Handprint crafts

We have had such a fun weekend filled with precious family and friends! Those are the best kind, right?

My very best friend moved across town this week. So Friday she brought her kids, Maggie and Miller, over to play while they moved in to the new house. Lane and Bethany love, love, love Maggie and Miller. They are much more like cousins than just friends – but they never really had a choice since Sarah and I have been best friends since 9th grade.

Maggie loves crafting with her WHOLE heart, so I’ve had several crafts that I wanted to do with them.

When I was in 2nd grade, my class had a slumber party at school and we made these cute hand print pillowcases. My mom kept it for so many years, so obviously I can’t get rid of it now. Lane and Bethany have both gone through times when they were obsessed with sleeping with that pillowcase. Lane especially loves that it has my hand print from when I was a little girl.

 

I thought it would be special to have a friends pillowcase. So, I let each child pick out their favorite color. We took turns painting their hands. I plan to do this every couple of years to watch their hands grow. I think it would be a cute idea to do with cousins too.

So here is our finished product!

We did one more craft project. Since the 4th is coming up this week, we made these flag t-shirts. I painted the kids hands and then while they were playing with each other I added the red stripes. Maggie really liked the sparkle in the paint, so we found some glitter to make the girls shirts extra sparkly!

 
Saturday I spent the day in Mobile with family celebrating Jonathan and Sara’s twins at their family shower. Lane and Bethany are so excited to meet their cousins. I think they think they are going to be born and then instantly ready to play with them! Anyway, I did not take a single picture yesterday, so I will share some as soon as Sara post some on facebook that I can steal. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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Beautiful nails and soft legs!

Once upon a time my nails were perfectly polished everyday. My mom owned the best nail salon in town (I may be a bit biased, but I’m fairly sure this is a fact.) So growing up, I generally kept a beautiful gel manicure. It was glorious. Then, my parents moved to Birmingham, mom closed up shop, and my nails have been a chipped mess every since.

I know, I know. I could just go down and find an awesome lady to do my nails, but really that doesn’t fit into my budget or schedule. So that is usually saved for special times of the year.

Then one day, while browsing pinterest I found this pin that claimed a DIY gel nail.

Yes please! I loved that I only needed to buy one thing- the gelous nail polish. It’s a bit of a process but I figured for the price I could give it a try. I followed her step by step instructions:

1) Apply two thin layers of the Gelous Nail Gel to your nails, allowing a couple minutes in between to dry a little bit. After applying your second coat, allow the gel to set. I waited about 3 minutes.
2) Next, apply a layer of your nail color and allow to dry (about 5 minutes)
3) Apply another layer of Gelous Nail Gel on top of your nail color and allow it to set for about 2 minutes so that it’s semi-dry. Make sure that the ends of your nails are sealed by swiping the brush over top. This will ensure you won’t see a single chip for the entire duration of your gel manicure.
4) Apply a second layer of nail color.
5) Finish it off with your choice of top coat. Stick with a fast drying top coat with high shine for the best results.
I. loved. it.

I am not gentle with my nails at all. I chase two kids. I’m constantly scrubbing and cleaning something and this held up. It took a while for me, but like I said mom always polished my nails growing up, so I feel about as coordinated as a two year old. Polishing my left hand is no problem, the right hand however is a completely different story.

Anyway this lasted perfectly on me for 1 1/2 weeks. Then I had just a few tiny chips which probably could have been alleviated if I had sealed the edges of my nails better. So give it a try! Here is my most recent finished manicure.

 
 
During the summer, it seems like I am always shaving my legs. So, I saw this on Pinterest and thought I would give it a try too.
 
 
Mix 1/2 C oil, 3 tbs citrus juice and 1 1/4 C sugar. Rub it on your legs, shave then rinse your legs. Then do it again – rub, shave, rinse. Wash your legs with soap to get some of the oil off. 
 
Think of this as shaving, exfoliating and moisturizing all in one. My legs stayed SO SOFT for a long time. I loved this pin!
๏ปฟ

Seasons

Next week I turn 30 which is crazy because most of the time I still think I’m 24. For some reason, I’ve thought and reflected about this upcoming birthday more than any other (with the possible exception of my 16th. Hello drivers license!)

30 is one of those milestone birthdays that many people (especially girls) dread. I honestly don’t dread it, as my grandma says turning 30 “sure beats the alternative!” But I have always thought of 30 as adult.Like a real adult. Don’t laugh. I know that I’m a married mom of two and that I should consider myself an adult at this point but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the I’ve-got-this-all-figured-out adult.

