A Seaworld Birthday

I love throwing parties, but I’m an “all-in” type of party-thrower.  If I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it right, and you bet it’s gonna be themed.  I had a blast planning all three of my kids’ first birthday bashes.  Even though they will never remember, I had a great time planning them, and I think the neighbors enjoyed themselves too.  But, after three kids who have birthdays spread throughout the year, I just can’t do big parties every year.  So we decided to only do big stuff on big birthdays.  You know, the milestones.How we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayHow we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayExcept, we broke the rule immediately when Jayna’s birthday request was to get her ears pierced and get “anything American Girl” as a gift.  For her 7th birthday.  Not a milestone.  But we splurged anyway, and I whisked her to see my sister in Atlanta for the weekend; where we went to the zoo, had lunch at the American Girl Store and got her {and her doll’s} ears pierced.  A big birthday, as far as I was concerned.Seaworld has many indoor exhibits {including a shark tunnel!}, so it is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoSo naturally, when Millie’s 5th birthday {a milestone!} rolled around in August, we felt like she needed something special as well.  Millie’s birthday always kind of sneaks up on me, as it’s usually the first week or so of school, so we are settling into new schedules and routines.  But this year, I had a wedding on my side!  My sister, Loo, had her wedding date set for Labor Day weekend in Florida, and we were already going to have to pull the kids from school for that.  So Dave and I decided to drop Jayna and Lincoln off at my parents’ house, and head to Orlando with Millie to celebrate her birthday at Seaworld.How we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayHow we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayMillie, being the typical middle child, never gets alone time with us.  She always has a sibling hanging around, and kind of gets lost in the shuffle.  So spending the entire day at Seaworld being the focus of attention from both parents was a perfect birthday celebration for her!How we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayAnd Seaworld was the perfect park to take her to.  Unlike Disney, there aren’t a ton of rides at Seaworld.  They have three big coasters there, which cater to the mopey teenager who is getting dragged along on the family vacation….I don’t think I even reached their height requirements!  And since Millie isn’t big on the rides anyway, she adored the shows and animals.Seaworld has many indoor exhibits, so is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoThe animals and silly shows at Seaworld make it the perfect park to take a 2-5 year old who may be too small for rides at other Orlando theme parks.We added on the dining plan for the day, which ended up being a good value for us.  We were there from park opening til closing, so we got all three meals included, as well as as many snacks as we wanted.  And since it was a special day, I didn’t even flinch when Millie ordered Fanta and a bowl of cookies for her snack.  Rest assured, she also made some healthy choices, a bowl of watermelon and a cup of strawberries throughout the day too!We splurged on the Seaworld DIning plan and found that it was a great deal for our trip. Read more tips and about our experience at Seaworld.For $10, we also got the “Animal Dining Plan.”  This consisted of tickets to exchange for food to give to the sting rays, the sea lions and the sharks.  Our favorite was the rays….we are a little partial to them, I suppose.  Millie loved their silky feel as they glided by.  Throwing sardines to the sea lions, was a noisy affair, but they were fun to watch as they barked and argued over the fish flying at them…even though half of the fish were swooped up by birds who were watching our every move.  Millie loved petting the sharks, but feeding them was totally anti-climatic.  I think they were already well feed…they didn’t seem to care about our offering!For $10, Seaworld gives you food to feed sharks, stingrays and sea lions....great interactive activity for cheap!For $10, Seaworld gives you food to feed sharks, stingrays and sea lions....great interactive activity for cheap!And I know it is a controversial program, but we really enjoyed the Shamu show.  I was eager to take at least one kid to Seaworld while they are still there, since they are discontinuing the Orca program.  And being able to see them up close really heightened our appreciation of them.  They are so, so big…and beautiful!  It was really magical getting to see them swimming and jumping.Since the Shamu show and Orca program is being discontinued, it was our last chance to see these majestic creatures up close at Seaworld.Another stroke of luck was the weather.  Since we didn’t have any flexibility regarding the date we went to Seaworld {since we were on our way to a wedding!}, we ended up going on the day that Tropical Storm Hermine was hitting the lower Southeast.  As we stayed in touch with our rained-in neighbors back in South Carolina to check on the house and dog, we were enjoying a cloudy Thursday at Seaworld…in an almost empty park.  We didn’t have to wait for anything, and the rain held out all day!Seaworld has many indoor exhibits, so is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoAnd since there were hardly any other people there, we had most indoor places just about to ourselves.  We especially liked the sea turtle and manatee aquarium…we not only got a guided tour, but also a private showing of the 4D movie from the perspective of a baby sea turtle.Seaworld has many indoor exhibits, so is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoThe arctic exhibit and the penguin house were also great exhibits to spend time in, although visiting the freezing, open air penguin exhibit might not have been the best place to visit right after riding the one “Splash Mountain” type ride.  Millie was soaked, and therefore immediately freezing!  But she was super cute in the gift shop afterwards, picking out baby belugas and macaroni penguins to bring home to her siblings.Seaworld has many indoor exhibits, so is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoI was initially kind of disappointed to find out that the park closed at 6pm, but it turns out that we had plenty of time to do everything we wanted to do, and not be completely exhausted.  We headed back to the hotel, and while Dave did some work stuff, Millie and I enjoyed the pool and the lobby.  Turns out we are completely entertained by free coffee, aquariums and Seaworld/Disney brochures.How we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthday

