Thursday, May 31, 2012

Delayed Birthday Pampering

Miss M's birthday is smack in the middle of the mayhem of May, meaning that we were a little delayed in having her birthday celebration this year.  We decided for twelve to go big but small.  She chose a day of pampering at the Spa with a girlfriend.  It was perfect.

Miss M and her friend had a sleepover after a dance company meeting and practice (it's recital week).  We then had Panera Bagels and cream cheese for breakfast followed by a trip to Charming Charlies to "shop and explore."  Miss M's friend had not been to this mecca of all things bling before so it was treat for M to show her the ropes. Of course, they left with bling for their hair and their ankles.

Mr C not wanting to do anything with a spa package choose to play golf, but Miss A was in for the pampering.  I love how both Miss A and Miss M get a little giggly when the are getting their pedicures. Guess they are a little on the ticklish side.  The girls thought this new spa was just classy enough and the chairs just divine enough for massage and relaxation.  What are we getting ourselves into!

It was the perfect way to celebrate this last year of childhood; pampering like a princess complete with polka dots and zebra stripes toes.  Thankfully, we remembered before the event that no nail polish can be visible on recital night which meant that toes are safe as they are in tights and shoes!  The joy of girls is that pampering is always in style!

Scenes from Summer's Start

Poor Mr C is too tall to fit under the monkey bars anyway, his feet drag on the ground. Sisters to the rescue to help!  Book sale to get us started and Food Truck Fries and happy shopping girls.

If I'm honest, I would say that summer is just as busy as the rest of the year.  The only difference is no homework, no school events and an occasional opportunity to sleep past six a.m.  Of course, those days are numbered as Mr C starts drivers' ed next week at 7:30.  What was I thinking?

However, I am loving the chance to read a few books, watch jungle gym races in the backyard, and witness my kids just soak up all that it means to be a kid in summer.  We've already had the chance to experience the farmer's market once this year already and, while we left with just a few tomatoes, the thrill was that a real Food Truck was on site.  After watching the Food Channels Food Truck Race for years, it was exciting to order fries from the sidewalk! 

We plan on making our Summer Bucket List this week.  While I have a little list running in my head of projects I'd like to see us do either as a family or on my own, I know that summer is all about just kicking back and going with the flow.  Not always an easy task for someone who has a daily "to do list" running on paper and in my mind. 

Of course, I'm already dreaming of our vacation later this summer to Colorado, but don't want to wish away the days between. We've got summer camps, golf lessons, swimming and of course rest to do first.  We'll have fun, fun, fun till we can't anymore!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crafting: Giving New Life to Old

A few years ago for Mother's Day my husband and kids gave me these adorable boy and girl plant holders. For years, they have sat on my front porch holding little vincas or geraniums that normally die long before the Fourth of July.  In the fall, I put away the planters and decided I would either sell them in a garage sale or give them to Goodwill. They were looking a little faded, old, and weathered and not what I wanted anymore.

As I was planting flowers last week, I came across them and decided it was time to donate them. I asked P to load them in the van so I could swing them by in the morning.  In a stroke of genius, he asked why I just wasn't going to paint them and turn trash into treasure.

I knew all that time watching HGTV with me was paying off!  A little spray paint, some acrylic paint for the hat and flower and in about 15 minutes, it was new life!  I used Rust-Oleum American Accents Satin Metallic spray paint in Aged Copper that I found at Lowes' for about $6.00. Way cheaper than new planters. 

The actual painting process was so easy and no prep work required.  All I did was lay out some newspaper on the deck and go crazy spraying.  I then used some craft acrylic paints to paint the girls' flower and the boy's hat.  Super easy and the whole process took less than an hour including drying time and a second coat. 

If I do say so myself, I think they look even better than when they were brand new.  Now, if I can just remember to water the plants, I might have living plants making my porch pretty all summer long!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Freshman Year Finished

Since Mr.C's school didn't get out until the 23rd of May, it meant that we had a long weekend to keep quiet and out of his hair while he studied for finals. Poor guy, he had three really tough finals all on the same day; Biology, Spanish and Algebra II.  Let's just say that by Monday night, he was ready for summer!

