Monday, October 25, 2010

Good things come to those who wait. Right?

I wasn't really sure what I should title this post.  But then I'm not really sure what I'll end up saying either... though I do hope to keep it on the nice side...

You see, approximately 6 and a half years ago I told my family that I was engaged.   I was thrilled.  They were not.  No one said a word, just stood by while they waited for what I'm sure they all expected to be a failure on my part.  At the time, I was 17, about to turn 18.  I was about to graduate from one of the top ten schools in the nation.  I had been accepted to every university I had applied to and was already talking of moving a few hours away to school.  I was the good girl, the "smart one", the one with the big future. 

But I did this crazy thing.  I fell in love.  Like, head over heels, without a doubt, this is it kind of crazy in love.  And I never even questioned giving it all up for him.  I knew I would still go to school eventually, and I knew I would still have big dreams.  But for me, he was a part of those big dreams, and I couldn't walk away from that. 

We were married a month after I graduated and turned 18.  We moved to South Carolina with the Navy and I spent the next year being a step-mom and a wife, and loving it.  Our little girl was born two months after I turned 20.  I started school before she was even a month old.  I found myself in school, with a newborn, and working as a retail manager... and still madly in love and loving my life.  And still, (almost) everyone doubted me.

Through five moves, two babies, days of complete chaos and others of simplicity, I've never lost site of my own goals.  And I am proud to say that today was my last day of my last class before completing my credit hours for my bachelors degree. 
And so, to every person who looked down on me, questioned me, belittled me.  To every family member who told me I would do nothing with my life, or looked at me with sadness in their eyes.  To every in-law (not that I'm calling anyone out here) who told me I was using my husband and would never amount to anything on my own.  To every person out there that doubted me, I have only one thing to say.

Bite. Me.

No, I didn't graduate from college when some of my high school friends did.  No, I didn't do things in the order that you expected.  But I wouldn't change that for the world. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Family Thankful Tree

I may be skipping ahead a little here... but Fall also brings us Thanksgiving, and the responsibility of teaching out little ones what being thankful is all about.  We started a tradition last year called The Thankful Tree. 

This tree is approxiametly the height of Gator, who is four now, and I plan to make it grow with her as the years go on.  We collected leaves, pressed them between clear contact paper, and used black Sharpie markers to finish the sentence "I am thankful for...".  Each leaf also has the name of the thankful person and the year.

You can't read the leaves here, because of the glare, but we have some wonderful answers, and Gator loves when we sit and read each leaf.  Last year we included are little family, Grandma, Papa, and a few aunts and uncles.  This year our tree will grow as each person is asked to add a new leaf.  I love that even family members that live far away can participate by sending their leaves or simply telling you what to write over the phone.

I love that this tree of ours is teaching our little ones that life is full of little things that we should be thankful for every day.  And it reminds us each year just how much our little ones have changed.  Last year, Gator requested two leaves.  On one she wanted "Cars and Bugs".  On the other she asked me to "just write Mommy".  Papa was grateful for "Natalie", Grandma was grateful for "having her family close to her", and I was grateful for "having the oppurtunity to stay home with my babies".  I can't wait to add leaves to our tree this year, in our new home, which of course, I will be thankful for. 

Linking to:
Home and Family Friday,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hoo Are you #19 Link Party

1.What was your favorite meal growing up?

My mom's Chili.  Growing up in Florida, there was really only a few cold months out of the year where we get to enjoy cold weather food, and I always waited for that first cold night when my mom would have a big pot of Chili cooking on the stove.  My favorite nights were the ones that we would spend bundled up in the back yard around a fire, with big bowls of Chili warming our hands. 

2. What's your favorite month?

Oh... that's a hard one!  I think I'm going to have to go with October.  The beginning of the holiday season, tights, sweaters, and Halloween!  :)

3. What store is most represented in your wardrobe?

Probably American Eagle... pretty much all of my pants are from there... just because they actually fit me!!

4. How many times do you go to the movie theater each month/year?

Almost never.  I went last... err... June?  Before that I hadn't been since I was pregnant with Gator... who is four now, by the way.  ;.I use to go to the movies pretty regularly... and then I had babies.  Maybe one day...

5. Fill in the blank- I've never been able to ___________________

Whistle!  Weird, I know, but I really can't. 


