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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Gingerbread Man Science Project

Christmas time is my favorite time of year.  So, it's only natural that some of my lessons in December revolve around Christmassy themes.  While searching some holiday worksheets, I came across this adorable one on
It's an adorable worksheet you can buy/download, the involves cause and effect, prediction and science.  It's about what happens to a gingerbread cookie if you submerge it in water.

Here's what you need:
- Gingerbread Science Experiment worksheet (1/child)
- Gingerbread cookies
- Large clear glass
- Water


1. Pass out the worksheets.  Follow the instructions.  Children are to draw a picture of what the gingerbread man looks like originally.  I bought Little Betty brand gingerbread cookies.  They turned out to be perfect!  I used one for the experiment, then passed them out to the kids as a snack later.  After they drew their first picture, they were to draw a picture of their prediction of what would happen to the gingerbread cookie if he were put in a glass of water.  Most of them said things like "he'll get soggy", "his frosting will come off".  Time for the experiment!

2. Place gingerbread cookie in glass of water.

3.  Have the whole class watch what happens!  It's really cool!  They all helped narrate what what going on.  First the sprinkles dissolved and turned the water green.  Then the frosting started to come off, and then the cookie became all gooey; which the kids all got to touch.  Then, finally, he completely dissolved!

4. In the third box, kids were to draw a picture of what ACTUALLY happened.  Then they all compared it to their predictions.  All in all a really fun science project!  I highly recommend it.  My kiddos loved it! :)

10 Tips On Having An Elegant, Budget-Conscious Wedding

Hey everyone!
So, my handsome and genius brother is marrying his gorgeous fiancee in August.  We are honored, that they have asked us to be a part of their special day!  This does, however mean that I've been reminiscing, and thinking about our wedding.
Which brings me to my confession.  I am a wedding freak.  Dan has to remind me, whenever I talk to someone getting married, that unless they specifically asked for my opinion, I shouldn't be giving it.  I would never want to marry anyone but Dan, but I would be happy to renew our vows... as many times as humanly possible.  
I have entire weddings planned on pinterest, and I honestly LOVED planning our wedding!  We had a limited budget, but I was determined to have an elegant and unique wedding.  There is nothing that I would change, everything went off without a hitch, and we had the best time!
I learned a lot, and thought I would share my knowledge with you.

So, here are my 10 tips for having your own perfect, elegant, budget-conscious wedding:

1. Get a wedding planner (book- not person) - I found mine and Barnes and Noble.  It's called "Simple Stunning Wedding Organizer".  You can find it here.  It became a life saver!  I could put all my information in one place, and it even had pockets for things like business cards, fabric swatches, brochures, etc.  It had pages and pages for invitees, with boxes to check concerning their RSVP, gift, thank you note... SO HELPFUL!!!  It's a must!  

2. Find out/figure out you budget - and STICK TO IT - This one was a big one.  It sickens me, when I hear how much people spend on their weddings!  Between my parents, my hugely generous uncle, and myself we had about $5500 - $6000.  Considering the average wedding in America is over $20,000, that is a very small budget.  But keep reading, to find out how to make it go as far as it can.

3. Have a long engagement - but nail down a date as soon as possible!  Of course, this isn't possible for everyone.  However, I found that being engaged for 2 years was a blessing.  The reason?  Sales.  With that long to plan a wedding, I could track things as they went on sale, and buy them at their best price.  Best example?  My wedding dress.  It was originally an $800 dollar dress at David's Bridal, which I watched go on sale, all the way to $99.99!!!  What a steal!  This is a really great thing to remember if your colors/themes revolve around a specific holiday, or a holiday color.  For example, if you're incorporating pink, wait until the after-Valentine's Day sale to buy things like ribbon, candles, candies, paper, favor bags, etc.  If you're having a spring wedding, if you're already engaged at least a year in advance, you can snatch up those seasonal sale items.

My gorgeous dress!
I fell in love with the beaded back the minute I saw it!
I also liked that it wasn't strapless, like all the other
styles you see around.

