The Family MARIO… This WONDERfilled Life

Super and I joked often pre-pandemic about how life is just various stages of turning pages.  Thanks to COVID this current page turn in our life has moved…e…v…e…r… so … s…l…o…w…l…y.  But it IS happening, like, it’s mostly turned…I think I can even almost read the title of the next chapter…Not completely but pretty darn close. I don’t know if it’s just finally having both kids in the same place (i.e. summer camp) for the first time ever or if it’s the whole “I spent two plus years always having everyone around and catering to all their various needs, thank you global pandemic”…either way…I’ve been soaking in the past three weeks and the few hours I’ve had daily to just breathe and catch up on everything.  Take today, for example, I had about 50 minutes at home kid free after I got home from Rally classes with Zo, and I knocked out a major to do list that involved several phone calls, scheduling many doctor appointments, follow up emails, paying bills and ordering things for the coming fall. During the past two years I wouldn’t have had the brainwidth (i.e. bandwidth) to complete any of these tasks with kids running around.  It’s been a shift in my focus, a welcome one, but a shift none the less. 

Part of my excitement about the approaching chapter is the fact that I can get back to some things that really bring me joy…like blogging (hello!!) and crafting! Last week I posted about my taking control over my well being and started a year long treatment plan for Hirsutism, my face was so swollen for the first 36  hours after the procedure I really couldn’t play…so I dived into an impromptu craft project. 

The kids started summer camp after the 4th and the second day was their first of four field trips.  Now the older kiddo I completely trust to keep track of her things but the five year old is definitely less observant of his items…so in addition to obviously labeling his water bottle I opted to NOT send them to camp with their water, lunch and sun screen in their normal school backpacks.  I am cheap and I refuse to have to replace something that expensive over a sack for water…Additionally Super was worried about being able to visually see the kids when on trips and out and about in crowds.  So he jumped on Amazon (who am I kidding, he’s always on Amazon…) and grabbed some of these inexpensive, bright colored drawstring backpacks.  These were so affordable at $10 a piece and they have a front zippered pouch that we’ve found comes in really handy.  

As with most ideas in our house, one thing led to another. Super ordered a red for Bubba (his favorite color as he thinks he’s secret Mario), pink for P because she’s 8 so….yah…, tealish blue for me and bright orange for himself…these are generally our family colors…but then we decided it would be really cute to personalize the bags, so we not only recognized the colored bag but could absolutely identify it as ours…but what should we do? Oh and the pink bag was suddenly back ordered and we needed it for the next field trip ASAP. So P decides she’ll take the teal and Bubba starts asking for Mario and we all go “liiiiight bulb” in true Gru fashion…and decided we should put our Super Mario characters on each of our bags…

So Bubba would be Mario, Daddy (Super) would order a green (ended up looking bright yellow) bag and be Luigi, P wanted Rosalina (did I post about her cake topper last year??) and I have been playing as Daisy all through the pandemic so I snagged the orange bag for myself.  We decided we would still do Princess Peach on the Pink bag, why not right?  

Once the juices got flowing I took advantage of not being able to play by sitting down and designing the vinyl cut files for our bags.  I eventually landed on the idea of just using silhouettes of the characters, rather than fully illustrated designs.  I grabbed Mario and Luigi from the Nintendo site, did you know they have all these crafts, for FREE on their page??? I have it bookmarked so I can return when the kids get bored this winter! I had Rosalina, Daisy, and Peach from files I paid for via Etsy last fall for our Trunk or Treat entry (which we won!) at school so I took all the photo files, and got to work in Silhouette Studio.  Mario and Luigi were an easy trace and fill…the princesses took a little more time and thought.  I ultimately decided to just do their shoulders and up, including their individualized gems, jewelry and crowns to help differentiate them from each other, though the colored packs are also a dead give away.  

Decal designs in progress!
I love how the decals turned out, and I was super excited that I had exactly enough vinly left in my stash to cut them out of glow-in-the-dark HTV!!! How freaking cool is that?!? Cutting and weeding the vinyl was easy, but applying was pretty tough.  I knew the material of the bags had a high probability of melting…so I made sure to start with a press cloth behind the application area (basically in the zippered pocket), and a large piece of parchment over the design every time I pressed.  I also pressed on top of hard piece of board rather than right on my ironing board.  It took a few tries but I landed on using the “Silk and Wool” setting on my iron.  I made sure to not touch the bag anywhere except the parchment paper and def not the polyester drawstrings.  Doing some research online it looks like these decals may eventually work their way off the bags just because of the type of fabric that the bags are made out of…you win some and lose some…the kids are really hard on things, I see Bubba sitting on his bag, with the decal down on the pavement and scooching around at pick up…I’d be surprised if his makes it to the end of camp…BUT as I told the kids we have the files now, so we can personalize all sorts of school things with HTV or 651 at will.  

Pressing the HTV.

Vinyl pulling up after pressing.

You can see the edges of the clear glue, that’s when I figured I had pressed it enough.

Cord locks are a game changer!

We did two other things to these bags to adapt them for the kiddos use.  If you’ve ever used these you know if you’re on the short side they can hang pretty low.  Super had grabbed these cord locks on Amazon for a different project and so we took a couple of these, undid the knots on the end of the bags’ drawstring, threaded these on, and now we have a super easy way to shorten the straps for kiddo.  I had tried just tying the straps shorter but it made it hard to open the top of the bag all the way…this is a perfect solution and we can always take them back off when they’re done needing them.

The second thing we did was safety pin Apple Air Tags in each of their bags.  This was a mom hack from a fellow parent.  Since we had to meet the kids at each of their field trip destinations, and both our kids are too young for cell phones, this was the perfect compromise so I could track where they were in the city on the school bus.  We did tell the kids they have the air tags in their bags and that if they lost them they’d have to pay to replace them! LOL! We’ve had zero issues and it was a great relief to be able to track the five year old while out at the Lincoln Park Zoo (which is FREE and open to the public) and has many areas to leave the zoo!!

The biggest kicker of this craft was “charging” the glow-in-the-dark HTV so I could take pictures for you all and seeing this…

All cute, and getting charged up…

Wait a second…so…I guess I should label or at least start keeping better tabs on my plain white HTV verses the glow-in-the-dark HTV…ironic it’s on the one bag that is really an extra and likely will not get used a lot…lesson learned…LOL. 

At any rate tomorrow is the beginning of the last week of camp and to say these kids used the snot out of their bags is an understatement.  

And as for Super and I? We’re just looking forward to hitting the town as “The Family Mario!!”

If you could choose any character family to personalize your items who would you choose??


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