I kid you not; this seems to be the faster year ever. I swear it was just yesterday that we were attending the Family Picnic and meeting other families and kids.  Not only has it been a growing year academically for Mr C, it's been a "growing year" for him personally.  He's grown almost six inches this year and outgrown more clothes than you can imagine.  I'll let the pictures tell the story.  Pictures under the arch on the last day of school May 2012 vs Sunday before school starts August 2011.  Same kid! Amazing!

                                   First and Last Day of Freshman Year: First Day of Kindergarten too!

When he told me on Sunday at church that his size 11 shoes are getting a little tight I told him "tough bounce, go shoeless until fall."  Well, maybe I'll buy him some Old Navy Flip Flops!  Good thing he's willing to wear the same clothes day after day and is not the fashion plate his sisters try to be. We'd be broke.

Freshman year has been a great experience for Mr C and our family. Now I'm just praying that this is the slowest summer in history.  We've got to savor the moments.  We've only got a few years left with him in our house!  Not even gonna go there in my mind.

Summer here we come!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last Day of School: Take One

Friday was the final day of school for the girls.  Poor Miss M!  Now that she's "alone" at the junior high (with the 7:40 a.m. start time), we didn't get to go out for donuts first.  The past few years we've had a small crew with Mr C and Miss M along with a few friends, but this year most of the Jr High crew wanted to sleep in. Plus, Mr C had to be at school at 7:45 and dad was the driver so it just didn't give us enough time.  I've promised M that we will have a donut day for M and C early this summer!

Miss A, after a super hectic week, slept until almost eight, meaning we rushed to our Donut Date with friends from school. Thankfully, she had picked out her clothes the night before and I'd already made her lunch.  No way was she eating chef surprise!

It was a great morning; traditional picture on the porch and backpack picture on the wall.  Miss A was most thrilled that it would be her final day wearing the backpack (according to our two year rule-she gets a new one this fall).  Gotta love how she remembers the "rules."  Now, we just have to convince her get the Eddie Bauer Lifetime Backpack that we never have to replace.  Somehow, I think she's thinking more cartoon or girly girl design!

Miss A was a little sad to say goodbye to her first grade teacher and buddies and so were her parents.  Thankfully, Miss A was invited to a fun Bounce House Party after school so for Miss A the fun continued into the evening and her parents and Miss M got to party too!

It's almost summer for our family!  Poor Mr C had a long weekend of studying for finals ahead.

 Miss M at Honors Night.  A 4.0 is something to celebrate!  We are so proud of this young lady. Of course, Miss A had to be a part of the picture.

Monday, May 21, 2012

In Which I Call Uncle!

I'll admit it the month of May has kicked my behind.  Life has been running at super sonic speed and there have been days that my "to do list" looked more like a generals' war plan for an entire army.  Between three kids, three schools, five sports, plus end of the school year recitals, programs, field trips and just life I've been overwhelmed.

My camera card is filled with precious memories of bridging ceremonies, end of the season golf parties and so much more. My heart is filled with even more from birthday celebrations for Miss M to garden plotting, planting and teacher gift making.

It's almost over. Two of the three have finished school and Mr C is almost done. Three Finals today meant homemade donuts and iced coffee.  After studying all weekend, he deserved the extra touches!  I hope by the end of the May to have gone back and filled in the details of life for the blog, so that these precious memories aren't lost forever.

I told my husband that my only regret this school year is that my scrapbooks are still behind.  Thus, I'll have to "predate" the blog entries so in the next few days  you might have to scroll back to older posts to find out what really happened. That way  when I finally get around to making my 2012 scrapbooks I can remember the order of events! 

For now I'm off to do some laundry, start working on our summer "bucket list" and cleaning out some girl closets so that we can finally see the summer clothes. 

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Teacher Gift Ideas for End of the Year

I stole these great teacher gift ideas from Pinterest including the cute printables for the tags.  I loved the idea that Miss A's teacher had quenched her thirst for knowledge this year!  While the gifts inside didn't completly match the idea given on the site, I did include a gift card to a local coffee shop.  Of course, I also included my famous caramels.

