A very “Despicable” Halloween

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For Halloween this year, Anya really wanted to be a minion. And Andy needed to be Gru. And I needed to be one of the little girls. I found crochet patterns for a minion hat and for minion goggles, and I made up a super simple knit pattern for a Gru scarf.

Alas, as much as Anya wanted me to be one of the little girls, the complexity of their clothing was too much for me (so many parts!). I thought about going as a kid in “The Box of Shame,” but that somehow didn’t seem appropriate to wear to school. I remembered I had a purple wig from last year, and I pondered for a while dressing up as a purple minion, but that required me to get a purple shirt. Woe is I. In the end, I crocheted up a minion goggle and wore my purple wig and made growling sounds and had to explain to everyone who I was dressed up as because really I was just a weird person wearing a purple wig and a circle thing on her face.

And Anya? She wouldn’t wear the goggles. By the end of the school party, she’d taken off her hat, gloves, and shoes, too. When she got home, she changed into normal clothes and wouldn’t put any part of her costume back on for trick o’ treat time. Andy convinced her to put on her big sweater and go as Red Riding Hood.


Andy’s costume was definitely the most successful of all. He shaved his beard off the night before and had a coworker help him put on the bald cap and draw in super big eyebrows. He was really creepy, and I almost didn’t recognize him when he showed up at school. A few people thought he was Uncle Fester.


Fair Remorse

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The county fair was a few weeks ago, and after last year’s big hurrah, I found myself feeling rather inadequate. I’m not sure if I’ve said it before here, but it took me until probably the end of spring this year to feel crafty again after that experience. I rode in cars and watched tv and went to appointments and watched Anya at storytime for months without bringing any knitting along. Sometimes I wondered if I’d ever want to do much of anything crafty again.

Don’t worry. I’m all better now. But when the fair came along this fall, and when I started to go through the list of categories (oh, remember the days when I had that list memorized?), I could only come up with four things to enter. Four. I did, however, write down probably another half dozen that I felt convinced I could come up with if I just got real busy and focused. Then I realized that was crazy, and I helped Anya find some things to enter, and I figured if I added both her stuff and my stuff together that would sort of count as stuff I entered because I made her, right?


Anya, however, didn’t seem to agree with that and made sure everyone knew that SHE won $15 at the fair and her mother only won $10. Fine, kid. I see how that works. I’m storing this away for later use.

So, what did I enter? There’s an owly crewel piece:


And the aviator hat I crocheted:


And Anya’s sweater and one of the baby hats I knitted:


Enough of that stuff. Tiny as it was, there was more to the fair than the crafts. There were games,


and chances for Daddy to look silly,


and lots and lots and lots of corn.


Then it rained.

Dress Up

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I’ve been wanting to write a post for a while but you know, the usual: I’m tired, or busy, or foggy headed, or driving, or in the shower. That last one I think one day will be overcome. Surely one day there will be a wall-mountable, water-proof, steam-proof computer. I guess, though, along that line of thought, I could in theory dictate a post to some sort of device while driving. No matter how cool the device, however, that sounds like trouble to me.

My breakfast is ready, and my mind is wandering, and this post is about to be left to languish in the pile of forgotten drafts, so I better hurry up.

We went to Goodwill last weekend to look for some stuff for Anya’s Halloween costume. Of course we had to check out the shoes. I think these are the most amazing shoes we’ve found so far. I almost bought them.


Do you need a better look?


Personally, I think they go very well with Anya’s outfit. I’m also thinking maybe we try on too many fancy shoes because she had absolutely no trouble walking up and down the aisle in these. Thankfully, pretty much every time she is done trying on fancy shoes she says something like, “Yes, they are nice but they aren’t good for my feet and back.” You got it, girl. And remember, soda is disgusting.

About two weeks ago, we went to Target to search for a birthday present for a little friend. We weren’t in any sort of rush, so of course we had to roam all the aisles. After this trip, we read a really gross book about head lice and then watched a sort of gross cartoon about it. I sort of wish those events had been reversed, but (knock on wood) we seem to be safe.


Although, this picture is so cute, it may have been worth a little lice.

No, not really.

I was definitely testing fate that day because I requested Anya pose in this hat, so I could see if I could replicate it later.


“See, Mommy, that’s my thoughtful look!”

And that’s all for now. My bacon is getting cold.

