Fleece Monster Jackets

I did a lot of sewing before Christmas. I already showed you the hat that I made for one of my nieces (I made a second for the other baby niece). Here is an action shot of one of the hats:

The other huge project that I took on was this:

I made one for each of the boys, using fleece found in the market. It’s thinner than the fleece I’m used to, but it worked for these cute jackets.

The pattern I used was this one. I made the 116 cm version for the older boys, but lengthened Dorian’s by about 2 inches. Dominic’s jacket is the 104 cm version. I cut out the monsters and appliqued them to the backs of the jackets before sewing the garments. It was a bit difficult, particularly with the spines on Dominic’s.

Here’s a closer look at the designs.

While the jackets were a lot of work (the actual jacket was really quick to whip up, it was the applique that took so long), I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. And the boys love them, which is the whole point!


A Look Back at 2013

It’s hard to believe a whole year has already sped past. Dominic is nearly 2, Dorian is 8 and Dante will be 7 in a few short months. How did that happen?!

2013 has been a year of excitement and disappointment. New beginnings and harsh endings. Last year, I dropped all client work and focused on working on my books and Squidoo. It would have been awesome except that Squidoo took a huge nosedive in February/March. Suddenly, the vast majority of my income disappeared into the ether. It was not a good time. I scrambled to get more books written, but it didn’t make up for the lost income from Squidoo and Amazon. In the end, I had to take on client work again, though I mostly work for sites like Constant Content.

With the loss of earnings, we ended up not doing a lot of things that we’d planned for the year, but apart from that, it wasn’t a bad year. My sister, Sarah, visited me in May and my youngest sister, Caily, came down in November. Two visits from family in one year! It was pretty cool!

Dorian started track and has enjoyed it. It’s also really great for him to get that exercise, since it helps his intestines. That was the only extracurricular thing we did, though we’d originally planned on swim lessons for all three boys, too. Dante didn’t want to try art lessons, so he didn’t do anything extra this year.

School is going to take some reconfiguring. Halfway through the 2013 school year, we started with Time4Learning so I could focus on working without stressing so much. It worked wonderfully for Dorian. For Dante, not so much. So Dorian is continuing with his online studies and Dante will be studying off the computer. They will be in Grades 3 and 2, respectively, next year.

We also had the chance to meet some new blog readers this year. Some are thinking of moving here, some have already made the leap (and live across the street from us!!). It’s definitely been a year of changes for everyone!

Overall, 2013 wasn’t a bad year, but it was hard and stressful. I’m grateful that we stayed relatively healthy throughout and that we still have so many options open to us. Stay tuned for the New Year’s post! Happy New Year!

The Convite

In our town, we have a convite or dance competition every year after Christmas. This year was no exception. The dancers dress up and dance in groups through the streets behind trucks carrying huge speakers and blaring music. The entire thing culminates in a big dance off around 7-8 at night, where cash prizes are awarded.

We went to the convite, but missed most of the street dancing, since the boys weren’t too interested. The park was the big attraction this day! First up, ice cream.

We headed to my father-in-law’s new cafe down by the bus stop and hung out for a bit before we headed out to get some groceries. While we were there, these guys came buy from the convite.

Upon our return, we tossed some jackets on the kids, since it was getting chilly, and headed back to the park with some friends from across the street (another gringo/chapin couple).

(More on those cute jackets later!)

Next up was a game of foosball, played by Irving and our friend. They were later joined by Dorian and Dante and much yelling and slamming of handles ensued. Everyone had a blast!

The park was filling up with vendors selling gringas, tacos, churros and other tasty goodies.

Finally, it was night and time to wait for the convite to come into the park for the final dance off. The boys quickly bored of this and asked for money, then took off to play in the park. I can’t tell you how utterly bizarre it is for me to have children old enough to go off on their own for up to an hour at a time (they came back to check in and ask for more money).

