Thursday, December 22, 2011

Calling all Potterheads: I need your help.

My goat rodeo this past Halloween.  

We're trying desperately to throw together a surprise trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for this winter, when our twins will be 9 and 3/4.  

I'm putting out a call for help from my fellow Potterheads.  Assuming it all works out (knock on wood), how do we tell the girls?  I plan to not tell them until we're either on our way or the day before we leave.  How do we do that, though?

I've seen invitations for HP-themed parties delivered by balloons decorated to look like owls.  I could do something like that (although, rather than scrolls, I'd probably have them holding envelopes addressed to the girls and their specific room and beds, like Hogwarts' letters).   I could arrange to have those at the front door and ring the bell.  

What about in the van? We could get everything ready the night before (luggage packed and hidden in the back of the van), then just tell the kids we're going out, file into the van and find balloon owls in the girls' seats with letters addressed to them.  Maybe we'll splurge and buy cute stuffed owls.

I'd love some other ideas.  So, fellow HP-fans, what do you think?    

We've never taken a family vacation (deployments made that impossible), so we really want to make the most of this.

FWIW my girls each wrote essays to the Ellen show's call for adventure ideas asking for Harry-themed adventures.  One (Luna in the picture) asked Ellen to reunite her and the friends she had to leave behind when we moved at the WWOHP.  The other (Hermione in the picture) asked Ellen to send us to Kings Cross station when she and her sister turn 9 and 3/4 and have Jo Rowling meet us there so that my girls could present her with an award for "Being the best writer in the world and the whole universe."

We never heard back from Ellen, so we decided to take matters into our own hands and do what we could.

9:17 pm edit:  What about a scavenger hunt?  We could leave clues that lead them to Harry-related things and maybe eventually to the van where the letters will be waiting in their seats.

The picture is from Halloween.  You can read more about our costumes here.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Very Potter Xmas

A while back, I pinned these super cute Harry Potter ornaments.  Now, my 2-year-old will be the first to tell you, "Christmas is NOT our holiday," but I knew I'd have to make these for someone and I knew just the person.

Those are obviously loosely based on the Potter Puppet Pals (DUMBLEDORE!), so I took my inspiration from them.  I opted to leave Voldemort and Snape out (much to my kids' dismay.  Severus' absence meant they weren't able to recreate their favorite Puppet Pal song (not that they've ever needed anything extra to sing the song in the past--loudly and in public.  You can't even imagine the looks you get when your 2-year-old yells, "It's a pipe bomb. Yay," at Home Depot).  I, however, added Dumbledore to the mix.  He, however, lacks robes which can be removed (once again, much to the kids' dismay).

The ornament who lived
I free-handed everything and tried to work with what I had on hand.  The heads are from felt.  They're basic round shapes with ears on the sides.  The red hats are cut from the Xmas tree skirts I bought on clearance (I told you they'd come in useful, even for a Jew).  There was still more than enough left for the kids to use as a cape.  I painted all the faces with fabric paint.  Ron and Dumbledore's eyes are the exception.  Those are nail polish.  Ron and Hermione's hair is felt.  Harry's is black duct tape.

On my trip to the craft store, I forgot to grab white felt.  So I had to use white ribbon I had for hat trim and white foam I had on hand for Dumbledore's beard.  There wasn't much which is why it looks a bit thin.

The 9-year-old's work
My oldest and I stitched around the heads and hats.  They're stuffed with sliced up clear plastic packing material.  We have a TON from all the Chanukah gifts, so we put it to good use.  The hats that could be stitched on were.  Dumbledore's couldn't, so it's sewn in the corners and then we used craft glue.

The white puff balls on top of the hats are from a foam menorah kit.  See, even when it comes to making crafts for my Christian folks, I'm still a proud Yid.  They're held on with craft glue.

There are tied bits of yarn on the back for hanging.

I must say, I love Ron.  Now, I've got a thing for sidekicks to begin with and I've always adored book Ron and I think Rupert Grint is pretty damn adorable as well, but I really liked how the Ron ornament turned out.  I didn't want to part with him.  He's cute!

