Oct

28

Glow in the Dark Jellyfish Costume Tutorial

i probably should’ve posted this a few weeks ago, but tis the life of a momma to three.  i feel like i’m late to everything…and blogging about holidays is no exception!

here’s a step-by-step tutorial for a DIY, no-sew costume idea that you can make for your kiddos or for yourself….Glow in the Dark Jellyfish!!

i’ve had lots of requests for the details about the jellyfish costumes from a few years back, so i figured i’d go ahead and put it all in one post.  maybe for next year…or maybe for those of you still trying to pull together a costume for this year…it happens, peeps.  trust me.  i know!  this one is not too difficult, nor is it that expensive.

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i was able to find all of the supplies at the dollar store, with the exception of the fabric, rick rack, and ribbon, which i purchased from Joann’s.

so…what you’ll need:
a sombrero or similar kind of hat with a large brim (i found one at Good Will and the other at a party store, but sometimes the dollar store has them)
long glow sticks (5-6 of the same color that matches your costume, so you might need to buy multiple packages to get the same color)
bubble wrap
iridescent gift bag filler
white tissue paper
battery operated white or clear Christmas lights (strand of 20 lights)
foam floral bricks (the lightweight, green, soft foam ones.  look at the ones i purchased in the pic below underneath the spools of ribbon)
1 yard felt in your color choice
1 yard iridescent fabric in a similar color as your felt
2-3 spools of wired ribbon, same or coordinating color
1-2 packages of rick rack, same or coordinating color

(if on hand, you can also use some batting, plastic bags, and newspaper to make the hat more dome-ish)

DSC_0453the sombrero will be the base of the costume, but there are a few things you’ve got to do to make it look like a jellyfish!  (just a note…it works best if you can find a sombrero or hat where the brim doesn’t turn up too much on the edges.  one of my hats had a flatter brim, and the costume looked better in the end.  so if you can find a hat with a flatter brim vs a turned up brim, that is best.  but if not, it’ll still work!)

first, cut your foam floral bricks in half lengthwise, unless they are already pretty flat, like mine.  on the top brim of the sombrero, hot glue a few of the foam bricks all the way around.  this is what the glow sticks (tentacles) will slide into later on.   i discovered that the glow sticks stayed best if they were pushed through the foam from the bottom of the hat (but more on that in a minute).  don’t use heavy or super thick foam.  you just need a small layer for the glow stick edge to stick into.

next, for the bottom of the sombrero, lay out your felt and cut it to the size of the bottom of your sombrero, leaving enough on the edges to glue over the brim a bit.  cut a hole in the center of the felt that is the size of your child’s head.  lay the felt out, place the hat on top of the felt, then wrap the felt over the brim of the hat, and hot glue the felt on.  i did have to stuff the hole later on with a little bit of extra felt to make sure it fit snugly on my kiddos’ heads.  that is also why i had them wear beanies…it helped the hat to stay on their heads.  the hats get pretty heavy once everything is attached, and our’s tended to slide to the back of their heads.  i hot glued some ribbon on to tie under their chins, but if i were to do it again, i would use elastic to ensure that it will stay put.

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the next thing you want to do is to round out the top of the sombrero so that it resembles a rounded jellyfish.  you can use a combination of rolled up newspaper, batting, white tissue paper, balled up plastic bags, and bubble wrap…whatever it takes to make the top of the sombrero completely round.  i just kept adding items to the hat and hot gluing them in place and on top of each other until i had a rounded top all the way around (including the brim).  if using newspaper, or other things that are not neutral, place those on the bottom and cover them with the white tissue and bubble wrap on top so that they don’t show through the fabric once its attached.  it won’t be perfect, but you can see below what the rounded top is supposed to look like once its covered in the fabric:
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before you cover the top in fabric, you want to add in some battery operated christmas lights (the dollar store and target sold them at the time).  i spread out the lights over the newspaper, batting, tissue paper, bubble wrap, etc. that i used to round out the top, and hot glued the lights in place all over the top.  make sure to space each individual light out over the top so they that light up the entire top. keep the battery pack outside of the top of the jellyfish, because once its all completed, you will need to glue the battery pack and switch to the bottom of the sombrero in the back so that it is easily accessible.  i would suggest finding lights that use the lightest amount of batteries possible, as that really added some weight to the costume.

