Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Giant Creepy Crawlies

We took this and this...

coated it in this...

and got this!

Creepy Scorpion Aeneas!

With lots of black spray paint, duct tape and recycled cardboard, we have Dung Beetle Patrick!

We are ready to Trick or Treat Baby!

I hate bugs but these guys have me totally smitten! And I am coming around. I actually stopped the other day on a run to pick up and play with a tarantula! I even considered constructing a preying mantis costume for myself but I'm too tired. Maybe next year!
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Fiasco

Every year I am more and more amazed at what sorts of costume ideas the boys come up with. They have an uncanny ability to think outside of the box and are very specific with what they have in mind. It's taken me 2 weeks to accomplish this years ideas but I can finally say that I am finished and I laugh to myself every time I pass them in the hall. I am the kind of mom that can yes, pull off most anything they can some up with however I am not your typical sewing master. I am more of your go to the dumpster and thrift to see what kind of trash and recycled things you can make your costume out of. I'd like to say it's because I am so environmentally conscious but it's probably more along the lines of being too cheap to pay for the fancy cloth or pre-made costumes!

This year's costumes are a riot but since I have yet to get them in a picture of them, I thought it would be fun to see what the boys came up with in the past years. Stay tuned, because pictures of this year's project is coming!

At four, Patrick said to me one day, "I want to be a basket ball goal for Halloween." I hesitated for a moment but with the help of a coworker, we managed to come up with and idea on how to execute. Aeneas went in a borrowed skunk costume which was a perfect fit given his personality.

Our first year in Durango, Patrick wanted to go as an "eagle where you look out of the mouth." So I purchased a jacket that we could use later and had about $3 into the felt. Used an old pillowcase for the "bald" of the bald eagle. Aeneas used our kitchen dress up stuff and just carried a little silver pot to get his candy in stirring it along the way. He would dump it each time into the larger pumpkin we were carrying for him. He got double candy for being so dang cute.

This was one of my favorite years. Aeneas, now that he could talk, wanted to be a "cat with green eyes." Thank goodness for college students that helped with the makeup on that one. Patrick insisted on being a T-rex skeleton! I had about $2 into the 3 poster boards, an old pair of tights that I used for the tail and stapled all of the bones onto a sweatsuit he already had!

Patrick wanted to be a pumpkin this year and I managed to find one for $10 at the thrift store. We tied green pipe cleaners into his hair. Aeneas went as a bubble wrap ghost floating around the neighborhood.

Just coming off of our first summer of reading Harry Potter and the Hobbit, wizards were in store. Capes and hats from the $ store and a wig made into a beard.

This was a particularly scary Halloween because Justin went as me! He shaved his legs and taught all day with boobs and long hair to which a number of his students left class claiming it to be just too disturbing to stay! He never even complained about his heels all day!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Creativity and Generosity

It seems that every year with the turning of the calendar to October, I begin thinking of Christmas gifts. Almost every year since Justin and I have been married, we have managed to have the largest part of our Christmas gifts bought, or made by Thanksgiving. And just like the stores in town, I keep planning earlier each year in an effort to take some of the pressure off the season both logistically and financially. I want to enjoy my cups of coffee in the morning and my weekends by spending time with friends and family and not running around stressed out and shopping for things I don't like or things the receivers won't like either. The most meaningful thing I can give to anyone, or receive for that matter, is something handmade. Something I thought about, enjoyed making and has a little bit of "me" built into it. And creating it is a gift to me in ways you can't imagine.

Aeneas snug in bed with is Mama hug.
So I brainstormed and came up with a few things that I have been wanting to make along with some gift ideas and have been working on them over the past few weeks. I started with something I found on Pinterest, which is by the way the most inspiring and addicting way to get ideas. It's like a virtual candy store for me! I made these collars filled with rice that you can heat up and wear out of some old pillowcases. The boys love the warm laundry out of the dryer and hate getting out of their toasty jammies in the morning so I made them each one of these contraptions that we call "Mama hugs." The boys thought it a little strange at first but totally love these things and ask for their "Mama hugs," all the time to warm them up. 

I then started making some reused things that I had been saving (I can't tell you what they are because many of you will get some of them!) into little gifts. Let's just say I've found some useful ways to reuse some old wooden checkers, paperclips and family pictures! What I didn't anticipate with all my crafting, is how into the act of creating and even more so, the idea of creating something for someone else would be for the boys. They have been creating and crafting and coming up with some of the greatest ideas for gifts for people (some of which I can't share, because some of the rest of you will get those as gifts eventually!). At this point, the glue gun and sharp objects need some oversight but are necessary tools for their projects. However, they are learning to problem solve, not rush the creative process and learning honestly to fail and retry things along the way with only safety help from me. 

My cardboard flip flops.
Patrick traced my shoes and cut out the straps for my cardboard shoes the other day, only asking help for putting them together with the glue gun! 

Shotgun shell foosball
The Blue team and the "Green Bay" team face off.

We went to the shooting range to shoot skeet the other day and they collected a bunch of shotgun shells. Patrick promptly, came home to tape numbers on them so they could be used in making a Foosball table out of recycled and found objects this morning. Aeneas raided the cardboard recycle bin as well and even though he made his into a house for he and his little bunny, it blesses me so much to see his creativity in his scorpion weather vane, decorated walls and cozy fireplace. A secret gift to his mother in some ways. He got a pillowcase and a self authored book to read to his rabbit snugly beside his miniature fireplace! 

Of course there is such a ting as a scorpion weather vane!

A little wall decorations by the infamous artist Aeneas.

Patrick helped him create a clock by tracing a plate.

Reading his very own book to his bunny.

They are all about making, crafting and creativity already and they have giving to others on their minds. Their thoughtfulness and generosity are gifts to this Mama and they too are a little ahead of the ball as the giving season approaches.