Probably should have paid more attention to the back.
Through this craft, I found my youngest daughter is a Harmony shipper. My 2-year-old broke my canon-loving heart when she insisted on making the Harry ornament kiss Hermione.  My middle insisted, "No, she loves Ron.  Let me go get the Ron ornament and she can kiss him."  The youngest pitched a fit and insisted that was not going to happen.  I put Harry out of her reach after that.  I like Harry too, but, damn she can go Romione or go home.  Wait, this IS home.  Well, that complicates the matter a bit, doesn't it

Romione FTW!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chanukah with the Goat Rodeo

My big 2 in 2006

Tonight, at sundown, Chanukah begins.  No, it's not Chanukah just yet (much to my children's dismay and Facebook's confusion).

I'm going on the assumption that everyone knows what "The Festival of Lights" is all about.  I realize, based on my friends' experiences discussing Chanukah at their kids' schools, that this may not be an accurate assumption.  If you really have no idea about the story of Chanukah, you can always set up a consultation with Rabbi Google.

Luckily, if that's too much effort, the Maccabeats exist.

Chanukah, like nearly every other Jewish holiday, can be summed up as, "They tried to kill us.  We won.  Let's eat."  It is NOT a major holiday at all.  People seem to think it is since it occurs around the same time as a major Christian holiday, but it's actually a pretty minor holiday.  It is NOT the Jewish Christmas (which doesn't even make any sense).

We celebrate in the standard way--lighting the menorah (aka hanukkiah) every night at sundown for 8 nights.

Our family has quite an extensive collection of hanukkiot.

There's the large silver one we bought right after we got married (pictured above).

There's the electric one Bubbe gave us the year before.  It doesn't fulfill the mitzvah (Chanukah candles must burn to do that), though, so we put that one in the window and use it in conjunction with another one.

Anyone who has Jewish children in any sort of religious programming/schooling will tell you we quickly collect far more hand-made hanukkiot than we can use.  We have two clay ones the big girls made in their pre-school Sunday school program 7 years ago.  We had sand ones the big 3 made as part of their yeladim group, but the sand didn't hold up well after being stored in the attic in the Great Big Box o'Chanukah.  What was carefully crafted layers of pretty color sand became a giant mess the following year.  One year, they made some out of painted wood blocks.  Those fell apart before we were able to pack them away.  Last year, they made some out of a long piece of metal, dominoes and nuts (as in nuts and bolts, not food).  They went into the box as hanukkiot  They came out this year as a jumbled mess of parts.

To celebrate, we light the menorah (I usually light the silver one and the kids light the electric one.  The big girls take turns lighting theirs each night) each night, say blessings and sing songs.  Of course, Chanukah hasn't even started yet and I've been randomly bursting out into Sivivon* for more than a week now.

Here's a tidbit you may not have known: traditionally, women don't have to work while the Chanukah candles are burning.  Here's another tidbit: Our hanukkiah holds regular shabbat candles which are about 5x's as thick as the usual Chanukah candles.  ;-)

We eat traditional food cooked in oil to remind us of the story of the oil.  The most well-known ones include latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).

In our house, the kids get one gift each night, more than one if there are enough.  Some people plan out exactly which gifts to give their kids on each night.  We usually just plan for the first and last.  Back in his youth, my husband got "useful" gifts on some nights (the family cats usually gave him socks or underwear).  That's not our thing, though.  Our pets aren't allowed anywhere near the lingerie department.  The kids usually get toys, books, electronics and/or clothes.  This year, among Journey Girl dolls, DS games, dresses, books, and all things Harry Potter, my middle daughter asked (and will receive) a bath mat.  I don't understand it, but she's fascinated by those plush ones, so we put it on her wish list and Mémé bought it for her.  I can't tell you how thrilled she will be.  I also can't tell you why in the world she asked for one in the first place.  Well, she IS my daughter.  I guess that should be sufficient to explain all.

*The lyrics are slightly different in Israel.  Nes Gadol Haya Sham (A great miracle happened there) becomes "Nes Gadol Haya Po," in Israel (A Great Miracle Happened Here).  Dreidels are also slightly different to reflect that change .  The letters correspond with each word: Nun (Nes), Gimmel (Gadol), Hey (Haya), Shin (Sha), but the Shin is replaced by Pay in Israel.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We're Thankful for...

