Tag Archives: geek

Geeky necklace GIVEAWAY!

You heard me–free stuff!  I’m introducing a new line of products later this week in my Etsy shop, so I’m kicking things off with a giveaway–read the full rules here!


Freezer paper t-shirt stenciling.

My husband is not as geeky as I am.  Fortunately, he loves me enough to not only put up with my geekiness, but to also engage in it.  Last year, he watched Kaylie all weekend so I could take Wil with me to Dragon*Con, and this year, since my recently-retired parents are in town and can watch the kids, he’s actually coming with me!  Yay for having a con buddy this year! 🙂

I’ve introduced him to quite a few of my favorite shows over the years.  He liked “Firefly” (my personal favorite) enough that both our kids share names with main characters, but his favorite Whedon show is actually “Dollhouse” (which is also an awesome show!).  So after I’d mentioned to him that maybe I ought to look into getting him some geeky tees to wear to Dragon*Con, he came to me with an idea for a “Dollhouse”-inspired shirt.  Cue new craft project!

Freezer paper t-shirt stenciling.

Freezer paper t-shirt stenciling.

This turned out to be a surprisingly easy project.  I found this tutorial very helpful in getting started.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Plus foam brushes, which I forgot to grab for this picture....

Plus foam brushes, which I forgot to grab for this picture….

  • T-shirt, prewashed
  • Freezer paper
  • X-acto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Iron
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Fabric paint
  • Foam brushes (one for each paint color)

The first step is to sketch out your design.  My hubby’s idea was a minimalistic design with three flowers in a vase, all white but for the third flower, which would be green.  (If you’ve seen “Dollhouse”, you’ll remember the phrase “There are three flowers in a vase.  The third flower is green.”  It was one of those “HOLY CRAP DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN OH MY GOSH THIS SHOW IS AWESOME” moments.  If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you, but I will instruct you to quit web-surfing right now to go watch it, immediately.)  Anyway, I sketched out a few ideas for the shape of the vase and the type of flowers on a scrap of paper, and once Casey picked what he liked best, I sketched it out onto the non-shiny side of the freezer paper (forgot to take a picture), and then cut it out with the X-acto knife on the cutting mat.

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It’s a stencil, so the paint will go in the negative space.  Cut accordingly.

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Next, you’ll iron your stencil onto your shirt, shiny side down (against the fabric).

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I used a ruler to center my stencil.  Make sure when you iron it that all the little edges are firmly pressed down with the iron, so that the paint won’t seep under the paper.  I used my iron’s cotton setting, without steam.

Next, you’ll need a piece of cardboard bigger than your to-be-painted area.

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Insert the cardboard into the shirt, between the front and back layers of fabric, so that the paint won’t soak through.

Then you get to paint!

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Not much instruction here; just paint.

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Finish one coat of one color and move on to the next.

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I let it dry for about 45 minutes before applying a second coat of both colors.  Follow the directions on your fabric paint; mine said to apply 1-2 coats, let dry 4 hours, and then hold a hot iron on a steam setting 1/2″ above the paint to texture it, so after my second coat, I set the shirt aside for a few hours before removing the stencil.

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Once the paint is thoroughly dry, peel back the freezer paper carefully.

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I found it worked best to hold the shirt down with my fingers on the painted area right next to the edge of freezer paper I was peeling up; that way, I didn’t run the risk of the paint not separating at the edge, and pulling off with the paper.

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I was very pleased by how well the freezer paper worked–no bleeding at all!

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Final design, pre-steaming with the iron.

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And after steaming….you can see that it made the painted sections curl a bit.  Not really sure what the point of this step was, and I kind of preferred the way it looked before this step, but I was following the directions on my paint.

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I thought it turned out well!  We’ll see how it holds up to washing, but just to be safe, I won’t wash it before Dragon*Con! 😛

I made him let me take a picture.

I made him let me take a picture.

“There are three flowers in a vase.  The third flower is green.”

Counting down the days till Dragon*Con!


Doing Dragon*Con with a baby.

By the time we moved to Atlanta, home of Dragon*Con, I’d been itching to go to a con for years.  When we were living in middle-of-cornfields-Indiana, it wasn’t really an option, considering all the travel expenses it would have entailed, so I was thrilled at the prospect of living in the home city of one of the country’s largest conventions.

Of course, by the time we moved to Atlanta, I was also pregnant with our second kid, and due two and half months before Dragon*Con.

Doing Dragon*Con with a baby.