The carmels have taken on their own life at the school.  My favorite secretary at the school (read the "one who knows all") might have handed me a little tin last week and said how sad she was that it was empty. I'd filled it back in December with caramels and she was hoping I was making some more for the end of school.  How could I refuse?

Sadly, I had meant to make the carmels leisurely over the weekend, but let time get away from me.  When I got to school on Monday to volunteer for Field Day, I've never seen a sadder face, poor Mrs C had been dreaming all week of the treat.  Of course, I couldn't let her suffer long and got up bright and early on Tuesday morning to make a fresh batch for teachers at both the elementary and junior high school and a huge amount for my favorite school secretary!

Miss A's teacher told me she had to hide the carmels from her family because they love them so much.  She said her boys begged her to get the recipe and make them for them, but she said it was a secret and she wasn't qualified to receive the instructions!  Guess this means I'll be making an extra huge batch for the teachers on back to school night in the fall.  Can't have unhappy teachers!!

I'm thinking these gift ideas might make a reappearance at Teacher Appreciation time next year; I'm sure the teachers will be "quenching our thirst" next year too!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Grade Field Day and Fly Up

I think this might have been the "nicest" weather day ever for Field Day at Miss A's school.  In all the years I've been attending, I can't remember a better day to run, skip and jump outside with friends.  This year, I got smart.  Not only did I bring a picnic lunch for Miss A and Jimmy John's for P and I, I even brought a blanket to sit on the blacktop.  Let's just say that made Miss A very popular with her friends.

After nearly ten years of volunteering to help with Field Day, I've finaly gotten smart.  I took the Water Relay game which meant I was under the pavillion for part of my two hour shift. Score!  Seniority has it's perks.  The location also gave me a perfect view of about half a dozen other games so I could watch Miss A having a blast. 

Miss A's funniest comment of the whole day was when we were driving to school in the morning and she told me this was a great day already since she finally got to wear athletic shorts to school. They were almost shorty mc-short shorts too!  This girl cracks me up.

After a few hours at home to shower, rest and regroup, it was back to school for the Brownie Bridging Ceremony.  Wow, these two years as a Daisy have really flown by!  Miss A and her troop were so excited for the evening.  All the girls were dressed up, excited for the adventures that await them in Brownies, and thrilled to "walk over the bridge." 

Of course, after a very short ceremony outside in the Butterfly Garden, it was time to go inside for Brownie Sundaes.  In a seven year old's life, can it get any better?  What a great kickoff to the end of the year festivities.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Burlap Front Door Design: Flip Flop

Just another day of crafting!  Well at least that's how my friend D and I thought of it.  We'd talked for weeks about making a new flip flop door hanging for spring and with the stars finally aligned. we were able to spend some time making our creations.

Of course, first we had to make a trip to Hobby Lobby for some supplies; burlap, ribbon and some paint.  Thankfully, one of D's neighbors had a real "flip flop screen sign" that we could use to copy the size and design from.  Amazingly, her decor cost $39 and we were able to make all six of ours for under $30. ( The pink and black flip flop is the fancy one we used to cheat) Less if you consider that we needed to replenish our paint supplies so next time we make a sign will be even cheaper.

It's amazing how many flip flops you can make out of just three yards of fabric.  We choose to try both a black version and an orange version. I kept the orange one for myself and gave my black one away to a friend. 

We are getting a little smarter making these; first we cut out the fabric when it's folded so that we get two sides at once the same size.  Next we sew the fabric before painting (at least Miss D sewed for me) and this time we even attached the ribbon tot he fabric by sewing.  We also are outlying the object with paint to give it clear definition.  My friend even figured out how to make swishes instead of dots and her flip flops look even more dimensional.

After the paint dried, I then filled the flip flop with garbage bags (the black ones for the black fabric) and clear grocery sacks for the orange flop. 

It looks adorable on the door and I'm loving how summery my front door area looks when visitors arrive; I'm already thinking of 4th of July decoration that I want to make.  I think this fall we might even go into business and make a few extra fall decorations that we can sell to friends.  Who knows we might even try the screen version instead of the burlap!