 

Back when I was 17 and just graduating high school, I was certain there would be a point (surely by the age of 30!) that I would be an adult and have everything figured out. You know, I would somehow have managed the discover how to maintain a spotless house, cook amazing meals every day,and keep up with all the errands.I would have a beautiful flower garden and maybe even grow some veggies or herbs.  I just knew I would have 3 or 4 perfectly behaved, Jesus lovin’, funny, well-rounded and absolutely adorable children. We would craft, and sing and read and they would NEVER bicker or throw temper tantrums. I would always be wonderful,even-tempered, attentive, supporting and loving wife. I would have a deep and consistently growing relationship with the Lord. I would be active in my church. And of course I would do all of this while managing to be a size four in an adorable dress and the perfect shoes.

hahaha

So, here I am a week away from 30 and certainly don’t have it all figured out. So many of my dreams have come true. Some haven’t yet. I haven’t figured out how to perfectly balance my wonderful husband, 2 kids, housework, exercise, errands, and time with the Lord. But I’ve learned to give myself grace when I fail to meet what I think I have to get done, as long as I’m focusing on my priorities.

I certainly don’t have everything figured out. But I’m ok with that too. I’ve learned that seasons seem to change at the blink of an eye. It’s so quick that it sends my head swirling in a million directions but in the middle of my chaos stands One who is steady and faithful. One who is never taken off guard or surprised. One who does have it all figured out — I love that I don’t have to have it all figured out because I know who to run to with my cares and concerns, my dreams and desires — and there is so much peace in that.

This summer I am a part of an amazing small group. It is hands down my favorite summer small group ever. It is filled with mostly single girls – there are a couple of other married girls & one engaged. Oh, how I love Monday nights. Once you move out of that season, you forget what it’s like to be so excited about a first date, the anxious feelings before you get married, or the deep longing to have your 1st baby. Our tendency is to want to rush through whatever season we are in right now instead of sitting back and savoring the moment. I love watching these girls enjoy their seasons.

I remember being single and praying to be in a relationship. Then praying for a spouse. After getting married praying for kids. My twenties have been amazing. I’ve gone through several different seasons but I’ve savored few of them.

I wonder sometimes what blessings we miss in our current season, because we are so focus on what’s next.

So, I may not have it all figured out. In fact, I probably had more “figured out” at 17 than I do now but I will enjoy where I am now. I’m married to an amazing man and blessed with two crazy, Jesus lovin’ babies. I am blessed indeed.

the laid-back boy and the toddler supermodel

Today was Lane’s 5 year check-up and Bethany’s 3 year check-up. (yes, I realize it’s over a month after their actual birthday but better late than never, right?) Lane did everything first today since he’s the big kid. He did his weight, height, blood pressure, vision and hearing screening like a champ. Then gladly chose his stickers.

 

…and then it was Bethany’s turn. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this but she HATES getting on the scales at the doctor. There is weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth. Oh the drama. I finally took her to the bathroom and after a little “conversation” she managed to hop on the scale for a second. The height measurement went about the same. After moments like that I like to remind myself of her sweet giggles.

 

Lane is 3ft 6 in (45%) and 37 1/2 lbs (25%). This is right on track for him. Bethany is 3 ft 3 1/2 inches (95%) and 29 lbs (25%). Homegirl is very tall and skinny, my little toddler supermodel ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall they had a great checkup. The only red flag that went up was Bethany’s tonsils. She apparently inherited my very large tonsils. Dr. A said not to be surprised if we need to take them out next summer.

Here are a couple of recent quotes/moments with the kids:

Bethany stared at me for a while then said : What is it?
– a freckle
b: (gasp!) Can I touch it!?
hahaha

Bethany has been obsessed with doctors for awhile. This weekend she kept running around the house yelling “I need a heartbeat! I con’t (said with an English accent) find it!” (translation: I need my stethoscope)

She has suddenly become VERY interested in princesses. She and Lane have started playing princess and prince and they go to the ball in her room and dance. Somehow I’m not sure their dancing is the same as Cinderella’s. (I’ll try to sneak a video of this. So precious!)