Doing Dragon*Con with a baby.

Extreme introvert + first con ever + baby = terrifying (especially since I’d be going with Wil alone–my husband would stay home with our two-year-old).  But…there was still a part of me that still really, really wanted to go (largely due to some of the posts about cons on my favorite blog).  And I was afraid that if I let something get in the way this year, I’d do the same next year, and maybe the next.

I did my research first.  I read some helpful blog posts on Dragon*Con tips (this one and this one were the ones I found most helpful), but I couldn’t find much online about handling a large con with an infant in tow.  I began wondering if people even really do that, or if I’d be breaking some unspoken rule of etiquette by dragging a baby along with me.  So I called the phone number on the Dragon*Con contact page with a list of questions, and to get a general feeling for whether or not I’d be welcome with a baby.  The guy I spoke with was super nice and very helpful, and left me feeling like this definitely could be done!  So I bought my membership and began planning.

I’m still a newbie at the whole con thing, but I thought I’d chime in with my own tips on doing Dragon*Con with a baby, since I wasn’t able to find much help online myself.  So here are a few things I’d recommend thinking about before attempting a con with a baby in tow.

1. Plan out what gear to pack in advance.

Unless you’re staying in one of the hotels where the con is being held, you’re going to need to bring a lot of gear to keep your bases covered.  Babies need a lot of crap.

Wil was two months old when we did Dragon*Con, so I was exclusively breastfeeding.  A lot of people will tell you that breastfeeding is the easiest and simplest way to feed, because you’ll already be bringing your breasts, right?  But breastfeeding was a challenge for us.  There were a couple times that I was able to breastfeed him under a cover while sitting in line for a panel, but most of the time, he preferred to be bottle-fed pumped breastmilk (which meant I also needed to pump during the day).  So I brought:

  • a nursing cover (made from this tutorial–great because it covered my back, so I could sit anywhere while I breastfed or pumped)
  • a battery-operated pump (and extra batteries)
  • two small coolers with icepacks
  • plenty of bottles and nipples (I used these bottles, which I’d gotten in a sample bag at the hospital where I delivered–they worked with my pump, and fit four nicely in each cooler)
  • a bottle brush and a travel-size bottle of dish soap (in case I needed to wash bottles, though I always ended up packing enough that I didn’t need to)
  • burp cloths

Every morning, I packed one cooler with six to eight ounces of refrigerated breastmilk to start the day with, and filled the other cooler with empty bottles to pump milk into during the day.  I also kept a couple of those pre-mixed formula samples (along with a disposable nipple) in the bottom of my diaper bag, just in case (never a bad idea to have those on hand in case of emergency!).  Even if you are breastfeeding (or planning to breastfeed), be prepared for there to be times that it won’t go smoothly, especially if your baby hasn’t experienced much chaos and commotion during feedings.  Have a contingency plan, whether that’s pumping and bottle-feeding, using formula, or going home early.

I know it’s becoming more acceptable to breastfeed in public, but I was still worried about attempting it (even by kid #2).  I used a cover every time (I’m a very private person), and no one ever gave me a hard time or even looked at me funny (or at least I never noticed).  The guy I spoke with on the phone ahead of time assured me that if anyone hassled me for it, I could go to one of the volunteer staff and they’d back me up.  Most of the time, I was able to breastfeed or pump in the hotel lobby between panels.

You’ll also need all the standard baby stuff:

  • diapers (bring extras!)
  • wipes
  • changing mat
  • change of clothes
  • blankets (one for the floor, and one to cover baby–hotels are air-conditioned!)
  • toys (quiet ones for during panels)
  • gas drops (especially if bottle-feeding)
  • …and whatever else you usually pack in your diaper bag,
  • plus, a STROLLER (bring one you like, with lots of storage space)

You’ll also need stuff for you:

  • water bottle (there are usually water stations to get a cup of water near the line for the panel, but there were quite a few times that the water jugs were empty)
  • snacks (it’s hard to fit meals in; don’t count on being able to get to the con suite–where there are supposedly free snacks–with a stroller)
  • tylenol
  • book to read (I got through quite a chunk of Wheel of Time: Memory of Light while pumping during an extra-long nap Wil took)
  • badge and lanyard for it (I used a ribbon)
  • pocket program (unless you have a smart phone and can access the app)
  • …and whatever else you think you might need

Think about what you’ll need to pack weeks before the con, in case you need to buy or make anything (like coolers or a nursing cover).  Make a detailed list, and add to it as you learn your baby’s routine in the weeks leading up to the con.