We had a fantastic 24 hours with our Middle Little to celebrate her 5th birthday at Seaworld!  Happy Birthday Millie!

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Summerville Farmers Market

One of my favorite things to do on Saturday mornings is to wander the Summerville Farmers Market.  It’s your typical Southern small town farmer’s market, with banjo pickers, popsicles and miles of fresh veggies grown just up the street.  Even it’s location {tucked behind Town Hall on Main Street} stereotypes the small town atmosphere!  The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeThe Summerville Farmers Market forms a loop around First Citizen’s Bank, with street and garage parking within feet of the market.  It also backs up to Short Central, which is a little cobblestoned street lined with boutique stores and cafes….a perfect stop for lunch after perusing the handmade goodies at the market.  The Summerville Farmers Market is open 8am-1pm on Saturdays, April through December, with live music starting at 10am each week.

Staying true to the picturesque stereotype…you’ll see toddlers and elderly couples dancing to bluegrass, kids with  King of Pop popsicle juice running down their chin, and dogs trotting beside Radio Flyer wagons full of flowers.  It seems like everyone knows everyone, and people are just as content to mingle and “window shop” as to truly do their weekly produce shopping.The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeAlthough it is totally worth a trip out to Summerville to experience it for yourself, I thought I’d give you a quick tour of some of my favorite vendors in the loop.  Just past the live music and face painting, you come to the gourmet food booths.  Honey, bread, spices and pizza sauce, just to name a few.  Click on the pictures to visit each vendor’s website.The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeThe Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeNot pictured above, the line of about a dozen people patiently waiting for fresh pasta and ravioli from Rio Bertolini’s…. who regularly sells out!The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeThe Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeI love all of the unique gift ideas that you can find all in one place at the Summerville Farmers Market.  As a handmade small business owner, I can really identify and appreciate the commitment and passion they have for their creations.  You can regularly see the craftsmen working on products or personalizing merchandise right there on the spot.  You’ll find wood products, all natural soaps and creams {that are awesome for eczema!}, handmade children’s clothing and accessories, candles, and even dog treats!The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeTucked in a little cul-de-sac of vendors is some fresh coffee from Summerville’s own Coastal Coffee Roasters, some jarred goods, and my girls’ personal favorite, KB’s Unique Creations.The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlife She handmakes all of her cork ornaments and bottle cap necklaces.  But our favorites to look at are her clothespin magnets.  A perfect gift for a teacher, each set is themed and has a magnet on the back to make it that much more versatile for refrigerators and chalkboards.The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeAbout this time on the loop, my littles usually start to itch for a snack, so we head for my preference {Kettle Corn Popcorn}…but really it’s a tough choice with all of the fresh and yummy goodies to choose from!The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeThe Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeRound the corner, just past the Lil Red Barn food truck, you’ll pass a couple antique cars and then you come upon the gardeners.  Flowers down the entire length of the street, ready for planting and already arranged and ready for your kitchen table.The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeThe Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeAs you peruse the pallets of greenery and pops of color, listen for the “whirrrrr, pop!” of the 1917 Meadows Grist Mill that The Flying Farmer uses to grind yellow corn into grits and meal right on site.The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeAnd suddenly, we’re in the homestretch of produce.  