Saturday, November 20, 2010

Macy's Most Excellent Mall of America Birthday Trip

It's a little known fact (although I've told enough people lately so maybe it's more well known than I realize) that when you turn 10 in our family, you can either have a big party at some crazy place like Bounce U or you can go on a trip. It started with Ben and a trip to New York for his 10th birthday.

Macy's not much of a big fan of crowds and busy streets, so she decided she would like to try and go to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. It's not that Macy's a big shopper or anything, but the kids have often talked about visiting America's Largest mall (well technically it's actually the second largest if you only count total square footage). Trent squeezed in a nice little business trip to London a few months before we needed to go which gave him enough airline points for two $10.00 airplane tickets and we were off.

Here's Macy on the Metro ready to start her most excellent adventure. Please note the book. Lots of reading on this trip!

Waiting at the airport. Very excited. Me, not so much. I bought Macy a new duffel bag with wheels for this trip. I failed to take the carry on luggage measurement requirements with me when we purchased the bag and so when we arrived at the airport we discovered it was 2" too long. We had to check it which meant we had to add $25.00 to our ticket. Ugh. I could have used a bag I had at home for free that would have worked (although I would have had to carry it instead of wheeling it).
We were able to check it for the low, low price of $23.00 on the way home because I checked it on-line the night before. I am all about the deep discounts I tell you. Well now we have a nice duffel bag on wheels for things like girl scout campouts and such. At least that's what I keep telling myself between slapping my head and saying "Doh!" Moving on . . .

On the airplane, ready to take off! Me, not so much.

Visiting the Lincoln Memorial. Did you know it's actually not in Washington, DC, but at the Chicaco O'Hare airport? It's true! Okay, the Lincoln Memorial is really in Washington, DC, but this replica is in the Chicago O'Hare airport. Macy has never seen the real one in Washington, DC. Maybe she'll get to someday if she's lucky.

Having a vanilla bean frappuccino (hold the whipped cream) while we wait for our flight to Minneapolis. When Macy was really little, like 2, one day at the mall she said to me, "Mommy, can I have a frappuccino?" A person in front of us stopped and turned around, looked at Macy and said, "That little one is too little to be asking for a frappuccino." She probably was, but hey they're good. Well I used to think so, but I kind of got burned out on them. I did enjoy a nice large caramel apple rolled in chocolate chips while we waited though. I'm all about the healthy snacks.

We arrived safe and sound in Minneapolis and a short shuttle ride and a short walk to the mall later and there we were. We had a yummy dinner with the fish at the Rainforest Cafe.

Macy made a souvenir penny. We were big spenders I tell you.

The next morning we woke up very early because of the time difference and had a lot of time to kill before the mall opened. I had this great idea to ride the light rail train to downtown Minneapolis because I thought it would be fun. It wasn't. It was boring. It was really boring. It was so boring it was painful. Macy was a good sport though and we got to see Target field which was impressive.

The world's most boring light rail train ride finally ended, the mall was now open and we spent most of the day playing at Nickelodeon Universe. We rode on a few rides, had a yummy lunch at Famous Dave's, shopped a bit and then rode some more rides. It was a fun day. The amusement park was nice and it wasn't crowded despite the day being a holiday. We finished off the night with a yummy dinner at Outback Steakhouse (at our hotel) and a very cold dip in the pool.

The next day we were back for more fun. Macy brought along Kit who (whom?) she purchased the first night we arrived at the mall. Macy has been volunteering for medical research and getting paid the big bucks. She's also been saving for a long time to get her Kit doll. She was very excited.

For Macy's birthday she wanted to have lunch with Kit at the American Girl Cafe. It was a lot of fun!

Kit enjoyed herself too. She especially liked the lemonade, french fries and whipped dessert with sprinkles. Kit's all about the sprinkles.

We spent the day shopping for souvenirs to take home, eating frozen yogurt and playing miniature golf. By the end of the day we were tired and ready to go home.

Alas, traveling with me, when flying is involved, is never an easy thing. I can count on one hand the times I've been able to fly somewhere without some kind of mishap-lost luggage, late/cancelled flight, etc. happening. I was hoping this trip would be different, but when we woke up the day we were to leave, 2-3 inches of snow had fallen overnight with about 5-7" more on the way.

"Don't worry!" I told Macy, "We're in Minnesota where they laugh at 8-10" inches of snow."