Baby Chewbacca, waiting in line for a Whedonverse panel.

Baby Chewbacca, waiting in line for a Whedonverse panel.

2. Plan your panels.

You can find panel schedules for each track on the Dragon*Con website (or linked) ahead of time.  Look through the schedules for each track you’re interested in and make a list of panels you might want to attend.  Figure out which ones conflict, and which ones you must attend.  Don’t plan for more than three panels in a day, and try to avoid back-to-back panels (especially if they’re in different hotels).

Schedules may change as the con approaches, so if you start planning a couple weeks out, don’t forget to check your schedule for changes in the days leading up to the con.

I’d also recommend planning to end your days on the early side.  One of the things the guy on the phone told me when I called ahead of time was that con-goers tend to get rowdier in the evening, as the drinking starts.  Since most of the panels I was interested in were morning and afternoon panels anyway, it worked well for me to leave sometime in the afternoon or early evening every day.  That way, I could also spend a little time with my two-year-old at home, get Wil to bed on time, and take a shower before going to bed at a decent hour, too.

Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), and James Marsters (Spike) at the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" panel.

Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), and James Marsters (Spike) at the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” panel.

3. Pick up your badge and pocket program on Thursday.

If you can pick up your badge on Thursday (Dragon*Con starts Friday), do it.  The lines were awful on Friday morning, and I talked to a number of people in line who had friends missing panels because they were still waiting to get their badges.  Also, picking it up the night before the con starts gives you the opportunity to explore the con hotels, which I highly recommend doing.  Glance through the pocket program to see which hotels will be holding your must-see panels.  Your pocket program will also have maps of each hotel; I recommend highlighting elevators, bathrooms, and bridges between hotels.

Walk through each hotel, while you’re not fighting through hordes of people with a stroller, and familiarize yourself with the places you expect to spend your time.  Find the elevators and the bathrooms, figure out which levels the bridges connect on (Hyatt to Mariott to Hilton), and look for good places to breastfeed and/or pump.  (The Mariott is crazy.  Most of my panels were in the Westin, and there were plenty of seating options in the lobby for me to find a place to breastfeed and/or pump without drawing attention to myself.)  If you’ll be attending panels in different hotels, or if you’re using MARTA, walk the outdoor routes between hotels (and MARTA)  so you won’t be digging out your map while being shoved along the crowded streets the next day.

Baby Whovian: Wil sports his "Allons-y" onesie on the day we went to the "Torchwood" panel.

Baby Whovian: Wil sports his “Allons-y” onesie on the day we went to the “Torchwood” panel.

4. Get in line for panels early.

Most of the panels I attended were the ones with stars from my favorite shows, and famous people tend to draw a crowd.  You’ll want to get in line as early as possible for two reasons: 1) you’ll want to make sure you get a good seat (on an end for a quick exit if necessary, but not so far back that you’re missing all the action–and panels do often fill up to capacity); and 2) depending on the layout of the hotel, lines often extend up or down stairs (not possible with a stroller) or outside (in extreme heat).  Panels are scheduled an hour and a half apart; lines queue for one panel as soon as the line from the previous panel as cleared.  So, try to be there to get in line a full hour and a half before your panel.

Once you’re safely in line, you can sit on the floor, spread a blanket out for baby, breastfeed, etc., and relax while you wait.  It’s not so bad spending time in line–you’re surrounded by people interested in the same thing you are, so you’re likely to make some friends to pass the time.

Baby Captain Hammer naps in my arms after a snack waiting in line for a Whedonverse panel.

Baby Captain Hammer naps in my arms after a snack waiting in line for a Whedonverse panel.

5. Avoid the vendor halls and all basements.

The vendor halls are ridiculously overcrowded.  Don’t expect to be able to navigate them well with a stroller.  In fact, I had to haul my stroller down a few stairs to even get to the elevators in that building (AmericasMart).  It’s just not worth it.

And basements…when you are dependent on using the elevators, it is unfortunately very easy to get stranded.  I got stuck on the bottom floor of one hotel for half an hour, as dozens of elevators came down full of people who had gotten on on floors above me intending to ride down to go up.  Eventually a hotel manager happened to walk by, and he offered to let me use an employee elevator to get back to street level.  Another time, I was stuck for a good twenty minutes or so, along with a lady in a wheelchair, as we watched elevator after full elevator go by, until we were finally able to squeeze onto a couple less-packed ones.  It’s ridiculous.  Don’t go below street level unless you’re really, really interested in what’s down there, and you have time to get stuck.