Our garden produces so much, that I usually don’t buy much…but it’s admittedly my favorite part of the Summerville Farmers Market.  Row after row of colors, blending one booth into another.  It’s hard to tell who you are buying from, not that it really matters…everything is beautiful and fresh and local.  My kids beg to taste the sweet raspberries and blackberries.  They are equally mesmerized by the different shapes and colors of some produce that they haven’t tried yet.  Promises of trying new foods come flying gout of their mouths as they persuade me to buy a few bags worth….we’ll see.  But hopefully, picking out their own food will encourage them to take one more bite of those collards….The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlifeWandering the Summerville Farmers Market has become one of our family weekend traditions.  In the midst of house projects, birthday parties and softball games that divide up our weekends… spending Saturday mornings as a family while supporting local businesses is how we stay grounded!

The Summerville Farmers Market is straight out of a chick-flick featuring a small Southern town! Take a quick tour of our favorite booths and products. #farmersmarket #Summerville #CMB #SouthCarolina #smalltownlife

Camp RaKuhn

If you didn’t already know, I am kind of a dork.  The only jokes I know are cheesy.  I can recite random lines from movies.  And I love me a good mash-up of two names.  So when I randomly tried to get the attention of my kids as well as my friend Betsy’s….it came out “Ray-Kuhn kids, let’s go!”  And, Camp RaKuhn was born.  Complete with a raccoon mascot, of course.We normally go somewhere to see each other every summer {either Montreat, NC or West Jefferson, NC}.  So when Betsy and her crew decided to come to our house for a week instead this year, the pressure was on to create the same kind of memories we do each year together.  Crafts galore, outings, porch sitting, splashing in creeks.Too bad all of our bodies of water have gators, we literally could not fit all 8 of us in a single vehicle for outings, and our porch is hot and dirty.  I was feeling discouraged.  I was worried Camp RaKuhn at our house was going to be a bust.

But, with a little last minute prep from Dave, we were able to transform our back porch into a lantern-lit, canvas-curtained, coffee-cozy retreat that Betsy and I were able to sit on while the kiddos came and went.  It was a great in-between for yard play and house play.We managed to get a couple of outings in over the week.  The big trip was to Bee City, our favorite little local petting zoo.  The price is right, the animals are so sweet, and there is something new every time.  The kids had a blast!I’m not sure if you can count the grocery store and the pool as outings, but we sure were a spectacle while traveling.  One mama loaded up with all 6 kids under 7, plus supplies….and the other one laughing and posting to Instagram….The nice thing about being local for our staycation is that Bets and I were able to sneak out  for an afternoon alone, thanks to a babysitter and naptime!  So naturally, we went to Walmart and Hobby Lobby.Our final group outing was to Cracker Barrel in town, where we had a lovely last-brunch before Betsy and the girls hit the road to head back north.  And just a few more photos….after all, the kids were sporting their brand new Camp Rakuhn tee-shirts!The tee-shirts were SO easy to make.  We worked on them a little each night {we had 6 to make after all!}, and customized each shirt with different colored lettering.  I’ll show you how we did it in another post, but we were able to find numerous images of the same cute little raccoon doing different things, so we’ll have shirts again next year!!Overall, I think Camp RaKuhn was a hit, and as soon as they got here and the kiddos all just jumped right back where they left off last year, I stopped stressing about activities.  One day, they literally entertained themselves for 45 minutes making the babies run back and forth between them!Upcycled Sock Donuts using Puffy Paint, Felt and SocksThey were more than content to just play with each other…although the Sock Donut Shop was also a hit!  Betsy and I got many hours of coffee and catching up, as well as out fill of crafts at night.Til next year, my dear!

