abstract art pumpkins

abstract art pumpkins abstract art pumpkins abstract art pumpkins abstract art pumpkins abstract art pumpkins abstract art pumpkins abstract art pumpkins We were trying to figure out how we wanted to trick out our little pumpkins. We thought about making them a little witch hat and drawing witch faces, or painting them black, or turning them into little vases. In the end, the girls just wanted to paint them. We picked out some pretty colors of craft paint and they made their own little abstract art on the pumpkins.

They were proud of their creations and were asking for more pumpkins to paint. I especially love the messy strokes of paint that ended up on the scratch paper; I think it makes cute wall art. Looking at the pumpkins from the top, they kind of look life flowers.

What do you to decorate your pumpkins? Michael’s is having #trickyourpumpkin contest, so if you share your decorated pumpkins on Instagram, use #TrickYourPumpkin #sweepstakes and tag @MichaelsStores to enter. Get more information on it here.

I’m so happy it’s Friday! This week has felt extra long.




packed lunch for our busy days

packed lunch Last week, Cristina asked in this post, how I handle lunches for our homeschool busy days. We jam-pack their swim, piano, and hip hop classes all on one day, so we are mostly on the go on that particular day. We start with two hours of homeschooling (usually we tackle our english language arts), then we head off to swim. On the way, we listen to our Latin or Spanish chants. Glow is the first to have swim lessons, so while she is swimming, we are reading from our history book. After the girls have swim, it’s back in the car and I serve them lunch on our way to piano. After piano, we get home and do more school (math and science) for about two hours, then we go to hip hop. Once we are home from dance, they finish up any work left undone and it’s about time for dinner. It’s a pretty intense day, but we have the routine down, so it makes it manageable.

For lunch, I just pack the girls some PB&J (sunflower butter for True) sandwiches, along with apples and carrots for all. Carrots are still a choking hazard for Glow, so she gets an extra fruit. That pretty well fills them up until we hit snack time at 3:30pm. I make the sandwiches in the morning, while I’m making Ben’s lunch, and I do everything assembly line style so it’s pretty quick.

I must admit, I’ve been really bad making sure I eat lunch on those days. I’ll bring a some sort of bar (I like these, these, and these) and fruit for me, but I’m usually starving by the time dinner comes around. Lately, I haven’t been feeling the PB&J sandwich, so it’s why I don’t make myself one; I probably should though.

Do you pick up fast food on busy days or are simple sandwiches your go-to like us?



diy: woodland gnome costume

woodland gnome Woodland Gnome Costume

Gnome Beard Template
1/4 yard of silky fleece
1 yard of blue cotton fabric
1/4″ braided elastic
Paper mache cone
Red paint
Hole puncher
Sewing machine
Coordinating thread

Seam allowance: 1/4″

woodland gnome Directions:
1. Paint your cone. We did two coats of red. Once it is completely dry, punch a small hole on one side of the cone for the elastic, and then another hole directly across for the other elastic end. Cut the elastic to a length that would be appropriate for your child’s head (or whoever is going to be wearing it), insert each end through the hole, and knot to secure.

woodland gnome woodland gnome 2. Using the Gnome Beard Template, cut out the beard from the silky fleece fabric. After it is cut, shake off the beard to rid of any excess fleece fibers. Cut the elastic to a length that would be appropriate to be worn on top of the ears and around the back of the head. For my child, 9″ was a sufficient length for the elastic to be snugly worn around. Sew each end of the elastic in its place (see template for placement).

woodland gnome 3. Using a loose shirt or dress as a guide, add an extra 1″ for the seam allowance, and cut out your gnome top in a kimono-like shape. With the right sides together, sew along the shoulders and down the sides of the shirt, turn right side out, and press. I left the neckline, bottom, and sleeve openings raw and unfinished. If unfinished edges drive you crazy, go ahead and fold those openings in 1/4″, press, fold another 1/2″, press, and then edge stitch around.

