Saturday, November 1, 2014

Boo from the Bay Bush {2014}

We've had all kinds of fun going on over the last week!

Miss A kicked off the week with a fun and adorable costume parade at preschool.

Her little class walked from their school to our local grocery store.
They paraded through the store and sang two songs for the customers and parents.

After their parade they had a picnic on the playground.
This was along the same time that Avery pushed down Spiderman for "trying to kiss her."

How nice was it that Halloween was on a Friday this year?  We had a 1/2 day at school so we had plenty of time to take a nap get ready for the night.

McKenna dressed as Glinda the Good Witch of the North.

And Avery was "Dorothy Gail."  That's how she refers to her every. single. time.
There's never a dull moment with these two around.

We made our rounds visiting family members...

At the last minute I decided to dress up as the Tin Man.  I grabbed a grey turtleneck and attached a tin foil funnel to a headband.  My heart medal was a heart shaped pony tail holder I found in the girls bathroom.  All. in. y'all.

This person greeted us at the door at Granna's house.

And we finally met up with the whole Wizard of Oz gang at Hallelujah Night.  This is the place to be in my little town on Halloween.  Multiple churches get together and provide hot dogs, chips, drinks, games, Trunk or Treating and bouncey house fun!  They block of the street and have hay rides and live gospel music too!

We also met up with the rest of the family in line for Trunk or Treating.

We were frozen solid by the time we got home and I have taken this opportunity to teach the girls about taxation and how that works (i.e. I take part of their candy :) )

I never got around to sharing our spooky Halloween mantle or my latest cheese box creation but here they are!

I hope you and yours had a fun-filled Halloween!!!  Now I've got a 5 year old Birthday party to sling together prepare for!  One of these days I'm going to get my act together.  Really.  I am.

p.s. You can check out older editions of Boo from the Bay Bush here and here.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat at the Palace

We did Trick or Treating at Tryon Palace the Saturday before Halloween.  We totally found out about this at the last minute and the girls' Halloween costumes hadn't even come in yet.  We threw on a few dress up outfits and dashed out of the house. 

McKenna had been to the gardens before but Avery had not.  They are both begging to go back and take the inside tour at Christmas now!

We visited the Blacksmith's shop first.

And made a little ghost craft out of yarn.

We enjoyed the gardens.  This happens to be the same spot I had my Bridal portraits taken almost 10 years ago! Where has the time gone?

We played goblin games (aka Corn Hole) on the lawn.

The stables were the spookiest stop of all. McKenna was pretty skeptical about the spell she was casting to make candy.

Avery loved running through the "maze garden."  This happens to be the same spot I almost broke my ankle two years ago taking Sister's Bridal portraits.

We also got to go in a historic home on the grounds that is rarely open to the public.  It has no heat, air, plumbing or electricity.  (I absolutely would not have lasted more than 5 minutes back then.)
The event was free for children in costumes and $10 for adults.  The tickets also included admission to the Pepsi Family Center at the History Center.  None of us had been before and the girls had the best time traveling back in time to 1835.  The center is loaded with hands on activities that teach children about life in 1835.

In the kitchen, they helped the cook find all the ingredients for Turtle Soup.  They also got to design their own quilt and help a general store owner find all of the items on a purchase order.

They even have a little ship with different activities to sail out of the harbor.

We had a great day and I'm so glad we decided to drop everything and go!  It seems like we rarely have time to do anything spur of the moment since we have somewhere to be almost every day of the week.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Unforeseen Danger of Bunkbeds

Remember those bunk beds I bought to bribe the girls to sleep in their own bed?

Castle Bunk Bed

Remember how sure of myself I was?

Remember how I even titled the post like a tutorial {How to get your kids to sleep in their own bed...}

Let's be honest.  That lasted all of two weeks until we went on vacation and the girls and I shared a bed.  When we came back home the allure of the castle bed was long gone and there was no going back for them.

We will always remember those two weeks though.  And nothing in life is without consequence. 

Actually, it's hard to forget them since we have a lasting souvenir due to arrive at the end of April as a memento of those two weeks.

Yep.  Chamanda III is on his or her way.

It's been an entirely different experience this time around.  Maybe its because I'm 5 years older or maybe its been long enough since the last one that I forgot how brutal being pregnant was but I've been struggling.

It hasn't helped that it coincided with my busiest/highest travel month of the year at work.

So that's why I haven't been around as much.  I've got no new projects.  I arrived an hour early to a doctor's appointment and chose to just take a nap in the car verses perusing the aisles at Target. 

I've just been three states in two weeks (4 if you count layovers)...

But we're excited about this new adventure and the chance to experience that sweet baby stage one more time.