Over Thanksgiving lunch (we had to do lunch since my husband worked on Thanksgiving, as always), we talked to the kids about gratitude.  They told us they were thankful for each of our immediately family members and when they were done with us, the younger of our twins added, "And J.K. Rowling."  Her twin sister agreed and added, "and Harry Potter."  My son agreed.  When we asked the 2-year-old, she insisted she was not thankful for Jo Rowling.  She is, however, thankful for Dobby, Hedgwig and Luna, so that's Ms. Rowling by default.  

I suggested the kids let Jo Rowling know they're thankful for her, so they each made cards for her.  

G-d bless Pinterest!  We headed there and found some inspiration.  

This was E. (younger twin)'s card inspired by this.  She used magazine pictures for the feathers and the boxes from our stuffing and apple pie.  She used the inside of the apple pie box for the body and the background is a page from an extra phone book (I've since opted out of the phone book since Google exists).  

This one is courtesy of my son.  I can't find the inspiration now on Pinterest and I didn't think to save it at the time.  Sorry.  He used recycled magazines and sequins--lots and lots of sequins.  



This one's from my oldest.  This was her inspiration, but, in the end, opted to stamp dots and draw and color circles rather than use finger prints.  The outlined it all as well.  Then, she cut a circle from cardboard and added googly eyes.  



Up at the top, you see one all of the kids made.  I saw this and thought it was perfect for our 4.  So we traced and cut out each one's hand prints and then they each decorated their own hand print.  They each signed the back of their hand print.  Well, the toddler scribbled and I printed her name.  Hey, that's what she meant, even if she doesn't know it yet.  

The toddler did NOT want to let hers go.  "Dat my hand," she screamed when I tried to put the card in the envelope.  I had to explain that we were sending it to Dobby and Hedwig.  Only then did she agree.  

I included a note of thanks to Ms. Rowling as well.  Just before I sent it, I added another quick note explaining that turkeys made from hand prints or cutouts are common for Thanksgiving.  Not being American, I could just imagine her receiving that first card and wondering what in the world was wrong with us.  

We Americans really are weird, aren't we?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaNoWriMo = NaNoBloggingMo

The bad news: NaNoWriMo has taken over my life.  Most of my free time has been spent working on my novel.  

The good news: Last night, I surpassed the 50K word mark.  Last year, I didn't make it this far, so I'm thrilled.  

Even better news:  November is almost over.  Woo hoo!  

The blogosphere shall celebrate my return very soon, I promise.  

There had better be fanfare and streamers and loud party music.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

World Prematurity Day 2011

My twins were born 2 months premature.  Today, I planned to share their story, but, when I stop to think about it, I'm too bitter.  Nearly 10 years later, the anger behind nearly losing my girls hits me too hard.  We're finally at a point where I no longer dread their birthday and "Homecoming Day" goes by almost unnoticed.  Still, I hate that we have a story to tell.  I hate that others have stories with endings not nearly as happy.  

So here, I'll leave you with my bitterness, my anger, and my post from this day last year.  

In an attempt to put a more positive spin on it, I'll share this related story about how one nurse made all the difference in the world and how I'll be forever in her debt.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween 2011

Trelawney & Hermione's dad
I actually dressed up for Halloween this year for the first time in at least 10 years.  I went as Professor Trelawney and had a blast.  My husband humored me by wearing a name tag which read, "Dr. Wendell Wilkins." 

When I rounded the Goat Rodeo up in the yard to take pictures, I had my middle daughter (aka Luna) take a few pictures of the husband and me, since we're always the ones behind the camera.  She complained that her father stuck his tongue out in one photo, so then we both felt compelled to make faces at her.  I think this is our new favorite picture of the two of us.  I may need to work this into our New Year cards.  

Nothing says, "Happy New Year," quite like this:


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's NaNoWriMo time again

Last year was my first year as a NaNoWriMo participant.  If you asked me this time last month, I would have sadly shaken my head and admitted that I wouldn't participate this year.  I had absolutely no ideas.  

Then, just over a week ago, I got a flash of an idea (it was actually a combination of several aspects of other ideas I've had in the past).  I started to write immediately and then decided to take a break and wait until November.  That actually helped give me some time to pan out more of the idea.

I know NaNoWriMo can be time-cosuming and frustrating at times, but I'm looking forward to it.


