Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween: FARE Teal Pumpkin Project

[Photo taken with the Canon and edited in lightroom]

I remember when my sister discovered that my nephew Noah had a nut allergy. After eating some cookies a neighbor had made, he complained that the cookies "hurt" him. She thought he was joking at first until she realized he was having an allergic reaction to the nuts in the cookies. Now, she always carries an epi pen around in case he accidentally eats something that contains nuts. It's tough being a kid with a food allergy! Being a parent of a child with a food allergy is just as rough, especially during Halloween when all sorts of treats and candies are handed out.

[Photo taken on my iphone 6 and edited in VSCO]

This Halloween, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is starting a new tradition called the Teal Pumpkin Project. FARE is encouraging families to paint a teal pumpkin to leave on their porch as a sign that non-food treats are available at your home. This is a fantastic idea not just for kids with food allergies but for kids with diabetes (an issue that is near and dear to my heart) and kids who can't eat food coloring. Instead of buying a giant bag of candy to hand out, consider buying some Halloween toys in bulk from Amazon or The Oriental Trading Company. Who needs all that extra candy laying around after Halloween is over anyway? If you do end up with candy that you can't consume, consider the Halloween Candy Buy Back program and send the treats to troops overseas.

To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit I'm going to print out a couple of extra flyers to post around my neighborhood to get the word out.

Ready to paint your teal pumpkin? This project cost me less than $5 (including the pumpkin). Here's what you will need.

Teal Pumpkin Project

Martha Stewart Crafts Acrylic Craft Paint in "Mermaid Teal"
Paint pen (I used silver but I think white would have used better) or Sharpie

Paint pumpkin with two coats of paint. Let paint try and write #tealpumpkinproject on it with the paint pen. Put the pumpkin in front of your house with the Teal Pumpkin Project poster. **Whatever you do, do NOT tape anything to the pumpkin. The paint peels off easily and you will be mad when you have to repaint the pumpkin. Just saying...

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

San Diego: Review of the Waterfront Pumpkin Patch

The Waterfront Park downtown has been high on my list of local parks to visit for a while and I'm glad we finally made it down over the weekend for the Pumpkin Patch event. 

The Pumpkin Patch opened at 11:00 AM and I knew it was crucial to arrive early for any event offering FREE stuff so were there by 10:45 AM. The parking spaces directly in front of the park were full but meter parking was plentiful across the street along Harbor Blvd. We parked right in front of the Star of India and strolled over to the park.

We were greeted by a large colorful lawn full of games and activities for little kids including hoola hoops, building blocks, inflatables, giant jenga and giant connect four. Parker's eyes lit up when he saw the water fountains and wading pools. We played with blocks and hoola hoops for a while and then checked out the San Diego Parks and Rec booth which had some taxidermied animals and live snakes on display. There were also a couple of food trucks on hand but we didn't have the chance to try any of the food.

Parker's Outfit
BOO(yah) baseball tee from & Apparel
Skinny jeans in light wash indigo from Gap
My Spooky baby shoes from My Darling Boutique

**My Darling Boutique is currently offering 20% off all their baby shoes. These shoes well constructed, comfortable and perfect for play dates at places that require you to take your shoes off aka Chuck E Cheese and inflatable parks.

Many of the kids we saw were about 5 and under. Parker had a blast meeting some new friends while playing with these mega lego blocks from Lakeshore. We need a set at home!

People started lining up 5 minutes before 11am for the pumpkin patch. The line grew quickly and by the time we had picked our pumpkin and left the patch, there were at least 100 people in line.

They may not be on the vine but these pumpkins were just as fun to walk through. Most of the pumpkins were your standard jack-o-lanterns but there were also a few Cinderella pumpkins and mini pumpkins available for picking as well. Parker loved picking up the smaller pumpkins and carrying them around. He tried to pick up some of the larger ones too but quickly learned they were too heavy. After picking out a pumpkin, kids had their hand stamped as a way of tracking who had already received a pumpkin. There was a craft station where kids could decorate their pumpkins with foam stickers and markers. We ended up with a big, fat, perfectly round pumpkin that will be used our annual family pumpkin carving contest this weekend. Thank goodness we brought the stroller along! It would not have been fun to carry that thing around. 

A handful of exhibitors were in attendance including San Diego Parks and Recreation, Pinkberry and First 5. Many of them handed out information and freebies like reusable bags and frisbees.

Gorgeous day for a game of frisbee on the lawn.

Thanks for putting on a great event! We will be back next year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

San Diego: Fall Fun at Bates Nut Farm

It's still sunny and warm most days but Fall is definitely here. I love driving through light fog in morning, wearing cozy sweaters and seeing pumpkin spice lattes on the menu at Starbucks. One of the family outings that really signals Fall for us is visiting the pumpkin patch at Bates Nut Farm. Driving to Valley Center is a bit of a trek but it's totally worth it to arrive at the farm to see fields of Big Macs in all their orange glory. The Macs were a bit smaller this year, probably due to the drought, but they were still awesome to walk among. I remember when we went last year, Parker was barely sitting on his own and we kept worrying that he would fall off a pumpkin. This year, he was walking about pointing at all the "balls" in the field and fearlessly putting his hand in a goat's mouth to feed it corn kernals. He's getting so big! Truthfully, he was grumpy for most of our visit because his morning nap had been cut short but we were able to capture a few good photos. Besides the pumpkin patch, Bates also has goats and sheep you can feed, pony rides, quilt displays and a whole bunch of tractors on display that the kids can sit on. 