Monday, October 18, 2010

Hand Print Magnets

Well, if you've looked at my blog AT ALL before now, you may have noticed that I'm... well... shall we say... OBSESSED with my little ones tiny hands?!  And feet.  I am, I know, it's an odd addiction.  But they are growing so quickly, and I just love having so many little reminders of those tiny fingers and toes!  So here is another hand print project! 

Gator is always making something wonderful for us to display on our refrigerator door, so I felt that she needed her own special magnets! 

These took maybe 30 minutes to make, including drying time for the paint.  Super simple, which is important for me lately, because we've been crazy busy! 

We painted Gators hands with white craft paint, and stamped them both on to blue card stock paper.  After the paint dried, I wrote on her name on the left hand and "work" on the right with black Sharpie marker. 

I then cut out each hand print, and glued a square of magnet on the back of each hand. 

Gator loves having her own special magnets.  They are always in use at our house, and a set is always being used at Grandma and Papa's as well! 

Looking for a cheap and easy (but meaningful) gift for grandparents living far away??  Why not send them a set of hand print magnets with a cute letter telling them that these hands will be used to hold the items they receive in their "Art of the Month" club!!  Each month, have your little one(s) draw, color, glue, etc something special just for them, and send it off!  They will love having something so special each month, and you will love how easy it is to stay connected and let them know they are thought of!  Include a monthly picture for added smiles! 

Linking up to:Whatever Goes Wednesday, Hoo's Got Talent, It's So Stinkin Cute Thursday, Home and Family Friday

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween Partying

Sadly, this year, there will be no Halloween party for us.  We aren't in our own place, and won't be until shortly after Halloween, soooo...

instead I thought I would share some pictures and ideas from last years Halloween party.  It was a day time kiddie party, which ended with trick or treating at dark.  We all had a blast!  I wish I had snapped more pictures, but I was just too busy hosting, playing, and carting around a one month old!

Our "hay ride".  I wrapped Gator's wagon in paper and the adults took turns lugging the kiddies (and my not so little bro) around the block. 

Then we played Pin the Nose on the Pumkpin.

And dug for buried goodies in the Hay Bucket.

We had such a great time, can't wait until we get to host another Halloween party, and do it all over again!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Recipe Swapping

I'm participating in a recipe swap hosted by Megan at Kitschy Suburbia, and I'm excited!  I've never been part of a blog swap before!  I've been thinking about recipes, and I have it narrowed down to 2 of my Fall favorites, but I'm still trying to come up with one more, so total I'll be sending out 3 recipe's to 4 different people. 

I personally keep all of my recipes in files on my computer, with a few of my family favorites or traditional ones in a little journal that stays in the kitchen (more for "passing down" porpuses then actual using, I think).  BUT... for this, I want something special.  I don't want to use plain notecards, but I have no recipe cards, and I've never used recipe cards...

Any ideas on where you may buy yours or how to make cute ones on my own?  I want something fun!

Thanks ladies!  And I'll be sure to share my recipes AFTER my cards have been sent out and received... I want them to be a surprise when they get there!  I'll be sure to share some of the ones I receive as well, as I try them out! 

Hand Print Flower Pots

I'm taking a small break from Halloween decor to share a flower pot my Little's and I made for Grandma.  So simple, and Grandma adores it, of course! 

What You Need:

Any size Terracotta pot and base (we used a medium size)

Paint designed for outdoor use (found at any craft store)

Paint brush


Little hands and feet

Potting Soil


1) I choose to paint the outer rim of the base plate and the top rim of the pot. This isn't necessary, but I think it makes it all look nice and neat. Let this dry.

2) Paint little hands and feet and press on to the pot in any design you like. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

3) Spray sealer. I did two coats, letting it dry between each one. This may not be necessary, since we are using outdoor paint, but it can't hurt! Allow to dry completely, according to directions on sealant used.

4) Plant your chosen plant in the pot, and enjoy!

