Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DIY Superhero Cape

Our first little guy turned four yesterday and he wanted a superhero birthday party which I talked about on the blog yesterday. Read about it here. The challenge with a January Birthday is sometimes weather limitations on a party's location. I would love to be able to plan every one of the boys birthdays outside, on the ranch or at the park. Last year I planned Clayton's party outside and it of course rained. We are experiencing a HORRIBLE drought right now and I should have just planned it outdoors again but I hate calling guests at the last minute to make changes so I went with the sure thing - indoors. Too bad, it was 75 and sunny all weekend.

So an indoors party needs activities. Four year old's need to be kept entertained and I was ready for the challenge. I knew I needed to set the theme for our Superhero shindig and what is better than a cape and mask!  I headed to Pinterest for inspiration and there was no shortage. I needed a cape that was easy to make and inexpensive if I was going to make one for everyone.

The story goes like this. I decided to cut some capes out of red plastic table covering that I already had. I made one and it was flimsy but I only needed it to last 90 minutes. I then felt the birthday boy needed a real cape so I headed to the fabric store for a pattern and fabric. Guess what? The costume patterns are not readily available like they are right before Halloween so I bought the only cape pattern they had and hoped for the best. My first clue that it was a bad idea was this particular pattern required three yards of fabric! I could wrap the kid up in this amount of fabric! But I bought it anyway. It was on sale so it didn't hurt as much and I wanted the birthday boy to have a cape.

I got home and decided to do one more search of the internet and decided that if others could make their own pattern I could too. And I did! Even better, I made eight capes out of the fabric I bought instead of one so now everyone gets a real cape.

The fabric was 60" so I folded it once and then folded it again so I could cut two capes out at one time. The best part of the fabric I bought was that it was a knit (called Ponte) that was not going to fray after I cut it. This project just became a no-sewing project!

Here is my pattern. I placed the side of the pattern meant to be the middle, on the fold of the fabric.
The cape ended up being 24' wide across the back and 21" long from the back of the neck. I made these for 4 year old kids and they were perfect. I made a few for some smaller kids that were four inches shorter and only 22" inches across the back

Here it is all cut out. I cut the tab at the top in the middle, added some velcro and wah-lah! Superhero cape.

And what would a superhero cape be without a mask? I went back to Pinterest and found this blog and used the template to make my mask. I was going for easy so I only used one piece of felt instead of two and just stitched the elastic on the the back side of the mask. 

In the end everyone got to take home a cape and mask and hopefully they will get a few good hours of superhero deeds out of their birthday party favors. 

Whats your favorite DIY birthday party treat? 
Thanks for reading. ~mrs. c

Monday, January 20, 2014

Superhero Party for a Super 4 year old

Immediately following Christmas I asked Clayton what theme he wanted for his birthday party this year. He didn't even have to think about it. A superhero party! Clayton is our January 20th baby so party planning comes with some unique winter challenges...usually. Who knew January 18th, 2014 would be 75 degrees and sunny on his birthday? Oh well, we planned indoors anyways. 

We didn't want to host his party at home this year; it really is too small for a crowd of energetic preschoolers. This would be the first party where Clayton would invite his friends from school and he was so excited to have a few classmates there. We weighed our options and decided Round Table Pizza (the Forest Ave location in Chico) would be the perfect choice.

I knew I would need a few activities to entertain Clayton's guests so I used my crafting skills and made a homemade bean bag toss with some Superhero accents. The kids table was wrapped in paper and accessorized with lots of crayons for the artistic guests and a large pile of cardboard blocks allowed the builders to create walls and knock them down like Superheros do.  

A cupcake cake made serving really easy. You might notice the cake has a blemish on the bottom left hand corner. Clayton's little brother Dalton needed to taste the cake before the party started. He approved of the sweet blue frosting. 

 I choose Round Table Pizza because of the space they offered for the party however what I also got was a great menu option just for kids. Pizza, cinnamon twists and kid size drinks for a special price. Who doesn't like pizza? 