4. Be smart about flowers - Flowers tend to take up a huge chunk of your budget.  So to keep things inexpensive, think seasonal, and local for your best prices.  Another great option, is to buy the flowers whole-sale, and have someone who is creative, or knows a thing or two about arrangements, put them together.  That's what we did!  I wanted these specific calla lilies, called Diva Maria.  I found a wholesaler,  I got ALL my flowers (all bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, pew decorations and centerpieces) for $500.  Pacific Callas delivered my flowers a couple days before the wedding, and then my mom arranged them.  Here's another quick idea concerning flowers; I just had callas as my pew decorations, and centerpieces (they're so elegant all on their own).  So, I had someone take off the pew decorations, and run them over to the reception before everyone else got there.  Got double use out of them! :) 

Our fabulous pew decorations.
My beautiful niece, and a great shot of my bouquet.
Bridesmaids' bouquets

Another great shot of my flowers. :)
5. DIY - Not everyone is crafty, and I totally get that.  But there are a couple things you definitely shouldn't spend a whole lot of money on.  One is invitations, and other paper products, such as programs.  Michael's and other craft stores have boxed sets of everything you need to do print your own.  THEN, if you use your coupons - even more savings!!! They always have 40% off one regular priced item ones.  (Download the Hobby Lobby and Michael's apps.  You can thank me later.)  I also made my bridesmaids', mothers' and grandmothers' thank you gifts.  I made them jewelry sets.  You can see them in the picture of the bridesmaids' bouquet.  If there's anything you're crafty at, put it to good use.

6. Choose what's most important to you - splurge there! - This also means cut back on things you don't feel are as important.  We splurged on the food (Dan's most important), photography (my most important), Georgetown Cupcakes and the calla lilies.  If you're smart about it though, even your "splurges" can be reduced. I already told you about the flowers.  Well, as far as the cupcakes, we got married in D.C., so the cupcake thing worked out well.  Their cupcakes are $35/dozen, we got ten dozen - so the cake was only $350!  Other wedding cakes can cost $1000 or more.  So, score!  Also, a friend of mine is a photographer, so she just charged us $500, and the plane ticket to get there.  I had miles saved up, and bought her ticket with that.  Voila! :)  So, be smart with where you spend your money.  Things that weren't important - music.  I know, I know, terrible!  But it really wasn't.  So, we had a playlist. No band, no DJ... saved a ton that way!  Also, our families don't drink, so we didn't spend money on alcohol, which is also a generally large wedding cost that we avoided.  We didn't rent a limo or car - my uncle has a really nice Infinity, and was gracious enough to drive us.  So, spend where it matters, forget about what doesn't.

Love this shot! 
One of my favorites!
Georgetown Cupcakes!!!
Our cupcake cake! (My cousin baked the top layer, 
and a friend built the stand)
7. Have your pictures taken before the ceremony - I love the idea of the groom not seeing the bride until she walks down the aisle.  However, people really dislike long waits between ceremonies and receptions.  So, when people get their pictures taken before the ceremony, it lets you and your guests go right to the reception.  Also, if you have your pictures taken before the ceremony, you will look your best.  All your makeup and hair will be fresh.  Also, you can go to more places, and take your time.  You won't feel as rushed as you would if you were doing it between the ceremony and reception.  We went to the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, and even the actual Georgetown Cupcake shop!

8. EAT - make it your maid of honor and best man's job to get you and your new hubby plates of food.  Then, actually sit down, eat, and THEN make the rounds.  It'll help you stay calm, not jittery, and as much as you're spending on it, you want to at least try it.

9. Have a "Day of Coordinator" - ask an aunt, cousin or friend (not bridesmaid) you trust, to be your right hand on the big day.  Go over your schedule, have them direct people to the reception, run pew decorations over to reception (as mentioned earlier), start playlists, make sure people get seated, and things start on time.  Make sure it's someone who can make decisions, and whose decisions you trust.  Mine were two dear friends, who happened to be sisters.  One of them even did my makeup!  They were so helpful, and I appreciated them more than I can say.  Hopefully this goes without saying, but DO make sure you show your gratitude.  I gave gift cards, and thank you notes.

10. Relax on your special day! - The more you have planned ahead, the less you'll be worried about it on the actual day!  I wasn't at ALL stressed, because I figured, if hadn't been planned yet, and didn't go the way I wanted, no amount of planning would've helped.  At the end of the day, if you're marrying the man of your dreams, and your family and loved ones are around you, that's all that really matters!

