Monday, September 30, 2013

Homemade Ghost Costume: Not Just a Sheet

Mr. No is still undecided about this year's costume.  I hope he doesn't wait until last minutes to chose something that I'm going to have to have to throw together!  Last year he had his heart set on being a ghost.  Seems easy enough.  Every told me just to cut holes in a sheet and be done with it.  Well, that's not fancy enough for me and Mr. No had rules about how he wanted his costume to be.  Rule 1 was nothing could cover his face.  No full masks and absolutely no sheets.  Rule 2 was it had to be just a little scary.  Rule 3 was it had to look cool.  Rule 4 was no face paint. So that pretty much ruled out every costume out there.  All the non-sheet ghost costumes were too girly and the store costumes had full masks or face paint.  Until I found this ghost costume at  I used the oversized sweatshirt idea to use for an easy base but changed the rest of it.  I'm not great at sewing so I really just improvised enough to get it to look decent. 

Instead of using a turtle neck and making a hat, I used a simple white hoodie. I bought it one size too big so we could layer under it.  In New England, you never know what the weather will be.  One year it was t-shirt weather the next we had a blizzard.  I also bought the very durable and still used mask on etsy at Mahalo.  

I did use the tulle that they used but also added 1-2 inch wide strips of another fabric...can't remember the name but it looks like mummy bandages.  Instead of draping it over, I slit the shoulder seams and sewed both the tulle and strips inside.  Then also sewed them along the neck seam so nothing would move and a few around the arm holes.  

 The strips were very delicate and I needed a way to both make them stronger and add a little extra to the costume.  So I watered down some glow in the dark fabric paint and coated the strips.  It stiffened them so they wouldn't break as easily and added a cool little glow effect to his costume. We bought some black sweatpants to make it look like he was floating and then added a thick chain and a ghostly staff to create Mr. No's scary but not too scary ghost.  I should have made something to cover his shoes since they slightly ruined the effect.

 I'm sure those who are even intermediates at sewing could make this look a lot better but Mr. No absolutely loved it, it was comfortable and it was easy to adjust it to whatever weather we might have without ruining the costume.

Linking up with:

Monday Funday at TWCS

Where Have We Been #2: Tougas Family Farm

Since it's still apple picking season and just about the beginning of pumpkin picking season, this week will feature another apple orchard that we tried before Honey Pot Hill, Tougas Family Farm.

The first time we went there Mr. No was just shy of 3 years old.  We actually went there to get a pumpkin for Mr. No since it was late in the season.  We like to pick from an actual patch so we will never go there for pumpkins again.  The pumpkins are already picked and just laying in a field.  But it was fine in a pinch.  We have a gorgeous place where we love to pick pumpkins that I will feature next week. We did have a great time in the field. No one was there and no employees to be seen. Mr. No was a little leery of the scarecrow.  I don't blame him...

We didn't actually pick apples that day.  However, we did end up back there the next 2 years for Mr. No's preschool field trips.  This was actually why we decided not to go back. Partially because we were already there. Partially because of the first field trip when Mr. No was with his class of very well behaved 3 year olds and their parents.  The guide for the field trip was rude and snippy for absolutely no reason. That was just the way she was the entire time we were there. I have to say that the woman's behavior was what mainly made us seek out another orchard.  However, the following year, the guide we had for that field trip was fantastic. Extremely nice and helpful. The kids got to pick 5 apples plus one to eat and a pumpkin.  Parents had to pay to come along but we got the same deal as the kids and Mr. No was thrilled to go home with 15 apples and 3 little pumpkins! The trees look healthy. They are smaller and more of a kid friendly height. The apples are delicious.  It's a place we may try again.  I guess we really shouldn't let one person's bad day sour us on a place.

I can see why a lot of families go here.  There is a lot for kids to do.  They also have weekday hay rides, which is a plus for us, and farm animals including the loudest goats ever!  Mr. No loved them!

Mr. No's favorite part, of course, was the playground.  Tire swing, monkey bars, brand name wooden playground and, the best part, a real tractor to climb on!  

And, of course, we can't forget H's favorite part! The cider doughnuts and apple cider are both delicious!  The only thing more exciting to Mr. No than cider season is eggnog season!

 Definitely a place to check out!  We just may have to give it another try...if only to let Mr. No ride the tractor!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Simple Things Sunday: Being Silly

Poor Mr. No is sick.  He's had a fever for the past 2 days and some other issues and has had to miss out on a lot.  He missed seeing his friends at school, he missed his soccer game, he missed going to Nana and Pop's to paint pumpkins and may even miss his friend's party. I tried to keep his mind off all that he was missing yesterday with crafts and play dough making.  We ended up making Halloween decorations and then, in true Mr. No style, he decided he had to decorate himself, too.  So he threw together this crazy little costume and became his silly little self. It was actually a treat for both of us to be able to just spend a Saturday together at home.  Usually Saturdays are crazy.  It was nice to have to just stay home, relax together and be silly.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Flashback Friday: Shake, Shake...Snake?

Since Mr. No has been home sick all day and has been super silly, it reminded me of how he used to dance with his maracas and shake, shake, shake with his rubber snake.  Not sure what the meaning behind this pairing of toys was, but he used them together a lot.  He always had pairs of toys that had to be together or he'd get so upset.  Rarely would the pairing ever make sense. Here are 16 month old Mr. No and his snake doing the snake shake!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ikea Side Table to Lego Table

(This is the last of the playroom diy projects.)

When we decided to redo the playroom, I knew that we would need a Lego table for Mr. No.  He is Lego obsessed.  He can spend hours building and creating and his projects would end up every where.  I found the idea for this diy table at here at ikea hackers and made a couple of tiny changes. The most time consuming part of this project was twisting the table legs on.  It was completed in under 30 minutes (those table legs took forever!)

