Saturday, September 24, 2016

Oh, Internet... {88}

Urgh.  Going back to work after vacation sucks.  I only worked two days this week- I specifically scheduled an extra day off after we got back in town to grocery shop and just generally recover from our trip- but those two days felt like twenty.

The highlight of this back-to-the-grind week?  These awesome things on the internet!

On the list of things I "need" from ThinkGeek we can now add this LED twinkling stars skirt.

Oh, Joy! has added OMG and YAY to the collection of letter vases found at Target (previously you could buy OK in stores, I think they're still available online).  I think I'm going to get the YAY ones to use for birthdays and such :)

Apparently I need to up my game for "wacky hair day" at school- here are some ideas on Make It and Love It!

Better than Eden has a genius list of things people need to hurry up and invent.

Bean In Love shows that the only thing better than sewing for one little girl is sewing for twin little girls :)

Shayla at Northern Exposure is celebrating four years of marriage to her lovely husband- go congratulate them!

There is a beautiful piece about moments of grace over on Erring on the Side of Love that had me nodding my head the whole time.

I really needed this reminder from Haley that although it seems like certain actions or habits are required in order to be a holy woman, it turns out you can be good and holy without them.

Along the same lines- ever notice how it's seemingly cool nowadays to bash your kids, your husband, motherhood itself?  Kristina at Calidrab talks about how maybe it's a good idea to take a break from that thinking every now and then.

There is a heartbreaking reflection this week over on Elizabeth Ministry that is exactly what I needed to read (and maybe I'll read it a few more times to make sure it sticks).

What all have you been reading this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Crafting Adventures: The Four Quarters Skirt


So, this little outfit a certain someone wanted to wear for a photo shoot when we first moved in- I made the skirt!

It's super simple and mostly based on the same tutorial I used to make this skirt (and also this one now that I mention it...) only instead of just upcycling an old piece of my own clothing, this one is from scratch.

I am obsessed with fat quarters- every time I'm at the fabric store, regardless of what I'm looking for, I always manage to find a fat quarter or two in my cart (kind of like how I always manage to find cute toddler clothes in my cart when I go to Target for groceries...).    I'm always finding new projects to use up my stash, and this time I decided to turn some of it into an adorable skirt.

This is a fully lined skirt with an elastic waistband.  I call it the "four quarters" skirt because it uses 4 fat quarters- two of the same fabric for the outside, and two of the same fabric for the lining.  As a typical fat quarter measures at about 18" x 22", you need two in order to fit a larger toddler (or smaller big kid).  If you're looking to make one for a tiny little thing, you could get away with using one fat quarter for the outside and one for the lining.


Supplies:


  • 2 fat quarters of outer fabric
  • 2 fat quarters of lining fabric
  • 1" wide elastic
  • sewing supplies

1. So like I said, your fat quarter is probably 22" on the long side, which is probably about the circumference of your toddler's waist (give or take an inch or two).  Meaning if you sew two of them together, you'll have about double your toddler's waist- which gives you a nice full skirt.  If you've got a skinny little girl, you can cut off an inch or two; if your little one's waist is right at 22" or even a tad larger, it's okay- the skirt just won't be quite so full.

You might not need to cut the short side either, but I got rid of about an inch.  Every fat quarter needs to be cut so that the short sides are the length you want the final skirt to be, plus 1/4" seam allowance for the bottom, plus 1 1/2" for the casing for the elastic at the top (so your final length plus 1 3/4").  If you want a long skirt, or if you have a tall girl, you might not need to cut them at all.

You'll want to cut the elastic so that it is just 1" shorter than your child's waist circumference.


2.  To start, pair each piece of outer fabric with a piece of inner fabric, right sides together.  With a 1/4" seam allowance, sew them together with a zig-zag stitch along one of the long sides (this will be the bottom of the skirt).  Turn the piece so that the right sides are facing out again and press along the seam for a nice crisp edge- with no need to hem it!  Repeat with the other pairing.


