Sunday, July 24, 2011

Adventure Awaits!

**UPDATE- I'm linking up with Tatertots and Jello's Weekend Wrap Up Party, so I wanted to add a few more notes on the party!**

I missed Anna-Kate's birthday post, but I will add that one very soon! Derek installed a new operating system on my computer and it took most of the week! I'm grateful to have my computer back! 

For those of you who don't love the long picture posts, this one might not be for you! :) 

Saturday was Anna-Kate's birthday party! 

She decided on an "Up" theme party like this one


I knew she really chose this party because of the balloons and I wanted to customize it, so I came up with our own twist on this party. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out! Anna-Kate had a blast and that's really what it was all about!

I decided on using a silhouette just because I love how beautiful they are and I thought it would blend and add a classic feel to the fun and funky chevron pattern I love so much. Both the chevron pattern and silhouettes are really in right now and I could not be more excited about that! I found a silhouette of a little girl blowing bubbles and decided to edit it on Adobe Illustrator. Then I merged that with a clip art of some balloons. I had to clean up the clip art because it was done in a sketchy style. I was able to fill in the balloons with the colors of her party too!

I used the same design for most all of her party printables, except for the birthday banner (I've got a close up in a picture below). The birthday banner has three alternating styles, chevron, polka dot and stripe. All were the same colors so that they blended well!

I envisioned twice as many balloons, but living in such a small town, I had to make due with my resources available here! I love the way it turned out though! 

My sister picked up some tubs and bowls from Target on her way here. I'm so grateful we made the last minute decision to get those because they really look great with the decor! Plus, I saved them and I can use the tubs for storage in Anna-Kate's room! 

I loved these marshmallows! I bought the large Campfire brand so the marshmallows were huge! These are super easy and quick to make too. I just melted almond bark in the microwave and dipped. Then I used some sprinkles to add a little color. I got so lucky and was able to find a set of sprinkles that matched her colors perfectly! 

You might can see the little tissue paper pom pom garland on the fence. I wish that I had taken a better picture of it because I loved the way it turned out. I just made lots of tiny pom poms and I didn't worry about them all being the same size. Then I just tied them onto twine. Simple and inexpensive but really adds to the decor!

My wonderful sister made these delicious cake pops for me! I will try to share the recipe for the cake- oh my word it was delicious! They were dipped in white almond bark that was tinted pale yellow. We used a few pearl sprinkles to give them a little flair too. I stuck the cake pops (and tootsie pops) in styrofoam that we cut to the size of the bowl. Then we wrapped pink tulle around the styrofoam. I think they are pretty cute!

My sister also found these popcorn boxes at Hobby Lobby for me too! (I wish we had a Hobby Lobby here so bad!!)

I am one lucky girl to have such an awesome sister! :)

We also gave the cake pops as party favors (along with a marshmallow popper and a balloon!) 

I wish I had a better picture of her cute birthday banner hanging! (I have a close up of the first three letters at the end of the post but that's all!) I just hung a line of twine and then used clothespins to pin the letters up individually!

My friend Joanna made these awesome marshmallow poppers from Real Simple magazine's website.  They were a HUGE hit with the kids and adults! So much fun! You can find the tutorial here. She said they were really... simple to make! ha!

Anna-Kate's friend Savanna playing with the popper. 

Too much fun!

It was still just a little too light outside to see the movie and I never got a picture of the "screen" but Derek worked hard to get it all set up and running! The screen was really simple to do. We had an extra white flat sheet and we hung that over some twine and used clothespins to secure it. 

 I got brave this year and thought since it was such a simple cake that I would try to make it myself. I've always been horrible at icing cakes, but I bought a few extra tools to help me out. Plus I had my sister there to help make everything look pretty. :) 

Anna-Kate and Derek are choc-a-holics, so the bottom two layers were dark chocolate fudge (by Dunan Hines- seriously one of the most moist cakes out there...) and the top two layers were french vanilla (also by Duncan Hines). I actually baked the cakes, let them cool and then used a leveling tool to make sure they were the same height and flat. Then I wrapped them and froze the layers for easy icing!