We braved the crazy Mariott for the "Torchwood" panel with Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), and Burn Gorman (Owen Harper).

We braved the crazy Mariott for the “Torchwood” panel with Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), and Burn Gorman (Owen Harper).

6. If you have questions, ask.

The volunteer staff are amazing.  I cannot rave about them enough.  The guy on the phone was very nice, helpful, and welcoming.  I stopped by the help desk after registration to ask some of the same questions, just to make sure I was okay, and they were very helpful.  When I arrived to get in line for my first panel, I asked one of the volunteers about bringing a baby in with me, and if there was anywhere in particular I should sit, and he was super nice and helpful.  On the one hellish day I attended a panel in the Mariott (SO. CROWDED.), I planned ahead and arrived two and a half hours before my panel, so I could try to find a way to get in the front of the line when it began forming an hour later; apparently I wasn’t the only one with that idea, though, so in the end, it was going to be a free-for-all once they started letting the next line queue.  I’d heard the line would extend onto stairs as well as outside in the extreme Georgia summer heat, so I spoke with a couple volunteers, who hooked me up with some other volunteers, and someone found me a place to sit with Wil near the head of the line, and they even let me in early (after the disabled, but before everyone else) to find a good seat on an end near an exit.

Follow the rules, listen to instructions, and don’t make yourself a special case unless you have to.  Be respectful and polite to the staff–they work hard, and unfortunately take a lot of crap–and you’ll find that they’ll usually be more than willing to help you in any way they can.  (Point in case: Most of the panels I attended were in the Westin, in the same ballroom every time, so I’d interacted with a few of the volunteers there several times.  There was a panel on the last day that I wanted to attend that was immediately after another panel I wanted to see.  It was in the same room, but by the time the first let out, the line for the next had already extended up multiple flights of stairs.  I asked one of the staff, when they weren’t too busy, if there was somewhere on that level where I could wait to join the end of the line once it started moving.  He pointed me to an out-of-the-way spot, and I waited for half an hour for the queued people to be allowed into the room.  It was a packed panel, but in the end, when they determined it was full and the staff were turning newcomers away, one of the staff quietly told me to stick around for a few minutes.  They found an empty seat on the end of a back row, and let me in anyway.  I’m convinced it was because I’d spent all weekend following the rules, being nice to the staff, and responsibly arriving early–and also because the staff are genuinely very nice people!)

Also, most of your fellow con-goers are good people who are happy to help you out if you have a quick question about where something is or how something works.  There are going to be a few people who seem to think you brought your baby and stroller just to inconvenience them personally, but on the whole, I found the other attendees to be very nice.  (With the exception of hogging the elevators.  But then there were other times, while waiting for an elevator on a main level, that someone would see me and shout “Let the stroller on first!” so I could actually get on one before everyone else made the mad dash to load first.)

Gandalf visited us in line as we waited for the "Torchwood" panel.

Gandalf visited us in line as we waited for the “Torchwood” panel.

7. BE CONSIDERATE.

Yes, you paid to attend, and you deserve to enjoy it.  But so did/does everyone else.  Don’t let your decision to bring your baby get in the way of others enjoying their con experience.  Be prepared to leave panels early if you need to.  Get a seat on an end, know the route to the exit, and keep your stuff as packed together as possible, so if your baby freaks out and you need to get out fast, you can.  If you need to give your baby toys to keep him happy, give him quiet ones.  If you need to stand and rock him to keep him calm, make sure you’re not blocking anyone else’s view of the stage.

Wait your turn, follow the flow of traffic, and do your very best not to run over people’s toes.  Apologize when you should, and say “excuse me” a lot.  Use your manners!  Other people are going to be in your way, but you’ll be in theirs, too.  Be pleasant, and most people will be pleasant back.

Miracle Laurie (Mellie/November), Tahmoh Penikett (Paul Ballard; he was also Karl "Helo" Agathon in BSG), and Eliza Dushku (Echo/Caroline) at the "Dollhouse" panel.

Miracle Laurie (Mellie/November), Tahmoh Penikett (Paul Ballard; he was also Karl “Helo” Agathon in BSG), and Eliza Dushku (Echo/Caroline) at the “Dollhouse” panel.