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First Day of School Jitters

Whelp, here’s the obligatory “First Day of School” post.  As if you didn’t see enough of my kiddos on Instagram and Facebook this week!  The past few weeks have been a blur of busyness, school shopping, and sibling nit-picking.  Pretty typical for the end of summer in most houses, I’d like to think.

But now, the school year has officially started, and all three are in new classes and new schools.

Jayna and Millie started 2nd and Kindergarten at a brand new school up the street.  It was a little dicey whether it would open on time, but we had Meet the Teacher on Sunday afternoon and the kids were ready to roll on Monday morning.First Day of School 2016They hyped up the new school opening with a balloon arch, a “photo op” backdrop, and their own hashtag!  The girls were more than happy to pose with their best friends while we waited for the doors to open for the first day of school.Rockstars on the First Day of SchoolI was a little nervous about Millie’s transition to “Big School,” especially since it was a completely new environment {she had at least visited Jayna’s old school a few times}.  And the school itself was only about 80% done by the first day of school…safe for kids, but not as inviting as an established building with cubbies and colorful bulletin boards.  But I know it will get there, and I’m just happy the school opened on time!!The First Day of School (and Kindergarten!)Millie’s teacher, Ms. Miller, is a veteran teacher, and happens to be married to one of the developers of the new development where the new school is located.  So she’s familiar with the plan for the new community, and felt like she was meant to find a home in the new school too.  She seemed truly excited for the school year, and I found it endearing that she still gets choked up meeting her new little ones even after teaching for 20-some years!First Day of School and 2nd gradeAgain, it might be just because the school barely opened in time, but Jayna is in a Big Kid classroom this year.  No carpet squares.  No colorful calendar for Circle Time.  Real desks instead of tables.  Jayna’s teacher, Ms. Cushman, transferred over from our old school, but we don’t know anyone that had her….so it’s a blank slate!  Jayna is thrilled to have a neighborhood friend in class with her, and can’t wait for Reading and Writing time {surprise, surprise….}.First Day of School in the Two Year Old ClassLincoln had his Meet the Teacher on Monday, after his big sisters went to school.  My little guy had no problems acclimating, making fast friends with another handsome blondie, and mastering the peg puzzles that were out on the floor.  He was ecstatic about the dress-up clothes, which should please Dave because there were waaaaaay more Firefighter/Doctor/Superhero outfits than Princesses!  And I am thrilled that his teachers, Ms. Lianne and Ms. Christy, are friends of mine from when Jayna was a baby at CDC too!I took the traditional “before school” picture, that I have taken with all the kids each each they start CDC.  And I managed to dig up the girls’ pictures from their first day of the 2-year old class.  It’s fun to see them when they are all the same age!It's always reassuring to get a mid-day pic of a smiling kid on the First Day of School! #teacherwinI have to say, as a parent with a Little at school for the first time, it was so reassuring to get a {SMILING!!!} picture in the middle of the day.  Linc barely kissed me goodbye at drop-off before he ran over to join friends.  And when I picked him up, he didn’t want to leave!  He even told me in the car that he was going to “take a nap and THEN go to ‘cool again!”.  Needless to say, I think they ALL are going to have a fantastic school year!

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Weekend Wedding in Atlanta

Last month, we went to one of Dave’s cousins’ wedding in Atlanta.  We had a blast….and took ALOT of pictures.  I’ve been editing every night trying to get this post out to you!  Dave comes from a HUGE family, most of whom live in the Atlanta area.  So when his cousin Abby got married, we packed up our clown car and headed west.

