Not a Snowball’s Chance

When you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt as temperatures hover in the sixties and it’s the middle of December… snow seems unlikely.

But this is North Carolina and I’m out of milk so it will probably snow tomorrow.

Elliot goes to a co-op preschool and I was in charge of the Winter Party. It was Joel and I– which turned out to be really special for E, since he’s never had the two of us without his brother. Poor Second Born child.

I always planned for the stuff around the party– crafts, games, favors– to be very simple. Why? Because these are 3 and 4 year olds and they have the attention span of hyperactive gnats.

Then I saw a friend’s pictures of felt snowballs. FELT SNOWBALLS! Have you ever heard of such a wonderful thing?

I hadn’t, but of course it exists! Michelle, author at Rust & Sunshine not only made some, she also provides a free pattern so you can do it, too.

*No, really– she did all the work already– I’m not typing out my own version of her instructions, because that would be, 1) a copyright violation, and 2) redundant.

First, I made two snowballs and handed them off to my Small People. If there is a way to cause either body or property damages with felt, it’s gonna be my kids.

After they remained both injury and argument free, I added balled up socks to their stash and started sewing the class snowballs. Party favors, dontcha know? Two balls per kid– because one snowball per kid is lame– for a total of 24 felt snowballs.

The greatest time investment–as it always is with sewing– was in the cutting. The sewing part only took 3-4 minutes per ball.

The 30 minutes of sustained fun had by the hyperactive gnats? Worth it!

Felt Snowball Fight copy

Bunk Bed Tents

Before anyone starts doing the cough-laugh thing whilst whispering “bless her heart” to themselves… I know. I feel the same way about the tent portion of the bed tent. The images on the inside? I traced what they wanted from that google place onto leftover scrap material, added some acrylic paint (and some glow in the dark paint) and was done in an hour. JB did the Millennium Falcon, after he fell to the floor laughing about how my version looked like a penis with some sort of testicle disease.

I had many,many dreams for the bed tents (damn you, pinterest!) But dreams are dreams and reality is, well. Life. 😀

Dream: You wait until the last minute (December 21st…) for stuff like this, while blithely waving your hand, saying, “it’ll take me an hour– tops”.
Reality: Your youngest child will puke that night followed by your oldest, 48 hours later. In between they will seek your love and attention. You will feel like a douchebag for ditching them to sew. You sigh and sit with your children. As it should be.

Dream: You will decide to wait until Christmas night, since you know you are getting a new sewing machine.
Reality: Sixteen seconds after you get motivated to unpack the new toy, you– and the rest of the street, oy he’s loud– hear your husband vomit. He will then spend the first 2 days of vacation either holding down the couch, or sitting really still on the floor watching cars spin on a track. I must pause and give some love– he was made a strong effort to play enough with the kids that I wasn’t bombarded the entire time.

Dream: Your husband is finally well enough to take kids away from the house for a 3 hour window. You can finish the tents!
Reality: You realize that the very reinforced window is crooked as hell. You will also realize that the up-cycled bed sheet is so old that ripping out seams is not an option. You nash your teeth, figure out a way to hang the monstrosity in the living room window and stare at it for 2 days.

Dream: You’ll just start over, you think.
Reality: Your kid has already said he didn’t care about the crooked window. If you start over you are in direct conflict with the “not everything has to be perfect”** life vibe you keep preaching.

Solution: You do your tracing thing and hot glue gun the pictures over the crooked window, which will now face the wall. Then you glance at your shiny new sewing machine and the now-hated bed tent. You feel the weight of the already heated glue gun. You hot glue gun the rest of it– sewing be damned.

**will resist urge to obsess about making upgraded bed tents. will…resist…**

How Did This Happen?

Once upon a time (or 9 years ago, yesterday) a girl married this boy. Within her own little micro-culture, she was well known as a commitment-phobic feminist who wanted nothing to do with marriage, having/raising kids, or station wagons. She would roll eyes when other girls included “having babies” as a life priority.

Imagine her surprise when she woke up one day with all of the above. Luckily, she (yes, it’s me–how did you know?) somehow managed to avoid all of the rest of the BS involved with…

Oh, who am I kidding? Just getting slightly excited about an internet find resulted in an hour spent slicing apples, kiwis and bagels so that 15 preschool-aged children could make the Easy Halloween Owl Treats.

And yes, though about half of the children both created and ate owls, my kid didn’t. And because Hoot took so much of my time, both before school, and during his special time at school, I count it as a fail. Well that, and the McDs drive-thru on the way home.

