Henry, Riley, & I enjoyed a wonderful Halloween this year!  It just so happens that this is my favorite holiday so we did lots of decorating, dressing up, and went to quite a few Halloween events.  I hosted pumpkin carving at our house along with trying out costumes for the upcoming festivities while listening to Halloween music on Pandora.  I encouraged Riley to pick out a costume to wear every day.  I even made his Trick or Treat bag and the construction worker costume.

Our first Halloween event was to ArBOOretum at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center.  I am a volunteer at HANC and stayed to help with the Fox Prowl - a game that taught children (& adults!) about what types of food foxes eat.  Henry & Riley came separately and enjoyed riding a pony, visiting the petting zoo, trick or treating on the trail, seeing live reptiles, and riding on a train.
Riley picking out food at the Fox Prowl
Riley & I made a trip to Tricks, Treats, & T-Rex at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  Riley received a lovely fake scar from the Worst Aid station, earned a button for eating real bugs, checked out some live animals, and enjoyed seeing the huge blow up spider & cat.

My favorite activity was our trip to Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo, probably because all three of us were able to go to this event together as a family.  We enjoyed the scavenger hunt, playing games, visiting the pumpkin patch, coloring on a huge mural, and best of all - feeding the giraffes!  We visit the zoo all the time (and they offer feeding the giraffes all the time) but this was a special trip as we have never fed the giraffes before....and Riley just happened to pick out his giraffe costume to wear that day!  
Feeding the giraffes at the Zoo
Today, we went to the arboretum again for Tyke Hikes.  We enjoyed listening to Stellaluna and walking on the trail while learning about bats.  We were thrilled to find a small excavator near the playground today - it made the perfect opportunity to take photos of Riley in his construction worker outfit!
Riley the construction worker!
Finally, we ended the day with a quick trick or treating trip to a few of our neighbors.  Riley rode his dump truck to each house and remembered to say "Trick or Treat!" and "Thank you!" for most of them.  I think he may have enjoyed seeing all the kids come to our home even more than visiting the neighbors!  

After dinner and a few pieces of candy, we explained to Riley that we would be leaving the rest of the candy in a bowl for the "Switch Witch".  She loves candy and in return for the candy, she will leave Riley a special Halloween surprise.  This year, she left behind stickers, pretzels, a spider ring, and a picture frame with a photo of Riley at the zoo.

If you would like to see a photo collage of our Halloween photos, check it out here!!
Happy Halloween!!
I have always enjoyed ballroom dancing, going for hikes, riding my bicycle, swimming, doing yoga, ultimate frisbee and various other types of fun exercises.  Living in Houston has really changed my ways, however, and not for the good!  It is so hot and humid here that I am in no mood to go outdoors to enjoy my favorite activities.  So, I am trying really hard to get into working out indoors.  

We are members of the YMCA and love taking Riley there for swim lessons in the summertime and were really happy when he started enjoying going to the day care they provide.  I like going to the classes but am really bad at being committed to a schedule, which means I don't work out nearly enough.  Occasionally I would workout on the elliptical/stair stepper hybrid machine for 20-30 mins, but it is not my favorite type of workout. Sometimes I would go to the yoga classes, and then I discovered Nia and really started to enjoy working out again.

What is Nia?  It is a beautiful dance workout that also involves martial arts & yoga.  It is an expressive workout that stimulates your mind, rejuvenates the soul, and promotes healing for your entire body.  It is a low-impact workout that allows you to choose your level, from one to three, based on your own body's abilities.  Most days I would push myself for level three, working up a sweat and having sore muscles the next day.  Other times I would enjoy a more relaxed level one, letting the class offer my body & mind a chance to enjoy the music and work on flexibility and reconnecting with who I am.  It is a great source for creative outlet and imagination, encouraging you to find your own dance style based on the simple moves offered by our amazing instructor.

Then, I started going to Zumba, a high-paced Latin dance workout, which fit into my schedule better.  This week, I was surprised to find out that my class has morphed into a new class, one that I think will actually help me to be committed to a regular workout routine: Z-BellyBolli.

What in the world is Z-BellyBolli?  Honestly, I'm still not entirely sure I know what it is! I can tell you this: it is fun, it kicks my butt, and I leave class feeling really good!!  I asked the instructor if she could offer more information on the class and this is what she gave me:
Release your "inner Shakira"
Shimmy and Shake the pounds away
Benefit from the most targeted arm and ab-work you can get while having fun!
Not only will you feel sexy, sassy, & spicy, but it "will improve your posture, your flexibility, your endurance and of course your sex appeal and confidence!"  This class incoporates Zumba, Belly dancing, and Bollywood dancing.  And my favorite part - we are encouraged to wear coin hip belts to add to the excitement!  I am loving it!  I am convinced that after a few months of this class, I will be on the right track for a healthier, happier me.
My hip scarf

I discovered a wonderful new blog called Living Locurto.  She posts all kinds of wonderful templates and printables, including these wonderful Halloween M&M gift cookies!  
I made up a bunch of these jars to hand out to friends, neighbors, & Riley's teachers.
Riley helped with the pouring...
and the stirring!

