Happy Halloween: Ready for Take-off with My Little Astronaut!

During the early summer, my little girl proclaimed, “I’m going to be an astronaut for Halloween!” Like most children, I figured she’d change her mind, especially since Halloween was about a half year away, but each time I’d ask, she’d say, “I want to be an astronaut, Mommy! I want to be an astronaut when I grow up!” Finding her costume was no problem, but figuring out what I was going to be as our family theme was a bit tricky.

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A Quick Selfie with My Little Astronaut before Trick or Treating

Last year, she was Doc McStuffins, and I was Lambie, so I wanted to keep with the idea of not wearing the east costumes but having them be related. I thought about being an alien that my three year old encountered. Then I considered being a planet. As I mentioned it to my mom around August, she said, “How about being a rocket?!””A rocket!” I pondered. I really liked the idea. After getting the “thumbs up” from my daughter, I immediately started looking for costumes and ideas. Unfortunately, I came up empty with finding an adult-size rocket costume, so I put my creative skills to the test again, as I did last year with my Lambie costume, and decided to make a rocket dress.

 

I purchased the silver fabric and tulle from Joann Fabric, using 20 percent off coupons, of course and then watched a few youtube videos on making a basic dress. Then it occurred to me, “Why not use one of my maxi dresses as a template for creating the dress pattern” Even though I sewed the dress by hand, having the template from my maxi dress worked out perfectly and made the process much easier and quicker.

To create the flame, I used a combination of red, yellow and orange tulle and fabric, interchanging the colors and materials on an one fourth inch elastic band. Once that part was done, I used a hot glue gun to attach it to the dress. I was able to get the NASA logo online and print it on iron-on paper for the dress.

The next step was making a pointed hat as the rocket tip using some of the excess silver fabric. I was able to use some poster board I had from a previous project and opened up a party hat from Quinn’s birthday to get an idea of how I should cut and form the hat. Once that was done, I hot glued and stapled the fabric to the poster board then added blue rhinestones to sell out “USA.”

Even though the design of them was fun and easy to construct, making the wings was more tricky than I anticipated because I had to account for my body measurement to make the straps the appropriate size. I though elastic would work but found that the velcro straps I used to adhere them kept detaching. After giving it some thought, I decided to start all over and used overall fasteners so that the straps could be adjustable as needed. This worked out perfectly.

While designing and putting together this costume took a lot of thought, time and effort, I’m happy with the end result because it put a smile on Quinn’s face! We attended a party of the weekend, and many people loved our complementary costumes. My little girl even commented, “You’re my rocket because I’m the astronaut, Mommy!” Though she meant this literally, it can also be applied figuratively. Even when she is controlling her own destination, I am always willing to be the vehicle or means to help her reach to the moon, stars and beyond.

It was awesome to receive several compliments on our costumes and to big a “kid” again with my little girl trick or treating this evening. Our Halloween this year is out of this world!

All the best,

Tanya

 

What Would We Do Without It Wednesdays: Hairstyles for Little Girls

While having a little girl is fantastic, doing her hair can not only be a struggle but quite time consuming too. “Is it time to get my hair done?” my soon-to-be three year old inquires. When Quinn was just a little over one years old, I posted a blog entry regarding the strategies I employ when doing her hair entitled, “It’s My Hair, and I’ll Cry if I Want Too Baby!”. Almost two years later, she’s far more patient and will even make requests. “I want three ponytails Mommy: two in the front and one in the back!” This was actually my favorite hairstyle when I was younger.

Having go-to hairstyles is great because over time I’m able to do them much quicker, but I must admit that I sometimes dread having to do my little girl’s hair every day for a half hour to even an hour. This is when I am so grateful for people who post Youtube videos and pictures on the braiding styles they’ve done for their little girls. I’m no braiding expert, but I’m very proud with the progress I’ve been making with doing Quinn’s hair. When I finish, she’s so excited. “Can I look in the mirror to see my hair Mommy?” Of course I say, “Yes.” Then without my prompting, she will say, “I love my new hairstyle Mommy! I have to show daddy how cute my hair looks!” She especially loves when I put beads in her hair. I think she likes the jingly sound.

It makes me feel good knowing that my braiding skills are steadily  improving. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I’m sure my daughter appreciates them too.