You may kiss your wife!
So, basically plan ahead, be a savvy spender, and enjoy your day!
Please, share any tips or ideas, of what made your wedding day (or planning) perfect!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Becoming a Mother of Prayer

(Please understand, I am not trying to be insensitive to someone who has had troubled pregnancies, or has gone through the pain of a miscarriage.  I can’t imagine the hurt and heartache you must’ve gone through, and I am so sorry for your loss.  I am not trying to give an explanation on why God allows certain things in our lives.  I am simply doing some research on prayer through motherhood, and applying it to my situation, and hoping it might help someone else along the way too.)

Something like this is so hard to start, so I’m just going to jump right in.
When we first found out about being pregnant, we did so, because I was in excruciating pain, and we’d just started trying, and we wanted to make sure I wasn’t taking any medication that could potentially hurt a baby.  Well, as it turned out, I was pregnant!  I chalked up my pain to the pregnancy, because I’d never been pregnant before, I’d never had these pains before - ergo, that must be why.
The pain didn’t go away however, in fact it got worse.  The only thing that would help was laying in the bathtub under a warm shower, until it passed, which was anywhere between 20-90 minutes.  I so wanted the pain to go away, but I was willing to endure it, for the baby.  When you’re pregnant, and emotional, you worry about things that don’t even make sense- like wishing the baby away.  So, one day, I was laying in the bathtub, crying from pain, whispering “baby stay, pain go, baby stay, pain go”.  I felt a sense of peace, and warm, comforting words filled my heart, “I have not given, only to take away”.  I cannot tell you what those words meant to me!  
In the end, we had to go to the E.R. (we were worried about a possible tubal pregnancy).  They said everything with the fetus was okay, but I had a bad UTI, that was causing all that pain.  I finally got the right kind of medicine, and slowly but surely, the pain went away.  But that promise, that hug from my Heavenly Father stayed with me, and got me thinking about how I wanted His voice to be a constant during this pregnancy, and into my baby’s life.  About how I wanted to be a mother of prayer.
I started thinking about mothers in the Bible.  (This is a side-note, and not what I’m focusing on today, but I think it’s so interesting, how prominent infertility, and the promise of a baby is in the Bible.  Check it out, it’s really powerful.  Sarah, Hannah, Samson’s mother...)   I decided to take a closer look at Samuel’s mother, Hannah.  I’ve always found her very interesting, and of course knew the basics of her story.

 1. Hannah prayed before she became pregnant.  

In her case, it was because of infertility.  If you look at 1 Samuel 1, you will see the picture of a woman, who is deeply beloved by her husband, in spite of her infertility (which basically would’ve made her of “no value” to most other men).  She is one of two wives (something I don’t have to deal with, haha).  The other wife has given their husband many children, and openly taunts her with it.  Although this “sister wife” situation is not something we as women deal with today, we can all understand the feelings of inadequacy, and longing.  So Hannah prays.  She prays for the deepest desire of her heart, which is a baby.  

I love this part.  God has a special place for a mother’s prayer.  Eli comes over, thinks she’s drunk, scolds her.  So she tells him about her wanting a baby.  As we know, by this time, God isn’t speaking through Eli anymore.  So, when Eli tells her “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”, he’s not giving her a “thus sayeth the Lord”.  He’s basically saying, “good luck”.  But you know what?  Hannah didn’t need a priest to be a go-between.  God heard her prayer, and like it says in 1 Samuel 1:19, God remembered her.
Dan and I prayed long and hard before we decided to start trying to have a baby.  Were we ready to be parents?  Is “now” a financially responsible time to do this?  (Not “Can we afford this?”, because if you wait for that day, you probably will never get there.  But I always say, God gave you a brain to use it.  If you’re barely able to put food on the table, and are about to get evicted, wisdom says you should probably hold off on adding another person to that mix.)  I don’t think as a Christian you can take any step like this without prayerful consideration.  