We don’t get to see everyone very often, but Dave has a bunch of cousins that are our age, and then all of our kids, who are about the same age as well.  It’s amazing how kids who haven’t seen each other in years {or ever!} can pick up immediately and become best friends…at least for the weekend!The girl cousins pose before the wedding in Atlanta!We started the weekend hanging out with the family at one of the Aunt’s houses.  The girls hung out with the bride and played piano, the bigger ones played board games in the basement, and the boys rough and tumbled all over the house!  And the adults talked…and talked…and talked…

Friday, we had kind of a free day as half of the cousins went to bridal luncheons and hair appointments.  So, naturally, we went to the mall.  And immediately spent way too much money on the first thing that we saw….trampolines.  We harnessed the girls up and video-taped their every jump for the next 10 minutes.  Millie enjoyed jumping all over the place, and *ahem,* trying to flip. Jayna caught on to the flipping right away, and I got dizzy just watching her!

On Saturday, we spent the morning napping and swimming…my perfect vacation!  And it was a good thing we rested up, because the reception turned out to be quite the party.

The reception was held in this old converted train depot…huge chandeliers, exposed brick, and the wood bathroom stall doors were even gorgeous!Our weekend away for the wedding in Atlanta! Cousins, dancing and a Photo Booth of course!And the groom’s cake was so cool, featuring a Georgia Tech stadium complete with a real jumbo-tron!The traditional cake, and the groom's "cake" for the wedding in Atlanta....a Georgia Tech stadium with truffles as spectators and an iPad Jumbo-tron!But the highlight of the wedding in Atlanta was the Photo Booth.  I just can’t.  The kids were so stinkin’ adorable in that booth!  And it was set up in a way that I was able to sneak behind the camera and get some priceless shots!Our weekend away for the wedding in Atlanta! Cousins, dancing and a Photo Booth of course!These three were immediately pros…especially when it came to silly faces.  I guess all 4ish year-old kids are naturals when it comes to silly faces.Our weekend away for the wedding in Atlanta! Cousins, dancing and a Photo Booth of course!Little Lincoln {in his adorable bow-tie!} spend the evening with a full dance card….all the ladies wanted to boogie with him, but his favorite was “Princess” Abby!Our weekend away for the wedding in Atlanta! Lil' Man has a crush on the bride! Everyone had a blast dancing the night away!  We can’t wait to hang out with the whole family again soon!

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How to Drive this Mama Crazy

Having three kids, a husband, a dog and a house has changed me.  For the better, I’d like to believe.  I mean, compared to when I was a single 20-something living alone, I cook more, am more responsible, and way more frugal.  However, I feel like my anxiety levels have been amped since having children.  I’m not quite a hot mess {yet}, but there are little things now that stress me out…and often push me over the edge.10 Ways to Make Mama Crazy #quirky #OCD #anxiety #humor #parentingHere are my top ten things that give me a slight twitch.

1.  The dog barking.  And she does so….a lot.  I mean, a mouse farts in Cleveland and my dog is going crazy.

2.  Cracked doors.  A door is meant to be open or shut…there is no in-between.  And I simply cannot sleep if the bathroom door is open at all.

3.  Things on the floor.   Shoes, clothes, toys.  Pick them up for crying out loud….because 9 times out of 10 I am carrying something or someone, and can’t see the crap that you’ve left on the floor until I step on it.  {Darn you, Legos!}

4.  A messy playroom.  I’m not sure why this room stresses me out so much.  Maybe its the level of clutter, or the reminder of all of the materialist plastic “stuff” we own {that is mostly unplayed with or broken}…but I. Just. Can’t.

5.  Tapping.  Whether it be my toddler banging on the table, my handy hubby hammering in the garage, rain dripping through the gutters, or the guy in church whose right foot is tap dancing through the service….just stop.