8. Remember that your baby is more important than your con experience.

Wil was the perfect baby to take to a con.  At two months, he was still sleeping a ton, he could sleep anywhere, and he was perfectly content to just chill in the stroller or on a blanket on the floor, and be held during panels.  He was the sort of rare baby that only cried when something was wrong, too, so as long as I was keeping him fed and in a clean diaper, he almost never cried.  We managed to make it through the whole con without ever having to leave a panel early!

But…I was prepared to leave a panel if I had to.  And I would have.  And there was one day I headed home before I panel I’d hoped to see, because it had been a long day already and I felt like it would be better for him to get home early.  Listen to your baby’s cues, and cut your own fun short when that’s what’s best for him.  If you don’t, he will make you miserable for it anyway, so you might as well enjoy what he lets you and let go of what he won’t!  Be flexible (if this is your first baby, that’s a lesson you’ll have to learn eventually anyway; if it’s not your first, then you already know that).

Managing that mischief, hanging out in line in his "Harry Potter" onesie.

Managing that mischief, hanging out in line in his “Harry Potter” onesie.

If you’re thinking about trying to attend a con with a baby in tow, be assured that it can be done.  But temper your expectations: you will not have the freedom to get the full con experience.  As long as that’s okay with you, then I’d encourage you to do it!  I did see a few other parents with babies and children tagging along, so you won’t be alone.

Baby Browncoat.  This was our "extra" onesie, which I kept in the diaper bag just in case he needed a change of clothes, but we never broke it out during the con!

Baby Browncoat. This was our “extra” onesie, which I kept in the diaper bag just in case he needed a change of clothes, but we never broke it out during the con!

(By the way, I made all of Wil’s onesies for the con, since I didn’t really feel much like dressing up myself at two months post-partem.  I also made him a couple ribbon tag blankets–one “Firefly” and one Star Wars–which are similar to what I now sell in my Etsy shop.)

My little dragonslayers.

My little dragonslayers.

If you do it, I wish you the best of luck!  And if I run into you, I’ll give up my spot on the elevator and hold the door for you. 🙂


The perks of living in Atlanta: Part II.

Yesterday, I shared about a fun family outing we took here in the Atlanta area.  Today, I’m sharing another favorite reason I love living here….

When my husband’s employer first announced that they would be moving their headquarters to Atlanta, I had two immediate thoughts: 1. “That’s the home of Dragon*Con!” and 2. “That’s the home of Museum Replicas Limited!”  Not kidding.  Since then, I’ve found many other reasons to be excited about living here, but I’m no less excited about those two things than I was back then.

Museum Replicas Limited (MRL) holds an annual warehouse sale at their castle, which is just southeast of the city, and about an hour from where we live now.  I’ve been drooling over their catalogs since one was mistakenly mailed to me back in 2000 (and I placed my first order with them shortly after), and I’ve always kind of wanted to make it to the warehouse sale.  Last year was my first opportunity, so I dragged my husband and two-year-old along with my very pregnant self, and spent $20 to come home with these:

Three $5 fencing foils and a $5 pirate ship.

Last year’s haul: three $5 fencing foils and a $5 pirate ship.

I also may have taken advantage of their 15% everything else to buy myself a pair of gorgeous knives….

The pirate ship is now on our mantle (which is still in progress….pics to come eventually), and the foils are going to go up on a wall (…pics to come eventually…).  They had three different styles, and for only $5 each, it was nice not having to pick–I just bought one of each!

MRL 01

This year, I went by myself.  I got up ridiculously early (especially considering that Wil was up for an hour and half in the middle of the night), and trekked to the MRL castle to get there just after the doors opened at eight o’clock.

Going early was well worth it–I snagged a beautiful rapier for what must have been at least half off, along with a $12 pirate vest (I’ve made multiple costumes for myself, but Casey needs something to wear to the next Ren Fest!) and four more $5 fencing foils.

Gorgeous rapier, four $5 fencing foils, and a $12 pirate vest.

This year’s haul: a gorgeous rapier, four $5 fencing foils, and a $12 pirate vest.

They had the same three styles of the fencing foils again this year, which made me wonder how many they have and how long they’ve had them….Anyway, since last year, I’ve decided which of the three styles is my favorite, and I figured when my kids are older, it might be fun to have somewhat “safe” swords to have swordfights with (fencing foils have a ball on the tip), so I bought one for each of us.  I’m thinking the kids can each decorate their own a bit if they want, too.

Close-up of hilts.

Close-up of hilts.

I’m still planning out where all my favorite swords are going in the new house–we only had two up in our old house, but I’d like to get more than that on the walls here.