Lane talks non-stop about being a grown up now because he has flip-flops without the back strap. He has also started getting his jammies on and telling us good night if he is tired before bedtime. So grown. ๐Ÿ™‚

Summer Bucket List

On one of the last day’s of preschool, Lane brought home the cutest little bucket list with 3 things he wanted to do over the summer. It was so cute and he was ALL about the list! I saw several cute bucket list type things on pinterest and decided we would make a BIG bucket list. The kids helped me come up with a lot of the items, so if it seems like something so small or slightly repetitive, it was probable VERY important to a certain little one. Some are life skills that need to be learned or character traits I want to help develop. Some of the items are pinterest projects that I’ve been meaning to try out one day. I figured if I put it on the list, Lane would not let me forget to try it!

So, after we compiled our list, I broke out the poster board. We are adding star stickers in the boxes after we complete the items. Lane clearly does not understand how long summer break last because he kept asking if we could do the bucket list (all 101 things) that day. I’ve had to explain and explain that we will try to do at least one thing a day.

 
So here’s our list in no particular order:
  1.  ๏ปฟzoo
  2. swim lessons
  3. ride bikes
  4. play-doh
  5. beach
  6. Maggie and Miller
  7. glowstick bath
  8. $5 at dollar tree – Memaw and Papaw started something ๐Ÿ˜‰
  9. facepaint
  10. treasure hunt
  11. Splash Pad
  12. swim
  13. potato stamps
  14. read
  15. Gigi and Bo’s house
  16. Legos
  17. do something nice for a stranger
  18. rollerskate
  19. play in the rain
  20. scavenger hunt
  21. McWane
  22. slip n’slide
  23. feed the ducks
  24. popcorn party
  25. start a worm collection
  26. Mexican Grill
  27. make crayons
  28. make a band
  29. tea party
  30. library storytime
  31. bubbles
  32. farmer’s market
  33. go fishing
  34. mommy date – (each child gets alone time with me)
  35. daddy date – (each child gets alone time with Chris)
  36. fly kites
  37. Oak Mountain Park
  38. chalk
  39. watercolor
  40. write and mail a letter
  41. waterguns
  42. Aldridge Gardens
  43. water balloons
  44. blanket fort
  45. paperbag puppets
  46. board games
  47. do something nice for a neighbor
  48. hopscotch
  49. paper airplanes
  50. play dress up
  51. make a stepping stone
  52. picnic
  53. movie night
  54. walk around the lake
  55. host a playdate
  56. fireworks
  57. cereal necklace
  58. use garden tools
  59. hide and seek
  60. watch an outdoor movie
  61. bowling
  62. road trip
  63. make lollipops
  64. learn to fold towels
  65. Veteran’s park
  66. pick fruit
  67. take cookies and cards to the firemen (the kids have become very interested in the firemen since that time we had to run down to the firestation to see if Bethany needed stitches. Now the kids understand they are heroes, just wait till they understand what they really do everyday! Woah!!)
  68. sprinkler
  69. handprint pillowcase
  70. make popsicles
  71. play computer games
  72. bouncy castles
  73. learn a new song
  74. Chick-fil-a playground
  75. ride a carousel
  76. A Play Place
  77. Texas
  78. paint
  79. find a NEW playground
  80. card games
  81. learn 3 Bible verses
  82. make a fieldtrip
  83. swim at night
  84. Movies
  85. Nana and Bo’s house
  86. make icecream
  87. put on a play
  88. sticker albulm
  89. bake cookies
  90. “bike”wash
  91. Try a new food
 
After making the list, we thought of a couple more things that would be fun to do if we have time.
 
What are your summer plans? I’d love to hear any other places to go, crafts to make, or games to play! The busier we stay, the less time they have to bicker ๐Ÿ˜€

The sandbox

Lane and Bethany love to garden and help me in the yard. This is fantastic in early spring when I am planting flowers, however for the rest of the year they are constantly asking to dig. I’ve found Lane trying to dig up my grass, flowers, pine straw, anything that will stay still long enough. So, I knew I wanted to get them “a diggin’ place” for their birthday. Our homeowners association is on the ridiculous side, so I knew the green turtle would cause numerous letters about property value plummeting so I turned to pinterest to find a more aesthetically pleasing sandbox.

I found several really neat ideas:

 
Playhouse Sandbox  
  
But, when I saw this idea I knew it was perfect for our space! I loved that it folded close to keep bugs or cats out – no neighborhood litter box! And I loved the bench since I  knew they would want me in the sandbox with them.
 

Once again, Chris did an amazing job making something for the kids! We ended up making it larger than the plans. Ours is 6×6 so that several kids could play at once – I honestly can’t imagine it much smaller at all!

