Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Operation Christmas Child And Thanksgiving Fun

Let me back up a bit.  I'm trying to post on my non existent posts.
(Insert scream here)

OCC - Operation Christmas Child

I love Operation Christmas Child, sending a box of love across the world to let children know God loves them.

Last year was our first year participating in OCC. I wasn't quite sure what we were supposed to be doing and I had to figure out what exactly could go in a shoebox gift. This took some online research and creativity.  However, last year we managed to pack up 3 boxes (each child packed one and sent a letter).  We gathered things from the dollar stores and filled them up.  The kids absolutely loved packing the boxes.  They prefer, though, to just have a pile of things in the floor so they can choose exactly what to put in their boxes as opposed to me trying to plan them out so I know exactly how many there will be.

This year I prepared ahead of time for our shoeboxes. I had set a goal to put together 10 shoeboxes this year and was able to accomplish it. Mainly because I've been collecting things on sale and clearance since last Christmas. That was the biggest help instead of last minute running.

This year I managed to get legos for 75 cents, socks for 25 cents, crayons for 10 cent and even shoes for 50 cents a pair! I found a lot of great deals!  Cate decided to make a few bracelets to go inside the boxes too.  We also made some of these last year and included beads and string so the child receiving it could make their own.

However, this year we forgot to write letters to go inside our boxes and send a picture but we did buy our labels online this year so we could see where the box went. The kids are still anxious to see what part of the country their box is going.

This is one of the boxes we put together for a girl 5-9. I got the doll for .75 at kmart, glasses for .33 at kmart, activity book for .50, crayons .10, (Walmart both) shoes .50 (dollar general) socks .25 (rite aid), pencil case .25, paddle ball .75 (both Walmart)

These are a few of the other boxes we packed.  Afterwards, I did notice that we somehow packed more "boy" themed boxes than girls and we pretty much stuck with the 5-9 age range.

We will try to add a little more variety next year.  I'd like to pack some for the older kids so I need to start planning what to put in one.  I really wanted to add a baseball glove to this one (and make it baseball themed), but I didn't have time to check back at the store.  Walmart usually has those on clearance around this time.

This was a boys 2-4 box.  A ball is missing in this pic.

Thanksgiving Shenanigans.

Do you like my turkey?  Can you tell it's a turkey?  lol.  I tried and then AJ comes into the kitchen and calls it a reindeer.  He hurt my feelings.  Don't you EAT IT THEN!. Haha!

For Thanksgiving, I initially decided to cook this great big meal.  I bought turkey, ham, stuff for my macaroni, was going to make apple pie, butter beans, everything....  Then, two days before Thanksgiving, I was like "whatever."  I'm tired.  Who else is cooking?  So we went to our parents for Thanksgiving and I still ended up cooking mac n cheese there. lol.

On Thanksgiving Eve, we volunteered for the community "Feed the Boro" program.  We helped debone turkeys and prep meals to deliver around the community for Thanksgiving.  This was our first year doing so as I only seem to find out about it after it's over. 

The kids loved it.  I love the fact that they loved it and hope it helps them realize that everyone is not as fortunate as they think they're not.  So the next time I said "eat your food," you better eat it!  We went back on Thanksgiving morning with the husband and drove around to deliver meals to families in the area.  He didn't make it Thanksgiving Eve because he was working.  It was such a great and humbling experience.  We will definitely be on board next year!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Halloween And The Making Of Queen Elsa

So I know Halloween is gone, but I'm finally finishing this post! 

Trick or treat! 
We didn't do much on the actual day of Halloween but we went to a few local events leading up to it and did a few things at home.

I wanted to carve pumpkins; however, we never did.  We didn't mainly because I wanted to take the kids to a pumpkin patch and let them pick out a pumpkin. This never happened, so instead we bought them each a pumpkin from Walmart to paint.
 Of course, Caleb just went ham on his, Cate was making a masterpiece, and AJ got bored easily and just said he's done. After watching them paint theirs, I wish I would have bought me one to paint. They are currently on display in the hall.

"Let it go!" "Let it go!" Everyone in the world has probably heard this song and been forced against their will to watch the movie countless times. I know we have and I looooved the movie. However, instead of learning the lyrics like the husband and being able to actually sing it, I was busy writing spoofs to the song. You know, because I think I'm largely hysterical and besides God blessed me with sarcasm and a pen. I couldn't just let that go to waste.