A very Harry Potter Halloween

First and foremost, my apologies for the crappy photos.  I forgot to charge my good camera before Halloween and so, the battery was dead. *head desk*  Bad Dobby!  Bad Dobby!  So all the photos were taken on my phone.  I'm sorry about the quality (or lack thereof).

A very Harry Halloween (complete with Mischief-Managed in the corner)

We had ourselves a very Harry Halloween.  It all started with my oldest.  She couldn't decide if she wanted to be Harry or Hermione, so she decided to coordinate with her baby sister and posed the question to her.  Go as Harry and Dobby or Hermione and Crookshanks?  The youngest picked Crookshanks.

Oldest daughter
Not bad, eh?  She has a red and yellow tie (which she got at a rummage sale a year or two ago specifically to use for Hermione) over her brother's dress shirt (which really is too small for her, but luckily, you couldn't see it).  I got that sweater for $1 on clearance last year at Volde-Mart.  It, too, belongs to her brother, but it's 3 sizes too big for him, so it works great for the sister who's 4 years older.  I got the skirt for less than a dime at a consignment store.  She had the tights and socks and she wore existing dress shoes (not pictured here).

She wore robes that we got ages ago on clearance.  They're perfect because they're black, lined in red fabric, and there's a hood.  The only problem is that the huge skull closure makes them look more like Death Eater robes (and when she put the hood on, her baby sister asked, "Hey, Death Eater, where did Hermione go?").  No problem, though, because Hermione needed a S.P.E.W. badge, so I made a huge one and used double stick tape to tape it over the skull.  
She already has brown curly hair, but in order to amp up the bushiness, she slept with her hair in 6 braids.  It worked.  She had perfect bushy Hermione hair.  

Hermione's bushy brown hair

Total cost for the whole Hermione costume: under ten cents.  

Crookshanks wasn't quite as easy to throw together.
Hermione and Crookshanks 

Our Crookshanks
Note the tail.
For this ginger cat, I wanted an orange top with a hood and orange pants.  Problem is, it's damn-near impossible to find solid orange clothes, even this time of year.  So, I hit the thrift stores.  I found this orange sweater for $3 at Value Village.  I found the pants (size 6-9 months, which is why they're so short.  My daughter is 2 and 1/2 and isn't tiny) for a quarter.  My big girls had an orange boa, so I cut a strip of that for the fuzzy chest (to cover the zipper) and used a piece of it for Crookshanks' bent tail.  I used orange felt I had on hand to make the ears (and pinned them on so that we can easily remove them and still use the sweater).  She had orange socks.  We grabbed a few makeup kits last Halloween for a few cents when they went on huge clearance, so I used those for her face.

Total cost: $3.25.


When I found the Nimbus 2000 replica at Value Village, brand new and on sale for 99 cents, I had to get it.  Actually, I got 2.  When the guy at the register rang it up, he congratulated me and pointed out that they usually sell for $20 each.

That broom is what convinced my son he wanted to be Harry for Halloween.  He was torn between Harry and a Storm Trooper before that point.  Luckily, this is not his first time taking on the Chosen One's identity, so he already had much of what he needed.  He wore his white dress shirt with his red tie (I used the official Gryffindor tie as a model and painted gold stripes using fabric paint).  I cut an old grey sweater vest to make more of a V-neck, but it looked awful.  So, when I found a grey tank top at a consignment store for a few cents, I grabbed it for him.  He wore his existing grey pants and dress shoes (with red socks because he is a Gryffindor after all).  Once again, we headed to Value Village where I found the robes on sale for half off.  So they cost me 98 cents.

Years ago, we stocked up on these glasses for goody bags.  They have big freaky eyes attached.  We still have a few pairs left, so I pried the eyes out of them (much to my youngest's dismay.  She cried actual big tears and screamed at me, 'You ruined my Mad-Eye glasses.") and my son used them for Harry.  Yes, I realize they're purple.  Yes, I'm typically a stickler for details, but, by that point, I didn't much care.

His oldest sister used the same makeup sticks Crookshanks used to draw a scar on his forehead.  For those who are new, we're Jewish and my son wears a kippah (yarmulka).  So he donned his Harry Potter kippah yesterday.  It's his favorite.  FTR, his father clipped it, not me.  If I had done it, there wouldn't be a kippah clip straight through poor Harry's face.

Total cost: about $1.

