Last updated by at .

Monthly Archives: October 2012

Creative and Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

Every Halloween, many of us wrestle with costume ideas for our kids. Some of us are talented at sewing and whipping up costumes, and also organized enough to be among those thumbing through Halloween pattern books in August (as my own mom was.) Some of us guiltily feel that we should be making our kids’ Halloween costumes, but start a little late, or are short on time or skills. Others of us would prefer not to buy a complete off-the-shelf costume, even as some of our children say they prefer these, for a variety of reasons. They can be expensive and end up little-used; their themes are often unappealing (overly commercial or overly sexual) and limited; buying one close to Halloween lands us in a loud, frenzied store.

For all but those who are in the first camp, I have a solution. It’s one I employed almost every year at Halloween: Combine the store-bought with the homemade by buying a base costume and embellishing it. The costume above is a dalmation, made from spotted children’s pajamas that we found. I added the rickrack trim to the neck. The ears are made from two triangles each of dalmation-print fabric and pink flannel, cut slightly larger than the desired finished size. Sew a triangle of each fabric together, right sides together, to form the ear shape. Turn each sewn pair right side out and run a pipe cleaner up its middle. Sew a few stiches around the bottom of each ear to close, and attach the ear with more thread to a child’s plastic headband and bend the pipe cleaner to shape the ear. This is an easy way to create ears or antennae for a variety of costumes. The face makeup completed the dalmation look. This was so simple, but a little bit of embellishment allowed us to be creative and have Anna have the costume she wanted, without taking a lot of time in the creation.

I’ve found that one myth of Slow Parenting is that crafts, foods and other items have to be made from scratch to be somehow “worthy”. I advocate that the most important thing for parents and families is to spend their time the way they choose. For some people, and in some years, that might mean creating a costume from scratch. But it shouldn’t feel mandatory. If something feels like a chore, despite our best intentions, I advocate switching models. Many of us admire crafters (and cooks and home decorators) like Martha Stewart, whose creations appear perfect and effortless, but public style icons can also have a way of making many people feel that they, too, need to perform similarly. In our frenzied world, most of us don’t have precious time to spend doing things that don’t bring us joy. In our family, that meant relying on a combination of store-bought and homemade ingredients to come up with Halloween costumes that were creative, easy, memorable and fun.

When Anna was one year old, I made a pea-pod costume, based on a pair of green footed dinosaur pajamas. Wonderfully, they had a contrasting bib of lighter green color in the front. Over that, I sewed five large green pom poms to form peas. I also made two tubes of felt and stuffed each and sewed them around the “peas”. I cut the dinosaur tail off the back of the costume. To the top of the green hat that came with the costume, I attached a “string” of curly green pipe cleaner. Another string was attached below the peas.

Here she is, almost one and on the move.

 

After two years of the beloved dalmation costume, when Anna was four, I made a sequined-line cape that turned a black leotard and tights into a bat costume. To make a scalloped-shaped cape, I folded a length of satin accordion style into eight parts. With the parts atop one another, I cut a semi-circle out of each end, and that gave it its shape. I glued a line of sequins along the scallops, and followed the directions below to complete the cape.

Another year, I made a simple 3-part western vest, with fringe sewn on (I used upholstery fringe) that went over a vintage 50s dress, so Anna could dress up as Patsy Cline. We pretty much continued the tradition of combining the store-bought, the homemade and the embellished throughout Anna’s school years.

Here are a couple of other quick costume ideas, for Halloween or any dress-up time. These are adapted from my book, Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World.

Tunic: Cut a hole for a head in a one-yard piece of fabric.

Cape: Fold over an inch of a piece of fabric at least 24” long. Sew a seam, leaving a casing to string elastic or a tie through.

Tutu: Cut strips of tulle approx. 4″ wide and 20″ long from a roll or a 4-yard piece. Loop each strip around a waist-sized piece of elastic or a headband. Thread ends of tulle through the loop and pull to tighten.

Crown: Wrap a strip or sheet of paper around a child’s head and tape the ends to attach. Cut a zig-zag shape around the top and decorate the outside.

Another idea, from Anna: If making or embellishing costumes is not for you, you can support artisans by buying homemade costumes on Etsy and elsewhere.

Happy Halloween!
Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman

 

 

 

 

Slow Nature: Have a Cloud Race

Watching the sky and clouds can be somewhat of a luxury in our busy lives. When we think of unhurried childhoods, many of us picture a lazy afternoon or early evening, laying in the grass and gazing at the sky overhead, allowing ourselves to daydream as the clouds drift to form various shapes.

Clouds provide the perfect backdrop for our imaginations, after all. Formed from evaporated water that rose through the air and condensed, clouds are lovely, miraculous, ever-changing and not to be missed, even in the most frenzied childhood.

As you concentrate on the clouds, you’ll probably discover differences in their formations, appearances and speeds as they move across the sky. What do some different clouds look like to you? Is there a story you can make up, starring a cloud?

Got two or more people and seeking a more structured game? Have a cloud race:

  • Lie in the grass or sit on a chair.
  • Players or teams choose a cloud and root for it to go faster than the others across the sky.

Want to know more about clouds? The Enchanted Learning has great information for learning how to identify different kinds of clouds and discovering how clouds form. You may also be inspired by these 25 unbelievable cloud formations.

 

Have fun racing and dreaming!