I hung out with our friends and my in-laws, including my cute little niece, Sofia. (notice she’s wearing the hat I made for her)

These guys had the right idea, sitting up in a tree to get a good view!

This man was also pretty smart. He set up his own bar in the back of his pickup with a cooler and a table.

You can see a video of the dancing here . .. it won’t let me embed the video for some reason.

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 70

Dominic: “Zapatos!” (shoes)
Me: “Where are your shoes?”
Dominic: “Ummm . . . in here!” pointing to the fridge.
Me: “No, I’m pretty sure your shoes aren’t in the fridge.
Dominic: opening the fridge to reveal his shoes neatly set on the bottom shelf. “Tahdah!”
Dominic: trying to draw with a pen that didn’t work. “Oh no! Not working. I broke it!”
Dorian: “Domi, we need to have a talk.”
Dominic: “Talk!”
Dorian: “Yeah, it’s about Bubble Guppies. We need to have a serious talk about Bubble Guppies.”
Dominic: “Buppies!” points to the TV.
Dorian: “Yes. Now, why don’t you let Mama watch Buffy? No more Bubble Guppies.”
Me: “I’m tired.”
Dorian: “Perhaps you need a shot of adribbalin.”
Me: “What?”
Dorian: “To give you energy.”
Me: “You mean adrenaline?”
Dorian: “Yup.”
Dante: “Mama, Dorian said he won’t play with me until 2073!”
Dominic: trying to climb into my bed early in the morning “I so lonely.”

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Our holiday has been relatively calm so far. Last night, the boys opened their Christmas Eve pajamas (all Batman) and then we watched the Polar Express. I made tamales and the kids had popcorn with chocolate candy sprinkled in it and some hot chocolate with marshmallows. They were suitably impressed.

We got the kids up at midnight last night to go to the other house and set off firecrackers in the street. Then we had some time with Irving’s family and the kids got their gifts and gave them to their cousins. They love having double Christmas celebrations.

Here’s Dominic playing with his new cars with his Tio Miguel Angel.

My camera is on the fritz yet again, so I got very few usable photos from this Christmas. This was the worst investment ever! A new camera is definitely on my wishlist, especially after seeing how awesome photos can be when my sister let me use her fancy camera while she was here.

The boys didn’t get tons of gifts, since we ended up missing out on two major ones . . . both needed to be made and with all the stuff going on here, it just didn’t happen. It was fine, though. They were thrilled with what they got. I ordered them this car kit from Melissa and Doug a while back and they were eager to paint their cars and decorate them this morning. This was probably the top gift for the big boys.

Dominic got a trike which he has been riding nonstop. In fact, he didn’t even want to open more gifts when he spotted that! It wasn’t until he saw that the boys got some other cars that he had a little interest in opening a gift. As it was, there are still a couple of his under the tree, because he’s too interested in the ones he already opened. :)

This afternoon, we will be eating at Irving’s mom’s. I usually do our Christmas dinner on the 26th since the men have work on the 25th. Just my luck, this year, they didn’t have anything today, but tomorrow they have a gig. Which apparently came in last minute, so I already have the turkey thawed and now Irving won’t be here. It’s all good though. We have plenty of turkey for him to eat leftovers!

I hope all my readers are having a very merry Christmas!

Did I Say I Was Caught Up?

Sure, I got my Christmas shopping done nice and early, but it’s now the 23rd and my to do list is still insanely long! Oops. There are a few reasons for this, including a friend in need and news that threw our family for a real loop. I will blog more about that in January, once it has been better processed. The end result, however, is that I’m very, very behind.

I did get some little hats done for my nieces. Here’s one of them:

The second one came out cuter, but I forgot to take a photo before I wrapped the gifts. The hats came together very quickly, so I suspect that will be a go to last minute gift in the future. :) I can change them up to make puppies, cats, bears, etc.

I still have hats to do for the boys and Zanelle, plus, I decided to make the boys new jackets for Christmas Eve, to protect against the chill when we go out to set off firecrackers. Yeah, because I needed a new project a few days before Christmas.