Next up, we Luna Lovegood.  This was the most expensive of the costumes.  If you've been hanging around for a while, you know my kids adore Luna.  My middle daughter was going to be Darth Vader, that is, until we found the blonde wig (again, at Value Village.  They really should pay me for the advertising).  It was new and $6, but I had a 25% off coupon.  The promise of a long blonde wig was just too good to ignore.  She swapped costume ideas that minute.

Long blonde curls 2009
The funny thing is that my daughter IS blonde, although she chopped her hair off a few years ago.  Before that, she actually had perfect Luna hair.  So there I was buying a wig that wasn't nearly as close to Luna's hair as the child's natural hair was.

So we had a wig, but it needed something more to make her unmistakably Luna.  My mind immediately went to Luna's famous lion hat.  We opted to go with the movie representation rather than the books just because it seemed like it would be more obvious (in the books, it was more of a stuffed lion on top of her regular school hat).  I scoured Pinterest for ideas and headed back to Value Village (seriously, I need to start charging for ad space).  There, I found the jacket from this Old Navy costume for $2.  It was 12-18 months, but I had her try on the hood in the store and it worked.  Poor kid actually tried on every single hood and hat that was even remotely lion-shaped.  That one worked the best.  I took it home and cut the hood off.

Not the best shot, but all I was able to get
When I got my son that $1 grey sweater last year, I also grabbed a black one in the same size for the same price.  So we opted to scrap the standard grey and go with black using this photo as inspiration.  Unfortunately, the only cork we have in the house is firmly pressed into a bottle of wine for the time being, so we couldn't replicate the cork necklace (although both my daughter and I pictured it as a necklace of bottle caps when we read the description in the 5th book).  The hat and wig covered her ears, so we skipped Luna's signature earrings.  We did, however, print Spectraspecs (just without lenses because I didn't have anything on hand that would work).  I also printed a Ravenclaw patch which she wore on her sweater (held on with double stick tape).  She borrowed her brother's dress shirt and blue tie (it killed me that it was blue and silver, like the movie, instead of blue and gold. I'm a Ravenclaw and I'm a stickler for the book representation.  FWIW, her patch was cannon and had an eagle, not a raven).  She wore rainbow knee highs over her black tights and she wore sparkly pink sneakers.  It just seemed like a very Luna thing to wear.  She also spent a lot of time staring into space.

It wasn't, by far, the best representation of Luna, but it worked.

Total cost: $6.50

While trick-or-treating, we heard quite a few people exclaim that we were the only Harry Potter characters they'd seen.  We thought that was odd.  With the last movie coming out this year, we were sure Harry would still be popular.  Two people caught that the youngest was Crookshanks.  One of those declared us their favorite costumes of the whole night.  I wanted to kiss those people.

See the pink tea cup in my right hand?

For the first time since I was in college, I dressed up too.  I was Trelawney (which is another post for another day).  I even managed to convince my husband to dress up, well, kinda.  I found inspiration here and printed him a name tag. 

Dr. Wendell Wilkins

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011 Teaser

It's too late and I'm too exhausted to post a completely Halloween roundup.  So, instead, I'll leave you with one fuzzy photo from the evening and the promise of more information and pictures tomorrow.

Here, we have Hermione (aka my oldest) along with Crookshanks (aka my youngest).  Bonus points for anyone who can guess what my husband's costume is.  Those of you who know me IRL (and have seen a closeup of that name tag on Facebook) can't play.  


Friday, October 28, 2011

You know you're a potterhead...

You know you're a Potterhead when, while you're working on your son's Harry Potter Halloween costume, he points his wand at you and yells, "Stupify," but before he can finish, you point your butter knife (which you're using to try to pry the monster eyeballs out of gag glasses so that he can use them for Harry's glasses) and yell, "Protego," before he can finish.

And he freezes.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: NaNoWriMo

Lately, I haven't had any inspiration at all.  I haven't written anything in nearly a year.  I've captured a line or two here or there, but I haven't written anything of substance since last year.

This past weekend, my muse returned.  She's been doing the polka in my mind ever since.

I wrote a first chapter and a few other bits and pieces.  I'm letting the story unfold in my head for now.  I'll make a point of recording it in earnest next month for NaNoWriMo.