6. Dishes.  My husband is a “Soaker.”  Every dish needs to soak, regardless of what was in it.  Including water glasses, cereal bowls and stray spoons.  They constantly live in the sink or on the counter just next to the sink.  And somehow they can’t make it that extra foot into the dishwasher. “Let them soak til morning…I’ll get them then!” he says…Nope.  The idea of four dishes cluttering my kitchen overnight is inexcusable.  I lose sleep over this.

7.  Agressive Drivers.  For some reason, I am constantly getting cut off or flicked off.  Maybe I’m a terrible driver {don’t you DARE ask Dave…}, but every time another driver gets mad at me, I take it extremely personally.  I will stew over the reason I got the finger for the rest of my ride home…I mean, what did I do????

8.  Wrinkles in bed.  And I’m not talking about mine…. The sheets moving around each night, shifting so that there are large wrinkles in the fitted sheet…it’s just not right.  I know he loves me, because I make Dave re-fit the sheet every night so it’s on nice and tight.  And on laundry day, when they smell good and fit oh-so-tightly on the bed? A little slice of Heaven.

9.  Hair.  In oh-so-many ways.  It drives me nuts when I have a stray one stuck to the back of my arm…tickling and teasing me until I look crazy swinging and batting at my batwings trying to find it.  And the little stray ones that stick out of various places on my face my eyebrows.  I just have to get them. Right. Now.  {Even if it makes us late for church!}  And don’t even get me started on my daughters’ hair.  I don’t know how they don’t walk into walls or fall down manholes….it is always in their faces.

10.  Odd numbers.  The thermostat must be set to 70 or 72….never 71.  I may make an exception for the 5’s.  And I hate it when bloggers make “Top” lists that aren’t 5, 10 or 15.  I mean, who ever hear of “Top Nine Ways To Drive This Mama Crazy?”

Soooo…now you know all my quirks {or at least the ones I’m comfortable sharing….}.

Still wanna be friends? {If you do, please be sure to “like” me on all your social media channels….those pesky little “like” numbers are what bring home the bacon!  And leave me a comment with one of your quirks….I know I’m not alone out there…

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Sunday Scripture: Love Matters

I have no words to express my emotions about the tragic events over the past couple of weeks.  My heart is broken for all the lives lost, for the families, and for us as a country.  We are all God’s children, and all a broken people.Sunday Scripture: Love MattersAnd with all of the animosity and controversy over the different #matters movements…I think we are losing focus over what God wants.  Love thy neighbor.  Treat them as yourself.  Love your God and love His children.  All of them.  Period.Sunday Scripture: Love Matters#LoveMatters

Have a blessed week!

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{The images in today’s Sunday Scripture were found here and here on Pinterest.  The original images were not able to be found on the actual websites.}

Back on the Weightloss Bandwagon

With our Vegas trip looming, I’ve buckled down and climbed back on the bandwagon of eating healthier and toning up.  I hadn’t realized that I had fallen off…but when I think back to the past couple of months, I realize that I’ve had more “cheat” days than “good” days thanks to happy hours, birthday parties, dinners out, etc.

So with a month to go before our trip, I started going to the gym {either the YMCA or bootcamp} at least 4 days a week, or at least working out in the house.  When I went to the Y, I did my treadmill routine and then either took a class or used the equipment for a half hour.  When I workout at home, I have been doing this quick workout {takes about 15 minutes}.  Add a toddler to the mix, and not only are you adding weight, but also agility {don’t land on him!}.  He also helps my form as he likes to sit on me during sit-ups and under me during planks!

Quick 15 minute at home whole-body workout #exercise #workout #weightloss #cardio

I’ve also gone back to eating my egg white omelets each morning.  It’s amazing what a difference they make.  I’d been eating about 400 calories worth of cereal, fruit and coffee {creamer/sugar} for breakfast each morning.  Again not really thinking anything of it, since it’s not like it was french toast or anything.  But when I switched over to a high protein 100 calorie meal and stopped adding sugar {still gotta have that creamer though….}….I was able to cut out 275 calories out of my diet by 8am each morning.