The advent calendar is finished, thank goodness. I ran out of ideas early on, so it was a struggle to get all the ornaments done. It’s looking pretty cool though and the boys are thrilled to hang a new ornament each day and count off the ones that are left. I’ll have to get a picture when all the ornaments are up.

There is still a stocking to be made for Dominic, since his from last year is a mini one and, well, he’s already at the age where he will notice that his stocking is smaller and therefore “not fair!” Not to mention, the things I have for his stocking are too big to fit in that bitty thing.

Today is a day of making tamales, sewing jackets, hunting down a turkey and wrapping gifts. It will be hectic, but I know the boys will love it all come midnight tomorrow!




Potty Training

A while back, Dominic was very interested in using the potty. Unfortunately, things were so hectic around here, I didn’t take full advantage of that and so we find ourselves now potty training a child who is quite vocal about what he wants. “No poop in potty! Poop in diaper!”

That being said, things have been going pretty well. We’re doing sessions of 2-4 hours, depending on the amount of time we have. I leave the tot pantless and have the potty within easy reach. He gets a sticker if he goes in it. Usually, I have him sit on the potty every 15-20 minutes and we’ve had no issues with that. However, this morning, I put him on, he peed and about 20 minutes later, I was about to go tell him to try again when I realized he was already ON the potty! Yup, he went all by himself. He was pretty proud of himself, too.

The thought of actually having no diapers in the house at some point in the near future is mindboggling. It could be pretty awesome!

I Have an 8 Year Old

Dorian turned 8 today. I find it crazy that I actually have a child that age!

He had a terrific day. I’ve been working on his gifts for a week now and his cake, too. He chose Left4Dead (a zombie video game) for his theme, so I have been working on the figures for it for several days. Unfortunately, the first few that I made ended up getting eaten by a mouse, so I redid them. The end result was a cake that thrilled my zombie loving son.

Inside the cake was camouflage. That just gave it an extra bit of fun. Irving bought me a set of three tiered cake pans for my early Christmas gift and I used those to carve a hill.

His big gift this year was a game that I designed and made. It’s based on the Left4Dead video game. I used some screenshots of actual stuff from the game, like graffiti and warning posters. It’s fairly simple. You start at a safehouse and have to make it around the board and up the footprints to the chopper to win. Each person starts out with 10 health chips and they lose them or gain more as they move around the board. The cards have things like “A Smoker Got You, lose 3 health” and “A Horde! Lose 5 health.”

I was really nervous about the game. I was not sure he’d like it though he’d asked for a board game or puzzle. Well, I didn’t need to worry. He played it seven or eight times throughout the day and informed me that it was the best game ever. Which was nice, after all the time I spent modeling the characters in clay, printing and cutting the paper (after hours of trying to figure out HOW to do that) and gluing it all down and covering it with contact paper.

We let the birthday boy choose his food and he wanted ramen noodles for lunch and black beans for dinner, no matter how many times I checked. I made him bacon and eggs as a morning snack (breakfast was cake, of course) just because I know he also loves that.

There was even a piñata, but I don’t have those pics up yet. Overall, it was a great day and the happiest I have seen Dorian on a birthday! He told me, as I gave him the last birthday hug of the day, that today was the best birthday EVER.


I love tea. Irving says it’s my British roots coming out, but whatever it is, my day usually starts off with a giant mug of hot tea and it ends the same way. I’m mostly caffeine resistant, so I can drink whatever I want before bed.

When my littlest sister came down last month (she shares my love of tea, but is more of a connoisseur), she brought me some treats. A whole bag of delicious tea samplers! Tea balls, which I needed for my loose tea, and the cutest little robot tea infuser ever.

Here he is, relaxing in a cup of London Fog tea from Silk Road.

While she was here, we enjoyed a cup of flavored tea each evening. Since she’s been gone, I’ve been drinking more black tea, so the tasty ones will last longer.  They’re so good!