A small portion of the first chapter was inspired by moments like this.  That's my son back when he was 4 months old.  He's just shy of 6 years old now.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday
or Wave Your Hands In the Air (Ow!)

And the hits just keep on coming.  

Today, while carrying boxes of winter clothes out from the basement, the doorway attacked.  It tore some skin off and hurt like crazy.  It also bled like crazy.  So of course, my first rational thought after, "OW!  Freaking OW," and a long stream of expletives was, "Oh please don't bleed on the clothes.  I don't need more wash to do."  

My priorities, they're baffling.  Then again, so too is the amount of laundry we produce.  

The slashes are on my pointer and middle finger and the knuckles which made it impossible to use bandaids.  So my left hand got festive by dressing up as a mummy.  I used gauze over the bleeding mess and wrapped it with tape.  I have photographic evidence of what a lousy job I did.  

Later in the day, while food shopping, I pulled a little piece of skin from my ring finger.  You all know where this is going. Itty bitty piece of skin = fountains of blood.  It bled like MAD.  Of course, I was in line to pay at the time.  Of course I was.  The only time something like that happens is when you have to interact with the general public.  I hid my bloody stump of a hand and paid.  

Picked the big kids up from dance, came home, started to unload the bloody groceries and the fridge door put up a fight.  Long story short (I know.  Too late), I got my same poor abused ring finger (still covered in blood by this point) caught in the fridge door.  

I just have two things to say:
  1. Thank G-d I'm right handed
  2. Does anyone have a plastic bubble I can borrow?  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We're Off To See The Wizard

I just stumbled across some older Halloween photos and I figured I'd blog about them before life got in the way (as it has a habit of doing). In 2007, my girls decided they wanted to be Dorothy and Glenda from the Wizard of Oz. My oldest was inspired by a dress her grandmother gave her which looked remarkably like Dorothy's.

Since that was taken care of, all she needed was sparkly shoes. In the books, the shoes are actually silver.  Should we make ours red or silver?  I debated this for a while and eventually decided to take the movie route and made them ruby slippers. Red just looks better. I checked out the sparkly red shoes at the stores, but they were too expensive. The girls had a pair of worn dress shoes I bought for 50 cents. They were falling apart, so I just used some glue and sprinkled on some red glitter. They looked fantastic.

 I made Toto using the adorable Scotty Dog tutorial at AllSorts. I actually used scraps of the black fabric left over from the suit my husband wore when we got married.  No particular reason for that.  It's just what I had in my bag of scraps.  The kids still play with that stuffed dog.

Glenda was super simple.  I let her pick her favorite fancy dress.  Then we made a crown out of cereal boxes, construction paper, foam stickers and glitter.  She grabbed a wand from the dress-up box and I added some ribbon.

Now their little brother was supposed to be Jack Skellington.  I bought the costume for him the year before, but it was too cold that year (which was unusual), so he wore it under his lion jacket and no one ever got to see it.  Besides, his daddy is the one who's the Nightmare Before Xmas fan and he was deployed during our son's first Halloween anyway.  So I planned to reuse the costume when my husband was around to enjoy it.  Unfortunately, in our usual fashion, we procrastinated on bringing the box down from the attic (and by, "We," I mean, "My husband," since I'm barely taller than a garden gnome and couldn't reach the attic door).  So on Halloween morning, I found the Jack costume was too small.  D'oh!*
Your mom dresses you like a dork.

After some quick thinking, I threw together a munchkin costume.  More specifically, he was a member of the Lollipop Guild (because I feared a regular old munchkin wouldn't be recognizable).  I used his dress shirt and a pair of shorts (we lived in the South at the time, so it was warm enough to go out in shorts).  I grabbed a torn pair of my daughters' tights (which I always kept "just in case," and which I always told myself I should just throw away).  I painted on red stripes (you can't see the tear because they're under the shorts) and topped them off with his brown soft-sole shoes.

His hair was really what made the costume.  I split it into three and added some gel.  His hair is naturally curly, so it was easy to shape into three curls.  Now, pardon me a minute while I stare at that photo and sob for the red-head that once was.  At nearly 6 now, my son's no longer a ginger, much to my dismay.  ::sob::

I scoured the house for something to use to create a lollipop.  The red round lid for the raisins looked the best, so I let the kids finish off the entire container of raisins that Halloween (4 years later, they STILL remember that part fondly).  I used white paint marker on it,  glued that to a craft stick, and added some ribbon.  Viola, instant adorable munchkin.  I think it took me 1/2 an hour to create the whole costume.

