• artsy fartsy,  Bad Mom,  Bug

    Cake the Cat Costume!


    You know what happens when your mom makes costumes regularly for her blogging job? You think store-bought costumes are the best thing ever. It happened to me too.  My mom sewed a pumpkin costume for me and my brother when we were little. We wore cute little green hats and green tights and we were the cutest round chubby pumpkins you ever did see. I would give a zillion dollars to see a photo of us back then but guess what? I HATED THAT COSTUME! I wanted to be like the other kids who got to wear make up and dress up as gypsies and black cats. There were no princess costumes back then or I’m sure I would have wanted to be that too.

    Bug humored me with the Galaxy Costume and she really did genuinely love it but you know what she really really really wanted deep down? A store-bought Fionna from Adventure Time costume. This is where I have to look sheepish and admit I have never even watched Adventure Time and I don’t really know what my kid watches when she is with her dad so it might be highly inappropriate but I figured if Bethany’s kids watched that show and they loved it then it must not be too terrible. Annalie actually has great taste. So I ordered it from one of those costume sites while we drove down the road on the way to Payam’s mom’s house. (Don’t worry, I wasn’t driving.) It was a total impulse buy to appease my kid for some other unfairness that I have completely forgotten about. Then later (of course) I did a little research and fretted about the shortness of the skirt and the hoochiness of the knee socks. That’s how I parent.

    Bug was on the moon. She couldn’t wait for that costume to arrive. She talked about it constantly. She even talked Joon into being Cake the Cat as her companion. Only problem was that there weren’t any Cake the Cat costumes that we could order online. cake-the-cat-costume-2

    You know what that means!!! I had to make Joon a Cake the Cat costume. Poor me! Hahahahahhahaha!

    That was the best thing ever for me. Joon and I headed off to Target to find a big fluffy white sweatshirt. Then we waited in line at the fabric store for our 1/8 yard of off-white felt and 1 yard of yellowish-orange felt. Or maybe it’s blanket felting. It’s nice durable fabric, not the kind that falls apart in the wash.

    Joon loves helping me with projects. She is my number one assistant. Unlike Bug who has been there, done that and is so over it already. Joon loves to tag along with me everywhere. She even told the cutting lady what we needed while I took a quick bathroom break. When we got home I got to work. I sewed up a tail (trying not to make it look like a penis, which is totally hard!), some ears and cut out some big orange-yellow spots. Then I attached everything to the sweatshirt. It took a while and the felting kinda moved as I sewed, making everything ever-so-slightly off center but Joon LOVED IT!!

    She wanted to wear it the day I made it which was days before the Halloween parade at school and Halloween itself. She wanted to wear it as a sweatshirt to school the next day and pajamas that night. Joon’s appreciation for my homemade costume swelled my heart up so big.

    Unfortunately, it also brought out the green-eyed monster in Fionna. Nothing went right with her store-bought costume. The skirt was age-appropriately knee-length and not butt-hugging like the character in the cartoon. The shirt didn’t fall off her shoulder. Her hair was the wrong color and everything WAS ALL WRONG! It was a disaster. So I gave in and altered the store-bought costume. Not too terribly hoochie-mama but just a little bit. It was a compromise. Then I let her wear some really light pink blush and lip gloss and all was well again. The things I do, man. Parenting winner over here.


    Anyway, Cake the Cat was awesome and Fionna was too. They actually even hung out together at the school dance/parade which is huge for Bug because she’s the cool kid and little half sisters are so uncool. I know. We are working on that. They actually get along famously but you know how it goes.

  • crazy stuff,  domesticity,  I'm an idiot,  Shop Talk

    Another Slow News Day! Let’s tour the garden. Zzzzz….


    It’s raining today which is BIG fat news here in Southern California, Land of the Everlasting Drought. We are all very confused by this weather. It’s wet and inconvenient.  We don’t have any kind of overhangs in our backyard to keep our puppies from sleeping in puddles. Why would they want to sleep in puddles?! We don’t have mud rooms either for them to dry off their wet muddy feet after a mucky walk in the rain.  Amazingly, I do have a raincoat (thanks to a purchase for my Japan trip) but I do not have rain boots! I want to get the kids rain boots (because walking in wet grass in vans is the pits) but I know they’ll probably only wear them once (if that) before they outgrow them because it NEVER RAINS here! It’s all very puzzling and worrisome. But we don’t need to adapt or anything because it will be gone by tomorrow.

    In the meantime, I’m enjoying my nice fuzzy sweater, my heater under my desk, my third cup of coffee and Lucy sleeping on my laptop bag beside me. Cold weather is cozy.


    Hey Lucy. Nice window seat you have there. It’s so funny, this window used to be blocked by the expedit bookcase that is now our new and improved office divider. So now that the window is open, Whiskey parks himself outside this window and stalks the cat. He is a terrier through and through and lives and breaths to hunt the cat.  Did I tell you about the moth and rat incident? I thought surely I had but I just looked through my archives and I can’t find hide nor tail of it. Weird.