Also, on a whim, I stopped at a garage sale on the way home.  And look what I found for $20:

Games!!!

Games!!!

Casey and I are big into tabletop gaming (that’s “Firefly: The Game” set up on the table behind my new acquisitions).  We’ve played “7 Wonders” before (and really liked it), and “Catan” but not the “Star Trek” version.  The other two–pirate game “Libertalia” and a “Walking Dead” card game–I’d never heard of, but they were dirt cheap and looked like they might have potential.  Glad I stopped!

All in all, this was a very successful shopping day (of my favorite sort–sword shopping is so much more fun that shoe shopping!).  I love shopping in Atlanta!

*****

P.S.  And on an unrelated note: Anyone else excited about the possibility of a Triple Crown winner?  Go, California Chrome!


May the Fourth be with you.

Happy Star Wars Day!

To celebrate, my kids and I decked out in our Star Wars shirts and took a Stormtrooper-style selfie:

Our Stormtrooper-style selfie, in celebration of Star Wars Day.  May the Fourth be with you!

Our Stormtrooper-style selfie, in celebration of Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you!

Get it?  ‘Cause Stormtroopers always miss.  Haha!

(I can’t take credit for the idea; see my inspiration here.)

May the Force be with you! 🙂


Star Wars cookies.

I usually get a little chunk of time with just Kaylie while Wil naps in the morning.  So the other day, I thought it would be fun to bake cookies!

Cookie time!

Cookie time!

Of course, we cheated and used the store-bought dough.  (Wil’s naps aren’t very long sometimes!  I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time for cutting out and decorating them.  Plus, I’m lazy. 😉 )

These ARE the cookies cutters you're looking for.

These ARE the cookies cutters you’re looking for.

It was a great opportunity to break out the Star Wars cookie cutters my family got me for Christmas!  (Here’s where you can purchase the characters set and the ships set.)

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Kaylie helped cut out the shapes.  I let her pick which one to use each time.

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She used every single one.  When you ask her what her favorite anything is these days, she almost always answers “All of them!”  Same here.

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Playing with the flour was her favorite part, though.  That, and getting to stand on the chair (she’s a little short for a Stormtrooper).

Before baking.

Before baking.

Here they are before we baked them!

After baking.......I find your lack of shape disturbing.

After baking…….I find your lack of shape disturbing.

They didn’t retain their shape so well.  Oh well…..that wasn’t really the point, anyway. 🙂

Mommy let me hold the icing!

“Mommy let me hold the icing!”

Now for the fun part: DECORATING!!  I gave each a coat of vanilla icing before letting Kaylie help draw on it with the green icing.

Chocolate chips!

Chocolate chips!

Then came her favorite part: I gave her a bowl of dark chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel chips, and told her she could put six on each cookie.

I'm gonna eat this one, Mom.

“I’m gonna eat this one, Mom.”

After decorating the first cookie, she asked if she could eat one of the chips, and I said yes.  Then she assumed that was the rule for every cookie….place six, eat one.  She was just so cute that I let her (I think she Jedi mind-tricked me!).

"What's in your mouth, Kaylie?"

“What’s in your mouth, Kaylie?”

See the cuteness?  The Force is strong with this one.

Finished!

Finished!

A couple of them broke, so we only iced eight of them.  You can tell she got tired of helping with the green icing before the end, hence the faces on Yoda and Darth Vader and my attempt to re-draw the TIE bomber.  (I liked her chip placement on Yoda, though.  That was all her.  Not sure why he ended up with a third eye on his forehead, though….)

Done with her cookies!

“Kaylie, smile!”  The three-year-old version of smiling is hilarious.

I made her wait to eat one, though, until after lunch.

"Mommy, help me make a Dalek!"

“Mommy, help me make a Dalek!”

We had some time to kill before lunch, so Kaylie asked me to help her make a Dalek out of the stacking cups (no, I’m not kidding–that’s what she calls it).

Our kid-toy versions of a Dalek and TARDIS.

Our kid-toy versions of a Dalek and TARDIS.

Then I made a Duplo TARDIS.

Finally getting to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

Finally getting to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

I finally let her eat a whole cookie after lunch.  She picked Darth Vader.

Gouging out Vader's eyes.  She's too badass to need a lightsaber....she'll just take him out with her bare hands.

Gouging out Vader’s eyes. She’s too badass to need a lightsaber….she’ll just take him out with her bare hands.

She mutilated that thing before ever picking it up to take a bite!