Superhero's need capes and masks too so I spent come quality time this last week making everyone a red cape and colorful mask to take home. As you can see below, Lorene Gore was happy to wear her's during lunch. 

Our nephew Trevor displayed some Superhero moves with his cape on. 

And not to be left out my brother in law Tim needed a cape too. After
 all he is a super uncle. However no mask for him. The glasses were stealth enough. 

All in all it was a whirlwind 90 minutes and Clayton loved every second and that was all that mattered. 
A special shout out to Round Table Pizza manager James and his staff at the Forest Avenue location. Thanks for your awesome customer service, great pizza and for letting me move furniture and create a Superhero play ground.  We will be back for sure! 

Happy 4th Birthday Clayton Jacob! We look forward to watching grow into a SuperKid!

Thanks for reading! ~mrs. c

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Being #thankful in pictures, days 12-18

Here goes. The third installment in what I am #thankful for, complete with pictures of course. The weekend got away from me and I realized I went seven days without a post so that's what you are getting today, seven pictures. I might also add that some might think that a few of today's mentions could be considered luxuries or materialistic. And you are right. But I'm thankful that we have access to them and for the value they bring to our life.

 No. 12

Travel. These four chairs have a permanent home in our 5th wheel and if they are out of storage, it means we are out and about and together as a family. Travel does not have to be great distances or exotic places, it just needs to be away from our house and offices and involves all of us together. 

 No. 13

My Crock-Pot. Fill it up, turn it on, and dinner is ready when I get home. Why am I thankful for this appliance? Because it means less time in the kitchen and more time playing with the boys after work. 

 No. 14

The taco truck. It's quick, filling, and this kind of truck is native to the farming communities in California. And these trucks were cool before the food truck revolution too over.  The carne asada burrito is my go to order. What's you favorite?

 No. 15

The farmers market and the kindness of farmers. Sure this is not a picture of the farmers market but this is a picture of two very happy boys enjoying the complimentary little apples they got from Noble Orchards last Saturday. They chewed on these things for 30 minutes. Thanks Laurie and Jim Noble!

 No. 16

Knowing how to sew. My mom is an excellent seamstress and taught me how to sew with the help of regular 4-H sewing meetings. She was the 4-H leader obviously. This skill is something I will never forget and use still today. The above is a baby blanket for my new niece who will make her arrival at the end of this month in fact. I have another niece making her appearance in mid-December so I better stop blogging and get back to sewing. 

No. 17 

Costco. Yes I am thankful for Costco. Two loaves of bread, two gallons of milk, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, laundry detergent, fabric softener, AA batteries, Carter's kids clothes, mayonnaise, fresh fish, big blocks of cheese, roasted chickens, freshly prepared ready to heat weeknight dinners and lunch for $1.50, drink included. I could go on. Some may say that they are expensive. They are if you don't use all of it but the reality is we do use all of it. And we usually do all our Costco shopping on Sunday. Together. As a family. Enough said. 

No. 18
My cell phone. Yes I am thankful for my cell phone. I was not eager to give up my Blackberry and I still despise the onscreen keyboard of my iPhone 5 but this phone has an awesome camera. In fact every one of these important moments mentioned in this post was captured in a photo taken on my phone. I have a big SLR camera and I love to take photos on that too but I cant always carry that camera around. I do however usually have my phone with me. I read an article this morning that said moms are spending too much time capturing moments on a camera and not enjoying the moments with their childern. I disagree. Because when I am sitting in a long boring meeting, wanting for an appointment or just need to smile, a quick look through my camera roll reminds be how very blessed I am. I'm glad I took the time to capture these moments and I can proudly say I lived them too.  