So, if you see me in real life and I look terrible with un-flat-ironed hair and no make you know why.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hillbilly Tooth

Sister has been wiggling and jiggling and worrying me about this tooth for two weeks.

It finally got so loose that we were calling it her Hillbilly tooth.

I convinced her that the tooth fairy would pay extra if she waited until after picture day...and as luck would have it...she did!  (Now her school pictures will probably come back with her posing like she did in the picture above...)

The night after picture day I heard her screaming in the bathroom.  It was like a scene from Fight Club in there.  Blood everywhere.  A random tooth laying beside the sink.

"Mama, my tooth is making me throw up blood!!!"

"No, no. You are fine.  It's just your gums bleeding."  (It was a lot of blood in her defense.)

I promise y'all...there is never a dull moment around here.  Remember the first tooth she lost that went down the sink?

We got her cleaned up and she was so excited to show her teacher at school the next day!

She looks so different without that tooth!  My baby is growing up and there's nothing I can do about it! 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mother Daughter Tea Party and Health Fair

We had a little Mother Daughter Tea Party at church a couple of weeks ago.  (I am really behind on posting.)

Sister volunteered me to decorate a table.  She said it "seemed like something [I] would like."  She knows me so well. 

I drug out all my fine china, packed it up and transported it to our fellowship hall the night before the Tea Party to set up.  Each table was decorated by a different person, using their personal china, flatware and stemware.

Tea Party

I've had this china almost 10 years and this is only the second time I've used it!  That is such a shame!  I'm resolving to use it at least once a year from now on.
Tea Party

These girls were so excited to dress up and go to a "real" Tea Party.  The ones they've been to thus far have been on the floor in the living room with water in their little play tea set.
Mother Daughter Tea Party

Young and old alike donned their finest Tea Party attire. This picture of one of the teenagers at our church was too cute not to share.
And this girl slays me.

We were excited to have Granna at our table too!


We had a great afternoon at our Tea Party and learned a lot about Women's Health issues. 

I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of the food table!  We had the best little cucumber sandwiches, lemon squares and miniature pecan pies.  That's my kind of snacking but the girls would have been happier with macaroni and cheese.  McKenna leaned over a whispered in my ear, "Are we going to have any real food?"


p.s. I'm linking up to Home Stories A to Z, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, By Stephanie Lynn, I heart Naptime, Serenity Now, and It's Overflowing.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let it go!

The girls love all things Frozen.  McKenna has been scouring Etsy on my phone trying to find the perfect Elsa dress.  They are pretty hard to find without spending an arm and a leg.

One morning there happened to be a Groopdealz message in inbox with Elsa dress for less than $22!  I ordered two right away.  It took several weeks to get them but I used them as bribery for "getting up" the first two weeks of school.  It worked and McKenna actually dresses herself now as opposed to me dressing her one limb at a time while she was in a sleep coma.

They tore into the package and abandoned their clothing for the Elsa dress instead.  We popped the movie soundtrack into the DVD player and the show began.

Here's the 15 second clip I posted to Instagram. 

I have 2.5 more minutes of footage from the performance if anyone is interested.  It's pretty entertaining.

I'm so glad they still love to play dress-up.  That was always my favorite pastime when I was little.  Sister would claim that it was watching tv...but dress-up was my real favorite.  And let's be honest, I still haven't met a costume I didn't like!  I'm trying to figure out what I can be for Halloween to go along with the Elsa twins.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quick, Cheap and Easy {My favorite DIYs}

Someone asked me how I have time to do all these projects. 

Here's my confession...

If it's not quick and easy, I usually never finish it.  So for all the finished projects and tutorials on the blog there is a graveyard of half finished projects that I never finished because they took too long and I lost interest.  (I have the attention span of a 4 year old.)

So I decided to compile a list of my favorite DIY projects that were easy and fast, not too expensive and didn't require any crazy tools.

First up...My 2nd Polka Dot Wall...all you need are the vinyl dots, a level and a scrap piece of paper and twenty minutes!
Polka Dot Wall
This polka dot wall stands out in my mind because it was SO easy.  It only took 20 minutes to apply the vinyl dots to the wall and I love the way they turned out.  I painted polka dots in my laundry room and it took about 4 hours (although the wall was much larger).

Next are these oval frames that I updated with a little paint and polka dot ribbon...


You should check out the post to see what they looked like before the update.  It's amazing what a little paint can do!

Here's another easy frame makeover...
I made two of these and they are on my mantle as we speak!  Again,  it's amazing what you can do with a little paint!

This next project was really quick and simple...just a mixing of Dollar Store frames and a calendar but the end result was so cute!  I called it my DIY Art Wall.

It took less than an hour to add the chalkboard paint to my pantry.