However, before crazy Martha-Stewart-Wannabe-Mom showed up, the boys and I spent an hour (a Quality Time win, for sure) studying a tiny little worm crawling across the train table. Never, ever–and I mean really don’t— google images of “tiny white worm”.

Though, now that I know what it is– an Indian Meal Moth larva, I feel better. Wait! NOTSOMUCH Seriously? I do NOT have time to deal with my pantry being invaded! Have I not met the lifetime quota for invasions? Between the starlings and squirrels that have been in the attic, the black widows, the voles?

That it’s possible that my re-purposing of the ever-growing acorn collection Halloween decorations might have been how he got in here? Just the icing on the big ol’ irony cake that is my life.

Instead of cleaning every square inch of my kitchen (as the entire left side of my face seizes in panic), I am supposed to:

  • Finish Halloween costumes. Yesterday E attempted to sew his Batman Dark Knight costume without me. He managed to get the shirt jammed under the presser foot and the machine turned on, but was thwarted by threading the needle. The One Who Tattles About All Things was engrossed in a Captain Underpants comic book 2 feet away and never noticed a thing. Note to Self: Must purchase more Captain Underpants books.

  • Figure out which schools I want them to attend from kindergarten until college and fill out applications. Now. Like it’s college, only it’s kindergarten.
  • Two Birthday parties to plan and execute.
  • A fence/gate to replace the one I had JB take down, after years of watching it lean finally popped a blood vessel. Shhh, really quietly—> Somewhere the crazy part of my brain actually thinks we can get the house painted in the next month. I mean, it’s mostly brick… But since it took 5 hours to clean the storm windows, re-glaze and touch up caulk on just 3 windows… Crazy Brain is going to be disappointed and confused. Again.
  • 6 children to whom we owe birthday presents and visits. Preferably before sending same children invitations to my children’s birthday party. Because in my mind that somehow qualifies as more tacky than being 6 months behind on a gift.
  • Training for another running race, since my pulled ass muscle slowed down my training enough that I missed my Half Marathon.
  • Starting karate lessons for Zach. Then, because I have an over-developed sense of fairness, enrolling Elliot in something. So let’s add driving to these places to my expanding list.

Then it will be:

  • ACC Basketball (not only do I enjoy the basketball, I lose my husband for a few months.)
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

Oh. And spend time with our kids, our extended family, and our friends. With each other.

Homegrown Superhereos

Okay- so I understand the obsession between little boys and superheroes, and little girls with princesses. They are both marketed as being good and strong and, most importantly, magically strong. As a kid, I definitely had Princess Leia Underoos. I’m reasonably sure that I pretended to be Wonder Woman– and if not her, definitely Indiana Jones-ette.

But I also pretended to be an Indian Princess after watching a Gandi miniseries with my Mom, complete with a green-checked tablecloth tied around my face. It is that memory that prompted me to make them superhero capes of a more specialized variety.

Thanks to hot wheels, Zach is obsessed with flames. Not fire, thankfully, just flames. Elliot loves water–especially pouring it, which is why he still uses a sippy cup. While I was in the cape-making mode, I also had a belated birthday cape (as in from August!) for a friend of mine’s daughter, and a birthday party coming up for another little girl, the tinkerbell-loving daughter of one of my favorite feminist friends.

Superhero Capes for everyone!

I use the pattern from the Puking Pustilles website and imagination for everything else.

Since I can’t draw worth a darn, I did a google search for the type of clip-art I needed and found excellent examples for the flames, water splat, fairy (then a sword, see above about feminist friend), and a crown.

Once I decided what I wanted, I sized them appropriately in the photo editor and then printed onto regular paper.

Next I traced the designs onto interfacing. Then you choose your felt colors and iron on according to the package directions. Cut off the excess felt and iron-on the felt to the cape.

Now– all of this went without a hitch and is actually the most time consuming of the process. In theory. If you actually sew with any regularity. Me? Well, it took forever, but that wasn’t the capes’ fault. First, I had knotting and breaking problems with the bobbin. I took off the sewing plate to clean it, found this.

Which of course led me to take the rest of the machine apart (following manufacturers instructions) and clean/oil inside. Then, since I had already read 6 pages of the manual, I decided to stop a read the rest of it. Which sent me back to the store to get new needles. After that, I needed to practice my stitches before sewing the capes (I have never followed that step in sewing instructions before–it actually made a huge difference in the final product.)

Then it was time to sew.

Elliot’s superhero cape, aka Commander H2O:

Zach’s superhero cape, aka Captain Fire Flame:

I wasn’t even surprised when Zach, instead of falling onto the cape with love and amazement, just looked at me and said, “that doesn’t look like a Batman cape.” I was annoyed–but not surprised.