2. Hannah prayed before the promise came true

In 1 Samuel 1:19, it also says that Hannah praised the Lord.  Even before the promise came to fruition, she was praising God.  That’s how I felt in that moment I described earlier in the shower.  Although I was feeling worried, and wasn’t sure of anything, God promised me a baby.  He promised me that he wasn’t just toying with my emotions.  
With Sarah, you can see the opposite.  When God and the angels went to visit Abraham, to give him the promise about Isaac, Sarah laughed in disbelief.  Instead of believing God, and praising him for the promise, she didn’t have faith.
It’s hard to have faith without any evidence, but at that point it’s not faith anymore.  However, when we do have faith, and we see God’s promise fold out, what a testimony that is to others, and to ourselves later on!  When something arises that we need faith to believe, we can look back at this time, and know that God brought us through, and that he will do the same again.  It’s like in Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help me in my unbelief.”

3. Hannah dedicated Samuel to God

Hannah didn’t only accept God’s gift of a son, she gave him back to God.  In this story, it is a tangible, physical “giving back” of Samuel, where he moves into the tabernacle, and essentially is raised by Eli.  However, in our situation, it is a much more spiritual, emotional, yet just as real situation.  Just like it says in Deut. 11:19, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  We need to remember, our children are not only ours.  As followers of Christ, how can we accept a priceless gift, such as a child, and simply leave it at that!?  It is our duty to take that gift, and raise our baby in the knowledge of God. 

4. Hannah prayed after Samuel was born

There’s a whole section in 1 Samuel 2, that is dedicated to her prayer.  It’s so beautiful, I’m just going to let you read it.

Hannah’s Prayer
Then Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
    in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
    for I delight in your deliverance.
“There is no one holy like the Lord;
    there is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.
“Do not keep talking so proudly
    or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the Lord is a God who knows,
    and by him deeds are weighed.
“The bows of the warriors are broken,
    but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
    but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
    but she who has had many sons pines away.
“The Lord brings death and makes alive;
    he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
    he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
    and has them inherit a throne of honor.
“For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
    on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
    but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails;
    those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
    the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to his king
    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

That’s the kind of mother I want to be.  A mother of prayer.  And that’s my prayer for our Baby Boy.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blueberry and Blackberry Streusel Topped Pie

I really enjoy baking, but it seems like I never have time anymore.     So, when I had actual vacation time over Thanksgiving, I decided to make up for lost time.
I love streusel, and a couple years ago, I posted this recipe for Streusel Coffee Cake Muffins.  I used the same recipe for the streusel part.
I wasn't as "Betty Homemaker" on this, I used a pre-made crust, and store-bought pie filling.  But, it was yummy, and the streusel was a nice touch, so I thought I'd share...

You'll need:
- Pie pan
- 1 pre-made Pilsburry pie crust
- 1 egg white
- 1 can of blueberry pie filling
- 2 cans of blackberries (not the pie-filling kind, just regular)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 (1 stick) unsalted butter (chilled)
- Kitchen scissors
- Fall-themed cookie cutters


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Press pie crust into pan.  Cut off extra that hangs over.  Set that aside.  We'll be using it later.

3. Mix together blueberry pie filling and drained blackberries.  Pour into pie crust.

4. In a separate bowl mix together brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and butter.  Mix together (using forks or a hand mixer), until there are small pieces of butter left.

5. Pour a generous amount on the top of the pie.

6. Roll out the leftover dough we set aside earlier, and cut out some fall leaves.  Place them in a pretty pattern on the top of your pie.

7. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  If you find that the top is getting too brown too quickly, put a sheet of aluminum foil over it, to slow down "browning".

Yummm... that's all I have to say!
So, tell me, what's your favorite holiday pie flavor?
Do you have any tricks that make it your own?

I Love Burlap, Y'all!

As we've been decorating our house in a "coastal" theme, little by little I've been acquainting myself with more natural textures, colors and materials.  I have a new appreciation for wood, pottery, glass, twine, and - you guessed it - burlap!  (It also might be the south coming out in me.)

In addition to this, I was planning our family Christmas/maternity photography session.  I had been seeing all these banners people have made on pinterest, like this one, and this one, and I really liked them.  I found a couple on, but then I decided I could just make one. :)

Here's what you'll need:
- Paper
- Letter stencils
- Burlap
- Twine
- Black acrylic paint
- Paint brush
- Black thread
- Scissors
- Needle

1. Decide what you want your banner to say.  The number of letters (plus spaces), is how many pieces of burlap you will need.  We went with "Be Merry".  Some more cute ideas would be your last name, the year, "Merry Christmas", "Blessed", "Love Joy Peace", "Let It Snow"...

