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Tag Archives: children’s

Who You Gonna Call?

My son has gone through many ideas in the last year of what he would be for Halloween 2016: Scooby-Doo, Gizmo, etc. Some would require more work than others on my part. And my heart is still kind of in love with his Marty McFly from last year, his obsession so perfectly timed with Back to the Future Day. You also can’t discount the reusability of that costume, which totally still fits him this year.

But about two months ago, he settled on being a Ghostbuster. We had received a Ghostbuster costume many months ago, just for playtime. So, that was already taken care of. But, well, my demanding son demanded a proton pack.


So, I present to you, a step-by-step on how I made my son a proton pack.

I took the back panel and straps off of a holey old backpack and glued them to a piece of cardboard. I added on a bunch of crap from the recycling bin and glued or taped it on as best as I could.

Recycled crap. The partial backpack and straps and cardboard are under this stuff.

Recycled crap. The partial backpack and straps and cardboard are under this stuff.

NOTE: I tried to avoid using cardboard as much as possible, since it tends to precipitate around here on treat-seeking holidays.

I bought some black spray paint and sprayed it all because it seemed way faster than hand painting it all. And it was.

Melted styrofoam, which I had to substitute out at the last minute.

Melted styrofoam, which I had to substitute out at the last minute.

NOTE: Apparently some types of Styrofoam melt when they come in contact with spray paint. Before using a large quantity of it for this project, you should probably test it first and see if you will have this issue. I had to make a minor adjustment for my son’s costume.

Secured with hot glue and Gorilla Tape, prior to painting.

Secured with hot glue and Gorilla Tape, prior to painting.


Old clothes and the great outdoor made for good spray painting conditions.

Old clothes and the great outdoors made for good spray painting conditions.

I glued on some color elements I purchased from Dollar Tree, such as a sound tube and jump rope.

The painted pack with added color elements.

The painted pack with added color elements.

I got glow sticks from Dollar Tree as well. I taped them onto the gun to make it glow. I also make it so that I could slip them into the egg cartons and it would glow. It looks cool, was easy, and provides better visibility to a shorty on Halloween.

The finished product, bustin' ghosts! (Glow sticks not yet attached.)

The finished product, bustin’ ghosts! (Glow sticks not yet attached.)

Can you tell that I am just not quite as passionate about this project as I was last year about making a DeLorean time machine out of cardboard and duct tape? While not movie quality, the proton pack was relatively easy (except for my glue gun is a piece of shit), and size and weight appropriate for my almost six year old boy.

The finished proton pack in action.

The finished proton pack in action.

AND this is an AWARD WINNING costume!!! He WON Funniest Costume at the YMCA for his age group.

Me, well, I of course wanted to be Harley Quinn this Halloween. Ponytails with multi-colored hair? It is like she was the comic book character created just for me. But in practicality, ponytails do not a Harley Quinn costume make. And while it will not deter many others, I neither have the body nor the inclination to run around half-naked on a cold Halloween night in Michigan (anymore).

So, I went with my most recent obsession: WKRP. I present to you, Miss Bailey Quarters. For some fan fiction featuring Bailey and Johnny, please click here:

I just HAD to have the Black Death shirt.

I just HAD to have the Black Death shirt.

Now, I realize my glasses aren’t big enough, but I need to wear my regular glasses so that I can, you know, cross the street and see and stuff. This is from the episode Rumors. I ordered the Johnny Fever shirt from I was really happy with it. I ordered a medium and it was a little big, but I kind of wanted it to be so that I could procure the illusion that I rolled out of bed in the morning and borrowed it from Johnny himself. You know, the same story Bailey gives the staff at WKRP.

My WKRP jacket I made. Attached with safety pins for easy removal.

My WKRP jacket I made. Attached with safety pins for easy removal.


My favorite WKRP in Cincinnati meme. Because I made it.

My favorite WKRP in Cincinnati meme. Because I made it.