July and August Swap Stuff

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Craft swaps are fun, but it’s a good thing the group I’m part of is understanding because very few of us are terribly timely with our projects. Until this weekend, I was three months behind on my submissions. I decided to take June as my “free” month, and then I did two items to catch me up for the summer. Nothing super neato, but I enjoyed what I made. I continue to try and use as much of the materials from my swap packet as I can.

So, here’s what I made:

For July, I decorated these little kraft paper notebooks I found on super clearance a few months ago. The paper and ribbon are from my swap pack, and I think I bought the sentiment cards…though maybe they were in the packet, too? I don’t remember. The ladies I went to the convention with (why I feel weird about using their names when I posted photos of them yesterday I cannot explain), who are members of the swap, really liked these books.


For August, I made some get well cards. The patterned weather-themed paper and little pearls were from my packet. I put the cards together and didn’t have any sentiments and was a bit bummed. Especially after searching the convention vendor floor for two days to find something that would work. Luckily, one of my crafter friends found and bought a stamp pack that was just perfect, and so now my fellow swappers can tell someone “I’m sorry to hear you are under the weather.” (Get it? Weather? Umbrellas and raindrops? Oh, I am so clever!)


My swap packet is starting to get a bit empty and tattered. How many more months did I sign up for this?

Summer Solstice Festival

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Q: What do you get for $40 and an hour in the sun?


A: A giant, squeaky Tweety Bird and a bag full of advertising junk.

Seriously though, you also get to have a good amount of fun. At least until the kid has a meltdown and cries away her Flower Fairy face painting, which her dad somehow managed to not get any pictures of even though he took about a dozen while the face painting was in progress. (How does that happen?)


Before the crying, though, there was the acquiring of the Tweety…


and the posing with the Tweety…


and the mother holding the Tweety while the kid poured some very expensive colored sand into a plastic dolphin bottle…


and a spin-y ride, during which no Tweetys were harmed.



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When I was a kid, I was a pack rat. (I’m not that way now, oooooh no. Erm.) I kept so, so, so many of my old toys and knick knacks and random doodads. Boxes and boxes of this stuff has been living in our “workshop” building for the the last seven years. When Anya fell in love with My Little Pony this spring, I decided it was past time we went through those boxes of my childhood because I was sure I had at least one MLP in there somewhere.

It’s amazing to me how I can look at these things now and most of them mean nothing to me anymore. I remember them and know they did mean a lot to me when I packed them up oh-so-long ago. These were things I could not bear to let go. These were things I had to keep and treasure and lug around for 15 years. On that day when I was going through those boxes, though, most of those things had become just things. Phew. What a feeling of relief I could let this stuff go!

But then there is the other stuff that still means a lot. It’s probably still too much. Too many boxes. But it’s nice to see these toys of mine being loved again.


And not just by me…


(Yes, I did find the pony.)

With the Power of Shapes….

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She is Super Shape Girl!!!

I love the library, and I love summer. I really love the library in the summer. I love the library so much, we go to TWO libraries. Oh yes we do. We can’t get enough library goodness from just one library. Sometimes, I’m afraid to admit this. I don’t want our local library to feel left out or to think it’s not good enough or to be sad. Our local library is great. Our second library, though, it’s great, too! Why should we limit the amount of library greatness we get?

The first summer program we went to this year was at our “other” library. SHHHHHH! But how could we resist? It was a SUPERHERO party. Dude.

First, the superhero-in-training decided her super power and made a shield or chest plate with their symbol on it. Anya had the power of shapes. So like, if someone needed to cross a river, she could make a giant rectangle across the river to be a bridge.


Next, the superheroes tested their strength and skills to determine what areas they needed to work on a bit more. Even superheroes can improve! They tested their super-breath….


Their super hand-eye coordination…


And their lava puddle jumping techniques.


Then everyone ate mini-cupcakes and fruit snacks and went home and drove their parents nuts with their sugar-induced invincibleness.

(Note of Disclosure: In the spirit of truthful advertising/blogging/whatever, in the first picture, Anya is wearing her Super Shape Girl mask she made at a friend’s birthday party and not at the superhero library event. So, if your child went to the library event and did not get an awesome mask, please do not call the library and complain. Instead you should call Anya’s friend’s mom because why didn’t she invite you to the birthday party?)