after you have the lights attached, take the iridescent gift bag filler, and cover everything on the top of the hat so that you can’t see the newspaper or batting.  this also added to the iridescent glow like a jellyfish.

now you want to cover the top.  fold the iridescent fabric in half (so that it is less see-thru) and hot glue that over the entire top, wrapping the edges under the brim and covering the edge of the felt.  Leave a small opening, so that once the fabric is on, you can go back in and add more fullness to the top if needed.
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then, using hot glue, attach long strands of the rick rack and ribbon to the bottom of the hat, creating the tentacles.  i alternated the ribbon, rick rack, and glow sticks, but you can do it randomly if you wanted.
for the glow sticks, using only one stick as a template (so you don’t break them all yet), poke holes where you want them through the felt layer, the hat, and the foam bricks.  you will need to use the point of some scissors to get it all the way through, but be careful not to poke too large of a hole.  you want to be able to slide the glow sticks in and have them stay.  it is best to use some hot glue in the hole as well when attaching the glow sticks.  but since you don’t want to break the glow sticks until right before wearing the costume on halloween, because the “glow” will run out, i would poke your holes but wait to officially glue and attach the glow sticks until right before using the costume.  (i used the same color glow sticks as the costume to keep everything consistent.)
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once its nighttime, the glow sticks and the christmas lights shining through the iridescent fabric really make the costumes glow! :)
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if you look closely at the finished costumes, they are certainly not neat and tidy and perfect.   i got to the point where i just had to use massive amounts of hot glue to get everything in place, but once it was all completed, it really didn’t matter.  so just know that its not going to be this perfect finished product, but will still look adorable!

DSC_0213i had my kiddos wear black pants and a long sleeve black shirt because when they were walking around at night, the costumes really glowed and it looked like little jellyfish walking around!

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hope this all makes sense. if you have questions, you can leave them in the comments.

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Oct

01

Bella’s Guacamole Recipe

Bella has been very interested in helping out in the kitchen lately, and has even perfected her own Guacamole Recipe, that has become quite the hit around here.  so i thought i’d share it with you!

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i know that there are a gazillion recipes for guacamole out there, and besides, its one of those things you are just supposed to know how to make.  but if you are like me, i’ve had to teach myself all the basics, so even recipes like this that seem to be no-brainers, have taken me time to get just right!  i think this one is by far our favorite combination.  and its fairly simple for Bella to do herself, with minimal help from me (i mainly just cut the avocados.  besides that, she can pretty much do it herself, which she LOVES!)

i’ve made you a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post (and there’s even a little video of Bella explaining her recipe if you keep reading!), but here’s the visual rundown:

here are the ingredients:
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4 ripe avocados
1 big bunch of cilantro, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
juice of 1-2 limes
1 big ol’ dollop of non-fat, plain Greek Yogurt
kosher salt to taste

first off, let me tell you about a few of our FAVORITE kitchen tools, that make this recipe in particular super quick. (i’m not getting compensated for mentioning these…i just really love these tools, and think every kitchen would benefit from having them!)

DSC_0208 copythe first tool is a Pampered Chef Garlic Press.  this might be my all time favorite kitchen tool ever.  i picked it up at a garage sale, and its sincerely amazing.  you just put the whole clove of garlic, peel and all, into the compartment:

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and press, and it magically crushes/minces the garlic, while leaving the peel behind.  its incredible.  (works best if you do one clove at a time.)  with the amount of fresh garlic i use when cooking, it saves me an obnoxious amount of time!

the second tool i also picked up at a garage sale.  its a simple handheld juicer, (here’s a similar one: Handheld Juicerbut it gets way more juice out of lemons and limes than i could simply by using my hands.

the third tool i got as a wedding gift, and it sat in my cabinets for years before i figured out how incredible it was.  its a Pampered Chef Food Chopper, and its perfect for just that…chopping food, especially herbs, like cilantro!

these tools certainly aren’t necessary and this recipe can be done without them, but they make life a lot easier and they are a fun addition to any kitchen if you happen to be looking to add to your repertoire.

so first off, scrape your avocados into your bowl, and smash with the back of a fork.  sometimes i’ll get the process started by mashing them when they are still in the peel, and then scraping them out, but whatever method you use works!