Three hours after our original flight was supposed to take off, the snow and wind finally died down and we were able to leave. Apparently they don't laugh at snow after all.

Here's Macy pouting because we really are going back home where we only have the 11th largest mall in the United States.

Not really, she was excited to get back home after such a long wait at the airport!

Here she is on the final metro ride home. We managed to forget our carry on while getting a quick bite to eat after deplaning. After much begging and pleading with the TSA agents (who refused to let us go back and get our suitcase), one took pity on us and went back to retrieve the suitcase. Macy had a scare on one of the escalators, but lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately she must have done something to her ankle because the next morning when she went to get out of bed, she couldn't walk and her ankle was swollen. Turns out she sprained her ankle and had to miss 4 more days of school.

She's on crutches now and can't participate in P.E. until next month. Unfortunately she didn't get to go to school on her actual 10th birthday but had to spend it at the orthopedist. I'm sure it was a toss up which was more fun-visiting the Mall of America or going to the orthopedist. On a disappointing note, it turns out that the Mall of America is not the largest mall in America if you count square footage. It does have more stores than the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania though and I don't think the King of Prussia mall has an indoor amusement park or aquarium. An aquarium? Yes the Mall of America has one of those, but we didn't go because we were going to visit the Baltimore Aquarium a week later, but that trip is for another post. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Since Halloween was on a Sunday this year, we had to be a little creative since we go to church Sunday evenings and attend services about 27 miles away from where we live. By the time we would have gotten home, it would have been too late to trick-or-treat.

We decided to surprise the mom of a former preschool student of mine that lives very close where we attend church services and then trick-or-treat on her street. Apparently they didn't have too many trick-or-treaters, so everyone was glad to see us. Here's the low down on who everyone was.

Claire was a fairy. I made her costume from McCalls 4887. We already had the wings, so I found material to match them.

To say she loved her costume would be an understatement. She would not stand still while I tried to take her picture. Unfortunately I have not mastered the art of sewing with multiple layers of tulle or embellished organdy, so this costume, while much loved, is not fairworthy.

Next we have Eleanor as Alice in Wonderland. I used Simplicity 2330 for her costume and am pleased with how well it fit her. Unfortunately I was in a hurry and the apron is pretty yucky on the other side and the dress puckers at the end of the zipper, so it too is not fairworthy, but doesn't Eleanor make a fine Alice?

Ben reprised his role as the Grim Reaper. We made his scythe from a bamboo pole I bought at the Dollar Tree and a piece of foil covered cardboard. It's still intact which is more than I can say for the one we bought last year which never even made it to Halloween. Pattern is Simplicity 5512. The neck runs small, just in case you were wondering.

Macy was a cat. Store bought. Easy. Thank you Macy.

Kate was a witch. I made it from Simplicity 5402 (OOP). You may remember that Claire wore the same dress three years ago when Kate was but a bun in the oven.

Our evening was finished up with a yummy (?) dinner at McDonalds and then off to home and bed. Claire declared this the best Halloween ever.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Sergeant at Arms

Macy decided to run for the SGA Sergeant-at-Arms position at her school. She's holding one of her posters.

Here's her speech:

I am happy to report that even though Macy's opponent was twice her size and looked like he born to be Sergeant-at-Arms, she won. I kind of felt bad for him. He gave such a nice speech and everyone clapped, but when Macy got up to give her speech, her entire girl scout troop gave a really loud cheer. After her speech, they gave another loud cheer. After she sat down, her opponent said, "You are so going to win." Even though I was happy she won, I was wishing he had gotten a really loud cheer too!

Happy Birthday Eleanor!!!

Today was Eleanor's birthday. Today she turned 8!!! It was a fun filled day of school, donuts, ice cream, presents and performing with the high school poms team with her sisters.

For Eleanor's party, we did things a little different. She invited a few close friends and they painted pottery! Here they are picking out their paint colors.

Eleanor is making me proud by painting a mug. I love it when she makes something that is useful. I'm all about things being useful as opposed to things that just sit there and collect dust, because who has time to dust? Doesn't Eleanor look young in this picture? That's because she's not 8 yet. We had her party before she turned 8.

Hey, this does not look useful. It looks very much like something that will collect dust. Oh yeah, it's a pumpkin that the store owner gave her to paint for their pumpkin contest.

Eleanor is a think outside the box type of girl.