All in all it was a really fun afternoon of crafting and conversation! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pink Cupcakes for Classroom Consumption

Tuesday, May 8th which in addition to being Miss M's birthday was what I named "Treat Tuesday."  Seriously, if there was an event that day that any of us was attending, we brought treats! Six events meant six treats! Bible Study wrap up meant Cinnamon Rolls, Miss M's homeroom got suckers, FCA got frosted sugar cookies, and her dance class got Nana's Chocolate Rice Krispie Roll Ups. 

Miss A was celebrating her summer birthday with her class so I brought treats up at the end of the day and then brought pretzels and juice boxes to her soccer game that night since she was treat person!  Crazy how much food we delivered to others that day.

Miss A had requested that we bring chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting and sprinkles.  She said the boys in her class would just have to "get over it" if they didnt' like pink.  Thankfullly, the boys decided that a sugar rush trumped any idea that pink was too girly.

We have loved Miss A's first grade class this year.  She's had a great time with some new friends and the teacher is one our favorites!  Maybe this year more than any other I see why people teach first grade as the child you drop off at the beginning of the year is nothing like the child you pick up at the end of the year.  What a year of growth of personality, wisdom, knowledge and tenacity.  Miss A has just blossomed this year.

Can't think of a better way to celebrate this than pink cupcakes with the whole class!

Happy 12th Birthday Miss M

Miss M is now a twelve year old.  May 8th, 2000 in so many ways seems like just yesterday, but now we are celebrating that in one more year she'll become a real teanager.  Help Me Jesus!  You could say that Miss M is a birthday girl.  She loves all thing birthday.  My grandmother who was a May Girl too, claimed that all May Girls are birthday girls.  She might have been right!

Of course, the problem with having a May birthday is that it is the crazy month with activities wrapping up and evenings filled to the brim.  It didn't help that Miss M's birthday was on a Tuesday (our crazy day) so we had to "fit" in the celebrating on that day and then carry over the activity to Mother's Day.  So kind of like "double Birthday."

We did get to grab dinner at Five Guys, have a little present opening, and she took treats to FCA, Dance and to her homeroom!  She was a busy girl that day. Miss A was just as happy to help Miss M open her presents.  I'd say Miss M will be busy shopping at Justice, Forever 21 and Charming Charlies soon.  She also plans to pierce her ears once she gathers the courage.

The birthday cake was a Miss M design.  She had doddled up a design for her perfect birthday cake, with polka dots, strips and special candles.  I "stole" the doodle and gave it to the cake designer at the bakery.  It was the first customer designed cake she'd ever done and she was impresed with Miss M's sense of style.

Having a daughter placed in my arms twelve years ago was one of the best days of my life.  I've loved every minute since too!  What joy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

First Grade Plays: The Rooster

First Grade plays are a rite of passage at our elementary school. Each class puts on about 3 plays, allowing each student the chance to play a part in at least one play.  Mr C was in the play " 3 Billy Goats Gruff" back in his day.  Bestemor made the most adorable goat costume for him.  Miss M was a narrator for the Goldilocks and Three Bears meaning she got a new fancy outfit.  Finally this spring, Miss A was a Rooster for the Brementown Band play and a narrator for the Princess and the Pea.  This meant that she not only got to wear a fancy dress, but we were challenged to create a Rooster Costume.

We love our first grade teacher.  It is our third time in her classroom, but I almost cried when Miss A came home and said the teacher was sure I could make a Rooster Costume. According to Miss A, I should have no problem because I'm so talented.

Yeah right.  Nana to the rescue.  I researched costumes online and finally found something that looked easy to wear and make.  At least for my mother. My contribution?  I glued the feathers on the outside of the costume.  They looked fabulous.

Miss A had all her lines memorized weeks before the performance and, while she knew her Narrator part too, she used the script just to make sure she was on track with the actors.  No stage fright here.  She had the time of her life. In fact, her rooster call might just win her an award. I don't think I've ever seen a cuter rooster. 

Gotta love first grade plays.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Golf Tournament Stalker

I've had it on my calendar for over a month.  Today was the day of the JV Golf Tournament at Mr C's school's home course.  A nine hole tournament in the afternoon and one that I could attend and take pictures.  My new camera and camera bag have been ready for days.  I'd planned on arriving at about fifteen minutes early, getting a few shots of the team practicing on the driving range, and then I'd just follow Mr C's foursome around for a few holes.