3.  Now take both panels and place them with the outside fabrics facing together, and line up all the edges.  Using a straight stitch and a 1/4" seam allowance, sew straight down each of the short sides.  Clip as close to the stitch as you can and press the seams open.  (Or you can serge it if you're fancy like that.)


4.  Just like with the tutorial from Make it and Love it, you'll want to create a casing for your elastic that allows for a bit of wiggle room.  Use a zig-zag stitch, and leave about an inch or two open so you can insert your elastic.  Thread the elastic through the casing (Ashley recommends using a safety pin on one end to fish it through).


5. Overlap the ends of your elastic by an inch and attach them together with a zig-zag stitch.  Tuck the elastic into the casing, and sew closed the gap that you left.  Then just turn your skirt right-side-out and put it on your little model!


Of course, if you send her out with Daddy to take pictures, make sure he understands what you mean by "full-length shots".

That face you make when Mommy's making fun of Daddy and you're not having it
So there you go!  A super simple little skirt.  I'd love to see you make one- if you to, post a picture on Instagram and tag me ( @ourgeekyadventure )!

What have you made lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Bed Fit for a Monkey

I never did a proper nursery tour when Chief was a little baby, but the decor theme was space- I made sheets with a galaxy pattern, Mr Geek's old Star Wars action figures were artfully posed on the walls, and I found some great prints of the TARDIS and the Enterprise.  Now that we're in a new house, she's got a new room, and therefore a new theme.

This time it's a zoo!

My mom bought her a growth chart when she was first standing on her own, which I unfortunately don't have a picture of.  It's pink and has various jungle animals on it, so it didn't match the space decor in the nursery and we hung it in the hallway.  But her massive collection of stuffed animals inspired the idea for a zoo theme, and the growth chart inspired the color scheme.

Project number one: sheets!

I took her to Joann Fabrics and pretty much as soon as we walked in the door, she pointed at a shelf and said, "I want the monkeys!"  Luckily, this green monkey-print cotton is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.  I found a coordinating brown polka dot fabric that I can't seem to find online, and I already had this ribbon in pink in my stash to tie it all together.

Here's the results!


I used this tutorial from Film in the Fridge to make the pillowcase, using both fabrics and the ribbon as an accent (though you can't quite see it in this photo).  I must have done something wrong when cutting, though, because somehow the pillowcase ended up just a hair short for the pillow.  I keep saying I'll go back and fix it or make another buuuuuuuuut I probably won't, let's be honest.

This tutorial from Offbeat Home is pretty old now, but it's what I used for her crib sheet, and since this mattress is the same one we used in her crib, it worked for a bottom sheet here, too.  Since the bed is cleanly made in this photo, you can't even see the bottom sheet, but it's the brown polka dot fabric used on the pillow.

I was just going to do a fitted bottom sheet, but on Pinterest one day I found something I'd never heard of- a fitted top sheet!  It's made essentially like the bottom sheet, only you leave off the elastic on the top corners and simply fold down the top several inches.  This way the top sheet won't come un-tucked- it's got elastic sewn right in!  So that's what we used the monkey fabric for.

The blanket is one we've had since she was a tiny baby.  I'll probably look for a proper quilt when it gets cold out, or even make a simple comforter, but for now, this fuzzy blanket will do (and it ends up on the floor most mornings anyway).


She loves it!


It's super comfy :)

I'm still gathering artwork to decorate this room with, so I'll save the rest of the decor for another post.  But I do want to share a little peek at a simple print I put together myself using PicMonkey- my favorite quote from Where the Wild Things Are on a green background, framed with this simple unfinished laser-cut frame I picked up at Michaels.


What sort of decor does your little one have in her room?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, September 16, 2016

Oh, Internet... {87}

Looking for something good to read this weekend?  Look no further:

First up: my dear friend Rabia is giving away a CD/DVD combo of both an audiobook and an animated short film versions of The Biggest Story.  Go enter!