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Darth Vader didn’t stand a chance.

"Would you like a bite, Mommy?"  (Mommy ate the TIE bomber.)

“Would you like a bite, Mommy?” (Mommy ate the TIE bomber.)

It was a very fun morning, even if our cookies did not end up looking quite like they were supposed to.  That’s one of the perks of doing things with a three-year-old; just about anything can be salvaged and it’s just as fun!  She had an absolute blast (and I got the opportunity to reinforce that Star Wars equals “fun”!).  I had such a good time with my little Padawan!


Geeky children’s books? Yes, please!

Wil’s eight months now, so I know it’s a little early to be buying him birthday presents……but when I found some adorable geeky kids’ books on Etsy, I couldn’t resist!  Charles Thurston, the author/artist, explains:

“As a parent I wanted a way to introduce the great pop culture shows and books that my wife and I love to our toddlers without it being too scary. You cant explain Doctor Who or Star Wars or Lord of the Rings to a toddler and you cant show it to them with out scaring them because of some awesome monster or angel statue. SO I created a series of small kid friendly pop culture parody books that introduces them to these things in a fun way so that when they are older and they can handle the shows Mommy and Daddy love, they will already be familiar with the characters and love the show just as much as us.”

I love other geeky parents.  Thanks to Mr. Thurston, I’ll soon get to read Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, and Firefly stories with my kids. Shiny!

(If you are interested in purchasing any of his books yourself, I recommend that you do so quickly. He seems to sell out fast, and doesn’t list items often.)


Meet Hobie……and Evi.

I’ve been itching to dig out my sewing machine (we moved a few months ago, and are still unpacking) for a while now.  I had an excuse the other day–to make a baby gift–and once it was out, well, I didn’t want to give it up.  It’s still in the corner of our living room, and it’s gotten continued use the past few nights once the kids were in bed.

So, meet Hobie.

Meet Hobie.

Meet Hobie.

Made of knit on one side, flannel on the other, with ribbons for his tail spike and dermal plates.

Hobie's less-photogenic side, which is soft flannel.

Hobie’s less-photogenic side, which is soft flannel.

My favorite element is the patterned knit……

"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"

“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”

The background is a quote from “Firefly,” from Hoban “Wash” Washburne’s introductory scene (for whom “Hobie” is named).

(Hobie was made from this fabric, using a pattern from this tutorial.)

I was very excited to give little Hobie to my seven-month-old, Wil.

Um....okay, Mom.

Um….okay, Mom.

He was fairly indifferent.  After all, our living room floor was covered in Duplo pieces at the time, which were apparently much more interesting.

My two-and-a-half-year-old, however, was intrigued.  Every time I handed Hobie to Wil, Kaylie would sit down less than a foot from him and wait restlessly for him to put the dinosaur down, at which point she would snatch the toy up and proclaim, “Baby Wil’s all done with Hobie!  Kaylie can play with him now!”

Not just a baby toy, apparently.

Not just a baby toy, apparently.

I really meant for it to be a baby toy.  I mean, look at it.  It has no face, it’s made from two different fabrics, it has ribbon tags…..the seven-month-old should like it more than the two-and-a-half-year-old.  But Kaylie seemed so excited about it and so eager to play with it that I asked her if she would like her own dinosaur, too.  Oh, the look on her face….I love that look of unadulterated excitement that kids can get.  So Evi became naptime’s (and some of the rest of the afternoon’s) project.

Meet Evi.

Meet Evi.

Evi (“inEVItable betrayal”) is satin on one side and minky on the other, made from scraps left over from the aforementioned baby-gift project.  Her ribbons are a bit more crooked, because I really wanted to finish before Kaylie got up from her nap (I didn’t quite make it, but Kaylie enjoyed watching the last few steps of the process before she got to play with her).

Kaylie with both dinosaurs.

Kaylie with both dinosaurs.

Well, at least they were a hit with one kid.  And I think they’re pretty cute, too. 🙂

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The trouble with Amazon.

We needed to place an order on Amazon this week, so I started browsing for things to bump us up to free shipping.  One “Dr. Horrible” DVD, a “Buffy” CD, a “Firefly” decal for our van, and a heat-transforming TARDIS mug later, and the thing we needed was no longer in stock.

I placed the order anyway.

Well played, Amazon.  Well played.

(We also needed sleep sacks for Wil.  I got those, too.  I’m not totally irresponsible….)


Raising little dragonslayers.

So, what is “Raising Little Dragonslayers” about?

