More costume progress pics!

Or, as I wanted to title this post, “I used to have a green bowl”

But it was meant for a greater destiny

Steve has been coming home after long hours at work, and then putting in long hours into making this costume for our oldest:

His mom has been helping him, and we went paint shopping yesterday:

Our boy has been very patient trying things on:

Again and again

Now, if you saw the movie you’ll probably recognize the costume. Otherwise, you’ll have to be told what it is, like I was πŸ˜€

Two more days, people!

The guessing game begins

My husband has started work on our oldest’s Halloween costume. It is pretty darn awesome so far – here’s a (tiny) sneak peek!

Here are a few of the costumes we have made in the past:

Aidan as Drago from Bakugan

Alex as Wubbzy

Alex as Godzilla

Aidan as the Xenomorph from Alien

Most of the work here is Steve’s. I sewed the wings for Drago and made the Wubbzy outfit while Steve painted the face on it and shaped the tail. Everything else was done 100% by him. Long hours of work, lots of attention to detail, lots of love for his sons to have a great costume. Most of the time he stays up the night before Halloween to make sure every detail is perfect, and then gets rewarded by the boys’ excitement in wearing their fab costumes at their school parades.

It has worked so far that whenever one of our boys wants a homemade costume, the other wants a store-bought one, so when Alex was Godzilla, Aidan was Captain America. Last year Alex wanted to be a monkey so we got his costume from Old Navy. This year, he wants to be a monkey again, which makes it easier on Steve πŸ˜€

I’ll be posting more sneak peeks of Aidan’s costume as progress is made!

We be jammin’

You have no idea how our house smelled that evening. The rich, sugary scent spread like fog tendrils throughout the rooms, even my jam-hating oldest one came in from his karate lesson and said “it smells GOOD in here!”

This madness here:

Has become this yumminess:

My husband patiently peeled each grape, cooked down the whole thing, strained it, added the peels back in, added a bit of sugar, and somehow managed not to devour the whole thing while making it. I would have just upended that pan and chowed down, seared insides be damned.

My youngest, he of the three-PB&Js-in-a-row habit, is loving his sandwiches these days. Even more than usual.

The best part is, there’s another huge bowl of grapes waiting, AND, the vine is only half empty.

Ivy tired of this!

There is a spot on our front yard that has been an eyesore for me since we moved in.

It’s a square of ivy. The footprint is delineated in brick and then it’s just ivy.

Like many decisions made by the first owner of this house, I have no idea what they were thinking, but in any case, it wasn’t to my liking. Eventually, it, uh, wasn’t to my husband’s liking either. You know how these things go. He was good enough to begin demolishing it on Labor Day weekend.

As you can see, there is a concrete square in the middle. Then the area between the concrete and the brick, where the ivy was planted, is just ground.

This is what the front yard looked like when Steve called it a day:

We have cleaning up to do, of course, but already I like looking at the front of my house more. Instead of this random ivy block placed on one corner of the front yard, now I can see the hibiscus and other plants we have out front.

The general plan is to convert this area into a covered sitting spot so in the afternoon we can sit out here while the kiddos play. The details have not been finalized, but you can believe I am having some fun putting things together.

Hope your long weekend was a wonderful one!

Impromptu IKEA

Over the weekend, my husband had a sudden urge to go to IKEA. Have I mentioned how much I love this man? πŸ˜€

It was a quick trip as we went through the showroom, which the boys love. My oldest kept saying “THIS is how I want our living room to look!” every time we went through a new “home”. We had yummy meatballs and ribs and I had my usual IKEA treat – their sparkling pear drink. That stuff is awesome.

We ended up with a few odds and ends:

We decided to get rid of some old dishes we’ve had for over a decade — Steve had them before he met me, which was in 2001. We already had some neutral stoneware, and we decided to add some chocolate brown goodness to mix it up a bit. We were also in need of some everyday wine glasses. Not that we drink wine everyday, but we wanted glasses that wouldn’t be too expensive to replace. At $4.79/6, the price was perfect.

The hardware on the bottom left is for a future project, we also got pretty bird prints and some kitchen utensils, and more ice pop molds because mine are currently full of icy mango-y goodness.

Last but not least, are the new book ends IKEA released to celebrate their famous Billy bookcases. We have a few of those bookcases, and it’s our family initial, so we snagged two of each size.

I can’t believe July is almost over, we’ve got a couple of things planned before school starts again and my boys go into 3rd and 2nd grades. Is it just me, or is this year flying by?

Garden Update: July 2013

We’ve been enjoying our fruit and veggie bounty – I mad 2 loaves of zucchini bread and a batch of chocolate chip zucchini cookies from just ONE monster squash, and we’ve been eating our delicious tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, and a sauce that had my friend’s kids asking for lunch at 10am πŸ˜€

Some more future cookies πŸ˜€

We’ve recently planted some more corn for an autumn harvest:

And, hello! Check out the awesome planter my husband made!!! He’s planting bamboo in it, and he got his inspiration from a couple of gorgeous river photographs by Keith Liang.

Steve made the mold with a high-relief design and then built a structure to pour the cement in. This turned out amazing, and yes, I’ve put in an order for a smaller planter with a fleur-de-lis πŸ˜€ Of course.

Our strawberries continue to produce as well:

The other day we harvested some lavender for our neighbor. I think I’m going to make some eye pillows with the rest.

This crazy madness going on here is our Concord grape vine. Well, one of them. The other is just started to go all wild but this one is going to become another yummy batch of grape jam.