I’m feeling much better in general, and will definitely feel great for Vegas!

Want to read more about my weightloss?  Read this post on how I lost 30 lbs in 15 weeks.  Or, this post for tracking your weightloss {with free printables}.  Or even this post on my no-fail arm workout.

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Down on the Farm

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already met Noodle and Gelato, our foster bunnies.  If you’ve followed me for over a year, you know we had foster chicks last year.  You should really follow me on Instagram…What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!Anyway, this year, we opted for baby bunnies, and our friend Mr. Paul happens to have a hobby farm up the road from us.  He helps out with the animals at Bee City, our favorite local petting zoo, and has quite the menagerie of his own.  So when he offered to let us borrow some of the baby bunnies from his farm, we jumped on the chance to visit the rest of the animals too!What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!And we’ve been back almost weekly ever since!  Another year or so and I’m gonna just start sending the kids to work on the farm for the summer!  Some of the things we’ve learned during our visits:

Don’t wear “cute” clothes.  Or shoes that can’t be hosed off.  There is poop everywhere, so crocs or rain boots are best!What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!Chickens love to be fed, but do not like to be caught.  Lincoln has no fear and continues to try to pick them up….they’ve learned to run away from him, but just can’t resist him when he’s got the feed tin!What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!Although they are stinky, chickens can be beautiful!  And there is just nothing like fresh eggs for breakfast.What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!The chicks and bunnies have helped the kiddos learn responsibility and gentleness.  I loved watching them interact with the animals, both at our house as well as down on the farm.  I’m just amazed at how comfortable they all are around 200 pound pigs and flocks of hungry chickens.  Nothing phases them!  And although we’ve returned the bunnies {who turned out to be escape artists who preferred to live in the dollhouse rather than their crate}, we’ve become regular fixtures on the farm!

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The Ballet Recital

Believe it or not, this blog started out as a teeny little website primarily to share pictures of my brand new baby, Jayna.  It was easier to post on a website than email pictures to our extended family, so it worked well.  And now, thanks to your shares and word of mouth, I have over 1,000 “fans” on Facebook and have about 20,000 visits to my blog each month.  These numbers help sponsors find me, so I can make a little money, try some new products {and report back to you}, and have allowed me to contribute to over 15 different publications and blogging networks.  Every time you visit my website, you are helping to support my family…thank you!

But, today, I’m going back to the basics to brag on my Middle Little a bit.  She has been taking ballet and tap since January with some friends from the neighborhood and from school.  And now, in her spare time, she plies and leaps and twirls in front of any reflective surface!

Can you see Millie?  She is second from the right.

Her recital was a typical 2 hour dance company recital…a showcase for all the different classes, plus a few solo acts form the older ballerinas.  The little ones were so cute and terrible at the same time…always a couple of tots who were on the money with their routine; a few who just stood there and cried; and then the majority, who were a few beats behind with their moves…or just doing their own thing altogether.A little stage makeup and a tutu makes for a sassy ballerina at the ballet recital!Apparently mascara and a little bit of lip gloss cures any hint of stage fright….in fact, it adds an element of sass! {as if she needed any more!}Mama her her little ballerina after the ballet recital.Jayna sang along with the lyrical music, while Lincoln was mesmerized by the pretty ballerinas everywhere…he literally watched {and often imitated!} the entire performance!  It was a long show, but they both did great.She was so happy that SueSue was able to come to her ballet recital!She was so happy that MomMom was able to come to her ballet recital!And luckily, both grandmas were there to corral the Littles in the few moments of boredom.  And Millie was just thrilled to have a whole entourage accompanying her to the show!Silly ballerinas shine after their ballet recital!And after her few minutes of delicate dancing in her elegant costume….she was right back to her silly self!

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