2. Choose the size/shape of pennant you want.  Cut a piece of paper to that shape.  Then, using it as a template, cut pieces out of the burlap.  Burlap is a messy fabric, little pieces of it go flying when you cut, and it's very prone to fraying.  Just be cautious when cutting. :)

3. Lay your pieces of burlap out on a solid surface, with something like a trash bag underneath.  

4. Lay the stencils on the burlap.

5. Paint the letters on the burlap.  (p.s.: don't use spray paint.  I tried - epic fail.)

6. Once they're dry, do a very easy, rudimentary stitch at each corner to the twine.  I don't have a picture of this, because the first time around, I stapled them, and with the big holes in burlap, you can imagine how well that held up.  I put the stitches in later.

7. Display, use for pictures...

This is what we used for our Christmas card this year.  
I really love how it turned out!

Although it's a little hard to see, because of the light coming through the door, but we used the banner in our Christmas decorating as well. :)

I'm really happy with how it turned out!

I also made a little wreath, based off of this wreath I found on pinterest.  There is no wrong way, or end all, be all elements, but here's what I used:

- Small-ish wreath
- Fabric to make rosettes
- Fabric flower(s)
- Burlap
- Twine
- Black Sharpie
- Hot glue gun

I have instructions on how to make rosettes and fabric flowers in this post.  I used some old pajamas, that I loved the pattern of, but they ripped, some fabric scraps, and burlap. :)

1. Make rosettes, or fabric flowers.  You could use anything though, buttons, silk flowers, pine branches...

2. Cut the burlap into small triangles

3. Write on the burlap with Sharpie.  I wrote "Blair", since I planned to hanging it on the front door.  Also, this doesn't limit it to only the holiday season.

4. Hot glue the triangles to twine, and that to the wreath.

5. Hot glue rosettes and flowers to wreath.

And, voila!  There you have it!  Some cute, and easy ways to add burlap, and natural fabrics to your holiday decor.

Let me know what you think, and if you have any ideas that you've fallen in love with.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Confessions of the 2nd Trimester - Oh the Bliss!

Hello all!  I am now 29 weeks pregnant, which means I just started my 3rd trimester.  So, I wanted to wrap up my 2nd trimester, as a part 2 to my Coming in February... a.k.a Confessions of the 1st Trimester.

These are some of the things that I've learned.  Some of them are tips, some are observations, and some are just little notes.  Please remember, I am in no way an expert, and this is my first pregnancy, but if anything I've learned can help someone, I would be thrilled!

1. They're not kidding when they call the 2nd trimester the "Honeymoon Trimester".  Most of the pesky 1st trimester symptoms are gone (like food aversions, morning sickness, etc.), and you feel way more like yourself!  Woohoo!

2. You're finally showing!!!  Now this is actually a tricky one.  (I tried to explain this to Dan, who was sweet, but didn't really get it.)  Because you want to show so bad, you're excited that your belly is finally big enough to get "that smile" from a stranger, or someone asking "when are you due?".  HOWEVER when someone tells you "Wow!  You're getting huge!", that's the kind of comment that is not quite as appreciated (although not usually - in my experience - intended as malicious).

3.  This one goes along with number 2.  Women have different body shapes, and so they will naturally carry differently.  I've been very lucky in my pregnancy.  I had a parent of one of my kindergartners say to me in my 25th week of pregnancy, "SO!  When were you going to tell us you were pregnant?"  It took a while for me to "look pregnant".  I talked to my doctor, as I was worried maybe Baby Blair wasn't growing fast enough, and he reassured me that I was right on target.  He told me that I am tall, and have a long torso, so the baby has much more room to grow, before he goes "outward".  So, take every comment with a smile and grain of salt.  And the only opinion that matters is your doctor's.