All the best,

Tanya

Making Easter Eggs to “Dye” for with My Little Girl

When I was younger, I loved dying eggs with my mom for Easter. Now, I’m able to keep the cherished tradition alive with my little girl. There’s so many styles from which to choose instead of the basic color dye, but I wanted something that was not too messy yet fun for my soon-to-be three year old. At Target, one of our favorite stores, we located a decorating kit to transform the eggs into zoo and circus animals for five dollars. Quinn enjoyed dying the eggs but really loved decorating them as animals, as did I.

Now, there’s one major problem. They’re so adorable that I don’t think my husband, Quinn or I can bring ourselves to eat them. It’s a good thing that we only decorated four as animals and left the rest in plain colors. It looks like it’s going to be a Happy Easter for our new egg friends: the tiger, zebra, giraffe and elephant. Happy Easter to you and your family.

All the best,

Tanya

On the Eighth Day of Christmas My Toddler Gave to Me…Christmas Fun with My Little One

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Quinn is ready to get started!

On the eighth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me joy selecting a Christmas tree,  memorable moments decorating, festive and fun goofing around, partying all night, excitement while visiting Santa Claus, counting down the days, happiness at Sesame Place and bonding time making our own tree! I’ve always loved doing special art projects in school, and though my two and a half year old is not in day school, I want to ensure that she has the experience of doing special art projects for the holiday. Since she loves the Christmas tree, having her make one herself was a perfect idea. I had a vision of what I wanted us to create together, and we were able to get most of the materials from Target: green tissue paper, green shredded paper, colorful pom pom balls in multiple sizes, puffy red garland and a gold bow. We already had the construction paper,  Modge Podge matte finish and scissors.

We used an 11 x 17 green construction paper. I folded it in half and cut the paper on an angle to make the triangular tree. I thin folded and cut up the tissue paper in rectangular pieces. Then, Quinn took over the project by applying Modge Podge to the tree a little at a time with her sponge then placing the tissue paper on top. To give the tree some texture, we added the shredded green paper with a little more Modge Podge Glue. After allowing the tree to dry, we then added the red garland with glue and taped the backs to make sure it was secure. Then, we added the pom pom balls as ornaments. Once everything was dry, we put the tree on red construction paper as a backing and then added the gold bow as the star. This was a fun project for us both, and now we have two trees for Christmas!

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Our work is displayed on Quinn’s special frame for all to see.

All the best,

Tanya

Here’s a slide show of our project below:

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Thanks to My Toddler, Our Super Grover Pumpkin Won the Contest!

Quinn at the Pumpkin Contest with Super Grover

Quinn at the Pumpkin Contest with Super Grover

Last week, I posted entries all about the autumn fun my two year old daughter and I have been having. One of them was about painting and decorating our pumpkin we got from our pumpkin patch excursion to look like Super Grover from Sesame Street. Initially, we just did it as a fun activity and selected Grover as Quinn’s favorite character, but then, my college sent out an advertisement for a pumpkin decorating contest, so I thought it would be wonderful to enter our pumpkin and for Quinn to come up to the school to see the other pumpkins too. I was not sure what to expect, but there were some great pumpkins that certainly gave our Super Grover some competition: a gumboil machine, tin man and cowardly lion and even a pirate ship. Quinn eagerly pointed to all of the different pumpkins and was really fascinated by the one right next to ours which was a huge carved pumpkin that she referred to as the scary one winking at her. Though I was nervous about where would we place in the contest, Quinn was just happy to be there. Actually, we managed to get first place for funnest pumpkin and won a $50 gift card, which was a great surprise. It felt so nice to have our hard work acknowledged. I am already excited about what we may do next year and looking forward to this becoming a tradition for Quinn and me.

All the best,

Tanya

Halloween Fun with Mother and Daughter Doc McStuffins and Lambie Costumes

Doc McStuffins and Lambie/Mother and Daughter Costumes

Doc McStuffins and Lambie/Mother and Daughter Costumes

Mommy and Quinn Lambie and DocI truly do enjoy having a child; one reason is because we have formed such a special bond in such a short duration of time. Another is that she brings out the child in me. While some people stick up their noses at the idea of parent and child dressing alike or think it’s corny, I’m one of those mothers who loves having coordinating outfits with my daughter. They usually are not identical, but there is a color theme or character theme uniting them.