This Mother Teresa quote was one of my first projects and it has held up great!


And this diaper cake we made at work for a co-worker is still one of my favorite projects!
most beautiful diaper cake ever

Finally, this little gift wrapping station hacked out of a pantry rack has made gift wrapping so much easier for me over the last couple of years.

Gift Wrapping Station
So these are seven of my favorite DIY projects that combine three of my favorite qualities in a, quick and easy!

Hope you are inspired to complete a quick and easy project!

p.s. I'm linking up to Home Stories A to Z, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, By Stephanie Lynn, I heart Naptime, Serenity Now, and It's Overflowing.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

First Day of Pre-K

My little Averycakes started her last year of preschool this past week.  Where does the time go?!?

We celebrated with our back-to-school breakfast.  (It looks eerily similar to the one we had for McKenna the week before.  Almost as if I just left everything sitting out on the kitchen table for over a week...)  I did switch out the books and change the chalkboard but everything else is the same.

This girl was so excited to go back to school.  Last year she went to preschool two days each week for 3 hours but this year we've moved up to 4 days each week.   
When I asked her if she wanted to go to school 4 days per week this year she said, "No! Five!"  So it's safe to say there's no where she'd rather be.

She really was not that interested in posing for a thousand pictures but we managed to get a few.  I mean...she had places to go and people to see!
When we made it to school she obliged me with one more picture.  Notice her purse.  She wants to take it everywhere.
And then she wasted no time settling into her cubby.  She wanted to use the same bookbag as last year which I thought was awesome!
And then she got down to the business of playing.  She missed those blocks all summer!
She didn't cry or even bat an eye when I left.  I kissed her on the head and she continued about her business.  I have to admit a tiny sliver of me wanted her to.
I'm going to start mentally preparing myself for the first day of Kindergarten now in hopes to avoid a nervous breakdown next year.
And that, friends, was the first day of preschool!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cooking En Masse

You may have noticed from several of my posts that I've been attempting various strategies to try to pull myself together before school started back.

This latest endeavor is no different. 

I have decided to try my hand at....

you guessed it...

cooking en masse.

Okay.  You probably wouldn't have guessed that.  But when I saw this pin on Pinterest I thought it might be something good to try.

You can read the detailed instructions here.

This is how it works.  You obtain all the ingredients and prepare all of the meals and freeze them in the freezer.  This process is supposed to take an hour.  (It took me two hours but that only confirms my suspicions that I cook twice as slowly as a normal person.)

Here are the ingredients I bought plus the meat (not pictured).

The night before you want to cook them you thaw them in the fridge and then cook them in the crock pot the following day.

So far we've eaten 3 of 7 meals.  Two of them received high marks from my husband and myself...the third was just okay.  I wanted to hold off on blogging about these until I had at least tried some of the recipes.

The finished product all stacked up in my freezer.

Here's what I like about it:
  • It keeps me from having to run to the grocery store after work.  I usually only buy enough meat for 2 or 3 meals because I never know what our schedule will be like or which set of in-laws will invite us over to eat with them on a given night.  It never fails that I am out of meat on the night we have no invitations.
  • It's ready by the time I get home!  That is awesome.
  • I use these crockpot liners so there's very little clean up.  (Side note: Don't try to use these in a Roaster.  It will melt and stick to the side of the pan.  Learn from my mishaps.)
  • I loved the all inclusive shopping list.  I spent less than $100 for the ingredients for all 7 meals, although I already had a lot of the pantry and spice items.  That is a more than I normally spend on a trip to the grocery store but I usually don't buy enough food for 7 meals either.
  • Although it took up 2 hours on a Saturday, it was well worth the time I have saved during the week, thus far anyway.  And I'm sure it would take less time next time.
Here's what I didn't like so much:
  • Most of the recipes cook in 6 hours.  I can program my crock pot to cook for any amount of time and then it switches to keep warm.  I feel like the recipe that was just okay was probably because the meat dried out on the keep warm setting before I could get home.
  • I think next time I will try this version of recipes since it has step by step instructions and also has a detailed shopping list and even has printable labels (how cute is that?!?).  It also has recipes that aren't crock pot recipes.
Like the idea of cooking en masse?  Scope out Pinterest for all sorts of posts.  I even saw one that was 40 meals in 4 hours.  I'm intrigued but thought I would try my hand with the 7 meals first before I committed to 40 meals.  They also have ideas for inviting over a friend or two and prepping together and then splitting the meals.

p.s. I'm linking up to Home Stories A to Z, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, By Stephanie Lynn, I heart Naptime, Serenity Now, Savvy Southern Style, Remodelaholic, Tidy Mom,  Living Well Spending Less and It's Overflowing.
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