Typically, I would wash the fabric before sewing, press it, then cut out my pattern and sew it together. This time though, I skipped all of that. I was going for fast and easy!

woodland gnome woodland gnome woodland gnome There you have it… the basics for a whimsical gnome costume. We already had some brown leggings, so we just used that for pants, I cut out a strip of black fabric to be used as a belt, and our gnome was complete. The tricky thing is getting your child to wear the beard (at least it was for me)! She refused to wear it under her nose, so I gladly settled for under her chin. If you think your child won’t want to wear it under his/her nose, don’t bother cutting out a place for their mouth, but as you can see here, you can’t even really see the hole that was cut out for it. And if I were going to do it again, I would have used black elastic instead so it would hide in her hair well.

woodland gnome woodland gnome woodland gnome woodland gnome Make some woodland animal masks for the rest of the family and then you’re ready for a cohesive family costume, or you can even go for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I called this a woodland gnome, but it most certainly could be a garden gnome, and you could make everyone else wear flower masks made from paper plates or something garden-y like that. In addition, I think making the gnome hats and beards would be cute for a woodland or garden party. My friend threw this woodsy one-derland party recently, and I wish I had this costume idea then to share with her.

We are not quite done making our costumes for this year, but I’m excited to share with you the story True wrote for it. As cute as Glow is as a woodland gnome, she won’t be appearing as a gnome for this year’s Halloween story. Do you have your costumes for this year figured out?

This post is part of the Michael’s Maker’s Series.


exploring singapore: marina bay sands hotel

singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore The Marina Bay Sands Hotel deserves its own post. It’s an impressive building and currently the most expensive in the world. You get near it and your jaw drops at how expansive it is. There are three (tall!) towers and what looks like a ship on the top. On our last day, Ben, Abby, and I ventured all the way up. When I say venture, it means we paid a nice fee to have an elevator quickly take us to their Sky Park.

Once you get to the top, you have to pause to catch your breath, especially if you’re afraid of heights. You’re just in awe of the gorgeous view and how extremely high up you are. Then you get close to the glass ledge, and you get a little freaked out when you look down. If your imagination starts going wild, like mine was, you slowly inch your way back to the center. Ben couldn’t even get himself to the ledge, and I needed to coax him for the pictures. We planned our trip to the top right around sunset, so we could we enjoy our last evening in Singapore by having a bird’s eye view of this special country. The view was absolutely breathtaking and it was the best way to spend our last evening there. We didn’t ride the Singapore Flyer in favor of spending our money to go to the top of the MBS, and I’m glad we made that decision.

One thing we really wanted to do was to go to the infinity pool of the hotel, but you have to be a guest at the hotel to go. We looked up what one night might be, and yeah… not in the budget. We didn’t want to go that badly.

The hotel also puts on an impressive light show in the evenings. While we were on the Sky Park deck, people were just waiting on the around for it. I’m sure the view from the top would have been beautiful, but we wanted to spend our last few hours in the city eating, so we skipped out watching the light show. Plus, we already saw it a few days prior from the Esplanade Plaza. I’m sure the view from the top was better, but we were still awed by the spectacular light show from where we were.

If you want to read more of our adventures is Singapore, check out the hawker food culture, all the food we atearound town, their plant nurseries, more around town, and their wet markets.



our hot pepper plants

pepper plants pepper plants pepper plants They started off like this, then they went, “BOOM!” and now we don’t ever need to buy habaneros from the grocery store. Yippee! We use about 7-8 habaneros a week for this dish (it’s our Friday night thing). Oh gosh, the dish is insanely hot, but it tastes so good. Habaneros have this sweet flavored heat, and combined with lime, tomatoes, and avocados, make this ceviche dish one of our favorite things to eat.

We put most of our pepper plants in the zinc pots, but the one we put in the ground just went crazy. We thought it was an orange habanero because that’s what it was labeled, but obviously it’s a red one. After doing some research, we learn the red ones are way hotter than the orange. The red habanero has an average Scoville rating of 450,000 versus the average for the orange is 200,000.

Our serrano pepper plants were green and bushy, but Ben needed to move them because he needed the space for some fruit-bearing trees. So he transferred them to another area of the garden. The image above is a photo from the day he made the transfer, and while it’s worse now than when it was initially transferred, hopefully it’ll be ok (only time will tell!). If not, we will just have to replant. We also have a Padrón pepper plant (not really that hot) and a Ghost pepper plant (supposed to be ultra-hot, but one fruit has formed, but not ready for harvest yet… scary!). We want to grow some Thai chilies too.

Our current garden project is building more raised beds because Ben has plans to add more trees in them. Every weekend, he is out there building more beds. He’s taken out a lot of my floral bushes and roses to make room for more fruit trees. Our garden projects seriously never end.




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