Okay, so for halloween I knew Cate was going to want to be Queen Elsa.

Caleb was Spiderman and you mustn't ever call him Caleb while he's in costume or he might unleash his spidey powers on you. He was also certain that I wasn't fixing his mask right. It kept digging in his eyes so we finally got annoyed with it and took it off.  He was also very certain that Spiderman doesn't use a car seat. Tough luck kid.  Tough luck.   Aj, who initially wasn't going to dress up (He's too cool now.), decided to be the Scream thing again this year.  I heard some older men questioning him about Scream.  I think they were trying to see if he had seen it.  He hasn't. 

Dear Lord, thank you for my sarcastic and sometimes sick sense of humor. We have so much fun. Lol.  I kept nudging him to just glare out the window at people and even stare the cop down next to us at the red light. I really wanted to put him in the trunk when we got home to scare his daddy but he was sleepy by the time we arrived.  Doggit!

So onwards, shall we.  Everybody in the house knew Cate would want to be Queen Elsa, like almost every little girl in the county.  When we first looked at the Queen Elsa costume in the store, I didn't like it that much. It was pretty, but I just didn't like it that much. This is what's wrong with creative people. We always think we can do something. So we headed right over to the fabric department of Walmart and checked out some fabric.

Initially, this is what I came up with. Now keep in mind, that I have basic basic sewing knowledge and I operate on a "I'll figure it out" mentality. I had this idea in my head, but I just didn't know how it was going to actually manifest into a dress.

So I only had two days to pull this together because there was this school Halloween dance.  However, the whole first day I literally just sat on the sofa looking at that fabric on the floor...thinking.  On day 2, I really didn't have a choice but to get on the ball and I knew there was a good chance that I wasn't going to finish. 

I honestly had very little clue how I was going to pull it off. I found a cape tutorial online that looked simple. I didn't have butcher paper so I had to tape printer paper together! I do think I picked just the write fabric for the cape. What do you think?

The actual dress is what almost sent me to hell. When that bobbin start getting tangled up and acting foolish....Except for one side of this skirt, the entire dress was sewn by hand. If I had started earlier, it wouldn't have been so bad. However, I was under pressure.  So here are my very basic basics.

For the sleeves, I literally wrapped the fabric around her arms, pinned, cut and sew. Tada! The shimmery part initially was hard to figure out. I folded a piece of fabric less than half and I used a bowl to trace halfway for the head hole. I believe I sew the arms on next. Initially, the bodice was going to be the same light blue color but then all the pics I looked at on the internet there was a darker bodice. So I went back to Walmart and bought a darker shade of fabric to go with it.  Then, just like you'd drape a sheet around you and play princess, that's exactly how I made this piece and cut. I then didn't know how the child was supposed to get in and out of the dress. Would she been Queen Elsa forever? So of the clearish and bodice part, I just cut straight up the middle of her back. This probably isn't making much sense.  Next, I sew the clearish piece to blue bodice and sew that to the skirt. Follow? I'm sure you didn't. If you sew, regularly, you're probably wondering what the world did she do? Lol.

Here's what happened next. Sort of.  I took a knee length skirt she had and laid it on top of the butcher paper and just finished drawing it out like a cone for back. I measured her from waist down and did same thing for front, this time drawing out like a triangle.

After I finished, I just had to stand back and watch my creation like I was on Project Runway.  I was completely baffled by the fact that I had actually made the thing and it was recognized as the Queen Elsa costume.  Now had I knew what I was doing, this probably could have been a bit better. I actually tied the cape around her neck because someone stepped on it at school and tore the Velcro off and I forgot to sew it on this time.  I didn't sew it on the first time because I ran out of time and was hoping it would stay put. 

Getting snow cones at the frat houses at GSU.

Buy you know what, this costume got me the title of "Best Mom Ever!"  Whoop! Whoop!  However after she said that, she corrected herself and said well actually you're my only mom ever.  I'm going with the first one.  It also won 2nd place in the school costume contest! Alright Project Runway, I think I'm ready! 

Hope all the kiddos had a great Halloween.