There you have it. The month is half over and I still have so much to be thankful for. Thanks for reading. ~mrs.c

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My obsession with the sandwich

Sandwiches come is all shapes and sizes, flavors and colors, and textures and temperatures. I've determined I'm a bit of a sandwich snob connoisseur. What do I mean? Well I like a good sandwich. What makes a good sandwich? I guess whatever you like to put on it but it has to be just right. I've tried to make sandwiches at home but they are just okay. I'm not sure what my homemade sandwiches are missing. Might be that cool sandwich station with little containers of assorted toppings to choose from and paper to wrap them in. I have the same problem with my love for Diet Pepsi. I prefer the fountain soda version over a can or bottle. Weird yes, but true.

Back to the sandwich. Where do you buy your favorite sandwich? There are lots of local sandwich joints and I have tried them and they are great but I always go back to the one with my favorite sandwich. You see the #24 on wheat has long been my go-to sandwich. This sandwich shop is local to California (and can be found in Oregon and Arizona too) and found in many of the great communities I have been a part of over the years. Togo's is my sandwich shop of choice.

This is not something I have shared with probably anyone. Why? Well, no one has ever asked. So imagine my surprise when I got an email from Togo's asking me if I might give all of my blog readers my thoughts on a new sandwich on their menu. I said SURE. Are these people watching me? How did they even know I knew where Togo's was? In full disclosure, they offered to even send me a gift card to buy the sandwich. I accepted! What they don't know (until they read this) is that I bought the sandwich and a few others before I got the gift card. 

And here it is. This particular sandwich is the "Triple Dip" Toasted Dip Sandwich and is one of two new Toasted Dip Sandwiches Togo's is offering right now. This sandwich is loaded! Do you see the melty cheese? Pastrami, Turkey and Roast Beef and it is really good too. I've ordered it twice now, on different occasions of course. I also ordered the "Roast Beef Dip" once which I also highly recommend.


Here is what I learned. The "Toasted Dips" don't normally come with veggies. After all they are served hot with a side of dipping juice too. We call this "Au Jus" at home. What do you call it? Each sandwich has provolone cheese and a creamy horseradish mayonnaise. I ordered the sandwich as-is the first time but decided I would "up the ante" the second time. As you can see I added the fresh veggies (lettuce, onion and pickles) and a little extra horseradish mayonnaise too, at no extra cost of course. I couldn't taste the horseradish the first time and I like it so I wanted to be sure to taste it next time and along with the crunch of the cold veggies, was an excellent improvement for my taste buds. The staff at my Chico Togo's on East Avenue are always really great and accommodating. They gave me a little extra horseradish mayo in a cup too. Just in case you know.

And I added a Diet Pepsi too. Remember I do like my Diet Pepsi from the soda fountain. 

So what might I change about the "Triple Dip"? It's a little pricey for a sandwich at $9.95 for a six inch. Yes it does come with 1/2 lb of meat so this is a shareable sandwich in my opinion. I could not eat the whole thing but maybe a big guy like my husband would. The six inch "Roast Beef Dip" was the normal $6.95 and worth ever penny. A great lunch or dinner option. And if you go to their Facebook page right here, they are running a "Toasted Dips" promotion and you can get a coupon for a $1 off.

Will I order one of the Toasted Dip's again? Absolutely! I really like these sandwiches. Will I go back and order my favorite #24 on wheat. You bet! What is the #24 on wheat you ask? Well I guess you should head on over to the Togo's website and figure it out. And while you are there, find out if there is a Togo's in your town. You won't be disappoined. 

What's on your favorite sandwich? Thanks for reading. ~mrs. c

Monday, November 11, 2013

Being #thankful in pictures, days 6-11

Here it is. My second installment of what I am #thankful for, in pictures of course.

No. Six
Friends and fun friend trips. 

No. Seven 
Colleen and her Daddy, circa 1976 or something like that. 
Dalton and Clayton and their Daddy, circa 2013.
I'm thankful for getting the chance to grow up on a farm. I had this opportunity, Jake had this opportunity and we are so very blessed that our boys will also have this opportunity.

