Thursday, October 31, 2013


Well, I'm cramming some breakfast into my mouth and typing and then I'm off to finish sewing costumes...

Some of the ideas are elaborate this year. Tiger and MLyons have very specific ideas about their costumes, woodland elves.  MLyons is Tauriel, the she-elf that was added to the Hobbit (not in the book!)

We went digging through the piles I keep (can you say pack rat?) and found old upholstery fabric:

awesome left over fabric photo 2013-10-12161252_zps45dfe8fe.jpg
isn't this the coolest fabric?
Halloween Pattern?McCalls photo 2013-10-12161210_zpsd76b9457.jpg

modified pattern photo 2013-10-12162144_zps63557be6.jpg
modified pattern

he cut it out photo 2013-10-12174401_zps8d47767e.jpg
he cut it, he sewed, this is his creation

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sewing her chest armor

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elven breast plate photo 2013-10-13175651_zps4e073072.jpg
elven warrior

Dragon loves the Ranger's Apprentice Series.  He wanted to be a ranger.  He found an old wizard's cloak and decided to upcycle it into a ranger's cloak.

old wizard's cape photo 2013-10-13170303_zps66cd013e.jpg
wizard's cape

adding a hood photo 2013-10-13193807_zps0246efec.jpg
adding a hood

upcycled cloak photo 2013-10-14190807_zps3473ae5d.jpg
anyway - I'm off to whip up a tunic, and find all the pieces of the Jessie Costume from a few years ago. And can you believe it? Two of my kids have major tests and exams tomorrow! Who schedules an exam the day after Halloween? Oh, and it is college fair night at the High School tonight. How am I supposed to make *that happen? **After 8 PM ** my youngest two made it half way down the street and were done so I'm happily downloading pictures. finished Ranger:
Ranger photo 2013-10-31163444_zpse09e06a2.jpg
tracking candy

Woodland Elf photo 2013-10-31172857_zps37d85e2a.jpg
elf warrior
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the littles: Toy Story's Jessie and Buzz, Tauriel and her new friend from Sweden as a Kitty
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Jesse. Buzz. Elf. Kitty photo 2013-10-31173411_zpsbabe5784.jpg

Trick or Treat photo 2013-10-31175512_zps96313c2d.jpg
Trick or Treat!

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Fawn & a Witch off to the neighborhood party
My oldest saw something on pinterest some time ago that inspired the Fawn face, but she has those two test I was bemoaning earlier.  Luckily her friend the witch showed up and demanded that she dress up and come on out for Halloween.  There is a neighborhood party with a bon fire and costume contests and so on that happends after Trick or Treat is over.  So off they went.  I never take the little ones, we took the oldest way back when, some of the big kids are scary.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Venetian Photos

I am in Las Vegas, Nevada, for a Tech Conference.  We are staying in the Venetian.  Las Vegas makes my skin crawl -  but I find myself completely in awe of all the attention to detail that goes into the hotels and the decor.  I love the Venetian. The floors are gorgeous tile.  There are columns, and paintings, and plaster molds, and detail upon detail upon detail everywhere.

Last night we walked through the Canal Shops to the Sports Bar in the Palazzo to watch the Colts/Broncos game and along the way I took some photos:
Atrium, Venetian/Palazzo photo IMG_6056_zps1437801e.jpg

Venetian / Palazzo photo IMG_6053_zps2b48d643.jpg

Waterfall, Venetian/Palazzo Las Vegas photo IMG_6050_zps634dcb9f.jpg

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mummy Costume, easy & inexpensive

Last year Dragon wanted to be a Mummy.
I found an old set of curtains- if you don't have an old sheet or an old set of curtains maybe your local thrift store or good will store would?  Dragon and his friend spent a few minutes stripping the curtains.  I wrapped him up, and wrapped him up, and wrapped him up.  I would have wrapped more but Dragon was impatient to go Trick or Treating.
On Halloween I bought face paint at the local drug store.  It was marked down to $3.00.  I also bought a bottle of baby powder.
I marked up his face with white paint, and darkened his eyes, and dumped baby powder on his head.  Then he decided he wanted "blood" so I dribbled some spaghetti sauce done the front of him!

Mummy, We wrapped him in strips of old curtain fabric that came out of someone's attic, and then dumped a bottle of baby powder on him!
playing it up!

Ghouls, Mummy & his friend, off to Trick or Treat!
off to trick or treat!
I think I spent less than $5.00 on this and he loved it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

catching up

It has been a week full of sniffles and coughs, busy kids, getting ready for a trade show at work, and I'm in the middle of "Killing Che" by Chuck Pfarrer.  This week in photos:

Virginia Cotton photo IMG_5864_zpsdf0c1ca2.jpg
last week was warm, high 80's and sunny. After dog training I stopped to look at a field of cotton. I've lived in Virginia since 1999 and I haven't seen a field of cotton until this fall. When I drive through Isle of Wight and Windsor I pass several fields.

white cotton photo IMG_5863_zpse3dbbaa1.jpg

Sadly today when I drove out to dog training the cotton was still in the fields. It has rained hard for 4 or 5 days. Can you pick cotton after it gets soggy looking in the rain? I hope so.