If you're a parent of small children, have you ever been filled with a sense of dread at the constant advice to have weekly date nights to keep your marriage alive?  Me too!  A lovely post over on Sew Many Wild Things from a momma who has made it out of the trenches- that is, she's got babysitter-aged kids now- was a refreshing read for me.

I am slightly obsessed with HGTV's Fixer Upper and secretly want to move to Waco, TX.  Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas has given me yet another reason.

We've never been to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, but I'd love to go one day.  For those of you attending this year, the Disney Parks Blog has an adorable video detailing their costume rules!

GUYS GUYS GUYS there's a BB-8 waffle maker at Think Geek and I NEED IT.

While I think the stove looks kind of silly, check out this kitchen appliance re-color over at A Beautiful Mess!

What was on your internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sesame Place: An Honest Review

Our almost-three-year-old has been a devoted follower of the furry red menace known as Elmo ever since she was old enough to be allowed to watch TV (her first birthday).  As such, friends of ours in the DC area encouraged us to try out Sesame Place, a small theme park owned by Sea World, located in Langhorne, PA.  It just so happened that Mr. Geek's employer was offering a discount ticket package that included a free meal and a free second visit, so we took advantage and visited on two separate occasions.

Spoiler alert: we (and especially the aforementioned almost-three-year-old) had a LOT of fun.  But I would be a bad blogger if I didn't offer you, dear reader, a look inside the good, the bad, and the slightly ugly of this little theme park.  And so, without further ado, I offer you this honest review.


The Good



The rides are pre-school-sized.  At exactly 36" in height, our not-quite-three-year-old was juuuust tall enough to ride almost everything in the park, so long as Mommy or Daddy was with her.  The only rides she was too short for were things she was too timid to approach anyway- the roller coaster and a mix-up ride called the Honker Dinger Derby.

The carousel and swings were her favorite!
...but they're not too squished for Mom and Dad!  We were able to enjoy the rides together without feeling like we were squeezed into some little kiddie ride.  I was hoping Miss Chief would be tall enough to ride the coaster, but alas, we'll have to save that for next time.


The rides are very high-quality.  I don't know, I guess I was half-expecting carnival-quality rides, or something, but these are sturdy, safe theme park rides.  (I guess Sea World can do something right...)


The parade at the end of the night was fantastic!  The music, the characters, the choreography- it was great!

The Bad


The character meets were hit-or-miss.  The first time we went, Miss Chief was rather nervous around the costumed characters- and the nerves outweighed her awe at the furry incarnations of her on-screen idols.  Some, like Elmo, Zoe, Cookie Monster, and Abby, coaxed her out of the nerves with a hug and a high five, but others just sort of stood by or, at the character dinner we attended, just walked on to the next kid.  It seems these meets were more about how many kids they could crank through the line rather than genuine interactions.


The costumes themselves were a bit shabby.  It seems that the same costumes are used in both the silent meet-and-greets as well as the shows and parades- meaning Big Bird here is designed to be able to move his mouth, even though he doesn't do so when you meet him up close.  For many theme park characters, this is accomplished through a mechanism in the costume's gloves- the actor squeezes his hand and the mouth moves.  I can only assume Big Bird works that way, as you could see the wire running from his head to his hands, running on the outside, for whatever reason.  When we met The Count, you could see how his seams were fraying, and the snaps holding his hands together were clearly visible.  The Elmo in Elmo the Musical: Live! was straining to fit into his costume, so you could tell that the legs were worn as separate pieces from the body.  And in one of the more dance-heavy shows, it seems Abby was in a rush to get dressed- the place where the mask tucked into the body was hanging out and flapping around on her back.

The Ugly

(no photos of these, cause it's gross)

By the end of the day, the bathrooms were filthy.  Stalls were missing toilet paper, many toilets were clogged and out of order, and the floor was covered in...well, it's a theme park for 3-year-olds, I'll let you use your imagination.  Twice we saw an employee in the restroom at the same time we were, but both times they were just emptying trash bins and re-filling the paper towel dispensers, but not tending to the rest of the mess.