Go check out the tutorial here!
I wasn't sure if I wanted to add a Facebook page for the Sleepy Little Dragon, but after a friend requested it...I went ahead and did it!  Hopefully this will help make it easier to share blog posts with your friends!

Also, if I ever start selling things...it will be an easy way to connect with me.

So go Like my page and feel free to Share it with your friends!
Wow!  I can't believe how much sewing I have done in the last couple of weeks!  I think that perhaps it is trying to take the place of knitting....not sure yet, but it is definitely filling the gap I have right now in between knitting projects.  

Anyways, what have I been doing??  I decided I needed some Halloween linens and created my own table runner and placemats.  For the table runner, I took inspiration from this quilted design to get a layout for my fabric.  The placemat design is from this tutorial.  However, I just made guesses on the measurements, based on the length of my table and placemats I already own.

Until now, the only other thing I have quilted are coasters.  So I just made things up as I went along.  I used Excel to create a pattern so I could visualize how many inches of fabric I would need and where to place the fabric.  This helped me to get prepared so I didn't go crazy chopping away at my Halloween fabric!  There were a few "oops!" along the way but I was pleased with the outcome.   
As you can see, it is also reversible!  And here are the placemats...nothing fancy, but fun to look at!
I really enjoyed making Riley's trick or treat bag!  I learned how to make a double bag (a bag inside a bag) and was reminded about how much I enjoy doing embroidery.  I am already eager to begin another project involving embroidery!
Next, I have a craft project I have been wanting to do for quite awhile now:  Halloween countdown blocks!  I was ambitious and prepared two sets of countdown blocks so that I can also make a Christmas countdown set as well...those are yet to be finished.  If you like these cute blocks, you can find the tutorial here.
Finally, I have glowing Jack O'Lanterns that I made 2 years ago.  They are from the same crafty lady as the countdown blocks, over at the Not So Idle Hands.  I may decide to make a monster set to keep these guys company!
Do you have a favorite Halloween craft??  
Lately, Riley and I have been visiting the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center (HANC).  Partly, this is due to the fact that the weather is now only reaching a high of around 90 and the humidity isn't in hyper drive.  To me, summer has finally reached Houston!!  Hurray!!  

We have been participating in a fun new program at HANC called "Tyke Hikes" that we have been enjoying.  Each hike has a theme and they read a story to start out the program.  Then we go on a guided hike to discover various things on the trails that go along with theme.  Occasionally there is an art activity to go with it, such as a leaf rubbing.  

Even though Houston is suffering a severe drought, we have still been able to see many fascinating animals.  I saw my first "in the wild" box turtle!  So cool!  We have also spotted armadillos, dragonflies, titmice, chickadees, hummingbirds, skinks, cardinals, beetles, carpenter ants, and have heard great-horned owls hooting back and forth.  

As the season begins to change, we look forward to seeing what new plants & animals we may see on our excursions to the arboretum.  
This week is International Babywearing Week!  But what does that mean??  Parents and caregivers are celebrating wearing their babies by reaching out to educate as many people as they can this week.  It's a fun way to share our love of babywearing!  

What is babywearing?  It is the very old practice of holding/carrying your children using a cloth carrier.  There are many types of carriers to choose from making it easy find a good fit for you and your family.  

Why wear your baby? There are many reasons but a few of my favorites include:  babies that are carried cry less, they are happier babies, their needs are met quickly as we learn to understand their cues, & it creates a great opportunity for bonding!  Besides, it's just plain fun!

Please visit the International Babywearing website for more details about babywearing and how to participate this week.  Here are a few quick links from their site:
Fact Sheet
Resource Guide
Groups celebrating around the world
Contests & ideas to participate in this week
One minute video introduction to babywearing

For more links, please visit my Parenting page.
Mama & Riley learning to use the Moby wrap at 3 weeks old


The number one reason being HALLOWEEN!!  I also love the cooler weather, the changing colors, the migrating animals, and bringing out my handknits!!  In honor of this wonderful month, I'm sharing a list of (mostly) educational & fun fall activities compiled in part by my teacher friend and in part by myself.  Be sure to check the details for each event as some require prior registration.


(** = Adults Only)

10/10/11 - ETA following extra events!
Halloween 2010
Well, some of you may be wondering where I have been over the last year.  That is a long story for another day.  Today, I am happy to say that I am looking forward to starting my new blog & website!  I hope to start recording more blogs about the fun adventures that my family does together.  

I am also hoping to start very part-time work selling hand-made goods so keep checking back for updates on my progress!  
Riley helping me check on our butterfly garden.