My friends up and down the East Coast have all had some serious snow falls this winter. There was a huge blizzard that crippled pretty much then entire East Coast! It’s nice to know that we’re not alone with all the snow this year! Seems like it snows just about every day here! I’ll be really surprised if the groundhog sees his shadow this year – I don’t think he’ll be able to burrow out of his den! Well one thing is for sure, this is a good winter for the people in the winter snow and ice removal businesses!

The dinner is falling apart

Right after Thanksgiving I sent out invitations for the family Christmas party meal to everyone in my family – whether they lived close by or far away, whether we were “close” emotionally or not. There have been too many times in recent years that I had put on a family dinner and did not invite people who I did not think wanted to be invited, or did not invite them because I knew they lived too far away to come. Afterwards the dinner I would hear back through the grapevine that people had hurt feelings because somehow or another I had forgotten to invite them, or did not invite them because I knew they wouldn’t come.

Yeah, my family puts the “fun” in dysfunctional! So right after Thanksgiving I sent out many invitations, asking for RSVP by December 8. Here it is December 22, and most of the people who I invited have not replied. So I sent out an email to everyone asking them what food they are planning to bring, and suddenly I get a lot of “sorry, we can’t make it” replies. I sure wish I had known earlier that so many people were going to NOT show up – I would not have bought as much meat!

Cosplay is not just for kids anymore

Guest post provided by Linda Bradshaw

A few weeks ago when my son asked me to sew a costume for him I was quite surprised. He had not gone trick-or-treating in several years and I really and truly thought that he was not going to want to participate in any kind of Halloween parties. When he saw the funny expression that I gave him he laughed and and told me that he had great faith in my ability to come up with the perfect costume. I asked him what he had in mind, hoping that it would be as easy as just going to the local department discount store and assembling a few “basics” of costumes together.

He told me that he would have to show me a picture of the costume from a picture on the Internet, so I told him to go ahead and pull it up on the screen. I moved aside and let him sit down and pull up the picture. This is the picture that he got:



I looked at him in disbelief and asked him “You want ME to sew THIS for you for a costume?” He grinned and nodded his head. “I know you can do it Mom!” “And how quickly do you need this finished project?” There is an anime-con I want to attend in a couple of months, so I was hoping to wear it to the con. So I printed it out and told him I would see what I could do.

First things first, try to research what is already available online. I found a website called milanoo that sells some cosplay things online and decided to see what I could find out about them. I found some pictures of some people wearing some cute costumes purchased from them on a milanoo tumblr blog, so I thought that was promising. I found out that there was a milanoo twitter that I could “Follow” if I was interested in participating the the social media that was originally designed for the thirteen year old teenage girl demographic (not interested thank you very much!)

I found a silly parody of “Gagnam Style” on the milanoo youtube channel. I have to say that the costumes that they used in that YouTube video looked like white body suits that had been screen printed on the front of the costume, leaving the back of the costume completely white. I had never seen that before and I was not very impressed with that!

So with a sigh, I proceeded to take my son’s measurements down and head to the fabric store to find what I needed. Two sewing patterns later, yards and yards of fabric, all kinds of creativity and sweat, I finally came up with the final project. I think it came out pretty good; how about you?

finished cao cao costume

finished cao cao costume

Places to Spend an Afternoon With the Kids

Coming up with ways to entertain the children can be difficult, especially on days where they don’t have school. The key is to find a location that not only keeps them occupied, but also allows you to enjoy yourself. The following locations can accomplish this.

The Zoo

Most kids love an afternoon at the zoo. Once there, they can interact with the animals, run around, and even ride on the train. Places like Binder Park Zoo are extremely child-friendly and are sure to keep your kids not only entertained, but active for the entire day. You can even rent wagons and scooters if your kids get tired of walking.

The Park

Of course, you could always take your kids to the park for a few hours. They are sure to have a good time using the playground and running around once there. The main problem with the park is that there aren’t any activities for you, so bring a good book to read.

Swimming Pool

You could bring your kids to a public swimming pool or to a friend’s house, if you are lucky enough to know someone with a pool. Remember, however, that you will have to keep an eye on the kids the entire time, so pool tips are rarely a relaxing activity for parents.

Planning My Costume

With Halloween on my mind, I spent some time looking at different costumes, masks and props to get an idea for my costume this year. We are supposed to dress up for work, and I also like to dress up for answering the door when the trick or treaters arrive. At the moment, I’m leaning toward a Dr. Frankenstein and all I have to do is buy some scrubs or a doctors lab coat.

My thought is to wear a long lab coat, some dark pants and to get a wig and some fake oversized black rimmed glasses. Then I will smear some read paint all over the front of the coat and down the sleeves. It would be great of I could find a small Frankenstein head or doll to carry around with me.

The only thing I don’t know about is the color of the medical scrub pants and the shoes. I think the doctors and nurses wear some kind of shoe covers over their clogs or running shoes. I have to look into that – maybe even take a quick trip to one of the nearby hospitals and look at the doctors in the hallway so I can see what the real doctors wear for pants and shoes.