couple of girls had wobbled a little during a couple of the stunts.  nothing major, but enough for the judges to deduct points from their score.  i found them just outside of the arena, and hugged my girl and told her what a great job they'd all done.  she'd been so nervous.


they were among the last few teams to perform for that session, and the awards ceremony started not much after they walked off the mats.  they headed down to find a spot near the floor along with all of the other teams to wait for their division to be announced.


there'd been five teams total in their division, and the one that they'd anticipated as being their biggest competition had done a pretty outstanding job with their routine.  and so we weren't too surprised to hear that they'd taken second place.  but everyone was really happy to have placed in the top three, and we were all super proud of them.


i got her to take a picture next to one of the many christmas trees back at the hilton before we headed on out to hop into the car and go home.


and now they go back and practice even harder for the next competition.  next up, vegas in december.  get ready, sin city.  the girls are comin' for ya.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

it's beginning to look a lot like...thanksmas

i'm feeling like a bit of a broken record lately, guys.  like - there's always stuff going on around here and it seems like we're always busy, but nothing really to report on.  or, maybe it's more that whatever we're up to doesn't really require photographs to share.  i dunno, man.

the bean's cheer showcase was on saturday, and it was fun - her lola came out to watch  and spend the night with us afterwards.  of course, since competition season hasn't officially begun for us yet their routines still need to be kept under wraps.  and so while i took a video of their performance, it was really just so that she could see it for herself and be able to see how it'll look to the judges and the audience and look for what she can improve on.  their uniforms aren't in yet either, but they do have their competition shoes and that's pretty much all i get to show you...for now.


we're also gearing up for our annual family photo shoot, which is a little late this year but will be kinda cool because instead of our usual outdoor location we booked a studio session.  and we're taking the puppies with us too, and so the old lady and i found cute sweaters for them to wear.


she spent a little time bonding with teddy that afternoon too.  they were deep in conversation, which lasted about three seconds before he spotted something shiny across the room and went off in search of it.


and while we do have our fall/thanksgiving decor out still, the christmas decorations are slowly but surely making themselves comfy in the house.  because thanksgiving is so late this year the season is going to be even shorter than usual and so we're just kind of soaking it all in while we can.  we're hosting a friendsgiving gathering on sunday, so the house is going to be a fun mixture of festivity.  we had fun last night getting started on some lego decorations too - this is mrs. claus:


today's goal is to find and bring home a turkey that i'll be cooking on sunday.  and then i'll also need a second turkey to serve next thursday.  two turkeys in less than a week...happy holidays to me!

Friday, November 15, 2019

the calm before the storm

it's been a week, guys.  nothing particularly extra to report, and just kind of working through my emotions over yet another school shooting.  it's all just so much to process, and my heart goes out to the entire community of santa clarita.

on a happier note, the bean made the principal's list for her first trimester of junior high.  she earned straight As (and mostly A+ at that) despite juggling cheer, 4x/week sessions at mathnasium, girl scouts, weekly bible study and her mother's constant nagging.  i was a little annoyed that the school didn't notify me that she was receiving this during the awards assembly, and when another parent complained on their facebook page their response pretty much boiled down to "the assembly has been on the calendar and you got their report card so you should have known."

well, i did see the report card.  and i did know there was an awards assembly.  but we're new to the junior high thing and every other year they've always sent out an email to let us know that our kid was going to get an award so that we could plan to be there if we were able.  oh well.  the award doesn't mean any less without me there to see her accept it.


the hub and i have made it a new tradition to take her to school together on friday mornings, packing the dogs up into the truck and heading to school for drop-off.  we pull in, she hops out, the dogs cry for a few minutes over her absence and then we head to the starbucks drive thru for some caffeine.  it makes for a nice way to kick off the weekend.


speaking of the dogs, they decided to create themselves a nice new doggy door when they busted right through the screen door in our bedroom.  d-oh!


the bean has her cheer showcase this weekend, an extra couple of hours of practice and then their first competition next weekend.  the competition season is upon us, which means we're going to be pretty busy almost every weekend from now through march.

give me strength.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

yet another santa sighting

a couple of weeks ago, my buddy lilcee alerted me to a fun freebie sponsored by lifetime - yes, the home of cheesy ass romance and holiday movies.  to celebrate the kickoff of the holiday season, they were giving away free portrait packages with santa at local malls, and you know how i love me some free stuff.  she'd found it pretty early, so we still had our pick of most dates and times.  i figured it'd probably be good to go on a weekday to hopefully avoid crowds, and scheduled ours for the bean's next day off from school...which ended up being on veteran's day.

the closest location for the promo was in glendale at the galleria, and so we hopped in the car and headed out to check in for our 11:30 appointment time.  and just as i'd hoped, there were just a couple of groups in front of us in line.


as we waited, i teased the girls about how i was going to stand behind the photographer and make noises and silly faces to get them to smile like i used to when they were little.  they were...not super amused.  and then when it was our turn, they headed over and sat down on either side of santa - who, let's just say, seemed a little less than excited to be there.  he wasn't exactly jolly, he didn't really talk to the girls and i just reminded myself that you get what you pay for.  and that we could still see santa when we finally get to disneyland for more holiday fun.


the free package included a bunch of prints that i don't know what i'll do with, plus the free digital download which is really all i was after anyway.  and after we walked around the mall for a bit, we headed outside and crossed over to the americana to find a snack and do some more browsing.  we tried to grab something to drink at coffee bean, but ended up walking out empty-handed since the folks in front of us wanted to inquire about the details of every single drink on the menu.  ugh.  instead, we headed to the laduree kiosk and picked out macarons to nibble on.


what we were really in the mood for was afternoon tea.  and while we couldn't get into chado tea room in pasadena, which is our usual go-to, we were able to get a table just across the seat at tea rose garden.



while this isn't our top pick for tea, we were happy to be able to find somewhere with last minute availability.  and everything was tasty and filling, so we weren't complaining.  the old lady and i both got the "rose" tea, which included a salad plus finger sandwiches, a scone, dessert bites and our choice of tea.


the bean wasn't super excited about the sandwich options, so she went for the children's version instead and had strawberry nutella sandwiches with a chocolate chip scone, a tiny cream puff, a fruit cup and her own pot of tea.


it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.  none of us could remember the last time the three of us had gone to tea together, so maybe i'll look around for another spot to take them sometime during the holidays.  maybe even disneyland hotel.  hmmmmmm.
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