4.  Feeling your baby move.  There is nothing like it!  It feels like giant gas bubbles, and butterflies, and honestly, an alien moving around.  (It makes me think of that scene in the Matrix, when they put that thing in Neo's belly button- haha!)  I felt Baby Blair for the first time on a Wednesday night, at church, while Dan was preaching.  That was very, very special for me. :)

5.  During your 2nd trimester is when you can find out your baby's gender, if you so choose.  We couldn't wait to find out!  There are so many cute gender reveal ideas out there, from balloons, to opening a present, to pinatas and confetti, silly string, and cake.  We have the greatest friends, who put together the cutest "Reveal Party" for us.  If you are unfamiliar with the idea, here's how we did it.
- Go to the doctor for your 17-20 week sonogram.  (Ours was at 20 weeks.)  When the sonographer gets to "that part" of your baby, you look away.  No cheating!
- We had our party the same day, so the sonographer then called our friend, Cathy, to tell her if it was "blue" or "pink".  Another option would be, to have the sonographer write it down, or put that ultrasound in a sealed envelope.
- Your friend then bakes a cake, where the cake (or inside frosting) is pink or blue, then they cover the outside with a gender neutral colored frosting, invite special people over, and you cut the cake - voila! :)
Here's how ours went down:

IT'S A BOY!!!!!!

I had felt like Baby Blair was a boy from the beginning, and Dan has always hoped his first baby would be a boy.  His brother has 2 daughters, and his cousin has a girl... so his family has been due for a boy! :)  WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!  We plan on naming him Aidan Judson Blair. :)

Here's a video clip of how it went down:

And here's our 20 week old Baby Boy:

6.  Your appetite will grow, just as your baby is doing!  Remember, you're NOT ACTUALLY EATING FOR TWO!!!  You only really need an extra 200 calories a day.  So, yes, indulge, but don't go overboard.

7.  Your boobs finally grow!  'Nuf said. :)

8.  If you've been holding off on the caffeine, like I had been doing, once you're in the second trimester it really is perfectly safe.  Oh, thank God!

9.  Maternity clothes!  You don't really need a ton, and with the cuts of clothes now-a-days, you can really use regular clothes for a long while.  But, it is a really great excuse to get some shopping done!  I suggest getting some basics, and then enhancing and accessorizing with things you already have - a bold scarf, necklace, blazer, cardigan... you get the picture! :)

10.  Speaking of pictures, schedule your maternity pictures for the end of your second trimester.  You feel/look your best, and you have a bona fide bump!  We did ours, and the pictures turned out fabulous!  I'll do a post on that once we get them all back, on what to wear, what to be prepared for... so be on the lookout! :)

11.  On a serious note, be aware of what's going on in your body, but also try not to always jump to the worst conclusions.  I had some very, very light spotting the other day, but it was scary for me.  Everyone was great, my boss sent me home right away, Dan came home from work, and drove me to the doctor.  We were naturally very nervous, but it all turned out just fine.  I had a slight vaginal infection, but it was not harming Aidan.  

12.  Go around, and get your registering done.  Target and BabiesRUs are some of the classics, and they have huge varieties.  We also really liked Restoration Hardware Baby and Child.  It's a little pricey, but they have really unique items, which will really make your nursery stand out.

13.  This one is exciting.  In the last couple weeks of your second trimester is when you can get your 3D ultrasound, if you want.  They're not cheap, but with all our family living so far away, we really wanted a way to share the pregnancy with them in a tangible way, so we wanted to do it.  It is truly amazing what technology can do!  Here's what our Baby Aidan looks like:

I can't get over his sweet face, his nose, and that SMILE!

That's what I have so far! :)  It has been such a fun ride, I can honestly say this has been the best experience, and I cannot wait to see 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ms. Frizzle Costume Tutorial - Literacy Parade!

It's that time of year again... Literacy Parade!!!
It's my favorite school day of the year.  It's what our school does in lieu of Halloween.  We have the kids dress up as literary characters, and we parade through the school.  Then, the elementary school grades do a book report, which is equally exciting, I think.    