We really wanted the red table(Mr. No's favorite color) but they didn't have one in stock.   Since our ikea is over an hour away,  we went with black to match the curtains and shelving unit.

Instead of matching base plates, I used alternating blue and green.  I wanted it to be like land and sea for him.  I placed them down where I wanted them first and marked on the table with a  pencil so I would end up with an even border around the edge.

Instead of the putty they used, I used heavy duty double sided table. We already had it and it holds strong.  I'm not too concerned with reusing the table for something else when he's done with it so I didn't need them to be removable.  This is how I placed the tape to make sure it wouldn't come up while pulling off lego after lego.  The corner tape is key to keeping it properly in place.  I made our table about a year ago and the base plates are all still firmly in place.

To make sure the plates lined up, I used some 1x4 Legos.  It made for uniform lines on the plates and helped stick them down.  Last thing I wanted was for him to try to build and the legos wouldn't attach across the plates because they weren't in the right spot. 

It took all of 10 seconds after I told him it was finished for Mr. No to start playing.

We did get a little stool for him to sit on and I made a cushion for it but we usually all end up sitting on the floor around it instead.

I have to add that the rack of bins is a must have for the legos!  We had drawers for them.  They were a pain in the rear! A pain to find the bricks you wanted, a pain to clean up and a pain to get back in. Now we just start tossing legos into the proper bins for easy clean up and we use that large red bin on the top for all the creations that he wants to keep together but doesn't want on the table.  I did take an afternoon to separate them into bins by size and type. A little time consuming but it's so easy to find the bricks you want.   So there it is.  Simple, quick and easy lego table for half the price. 

Linking up with:

The Creative Connection at Create. Craft. Love.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Where Have We Been #1: Honey Pot Hill Orchards

I had originally started this blog 2 years ago as a place to store all of our memories and give a mom's opinion on different place to go and things to see in New England.  We took so many day trips when Mr. No was little and found so many great places. There are so many great (and a few not so great) places that we've been that I've decided to feature a new place every Monday.  It's great way for me to go through old photos, record our memories and just maybe I'll end up helping a mom or dad in the area find a new place to try out with their little ones.

In honor of fall and our yearly apple picking tradition, this first week is our current apple picking destination Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, MA. We've been to a few pick your own apple places over the years.  There are so many around in MA and CT that I'm sure we could try 2 every year until Mr. No graduates High School and still not have tried them all.

We first went there for Mr. No's friend Noodle's birthday party.  We didn't see too much of the place that day and I don't really remember it making an impression one way or another.  We decided to go back for apple picking because they had hay rides during the week.  It doesn't seem like that big of a deal but it's actually really hard to find places with weekday hay rides.  We actually skipped that hay ride this year because Mr. No just wanted to get to the apples.  Or maybe he remembered last year's death defying rollercoaster of a hay ride last year where we all flew from our seats as the tractor slammed to a stop so latecomers would not have to wait for him to come back again and then flew off down the bumpy trail where we held on for dear life.  We all loved it but he tends to remember things differently!

The hay ride isn't necessary.  The apples are a 2 minute walk away from the check in but is so much fun!  There are ropes and signs that let you know where to go so it's easy to find your way.  We tend to just wander quietly at our own pace and enjoy the gorgeous apple tree view.

The best part is the ladders. None of the other places we've been to have had ladders out.   I'm surprised that they even have them out with out employees monitoring you with the way things are now but I love it.  You can actually climb up and reach those great apples on the top.  Mr. No is always wary of climbing them but does it every time and is so proud of himself.

Mr. No always has to taste test the apples before we can put them in the bag. I have to admit that I am not an expert on apple varieties and, while I adore everything made with apples, I do not like raw apples.  I have no idea what kinds of apples make their way into our bag every year.  We let Mr. No do his thing and I make applesauce, apple muffins, apple crisp, etc. out of them and they are always delicious.  H and Mr. No devour them so they must be tasty considering how picky those 2 are!

The apple trees always look healthy and beautiful.  There are always a lot of apples available to pick.  As is the case in most places, the further back you walk in the open rows, the more apples that will be available. We take our time unless the sun is roasting like this year and enjoy the quiet picking time.  We went during the week on a half day this year so it was still nice and quiet even with 2 busloads of teenagers in the orchard with us.  When picking is done, we drop our apples in the car and head to the little store.  Can't go home without our apple cider or cider doughnuts! The doughnuts are delicious and so soft and moist even 2 days later! Yum! And, of course, restrooms including a family one. Plus there is a place to wash our hands by the picnic tables so we don't have to trek back to the restroom after we enjoy our tasty doughnut (or other treat).

 We have never tried the large hedge maze and Mr. No has no interest in the tunnel maze but those are also available. Tunnel maze and little hedge maze for kids is open during the week.  Large hedge maze is only open on weekends.  With H's work schedule, we never go anywhere on the weekends.  Mr. No loves the little hedge maze though.  He has to go through it every time we're there. During the week, $2 gets Mr. No into both the tunnel and hedge mazes, if he ever chose to do the other one.

All in all, it's a perfect place for families.  The staff is very nice.  We've never had a bad or even semi unpleasant experience there and come home with a bag filled with delicious apples. The prices are comparable to most places around.  There is plenty to see and do.  We pick our pumpkins from the patch somewhere else but they do also have already picked pumpkins available and barnyard animals to look at and feed.  Mr. No especially loves the bunnies.  He wants a bunny so badly.  Sorry but he'll just have to settle for Fuzzy the hamster.

Maybe one year we'll try another place again but for now Honey Pot Hill is our go to place for pick your own apples.