Halloween is an excellent opportunity to display that mother/daughter bond. Last year, Quinn and I were super heroes to get the most out of the costumes from her first birthday party with a super hero theme; she was Super Quinn, and I was Super Mom. This year, Quinn wanted to be Doc McStuffins, so I, of course, had to be Lambie, Doc McStuffins’ helpful stuffed toy lamb and friend. Yesterday, Quinn and I went to The Please Touch Museum’s Halloween Monster Mash Bash donning our costumes. Though we spotted two other Doc McStuffins, we were the only Doc and Lambie duo and received several compliments on our costumes; there were even a few people who asked if they could take a picture of us.

While I was able to find and purchase Quinn’s Doc McStuffins costume at a local Halloween store, with a 20 percent off coupon of course, mine was not as easy. I did an online search for a lamb and even a sheep costume but only found costumes for young children. Then it occurred to me, I’m crafty and love special projects; why not create my own costume? Since I received so many compliments on my Lambie costume, I figured I share what I did to create it if you are in a similar situation.

Firstly, I purposely selected clothing items that I could potentially use in the future so that I could justify spending money beyond what I anticipated to make the costume.

Target was actually my “go-to” store for most of my outfit. I purchased my knitted hat for $14. The lamb faux fur vest, which was the most costly item at $34.99, a long sleeve white shirt for $8 and pink tutu socks for $2. (Though the total is $59, I had a $5 gift card and saved $3 more by using my Target debit card for a total of $51)

Amazon was my other “go-to.” I ordered my white fleece tights for $11.99 through them and a pair of white yoga pants for $14.95 as a back-up since we have a few outings lined up, and know I will wear them in the future. Though I liked the fit of the yoga pants better because of my height, (I am about 5′ 11”) I opted to wear the tights, which are for a woman of average height, to the Please Touch Museum because they went better with the tutu socks and were fitted around the ankle instead of loose. I also ordered my pink tutu through Amazon, which was far cheaper than getting it from one of the Halloween or party stores for just $10.

To pull the rest of the costume together, I ordered the lamb ears and tail through an Etsy business, TechnicandyLand for $14. They were good quality and had clips so that I could easily attach them onto my beanie hat or even clip them to my hair if I wished. I used elastic crotchet hair bands from AC Moore for just $1.50 for my wrists (Initially, I intended on doing this for my ankles too but just did not have enough time, so I purchased the socks) and didn’t have to purchase tulle because I had plenty left over from previous projects to make the tutu sleeves along with the signature pink bow Lambie wears, but the cost is usually around $3 or $4 or even cheaper if you have a 50 percent off coupon, which I usually have for AC Moore or Michaels.

In regard to making up my face, I used make-up that I already had available rather than buying a face paint kit.

In adding up the total cost, it’s a little over $100, which certainly is more than I would be willing to pay for a costume at a Halloween store, but when I minus out the clothing I will still wear after Halloween or without it being a special event, the total remaining is about $20. I actually purchased a faux vest for my daughter to wear on one of our coordinated “theme” dressing days. Also, the fun I got from putting together this costume and getting input from Quinn made it all worth it.

All the best,

Tanya

Autumn Fun with My Little One (Part Six) Creating Super Grover the Pumpkin!

Making a Super Grover Pumpkin with Quinn

Making a Super Grover Pumpkin with Quinn

One of my first entries this week was about having autumn fun with my two year old daughter involved going to a pumpkin patch. She had a great time, happily selected her pumpkin and probably had no idea that we would be decorating it. But when I asked, she knew exactly what she wanted: a Grover pumpkin. Some months back, I did a post on how Quinn likes Elmo but absolutely loves Grover from Sesame Street. So of course, this was who came to mind when I asked her how she wanted to decorate her pumpkin. I was excited to do this project with her because it hadn’t decorated a pumpkin since I was a child myself, but I had to give some thought about how we were going to do this special project.

First, we needed the materials for the basic Grover. They are as follows:

  1. Blue acrylic paint and black acrylic paint (I purchased them from AC Moore using a 50 percent off coupon)
  2. A pink sponge clown nose to resemble Grover’s (Since it’s near Halloween, this was easy to find at Party City for about a dollar)
  3. Jiggly eyes (I purchased these from AC Moore but later saw them at the local Dollar Tree where I would have saved a dollar off of the total)
  4. A red pipe cleaner for the mouth (I actually had one available and didn’t need to purchase it)
  5. Cardboard to make Grover’s body (I used a box I had lying around from an online purchase)
  6. A Sharpee for tracing body parts
  7. Scissors to cut the body
  8. Hot glue and hot glue gun to adhere the eyes, nose, and mouth
  9. Paint sponges brushes and a cup to hold the paint (I had some from a previous project)
  10. A ruler or tape measure

When Quinn saw the progress we were making, she asked if we could make Super Grover. So Super Grover the pumpkin became. I just needed to figure out how to do it and what additional materials I would need.

