Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Friday Night Lights

So, as you know, Eric spent the majority of his first semester as a teacher coaching quarterbacks for the school football team. It ended up being a HUGE time commitment, even more so than we expected. So, needless to say, now that it has come to an end, he is breathing a little easier. If you ask me, he's a rock star for taking on that task on top of the already daunting one of figuring out how to be a teacher and lesson planning for his two math classes. How he stayed sane, I may never know.

Unfortunately, the team didn't have the season they hoped for, but I think it was a great experience for Eric and I know he really enjoyed being able to interact with the kids on a more personal level than the classroom generally allows. I think it was also cool to just be immersed in the football world again; it has been a long time for him. (Unlike the rest of the coaches on the staff, he did not play at the collegiate or professional level ["The League," I'm told it's called], but he did play high school football and looked wicked hot doing so.)

Personally, as a former band nerd myself, I also enjoyed being back under the Friday night lights, and it was extra fun to take Ellie for her first taste of it, too. A woman after her mama's heart, she particularly loved the bands and would dance up a storm whenever they played. When they stopped, she would ask for more. Unlike her mama (well, the younger version of myself), she also was interested in the actual football game. She'd get very excited as soon as she caught sight of the field and would start going on and on about "ball!" She enjoyed clapping and cheering from the stands, and also liked trying to spot Coach Daddy on the sidelines. When we left each game, she would spend the ride home asking, "Where ball go? Where Dada? Where band? Baaaaaaall! Where are you?" She couldn't get enough.

Rather than recap each game we went to individually, I thought I would just share a few of my favorite pictures from the season. Enjoy!

Before Eric's first home game v. Ponte Vedra in September


In the stands

Go Big Blue!

Eric looking all coach-like

The band performing at halftime

Halftime hugs (we always left after halftime, but made sure to say bye to Eric first!)

My mom was in town to see the Middleburg game

Signing "more" to the band

Touchdown Generals! Cannon firing under the scoreboard

Engrossed in the game

Halftime kisses through the fence

Football is exhausting.

VIDEO: A 15-second look at Generals football

Also, on Eric's bye week, we were able to go to another school to see his high school alma mater play locally. It was fun to be able to be at the game together for once! Eric's school lost, but it was still a fun evening.

Decked out in black and gold to support her Daddy's alma mater

Eric's school played Raines at The Graveyard

Let's watch some football!

Oh, these two.

Goofy selfie

VIDEO: A look at just how much Ellie enjoys the band

Although I am most definitely glad to have Eric around more now that the season is over, Friday night football games definitely added some extra fun to our fall!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jacksonville Fair

On Sunday we went to the Jacksonville Fair for a couple of hours. I have since been informed that the fair is to be avoided, and can be a pretty sketchy scene, so, oops! Chalk that one up to Jacksonville rookie status. But we actually picked a great time to go: right as a home Jaguars game was starting. Parking was a pain, but the fair itself was quite deserted.

At the fair

The main thing we wanted to go for was to show Ellie the animals, as she is on a major animal kick. We started things off with the racing pigs show, which frightened her at first, for some reason. She clung to me and said, "no piggies!" all sad and pathetic-like. But, she quickly got over that and as soon as the show was over she was all, "where'd the piggies go?" Kids, man. Fickle creatures.

Racing pigs

Protecting her from the piggies

We also spent some time in with all the bunnies, chickens, cows, and sheep. Ellie was a big fan of that. She particularly enjoyed the bunnies and the chickens, but was unsure of the horses.

Checking out the rabbits

Pigeon exhibit? This is a thing? The New Yorker in me is giving a hearty side-eye at this one.





"All done, neigh."

We also ate a little BBQ and took in some other fair sights before calling it a day.

"Hi, bear!"

Pretending to be planes with her Daddy

Food time!

If nothing else, the fair apparently wore Ellie out, as she was actually asking for a nap when we got home and slept so long, we had to wake her. Fair for the win!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jacksonville Veterans Day Parade

As I mentioned last week, we spent most of our Veterans Day Weekend cooped up inside thanks to lingering illness for Ellie and me. However, we did pull it together for a couple hours on Veterans Day proper to get out to the Jacksonville Veterans Day Parade. This was Ellie's first parade experience, and given her current love of marching bands, I thought she would thoroughly enjoy it. I was not wrong.

Because old New York habits die hard, we arrived far earlier than we actually needed to in order to secure a good spot near the start of the parade route. So, we had some time to kill, which we spent with snacks, cuddles, and watching Eric whistle with a blade of grass.

Pre-parade snacks

Cuddling in the grass

Ellie LOVED Eric's grass whistling

Oh, these two.

At last, the parade was underway. As expected, Ellie loved the bands in particular. She was also pretty interested in the throwing of candy, and soon got into the whole thing by waving hello to passing cars and floats and proudly waving her little flag.

Here comes the parade!

Ellie's favorite part (and mine)

Fire trucks

Keeping an eye on things while she checks out the free candy

Hi, parade!

Two flags!

Waving flags with her Daddy

We liked this float!

Jacksonville Gator Club

Ellie is a parade natural!

I was still feeling pretty worn out, so we didn't make it to the end of the parade. But, we sure had a nice time while we were there. It was a beautiful day for such an event, and I think that we have started Ellie off on a solid parade-loving path!

Friday, November 15, 2013

DIY Little Mermaid Family Costumes

***To see the tutorial for the DIY Little Mermaid Tutu Skirt, click here.***

Today I'll wrap up what has become a series of Halloween-related posts, and we can officially move on into November. Yesterday I showed you how I made my daughter Ellie's DIY No-Sew Mermaid Tutu Costume, and today I'll show you how I made my Ursula costume, my husband's Prince Eric costume and my dog's King Triton costume. Let's do this!