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Seagulls by the Ferry photo IMG_5871_zpsc4679b2a.jpg

Seagulls by the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry

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MLyons has a new friend. She's from Sweden! We had her over last Friday and the girls made cookies and tootsie roll pop ghosts.
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Molly is visiting

lab snuggles photo IMG_5885_zps8d7b3388.jpg

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chores, Cookies and Allowances

I'm a bum mom. I don't do allowances.  I do remember getting an allowance at different points in my childhood but I'm not into the idea.
1.) I never have cash so the kids would never get paid
2.) for years there has been a thief amongst us so if a kid did get paid their brother would likely apprehend their cash anyway
3.) the era of walking to a store to get something is pretty much over. I've been *lucky* to have one or two discussions with the friendly people at CPS and they don't think it is okay to leave my (then) 11 yr old in a locked house in a gated community with the dog for an hour during daylight.  They really don't think it is okay for her to leave the gated community by herself. So since I have to take them to the store to use their allowance, what is the point?

Well.  MLyons - my 8 year old asked last night if she could earn some money. "Like an allowance" she said.  Her friends get allowances.  Uh-huh.  So I wrote up a chore list. She read it and burst into tears.

Make her bed pick up her dirty laundry put away her clean laundry clean her room clean her desk make floor so it can be vaccuumed put away her shoes in her closet do her homework read for 20 minutes be ready for ballet on time

Pretty much stuff she is supposed to do every day anyway but I have to remind (nag) her about it.  So I thought, here is some motivation to get this done without nagging.

Noticing the tears I ask "not what you were expecting?"
"I have to clean up Bitsy's stuff? That's not fair!"
For clarification, she shares a room with Bitsy who is 6 and likes to play with M's stuff. And frequently leaves a trail. And when she cleans that means she puts everything (from dirty underwear to M's homework) in a toy basket.  Whatever, it is off the floor.
"Um, yeah.  I clean your messes and that is not fair.  What did you think you might do to earn money?"
To which she tearfully replies "Make cookies and stuff" and fled the room.
I have a dear friend who will relate to this. She too would prefer to make cookies and stuff to earn her keep.  So anyway...

Mrs. Field's sells 6 cookies in a tote for $20.  My grocery store sells 12 chocolate chip cookies for $6.00.

My daughter will make you 12 chocolate chip cookies for $10.00 (homemade with eggs and real butter)
Or vegan sugar cookies, modified with coconut oil (better for you than many other oils but still full of fats) for $12.00 a dozen.  
You pay shipping which we haven't looked into. But will.
interested? email me: cailinyates (at) g mail (dot) com

She's actually a pretty good cook.
And in case you are friendly with CPS.  No, she doesn't man the cookie sheet in and out of the oven. I do that part.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mountain Day

Yesterday was Mountain Day.
What is Mountain Day?
Well, if you went to Mount Holyoke College (I did) it is a day when class is canceled and you grab a monster sized cookie from the kitchen and throw on some walking shoes and go hike a mountain.  And this year, Mountain Day was October 1st.

Which has me thinking about New England falls.  And Atkins Apple Cider Donuts. I ordered donuts from them one year, they sent them via overnight I think, and then I froze a bunch and we'd warm them up in the toaster oven.  SO yummy.

And it brings up thoughts of college.  People ask me where I went to school sometimes and I say "Mount Holyoke" and usually they say "where is that?" I have a daughter who is 15, a sophomore in High School and we'll start looking at colleges earnestly this summer.  And I desperately want her to go someplace where she will find others like herself, and grow, and have a wonderful time.  I am somewhat flummoxed by my cousins who went to Penn State and get together for football games and parties and so on.  It is hard for me to say so, but my years at Mount Holyoke did not leave me with a grand group of friends that I get together with yearly or even biannually.  I saw my freshman year roommate for several years but that is it.  I am very aware this likely says more about me as a person than the school.  {Although I remember the summer between freshman and sophomore year, I worked at at camp in the mountains of Colorado with a bunch of college kids and at the end of the summer I sat down and cried.  I did not want the summer to end.  I did not want to go back to Mount Holyoke.  And yet, 18 months later when I wanted to quit college and go to art school and my mother and step father threw a fit and said "no." (funny, they were not the ones paying the tuition at MHC but I listened to them.) and so they convinced me to go to some po-dunk school in Georgia that the pastor had gone to (my high school was bigger) and within a very short amount of time I was ready to go back to MHC.  If nothing else I had a new appreciation for the level of academia I was being offered.  And so I returned to MHC and graduated.}  And I did have friends.  We just came from many different places and scattered to many different places and are not all getting together on any kind of schedule.  There is a reunion in the works for next year and I haven't gone to previous ones because I don't know who I'd talk to and what I'd talk to them about and that is kind of how I feel now.  

I am proud to have gone to Mount Holyoke, but I find myself hoping for a different college experience for my daughter.

My Mountain Day yesterday: My 4 year old is not feeling well.  But it was a warm sunny day so we loaded up the dogs and went out to play.  And then his dad called and wanted us to have lunch with him at work. Yummy Eggplant Parmesan sandwich (no cheese) but there are no doubt eggs in the batter. And then home and I tried to fit in some work.  I need to seriously organize my work time.