The night before the party I made my icing (buttercream, of course) and then pulled the cake out of the freezer and iced it!

I have to explain my little family candle tradition. (Until I married Derek I did not realize this was unique) In my family growing up we always had three special candles- no matter how old we were. Once we got too old to have candles for every year we pretty much just had three. One for past, one for present and one for future. I still keep that tradition going on, so Anna-Kate actually had seven candles!

Anna-Kate had lots of help opening her gifts! 

Thomas was absolutely amazing the whole time! He mostly laid on the blanket and tried to watch the movie. He was really sweet to sit near Anna-Kate when she opened her gifts. 

She was one tired party girl! 

After she opened her gifts there was one that she and her friends wanted to open so bad! It had lots of little pieces, so Derek and I both told her to wait. However, all of the girls snuck inside and went to play in her room. When I went in to check on them they said "We're sorry we opened her toy up" haha. Then Derek's sister said "We didn't know you were going to come in here!" It was too funny! 

It didn't really get dark enough to watch he movie until around the time everyone left. I think when it cools off we will try to do a family movie night! 

I knew that Anna-Kate loved her party and that really is what my goal was. Planning and organizing the party is lots of fun, but it would not be anything if the birthday girl didn't enjoy it! This is such a fun age and I'm looking forward to life with my little 4-year old!! 

I'm so thankful for everyone that came and made her party special! My sister and dad came in from Tennessee to help me get ready- they were a huge help! My friend Joanna made the marshmallow poppers and Anna-Kate's adorable balloon shoes! Derek's mom helped me print off all of the things for her party that I had designed! I could not have pulled this off without all of the help!! 

I'm linking up to: 



Click on the pictures and join in the fun!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday and Update on Baby Maddox

I'm loving that it's been a really great week so far and that we are almost to the weekend!! I'm looking forward to getting a lot done for Anna-Kate's birthday party! 

I'm loving that every morning when I leave my house and every evening when I leave work I get to walk outside to my beautiful car. And that sometimes I make up an excuse to go somewhere so I can drive in it! :) 

I'm loving my new roadside find!! Sunday night, I noticed someone had set a wicker chair by the side of the road. Normally I wouldn't think twice about this but it just so happens that my mother- in-law just repaired her wicker, so I knew she could help me give this chair a facelift! I wish I had taken a picture of this chair, I'll try to snag one soon! It's got the neatest detail! I'm already planning on painting it and adding a cute cushion for Anna-Kate's room makeover in a few months! 

I'm loving the amazing things I'm finding on Pinterest! 

How about this sewing kit? Anna-Kate always wants to do what I'm doing- whether's it's baking or clipping coupons! I love the idea of giving her something to work on while I'm trying to learn how to sew. 
I wish I had seen all of these amazingly creative and unique kitchen ideas! I probably wouldn't have been able to create something this cute, but I'd like to think I might have tried to!

I love this idea of doing a yearly photo. I might just have to try this with Anna-Kate soon! 

I'm (reluctantly) loving that Anna-Kate will be 4 in less than a week!! I can't get over how big she is. She's the sweetest, funniest little girl. We have been richly blessed with such a wonderful daughter!

I'm loving my sweet husband of 5 years (on Friday)! I can't believe it's already been 5 years! I'm so proud of the hardworking, supportive man I'm with! :) 

What are you loving? Link up here and share!! 

I just wanted to update on baby Maddox! He is doing well right now. They did an MRI last night and the results were good! They showed no signs of a learning disability, just some possible delays with motor skills. He is also off the feeding tube and drinking from a bottle! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Swimming Fun!

I can't believe it, but today was my first time swimming this summer! With the 100+ degree weather, it was the perfect evening to go! 

Actually I attempted to go when my sister's came into town, but we got rained out. 

Thomas and Anna-Kate have been a couple of times already. So far Thomas was not having anything to do with the water and he would not leave the top step! 