Ursula Collage

Supplies and Cost Breakdown:

Tutu Skirt:
  • 2 rolls purple tulle @ $2.99/each = $6 (from Joann Fabrics)
  • 1 package 3/4" non-roll ribbed elastic = $3.29 (Joann Fabrics)
  • Four pairs black trouser socks @$1/each = $4 (Dollar General)
  • One 8.5x11 piece purple felt = $0.25
  • One 12-oz package PolyFil batting = $3.99
  • One package yellow Crayola Model Magic Clay = $4.99
  • Cord = $1.50
Items I already had, so no additional cost:
  • Wire dry cleaner hangers for wire in tentacles
  • Fabric glue
  • Needle and thread
  • Black tank top
  • Black leggings
  • Makeup
  • Gray wig (from a previous Halloween)
TOTAL COST: $24.02


I really only made three pieces for my costume: the tentacles, a tutu skirt to go underneath them (optional, of course), and the shell necklace.

For the tutu skirt, I followed the same method that I used for Ellie's Little Mermaid Tutu Skirt, as described yesterday, except I knotted the tulle around an elastic band instead of into a crochet headband.

The tentacles were a little more involved, but still really easy. Instead of going to the trouble of actually sewing and stuffing my own tentacles (I wanted as little sewing as possible because I am a rather poor seamstress), I picked up four pairs of black trouser socks at the Dollar store. They were a good length for my needs and ta-da! Minimal sewing required. I also picked up some batting to stuff them with and some felt to make the suckers. I also used some wire hangers I had laying around the house to make the tentacles bendy.


I started by stuffing each of the trouser socks with the batting.


Then, I inserted a wire hanger into each one, trimming the wire as necessary and giving the tentacle a little bit of bend.


Next, I cut out small circles from my piece of purple felt. I traced a water bottle cap to keep them uniform, and I used about six circles per tentacle, so 48 circles in total. I glued them to the underside of the tentacles using fabric glue (I already had that on hand).


When I was sure everything was dry, I started attaching the tentacles to the elastic waistband. I folded the end of each sock over the elastic and stitched underneath. I didn't sew them to the elastic, as I wanted to be able to slide them around the waistband to arrange them however I liked while I was wearing the costume.


To clarify, I actually wore two separate "skirt" pieces: my tutu skirt and the tentacle skirt. I'm sure I could have combined them but, hey. I didn't.

I also made Ursula's shell necklace out of Crayola Model Magic Clay. If you go this route, make sure to make this in advance because it took my necklace a good solid week to dry completely. No real tutorial here; we've all done this with Play-Doh in our day, right? Just roll it out into a long, skinny piece and then wrap it around itself to form the shell shape. I then stuck a wooden rod through the top to make holes to thread my necklace cord through, and let it dry with the cord sealed into the clay. Voila!


For the rest of my costume, I wore a black tank top, black leggings and black flats. I had a grey wig from last Halloween lying around, and I wore that but gathered and pinned the long hair up onto the top of my head. And of course, I wore some bright red lipstick. And that was it! 


Prince Eric Collage

Really, I don't have a tutorial or supply list for this one because it didn't require any "making" of things. All you need for a Prince Eric costume is a button-up white shirt (left partially unbuttoned, with the sleeves rolled up), blue pants, a red belt (we used a scarf we already had), and black boots. We considered buying boot tops for Eric, but ultimately decided to just fake the look by tucking the pants into black socks with black dress shoes. And, done!


Triton Collage

I have to admit that Achilles' costume was probably my most favorite part of our family ensemble. When we originally had the Little Mermaid idea, I just assumed he'd wear a crab costume he already had and be Sebastian. But then I thought, wait. He also already has a beard. And it was all over from there, because OBVIOUSLY Achilles was born to play King Triton.

Supplies and Cost Breakdown:
  • Blue tulle: I used leftover tulle from Ellie's mermaid tutu, so $0
  • Blue ribbon: $0.50
  • Gold glitter foam visor: about $1 (I believe I bought this at Joann Fabrics, but it may have been Michael's. It looked like these, except in the store I was able to buy one individually.)
  • Gold sparkly pipe cleaners: $1.99
  • Already owned: fake beard (came with a Santa costume set from Target a few years ago)
TOTAL COST: approximately $3.50

To make the merman tail, I simply took what strips of blue tulle I had leftover from Ellie's mermaid tutu skirt and folded them in half over a piece of blue ribbon (I believe the tulle strips were approximately 31" long, but obviously measurements will vary based on size of dog).


I then tied another piece of blue ribbon around the base to make the "fins."


I then cut that bottom section in half, squirted a little fabric glue on each half and twisted the ends together to make the fins more defined.


To put this on the dog, I just tied the top ribbon around his waist. It worked for a photo, but admittedly, this is not the best plan if you want to take him out and about in his merman tail, because it flops around to the front rather easily. But, we only really wanted the picture, so this was fine for us.

For the crown, I just drew the outline of Triton's crown freehand on the back (non-glittery) side of the gold visor, then cut it out with scissors. The visor already had a little strap attached that made it easy to put it on Achilles. I also fashioned a trident out of pipe cleaners. I originally tried to make arm cuffs out of leftover crown trimmings, but they didn't stay on very well so we scrapped that idea.

This took no time at all and I nearly died laughing when we actually tried it on him.


Surely there is a special place in Doggy Heaven for this poor pooch whenever his time with us is through, don't you think? What a good sport! He made our whole ensemble, I think.

And that's it! That's how we put together our Little Mermaid family costumes!

Halloween 2013