Write what you know, right?  So I’ll be writing mostly about the things that have the majority of my time, attention, and interest: parenting my two kids, general geekery, and the relationship between the two.

Full-time mom

Momming is a 24/7 gig.  Literally.  My six-month-old has a cold and was miserable last night, so I didn’t get to go to bed until my husband relieved me just before 3 am (they both finally made it to bed half an hour later), and he (baby, not husband) woke up crying and congested at 7:15.  Fortunately, my two-and-a-half-year-old slept through the night for once; lately she’s been prone to waking up crying multiple times a night, usually sobbing about pooping in her diaper and insisting she needs a diaper change (she never poops in her sleep–I think she has dreams about pooping in her diaper, and, being only two, can’t differentiate between dreams and reality upon waking in the middle of the night).  I spend in the ballpark of ninety percent of my time taking care of my kids: feeding them, changing them, chasing them, washing them, playing with them….it is my life.  It’s exhausting and frustrating and wonderful.

Being a mom is my identity right now.  My kids are young, so they need a lot from me, which doesn’t leave a lot of time and energy for very much else.  So I anticipate sharing stories of my kids–their funniest and most frustrating moments–on this blog (because what the kids did today is often all I did today, too), along with thoughts on and experiences of parenting in general.

Part of being a stay-at-home mom is also running the house: keeping up with laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking.  Ha!  These days, I just try to keep up enough to keep things from growing where they shouldn’t.  (And that’s okay.)  I look forward to sharing thoughts on what works in our house and tips and ideas that have made my life easier, including favorite go-to dinner recipes and crafty organizational projects.

Full-time geek

I suppose technically I’m more “nerd” than “geek”, since I prefer books to technology and I’m atrocious at video gaming, but I use the term “geek” broadly to communicate that I am a person that enjoys passionately pursuing, to whatever degree I desire and/or am able, things I find exciting, regardless of the interest level of those around me.  What kind of geek am I?  I am at home with a book in my hands, especially of the epic fantasy or young adult dystopian varieties; David Tennant is “my” Doctor; I adore everything Joss Whedon has touched (particularly “Firefly” and “Dollhouse”); my sewing machine sees more use sewing costumes than anything practical; I collect swords, knives, and guns; I am a tabletop gaming enthusiast.  If it has to do with Lord of the Rings, “Buffy”, “Sherlock”, Narnia, pirates, modern “Doctor Who”, original Star Wars trilogy, horses, linguistics, Felicia Day, or Harry Potter, I’m in.  I’m always open to checking out new things, and I’m usually a little late to the game since I don’t watch live TV and I merely dabble in social media.  These interests inform who I am, and, right now, how I parent.  The things I love are a part of me.  So I’ll be writing about them.

Part-time grown-up

I’m twenty-seven, and I still don’t feel like a grown-up.  Is that weird?  I’m older than the characters on “Friends” were when the show started….bizarre.  I still can’t wrap my head around it.  When I was a kid, “grown-up” seemed like such an obvious stage of life or state of being, but I didn’t feel grown-up when I graduated high school, graduated college, had my first alcoholic beverage, got engaged, got married…or had two kids.  I think that’s partly because of the nerd-slash-geek that I am: I think “growing up” carries connotations, in my mind, of getting boring.  Of abandoning the pursuits I loved as a child.  Of living only for grown-up responsibilities.  And I suppose that’s true, to some extent: I have had to sacrifice many of my pursuits as I’ve grown into more responsibilities.  But I still love the things I love, and love them passionately, and I still get uber excited about things that don’t seem very “grown-up” to me.  Like Lord of the Rings LEGO….those two sets were two of my favorite Christmas presents last year.  I think I’m beginning to learn that my idea of what it was to be a grown-up wasn’t very accurate; either that, or geeks just make for more interesting grown-ups. 🙂  So on this blog, I’m going to be honest about what I’m excited about, even if I think I’m coming across as childishly giddy over something some might find silly.  Because that’s who I am.

Raising little dragonslayers

So, that’s me: I’m a geeky mom.  I want to raise my kids to passionately pursure what they want.  I want them to be unafraid to love what they love; I want them to have the courage to speak up about and fight for what matters to them.  I hope they like some of the things I like, but if they don’t, I want to be the mom who cheers them on in whatever they love.  I want them to live adventures of their own, and slay their own dragons.  And I’m gonna write about it.

My little dragonslayers, Kaylie & Wil.

My little dragonslayers, Kaylie & Wil.