He would just sit on the edge and drop himself in! Thankfully, Derek and I were always there. 
Tonight he was a little water baby! He was so funny and brave! If he wanted something he would just go after it- I had to watch him like a hawk! 

Anna-Kate and Kristen had lots of fun playing in the pool too! 

We are so thankful for wonderful friends that let us come over and swim! :) 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Monday-Week 27

I have no clue what week we're on!! But I know it's been way too long! 

Here's what's cooking this week: 

Spinach and Chicken Lasagna

Homemade Pizza

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (my sister's recipe!) 

Ham and Cheese Sandwiches 

Breakfast- eggs, sausage, home made biscuits and gravy 

What's on your menu this week? 

Comment below and share! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekend Happenings and A Prayer Request

Friday I came home from work to this little beauty...

After my Corolla was totaled I knew I wanted a minivan! I guess I'm on my way towards becoming a soccer mom, but I don't mind at all! 

Derek and I have spent a good portion of the weekend playing with all of the features and driving all around! 

Anna-Kate was super excited about "her" minivan too! 

Friday night, Kristen spent the night with us but the girls were so worn out from playing all day that they went right to sleep. This was a big step for Kristen because for a long time she has not wanted to spend the night away from home! 

Saturday we played around and then loaded everyone up for some Chick-fil-a. The girls had a great time playing, but Thomas was traumatized by a little girl who was much bigger than everyone and decided to play "monster!" 

The girls and Thomas napped and played the rest of the afternoon while I ran to the store with Derek's mom. We might have stopped by Hancock's fabric (which has gotten a refreshing little makeover). 

When I got home, Amanda and Jackson came over just in time to make peanut butter play dough with us!  The girls liked it, but they mostly just ate it. haha. It was really nice to get some time with Amanda, despite all of the chaos! 

I've gotten terrible at taking a lot of pictures, but I did manage to snag a few pictures at lunch today! 

Sorry for the gross food in his mouth! I just thought his face was too funny! 

This is all I could get Anna-Kate to do! haha! 
Tonight we had a sandwich and homemade ice cream supper after church. We brought chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream! Yummy! I love homemade ice cream! 

It's been a great weekend! I'm looking forward to a good week and then party prep all next weekend! 

I do have a prayer request from my church back home: 

Scot and Heather Baker and their new baby boy, Maddox. He had a very traumatic birth and is in the NICU being closely monitored. 

You can read about Maddox and follow his story here

I think that the main concern is that his umbilical cord was severed and they are not sure how long he was without oxygen. He has had a few seizures and they are worried about his brain. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Show Us Your Life and Fat Off Fridays :)

I'm linking up with two blogs today! 

First, Kelly's Korner is sharing Favorite Side Dish recipes and I had to share a family recipe! 

**Warning... I might be posting about weight loss right below this, but this recipe is not healthy! :) 

Nearly every Thanksgiving and Christmas we have this dish but it is SO incredibly easy that I throw it together all the time! If I'm in a big hurry, I just mix it together in the dish I'm going to bake it... how easy is that?! 

Corn Pudding

1 can Whole Kernel Corn
1 can Cream Corn
1 stick of Butter, melted
8 oz Sour Cream
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

That's it! Just mix it all together and then bake it at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until it is set in the center and slightly browned on top. 

If your dish is shallow, then it'll take less time to bake. I seem to always forget and put it in a deeper dish, so it takes me a little longer to bake. 

My Aunt makes this with fresh corn- I can't wait to try it that way! YUM! 

Okay, so before you make this dish... hop over to Amanda's blog and join in with her weight loss journey! 

It's been a few weeks since I've joined in and shared my progress with weight loss. 

I've not been terribly consistent with eating healthier and exercise. It seems like we have just been on survival mode the last several weeks! I'm looking forward to a little extra time so I can build in a morning or evening walk... and maybe a run! 

Despite those troubles, I have significantly cut down on my portion sizes and am still drinking mostly water. I take a 32 oz and 24 oz bottle of water with me to work and if I drink both of those I'm happy. If I drink those, I really don't worry about what else I drink, but mostly I choose water. 