Ignore the bottom of the pot... this one has been outside for the last month, and obviously needs a good cleaning! :)

Linking up to:
Get Your Craft On Thursday, Cheap Thrills Thursday, Transformation Thursdays, Strut Your Stuff Thursday, It's Party Time, A Crafty Soiree, Make It Yours, Hooking Up With HOH, I'm Lovin It Fridays, Weekend Waunder

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Simple Kid Halloween Crafts

We've been crazy busy around here lately, but I have quite a few little projects in the works that I'll share soon.  My sewing machine is fixed, material has been purchased for Boo's Dopey costume, I'm less then two weeks away from finishing up my last class for my bachelors degree, Gator has a dance recital this weekend, last night was a TAPS meeting (a post on that one later), a PTA meeting, and dance class, AND my daddy's birthday.  Oh, and we're still planning for the big move of course!  So I've been a slacker mommy and a slacker blogger friend lately... I seriously have some catching up to do! 

But... I thought I would share a couple simple Halloween crafts we've done...

A little construction paper and some cotton balls can go a long way to making big smiles!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hoo Are You #18 Link Party

1. How tall are you? How tall do you WISH you were?

Lol... always a fun question.  I'm 5 feet tall... my husband swears I'm really 4' 11" and 3/4, but I really am 5 feet.   I "came to terms" with being small a long time ago, though it may be nice to be, I don't know, 5' 6" for a day just to know what it's like.

2. Do you have a birthmark? Where?

Yes, I have a small one where the bottum of my rib cage meets my stomach on the left side. 

3. What is your biggest money waster?

Food.  We grab food on-the-go far too much.  It's convenient, but always feels like we're throwing money away... and isn't the healthiest option either!

4. What song are you tired of?

Anything "Hannah Montana".  Gators dance class warms up to her first cd's, and she knows them all by heart. 

5. What stresses you out most?

Being away from my husband.  I'm a much calmer person with him.  I need the hugs, the kisses, the warm and cozy feeling his smile gives me.... sorry, back from day dreaming now.... I miss him!


Teaching About Life... One Medicine Cup At A Time

Life. Isn't. Fair. 

You don't always get what you want.  It's not always rainbows and lollipops.  Sometimes you just have to do things, because you have to, whether you want to or not. 

We don't really want our kids to know this though, do we?  We secretly want them to live in the world of rainbows and lollipops as long as they can, because truthfully, it's a long fall down from the world of perfection. 

That's why, this morning, as I stood over my daughter feeling frustrated and sad and (I admit) even a little angry I found myself struggling to explain WHY my little girl HAD to TAKE HER MEDICINE.  At four, there are reasoning skills... and reasoning skills expect explanations.  But at four, our explanations will never really be good enough. 

I explained as best I could about the allergy monsters that were living in her nose and throat and chest. I explained that the clear, sludgy, strong smelling liquid would make her feel better, and that it would keep her from feeling worse.
And so, in exasperation, Gator mumbled in the most dramatically groggy voice she could muster at 7am that "This just isn't fair". And my brilliant, make it all better answer, you may ask?
Life. Isn't. Fair.
Because, well, it isn't. And it won't be tomorrow morning, or the one after that. But with those simple words I felt a few lollipops fall from the sky and crumble at my feet.
Growing up is happening every day, all around me, and even within me if I'm totally honest with myself. And it all hinges on life lesson number #1.
Life. Isn't. Fair.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween Chain Links

Nothing fancy here, and no talent needed either!  Gator and I had fun over the weekend cutting, coloring, taping, and gluing.  We needed some craft time together, it's always so calming.  I feel like we miss out on a lot of that lately now that she is in school... don't get me wrong, I know school is great for her, she is learning so much and loves being there, adores her teachers, and has really come out of her shell with other children... but the rushing rushing rushing, and the lack of mommy daughter time... it's just a reminder of how quickly she's growing up and that she needs me a little less every day...
Goodness... this wasn't suppose to be one of those post!  Oops!  Right, back to the craftiness... sorry!

See all the cute designs Gator and I spent hours drawing on each one?  She loves that part!

Happy Monday everyone!!  Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Oreo Pumpkins - Yummy goodness for FALL!

Aren't these the cutest??  I came across them a couple days ago and had to make them.  The ones I made where eaten instantly... and I never even got a picture!  So I am borrowing Alison's picture from the original post on Oopsey Daisy
here to see the original post for easy directions.  Go on, I'll wait...