We finished up the day with a trip to California Pizza Kitchen for some yummy dinner and ice cream sundaes. What a fun day!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is this a blog about making things for the fair or what?

Did we have a fair? Yes, we did! Did we enter items in the fair? Of course. So if you've been waiting with baited breath to find out how we did, I apologize. I find that Facebook makes a quick and easy way to post pictures/results, but leaves this poor little blog of mine sorely neglected.

I would show you everything we entered, but alas, the number of people in our family and the number of items we enter has grown quite large, so I'm not going to do that to you. I will just show some of the highlights. Just know we did not just get blue ribbons, but we did get a lot of those! Now on to the bragging, I mean sharing!

We'll start off with Macy. She did very well this year. She made the above doll of Laura Ingalls Wilder out of a 2 liter soda bottle for a school project and since she did the majority of the work, she was able to enter it in the fair. She was very surprised with her champion ribbon!

Here's another big purple ribbon to add to her collection! She won a champion ribbon in sewing in special classes. That's a dress/tunic top made from knit. It was a bear for her to sew. She thinks maybe she'll just do a pillowcase next year.

Eleanor made this lovely skirt and received a red ribbon. She had to compete in the same category as Macy. Next year Macy will be in a different age bracket which will help.

Eleanor did much better in the arts and crafts building. She received several blue ribbons on her artwork from school and a blue ribbon on this Lego boat. She beat others that were bigger and looked much better, but they looked more like they were from a kit and I think the judges were going for creativity and originality this year.

Ben received a red ribbon for these chocolate cupcakes. They don't look great and there were others that looked better, but it turns out (and I know this because I was there for the judging helping cut cake and what not) that out of 8 entries for chocolate cupcakes, the judges felt that only two entries deserved ribbons and Ben's was one of them. This is the plate he entered against the adults! He received a blue ribbon for the same cupcakes in the kids division.

It was also Ben's last year to enter a pinewood derby car. He was pleased to receive a red ribbon!
I decided at the 11th hour to decorate a toilet. Although we were really pleased with how it turned out (Barnyard Boogie was the theme of our fair this year), the judges didn't really care for it. This lovely entry placed 9th out of 10 toilets. Oh well!

I made this winter coat for Eleanor.

I made this diaper tote for someone at church who's having a baby. Champion ribbon in accessories/baby item. Woo Hoo!

Here's what it looked like on the inside. I got the idea/pattern from the Bernina sewing site Sewing Republic.

I entered Eleanor's Halloween costume although I burned a hole in the skirt side seam with a faulty iron. The judge must have never seen the hole. She was upset I didn't trim my threads. I couldn't figure out what she was talking about, but then I realized she meant all those little gathers in the red fabric. I didn't do those, the fabric came that way.

I also wasn't going to enter Claire's Sleeping Beauty dress because the hem was dirty and worn, but I found a dry cleaner who did a great job and the judges really liked the dress, despite the stains and wear on the hem.

This was one of two dresses I entered in smocking this year. They both received blue ribbons. I didn't get a big purple ribbon this year, but I tried. The lady who did always gets the purple ribbons, she just hasn't entered the last three years-that's why I was able to get them. I'll have to keep practicing to see if I can beat her. :)

I'm pleased with this result! I won best of show in animals, dolls and toys with this dolly diaper bag and it's contents that I made for Kate for a Christmas present (she'll get it this Christmas coming up).
Here's a better picture of everything in the bag. This was a lot of fun to make. Everything fits her bitty baby.

And finally my favorite contest of all-You Be The Judge.
I won again this year for most items made. Although I did crochet and knit some of the blankets, I sewed the majority of them. I really was sewing for about three weeks and was worried that I wouldn't win. To be honest, it would be okay if I didn't win the most made as that would mean even more blankets for those preemie babies. As a result of last year's contest (where I made the most pillowcases) a lot of women tried to beat me for most made this year. As a result, almost 700 preemie blankets were donated to our local hospital. Woo Hoo!!!

Of course I like to try to win the most popular vote part of the "You Be The Judge" contest and amazingly enough, I was able to do just that for the 4th year in a row with the blanket pictured above. I was so surprised and pleased as there were so many lovely blankets made and entered.

I've already started on next year's contest which is placemats for Meals on Wheels. :)

So there you have it. Another great year at the fair! I'll try to be better at keeping up to date about what we're working on and what we're entering this next year!!!