Thursday, November 5, 2015

Life As We Know It

This is just a blog post of random musings for the day. 

My girls are playing with my old stuffed animals, including a knock-off puppy surprise that I got when I was somewhere between six and eight years old. Watching my three year-old play is a perfect example of art imitating real life. The puppies are named "Daisy and Amy;" the third baby is named "Darkish Pink."

Apparently they're relaunching Puppy Surprise. I kind of love how I'm reliving my childhood with my kids. Relaunched versions of Popples and Inspector Gadget are on on Netflix now. I'm hoping for a new Family Double Dare. If our kids are old enough if/when they send out a casting call for that, you KNOW we'll be there. I always wanted to pull the flag from the giant nose. 

Yesterday my one year-old threw away one of my sewing projects and took trash out of the trash can. New rule: put up the baby gate blocking the kitchen and the trash can whenever leaving a toddler in the room alone. 

My spy photo of Amy entertaining herself while I worked at the kitchen table.

This morning we listened to some tunes from my day, including "Bye, Bye, Bye" and "This I Promise You" by NSync. Daisy liked the latter so much that she asked to play it again. During an 80's song, Daisy said, "I don't need dance moves. I've got plenty in my belly." Which is funny enough as it is, but she says it like, "I've got pwenty in my bewwy." 

Last month I didn't think I could live in this apartment another week, so I purged a TON of stuff and rearranged the furniture. Change! I live by it. 

Speaking of change, I got a job. My Etsy shop Dreamy Weamy hasn't been very busy lately since I stopped selling custom pillows, and I have some financial goals (a.k.a. lavish vacation dream). I took a major pay cut from my last job and started working at a local start-up fast food restaurant that I absolutely love, Wow! That's Fresh!  I have much to say about that, that I'll write later. I haven't been in food service in 10 years since my Chick Fil A days, but it all comes back pretty quickly. Plus, I have a different perspective on this side of 30 (okay, I'm still four months shy of 30, but I feel old with all the teenagers). 

One fun part: they all thought I was 18. I can write a whole blog post with their shocked reactions to my age and life experience. 

Ballast Point Park

It's a really hot November here in Florida. My playgroup is still meeting up at splash pads. I'm having serious internal struggles with wearing linen shorts in the Fall. I was kind of hoping I could stop shaving now, but it's not in the cards this season. I'm this close to purging all my sweaters. 

I wish I had splash pads when I was a kid. Our kids don't realize how special they are. When I was a kid, sprinklers were our splash pads. 

Not too long from now we will be in full-Christmas mode. Daisy already thinks it goes straight from Halloween to Christmas. Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday to explain and for her to remember. There's nothing to mark it like costumes or presents. It's one of my favorites though, because there's no pressure. Just food, family, friends, and gratitude. 

Just some thoughts on a November afternoon. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween: Four Snow Whites

This year for Halloween, we went with our friends to the Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival in Sarasota as four Snow Whites! This is my favorite photo of the day, because it looks like we're in the Enchanted Forest.

I made my costume from $1.59 yellow remnant fabric for the skirt. I had blue and red fabric to make my sleeves, and I found the blue t-shirt at Old Navy for less than $2.00 on sale. I also made all of our headbands from red fabric I had on hand. We bought Zane's yellow shorts from Goodwill for $4.00, and the girls' princess costumes were both consignment store finds by the two grandmas. Zane's cape is a throwback from when he was a kid. Our whole family costume cost us less than $10.00. Win!! 

Our friends' daughter also went as Snow White! It may have been confusing for strangers trying to figure out our families and who went with whom, haha. They were a cute little trio!! 

Compared to our previous festival visits this year, Fruitville had less to offer, but it was also free admission where you only pay per activity. 

The kids enjoyed SEVERAL face-in-hole photo ops. 

They also went on a "train ride" which was a bunch of 10-gallon barrels cut out and towed by a John Deere tractor. 

The three year-olds also got to experience their first pony ride! 

When we first drove up to the festival, I didn't see any other adults in costume, so I was prepared to be brave and rock it, but once we got in there, it felt totally natural. We got lots of compliments and comments on how cute our family was. 

The costume contest was at 1pm, but by noon, we had already been there two hours, and there wasn't enough to keep up there another hour, so we moved on with our day, skipping the contest.

We spent the rest of the day in Sarasota, starting with lunch at Der Dutchman (not pictured). Their service was so great! They were so sweet to us with our table of four adults and four kids! One woman came up to me and said, "This is about the sweetest thing I've ever seen. I think I'm going to cry! You guys are great parents!" The food was amazing, too!! 