  1. Card stock or thick scrap book paper (I got this at AC Moore with a coupon too, so I only paid 25 cents.)
  2. Aluminum Foil (I had this available)
  3. One gray felt sheet, one red felt sheet and one yellow felt sheet (Purchased at AC Moore)
  4. Marker for tracing the red letter G and the yellow lightening bolt (I used a fine point Sharpee that I already had)
  5. About ten paper fasteners (I actually had from a project years prior)
  6. Regular glue that dries clear (I already have tons)

Between work, chores and other activities with Quinn, making our pumpkin into Super Grover certainly was not a one day project. It spanned over two weeks: one week for painting the pumpkin and adhering the facial features and the second week for transforming Grover into Super Grover and giving him a body, G, lightening bolt and cape.

Something that I’ve always been good at is looking at a picture or sample and recreating it. Since Quinn has both Grover and Super Grover, I was able to use them as models for doing the pumpkin. Here are the steps I followed, but this was my first time, so feel free to modify them if you want to try to create your own Grover:

  1. Using the sponge brushes, Quinn and I painted the entire pumpkin, minus part of the bottom because the top had to dry first. Though the paint dries within an hour, I waited a few hours and then retouched any areas where orange was still showing. After the pumpkin dried over night, we did one more coat and then made sure to paint any parts on the bottom that were still orange.
  2. After the pumpkin was blue, I used Grover as my model and then measured the size of my pumpkin to determine how far apart the eyes, nose and mouth should be from one another. Then, I marked the locations and painted on the black mouth which I let dry for a few hours and then added a couple of more coats.
  3. After the pumpkin was blue with the black mouth, I used my hot glue gun and glue to adhere the jiggly eyes, pink sponge nose and the red pipe cleaner mouth.
  4. Voila, you have Grover!
  5. To turn Grover into Super Grover, I looked at the helmet of Quinn’s Super Grover doll to get an idea of how it was constructed. I then stumbled across a Super Grover helmet template from Sesame Street’s web site which was very helpful in creating the helmet. Once I saw this, I was able to determine how many sections would be needed. I did five: one for the face mask, two for the temples that wrap around the head, one for the little piece on the front of the face mask and one for to cover the circumference of the head, which I measured with measuring tape.
  6. After figuring out the size of the pieces I would need, I traced them out using the scrap book paper (with the exception of the piece to cover the circumference of the head which was gray felt and left for the last part), cut them but left a little extra paper for the two pieces to wrap around the temple so that I could double check my measurements by putting it around the actual pumpkin. Then, I covered them with aluminum foil and used a little glue to make sure the foil stayed on the paper. The paper fasteners were used to hold the helmet together and to add the felt which would cover the head. Of course, we put the helmet on Super Grover the Pumpkin’s head to make sure it would fit, and it did!
  7. Then it was time to make Super Grover’s body. Once more, I looked at the model and viewed a few pictures online to get an idea of the body proportions and then used cardboard from an old package box and a Sharpee to draw the torso, arms and legs with some of Quinn’s help (I actually used one piece for the legs but cut a triangular shape in between so that presence of the two legs were obvious. Once I cut out the body parts, I used more of my trusty paper fasteners to connect the arms and legs to the torso.
  8. My daughter actually did most of the painting with the body of Super Grover with some of my help in going over any areas she missed. We then let the one side dry for a few hours and then did the other side.
  9. While Super Grover’s body was drying, we got to work on his red letter G, yellow lightening bolt and red cape using the felt sheets. This also involved looking at the model Grover, measuring the torso of Super Grover and then tracing out the appropriate pieces.
  10. Once our trusty super hero was all dry, about a few hours later, we were able to add the lightening bolt and G with a little regular glue and then the red cape with a little glue.
Quinn and her Super Grover and Super Grover the Pumpkin

Quinn and her Super Grover and Super Grover the Pumpkin

We just finished earlier today, and Quinn was so excited asked, “Can we take a picture with my two Super Grovers?” Of course, I was happy to oblige. Yes, this project was quite involved, but it was a wonderful opportunity to do something fun and special with my little girl. There’s actually a decorative contest at my job next week, and I am thinking that Quinn and I should enter it. How awesome would it be for our Super Grover to win!

All the best,

Tanya