The food was overpriced and just plain not good.  I know what you're thinking- well duh, it's a theme park.  I guess we're just spoiled by Disney, where the food is overpriced but tasty- and there's a variety!  Every restaurant at Sesame Place served the same thing- hot dogs, chicken fingers, and pizza- aside from an outdoor barbecue buffet and a taco truck called Grover's Eats on the Streets (which was actually quite tasty, and therefore the exception to the rule).  We probably should have just brought our own food, but the official food policy on the website says this:

Soft-sided coolers 10"x10"x12" or smaller are permitted in the park for storage of baby formula, baby food and medically necessary items.  Sealed non-alcoholic beverages and small single-serve snack sized items such as chips, pretzels, cookies, whole fruit, and pre-made sandwiches are also allowed.  All other outside food is not permitted in the park.  Picnic areas and vending machines are available outside of the park in our General and Preferred Parking Lots.  For food allergy concerns, please contact AllergenFriendlySPL@seaworld.com for accommodations.  Glass items including bottles and containers are not permitted in the park. From the FAQ's
Of course, plenty of people ignored this rule and chomped down on huge feasts from home on the sidewalk, so maybe we should have ignored it, too?

The character dinner was hugely entertaining, but messy and gross.  I don't think any of the kids in that room ate anything as they chased their favorite characters around the room, and then everyone was quickly ushered out the front doors as soon as the music stopped.  The dinner was a buffet, and the buffet was dirty and cold.  Food was all over the floor around the service station, everything was comingled (would you like your chicken splattered with mac'n'cheese?), and once again, the bathrooms were out of toilet paper.

All in all, we had a great time and will probably go back again- our little one is still talking about what she's going to do next time!  Nothing compares to Disney's magic, I guess- so if you go to Sesame Place, try not to compare the two ;)

Have you ever been to Sesame Place?  What's your favorite theme park?

Much love,
The Geeks


Monday, September 12, 2016

Things I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging {Summer 2016 Edition}

I haven't written a blog post since...early June.  (But hey, it was a review of an amazing book!)  So what exactly have I been doing all summer that kept me too busy to blog?  If you follow me on Instagram you've seen our family adventures, but here are the big showstoppers that have made things too busy for typing:


We moved! (And had an inaugural photo shoot in our new backyard.)


I've been decorating our house!  I made the sheets for this monkey's bed and still have a whole mess of other sewing projects to turn this little house into a home.


Mr. Geek and I celebrated birthdays that put us ever closer to 30.  This goofball helped me bake a Pokeball cake for her Daddy and she couldn't resist dipping her finger in the batter.


We went to Sesame Place (twice!) and had a blast!


And now we're in Arkansas for a solid two weeks, visiting with ALL the grandparents!

But now that we're pretty much, almost, basically done with moving in, unpacking, and decorating, I think I might have a little more time to spend at the keyboard.  I've got lots of things I want to share with you, and my favorite holiday- Hallowe'en- is just around the corner, which means it's costume time!

What did you do on your summer vacation?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, June 6, 2016

Bookish Adventures: Room

*personal photo*
Oh, this book.

It seems I have a thing for sad books.  I thought I had a thing for sci-fi books, or fantasy books, or maybe YA books, but no, I have a thing for tragic, make-you-ugly-cry books, be they about kids with cancer or kids with dead parents or kids who just plain need a hug because of everything they've been through.  Basically, if it's a book about a young person in tragic circumstances, I'm all over it.

I have not yet seen the movie adaptation of Room but I'm sure you have, in which case you know exactly how beautiful this story is.  If you haven't seen it, I'm sure you've seen the trailers.

Room is a story about a young woman who was kidnapped and kept as a sex slave, gave birth to a baby boy, and raised him in their tiny prison until one day she smuggles him out so that he might rescue them both.  The story is told entirely from the first person point of view of the five-year-old Jack, who calls his mother Ma, and we never learn her name.  The one-room shed where they are held together has a television, so Jack grows up believing he, Ma, and their captor are the only "real" people in the entire world- a world comprised only of Room- and that everything he sees on television is fake.