Mom tips:
1. Arrive early, especially if you want to take photos. The later it gets, the more people there are ruining your shot. The farm opens at 8:30 AM. The lighting is terrible later in the day. 
2. Bring plenty of wipes/antibacterial handsoap. There are no hand washing stations where the animals are. Grosssss.
3. This is a porta potty situation. 
4. Wear the right shoes. You will literally be walking through a field so wear the right shoes. 
5. Last year there were food trucks when we went. This year the only food offerings I saw were kettle corn and ice cream from Mariposa. I would suggest leaving the farm if you want to have a good lunch.

15954 Wood Valley Road
Valley Center, CA 92083

[That dimple though. This kid is growing up so fast.]

Parker's Outfit
Shirt and sweater: Letter Cardigan Zara Kids

[Less we ever forget that he's a little boy through and through]

[80% of his photos looked like this. Poor kid. So over sitting on pumpkins.]

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween: Spooktacular Bandit Bat Plushie Tutorial

Ever spend so much time on Pinterest that you feel compelled to just make something? This happened to me last week. I was so overcome with the need to make something that I went fabric shopping during my lunch break after finding Gleeful Things' Halloween Bat Plushie Tutorial. I used the PDF template from Julie's tutorial and modified it to look a little more like Udder's Bandit Bat. This project took a total of 1 hour but I think I can make this faster now that I have completed one. Enjoy and have fun creating this fun little plushie bat! It's makes for a great, inexpensive Halloween gift.

Materials Needed
-Flannel in black and white (I bought 10 inch pieces from Beverly's)
-Coordinating cotton fabric 
-Embroidery floss + embroidery needle
-Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies

1. Cut. Download, print and cut out the template pieces from Gleeful Things. Make any desired modifications to body shape or face shape. Use template to cut out your fabric pieces. You should have 2 body pieces (Mary's modification: 2 head pieces and 2 lower body pieces sewn together), 2 wing pieces, 2 sets of ear pieces, 1 bandit face mask (Mary's modification), 2 eye pieces.

2. The face. Sew head and lower body pieces together. Using a zigzag stitch, attach the bandit mask to the face. Attach the eyes to the bandit mask using the zigzag stitch. Embroider any desired details onto the face. I added a little mouth and X's on the eyes.
Note: I didn't add the face details until the end but it would be smarter to add this now.

3. The ears. Sew ear pieces right sides together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Flip ears inside out. Top stitch around the edges. I added a couple of extra stitches for added detail. Fold ears in half and pin in place to create a crease.

4. The wings. Sew wings pieces right side together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Be sure to leave a 2 inch spot at the top so you can turn it right side out.

5. Lightly stuff the wings to give them a thing layer of poofiness. Don't stuff too much or else the next step will be quite difficult. You just want a thin even layer of stuffing. Top stitch around the edge of the wings to seal in the stuffing and close up the hole.

6. Using a chalk pencil, draw lines going to all points on the wings. Top stitch over those lines. The result should look like the photo below.

7. The body. Attach the wings to the middle of the back side of the body with a single stitch.

8. Pin the ears in place at the top of the head. Roll the wings up and pin the rights sides of the body together. This part is a little tricky since the wings are stuffed.

9. Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew the body pieces right sides together leaving a small hole so you can flip it right side out.

10. Stuff the body and sew up the hole. Now admire your handy work and have fun playing or gifting your new bat plushie.

[I love how the wings wrap around the body.]

Thank you for sharing this fun tutorial, Julie! Parker loves his new bat plushie.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween: Custom Toddler Fox Cape Costume

It's hard to do everything by yourself. Sometimes, when life throws you curve balls, you just can't do everything that you intend. It's in those moments that you call on your friends. When those moments come during October and you have absolutely no time or energy to make a custom fox costume, you let your crazy friend who knows how her way around a sewing machine take over. I had such a fun time making this adorable little fox cape for my (fairy) goddaughter using this pattern from HelloDearKids. The only thing I didn't like about the pattern is that it didn't include a seam allowance so I had to free hand a little with the pattern cutting. Otherwise, it was pretty simple and the instructions that came with the pattern were excellent. The material used in the instructions was minky which I'm not a fan of. I used orange and white flannel for the outer layer to give the cape a little more heaviness and shape and a cotton print for the lining. It took me 3 hours to make this from beginning to end. The pattern goes up to size 6T.

Thanks for letting me make this amazing little cape for P. She's going to look amazing in it. It was made with love (there are even little hearts on the lining!) by her fairy godmother.

[I had some material leftover so I created a detachable tail because what's a cute fox without a fluffy tail? I free handed a tail shape using the orange flannel, added some white details for the tip, stuffed it with poly and attached a little elastic loop so I could attach it to the button I added on the back of the cape.]

[I love the lining fabric. Tuan actually picked it out at Joanns! Good eye, Husband.]

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekend Plans: Waterfront Pumpkin Patch Oct 19

Happy Friday! Wooo hooo we have made it through another week. There are so many fun Fall activities happening around San Diego this weekend. After missing two Saturdays in a row, I'm glad I can spend the full weekend with my favorite guys. Saturday we will be snapping some photos for a couple of exciting giveaways I have planned and Sunday we will be heading downtown to check out the Waterfront Pumpkin Patch. They are giving away free pumpkins while supplies last. If you haven't been to the Waterfront Park downtown yet, you need to go check it out. The playground is AMAZING and the water features are pretty cool too (though I personally would not go in). Tuan and I checked it out after our dinner date at Ruth's Chris. The lawn is perfect for running around on and the park has fantastic views of the Star of India. Hope we see some of you out and about this weekend!

Don't forget about the Citrus Lane Giveaway I posted yesterday!

[For more info about this event visit the event Facebook page]

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