Chris tried for a while to make it with out the kids seeing it at all, but that proved to be more difficult than we thought  especially since Lane loved building things! So, eventually Chris let Lane help. Lane had a blast!

 
 

We ended up giving the kids the sandbox after Lane’s 4k graduation (the day before their birthday party).It was pouring but as soon as the rain slacked off some we took them out. They were so excited! Bethany continued to play even after the rain started back!

 
 
 

They have played with it almost daily since their party. We often pretend we are at the beach!

 

 

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the world wide web, cuban sandwiches, and strawberry lemonade cake

It’s been 3 weeks since my last post. Not because I’ve run out of ideas or things to share. Nope not at all. May is generally my craziest time of the year – right up there with Christmas. The next event that I should have written about was Lane’s graduation. Oh MY was it funny! Few things bring me to tears like a bunch of 4 and 5 year old kids on stage singing. So precious! I had planned to upload some of the videos until I realized they were all on Chris’ Mac that he takes to work with him most days.

Y’all. seriously that MAC and I do. not. get. along. He has had the thing for a year and I still haven’t figured out how many fingers I need to swipe in which direction. I feel like a 90 year old grandma calling some foreign speaking person to help me navigate the world wide web.

struggles.

Anywho, next week I’ll get Lane to upload pictures from his preschool graduation to share with you all from is 4k graduation. I’m sure he will have it figured out in about the seconds.

Tech savvy I am not but I can cook. After Lane’s little graduation, we were having my parents and grandparents, as well as, Chris’ parents over for dinner. I knew better than to try to cook for 8 adults after the graduation. So I turned to one of our favorite, inexpensive, and easy crock pot meals that feeds a crowd – Cuban sandwiches! Mmm!

Mom and Dad went on vacation to Key West several years ago. While they were there they fell in love with these Cuban sandwiches. So obviously they went to a grocery store in search of the amazing bread. While they were at the store, mom spotted a little Cuban grandma and asked if she knew how they made the sandwiches. And like any good grandma would do, the lady took mom and dad around the grocery store showing them everything they would need and how to cook the meat. Love that sweet little lady! So here it is:

Cuban sandwiches from the kitchen of a little Cuban Granny:
ingredients:
Boston Butt
A stank load of garlic (I buy the little bag of garlic)
even more onions (like 5-6)  {don’t fear it somehow isn’t an overwhelming amount}
Goya Mojo sauce (large bottle in the ethnic food isle)

Take your Boston butt and cut a ton of little slices all over it. Top bottom and sides. Then stuff the little slices with your garlic cloves. Put the meat in the crock pot. Pour the sauce over the meat. Slice  the onions into rings. Fill the crock pot with the onion to the point that you think there is no more room and the lid might not close. Cook that bad boy all day long (6-8 hrs) Check back about an hour before it should be done. Check to see if you still have plenty of visible onions on top (they tend to cook down) You want plenty of “grilled” onions for your sandwich.

Now for the sandwich ingredients:
Cuban rolls (or some type of hoagie style bread)
Meat (from crockpot)
onions (from crockpot)
sliced ham (I buy the black forest ham from Costco)
Swiss cheese
mayo
mustard (regular or Dijon)
lettuce
dill pickles

Build your sandwich then press it on a panini press. Or if you don’t have one, we use our George Forman grill. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, so good! We served it with just chips because this is a crazy good and filling sandwich. Or you could go all out like mom does and serve it with back bean soup. I personally can never eat a whole sandwich and soup.

For dessert, I continued with my ridiculously easy theme for the night. I have a obsession deep love for this Strawberry Lemonade Cake recipe that I found on pinterest. I’ve made it several times and it has wiped out almost everywhere that I’ve taken it.  The icing recipe make a ton so I’ve started taking the extra icing as a fruit dip. No need in wasting perfectly good icing, right?

Well, I didn’t make that cake. I didn’t have it in me to bake a cake and all that jazz. I was already making sugar cookies for Lane’s birthday party, so I made a few extra. And by “made” what I mean is I baked the break apart and bake cookies. Then I made just the icing from the strawberry lemonade cake. I put out several different berries and we had a build your own fruit pizza bar. Delish and too easy!

Overall, it was a wonderful laid back evening! We went ahead and gave the kids their big birthday present that night. A sandbox built by my amazing husband!! I’ll share pictures of that soon. ๐Ÿ™‚