This is a book about culture shock.  Imagine being thrust into the world for the first time after only ever knowing one other human being.  Imagine entering a world where you technically speak the language, but many words and ideas are still totally foreign to you and you're forced to learn by immersion.  Imagine leaving a cell where you actually felt safe because the only other person there devoted her whole life to protecting you, and gaining a freedom that leaves you vulnerable in an uncaring, hostile world.

This is a book about parenthood- and especially motherhood.  Although most of us, praise God, will never experience what Ma and Jack live through, all parents know what it's like to hold your newborn for the first time and realize that you would literally give your life for her, that nothing else matters in this world except this tiny perfect person.  The book reads as sort of an extreme case study in attachment parenting- to keep him alive and feeling safe, Ma continues to breastfeed Jack the entire five years that they live in Room, and when someone questions her decision to do so, she shoots back that of all the things he's been through in his short lifespan, is this really something that would damage him?  As Jack tries to adjust to Outside, he, in his innocence, makes observations about the way other parents treat their children- observations that hit you like a punch to the gut when you realize he feels pity for these families who have lived normal lives, not in captivity.

Finally, this is an incredibly pro-life book.  I feel like maybe an editor must have pointed this out to Ms Donoghue before publishing, because at one point Ma goes out of her way to say that her experience in no way invalidates society's "need" for abortion- a line that feels like a hastily written apology to those who might take offense to the author's stirring (if accidental, apparently) defense of those children conceived in rape.

All in all this is an incredibly powerful book, and even if you've seen the movie, I encourage you to read it.  (I need to get around to seeing the movie myself.)

What have you read lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, June 3, 2016

Oh, Internet... {86}

We got home from our road trip on Monday and have spent the rest of the week recovering from our vacation!  Little Miss Chief started at a new daycare on Wednesday because we're getting ready to move!  We figured it'd be best for her to face one transition at a time, so the new school happened this week and the new house will happen at the end of the month.

I didn't have time to blog in all this post-vacation-cleanup, but I did have time to check out what other people blogged ;)

A LOT has been said about this gorilla business, but my favorite reminder so far comes from Better than Eden: Beware the Culture of Outrage.

In lighter news: Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas and her husband celebrated their 10th anniversary with a wear your wedding dress party!  This is so awesome!

Speaking of awesome outfits- Jamie at Petite Panoply looks great, once again, in something I could never pull off- white skinny jeans!

Cake Wrecks is always good for a laugh, but this post is pee-your-pants funny.

I'm pretty sure I need these flats from ThinkGeek:

And finally, this xkcd will not only make you feel old, but will have a serious impact on our country this November:


What awesomeness did you find on your internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, May 27, 2016

Oh, Internet... {85}

Our vacation is almost over and I'll be sad to see it end.  We've had a wonderful time visiting with family and celebrating my sister's marriage.  It's been so relaxing to not have any responsibilities and a mostly empty schedule, just talking and playing and showing off our lovely little munchkin to my aunts and uncles and cousins.

In the downtime, I've had the opportunity to catch up on some blog reading, and I found a few things to share with you:

Lovely Haley is once again using Jane Austen to teach us life lessons.  (I, for one, am in the camp of people who sort of hate Emma, though I love the story.  I guess it's time to revisit her.)

Catholic All Year has a refreshing take on teaching modesty to young children.

Julie at These Walls makes a shocking confession: she thinks social media is not entirely awful!  (I agree!)

I found this great post on A Gentle Mother with her take on the bullying epidemic in our culture.

There's a great post on Sweet Little Ones about letting go of perfect (something I need a lesson in every now and then).

Real Catholic Mom has a similar post this week about remembering whose image and likeness we're created in (hint: not our own).

What all have you found on the internet lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bookish Adventures: Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl

*personal photo*

There's something about stories set in high school that I just can't get enough of.  You'd think, now that I've been out of that awful place for ten whole years, I'd be over it, but I just get so sucked in to a well-written depiction of awkward teenagers learning monumental life lessons between chemistry and world history classes.  Did I ever have such life-changing experiences in high school?  Did I come to any eye-opening realizations that altered the way I viewed the world around me while hammering out my calculus homework?

Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl covers a high school experience that is definitely miles away from my own, though somehow I can relate to the narrator, Greg.  Greg takes the whole concept of being a loner to quite the extreme- he has carefully constructed a scenario in which he is not actually a member of any of his high school's social groups because, according to his well-reasoned logic, to be a member of any group is to make enemies of a rival group, so by not having any friends, he has guaranteed that he does not have any enemies.  This premise seems reasonable at first- in college I had a similar desire to fly under the radar and not get caught up in the complicated social structure outside of class- but it quickly becomes evident that his nonchalant, quite literally too-cool-for-school facade is just the result of a paralyzing fear of rejection.  The one person who Greg should in fact consider a friend- the one person with whom he spends all his time, and with whom he shares his one hobby- is Earl, and in his desperate attempt to hang on to this relationship, Greg refers to him as a "coworker" rather than friend.

This precariously perfected lack of social life comes to a crashing halt when Greg's mother interferes rather accidentally- something all mothers have a knack for.  A classmate has been diagnosed with leukemia, and Greg's mother demands that he spend time with her, because she needs a friend.  This is in direct contrast to Greg's preferred modus operandi of, you know, not having friends, so Greg drags his feet and pronounces the awkwardness of the situation at every step, yet he does spend time with Rachel (and Earl, his not-a-friend).

Lest you think this is another Fault in Our Stars, Greg lets us know from the very beginning that this is not a romantic story.  Nobody falls in love with anybody- and rightly so, as Greg does not exactly make himself loveable as he builds walls and vocally refuses to get attached to anyone- but Greg does learn some fundamental truths about being human and living life.  It's rather painful at times observing his interactions with Rachel through his own embellished narration as he is so clueless to exactly how much of a jerkwad he's being and exactly how wasteful he is with his own life in the presence of someone whose life is fading, but eventually, finally, blessedly, he gets it.  And we get it.  And we probably cry a little bit, though Greg has taken great pains to tell this story as a comedy.

I'm not sure I've ever met anyone so overtly anti-social as Greg.  My lifetime career as a nerd has brought me into contact with many introverts, but none who declare their introversion out loud in every conversation.  I know the value of alone time, and of keeping a small circle of friends rather than legions of followers, but that's more a product of my personality than a guard against those who might hurt me.  Even still, I think we can all find a bit of Greg in ourselves- we're all humans, and we all tend towards selfishness, though we may think we're being pragmatic.  But because we're all humans, we need each other.  We need relationships.  We need community.  We can't isolate ourselves and walk through life alone.  Life requires us to make an impact on other people and, in turn, that those people make impacts on us.  And life on earth is finite and fleeting; we'd better learn quickly to not waste it.

All in all, this is a really good book.  The storytelling is so original and the humor so pervasive that the inevitable tears will truly take you by surprise- but it is a cancer kids book, after all.  It's written in the first person from a teenage boy's perspective and is therefore rife with profanity and sexually explicit humor, all lending themselves to probably the most authentic voice in any YA novel I've read in a long time.  The little book club I'm a part of watched the movie after we finished reading the book and, as usual, I prefer the book.  Greg is a lot more likeable in the movie than he is in the book, but I think this story is most powerful if you can approach Greg in an effort to be his friend, discover that you kind of hate him, watch him realize that he kind of hates himself, and then breathe a sigh of relief when he finally, finally stops being such a jackass.  (Earl is the conduit through which the audience experiences these emotions, and much more explicitly so in the movie.)  The movie captures the humor and heart of the book perfectly, though.

As with most stories about high school, this is probably best enjoyed by those who have already lived it; while the things Greg and Earl experience are realistic in that they happen to real people, teenagers tend to see these depictions as romanticizing what are, in reality, tragic circumstances, and are therefore in danger of becoming tragic characters themselves.

What have you read lately?

Much love,
The Geeks