Ok, now for a couple little notes from me.
1) Double Stuff Oreos would probably be best for this, because I had a hard time fitting the pretzel between the two cookies without pushing the cookies to far apart. 
2) Put the pretzels in before the candy coating hardens, otherwise, again, there are problems with the cookie falling apart. 
3) I used white chocolate bark mixed with a little red and yellow food colorings rather than the cand melts.. just because I had those on hand already... looked the same. :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Halloween Costumes

Every other year since I have been a mom my little ones have had their outfits at least a month in advance.  Usually, it's two months.  Last year Eric was born in September, so I was slacking a little, but we still have them ready by October 1st... this year, not so much.

Gator finally decided this week that she wants to be Snow White.  She started telling everyone she was going to be Snow White, even before I had a say in the whole issue... so we now have a Snow White.  I contemplated making it... and then I bought it at Target.  And I'm totally okay with that, lol.

As for Boo... I considered a Monkey... and then I went and looked at costumes, both on-line and in stores.  He is just so darn tiny, and the costumes are all soooo big.  The 6 - 12 month costumes swallow him.

Soo... we've now decided that Gator will be Snow White and Boo will be Dopey.  Even my husband thought this was a cute idea, which surprised my a little (I expected a debate!).  Problem is, the Dopey costume will have to be made.  So I've been staring at pictures and planning it all out... and I think I'll be relying heavily on felt, lol.  But I think I can do this... right after I figure out why my sewing machine broke this morning and the needle will no longer go up and down... :/

I can do this!!  I can! I can! I can! lol... but still, wish me luck!!  I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Does anyone have any ideas on this one??  Any great tips to making this super easy?  I thought about using an over sized green turtleneck shirt but couldn't find one.  :(

Halloween Paper Dolls

Aren't these adorable??  I'm in like with them, and so is Gator!  They are a free printable from Gwen over at Gwenny Penny.  She is so awesome to share them!  The link to her blog post (where you can print these awesome little dolls and their outfits out) is here

She recommends printing them out on cardstock paper... I didn't have any white cardstock, so I printed them onto regular paper, glued them to a couple old file folders, and then cut them out.  Worked great and they're pretty sturdy.  My four year old has mastered changing them and wants to play with them constantly!  We even took them to the resturant for dinner last night and she played happily with them at the table while waiting for our food!  Yay for quite time!! :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Adorable Handprint Halloween Sign

I think this may just be a current favorite Halloween decoration.  I'm all about using my kids hands, feet, art, etc for decorations.  I love that years from now I'll still have these tiny hands!!  I found this idea here and new I had to make one.  I used both Gators and Boos hands, and when I was finished I wrote their names and the year on back and then covered the whole thing in clear contact paper, so I can keep it and use it year after year! 

All you need is contruction paper and a sharpie marker, and contact paper if you want to do it the way I did.  I had a good time deciding on faced with Gator, so much so that we went ahead and made another one of these for Grandma too!

Today I am linking too:
The Shappy Nest - Frugal Friday

Lookie Lookie! I was given an award!

A fabulous Mom and Blogger, Krista from While He Was Napping (yes, the same one I talked about yesterday, she really is that awesome) has given me my very first blog award!  So check her out, and then check out the other ladies that I feel deserve this award as well! 

The rules for this award are:
1. Post who it was that gave you the award.
2. List 10 things that you like.
3. Give this award to 10 other blogs and let them know with a comment.


1.  My awesome family
2.  Brownies
3.  Photography
4.  Playing in the snow... I'm a Florida girl, so this is a novelty!
5.  Halloween!!
6.  Sonny's BBQ
7.  The beach
8.  My Jeep Commander that my wonderful husband bought for me... yes I'm spoiled. 
9.  Crafts with my kiddos
10.  Painting

Deciding who to pass this on to was HARD!!  But I finally decided on the awesome ladies below. 
And the Happy 101 Award goes toooooo....

Ashley @ Little Miss Momma
2.  Cortney @ Cort's Stories
3.  Macey @ Olivia Renn
4.  Emmy @ Emmy Mom--One Day at A Time
5.  Tana @ Birdseeds
6.  Mamarazzi @ *Dandelion Wishes*
7.  Angie @ Create it Fabulous
8.  Fonda @ TweensToTeens
9.  Kelle @ Enjoying The Small Things
10.  Courtney @ Storing Up Treasures

These ladies ALWAYS make me smile, give me great ideas, and remind to enjoy every moment!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Look what I WON!!