After lunch, we changed into our swim suits and spent the afternoon at Siesta Key (also not pictured). It was a beautiful beach day!! The kids played in the sand and surf, and we parents lounged with them. October 31 in Florida is still beach weather! We were so relaxed, we forgot to take photos.

After beach, we hit up Chipotle for dinner, throwing our costumes back on for $3.00 burritos! I can't hardly believe how well-behaved the kids were throughout such a busy day! Amy caught Z's every time we were in the car between stops. (Photo below was taken by Daisy). 

We ended the night getting pie carry-out from Yoder's as the sun was setting, and kiddos were beginning to trick-or-treat. Our kiddos were falling asleep in the car as we drove home and put them to bed smelling of salt and sunscreen. Zane and I ate the pie in our pajamas as we finished the night with Netflix. 

It was a fun, full day!! Thanks, Geigers, for the marathon playdate!! 

Happy Halloween!!

Here's a summary of Daisy's costumes this year:

Ariel at Disney, Aurora at a church festival, and Snow White on Halloween. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

DIY Dominion/Card Game Travel Box

I posted a few years ago about a Dominion travel case. That post gets a lot of hits, so I thought I'd post about our updated travel case. This case we built was not an original idea. Our friends made one for themselves and showed us how to do it, so I'm going to show you guys. When I made this box, I made three at a time. I also took meticulous notes for a future blog post and then lost those notes somewhere in the last year. So here's what I remember.

Part 1: The Box

This box was sold at Hobby Lobby in 2014 for $24.99. I have no idea if they still sell it, or if there is anything like it out there now. It did not come with art supplies, just a box with a tray inside.

We removed the latches that came on the box, because they were not very tight. Our friends who told us how to do this project also replaced the latches, because they almost opened during transport. 

We replaced them with more secure latches from Lowe's which were like $4.00 for a set of two.  

We removed all the inner parts like the tray, and added sections with balsa wood and wood glue. We made four columns for cards and three rows for other game pieces. After the fact, I would have made my columns a teensy bit wider, because the cards fit very tightly. 

Also, the balsa wood is very flimsy, and some of the game pieces are heavy (like the island mats). If I had more skills, time, and resources, I probably would have used heavier wood. However, the box is VERY heavy when it's filled, so using heavier wood would make it, well, even heavier. 

Finally, we stapled two pieces of elastic into the top of the box. We cut out the top of our base set game box as a stiff flap, and all of the game instructions are stored behind it. 

Part 2: Divider Filing Cards

The bulk of this project was making the divider cards. We got sumpfork's PDF file from our friends who got it from another person, etc. of every Dominion card in every current (through 2014) Dominion set. A quick google search took me to this page, so hopefully you can use this: 

I borrowed a colored printer to print them out. The document is 76 pages. Because you print on both sides, it ends up taking 38 sheets of paper.

I cut up all the cards with a paper cutter (pictured below) and laid them into laminating sheets. I found these 3 mil laminating sheets online for something like $13 for 100. 

I borrowed a laminating machine from another friend and laminated all the cards. This took some finesse and patience. This whole project takes patience.

After I laminated, I used a paper-cutter to cut them all out. At first, I left a centimeter or so of laminate around the edges, but the box won't close properly if you do that, so just trim them up in the beginning and save yourself extra work. 

The PDF has the cards sorted by Dominion set, but I re-sorted them alphabetically, because when you're pulling out cards for your game, it's easier to search through them alphabetically than jump from set-to-set.

Then I bound them in two stacks and put them in the boxes for gifts for my two brothers-in-law last Christmas. In this picture below the laminate is still too long on the top and bottom of the cards. I had to go back and trim it up later. 

Here's a photo of our final box with Base, Alchemy, Seaside, and Prosperity: 

We kept extra pieces of cardboard from our original game boxes to fold up and take up space so the cards don't move too much in transport. Also, you can see where our balsa wood bows in the columns because I didn't leave enough room between columns. And, our card dividers have not been trimmed, so they all have to lay back a little bit for the box to close properly. 

My brother-in-law uses his box for Settlers of Catan and Cities and Knights in addition to his Dominion games (Prosperity, Intrigue, Hinterlands, Cornucopia, Dark Ages, and Alchemy), so his box looks like this: 

So neat and orderly!! His card dividers are trimmed (he trimmed them up himself), so his cards stand straight up. I made his box the same way I made ours, but his columns don't look like they're bowing as much, maybe because he has more cards. 