Last year, I went as Amelia Bedelia.  Here's my costume in Falling In Love With Fall.  Last year I just kind of put different elements together, but this year I really went all out.  I've wanted to be Ms. Frizzle since last year's parade.  She's so cool, has an awesome sense of style, and best of all - give the girl a theme, and she'll rock it from here to kingdom come.  Just like yours truly! :)

So, here's a list of what I used:

- Dress - I found my dress at Goodwill for $6.00.  Looking through The Magic School Bus books, she wears many different colored dresses, but her blue/purple one is the one she's most often portrayed in.  I don't know if it's dumb luck, but I tend to find what I'm looking for when I go to Goodwill.  That was the case this time too.  It was the perfect length, it fit (barely, with the belly, but still fit), had a collar-like top, and had shoulder pads (yes, in this case that was a plus!)
- Old (boys') space sheet - I commandeered my sheet from one of our youth students, who wore it as a cape to a youth event.  It had these cool planets on it, so I asked her if I could have it, and she was sweet enough to give it to me.  If you don't have a cool situation handed to you like this, you have options.  Although you would never sleep on a sheet from a garage sale (right!?), you may find one that way.  Another option, if looking at stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall's for a random space themed sheet.
- Fabric Glue
- Scissors

- Crazy colored pumps - I found a pair of yellow ones at another second hand store, for a whole $1.
- Cut out planets to decorate.

- Stuffed lizard/gecko/chameleon
- Book - (requirement for our Literacy Parade)
- "Cosmic" jewelry - I had globe earrings I made years ago.
- "Frizzy" hair - I'll show you farther down

So, I started by cutting the planets out of the sheet.  I thought about using the trim as a belt, but ended up not liking it as much as I thought I would.  I also have pictured some plastic bead necklaces, but then ended up not using them,  It didn't add to the overall look at the end.

I unbuttoned the dress, and laid it out on the table.  

I did this, to try to make sure I wasn't gluing the dress together when I was gluing on the planets.  So, the next part was just placing the planets on the dress, trying to not have two of the same ones next to each other.  Next, I applied an even coat of fabric glue to the back of the planets, and stuck them back down.
Fabric glue is very fluid, so you want to make sure you aren't dripping it on the fabric.  Especially with a material such as sateen, which isn't very forgiving.  The fabric glue takes about 2-4 hours to dry, so I hung it up on a hanger, to let it dry.

The shoes were super easy.  I simply found some super uncomfortable, cheap yellow pumps, and using fabric glue to attach a planet to each of them, like so:

I don't know who Amanda is, but I'm glad she doesn't make shoes anymore.

For earrings, I used a pair I made a while back.  All it is, is some cool beads that look like the world, and strung them on a metal hook, then an earring, and voila!

I wanted to be as "authentic" as possible.  So, when my friend and I went to the book store, and they were almost completely out of The Magic School Bus books, and didn't have the space one, I was pretty bummed.  I bought the electricity one instead, and told my husband of my troubles.  My sweet man went ahead, and scoured the bookstores of Jacksonville, and finally had one shipped to a bookstore near his work, and surprised me with it the day before the parade.  He's that awesome. :)

Now for the hair.  I didn't want to dye my hair red, because we have our maternity photo shoot next week, and I didn't want to risk having funky orange hair.  But, if you wanted to dye your hair, I think that would be really cute!
So, the night before the Literacy Parade, I washed my hair, and put some curl control products in it.  Then I french- braided it in 6 braids (3 on each side).  The thinner the braids, the tighter the waves will be.

Good morning!!!

In the morning, when you take them out, hopefully it will look like this.  :)

I left some bangs out, and then pinned the rest of it up.  The great thing about waves, is that a messy up-do is easier to create, you can "hide" bobby pins better, and there's more volume.

So, the morning of the Literacy Parade, I did my hair, put on the earrings, the dress and the shoes, got my borrowed lizard, and went to work!
Yes, people in my building parking lot stared at me, as did people later on, when I was running errands on my way home.  But... how often do you get to be Ms. Frizzle, I mean, really!?

So, here's my costume, complete with lizard:

We had so much fun!  I had kids dressed up as Pinkalicious, President Obama, Madeline, Goldilocks, Fredrick Douglas, Arthur, Cleopatra, the pig from If You Give a Pig a Party, and a couple Cat in the Hats.  They did so well on their book reports, too!

I had Dan take a couple pictures of me too, because... well... it was a really cute costume! :)

There you have it!  My Ms. Frizzle costume!
I had so much fun putting it together.  Let me know if you're planning anything for Halloween, or if you and your family do anything as an alternative to Halloween.  Hit me with your best costume ideas!  I'm always looking for new ones!