    Anyway, a few months ago when it was still summer, Lucy became quite the outdoor hunter. She wasn’t supposed to be an outside hunter of course because we have coyotes where we live and anyone who knows anything does not let their cats outdoors at night. But there was a hole in the screen door in our bedroom, thanks to the puppies, and Lucy soon discovered that it was the best thing ever. Freedom!

    Lucy is a very, very skittish cat (to the point of almost being feral)and super fast so we told ourselves that she could probably escape a coyote if one ever tried to eat her. We can never catch her, Whiskey can never catch her. Even our neighbors who like to write mean notes about us on Nextdoor about being bad cat owners cannot catch her (thank God.)  Lucy has pretty good odds. So we let this outdoor hunting go on for a few days while we scrambled to figure out a screen door fix. Closing the slider was out of the question because it was SUMMER and we have no other windows or doors in our bedroom.

    Then much to our dismay, Lucy caught a black witch moth and brought it into the house at who knows what hour of night and woke poor Bug up with the frightening sounds of a kitten-sized moth fluttering around the corners of her room. It was terrifying! I hate moths anyway but a six-inch death omen moth!!! Yes, I googled it and apparently in Mexico they are believed to be omens of death, especially if they fly to all four corners of your room. Thankfully, we’ve lived a month or two since this happened so I think we’re good.

    That happened twice. Then Lucy caught a mouse or a small rat and let it go in Bug’s room. Bug freaked. It’s not that she’s so much afraid of mice or rats but the rat POOPED IN HER ROOM (probably from fear) and then hid behind her desk and bookcase. I know bringing in your kill is a sign of love from a cat but Bug was not feeling the love AT ALL.

    We couldn’t get the rat out of Bug’s room. It lodged itself deep behind Bug’s bookcase and into all of her various crap that lived next to her bookcase. So we decided to bring in the big guns and let Whisky have a go at it. He didn’t do a very good job but boy was he excited and focused! It was like he was finally able to realize his true purpose in life. His Irish ancestors were bred to catch vermin on farms and now realize his true potential!!  He ended up chasing the rat down the hallway and into the living room where it hid behind another expedit bookcase (How many expedit bookcases do we have?!) and from there we were able to use a broom and sweep it out the dining room sliding glass door.

    All ended well and no animals were hurt but one kid was traumatized and one screen door got barricaded with a piece of dog crate. The puppies have reduced us to Shanty Town in so many ways.

    Whisky has never been the same since. Every time he gets lose he either goes straight to the closet (where Lucy likes to hide) or straight to Bug’s room to sit by her desk where there was once upon a time a rat. Because it might happen again!! Silly dog.


    Back to the garden. That’s where I was going originally with this post. As you know, because I have documented it a few hundred times, the puppies have eaten all my plants. I have moved most of them up to table tops and the rest have become fiber in Cody’s poop. But! I have learned through process of elimination that the dogs don’t really eat my cacti. The spikes might have something to do with it. They also don’t eat my serrano peppers.


    I decided to un-plant my many pots of aloe vera (those things multiply like bunnies) and replant them into the planters that used to house beautiful, lush palm trees which have been eaten down to nubs. Yeah, it looks like a hurricane hit it now but I predict these hearty aloe vera plants will perk up and propagate throughout the whole planter box and it will become a lovely, spiky bed of greenery. Not Payam’s or my idea of what we wanted to do there but puppy-times call for desperate measures. Consider this the before picture.


    And speaking of Shanty Town, we also put this really classy fence up around our baby pomelo, mandarin and nectarine trees. All the trees have been heavily pruned by Cody and will forever hold a bonsai-like beauty in their crooked, not-usually-found-in-nature shaped branches. It is what it is. I’m just really happy the pomelo tree survived at all because pomelos are what Brendaritas are made from!


    In other news! Did you know I have a test kitchen? Not really but from time to time I post recipes on alphamom and they usually involve experimenting in the kitchen, not something I’m really good at but I try. I wanted to invent some cookies like these. Please do go look at that link if you at all a foodie because I want you to behold the beautiful magenta of those spiced fenugreek beet baked mathri. Yes, I realize they are crackers and not cookies but why couldn’t I make them into cookies? It wouldn’t be that hard to switch them from savory to sweet would it?

    Apparently it is because I failed like a mad, mad woman. It was horrible. I made brown turd cookies. The first batch was NOT purple at all and they were thin and sticky like those really cool lace cookies except they didn’t harden they just stayed sticky and when you raised one to your mouth it folded over in your hand like limp banana peel. The second batch I cut the butter and sugar in half and they turned into dry, tasteless brown turds. There was no magenta or purple at all!  Now this could be because I used grated beets ala this recipe and not beet juice but I don’t understand why beet juice would color something and grated beets would not. Do I suspect the beet juice is chock-full of food coloring? Yes, I do!

    Unfortunately my deadline came and went and I never got a chance to experiment with any beet juice but I did push my dry-tasteless cookie dough into a cake pan and topped it with a gooey mixture of butter, walnuts and molasses that was actually downright delicious. I also put a ton of ginger in the dough. I failed to mention that earlier but it is an interesting detail later because the grated ginger has the texture of cat hair when it’s mixed into dough which means I made walnut-encrusted molasses beet ginger brown-turd cake with cat hair inside it!  I win.