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next, take the cilantro leaves off the stem (i usually try to scrap them off with a knife to save time, and then pick out the long stems that made their way into my pile of leaves.  a few stems never hurt anyone!)  then use your handy tools (or a knife) to chop up the cilantro:

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add the minced garlic to the bowl:
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and the juice of 1-2 limes:DSC_0219then chop your seeded jalapeño into small pieces and add that to the bowl.  i never use my wooden cutting board for onions or jalapeños, because i don’t want the heat and flavors to transfer, so i always use a separate cutting board that i can just throw in the dishwasher to ensure it gets all the little bits of food off.
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you then add a big dollop of Greek Yogurt and stir it all up.  that’s Bella’s “secret” ingredient, and it makes her guacamole super creamy and yummy.

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stand back and admire your work!
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then you need to taste it, to ensure that you have the proper amount of salt and lime juice.  we add more, a little bit at a time, until its perfect.  so add salt and more juice to your liking.  sometimes we are even known to add a little more garlic, if Chef Bella decides that the flavors are still a little bit off :)

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there you have it.  Bella’s Famous Super-Creamy-With-A-Little-Bit-of-Heat Guacamole Recipe.

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and here’s a little tip for you.  i read this once somewhere, and i don’t really know if it works or not, but i like to think it does, so here you go…apparently if you leave the pit of an avocado or two in the guacamole, it’ll stop it from turning brown so quickly.  go try it and see what you think!DSC_0234 copyand just for fun, here’s a quick little video of Chef Bella explaining what she did.  her measurements in the video are for a double recipe.  she also forgot to mention the jalapeño, her feet are really dirty, i’m a bad video-grapher, and if you listen closely, you can hear Berkeley making sure we are all aware that she has woken up from her nap.  also…please, whatever you do, don’t put two “handfuls” of salt in!!  all very good reasons why i don’t ever post videos on here.  :)
by the way…does anyone else’s kiddos call Yogurt…”Yogrit?”  i don’t have the heart to correct her…its too darn cute.  ENJOY!

and here’s the recipe card for you.  just right click on the image to save to your computer and print!
guacamole recipe card

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Sep

11

Pink and Gold First Birthday Party

we finally got to host Berkeley’s Pink and Gold First Birthday Party this past weekend…only a month late, but who’s counting?  :)
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let me just tell you…this party…was the never-ending party!!  we originally planned a big blowout on the beach in the beginning of August, but right as we had just unloaded the cars and brought everything down onto the beach to set up…this happened:

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serves me right for planning a beach party in Florida in August.  i should of known better.  so my dreams of a beautiful beach bash were shattered.  and because right after that, our lives got REALLY CRAZY, we weren’t able to reschedule until this past weekend.  so what you’re going to see in this post are pictures of the four different times i set up for this party….

1) the first time on the beach (not many from there, because it was a mad dash back to the cars to ensure no one got struck by lightening)
2) the second time (on her actual birthday, when our family came over to celebrate since we had to cancel the weekend before, and we didn’t want her bday to go by uncelebrated),
3) the third time (the rescheduled party at our neighborhood pool, because i had too many cupcakes in my freezer and there was no way i was gonna let all that work go to waste, although i definitely contemplated just bagging the whole thing and waiting till she turned two)…

but since it rained right before that party started too, and i had just enough time to throw things on the table, i didn’t get to use all of my decor or take pictures, hence

4) the fourth time (in my backyard for a quick little photo shoot so i could at least capture some more details…and also the reason that the cake looks half eaten…because it was by that point!)