You know that saying; best laid plans of mice and men.  Well, I'm neither mouse or man; thankfully, but the plans they needed a little adjusting.  When I arrived at my scheduled time (or ten minutes earlier than planned), I quickly realized that Mr C and his group had just teed off at the first tee, a full half hour before they were scheduled and that I had no clue how the course was laid out or how to follow them on foot.

Thankfully, the Pro Shop came to rescue and offered me the use of a golf cart to go around the course. I caught up with Mr C and his group at the 2nd Tee Box and, as requested, did not speak a word to the golfers.  I'd been warned that a golfer can't talk to the crowd.  I'm not sure he would have wanted or needed my advice since my golf is a little rusty, but I kept silent anyways!

In fact, the only time Mr C even acknowledged me was when he sunk a huge putt from off the ground for a par on a really long par 5.  It was a great putt and my skillful photography caught all the action until it went into the cup.  Still have a little work to do on the camera skills. 

It was such a treat to watch Mr C doing his most favorite activity.  My husband and Miss A were even able to join me in the cart for a few holes.  Miss A has got the golf clap down pat, and even if she was waving a few times at her favorite golfer, she never once tried to give him pointers on putting or chipping.  She did, of course, suggest to her dad that a treat from the Snack Cart Lady might be nice.

Mr C did not have the round of his life or score his best, but he did have some great shots, a few critical putts, and the smile was on his face the entire time.  He loved every minute.  If I do say so myself, he did have the best cheering crowd. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May Day Baskets

The girls delivered some May Day Baskets to a few friends.  Of course our neighbors caught them in the act which meant they scored not only baskets from us, but some hugs and a little bit of chatter about our recent trip. 

Nana had found the cutest May Day Basket designs online so she and the girls spent some time in our hotel making them.  They looked so cute.  There is just something about a homemade May Day Basket to bring a little joy to the person. 

We filled them with little treats of dark chocolate kisses, M & M's, and a little bit of chewy fruit candy. 

Miss A and Miss M could hardly wait for the end of school to go take our baskets around the neighborhood.  What a fun old fashioned tradition!

It's May!  Wow..  Summer is really just around the corner.  Now that's a reason to celebrate.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shopping Trip with Nana

We had a girls' getaway weekend with Nana to the megatropolis of Des Moines which is the home of both the fabulous Jordan Creek Mall and a fabulous Residence Inn with more comforts than our home.  They have a maid! 

The girls did not have school on Monday so we decided to take a quick trip after church to take in a little early birthday shopping for Miss M, enjoy a swim at the pool for Miss A, and maybe let the mother sleep in a little.  It was the perfect amount of time away, just enough for the boys to miss our presence and for us to enjoy just being girls.  I think Nana was surprised at how much shopping us girls can do in a short amount of time. 

We are pros.  Miss M went with the idea that she really wanted some Toms and some Sperry shoes for her birthday.  They are all the style.  Everyone in sixth grade wears them and most have multiple pairs.  She was even willing to part with a little babysitting money she'd earned to acquire these shoes. You could say she had a mission.  Thankfully, Miss M's generous grandmother bought her some fabulous white Sperry's that will really rock this summer.  Miss M and I split the cost of some Red Toms.  Phew.

Miss A, of course, was just looking for a "few things" for summer to jazz up her wardrobe and her room.  In fact while in Justice, she found the one item she had searched her whole life for; let that soak in a little, all seven years shes wanted an "A" Pillow for her bed.  Who knew?  It was as if the world was singing her song that day.  Not only was it there for the taking, it was on sale. Score.

I, of course, did not get to look at one store for women my age.  Meaning over Forever 21.  (which just so happens to be Miss M's favorite store these days!)  But my birthday is just around the corner so there is hope.  But I did get to sleep all by myself in a big comfy bed and I didn't make a meal, clean a dish, or do a stitch of laundry.  I'd call that a vacation. 

We had a fabulous time on our getaway and both girls are really hoping to make this an annual event.  Miss A even suggested that maybe we should go before the start of each new season. A girl can dream can't she?