No. Eight
I'm thankful for bath time, because bath time is never dull and always provides unexpected laughs and photo opportunities. See the kid with all his clothes on? Head first into the tub. I guess he was excited to get in. 

No. Nine 

Cooking in the kitchen, together. 

No. Ten
I'm thankful for my gift of gab and my comfort in front of a room full of people with a microphone in my hand. 

No. Eleven
Happy Veteran's Day

I'm thankful for this country and all that has been given up and provided so that we can raise our family here. 

Thanks for reading. Hope you will come back in a few days for the next installment. There is still so much to be thankful for. ~mrs. c

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Being #thankful in pictures, the first five days

I'm jumping on the bus. Everyone is posting daily in social media circles what they are thankful for in the month of November as we lead up to Thanksgiving. I thought I would offer what I am most thankful for in little bunches here on the blog and in pictures. Let's be honest, pictures make me smile. So let's get started.

No. One

I'm thankful for this guy. My best friend, husband and all around rock. Jake Cecil makes me a better person, makes us a great team and makes an awesome pot of clam chowder - bonus for sure. 

No. Two

I'm thankful for Woody and Buzz, Trouble One and Trouble Two, big bro and little bro, call them what you want, they are my babies and they are growing up right before my eyes. I'm thankful for each moment. 

No. Three

I'm thankful for Agriculture. It has given me and my family so much more than nourishment and I am so proud to be part of its community. 

No. Four 

I'm thankful for my parents. These two people, Richard and Mary Aguiar made me who I am and love me unconditionally. 

 No. Five
I'm thankful for my job with the Farm Bureau. In a few days I will celebrate seven years with this group here in Butte County. I did a small stint with the crew in Stanislaus County right after college so Ive been hanging around for a while now. I can honestly say the people - members and staff alike - are some of the greatest people I know. Everyday is different; I spend each of them working for an industry I am so proud to be a part of. 

There you have it, one through five of the reasons I am thankful - in pictures. Stay tuned for the next five on Monday and thanks for reading. ~mrs. c

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hey Nabisco, can you help a mom out?

Dear Nabisco,

I want you to know we are BIG fans!

Here is a little sample of what my collection of crackers and treats looks like. Yes I know two of these are not Nabisco but those brands should listen up too.

Might you consider an alteration to your packaging? Here's my dilemma, we buy lots of crackers because we like variety.  My hubby likes the Triscuit with his hard cheeses and I prefer the Wheat Thin's with cream cheese and dip. My boys think Ritz crackers are awesome and love the little Teddy Graham's in both chocolate and cinnamon for their sweetness. While not yours Nabisco, those Blue Diamond Nut Thins on the end are divine with a creamy brie. And who can resist a Cheese Nip? 

So here's the problem. With so much variety in our cupboard, we can't eat them all at once and the product goes stale before we finish a box because the little bag in the box stays open. Yes, I know that a stale box means I will buy another box and this is good for you and your investors. However as you can see above, I'm not shy on keeping a wide variety in our home. Heck, I might even buy a few more flavors if I knew they would last longer. 

The closure at the topic the box does a great job keeping the contents inside for the most part. But how about keeping out the air? 

Sure I could use a clip device inside the box. I also attempt to roll the bag down into the box. 

But what about this mess? A tear on the bag.  This happens often in my house. But maybe it wouldn't happen as much if the bag in the box had a closure? Aha! 

Like this. A regular reclosable bag. Brillant right? 

I myself have started using a quart size recloseable bag in each of the snack boxes in my pantry but I thought it would not hurt for you to hear from me, a mom, a consumer, and the shopper in my house. 

Nabisco and other snack food companies whose names are not mentioend above, thank you for your time and for listening. Even if you don't think this is a good idea, I bet a few other moms, like me will. Because who really likes stale crackers anyway?

Thanks for your considertion,
mrs. c

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