I truly don't remember ever winning anything... ever...

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive an emailing telling me I WON after entering to win something I really loved and wanted on one of my favorite blogs!!  Oh my oh my, and then when it arrived on my doorstep a few days later my Gator and I tore into it like it was Christmas! :)

Isn't it awesome?! 

It's Subway Art made especially for my family by Krista over at
While He Was Napping.  It's so sweet, and so perfect to hang in our new house when we finally get moved to Texas!  I can't wait!

Want one of your own??  Go check out Krista's Etsy Store here

Seriously, check her out, her blog is full of great ideas and her Etsy is full of cutesie goodness.

The quest for the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie!

My new goal in life (I promise it's not my only one, but it's pretty high on the list right now!) is finding the best chocolate chip cookie recipe out there.  What better comfort is there then the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting out of the kitchen on a cool Fall day (or any day).  Growing up, the only chocolate chip cookies I knew were cut from a log of cookie dough.  Truthfully, the only recipe I know is the basic Nestle Toll House recipe off of the back of the chocolate chips... and I only learned that one from Home Ec in middle school! 

so begins the next journey... I'm off to find the best cookie recipe out there!  Soooo..... care to share your favorites?  Want to post on your own blog and link back here??  Let me know what you're favorites are, and I'll be sure to keep you updated as my daughter and I continue baking. 

The first (of what I hope is many) recipe... yumm!


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE in preheated 375-degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Be sure to snag my button and link back here!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Paint Chip Art... I'm in love!!

Wouldn't you love to hang this beautiful painting in your home??  I know I would.  It's gorgeous... it's colorful yet simplistic... it's... made out of paint chip samples!!  Yeah, I know, I was shocked too.  Take a moment to take it all in.  :)

I love Seven Thirty Three Blog's link parties because I always find the best idea's there, like today, when I came across this gorgeous picture. 

The owner and creator of this beautiful piece, Olivia Renn had this to say:

You know those fun paint chips you get at the hardware store, well I found a great way to use them.

I saw this tutorial on Hope Studios and I had to give it a try. It was easy and practically free.
I transformed this:

Into THIS:

I did everything she did on her tutorial except I cut the names off my paint chips and put them inside a frame. I also only used one coat of Modge Podge. It looks great in my livingroom, I love it!


Now that you're in love (like me!) you can head over to Hope Studios and check out the tutorial, and see how awesome this whole thing really is. 

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hoo Are You? #17 Link Party

1. If you could add one room to our house, what would it be?

Well, as of right now I'm not even in my house yet!  Can't wait to be though!  I think I would add another bedroom... then everyone could have their own room or it would make a great play area!  Plus a guest room would always be nice!

2. How many pillows do you sleep with at night?

Two and my husband... or three if I can't be with him!

3. What is the best costume you've ever worn for Halloween?

Hmmm.... I haven't fully dressed up in so long!  I usually just wear cat ears!  But I did dress as Cinderella my junior year in high school... big puffy prom dress and all! 

4. If you could erase one item off the face of the earth, what would it be?

My daughter has this lamb puppet that I despise... every time the mouth opens it yoddles loud enough to burst ear drums... yet she loves the darn thing!

5. Where do you do your best thinking?

In the shower!  Long showers make me a very happy momma. 


Real life took over...

Sorry for the disappearing act.  These past few days have been a bit hectic!  I spent most of this weekend doing school work (don't let anyone tell you that psychology electives will be a breeze!!), and running from place to place like a crazy person trying to get a few things done... I did squeeze in a couple cute Halloween crafts with the little people though!  Yay!  So I do have some new post int he making for this week!  I think I'm all caught up in the blogashere for now... now to try to stay that way!

Yesterday was my Gators first field trip... so Boo and I off course tagged along!  It was her first time riding the bus too, so I followed behind the whole way there and the whole way back, and was a nervous wreck!  Good thing I love and trust her teacher! 

We went to the Hands on Children's Museum, and chaos was all around as the kids played, jumped, slid, ran, and tumbled all over the place.  Tired kiddos by the time we left, but fun was had by all (even Boo!!). 

I took over 140 pictures yesterday!   Yes, I am crazy, lol.  But my Gator will never be short on memories, or on photographic reminders of them!