Just because I can.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Jennifer The Pink & Purple Fairy

Stories of Fairies, Elves, and Little People, by Francine L. Trevens, Published by Playmore, Inc., Copyright 1979

Stories of Fairies, Elves, and Little People, by Francine L. Trevens, Published by Playmore, Inc., Copyright 1979

I have a book that I got as a child. It is called Stories of Fairies, Elves, and Little People by Francine L. Trevens. I think I got it for Christmas or Easter or something from the weird neighbors next door. I think they were religious people, so it is sort of a strange gift to give someone, but whatever. It isn’t a book anyone would have ever heard of. It looks like maybe it would was sold at the dime store. Maybe it came in one of those big pre-packed, impersonal Easter baskets from the grocery store, with coloring books and a plastic bunny bank.

The book was made up of many short stories about fairies, sprites, goblins, and trolls. And to be honest, most of them are pretty horrible. Just not quality literature at all. Probably just written for the paycheck.

But one story interested me. It was called Have You Ever Seen a Pink Leprechaun? The star of the story was a pink and purple pixie named Jennifer. (Dang, I could have sworn she was a fairy? Hence, the name of the post.) Oh-wow. Coincidence. That just so happens to be my name. As I got the book just as I was beginning to learn how to read, I of course went through and circled my name everywhere that I saw it in the story.

The story is actually about a family of leprechauns who find a pink and purple baby on their front porch. She is not only a different species and color than the family raising her, she is also the only girl child. To make matters worse, they call her “Orphie” (short for Orphan). Her leprechaun “brothers” pick on her mercilessly.

Then one day the fair comes to town. But it is not just any fair. It is a PINK & PURPLE fair! All the people there look just like Oprhie!

Then her father, King of the Pixies, shows up and explains to her that they have been looking for her all along. That they traveled around the countryside holding fairs, hoping someone would be like, “Hey, you guys look like the orphan that lives down the road from me.”

Jennifer and her father, the Pixie King, are reunited.  Illustrated by Jesse Zerner.

Jennifer and her father, the Pixie King, are reunited. Illustrated by Jesse Zerner.

Being a kid whose father died before I was born, I thought this was a pretty cool concept. A father who loves his daughter so much that he never stops looking for her? That is powerful. AND they ride on a unicorn. But wait, it gets even better!

Then the pixie father goes to pay off the leprechauns and to take Jennifer (Orphie’s real name) home. But then they fight over her. I had such a small family growing up you couldn’t have sneezed or they would have blown away. It seemed great to me that this pixie, with my name, decked out in awesome colors, should be loved by two families so much.

Except that isn’t really what it is like in the book. In the book, each side just seems greedy and fights over her like property just because the other side wants her. In the end, Jennifer decides to go live with her dad, but plans to visit the leprechauns during the summer and on school vacations. It is like one big, colorful divorce.

So, even now, sometimes I think of that story and Jennifer, the pink and purple fairy. (Hey, I have been thinking of it that way for like 30 years, I am not going to correct my brain now.) And if I mention it, people just look at me funny, because they have never heard of the story.

But now you have. I hope you found that it enriched your life.

…And they lived happily ever after.

Dave Finds Her Howl

Dedicated to my favorite puppy, Dave D. Canine, who we brought home exactly 9 years ago today.

Dave during her first few days with us (Don't worry, we totally fattened her up.)

Dave during her first few days with us (Don’t worry, we totally fattened her up.)

Dave was a sad little puppy
Sitting in a cage at the shelter all alone.
More than anything,
She wanted a forever home.

A place that smelled like
Human food & fresh laundry.
A place with something soft to lie on
And people who loved her.

“If I were to find a home like that,
I may just explode with happiness,” Dave thought.

Then a man & woman came by.
The woman was very interested in Dave.
Dave wanted to play with them,
But she wanted to look out the window too.

Dave was put back in her cage
Just like always.
But then a strange thing happened.
The man & woman came back.
And they loaded Dave into their car!

Dave loved to ride in cars.
“But where are we going?” Dave wondered.
They took her to a big backyard
Where she sniffed around,
Her orange fluffy tail in the air
And her orange head to the ground.