This is what the vine looked like in April:

Current goodness and future grape jam, nom nom nom.

Our pretty flower frames are doing great as well!

We are also harvesting potatoes and onions, and mint for our mojitos.

Gardening is to me an incredibly rewarding experience. Which is not to say there aren’t days (usually those in 100+ degree weather) where the last thing I want to do is go out there and water and tend to the plants. But homegrown veggies taste so good, and knowing that my family gets to eat fresh, delicious, healthy food is pretty awesome.

I say this every year, but next year I’d really like to get more flower plants for cuttings. I just love having fresh flowers in the house. I’ve killed some gerbera and hydrangea, though, so we’ll see how I do in that goal.

Have a wonderful week!

Not so very masterful after all

You’ve seen them. On Pinterest, magazines, blogs, etc. Those gorgeous master closets with chandeliers and fancy rugs and maybe an ottoman (or a sofa!) in the middle, or if you’re lucky, a whole separate island or vanity area for primping and glamorizing.


source

Well, that’s not going to happen here.

Our master bedroom has a plain old closet with ye olde mirrored sliding doors. We are keeping those because they bounce a great deal of light around and as dark as our house is, we love all the light we can get. Unless it’s time to sleep. Then we love our light-blocking panels.

But I digress.

This is the starting point. I’m so sorry.
Left side:

We’ve had the white unit for almost 10 years. Steve reinforced the back, which was bowing in, and it’s good to go for another 10. He gets two drawers, I get two drawers; my makeup and most of my jewelry go on the lower shelf. We share the top shelf and he gets the middle shelf.

Right side:

Did I mention we share?
Yep, he gets the top level while I (being all of 5’1″) get the lower one.

Since we didn’t have a good place for my long skirts and dresses, we decided to move things around, and give the old thing a paint job while we were at it. Nothing fancy, just the same Valspar “Cream in my Coffee” we have in the living room, but it was an improvement over this loveliness:

Of course, things got a lot worse before they started to get better:

I still have a lot of sorting to do, given my array of costume jewelry, so things aren’t 100% finished. But we are both happy with the results so far.

Hopefully, I will have more (neater) stuff to show you soon!

Have a wonderful week!

Bollywood Bash!

As I mentioned on Friday, Steve and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary this past weekend. We’d been wanting to throw a Bollywood-themed party for years and we figured this was our chance.

My husband applied henna to my hands and a couple of friends and their daughters’ hands. No stencil, all freehand. He also made an arch so people could walk through it. If at this point you are getting the impression that he’s the crafty one and I just take pictures, I wouldn’t argue with you.

Our friends’ and their daughters’ hands:

My hands:

See that on the left (my right) hand? Yep, he put in a fleur de lis for me πŸ˜€

Awwwww – ring shot.

Entrance to the “Taj Mahal”

In order to hang lovely swaths of color (i.e. dollar store tablecloths) Steve and our awesome neighbors pinned them around the fan . . .

… and then spread them out to hang away from the center.

The vanilla chai cupcakes were made by my awesome friend J. – the cupcake toppers are from Bird’s Party, so cute!

In my test batch I used a box of French Vanilla cake mix and substituted a cup of strong chai tea (3 bags steeped for 20 minutes) instead of the cup of water in the instructions. The Buttercream is from the Wilton website and has 2 T of strong chai tea. My friend offered to bake them for me and they were a hit, my uncle had six of them, I think!

I found Ellie, our party mascot, during a visit to Goodwill. She was there, right in the end cap and I thought she was perfect, so she came home with me:

Ellie and the perfect-for-our-theme doormat we got at Pier 1:

This being our tenth, we decided to splurge a bit and have a local restaurant provide the food. Everything was delicious, we had Tandoori chicken, Butter chicken, Basmati rice and Naan bread, Salad, Okra masala, and Vegetarian korma. Even though everyone who RSVPd showed up – about 40 friends and relatives – we have lots of leftovers, so we get to enjoy our yummy party food for a couple of days.

My brother, awesome bartender that he is, whipped up some delightful mango concoctions – both family-friendly and with alcohol.

They were frosty and delicious in the warm afternoon. We also enjoyed some gulab jamun for dessert.

My husband got his kurta at a local boutique, we were so happy with the customer service – the salespeople are nice, helpful, will work with your budget, etc. We sent a few friends there to get their costume and they were very happy as well. We never require people to dress up but it was nice to see so many of our dear guests embracing the theme.

I purchased some red glittery fabric – and let me tell you, I still have glitter all over my skin – and the lady from the boutique showed me how to pleat and wear it. My headdress is the necklace I made for my wedding, I was very happy to wear it again ten years later. I wore a teal shirt to coordinate with my husband’s kurta, and teal flats, tons of bracelets (from H&M), and turquoise earrings I already had.

We are so thankful to all the friends and family who joined us, everyone who helped out, and those who couldn’t make it but were there in spirit. I kept thinking my dear daddy would have had a blast at our party, he loved my husband and I know he was happy to know we are happy together.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week, I am off to scrub still more glitter off me!

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It's Overflowing”the

Ten years ago

We swore to love each other.

Sometimes it feels like yesterday. And, let’s be real, sometimes it feels like a hundred years πŸ˜€ But I chose well. Steve is the love of my life, my best friend, and the best father I could ever have wanted for our children.

Things are going to get a little colorful this weekend . . . see you on Monday!