The Cost

$15  -  Box (40% off coupon on $25 regular price)
$4    -  New Latches
$13  -  Laminating Sheets for pack of 100
$6    -  Balsa Wood
$5    -  Elastic

$43  -  Total for one

I made 3 at once. I used a 40% off coupon for the boxes, and since I used the elastic and laminating sheets for all three boxes, each box ended up being less than $30. 

Hope this is helpful! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Ariel and Ursula at Disney Springs

This year for Halloween I couldn't decide between two different costume ideas, so I decided to do both! First is a repeat from last year: Ariel and Ursula. We were already planning a family day to Disney Springs today, which gave them the perfect venue to wear coordinating Disney costumes!

Daisy wore her same Ariel costume from last year that I specifically made big for her last year, hoping she could wear it for a long time. This year's changes include a *real* Ariel tiara, Ariel bow, and pink flip flops. 

Amy's wearing the same Ursula tentacles from last year, when she was two weeks old. I painted a plain white onesie yesterday. I wanted to repeat this costume because (1) Daisy asked to be Ariel again, and (2) Amy didn't really get to fully embody Ursula last year, so I felt she needed another chance to rock it. And she did. She totally rocked it. 

Last year, Zane and I dressed as Flotsam and Jetsum, but we skipped participating today. We've got a family costume planned for Halloween next week, though. 

Disney Springs is a great, free way to experience Disney. Since they opened up the new parking garage and a new bridge from Fulton's to Rainforest Cafe, it's even easier than ever to navigate. 

We enjoyed the Lego store. Daisy built a car to race. Amy wandered about and got lots of comments and compliments on her Ursula costume. She especially liked playing peekaboo with one of the cast members. 

If you're going to dress as a princess, the best place to go is Disney, because all of the cast members say, "Good morning, Princess!" when they see you. Daisy acted like it was totally normal. I just loved that everyone recognized their costumes. I guess it's a form of artwork for me, so it's fun to share my "craft" with others. 

I used to avoid gift shops, but now we meander through them. Daisy doesn't ask or expect to get anything, but she loves to browse merchandise and see all the different princess paraphernalia, and so do Zane and I. We also had to get photos with their respective characters.  

Last time we were at Disney Springs in June, this splash pad was getting renovated, but it was open today. We were the only family that brought swimsuits. The girls loved it until Daisy took a semi-nasty fall, which ended the fun for her. I kept trying to get her back in, but she was over it. I think it was too close to lunch time to overcome any negative experiences. Next time I'm bringing water shoes for better traction. 

We walked around a little more, and ended up leaving by 1pm for lunch offsite to save money. It was a beautiful day. When we arrived at 10am, it was breezy and cool, but by the afternoon it was hot, so the walk back to the garage was sweaty. 

There's still lots of construction happening at Disney Springs. We were speculating about what additions they're making. We were there last Christmas, and the construction negatively affected our experience, but today it wasn't as noticeable. There's already so much new stuff, that there's less focus on the messiness of construction, and I think they'll be done by 2016. I'm excited to see the finished product. 

Anyways, it was a fun family day! Stay tuned for the official family costume! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy First Birthday, Amy!

Last weekend Amy turned one year old. It was a fast year for this mom. The weekend went by quickly too! I planned events for every day to celebrate this milestone. Watch the video (link at the bottom) for a full recap!


First, we re-lived the day before Amy was born, like we did for Daisy's first birthday. That included breakfast at Chick Fil A and going to a pumpkin patch in Plant City with Grandma. You may remember my post from last year: Overdue at the Pumpkin Patch.

2014 on top; 2015 on bottom

2014 on left; 2015 on right

2014 on top; 2015 on bottom


Sunday afternoon we threw a little family party for Amy. I have yet to throw a birthday party for either kid on my own, and this year was no different. I had major help from both sets of grandparents, but I did get into the decorations by making some banners and painted pumpkins. I made Amy's birthday outfit too. 

Amy's favorite part was the smash cake. She got REALLY into it. It was nice to have a party to mark the moment with loved ones. 


Monday was Amy's actual birthday and one of the few weekdays that Sweetfields Farm is open for their festival. Since we already relived her day of birth and did a party, a family festival day was the perfect ending to a lovely birthday weekend.

The weather was amazing! Cool and breezy in the shade and not too hot in the sun. It was one of those Florida days that make people want to move here forever. 


For more pictures and videos, watch Amy's birthday video here: