Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 5: Oh the Places You'll Go.

I thought long and hard about this one. For day 5, I'm supposed to share a photo of somewhere I've been.  Hmmm...which fabulous location should I pick?  Decisions decisions.

In the end, I opted for this:

The Fairytale Forest

Fairy Tale Forest in Oak Ridge, NJ.  I spent a good deal of my youth at that place.  There were huge plaster recreations of nursery rhymes and fairy tales.  I loved it.  In later years, they tried revamping the place with bright psychedelic colors which was more trippy than anything else.  Sadly, the redo didn't help the park and it closed in 2003.

Heartbreakingly, the site remains much as it was, just in awful disrepair. There are a few videos on YouTube where people have snuck into the abandoned site and filmed.

Here's one:

And here's another (this one absolutely breaks my heart).

Lost in Fairytale Forest has some more photographs of it in the disrepair along with some historical photographs which show it how I remember.

What I wouldn't give to get a copy of that vintage post card!

Random thought: Near the Mother Goose statue, on a walking path, when you looked up, you saw a cradle in a tree with a plaque hanging. It contained the lyrics to "Rock-a-bye Baby" painted on a piece of wood in intricate handwriting. At about 4 years old, I saw that and it suddenly hit me that the song wasn't a sweet soothing lullaby, but was about a baby plummeting to her death from up in a tree branch.

None of the videos or photographs show any evidence of that cradle or the sign that accompanied it. What happened to them? The fact that there is no proof that that even existed (other than in my memory) bothers me to no end.

On the 4th Day of Randomness, Your Blogger Gave To Thee...

A bad habit.

Day 4 compels me to share a habit I wish I didn't have.

I often say, "Patience is a virtue, it's just not MY virtue."

So, there you have it.  I wish I wasn't so impatient.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Girlysound streaming

I adore Liz Phair. I haven't been her biggest fans over the course of the past few records, but I've always loved Girlysound and now some songs are being rereleased as part of Funstyle (I could sing "Bollywood" all day) and Pop Candy is streaming Girlysounds. I've been listening over and over again. I had forgotten just how much I love some of these songs ("In Love With Yourself," especially). I'm having a blast listening to these over and over again.

If you're not familiar with Liz Phair, I should give you a NSFW warning. She does use colorful language, so be warned. Then again, if you need that warning, she's probably not for you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 3: You've Gotta Have Friends (and a camera)

On the 3rd day of randomness, your blogger gave to thee, photographs of people you probably don't even know.

Perfect timing since it's Wordless Wednesday.  I can get the Wednesday part down.  The wordless, not so much.

Girls' Night Out in July

Dinner at shul a week or two ago.  

Don't you love the blur of kids in that last one?  Maybe you like the suggestive balloon animal with which we're posing.  Perhaps all those pieces of cake are making you drool.  Funny enough, in the top picture, we also had cake and took pictures of said chocolate cake.  I'm not friends with the cake nor am I in those pictures, though, so I'm not posting those.  :-)

And in honor of those awesome friends, some of my favorite friendship quotations.

"How I wish you were here. We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year, running over the same old ground and how we found same old fears. Wish you were here."--Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here)

"Strangers are exciting, their mystery never ends, but there's nothing like looking at your own history in the faces of your friends."--Ani DiFranco

"There are so many ways to be connected to people. There's some people that you feel this unspoken connection to, even though there's no word for it. And the people you've known forever that you know in ways other people can't, because they've seen you change…they've let you change."--Angela Chase from My So Called Life

"Love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant."--unknown

"There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them."--J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On the 2nd Day of Randomness
My Blogger Gave To Me...

a very brief explanation.

Well, that's easy.  

I refer to my gaggle of kids as "The goat rodeo."  People are endlessly amused by this.  

We're in the process of moving, hence, "Relocating the Goat Rodeo."  

I know, the anticipation just damn-near killed ya, didn't it?  

Crafty Goodness Roundup

I've abandoned my weekly link roundup as of late (quite accidentally.  I want to keep it up, but life has a way of interfering).  My constant collection of crafty goodness that I hope to create just keeps growing, though.  Out of the kindness of my heart (and the selfish need to keep them somewhere where I know I can find them), I'm compiling a collection here.

Leaf mobile (found at Creative Jewish Mom).
We have tons of yarn, so this would be great to do with the kids.  Plus, I've wanted to dress up our front door for fall.  I actually created a leaf wreath with items from the Dollar Tree, but I love that look, so I may create this mobile in addition.

Halloween Bloody Bathroom
This is one I don't actually plan on doing (could you imagine the reaction from potential buyers when they came to see the house?), but I love this and other Halloween ideas they have on that blog.

Cutest Owl Costume EVAH!
Okay, so I altered the title a bit to better suit my feelings on it.  :-)  I'm all about birds, especially in relation to my youngest (we called her Tziporah when she was tiny because she looked like a bird) and I particularly like cute owls.  So I'm going to get to work on this costume today.

Again, on the bird theme, I want to make these
Paper Mache Birds
They seem pretty simple and very cute.

I've been scouring the side of the road for drawers to use to make this
That's so cute and would be a great way to use up some of my neglected paper supplies.

I am absolutely in love with this owl room for my youngest.  Again, with the owls.  I adore that bedding.  The problem is, it's no longer available.  *sigh*  I have a knack for falling in love with things that are either 3 years old (and therefore nowhere to be found) or from a foreign country.  I wonder if I could try to create bedding like that.

Heart-shaped photo arrangement
I love that.  When we (finally) move, I want to try that out at the new place.

Not exactly a craft, but these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes are calling my name.  Problem is, I'm drooling too profusely to respond.

There's a lolcat for that.

This simple Halloween decorating idea from the Graphics Fairy cracked me up.  I'd like to do that year-round.  :-)  That's another one that makes me wonder what the potential buyers would think.

This rock collage is darling and simple (and a much better souvenir alternative to buying plastic crap with the name of the state/town/country plastered on it).

These owl items aren't crafts, but they are adorable and I think they'll easily lend themselves to crafts.  I could easily recreate those with fabric scraps.  Although, I must say, we have some Stephen Joseph items for the kids and we've been very impressed with the company.  We had a problem with one and the customer service was phenomenal.

This French Vanilla Creamer seems simple to make and lacks all those extra chemicals.

These paper name mobiles are adorable and simple.  That's another thing I want to make for the kids' rooms when we move.  Hmmm...I would even do something like that for the front door to spell out, "Welcome."  That combined with that first leaf mobile could be super cute.

Monday, October 18, 2010

lolcats for the middle daughter

This makes me think of E.

funny pictures of cats with captions

Pictures, random facts and bloggy goodness, oh my!

I'm cheating with the photo. I don't have any recent photographs of me, but there's a picture my oldest drew of me for her "Pin the cofie in maman's hand" game.

And now, for 15 random facts about me:

1.  In real life, I'm not missing a finger on my left hand (contrary to what the picture might suggest).
2. I'm the youngest of 6, by a long shot.  My siblings range from 10 years older than me to 25 years older.
3. I always wanted 4 kids.
4. I met my husband at my first job: working at a video store in New Jersey.
5. We've been together for 13 years and married for 11.
6. My first name is in memory of my paternal grandmother.
7. All of our daughters' names honor her in some way.
8. My Hebrew name is in memory of my aunt who we lost to ovarian cancer.
9. I should have been a detective.  I can find damn-near anything online.
10. I curse more than I should,
11. but never around my mother.  If I do accidentally slip up and utter something mild (because I would never say any of the big ones in her presence), I immediately apologize.
12. I sleep with a stuffed lion named Mustard Seed that my youngest brother (who is 10 years older) gave me when I was a kid.
13. I'm listening to Liz Phair's newest album right now (yeah, I'm hurting for something--ANYTHING to add).
14.  Two friends have recently told me that I come across as "the confident one."  This was news to me.
15.  I went to Catholic school.  Yeah, I'm Jewish.  It's a long story.

15 Days of Blog

I'm stealing this idea from another blog and running with it.  Others are welcome to steal as well.

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 02- The meaning behind your blog name
Day 03- A recent picture of you and your friends
Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have
Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to
Day 06- Favorite super hero and why
Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why
Day 09- Something you’re proud of in the past few days
Day 10- Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad
Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends
Day 12- How you found out about Tumblr and why you made one
Day 13- A letter to someone who has hurt you recently
Day 14- A picture of you and your family
Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play
Day 16- Another picture of yourself
Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them
Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future
Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else
Day 23- Something you crave for a lot
Day 24- A letter to your parents
Day 25- What I would find in your bag
Day 26- What you think about your friends
Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned
Day 30- Who are you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Survival of the Sweetest

This morning, I found myself wondering how on earth my children would survive and what on G-d's good sweet earth was wrong with them.  Just 30 minutes later, I was left wondering how I got the sweetest kids in the world.

Yesterday evening, we found out last minute that someone was coming to see the house.  We were not at all prepared.  The mad cleaning dash began.  While mopping the floor for the second time, I found my oldest jumping on the couch.  Wait....WHAT?  Get your bum off that this minute!

My cleaning ADHD (I can never finish one project because I remember something else I need to clean) later took me to the playroom.  When I turned around, I found the same child jumping on ANOTHER couch.

Couch jumping is NOT allowed ever, but it's punishable by death when potential buyers are arriving in mere minutes.

This morning, I found the EXACT SAME CHILD jumping on the first couch as though she was TRYING to break it.  I. Was. Livid.

We headed out for our day with me fuming and wondering what on earth was wrong with that child.

Once we parked at shul for Sunday school, that same insufferable child unhooked, jumped out of her seat, and stood on one leg with the other leg over the baby's car seat.  You see, her baby sister had started crying and the eldest knows the baby likes to play with the dial on her sneakers.  So the oldest stood there, precariously balanced with one leg up in the air just so the baby didn't cry.

In the span of about 30 minutes, I went from wanting to punt the child to thinking she was the sweetest thing in the world.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: He's got a thing for her.

Click to see in its full glory.

While at the zoo, the male lion came over and just stared at my daughter.  He refused to move away from her.

I said, "That lion has a thing for her."
My son said, "Maybe he will give it to her."
Confused, I asked, "What?"
To which my son replied, "That thing he has for her."

Oy vey, that boy!  
Wordless Wednesday for Oct. 6, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

They're As Different As Night And Day

I'm continuing in my collection of clever, yet cheap (frugal if you're feeling more refined) costumes.

As I've mentioned, I love coordinating costumes.  One year, for Purim, my daughters dressed as Night and Day (actually, they did that for 2 years and I recycled it and improved it the following year when I was hugely pregnant and didn't feel like creating something too time or work intensive.  When I say, "Hugely pregnant," I'm not exaggerating.  See?  That picture was taken at the Purim party.  My daughter was born a few hours later.  I kid you not!  

So I hope you can understand why I went with a costume that was completely free and could be thrown together that day.  

Night was super simple.  She wore her favorite black dress (which I got for $3.24 on clearance at Target the year before) and black tights that we had on hand.  I just rolled scotch tape and taped on yellow paper stars which she cut from construction paper.  She wore a star necklace she had.  I had a star of David plastic ornament in with my crafting supplies, so she grabbed that, put pink tissue paper in it and tied it to her wrist.  I had yellow star-shaped ribbon which I cut and added to her shoes and tied around her wrist as a bracelet.  I had hair gems I bought ages ago, but never used.  They're basically just gems with the firm end of velcro on the back, so that it stuck to her hair.  She also wore a headband with stars on it (which she just grabbed from her closet).  She made her own mask from a paper plate and we glued a stick to it.  

I went into labor at the party and we actually wrote down the times of my contractions on the back of that mask.  And yes, I still have it.  :-)  

close-up of the bling

For Day, we went with lots of bright colors--think sunshine and rainbows.  She wore a dress I made her the year before.  It had lots of grass and flowers (and fairies) on it.  We pinned a blue cloud baby blanket around her shoulders like a cape.  It was pinned on with a butterfly pin that once belonged to her great great aunt.  She wore lots of flowers in her hair and all the flowered jewelry she could find--including my favorite set of my own jewelery (which made her feel oh so special).  She wore rainbow knee socks (which I scored for pennies on after x-mas clearance) and her brightest shoes (croc knock-offs which were $1 on clearance).

The costumes were a huge hit.  They won the costume contest that night and they had a blast.  

Day and Night in a race at the Purim carnival

Those remain, to this day, probably my favorite costumes we've ever done.  You wanna win a costume contest?  Go with these.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dressing the Goat Rodeo for Halloween

I am the queen of bargain Halloween costumes.  I love making unique costumes and being crafty, but hate spending money.  If we're sharing our collection of crowns, I should also point out that I'm the queen of procrastination.  So I don't usually have months to work on these costumes.  In many cases, I had to throw them together at the last minute (ask me about how Jack Skellington became a munchin just hours before trick-or-treating).

I was inspired by Dollar Store Craft's to feature some of our cheap costumes.  I'm going to do a series of posts on the topic.  This is my first.  It didn't cost us a cent.

Costume:  Flying Monkey

1 brown hooded sweatshirt or sweater
1 empty ribbon spool
1 red t-shirt
1 pair of brown pants
2 sheets of black craft foam or 1 sheet of cardboard and black paint
1 sheet of brown felt
1 sheet of beige felt
a few safety pins.
hot glue

If you have the shirt and pants, the rest of the items can be found at the dollar store.  You could also use a brown sweatshirt and a brown hat and those can both be found at the dollar store.

My son had brown pants and we borrowed his sisters' brown hooded sweater.

I cut out circles for the ears and put the smaller one inside the larger.   I bunched them a little bit and pinned them from the inside.  I cut strips for a tail.  I covered a piece of wire with felt and glued it with hot glue, but I found the wire was unnecessary.  You can just cut out the curly shape and pin that on the shirt or pants.  I found pinning it to the shirt worked better because it didn't pull his pants down.

I used a red t-shirt for the vest.  I cut the sleeves off, cut the bottom to make it shorter and cut it down the center.  The discarded portions of the t-shirt were used to make the hat.  I covered a ribbon spool (the cardboard circle that ribbon comes on) with the leftover fabric and hot glued it on.  I then pinned it to the hood on an angle.  That hat was the most difficult thing for me to figure out.  I was so thrilled when it was done.

For wings, I searched for pictures of bat wings and then just quickly drew that on black foam.  I cut those out and pinned them to the vest.

I purposely pinned on everything to the pants and top so that they could be reused again.  We got tons of compliments when he went trick-or-treating.  It was hysterical to follow from behind and see those wings bounce and the tail swing.

As an added bonus, I'll throw in my ridiculously simple wicked witch of the west costume too.  Since my son was a flying monkey and I do so love coordinating costumes, his baby sister went as the wicked witch.

I'll get you, my pretty.
I used the big girls' black dance skirt as a shawl over her shoulders.  I dyed a dress black, but it was really a waste of time.  You couldn't see it at all.  She wore knock-off baby legs which we had on hand and she wore the rocking Jack and Lily skull shoes we had on hand (I won them from a blog contest).  She actually wore those same shoes last year for Purim when she was a baby pirate.

Then I found a problem--the hat.  I couldn't find any witch hats in baby sizes and my attempts at making one failed miserably.  This year, you can find some toddler-sized ones in the Target dollar aisle.  Last year, though, no luck.

So I hacked into a decoration from the Dollar Tree.  You know those corny plastic depictions of a witch that you can make appear has smacked into your car, your door, your wall, your tree, or your mother-in-law?  Well, we had one that we bought about 10 years ago.  I cut the hat off that.  It was small enough to work.

It didn't cost us anything at all.  Black baby clothing is very difficult to come by, so if you want to create a witch, try raiding your closet or even your older children's.  Our older daughters had tons of black skirts from which to choose.

Both of their costumes were a big hit and didn't cost us anything.  We were able to raid the closets and the craft bins.  If you do need to buy the materials, it still shouldn't cost you much at all.

Not a great picture, but this is SO my son.
It's also very flying monkeyish, don't you think?