Then they led her into a building.
The shelter had burned her nose,
Smelling of ammonia & bleach.
But this place smelled. . .homey.

Dave sniffed all over the house
It didn’t seem like any other dogs were here.
She even found some stairs
And climbed up, without any fear.

But there was a problem.
“How will I get back down again?”
No one had ever taught Dave
How to get down the stairs.

She stood there pondering for several long minutes.
Maybe, if I go slow
Putting one paw in front of the other. . .
And next thing you know,
She was downstairs again!

Over the next few weeks,
Dave learned that she loved the stairs!
She could chase a ball up them
And race back down again.

She learned that the man was called Jason
And the woman was called Jennifer.
They would brush Dave & take her for walks.
One night they even all laid
on the thick carpet floor together to nap.

Dave hadn’t been this happy
Since she had been in her puppy pack.
Why, maybe this was some kind of new pack
She could be a part of.

Dave was so happy, she couldn’t contain it.
She felt all her love & all her happiness building inside.
It rose from her tummy & went to her head.
She threw back her neck & opened her mouth,
And “HOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWLLLLLL” is just what came out.

Jason & Jennifer looked stunned,
“Was that a howl of anger,
Or a howl of happiness?” they asked each other.
But they soon learned it was happiness,
When Dave smiled & howled again.

Dave found her howl that day,
And her forever home too.


(from the author of Hogwart Discovers Christmas)

Ferocious attack animal!  (Must rub belly to pass)

Ferocious attack animal! (Must rub belly to pass)

Hogwart Discovers Christmas

Page from my scrapbook featuring Hogwart the hedgehog.

Hogwart the hedgehog sniffed the air.
Then she stretched herself out until she looked ever so long,
And let out a big yawn.

She opened her eyes and looked around.
It was just after supper time.
The smell of turkey & mashed potatoes was in the air.
Yummm.  She licked her lips.

“There you are, Hogwart,” Jason said.
“I was afraid you might sleep through Christmas.”
What is Christmas, Hogwart wondered.

Jason reached into Hogwart’s cage and picked her up.
Hogwart didn’t like being picked up.  She did like Jason.
He always gave her treats and played with her.

Jason put Hogwart on the floor.
She ran over to sniff the big green thing that had
appeared in the house a week ago.
It smelled nice, and it glowed.

“Hogwart, be careful of the Christmas tree.
It is not safe for you to play with.”
More of this Christmas stuff.  What could it be?

Hogwart climbed into a box that held a warm sweater.
She tried to nestle into it, but Jennifer picked her up.
“No Hogwart, that is my sweater, not yours.”
I don’t care, I just want to sleep on it, Hogwart thought.

Then Hogwart started to run through the wrapping paper and bows.
This is fun, she though, and so pretty.
She found a candy cane, all wrapped up, and tried to figure out how to open it.
“No Hogwart, that is my candy cane.”
I just wanted to taste it, Hogwart thought.

Then Hogwart smelled something especially yummy.
She ran over to a pretty package.  She couldn’t see in it.
It wasn’t opened like all the others.

Hogwart looked at Jason & Jennifer and they were smiling at her.
“Go ahead and open it!  That one is yours, Hogwart.”
Hogwart sniffed it and licked it and then she bit at the paper.
When it came off, Hogwart had a box of crickets!
Yummy!  Yummy!  Yummy!  Hogwart liked them better than ice cream.

“Merry Christmas Hogwart!”  Jason and Jennifer said.
Oh, this is Christmas, Hogwart thought.
It is when people are extra nice to each other
And trees come indoors to keep away from the cold.

Christmas is making everything pretty.
Christmas is happiness and love.
Christmas is crickets.

Merry Christmas



©JLF 12/11/01

* The use of the name Hogwart in no way indicates a connection to J.K. Rowling or her works.

What I Learned This Week – 12/9/2012

The moral of the kids movie “Monster House”?

Never rescue a circus freak & bring them home.

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