Last Day of School

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At the end of May, Anya celebrated her third Last Day of School. It was, in my opinion, the best last day of school yet. This year, when parents arrived they were asked to wait just a wee bit while things got finished up, and then their kids came and escorted the parents across the field to the entryway to the celebration area. Before they passed through the entryway (two tiki torches holding rhododendron blossoms), each family was given a magnet with a kindness quote. Then the kids seated their parents under a tent/canopy thingy that the students had decorated. It was fun, festive, and organized, and we didn’t have to sit in the blazing hot sun for an hour. (That last part was pretty much my favorite.)

After the director did her opening stuff, each class took a turn “crossing over” to the next year. This is a Montessori tradition that we decided to adopt because it is cool. (Although every time I heard someone talk about the kids crossing over, I kept wondering if we needed a bright, shiny light at the end. And maybe a ouija board.) Each child said (or had read by their teacher) three things they had learned that year that helped them cross over to the next level of their education.


On the other side of the bridge, their teacher gave them a gift to thank them for being awesome students.


And no, my kid is not wearing pants. It was another swimsuit day, and I decided that the long shirt was in reality a “t-shirt dress.” We are trend setters here at Loafkeeper. (Also, no, I am not picking my nose. I don’t think.)

When the ceremony was over, there was the traditional potluck, and Anya’s class had a book fair of all the books they made during the year,


and then the music and the sprinklers and the running and the shrieking,


and finally a last minute picture of the Chess Club (this is them all being very, very serious).


I know I wrote an entire post about Chess Club, but I’d like to take a minute here to say how happy it makes me to see my kid in her pink tutu swimsuit in this picture with a bunch of boys. I love that she doesn’t care everyone else in the club is a boy, and I love that all the boys in the club don’t care that she’s a girl. (There were a few other girls in the club, but they didn’t become regulars.) [I totally acknowledge that if there were a Pretty Pink Princess Glittery Tiara Club, she’d be in that, too. It’s good to be well rounded.]

Happy Anniversary!

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Andy and I haven’t had a trip away on our own since before the kid came along. I think that is breaking some cardinal rule of coupleness, but hey, we’re still married so it must not be too cardinal! (Maybe more like robin or bluejay?) When my folks came out for spring break, Andy and I somehow convinced them to watch Anya for two days while we went to D.C. for an early anniversary vacation.

During our trip we ate yummy food,


and went to monuments,


and ate more yummy food (nary a chicken nugget nor mac and cheese plate to be seen),


and went to museums (not once having to leave due to a temper tantrum),


and ate more yummy food (never being interrupted to take someone to the potty),


and visited even more museums (where we were able to read the stuff about the exhibits),


and then ate some more yummy food,


and finally ended up sitting in Union Station for several hours waiting for our bus back home. (I could have done without that last part.)

Not Your Mama’s Crafty Book

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It’s been a while, but I went to a crafty weekend a few weeks back. The second day I had a dire need for adhesive (“How can you need to buy more stuff? You have tons of stuff!” Andy asked. He obviously doesn’t understand adhesive.) I made a run to the craft store, and of course (since I was there ALL ALONE) I had to spend a few minutes or maybe thirty looking at EVERYTHING. It was nice to peruse, but I’m pleased to say the only thing I bought that was not adhesive was a two-pack of 8×8 scrapbooks on clearance for $3.

I thought about using the books to make some gifts, but then I figured maybe Anya would like one. When she saw it, she squealed. And then she claimed BOTH of them. I should not have been surprised. I let her use my funky scissors and gave her some old adhesive tab thingies I got from the free bin and pulled out my paper scrap bag and donated unused pictures from my last book. She worked on her “Crafty Book” for hours. Or at least maybe half an hour. It felt like hours to me. When she got her pages just right, she had her Daddy do the journaling for her, and I made the title for the front: “Crafty Book by Anya.”


After she finished her book, she began assembling her “Crafty Bag.” Into a small tote bag she put the funky scissors, adhesive tabs, picture bits, extra book, some markers, some crayons, some colored pencils, part of an old calendar, and basically half of the contents of her until-then-mostly-organized craft bins.

Today I was talking to one of my crafty friends at lunch about a convention we are going to in August, and Anya demanded to go, too. I said no because I am the Mean Mommie, but it was sort of hard to say it because, dude, she has her own crafty bag!