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Honor Your Family With Fun Gratitude Crafts

When many of us count our blessings, we often start with our own families. After all, those in our immediate and extended family are usually the people we are with the most, through small moments and larger triumphs, and those who mean the most to us. Celebrating family with fun crafts allows us to find expression for our gratitude and can allow family members to feel uniquely appreciated. These crafts can also be a way to pass on family lore, while providing children with a fuller sense of who they are and their place in their family and in the global community.

Create an Appreciation “Recipe” for a Mom or Another Special Person

I got this lovely idea from my my daughter’s  4th grade teacher, D. J. Mitchell. It’s very easy and fun to do, and it conveys a special relationship and feelings that may be otherwise hard to articulate. Help your child create a recipe for a “marvelous mom” or a “delightful dad” or a “fabulous friend” or any other combination using an adjective and the person’s name or role.

You’ll need:
• Piece of construction paper or poster board
• Markers and crayons or colored pencils
• Ruler

Think about the attributes of the recipient that make him or her special.

Write a heading on the paper: Recipe for a (fabulous friend or other).

Using a ruler, draw six or more lines on which to write your various ingredients.

Write the “ingredients” for the person, in recipe terms, such as “6 cups kindness,” “5 tablespoons love,” or whatever else you can think of.

Leave space at the bottom to write out your instructions, also using recipe terms, like mix, add, fold, blend, and so on.

Decorate the rest of the paper, as desired.

Here is Anna’s “recipe”:

Make a Personal or Family Crest or Coat of Arms

Since the seventh century in Japan and the twelfth century in Europe, families, individuals, countries, states, schools, knights, clergy, and others have used decorative and distinctive coats of arms, or family crests, to identify themselves or their clans. It’s a wonderful tradition that can be adapted in a lighthearted way to proclaim or discover individual or family identities and interests.

You’ll need:
• Paper
• Colored pencils, crayons, markers, paints, or other drawing
implements
• Ribbons, scrap paper and fabric, glitter, and other decorative
items, as desired
• School or craft glue
• Frame, optional

Draw the outline of a shield shape, which resembles a pointed shovel.

Draw lines inside of the shield to divide it into various regions. It is common for crests to have 4-6 sections. You may want to give each family member a section.

Inside each section, draw or write the name of one or more things that you enjoy doing or that you like about yourself or your family. If you’d like, leave a space inside the crest, or below it, to write the family name.

Color and decorate the items and the background of the crest. Most crests are elaborate, with lots of decorative items and flourishes.

Frame or display your unique crest.

If you’d like, try this coat of arms template.

 

You might also like:
Make an Altar to Honor Ancestors for Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead

Giving Thanks: Express Gratitude with Crafts, Food, Fun and Contemplation

31 Awesome Pumpkin Recipes

 

Trick or treat! A pumpkin recipe for every day in October, including some that might surprise you.

Row 1, left to right:

Pumpkin challah from The Jew and the Carrot

Pumpkin cheesecake with white ginger chocolate from A Farm Girl Dabbles

Pumpkin pie with maple crumb topping from Kids Cooking

Pumpkin cookie cake from Hello Moye

Soft frosted pumpkin spice cookies from The Baker Chick

Row 2, left to right:

Chocolate chip pumpkin bars from Cook Woman Food

Rice cooker pumpkin sage risotto from Le Delicieux

Pumpkin ice cream from The Baker Chick

Roasted pumpkin with shallots and sage from Martha Stewart

Pumpkin butterscotch cake from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Row 3, left to right:

Pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting from Family Bites

Pumpkin polenta pumpkins from My Recipes

Pumpkin crunch cake from The Picky Apple

Pumpkin garlic knots from Handle the Heat

Row 4, left to right:

Baked pumpkin oatmeal from Cooking with My Kid

Pumpkin whoopie pies with maple cream cheese frosting from Brown Eyed Baker

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from A Bitchin Kitchen

Pumpkin spice cashew cheese dip from Lunch Box Bunch

Brown butter pumpkin cake with honey cinnamon frosting from Redeeming the Table

Row 5, left to right:

Homemade pumpkin spice latte from Confections of a Foodie Bride

BPA-free pumpkin pie from Mother Nature Network

Pumpkin cookies from Delicious

Baked pumpkin donuts from Sweetened with Honey

Pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream from Made in Melissa’s Kitchen

More recipes:

Pumpkin pie cupcakes from Une-deux Senses

Pumpkin cookies with cream cheese icing from House of Hepworths

Pumpkin cinnamon rolls with caramel from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Pumpkin hummus from Naturally Ella

Arabian squash cheese casserole from Mollie Katzen

Adzuki bean pumpkin casserole from Scandi Foodie

With all these pumpkin recipes, you’ll probably have plenty of pumpkin seeds. Why not roast them? Pumpkin seeds are delicious and nutritious roasted, and they will give your home a wonderful fall smell.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

You’ll need:

Pumpkin seeds
Cookie sheet
Olive or other oil
Salt or
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon allspice, ¼ teaspoon cloves

Preheat oven to 275.

Rinse pumpkin seeds and remove any pulp.

Dry on paper towels.

Brush a cookie sheet with oil.

Place seeds on the cookie sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt or cinnamon, ginger and allspice mix.

Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until roasted, checking and stirring them after 10 minutes.

This recipe is from FED UP WITH FRENZY: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World, which contains many other recipes and fun ways to enjoy all the seasons.

 

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...