While trick-or-treating that night, only ONE person realized that their costumes coordinated (and I wanted to kiss that one woman when she recognized it).  :::sigh:::  I guess that was better than the year my twins went as "Monkey See" and "Monkey Do" (complete with the word "Do" and the letter C pinned to their monkey costumes) and someone asked, "Why do those mice have letters on them?")

*You would think I learned my lesson, but NOOOOO.  The following year, I would, once again, find ON HALLOWEEN that the costume I planned to use for my son was too small and I would, once again, find myself throwing together a last minute costume for the poor kid.  That', however, is another story for another day (or more precisely, another costume for another blog post).  

Harry Potter "Lumos" canvas (Wordless Wednesday)

The kids and I are a wee bit addicted to Wizard Wrock.  Yes, it exists and it has for some time.  Yes, some of it is painful, but much of it is fun and some of it is actually very good.  Among our favorites are Roonil Wazlib ("Bookworm" and "Not the End" are our very favorites), How Airplanes Fly ("Sidekick",  "To Fall in Love",  "Forget the Girl", "Believe" and "Purely Educational"
 are among my favorites, but honestly, all the songs are fantastic) and the Hermione Crookshanks Experience (Go listen to this album. It's amazing.  Along with that, we love "Not the Messenger," "Train Doubts and Dreams" [My youngest will often ask for "Not An Owl" and "My train song."], and "Lumos").  I just love "Lumos."  I knew I wanted to create a wall hanging for the kids using that song, but I wasn't sure what to do exactly.

Through Pinterest, I found this which gave me the inspiration I needed.  I decided I wanted a wand in the darkness with the lyrics in light.  I stumbled around my boards on Pinterest until I found the map I had pinned from the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter.  That's my background and I also used a picture from one of my very favorite HP artists on Deviant Art.  Seriously, have a look around at her gallery.  I've been through all things Harry Potter on Deviant Art and hers is some of the very best.  Her character sheets are perfect.  I LOVE how she draws the characters.  Her Ginny is exactly as I imagined her.  If you read the books, you know that this is exactly how the long-awaited kiss should have been.

I used the library card generator to create one with the "Lumos" lyrics.  The call numbers are 62442 (M-A-G-I-C).  I printed a copy.

I found 8x10 canvases at Michaels on clearance for 89 cents plus I had a 20% off coupon.  I stocked up because I knew I wanted one for this and I wanted some so the kids could make their own art.  I painted the edges of this one black.  Then I used Mod Podge to attach the map, the art, and the card.

I painted over the map using Mod Podged tinted with blue paint.  I did a few coats with different amounts of pigment.  I wanted to make sure you could still read at least portions of the map and see the picture of the trio.  I did the same over the card using just a bit of yellow paint.  When it was dry, I coated the lyrics with a few coats of glow-in-the-dark nail polish.  That way, the lyrics glow in the dark.  I also gave Ron a crown using that nail polish, but you can only see it in the dark.  Weasley is our king, after all.  I tried adding a dark blue swirl in the upper right corner, but I hated the look.  So I painted over it.  I dabbed on gold and copper translucent glaze which is left over from when I painted our bedroom wall.

I found this great tutorial for creating a wand from rolled paper.  So I used scrap paper and created a small one.  I followed the directions and painted it, then did a wash of black and wiped it off.  I used gold paint marker to highlight the raised decorative lines.  I then attached it to the canvas using tacky glue once all the paint was completely dry.  I should have taken pictures of the wand before I attached it, but I was so anxious to finish that I didn't.  So I don't have a good photo, but you'll have to take my word that it looks so cool.  You'd never be able to tell it's paper by looking at it.  It really does look like wood.

Not the best, but some detail on the wand.

Closeup of the tip of the wand

Here's the back of the wand. 

I like how it turned out and the kids seem to as well. So woo hoo!  I'll hang this up in the basement soon.  The plan is to turn our huge basement playroom into Hogwarts.  I've been collecting ideas for months, but we haven't had the time or effort to create it just yet.  One of these days...