so there you have it….why it looks like i hosted 4 separate parties! :)

okay…now for the details:

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most of the decorations were pretty inexpensive, but they did take some time.  i made the tassels out of tissue paper, and i honestly found them to be somewhat irritating to make…the tissue wasn’t easy to work with.  but once i got the hang of it, it went a lot faster.  the bunting was made with 2 different sized doilies that i just folded in half over ribbon and glued.  i love how elegant and feminine they look.  i have a feeling i’ll be able to get a lot of use out of that bunting.
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 the high chair was my older kiddos’ old wooden high chair.  years ago i had painted it black (back when i painted every piece of furniture black…funny how my styles have changed), but had been wanting to update it anyway before bringing it in the house, so i spray painted it gold, which fit perfectly with the party colors anyway.  i used the same spray paint and sealer that i used on Berkeley’s crib.  although, gotta be honest…i haven’t let her really eat off the tray yet because i’m not sure the best way to seal it to make it food safe.  if any of y’all have suggestions, i’d love to hear them.

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i made smaller tassels to decorate the high chair…DSC_0112 - Version 2 copy

and created the “Berkeley is 1″ circle on a site called peartreegreetings.com.  i also made these banners using those same die cuts, and then built the party colors and decor around them. their website is awesome, and the thing i loved the most was how much i could personalize their products.  i had a blast figuring out the perfect color combinations, photos, and texts to use to make Berkeley’s party one of a kind.  if you are planning on throwing a party, they have a large assortment of pretty awesome Kids Party Decorations and Kids Birthday Invitations.  i’m also kinda pumped about their Christmas Card collection too!

i used the larger die cuts to make banners…
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and the smaller die cuts as toppers to dress up the simple vanilla cupcakes with gold sprinkles:

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i used the Numbers and Pinstripes Theme, and you can see how unique and creative you can get by starting with their templates.  i love things like that…they do the hard, initial legwork, but i get to make it my own!

i also ordered some personalized napkins, even though they technically fall under the wedding decor category, because i kinda fell in love with how the design turned out.  and since i didn’t need plates because all we were serving was cupcakes, i thought it would be fun to have a unique napkin instead!
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i had already created her invitation on Paperless Post so that i could email it out, otherwise i would’ve looked at using one off Pear Tree Greetings, because they have some really adorable ones.  but i did have Paperless Post send me one printed copy so that i could have it as a memory for her.

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this was one of my favorite projects for her party.  i’ve really been enjoying chalkboard art lately, so i knew that i wanted to incorporate this into her party.  i made that gold framed chalkboard years ago, and knew that it would work perfectly to make some chalkboard art all about the Birthday Girl.  DSC_0111 copy

i’ll come back and show you a tutorial for the chalkboard art, because its actually really easy!DSC_0106 - Version 2 copy

i found some gold striped washi tape in the Dollar Stop at Target (best decision Target ever made…i pretty much want to buy everything in there.)  i had to find something to use it for, so i taped some of my favorite photos of Berk onto our bulletin board.DSC_0052

the cake was another fun project because it gave me the chance to learn how to use buttercream frosting to do the petal technique.  super super super easy, and something that i’ll totally try again!!!  i used this tutorial from Wilton.  DSC_0496 - Version 2 copy

i looked everywhere for a gold “1″ candle, but couldn’t find anything, so i bought a regular “1″ (the kind they sell at the grocery store) and made my own with lots of glue…and lots of gold glitter.
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i think the Birthday Girl enjoyed all her celebrations!
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and i’ll leave you with some more pictures, just for fun:DSC_0015 copy

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it rained either during or right before every party attempt…doesn’t that mean good luck?  just kidding.  i think it just means that its summer in Florida…DSC_0471 copy

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Berkeley actually wasn’t that fond of her cake, much to her older siblings’ dismay!  but momma ain’t complaining about that!  

DSC_0557 copythere you have it.  very glad that the never-ending party is now over!  but for sure enjoying our big One Year Old.  i forgot how much fun this age is!!

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