With just those little changes I've lost 15 pounds total! 

I've had a bad week sticking to my diet and even trying to eat smaller portions, but I have not gained any weight, so I'm grateful for that. 

This week, I'm going to try to walk at least one evening! Hopefully I can stick to that goal! Even if I just lose a pound this week, I'll be happy! I've still got 35 more pounds to go! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I am SO glad to be back!! 

I'm loving that we had a wonderful, long, holiday weekend! We spent Saturday shopping, cleaning, cooking (peach crisp), grilling (beef tenderloin-yum!) and spending quality time with family and friends! 

I'm not loving that I got sick on Saturday night and so that's all I did this weekend- except rest! Thank goodness we had a busy, fun Saturday! :) 

I'm loving Stephanie and her wonderful little invite to Pinterest. I've seen several people on there but just didn't get the whole idea... didn't take me too long to see that and now I'm hooked! Don't search me just yet, I have NO clue what I'm doing! ha! 

I'm loving how well Anna-Kate's party is coming together!! A few months ago, Anna-Kate chose the movie 'Up' as her theme, based off this amazing party here. I wanted to personalize it a bit since I knew she picked the party because of all the balloons and not the movie itself. (She's probably seen it twice...) I don't want to spoil it for you, but here's her party invitation that I am proud to say I designed from scratch! :) 

I'm loving that we were finally able to recover our dining chairs! I was so nervous that my fabric wasn't going to make it! I hope to have a better picture eventually but I couldn't wait to share how cute they were! 

I'm loving my sweet babies! They have grown so much. I love to watch them play and interact every day! 

I'm loving that Anna-Kate finally drew herself! It is absolutely adorable! I have yet to get her to draw herself again though. 

I'm loving my amazing hubby! We are celebrating 5 years in just ten days! I'm so proud of him! He has been working so hard to get his business growing and today he found out that he was selected "new financial advisor of the month" in his region! (I know he won't love that I shared that- ha!) 

What are you loving? Link up and share! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jumping Right In

It has been a busy, busy summer around here! I've got so many things I want to share but for now, I really want to tell you some exciting news! 

Derek and I have decided that I'm going to be staying at home in August! My last day of work is July 29. 

This is huge for me! You may remember when I decided that I was happy staying at home. I had struggled with trying to go back to work or figuring out how to enjoy staying at home. Once I finally felt like I had a good routine and was really enjoying my time at home, we started feeling a lot more financial strain

I was so blessed with the job I found. I've been happy there, but I have missed every thing about staying at home. I felt like I spent a year trying to hone in on my inner domestic diva and I had just begun to find it and then I had to start working. Juggling the household duties and the children and work has been a huge challenge. I am going to miss the wonderful ladies that I work with. When you work in close quarters, you really get to know a person. I've made some strong bonds and I know that God put those women in my life for a reason.

I feel like I have a renewed sense of appreciation for the gift of staying at home. I am so excited to grow and take on new responsibilities. I love the possibilites of where the next year is going to take us. Most importantly I am looking forward to being the one who is with my children and having an active role in what they are learning and doing everyday. 

Thomas is going to be with me, but Anna-Kate will be back at school the second week of August. I am so excited about being more available to her this year. I am so grateful that I will be the one who drops her off and picks her up! I am looking forward to hearing all about her day. 

In September I am going to start teaching at a Mother's- Day- Out- type of school. It is only on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Thomas gets to come with me! I will have two year olds. Thomas does not quite meet the age requirements (by two months) but he still gets to come with me. I am so excited about that! He spent several months at day care and he was the oldest in his "class". He will be the youngest in my class, so I think he is going to learn a lot! I'm really happy that he gets to be with me and still gets to have good social interaction. 

I have learned so much the past year about what I want out of life. I never thought that I'd want to stay at home and I never thought I'd be so excited about cleaning and cooking! ha! I truly feel like God has guided me to this point. I am excited to take on a new role... again! :) 

Please, hang with me and my lack of blogging over the next three or so weeks. I promise that I will be back in full force very soon! 
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